Music Reviews



Artist: OVUM
Title: Ruskprick
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Suggestion Records (@)
Released in a limited print of only 50 this 3" MCD contains seventeen minutes of ambient industrial noise. Even if three tracks and a bunch of minutes aren't enough to judge a project the first time you approach to it, I've got to say that I liked Ovum a lot. It could be that the dark atmospheres and the drones he uses are interesting and disturbing at the same time, but the thing that thrilled me most is the cover version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog". I could never imagined something like this: the melody is build with humming sounds and the vocals are far away just like echoes in a windy day. Good enough to begging for more.
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Artist: Icon of Coil (@)
Title: The Soul Is The Software
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)


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From the start it is easy to see why Icon of Coil is becoming more well known in the EBM scene. Their music combines elements of earlier versions of the genre like the heavy Technophile F242 sound of "Thrill Capsule" to the more VNV-like "In Absence" or the very Synthpop "Access and Amplify" or "Other Half of Me" which are restructured from the typical synthpop sound into a very IOC brand.

Strangely enough you'll even find some more urban influence on "Everything Is Real" which utilizes a heavy hip-hop beat distorted and industrialized and also incorporates piano into the mix.

If I had to pick any favorites for this album though it would have to be the last two tracks. "Disconnect" could readily be an anthem for anyone living in our modern high stress society while "Simulated" sounds like something that should be in The Matrix II. With lyrics like the following I really hope this one does NOT get missed!

We're alive and we're among you. We breed and we conceive you. You live because we allow you to live and you breath because we allow you to breath. You're incapable to think or breath for yourself. We pull the strings, cut of the wings. We're in charge of all the peace and of all the noise. You think there is a God, you are only toys.

Overall this album contains track after track of heavy EBM club beats. Excellent!
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Artist: SIMULATOR (@)
Title: Enter The Unknown
Format: CD
Label: Cohaagen (@)
Is three years that Ross W. Beall creates is own music so it was time for him to reach the "maturity" of the first album release. ENTER THE UNKNOWN is a particular release, mainly because for the peculiarity of the project (Ross creates instrumental dark synthpop tracks)and also because the emotions his music made me feel. As a composer he has got many influences: 80's synthpop (if you listen to the only two sung tracks "Divided" and "The Ghost Of You" they'll make you remember Depeche Mode of the "Speak And Spell" era), ebm and late 70's early 80's electronic music. Sometimes his tracks made me recall Jean Michel Jarre's music but with a darker vein. You know releasing an instrumental album based on melody and electronic sounds isn't that simple and the risk is to annoy the audience. Fortunately this isn't the case! As bonus tracks you can find the sung versions of "Revelation" and "Regression" (the first one with Frank J. Freda of Brand New Idol as guest vocals as for the previous ones and the second one has got Rachel Cicci on vocals and has been produced by George and Rachel Cicci of Evaluna) Last note: just to underline the value of Simulator's music please note that both the instrumental and vocal version of the tracks are catchy and are complete on their own, you won't feel something missing even if "it's just" instrumental music... Got it? ;)
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Artist: N.
Title: Asphyxiating
Format: CD
Label: Slaughter Productions (@)
After a series of tapes and a massive 3-hour tape-box, N. comes back with its first cd, collecting recordings from '97 to 2000. What immediately puzzled me is the cover with a simple, abstract design – could be the sleeve for an emo-rock band or whatever. I suppose it's a choice. The back cover and inlay, on the contrary, delve into the medical/biological field, which seems more appropriate to the titles and samples used. Unfortunately, no further graphics are used in the cd, which is a sort of lost opportunity in my opinion. As for the sounds, N. stays true to his old-fashioned, nihilistic approach to industrial/power electronics anti-music: equipment is a Korg Poly 800, tape decks, memory man electro harmonix and a big muff pedal. As you can guess, tracks are mostly repetitive synth patterns with layers of washing distortion. Think of Atrax Morgue's "Cut my throat" cd to have a clue. What I really think is missing is a plus of sonic violence, as lots of the tracks seem static without being really obsessive. Some titles work better with the pathological samples, and the last track ("It's better don't exist" coherently being unexisting!), "Valeria", is a long sampled child song with underlaying noise, which does have a disquieting effect. I think that with the new recordings N. will have either to push the violent approach or to develop the more subtle and morbid side of his sonic pathology.
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Artist: JORGE CASTRO (@)
Title: The Joys and Rewards of Repetition
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
Over the last few years, Puertorican musician Jorge Castro has offered, as part of the Cornucopia duo, some of the most brutal and intense harsh noise in the (overcrowded?) international scene. But he has also developed a very interesting solo project of ambient guitar sounds. This cd-r (which must have been issued in early 2001) features four long and homogeneous tracks of drones and gulfs of sound which manage to be both abstract and emotional, constantly shifting (the title is indicative, but there IS change within the pieces as well) from lighter, serene atmospheres to hypnotizing echoes and darker moments. If you've had the chance of listening to Steve Roach's recent "Strems & Currents", you can find a similar style here, only even more pushed towards abstractness and impalpability. Definitely worth listening to many times. As usual, Public Eyesore design and packaging are minimal but very elegant and eye-catching, and fit well with the contents of the record. The label has also issued a more recent collection of Castro's works, I'll try to talk about that in the next future.
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