Music Reviews



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Artist: Severed Heads
Title: Since The Accident
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records (@)
Rated: *****
Slightly delayed due to pressing plant issues as for the other two Medical Records I'll review soon, "Since The Accident" is the first of the two reissues that the label is about to release by Severed Heads. Formed in Australia at the very beginning of the 80s from a previous project called Mr. & Mrs. No Smoking Sign, Severed Heads were formed by Richard Fielding (part of the aforementioned project) and Tom Ellard. The line-up changed during the years but Tom Ellard has been always the constant of the band. Their early recordings were characterized by manipulated tape loop experiments which assembled noises, voices and rhythms. After releasing tapes and few vinyls on labels like Terse Tapes, Conventional Tapes and Dogfood Production System, the band released in 1983 "Since The Accident" on UK Ink Records. The album represented a transition for their music as it contains industrial experimentations made of loops and dadaist solutions as well as catchy electronic songs like the famous "Dead Eyes Opened", electronic ones like "Godsong" (a melancholic song which recall me a bit the atmospheres of the early Chris & Cosey stuff) and "Exploring The Secrets Of Treating Deaf Mutes" or a mix of experimental cut ups and electronics ("Epilepsy 82"). The album sounds interesting and adventurous even today and after being out of print for a long time, it is now presented with original repro jacket. Remastered by Tom Ellard form the original source masters, pressed on high-quality 180gram heavyweight black and white vinyl it will be available soon. In the meantime you can check all its tracks on the band's Bandcamp page http://severedheads.bandcamp.com/album/since-the-accident
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Artist: Kevorkian Death Cycle
Title: God Am I (European Version)
Format: CD
Label: Juggernaut (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
17 years after the demise of a glossy German print-magazine entitled Vertigo here comes the return of one of the biggest revelations we could be proudly presented on the pages (issue 03-1996). KDC always fascinated me in my young years and the hunt for tape releases of them far before their signing to RAS DVA with their debut "Collection To Injection" was the stuff which ruled a day. Those days without email, internet, and downloading procedures light-years away have been nevertheless satisfying, especially if a few sounds from oversea have found the way to Germany. Their Metropolis years have been fairly recognized although I generally wasn't too much impressed with their smoother, more mass-compatible form of Industrial and how it has turned out. Now they are back and have joined their forces with Micah Skaritka to reanimate the US-cult label Negative Gain Productions. This makes sense if you remember the great success of the HxRex project of Roger Jarvis. This album can additionally count on a European-based partner with a license agreement to the uprising British label Juggernaut Records. Especially for this European Edition, 'God Am I' comes out with new artwork plus 2 additional remixes on one of the main tracks, 'Mind Decay'. Musically this new album brings back the portion of bruises and edges in their sound-outfit which may has been missed especially on their Metropolis-releases. 'God Am I' is the purest reincarnation of the Coldwave-sound related with those veteran idols like 16 Volt, Hate Dept., Acumen Nation, SMP, Society Burning, but also influenced with those more Electro-based projects like Xorcist, Contagion, or Non-Aggression Pact.
After the instrumental intro 'Star Chaser' the action starts with the already mentioned 'Mind Decay', a typical KDC-smashing-tune with grinding guitar riffs, roaring synthesizer bass-lines and straight-forwarding kick-and-snare works. 'Children Of Chaos' is more electronically-based and features more of those typical Euro-Dance-like elements. Their preference to cover some classic 80s top-hits is unbroken; this time it's on 'It's a Sin', originally a world-wide Chart-breaker by the Pet Shop Boys. This one should save them ongoing club-play with a musically realization in expected courses: pounding guitar-riffs are leading the scenario over the electronically foundation. 'Destroyer Of Worlds' then continues rather more in the style of 'Children Of Chaos' with pummeling bass-line sequences and it features some vocoder effects on the vocals for the chorus. The title-track and 'Shadow' then share the rather more guitar-driven Coldwave-/Industrial-sound and there's at least nothing I would tend to complain on. No doubt - the heroes are back and better than ever! They keep it varied and rawking, so let's keep the fingers crossed that the gentlemen Gribbin and Jarvis continue in this kind without internal dissonances. Congrats also to Juggernaut for the license deal and good luck - it won't be that easy to score with this Crosser-outfit on the still more Electronica-minded European market. As for the US-market released by Negative Gain: both CD version as well as limited vinyl version are already sold out...
