Music Reviews



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Artist: Building Instrument (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Hubro (@)
Rated: *****
When Building Instrument was born in 2008, the former intent of this band was the exploration and enhancement of Norwegian rich tradition of folk music by means of just electronic devices. After six years of dwelling on their sound Accordingly to the commitments of each member of the band - Ãsmund Weltzien (synthesizer, electronics and melodica), Oyvind Hegg-Lunde (drums and percussion) and the award-winning singer and musician Mari Kvien Brunvoll (vocals, zither, percussion, kazoo), a rising star of the scene after her first solo-album, which got produced by Bugge Wesseltoft, who described her as "a exceptional talent", was nominated for a Spellemannspris in the open category, and an inspired remix by Ricardo Villalobos of her song "Everything You Go" grabbed the eardrums of a wider audience -, it seems that they back-tracked their initial project as a distinguishing element of the charm of traditional music lies in the acoustic instruments, but such a realization has not been a limit to their flair. Besides some interesting "exotic" elements such as Mari's singing of Molde dialect, one of the oddest in Norway together with the dialects of Bergen area, in some tracks, and the recognisable presence of harpeleik, the refreshing element of Norwegian folk tradition lies in the lively and dreamy way they improvise that is clear since the succession of peppy hops and daydreaming intervals on the opening "Historia" and their possible organic sequel "Alt e Bra", where Mari's wildly delicate voice stands out against tintinnabulations and breezy sounds, as well as some amazing stylistical crossbreeding. After the winking at French chansons on the beautiful song "Kanskje", the crackling prettiness of "Bli Med" and the pop parenthesis of 'Klokka Sju', the lo-fi blissful medley of "Mellomtida" prepares the ground for the final "Sprak", where Building Instrument reaches the stylistical acme by means of a nice mixture of dada naivety, joyful rhythmical pattern (not so different from the ones that became fashioned with the recent backfiring of Ethipian jazz and West African sonorities) and rock amalgamation.
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Artist: Elisabeth Harnik & Udo Schindler (@)
Title: Empty Pigeonhole
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Schindler's list of appreciated musicians from international improv scene gets longer and longer. I'm not referring to Oskar Schindler, the notorious German businessman who saved a lot of Polish-Jewish peolple, whose biography became the plot for a likewise notorious Spielberg's movie, but to Udo Schindler, a sort of contemporary patron who hosts concerts in his own house in Krailling, a small town just outside Munich, together with talented musicians and composers of mainly free-jazz and improvisational scene every now and then that he titled Salon fur Klang + Kunst. "Empty Pigeonhole" is the first of a planned series of releases, where he recorded a live performance where he demonstrates his ability and versatility with different wind instruments (soprano saxophone, bass and contrabass clarinet, cornet) together with brilliant Austrian pianist and composer Elisabeth Harnik on a Pleyel piano. The most remarkable aspect of the two long sessions is the reciprocal understanding of the two musicians, but whereas Harnik's piano haul Udo's winds in the first piece by means of wonderful harmonic mutation where a Chopin-like melody could suddenly turn into a tangle of seemingly dissonant chords and winds splendidly echo and comply with whims on Pleyet with the nervous musical squabble between piano and cornet in the final minutes, the second track opens with flickering sonic objects and piano stings and proceeds over a sort of battle between clarinet and piano in order to lead the session, where the initial supremacy of clarinet got overwhelmed by crazy phrasing from Elizabeth's Pleyel which manages to downgrade clarinet to a dead beat breathe.
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Artist: Afflicted By Design (@)
Title: #nameless
Format: CD EP
Label: AGCruxansata Music
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
This is a first CD-EP release of the Austin-based newcomer project Afflicted By Design. ABD has been established in 2012 by the mastermind behind, S.A. Sebastian Gnolfo, from whom you can also find some reviews on our site. Under ABD he likes to introduce us into his musically world filled with a genre-bending mix of Industrial-Metal, Gothic and Electronica elements. This EP features 3 original compositions with 'Jesus Christ Machine', 'South Side of Sickness', and 'Dreaming Mona'. Additionally you'll get a bonus remix of 'Jesus Christ Machine' plus an instrumental-take of 'Dreaming Mona'. 'Jesus Christ Machine' in its original version is a mid-tempo driven, powerful Industrial-track, which scores with its energetic screamo-vocals in the chorus and the attacking guitar-loops widely spread into the mix. 'South Side of Sickness' pushes a bit faster the tempo-screw and the chorus offers a good 'bawling-along-the-line' factor. 'Dreaming Mona' offers a totally different scenario: It's a slowed-down, ballad-like tune filled with beautiful piano-/string-sound arrangements and an overall catch sound-outfit. This is the tune where Sebastian's Goth-inspired side shines through at best. Coming to the bonus content and here needs the S.A. Sebastian Thump Remix of 'Jesus Christ Machine' to be mentioned. This remix differs a lot to the very acoustic sounding original and reminds with filthy, rough Techno-Industrial arrangements on the best moments of classic Coldwave-projects like Mindless Faith, Hate Dept., or Chem Lab. The remix abilities of Sebastian are not to underestimate! This EP offers an impressive amount of diversity and satisfies with all tracks. I hope for an upcoming full-length album.
