Music Reviews



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Artist: JC Laurent
Title: Southside EP
Format: 12"
Label: Hidden (@)
Rated: *****
The way by which young Nice-born (you have a possible explanation of the title of this four tracker as he comes from Southern France...) producer Jc Laurent blurs basslines, which sounds like coming from deep waters, and erode metallic hits on the opening title-track of this release could remind you the attack of biggest sharks against the protective cage for scared scuba divers of a famous videogame, but besides this imaginative matching, "Southside" is an awesome connection between Berlin deep-techno and Detroit style that marks the style of Monsieur Laurent, while the gently delayed chords over a shaking platform of claps and sneaking hits of "Witness", whose subterranean pumping bass seems to explode on the ominously obsessive "Hoax", is the softest stuff of this new ring of Hidden Recordings' chain. Uk producer Tom De Cicco injects administers anabolic steroids to the above-imagined shark for his remix of "Southside" by means of stumping electronic grid, where the temporary slowdown after 4 minutes of playing is deceptive, as the groove suddenly speeds up till the end.
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Artist: Public Domain Resource
Title: Six Years
Format: CD
Label: Space Age Records
Rated: *****
Born in 2012 as a solo project of an Italian guy called Pietro Oliveri, Public Domain Resource saw Ugo Crescini joining in 2013 as a singer and signed soon after for Space Race Records. On the same year the duo produced their first album "Dead Surface". That CD contained twelve tracks and three remixes and its music was a blend of synthpop and 90s e.b.m. with a bit of dance attitude. Two years passed and the duo is now ready to release a new album, always for Space Race Records. "Six Years" is a concept album about WWII, a unusual theme for bands that play this musical genre, I must say. Containing fourteen new trakcs, the album is focused on the feelings of the people who lived that tragedy: for example the lyrics of "Warm Frost" tells the story of someone recalling how he lost his mother, "Sad, So Sad - Tibbets War" has something to do with Paul Tibbets, who was a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force and is best known for piloting the aircraft to drop the first atomic bomb in the history of warfare and I don't think that a title like "Our Widows" needs further explanations as like remembered on the inner cover, on those six years, seventy one million people lost their lives. Musically, we pass from melodic e.b.m. to e.b.m. industrial with filtered vocals where synth arpeggios and rhythms are the main elements where catchy sounds enrich the formula. The opening "White Cloud" and "Das Boot" are mid tempos with hard beats while tracks like "Cold Lightning" and "Kill Rolf, Kill" are ideal for the hard dancefloor. Listening to these tracks I tought of Public Domain Resource as a sort of Evil's Toy meets Front 242 and if you are fan of these bands, you would be interested into checking them!
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Artist: Rapoon (@)
Title: What Do You Suppose? (The Alien Question) / Project Blue Book
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Distributor: Alchembria
Rated: *****
This new reissue from Zoharum is another classic from Rapoon dated 1999. "What Do You Suppose? (The Alien Question)" is a concept album based on the theories related to aliens and their presence on the planet made by William Cooper so the texts of the various tracks, rather to be an esthetic element, are the focus of this release and made it a really different from the previous reissues.
The loop from an old record and the spoken word of "Before I Begin" opens this release as a quiet introduction to the beat of "Waddi Haj" where the ethnic elements of his music return while "How Many of You Understand?" is based on the words and "Never Called NJ12'¦" is finally the juxtaposition of the two musical elements. "Give Us Dub" is, as the title suggests, a dub influenced bridge to the second part of this album starting with "No Really'¦" where the dialogue introduces an emerging loop.
"How Many of You Did Not Know That?" is a long cinematic track focused on a drone. The deep drone of "The Alien Question" is frightening in opposition to the "Only The Names Change"'s one. "Without Aliens'¦" is a meditative track based on a vocal loop and a drone while "I Don't Expect Anyone'¦" closes this release returning to the classic rhythmic structure of this project.
The second CD is a complete rework of the original release removing the spoken word part, with the exception of "The Truth Regarding UFO's", and focusing on the rhythmic element so tracks like "Further than Waddi Haj", based upon "Waddi Haj", "Leaving Us", based upon "I Don't Expect Anyone'¦", or "Send Dub", based upon "Give Us Dub", sound like experiments in sound nuances. The other tracks removes the cinematic elements that are peculiar of the original release and replaces them with dance oriented ones; the only exception is "Dark Gods Breathing" focusing on tone oriented chant.
While the first CD could stand among the finest releases of Robin Storey with his remarkable shift upon a narrative element usually absent in the previous releases, the bonus disc sounds more like the usual add-on of a reissue or a variation on the form already exposed in his classic masterpiece. However, this is an essential reissue.
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Artist: Atrium Carceri
Title: Metropolis
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
Few months after the release of "The Old City", Atrium Carceri returns with a new release, presented as closely connected to "The Untold", continuing his tale of the primordial metropolis and the force that builded it. From a musical perspective is closer to the previous release as it follows, but with a stronger writing, his structures.
The cinematic quality of "The Gargantuan Tower" opens this release following the path of "The Old City" so, when the spoken arrives, there's the sense of the absence of a visual element. The rhythmic elements of "The Dark Mother" marks a small departure to the dark ambient, the foundation of Atrium Carceri's style, returning with "Across the Sea of the Dead" and his impressive sound details. The small distortions of "Black Needle" and the resonances of "Decrepit City" could sound closer to some forms of drone metal. "Sacred Slab" is a return to form with his use of synth as "200 Days", apart from the vocal intro. "Industrial District" is based on a slowly developing drone and "Heart of the Metropolis" continues this path until the small noises of the second part of the track introduce the listener to "The Cowled Seers" whose gentle synth notes marks a shift toward pop territories covered in a flash with the return to a soundscape with "The Machine" and his evocative use of drones.
Instead of a release oriented towards fans, this album removes the flaw of "The Old City", a too emulative sound, and marks perhaps the beginning of a journey to new musical direction from this artist. A truly recommended release.
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Artist: Akira Kosemura
Title: Trio
Format: CD
Label: Schole (@)
Rated: *****
The third release of Schole's Concert Single Series is a lovely assay of a live performance that appreciated Japanese pianist Akira Kosemura held at Lutherian Ichigaya Church concomitantly with the release of original soundtrack for the film "Embers (Saigo no Inochi)" by Junpei Matsumoto, which was recently released by Akira's own imprint. This oung brilliant composer re-arranged some old and new tracks from his own repertoire that he performed together with Mika Shirasawa (violin), who co-signed a "duo" he recorded with Akira at Shinjuku Bunka Center and Okurayama Memorial for the same series, and Maiko Sato (cello). Gracefulness and harmonic splendour gently thrive over the delightful 22 minutes of this tidbit, which immediately set the mood on the opening "Precious", where Mika's violin plays an important balancing role, shows some similarities with some contemporary piano "minimalists" such as Einaudi on the beautiful "Larmes" and features catchy moments of lyrical musings on "Fragile" and "Imagery" by means of brilliant vibrato on strings and charming piano melodies. Pretty musical trinket, which sometimes sounds coming from a Victorian romance novel.
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