Music Reviews



Feb 11 2014
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Artist: Grand Mal X
Title: Life
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten (@)
Rated: *****
I have very few informations about Grand Mal X. I only know that two guys called Karl Rydby and Mattias Ivarsson are involved but I don't know if there's a manifesto of intentions or if they have previously played in other bands. The thing I know for sure is that they released a tape titled "Stealth Minds" on Black Horizons at the end of 2013 and that now I have in my hands their new tape "Life" which has been released by the Swedish tape label Belaten. The only thing that the presentation points out about the release is that if while you're listening to its six tracks you have the feeling that their aim is to raise a certain dark feeling and magic(k)al atmosphere dear to bands like Coil, you ain't that far from the truth. The release opens with "Units", a track in balance from ambient and electronica. Something in balance from later Anti Group and Demdike Stare. "Tricks Of A Trade" is more based on analog drum rhythms and sounds and this is definitely recalling me the Coil of the early period. "Late Night Call" and "The Crossing " are a little more static as they play around one arpeggio but they have nice sounds/vocals variations inserts. "Four Chambers" is the most cinematic of the lot and creates a nice tense ambience. "A Sudden Portal" closes the release playing around a nice melody and exotica rhythms adding cool synth analog sounds. You can check the whole release here http://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/life-ep
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Artist: Felix Kubin mit Mitch & Mitch (@)
Title: Bakterien & Batterien
Format: CD
Label: Lado ABC/Gagarin Records (@)
Rated: *****
One of the most cinematic chameleon of German electronic scene Felix Kubin came back with this impressive avant-pop collaborative experiment, which got defrosted from recording studios in Warsaw and Hamburg, together with Polish big band Mitch'n'Mitch and German legendary producer Tobias "Cpt.Kirk" Levin - producer of Kreidler, Edge, Tocotronic to name a few - on electric command modules. This combo disemboweled sound libraries in order to amass very funny clots of electric synth-pop, perfectly timing brass flakes, carefully selected exotic and traditional instruments and electronic easy-listening secretions which dredged many different sonic depths, whose bananas shimmering shake could vaguely remind those kind of creative flair that Kubin's fellow countryman Uwe Schmidt or some Japanese contemporary musicians like Haruomi Hosono, Sketch Show or Nobukatsu Takemura squeezed out on some of their records. The self-confessed list of sources of inspiration is even wider and definitively more bizarre than the ones you can imagine and includes bastions of sonic and "conventional" science as well as equipment for sonic and scientific research and notorious "scientists" such as Philips Research Labs, BBC radiophonic workshop, Musique Concrete, EKG machines, X-Rays, Raymond Scott, Czech and Polish film music, Hoerspiel, Sequencer Music, Underwater Dishes, Earthquakes, Explosions, Electric Chairs, Medical Disasters, Jerzy Wo_niak, Stockhausen and even Pluto Solidarnosc! All of them could be imagined as gregarious stage whispers of this redolent pastiche, which is going to let listener's imagination gurgle.
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Artist: Audio Injection (@)
Title: No Key
Format: 12"
Label: Droid Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
David Flores, one of the men who succeeded in putting Los Angeles at the highest ranks of techno planetary scene by means of a plenty of good releases and parties within the organization Droid Behavior, which got startep up by Drumcell (stage name of Mohammed Espinosa) and Acid Circus, keeps on exploring the somehow atavistic and roughest techno language he already spelled on a dozen or so releases as Truncate, but he decides to uptake his mostly known alias Audio Injection in order to sign a couple of wildfires on this No Key ep. The title-track on B side ensnares listener by automated percussion, crumbled metallic hits, clobbered claps and menacing sequences of accelerations and slowdowns, while the more obsessive "Deep Thought" on A side with his bleeping hooks that could remind some stuff by Speedy J or Surgeon, its sudden clatters and its muffled melody is the half of this acrid fruit that I prefer by far.
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Artist: Patrick Bateman (@)
Title: Club Queen
Format: 12"
Label: Tic Tac Toe (@)
Rated: *****
After a couple of years with no releases on his own label, Tic Tac Toe boss, the Danish producer and DJ Kenneth Broxgaard, who grabbed the name of the notorious fictional anti-hero of Breat Easton Ellis' novel "American Psycho" to sign his own outputs, glides along fluffy deep-techno sonorities, appealingly knotted chords, mellow rhythmical patterns and dulcet nuances overall on "Club Queen". Patrick Bateman's single includes a couple of nice remixes as well: the first one got signed by A'dam's rising star Frank Haag, who puts on a sort of noir show by means of urban found sounds, dull atmospheres and icy filtering of vocal musings by French photographer and singer Julie Montal, while the second one passed through the wind tunnel by American producer Billy Johnston, whose releases for a plenty of labels like Blu Fin, Black nation and Sleaze got supported by techno veterans such as Dj Hell and Richie Hawtin, and Gennaro Mastrantonio aka Undeep, where the somehow steretypical sonorities of the genre have been balanced by a wise use of effects.
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Artist: Coen Oscar Polack & Herman Wilken
Title: Fathomless
Format: 12"
Label: Narrominded (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from this artists is inspired by two existent places: the Barents Sea, in the Arctic Ocean, and the Sundarbans, a place in India known for his colored fauna. So I suppose that they aim to evoke the sensations offered by this particular landscapes and I must say that they realize it.
The album has one track on every side: 'Barents Sea', the A side, starts quietly with small noises and a glacial drone slowly portraits a glacial landscape and, decaying, is substituted by the juxtaposition of a bright drone and some sparse crackles until a new and louder glacial drone erases all and the tune ends gently.
'Sundarbans', the B side, starts with a sort of field recordings of leafs moved by the wind and a bright drone slowly changing until birds's recording introduces the listener into an oasis of colors and peace that lasts until a buzz starts a quieter part that lasts until a bright drone starts and, with a quieter interlude, drives the listener to the end of the track slowly changing.
This two long tracks are an uneasy listening but charming as they reveal a form conceived for the portrait of landscape in an evocative way. Recommended.
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