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Artist: Spaceheads (@)
Title: Trip To the Moon EP
Format: 12"
Label: Electric Brass Records (@)
Rated: *****
When I introduced "Sun Radar", the first of a series of three EPs by Spaceheads, the vibrant duo by Andy Diagram and Richard Harrison last year, I cannot imagine that the second ring of this short chain would come one year after the first one, but such a wait got requited by another winning poker of gorgeous tracks. Named after and inspired by the notorious movie by Georges Melies, whose iconic and referenced image is the one of the capsule landing in the Moon's eye, this "Trip To The Moon" begins on the red-hot rails of the frenzied "Cosmic Freight Train" where chipper trumpet loops by Andy and compelling drum breaks by Richard got enhanced by long-lasting friend (since the times of Yargo and Biting Tongues) Paddy Steer, gains altitude on the title-track, whose melodic reprise of the theme of "Aquarela do Brasil" over more relaxed sonorties recalls more the atmosphere of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" than the present controversial soccer event in Brasil. Cinematic donnybrooks and pursuits got intertwined with funky break sonorities on "Dirty Planet", which precedes the final crescendo "Spooky Action (at a distance)", the possible soundtrack for an imaginary space-age-adapted blaxploitation.
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Artist: Re-DrUm / b°tong
Title: Hush! / Ascending in the Light of an Alien
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
When I was a teenager a split was one of the most common releases as it acts as a presentation of the bands using one of the best feature of the analog medium: the division in sides. So there was an intermezzo, even with autoreverse, of a bunch of seconds of silence that prepared the listener to the other band. In the digital age this is reduced of a cd package that emulates two distinct release: one from russian RE-DRUM and one from swiss B°TONG.
Hush! is the side from ReDrUm and starts with the gentle guitar notes of 'Mute' suddenly colored by the digital filters and resonances creating the noisy soundscape. 'Death Of The Flame' is, instead, an almost classic dark ambient track. 'Sehr Sehr Weit' starts with a bright drone and slowly evolves in quiet track based on small noises until a gentle drone closes this side with found sounds from perhaps a soap. Without any gap there's the sounds of the second side. 'Ascending in the Light of an Alien Sun' from b°tong, that, with 'Vision Of Ineluctable Destiny', almost immediately shows their sound using heavily reverberated voices upon a dark soundscape and this track alternate static parts with noisier one so resulting in an interesting listen. 'The Hierophant Prepares The Candidate' is, instead, besed on a sort of heavily processed field recordings. The evocative soundscape of 'Into The Schwarzchild Radius' closes this release with a sequence of drones and resonance that act as a mirror of the ones used by Re-DrUm.
The most curious tract that I've found in this release is, even if the musical difference of the two projects, this release sounds as a cohesive, and almost complete, album so it's seems as a question about the nature of split album in this age as it seems closer to the releases branded as '2 lp on 1 cd' than a proper split album. So, even if this bands constructed a good release that would owes a critical acclaim, this release is important as it states as a symbol of this time. Something to think about.
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Artist: Ego Scene ft.Dj Lighta
Title: Hold On/Aiden's Tune
Format: 12"
Label: Horrific (@)
Rated: *****
After the banging blast-off by the signature of Notthingham-based bigwigs of dnb scene like Julian "Dramatic" Flowers and James "Dbaudio" Maltby, Dj Jess, the go-getter behind the newborn vinyl-only dnb label that has been established in Bethnal Green, London, mde up his mind in order to keep on flying high by putting the second Horrific knock in the hands of another bicephalous signature, the one from Mancunian Dj Lighta and Ego Scene. These guys from the vibrant Machester, which is gradually becoming the real lighthouse of dance music in UK, radiate a pleasing liquid tune, "Hold On", by blending warming tones, a booming bassline, an hypnotic female vocal sample and housey shimmering clot of piano and synth, but the real surprise is lying on the flipside, where they easily bring old school jungle as well as some T(ips)'N'T(ricks) from 90ies rave-breakcore scene such as splashing hi-hats, cartoon-like chipmunk voices and other funny mnemonics over a spotless Amen break on the nice "Aiden's Tune".
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