Music Reviews



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Artist: Roladex
Title: Anthems For The Micro​-​Age
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records
Rated: *****
I talked about Roladex the last summer when I reviewed their first single "Love Surgery" out on Beko Records. In about two weeks, the duo formed by Tyler Jacobsen and Elyssa Dianne will see their debut album "Anthems For The Micro'-'Age" out on a luxurious high-quality 180gram heavyweight electric blue transparent vinyl on Medical Records. Containing ten songs in balance from synthpop and minimal electronic, the duo produced a good album fit with catchy melodies, a bit of melancholic atmospheres, lyrics influenced by the films of David Cronenberg and John Carpenter, the works of authors such as J.G Ballard as well as video artists such as Vito Acconci and Nam June Paik. Passionate about analog synthesizers, Tyler, who holds an MFA in Electronic Art, has been on a hiatus from his work as college art professor since the formation of the group. Their tracks succeed into bringing the audience into their world which is made of robotic rhythms and pop dreams. Tracks like "Empty Streets" or the opening "Anthem For The Micro-Age" will make you appreciate the songwriting of the duo as you'll realize how well balanced are the sounds and how many bleeps and little noises they have used to craft their sound and also the male/female vocal alternance create another catchy factor. While listening to the whole record you'll catch glimpses of Kraftwerk, Soft Cell as well as 90s shoegaze new wave. Singing about nuclear war, cosmology, false memories and technology as the 'opiate of the masses', the songs catch the listener on many levels and this isn't just because it's pop music... Listen to the whole record here http://medicalrecords.bandcamp.com/album/anthems-for-the-micro-age-mr-031
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Artist: Dmitry Distant
Title: Le Derive De L'Amour
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten (@)
Rated: *****
Born in Moscow and with a musical past with T.3.R, Wavefall and founder of band Virgin Fix, Dmitry has recently relocated in Marseille and he's about to release his first tape on Belaten as Dmitry Distant. "Le Derive De L'Amour" contains four original tunes and two remixes of the opening "System Control" by Ekman and The Exaltics. In fact, the opening track, along with the following "One Night In Train" are the strongest tracks of the release: they are a mix of electro and minimal synth with a bit of detroit techno. Dmitry uses a lot of melodic layers which pair really well with the synth bleeps and noises. All the tracks are instrumental and combine a certain cinematic feeling with a dark ambience. "Gates Of Aeon" and the closing "3015 (Outro)" are nice tunes but kinda short and sound a bit like intermezzos. Emkan's remix enhance the dark factor of the original track by adding pads and focusing the equalisation of bass/mid frequencies. Robert Witschakowski a.k.a. The Exaltics kept the general feeling of the song but focusing his version on hypnotic melodies/rhythms. Nice release that is working fine also because it's kinda short as I think that on the long distance the tracks listing would need a balance with a change of atmosphere, etc. Out soon...
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Artist: TER
Title: Fingerprints
Format: CD
Label: cat|sun (@)
Rated: *****
The shadowy consonances with the sonorities of partner-in art Tomek Mirt ring out while listening the earliest seconds of the first of six untitled fingerprints by TER, but this sonic trinket by the female soul of defunct psychedelic Polish band Brasil And The Gallowbrothers Band, where Andrzej Zaleski aka Zale forgets his paw on the (recorded in real time) percussions of three tracks as well, reveals its impressive stylisticals heterogeneousness in the blink of an eye. Modular synths, which tilt listeners up between phantasmagorical voiding and likeable psychedelic tickle, bump into afro percussions, space-age grandeur, kicking sizzles, synth-driven dub trots, electronic excrescences, minimal fillips, exotica nooks, dreamy synth-lines, sudden rhythicaml ganglions, abstract noodling and lovely alien melodies. The comparison of her six outputs with fingerprints comes from TER's admission of a certain kinship between her previous collaborative experiences and the enthralling syntax she's testing on her solo debut album, which cannot but be relished since the very first listening. Have a test/taste!
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Artist: Nerk/Kirn
Title: Remnant Hugo
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: V-Records (@)
Rated: *****
First collaborative release by a couple of Berlin-based techno-lovers who spill their passion on the stained tablecloth of music zines and on sonic technological devices as one half of Nerk/Krin is German-born Benjamin Weiss aka Nerk, a veteran of dance music scene as well as a founding member of the notorious German mag De:bug, while the other half is Kentucky-based classically trained producer Peter Kirn, founding editor of CreateDigitalMusic. They dropped a couple of good tracks by forging digitally-edited analog sonorities which draw fully from rich sources of underground Berlin after-parties: on "Hugo", they have fun by sand an innervated MS-20-driven drone by means of light distortions, micro-taps, plastic slithering and clanging spurts, while "Remnant" bounces fingersnaps, dry kicks, claps off the sides of a cavern before they let an arpeggio and some crunchy sonorities out of a Juno-106.
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Artist: Mirt (@)
Title: Rite Of Passage
Format: CD
Label: cat|sun (@)
Rated: *****
Despite the fact that Polish sound artist Tomek Mirt outlined some references of his ninth album - for instance, the title "Rite Of Passage" has been taken from one epidose of tv series "Miami Vice" and vocal parts have been sampled from old zombie movies such as the second untitled track which has been recorded from Halperin Brothers' "White Zombie" (1932) starring a great Bela Lugosi as "Murder" Legendre, a white Haitian voodoo master who leads a crew of zombies before performing "The King Of Zombie" on a movie by Jean Yarbrough in 1941, which got sampled on "Rite 4"! -, the insertion of his second track which features some frog calls (already resounding on the above-mentioned sample from "White Zombie"), "Music of the Frogs", which could engender exstacy to neuroethologists and students of animal world together with the first version on Mirt's recent album "Handmade Man", the otherwordly atmosphere of the other numbered "Rites", the hallucinogenic sonorities that Mirt extracted from his modular synth in one take and without any further mixing or overdubbing and a certain grotesque halo which got emitted by cover artwork indeed managed to ring a bell: I may get wrong, but I invite you to check "The Frogs" by Aristophanes telling the story of the journey to Hades (Ancient Greek undeworld) by god Dyonisus in order to revive the playwright Euripides and make up for the unsatysfying state of Athens' tragedians. Beyond the synapse with the notorious chorus of frogs (Brekekekex-koax-koax!), this connection got fed by entrancing ambient dilutions, fermented noises, gelatinous dub-like movements as well as some sonic tricks that Mirt could have learnt from the amazing soundtracks of the quoted zombie movies, which could let listeners think about "Rite Of Passage" as a set of possible transmissions from the afterlife rather than a stylistical passage by Mirt.
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