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Artist: Neuro-Sentence (@)
Title: The Shores of Anhedonia
Format: CD
Label: Xperiment XIII (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
From a music distributor to a label: Australian-based agency Xperiment XIII has decided to concentrate from now on completely as a Electronica-based label and presents us with the US-duo Neuro-Sentence one of their first releases. Neuro-Sentence has been established in 2009 in Colorado Springs and both members, Count W and Elipsis, can look back on a first EP entitled 'Victims & Virtues'. Their track 'Dominion' has already gained some local-based recognition, since some DJ's started to spin this track. 'Dominion' also opens this new full-length-album and it is arranged in kind of your usual Harsh EBM track with raw beats, Techno-fanfare-like synthesizer-leads and highest dancefloor-compatibility. The music generally presented on this album rather stands for the state-of-art of the notorious Hellectro-camp, but luckily both band-members have some more elements in their holster which they manage to throw in. First worth to mention is their kind of vocal processing, which rather sounds like taken out of a Goth-/Dark Wave-related production. It reminds a bit on Andrew Szava-Kovats (Data Bank A) on LSD, if it needs comparisons. There's also available a kind of a Black-Metal-vibe pretty nice installed through some pounding guitar-riffs. The guitars do not sound as if they've been taken out of overused sample-quells ('Inferno (For A Heart)', 'Kali'). Their best ability is without doubt their morbid and haunting sound-environment and their dark and sinister mood. They often install depressive piano sounds to lead the tracks. Also their cold and mechanic synth-pads skillfully integrated in such brilliant tunes like 'Anhedonia' nails the listener. Just when they tend to leave their raw and repetitive Harsh-EBM course for a while, they offer their musically strongest moments. There's multi-facetted talent behind Neuro-Sentence. If they can decide to work out better the overused Harsh-EBM sound ingredients to reach a more original sound-design, they might be able to be one of the upcoming global-players in the scene. So let's keep the fingers crossed for them.
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Artist: [Electric Resistance] (@)
Title: Brave New Day
Format: CD EP
Label: Insane Records (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
New Russian Electro-/Industrial label Insane Records has been seemingly founded out of the ruins of the Artificial Sun-label. But differently to Artificial Sun focusing mostly on Industrial- / Metal-Crossover music, this new label is rather more dedicated to the Electronica side of life. [Electric Resistance] has been already active under Artificial Sun and this Moscow-based project can look back on a first EP-release. To start off with Insane Records, label and band have decided to give this new 6-track-EP away to a "pay-what-you-want-procedure' as a download via Bandcamp, but there is also available a 9-track physical CD-version which offers 3 additional remix contributions by such prominent Russian scene-marauders like Cutoff:Sky, the Kaliningrad-based Industrial-Chaostronica-brothers of Type V Blood, and Deviant Haze. The music of [Electric Resistance] is a raw and straight driving form of Electro/EBM/Industrial music, at times supported by some raging guitar riffs. Although all song-titles are in English, the lyrics are nearly completely provided in Russian language by the mastermind behind, Alexander Dmitriev. For the most part in the music of [Electric Resistance], Alexander avoids it to fall into the repetitive Harsh EBM/Hellectro rush; he can be rather sorted to be a classic-inspired Electronica musician, who has rather taken his lessons out of EBM and Rock/Metal-music styles. To point out the best track out of the 6 original tunes is a bit difficult, because they all have preferences. The energetic screamo-vocals of 'Remember' and 'City' are worth a mention for instance, while 'Electric Trash' could be pointed out as being the most accessible track and it doesn't wonder, that Cutoff:Sky and Type V Blood have taken this one to produce their remixes on it. I see this second release of this project as the much better conceived one compared to the debut, it mainly introduces much better the sound outfit of this up- and coming Moscow-based project. Good and well produced EBM stuff so let's keep the finger crossed that this project continues to produce a full-length album.
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