Music Reviews



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Artist: Alcalica
Title: ΥΔΩΡ
Format: 12"
Label: Photovoltaic Records
Rated: *****
Named after the Greek word for "water", this new album by Alcalica, an interesting duo by Anglo-Greek producer Leon Danezos (caring beats and electronics as well as other instruments such as Iranian santoor or Greek baglamas) and Italian/German artist Julie Loi (the lyricist and the poet of this bicephalous entity as well as the playr of African kalimba and other small instruments) renders the ideal sonic bridge between Berlin and Lesbos, the cities where they mainly operates. The daily trial of strenght between Greece and Germany, which is going to leave deep grooves on European contemporary history, and some topical issues of some Alcalica's songs such as "Gladio", referring to the same-named anti-subversive organization within Italian secret service, which was involved in a number of massacres and bombing attempts as well as in surgical manipulation of public opinion, the emotional portrait of stark reality within a world where rich people get richer and richer at the expense of the poor ones on "Fear" or the title-track, which refers to the problem of access to clean water by most of people on our planet and the related business of bottled mineral water, makes their impressive stylistical crossbreed (they used to call it "Industrial World Music") even more attractive: the matching between elements from Rebetiko tradition and its hypnotic melodies, a style of Greek folk music which became the voice of marginalized people in many moments of modern Greek history, enchanting Aegean melodies and bass-driven electronic music is clear since the opening "Crumbling" where a sort of slightly corrosive trip-hop movement balance the livid tirade by Julie and the sallow anguished tones of Rebetiko melodies.
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Artist: Adern X
Title: Liebe Ist Warmer Als Der Zeit
Format: CD
Label: Xevor
Rated: *****
Self released on CDr and digital download, the new Adern X album finds Andrea Piran dealing with the concept of feelings and time. Titled "Liebe Ist Warmer Als Der Zeit" ("Love is warmer than time"), the album contain seven tracks that have been composed by dividing the sounds on the stereo channels creating, in this way, the "spatiality" the concept refers to. Andrea used radio noises, radio vocal samples, tiny synth melodies as well as record and noise loops. Almost all the sounds are unically on one side of the speakers, only the radio AM recordings are located at center. Sonically we have quiet moments with minimal sounds as well as ones a bit more noisy (mostly glitching manipulations). Listening to "Liebe Ist Warmer Als Der Zeit" I had the impression that the concept prevaled on the "musical" idea but you can make your own opinion checking here https://xevor.bandcamp.com/album/liebe-ist-w-rmer-als-der-zeit
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Artist: m-fast
Title: Arcade Bastards
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Other Voices
Rated: *****
m-fast is the personal project of a guy coming from Ufa, Russia. Started in 1999 m-fast released only one album on tape and 10 copies on tape reel, distributed locally. He recorded a couple of albums as Millenium Fast then cut the name and change the style from techno/synthpop to analogue space disco, so, "Arcade Bastards" could be almost considered his debut, despite he remixed Vinyl Sluts and in the past did a remix of Kraftwerk's "Autobahn" for his soundcloud page, which ended up being released on a Polish bootleg. The EP released digitally by Other Voices contains two originals we'll find on the forthcoming album and two remixes of the main tune reworked by Werdes and Vinyl Sluts (the first mix is a sort of techno gabber version and the second one is a 90s meet 80s version). The original version of "Arcade Bastards" seems to take inspiration from the old 8bit arcade games soundtracks and offers an updated version, talking soundwise. The real catch, to me, is the second original tune, "Fox Hunting", this one sounds like a good early Come Truise song, where synth pads and leads duel with Simmons drum pads just to form a catchy 80s melodic instrumental one. Check and grab it here https://othervoicesrecords.bandcamp.com/album/arcade-bastards
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Artist: Jeff Burch (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Important Records (@)
Rated: *****
Jeff Burch is originally from New Zealand, but now makes his home in New York City. According to the label, Burch 'hoists his sounds up through the remnants of the 60's downtown drone spirit, through the fetid fruits of post-war central Europe and the scattered output of present-day suburban outsiders.' Hmmmm.... Let's see if this holds up. This album consists of two tracks, so let's look at each of them. 'The Nine Points' features slow, strumming guitar and flute mixed with some peaceful drone. The guitar and drone take turns coming to the forefront; it's a simple composition, but it never gets boring. 'La Perouse' is a bit more driving, with a relentless guitar line and some noisy synth washes. This eventually mellows out with a warbling synth line over some line-noise drone. Then suddenly it sounds like it cuts off, but thisisn't really the case. It's just that the last few minutes were mixed so quietly that you had to crank it to hear anything at all. This is a shame because it is nice, crackling noise. Overall this is pleasant music, but doesn't really push the envelope too much. Imagine the guitars from Durutti Column with the synth from old Aphex Twin (Ambient Works). This album weighs in at around 32 minutes.
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Artist: Lawrence English + Stephen Vitiello (@)
Title: Fable
Format: CD
Label: Dragon's Eye Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Lawrence English is a composer and artist based in Australia and Stephen Vitiello is an American musician who is also a professor of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University. According to the label, this collaboration focuses on their 'joint interests in modular synthesis, field recordings and the blurry boundaries between acoustic instrumentation and electronics. . . . Its palette, whilst diverse remains focused and as the album progresses themes of arrhythmic percussion, electronic-like field recording, prepared piano and vintage synthesis begin to take form.' We open with 'Over Inland' which maintains a nice juxtaposition as vibraphone provides a peaceful, pleasant melody over clanging bottles, pipes, chimes, snippets of voice, and field recordings. But this is not random; it is composed together well. For me, this was the standout track of the disc. 'Encased In Blue Marble' takes a more spacey approach, with pulsing drone and analog sweeps thrown in for good measure. Kind of peaceful. 'A Chime For The Fable' clangs its way through, giving you the impression that you're in a clock factory and you're in the testing room. 'Forecast The Dawn' is like listening to incidental music in a film (and you know something is about to happen....). Not too bad, but not as engaging as the first two tracks. This blends into 'A Fable For The Chime,' which continues along the same trajectory. Once again, you get the sense that this is well crafted, with nothing left to chance. 'That Caress, Inverted' brings back some of the spacey feeling, with a wheezing synth and plodding, thudding bass. Finally, 'Tender Unison' finishes up with some pleasant drone. Overall, this was interesting but sort of a mixed bag. The first few tracks were great, but the middle section was not anything that would stand up to repeat listening for me. It was well crafted, but just not as engaging for me. This album weighs in at around 32 minutes.
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