Music Reviews



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Artist: Olekranon
Title: Helminth
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inam Records (@)
Rated: *****
Olekranon is the work of one Ryan Huber, who also seems to be the person behind Inam Records. There was little documentation with this disc and nothing by way of liner notes; the press packet described this as 'drone with beats,' and there is, indeed, noisy drone and there are beats, but this is not peaceful drone, nor is it the drum and noise that you would expect from Ant-Zen or Hands. This is a bit more disjointed and fluid. Olekranon also makes good use of ambiance throughout to keep it from getting too predictable. Overall this is a pretty good blend of noisy atmosphere and beats. This album is limited to 45 hand numbered copies and weighs in at around 19 minutes.
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Artist: no:carrier (@)
Title: Last Scene
Format: CD EP
Label: Electric Heresy (@)
The website describes no:carrier's music as 'Transatlantic Electro Pop' because it consists of songwriter/producer Christian Wirsig in San Francisco and singer Cynthia Wechselberger in Germany. The press sheet describes it thus: 'The background stays dubious and no one knows exactly what the protagonists have lived through. 'Last Scene' commemorates past things that may better not have happened, but might have led to success.' Intriguing premise, but this is a limited edition maxi-single, which is always a bit of a risk. First off, the song has to be something you would want to listen to over and over again. Second, the artist really needs to tweak it enough to make it warrant 5 different versions. This didn't quite fit the bill for me in the second regard. The original is kind of a jazzy straightforward pop song, with lyrics like 'The last scene of a play that we shouldn't have staged.' Only the last two versions really pushed the envelope here - the EBT Remix by taking the original and making it more of a techno-rave track and 'Last Seen' by stripping a lot of the vocals out and using it more as gesture than as lyrics. The first three were just too similar for my tastes. The song does tell a story and within the context of the larger album it may fit quite well, but I'm not sure it warrants its own maxi single. I would say that this is mainly for fans who are completists. This album is limited to 99 copies and weighs in at around 18 minutes.
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Artist: ][|][
Title: [__]
Format: CD
Label: Steelkraft Manufactory (@)
Rated: *****
File ][|][ alongside 'The Artist Formerly Known as Prince' for having unpronounceable names. This is the second album I have reviewed from this act, having previously reviewed 'Iter,' also on Steelkraft Manufactory. I was not too into the previous album, but this is definitely a step up from Iter. This album (again with the unpronounceable title) uses organ improvisations inspired by the Greek myth of the Labyrinth. These works were then heavily processed to create interesting washes of heavy drone. Where I found Iter to be too static and minimal, this album is engaging and continually evolving. The sound is dark, suffocating, and oppressive at times before shifting to quiet, peaceful moments, only to do it all over again. If you like atmospheric drone this is one to check out. This album weighs in at around 56 minutes.
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Artist: Contagious Orgasm & Babylone Chaos (@)
Title: Altered Beats
Format: CD
Label: Steelkraft Manufactory (@)
Rated: *****
It seems that Contagious Orgasm has mellowed out a bit. The last album I reviewed from this artist was with Kadaver and was still noisy, but leaning toward the atmospheric side. I had also previously reviewed the collaboration between Babylone Chaos, Lambwool, and Le Diktat, which also leaned toward atmosphere and beats. As such, I was interested to see what these two would do, since they were both enjoyable for different reasons. On this album there are lots of interesting samples that seem to function less as commentary and more as disembodied bits of atmosphere. One exception of this is 'Judgement,' which seems to have a sample of a preacher talking about preparing for the judgment, but it is speeded up to give it a 'chipmunks' like feel, making it sound a bit comical. 'Psychodelic Worms' had a noisy feel to it, but it wasn't the harsh noise I associate with Contagious Orgasm. Others, such as 'Tension,' were much more interested in building atmosphere, with a dialogue that was difficult to make out, but definitely on the playful side with subdued laughter between a male and female protagonist. Indeed, there is little about this album which is scary or ominous. You could easily give this to someone who was looking into experimental music to give them just a hint of noise and dissonance without overwhelming them. But this is not just experimental music with training wheels ' I found it to be quite enjoyable and a good synergy between these two artists. Recommended. This album weighs in at around 45 minutes.
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Artist: Automageddon
Title: Crunch/Grind Mechanism
Format: CD EP
Label: Chimera Central
Rated: *****
I took a look at this and figured I was in for a nice drum and noise excursion, but then I saw the inside liner photo with the artist wearing an MZ412 shirt and realized it may be a bit different. The press sheet that came with the disc describes the album thus: 'The sound of industry, processing the organic masses into a fine paste. Smog-like basslines choking the air as sharp drums cut into the bone, leaving only the sensation of high frequency noise washes that tinglesthe nerves. Automageddon's Crunch/Grind Mechanism breathes life into the machine of Dubstep and Industrial music. With automated precision, each piece of music is crafted to shake your body and refine your expectations of what good music should sound like.' I'm not sure if I would go so far as to say that it will shake your body. Brooding is probably the best word that comes to mind when listening to this CD. There is a beat here, but it is a slow, plodding beat. You certainly won't dance to it (although if you did you would look like you were dancing underwater). The music is gritty and dark with a nice post-apocalypse feel to it, like the soundtrack to an ominous war video game. Not too bad. This album weighs in at around 19 minutes.
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