Music Reviews



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Artist: Hexas
Title: Liberty Nest
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Hagshadow
Rated: *****
Hexas is the new creature born from the collaboration of Patrick Leagas of Sixth Comm/Godlesstate/Mother Destruction/SchrÄge Musik fame and Gaya Donadio (active as ANTIchildLEAGUE and boss of Hagshadow). "Liberty Nest" is their first release and contains six tracks that are the perfect mix of their past music experiences. The meaning of Hexas in the original Greek form is the number Six, perhaps also Hexe, which in German means "witch", is connected to a continuation of the subject 6. Hexas' aim is not to point the finger indicating what's wrong or else, Hexas is a mirror and it's reflecting back to you images that you'll decode looking at it from the different angles. Besides the fact that we're living in a corporate controlled regime where the crazy dictators can recall you the Reptilian alien Visitors of the 80s show having the same title, musically what we have in this six tracks MCD? Well, as I said Patrick and Gaya musical souls interacted and if Gaya brought in her noisy semi controlled sounds, Patrick merged that with rhythms and a bit of melodies. The tracks differ the one from the other in which way the elements have been balanced. To give you some idea, the opening track is sounding like being under a bombing where between the explosions we hear martial rhythms, dissonant chords and declamating treated vocals. "Reptilian Culture" sounds like a SchrÄge Musik track remixed by Gaya. "Hellborn" is tense, noisy and mix a rhythm which recalls me Boyd Rice's roto guitar sound with feedbacks and Gaya's vocals. At the moment is not important to describe how much noise or rhythms every track contains, because this MCD contains no fillers and it's a really inspired release that I'm suggesting you to check if you liked any Patrick's past one. If you are more into power noise and you knew mostly ACL stuff, well, this is the right chance to check another side of her music!
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Artist: Monty Adkins
Title: A Year At Usher's Hill
Format: CD + Download
Label: Eilean Records
Completing a trilogy of albums that have all been released on different labels, “A Year At Usher’s Hill” sees Monty Adkins on celesta, organ and electronics joined by Jonny Best on piano to perform eleven introspective, supremely languid, ballad-like bits of downtempo music that border on ambient and drone but doesn’t step over that line. Lush, smooth chords sustain and wane with a vibe that’s warm yet a speed that’s melancholic. The melodies are loose and feeling improvised.

There’s variety in the tracks insofar as, for example, “Alone” is a solo piano offering with a more classical feel while “An Eden Within” is more purely atmospheric; “Small Steps” or the lullaby-like “Radiant Moon” offer both. That’s the limit of it though- it’s consistent and soporifically unchallenging.

It’s a touch glib at times, edging just a little close to a “meditation music for relaxation and yoga” CD you might find in a motorway service station, with only the enhanced sombreness (and the lack of water sounds or pan pipes) keeping it distinguishable from that. At other points the drone elements, hints of darkness and polished electronic production is what ensures this release belongs well away from service stations. “Solstice” is notable thanks to the deep pulse that pervades underneath it and gives it a more soundtrack-like feel.

Music for self-pity and emotional wallowing.
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Artist: Alis
Title: Sai / Strong
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Infinite Machine
Alis’s first release on Infinite Machine is a pair of dark slices of electronica with the sonic palette of deep techno and rhythmic patterns that crash together dubstep attitudes with faster and glitchier elements. Over the thumps and long deep bass notes roll sci-fi style pads and atmospherics.

The decision to hold back the “ayyyayyyayyy” vocal until the end of first track “Sai” is an unusual and successful one. In multiple phases but flowing neatly, it’s a melting pot of off-techno generating an environment that corresponds well with the deep blues of the release artwork.

“Strong” adopts a steadier, more industrial four-four approach to its beat, with a strangely catchy organ riff and some actual, albeit hard to make out, vocals with lyrics. The smart key change around the two minute mark draws you in and although it does then tail off somewhat, it’s still a track worthy of its title.

It’s a confident and rich release and definitely a strong advert for other releases from Alis (Sabina Plamenova) both past and future.
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Artist: Bosaina
Title: New York April – July 2013 / Two Names Upon The Shore
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Discrepant
Syrian/Egyptian singer songwriter and producer Bosaina here offers up two short EP’s stuck together.

In “New York” (in six parts), we get three pop song-length numbers separated by quirky interludes. Opening with balladic piano and keyboard playing and warm emotive chords set into a colder environment of found sounds and processed rainy atmospheres, with a smattering of odd and distant percussive patterns drifting in and out, sets you up for a melancholic or maybe even romantic listen- but when the third part kicks in, we shift into a trip-hop environment, with a heavier breakbeat, and Sneaker Pimps-style distorted vocals. The third substantial part (“June 3rd”) surprises us again, focussing on soft pure-sounding plinky synth sounds that have been glitched and re-triggered into a rather esoteric result. It’s an unusual collection of pieces that has some sonic consistency yet a wide variation in attitude.

The second EP “Two Names Upon The Shore” is equally hard to pin down. “Rivage” is another glitched and heavily effected piano piece, occasionally underpinned by rhythmic pulses. “Untitled” continues in a similar vein but with the spontaneous arrival of more distorted vocals and then harder-edged distortion halfway through. That format, of a purer sound with distortion arriving in the second half, is echoed in an instrumental fashion by final track “Abalone On The Grass”.

It’s an indulgently obtuse bundle of tracks where the sincerity and solemness is gatecrashed unpredictably by angier production touches that appear and disappear without warning. This gives it the distinctive but slightly inaccessible character of a work that can’t make up its mind whether it wants to be understood or not. It’s an interesting challenge.
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Artist: STCLVR
Title: Predator
Format: Tape
Label: Chthonic Streams (@)
Rated: *****
This album reminded me of late 90's / early 2000's dark electro bands mixed with some of today's abrasive power electronics projects. The vocals are gritty and the beats are dirty but catchy.

Less polished than a lot of the dark electro bands and I don't mean that as a put-down, it adds something to the tracks and makes them darker than what usually comes out of that genre.

This is a short but sweet release and as always with the Chthonic Streams releases, this one has some beautiful graphic design and packaging.
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