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Artist: Godlesstate
Title: Godlesstate
Format: CD
Label: Hagshadow
Rated: *****
I think that if I name to you Patrick Leagas, there's no need to explain his history... you know... Death In June, Sixth Comm, Mother Destruction, etc. Well, as far as we know, Patrick decided to close the Sixth Comm chapter with the "One Mans Hel" album (here reviewed time ago, so make a search on the reviews section) and now he's focusing on the new project called Godlesstate. With this one, he just released a self named CD on Hagshadow containing eleven new tracks.. Influenced by his interest in archeology and social/spiritual history of mankind, Patrick created something deeply connected to nature. Frequently he takes his bike and travels through England just to stop into places that he feels connected to and, there, he passes some time to take inspiration. Because of this process, I see him like a shaman which is creating his own way to talk to gods and tracks like "Cedar Forest" or the following "Enkidu's Wildness" are the proof that he's good into that, because they have an hypnotic effect on me. Most of the track are based on many percussive sounds with layers of electronic effects, blow instruments and chants. "Ice Voyage", instead, is a track on its own, because it's based on orchestral sounds, natural sounds, spoken word and it's really taking you somewhere else. If I should picture it, it's like looking to the ocean from a cliff. Also "Doggerland", is another track where orchestrations are mixed with synth frequencies and it's really breathtaking with its ten minutes of length where a apparent calm is taking you to a journey through time. You know, after listening to "Godlesstate" for the third time, I'm finding myself writing sparse sentences because I'm really into the sounds and into the atmospheres created and this is what music should provoke: a total absorption.
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Artist: Vloyd
Title: Stamp EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Credo
Distributor: Bandcamp
"Stamp" is a throbbing, relentless low-frequency workout with such a deep reverberation throughout that it sounds more like your neighbours are listening to it, rather than you. The "come on let's go" sample is straight out of the classic Josh Wink songbook.

As the name suggests "Zen" is milder, but everything's relative; it's still a dark and brooding six-minute drum cycle, except that the percussion issues at least a passing acknowledgement to the higher frequencies. The other ingredients, such as the deep breathing and the resistance to change, closely follow the title track's formula.

The Alex Bau remix of "Stamp" notches up the urgency and re-orders things in a slightly more progressive way, but stays so close in spirit to the original that the remix and original are interchangeable.

Alex Dolby's take on "Stamp" ramps up the tempo a lot, adding claps, filters and electrotech flavours and ditching the vocal. The long breakdown works a treat but it can feel a bit frantic if you've already been lured into the walking pace of the previous three tracks. At the end it drops sharply off a cliff as if the money ran out, giving an abrupt end to an otherwise very consistent package.

This is a solid and single-minded clutch of stomping tracks on Credo.
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Artist: Ardan Bel
Title: Ganshi EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Redlight Music
Distributor: Dig Dis
This is a confident, assured and also quite relaxed package of leisurely tech-house instrumentals. Everything ticks along with an impressive amount of polish and grooves that could definitely be described as being on the smooth side. The basslines are long and straight, like a long cross-contintental drive. Wave your arms and let it wash over you, these are solid mid-set numbers that keep your feet moving without ever troubling you with any real highs or lows.

Things get more melodic and synth-heavy as it progresses, with title track "Ganshi" arguably a stronger and more memorable track than the opener "Aquilegia".

Ironically, since the EP is named after track 2 and it's track 1 that was given a remix as track 4, it's track 3 that's probably the stand-out of the bunch. "Mankib", with its mellow looping chords, is the poppiest number of the package and the one that seems to be most beginning out for a vocal. As the chords start getting higher and more anxious four minutes in, there's a sense of building tension which is otherwise absent from the laidback demeanour heard through the rest of the EP. Six minutes is your lot though- it drops off a cliff at the end, as if there were some law about making tech-house that reached the seven minute mark. The Liquid Mirror's remix of "Aquilegia" stays in the same ballpark, switching things around a little but staying fairly faithful to the overall mood.
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Artist: Oren Ambarchi / Stefano Pilia / Massimo Pupillo
Title: Aithein
Format: 12"
Label: Karlrecords (@)
Rated: *****
The name of the brilliant Australian composer and multi-instrumentalist Oren Ambarchi is maybe the better known name of this trio, having been one of the most incontinent musician in the last 20 years by means of an incredible number of collaborations - the most famous ones are maybe those with John Zorn, Phil Niblock, Sunn O))), Evan Parker, Jim O'Rourke, Keiji Haino, Z'EV, Otomo Yoshihide and Richard Pinhas - and solo works, but it could be a matter of statistics as the Italian virtuosos that grouped together Oren have a likewise enviable musical path. Electric bass player Massimo Pupillo was one of the founding member of jazz-core trio ZU and could brag about excellent collaborations such as the ones with Mats Gustafsson, Paul Nilssen-Love, Lasse Marhaug and both Brötzmann (father Peter and son Caspar), while Stefano Pilia worked on many awesome sound installation after a strong activism in the Italian punk and rock more or less underground area and grouping together two other big names of the contemporary scene like David Grubbs and Andrea Belfi. I could have been influenced by the inspiring cover artwork that Sara D'Uva made for the silk-screened sleeve of this release, but their guitar-driven blend in between progressive, avant-garde, post-rock and drone sound to me as a possible soundtrack for this sort of Kali Yuga that mankind is currently experiencing at the mercy of the numbing power of media and technology. A plenty of whirling emotions and thoughts are going to run over the 33 minutes lasting suite from the very first sonic slices of the first titled "Burn" - whose preface sounds like the one of a sci-fi movie - to the rising shimmering explosions of the last minutes of "Shine". Have a check.
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Artist: Technophobia (@)
Title: Flicker Out
Format: 12"
Label: Working Order Records (@)
Rated: *****
Technophobia is a dark electronic band from Washington, D.C. comprised of Katie Petix (vocals) and Stephen Petix (analogue synths, drum machines and programming). They began in 2013 I believe, playing live and sharing the stage with such acts as Skinny Puppy, Laibach, Douglas McCarthy (Nitzer Ebb) and others. 'Flicker Out' is their first full-length release. This is actually one of the few reviews that I've been able to post timed with the release date (July 17), since I'm always getting backed up here and much of the product sent to Chain D.L.K. central that's handed off to me arrives well after it's been released. (They sent this to me direct, which helps speed things up.) Anyway, prior to the album, a 12" single of the track "Negative Space" was released, and I also received that, but the record arrived BROKEN. Not to worry, I was still able to check it out on the band's site, but we'll leave that to later and go straight to the album.

