Music Reviews



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Artist: Xtrah (@)
Title: Lost Time EP
Format: 12"
Label: Symmetry Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
A plenty of forthcoming great dnb releases which are going to break winter's ice have been announced and this gorgeous 15th drop with the signature of a proper lord of the scene, Yasin Elgohary aka Xtrah, in Symmetry catalogue is almost ready-made. To be honest, its collaboration with Break and DRS, the electro-hopped tribastic hit "Always New" with its worming synth lines has shaked many frontlines in summertime yet. The full release - I'm not sure if it will come on double or single vinyl beside the digital version - includes "Groove Shadow", a great assay of nervously drilling darker dnb, a remix of "Cyrax" (the astonishing track by which Xtrah landed on Symmetry shaking grounds) by Break, who impresses its fast-moving beat rolls upon the cinematic sequence of electric skylarking, misty pad-synths and granular basslines, and the title track, "Lost Time", the massive tune which comes from the collaboration with Codebreaker, where the ideal fight against the passing of time suggested by (rhetorical?) repeated question has made by means of unconventional weapons such as gurgling basslines, puffed hi-hats, precise cuts and clackers - a toy, also known as click clack balls, which many oldies who were teens in late 70ies/early 80ies could remember... -! "Lost Time EP", which is going to be available on 30th September, doesn't definitively mean wasted time...
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Artist: Aesthetic Perfection (@)
Title: The Dark Half
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
The first appetizer of the forthcoming release by Daniel Graves' Aesthetic Perfection sounded so poppy that some fans could have suspected tyey were the first worrying symptoms of some mainstream syndrome, which turns musicians into MTV-homologated beings, a contagion which don't spare subjects who try to contrast the contagion by latex or leather prophylaxis. This second one is much more interesting and the first of two tracks, "The Dark Half", dispels any doubts by all those followers who could have supposed Daniel was getting sucked into an ego trip, as this song, which features hard-hitting E(mo)B(ody)M(usic) and electro splinters and the amazing vocal style by Daniel (sometimes singing, sometimes screaming, sometimes possessed by siome evil - or good? - spirit), seems to speak about a case of all-or-nothing thinking and the eternal fight between opposite polarities and the funny and somehow disquieting clip for "The Dark Half" highlights it (someone should explain me why bad people always wear in black and furiously drive black fast cars). Even if Aesthetic Perfection reprised many hard-techno hackneyed sonorities, the second track "Dead Ringer" sounds definitively more engaging and damned better rhythmic than "Damn Good Rhythm", the bonus track on the above-mentioned first appetizer "Antibody", whose follow-up comes with a bunch of remixes as well. I particularly enjoyed the ones by Suicide Commando, who probably hacked some intercom on the occasion, AAimon's - it's a shame I still don't know how to write delta on wordpress... -, who emphasized the cinematic and "arcane" side of the song, even if they seem to suggest tosolve any problem with your alter-ego by means of a gunshot, and BITES Remix, which lets me think about a mongrel between Aesthetic Perfection, Tiga and Mr.Oizo.
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Artist: Taho vs Cerebro (@)
Title: Outer Rim EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: L-System (@)
Rated: *****
The second ring of L-System's chain I recently introduced comes from both its co-founders, Trey Smith aka Berebro and Aix-en-Provence dj David Jacopin aka Taho, who strike up the label by a couple of disco-oriented throws on this co-signed tidbit. I'm not sure if Taho is a fan odf Star Wars, but I could suppose so as the title of his track "Mon Bala" - if bala isn't a sort of abbreviation for "balance") - could refer to the molten rocky planet orbiting the star Ryloth in the notorious saga, which could have been reprised by molten rock guitars which sounds like dissolved into a deep techno solution with a remarkable editing on a sort of woodblock. Cerebro's "Mon Duul" is equally engaging and features an amazing sequence on electronic cymbal, scissor-like hi-hats, moody holy pad-synths and those howling synths which could remind those glamouresque reprises of 70ies disco, which are fit for the theme song of some contemporary talent show.
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Artist: Cerebro (@)
Title: Secrets
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: L-System (@)
Rated: *****
I sometimes sneer at the solemn proclamation of some brand new techno label on an overcrowded scene, where everyone could potentially found a mass of them, as I often notice too many similarities and a certain monotony after a couple of releases, and such a gridlock could be a problem for all those producers who want to leave some mark on the scene by means of somehow original releases. Nevertheless there are many newcomers, who manage to grab my attention and L-System is one of them. Named after the parallel writing system developed by Aristid Lindenmayer, the first input on the catalogue comes from blogger and music lover Tray Smith, one of its co-founder, who coined a new moniker, Cerebro, to lay L-System's foundations. Both "Secrets" and "Factory" could resemble that branch of techno which begins to develop when some trance sonorities were merging into ambient in the second half of the 90ies, so that some stuff by renowned acts like Paranonia, The Sabres Of Paradise, Kenny Larkin or Brain Pilot could come to mind to the ones who still remember them, but Tray implemented some sonorities from contemporary tech-house and suceeds in evoking what title seems to refer. A couple of guest of honor greeted the birth of L-System by remixing Cerebro's tracks: whereas Marco Bailey speeds "Secrets" up by a devastating and hyperventilated rampage of strangled snares, mesmerizing woodblocks, chasing beats and drilling electronic sounds, Karim Sahraoui aka Djinxx paves the way for a mental ride by adding croaking robot frogs, tubular electronic arpeggios and a certain aftertaste of cosmic disco on his relaxing remix of "Factory". This preamble sounds more than just good.
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Artist: Empire State Human
Title: Soul Of The Machine
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: House Of Analogue
Rated: *****
Lately Aidan Casserly is really active and he's always forming new musical projects but despite this Empire State Human, his main band, is alive and kicking and "Soul Of The Machine" is their newest album. Containing ten new tracks, the album alternates romantic ballads, dark mid tempos and dancey instrumentals (like "Spacelab One" and "Chameleons"). As usual Aidan's voice is the the characteristic element of E.S.H. music (to me, he sounds like a mix of Marc Almond and Billy MacKenzie) but also the synths arrangements and the melodies composed with Lar Kiernan have the right weight on the formula that is making of "Soul of the machine"a nice album which grows with each listening. On this one I miss a little the melody catchiness of some of their old songs like "Film Star", "Leap Of Faith" or "Chase The Ace" as well as a sort of dance influence anyway the tracklist of "Soul of the machine" is well balanced and works pretty well. Not their album I prefer the most but E.S.H. are always a band worth following and they are already working on new songs...
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