Opening robustly with "Shame," Katie proves to be a stong and capable vocalist with a very good melodic voice. There are nice harmonies and a ballsy beat with a decent hook. Synthwork is oldschool, and that's reflected throughout the album. There's definitely an EBM vibe here in the music as it becomes more evident in "The Principle," with a copious amount of sequencing and synth sounds you've heard a million times before, but good melody lines and harmonies keep it from heading into clicheville. The instrumental titled "Siroccos" is a sort of dark ambient mood piece with a simple synth line. Very effective. As we move further into the album, I'm noticing one thing I really like about the songs on 'Flicker Out' is the lyrics. They're poetic and meaningful without being pretentious, and a cut above what you usually find in a lot of dark electronic music today. They were written by Kristy Lupejkis and Katie Petix. The songs on the A side of the record were pretty good. Let's turn it over on the B side.

First up is "Negative Space," the song that was released as the first single. I'm getting a strong Depeche Mode vibe on this one, but in a good way. There's this dialogue sample they use in this song from Jean-Paul Sartre's 'No Exit' - "you can't throttle thoughts with hands". (It took me a while to find the source.) Although "Hands" figures prominently in the song lyrics, I'm not a big fan of movie dialogue samples in music. The band uses them in other places on the album, but so far it hasn't really worked against them. (It will, soon.) Still, the song is about the best so far, and the obvious choice for a single. "Trapped" will carry you back the the 80's. Speaking of the 80's and dialogue samples, "Factory 1981" begins by bludgeoning the listener with the (manipulated) dialogue sample "1981 began with the spectre of violence..." and carries on with an apocalyptic theme. Enuff is enough though with the dialogue samples. The kicker on the album though is the revival of an old song by The Cure from their 'Pornography' album - "One Hundred Years". I never really thought much of the song, figuring it to be rather minor in the band's ouevre, but somehow Technophobia manage to inject a new vitality into it and make it theirs; a powerful version and an outstanding track on the album.

So now let's take a look at that "Negative Space" 12" single. First you get the album version which we've already discussed. Then there is the hERETICS iN tHE lAB Meaning Nothing Remix which gives the song a more industrial edge. The Void Vison Remix is full of distorted beats, echoes up the vocal and strips away most of the music replacing it with some high-pitched synth sound in places. Garbage. Hated it. The Alter Der Ruine Remix keeps the vocals and uses minimal beat and minimal synths to begin with, then just changes it into this sequecner-heavy mess. Didn't care much for that either. Final track is a different song altogether called "Passing People". It has a nice groove, but the only vocals are dialogue samples. Overall, I'd pass on this unless you're a rabid collector of colored vinyl. BTW, I forgot to mention that 'Flicker Out' comes on soda bottle green vinyl. Now that I'd recommend buying. Your money will go to a good cause too because this altruistic band is donating 100% of the proceeds to their charity project, Life Pieces to Masterpieces, an arts-based, youth development, and mentoring organization for African American males ages 3 to 25.

Some final thoughts - Technophobia is a band with a lot of potential. I think if they lean heavily on their strengths (melodicism, good lyrics, powerful vocals and harmonies), cut down or eliminate the dialogue samples and rely a lot less on the 1/16 note synth sequencer they could be a force to be reckoned with. As is, 'Flicker Out' is a pretty good album with more ups than downs and has the potential to grow on you.
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