Music Reviews



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Artist: Clouds
Title: I Care Because You Don't
Format: 12"
Label: Turbo Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
This 12" comes as an appetizer of the forthcoming compilation of hardcore Scottish hooligan techno, which has been selected by Calum Macleod and Liam Robertson, the incendiary djs better known as Clouds who gained deserved exposure after their excellent debut album on "Ghost Systems Rave" for Tiga's Turbo Recordings as well as a number of 12"s for many different labels such as the appreciated Scottish imprint Soma Quality and NY-based Divvorce and Hound Scales' Fifth Wall. They keep on digging contemporary Scottish rave scene, which is developing an interesting sound - a sort of a crossbreed between Dutch house, Melbourne electro and industrial techno breaks by Jack Dangers - by tuning many old-fashioned sounds of 90ies UK rave techno up by means of more honed breaks and chamfered sonorities. Besides their sonic drop "Blood Skating", whose introduction could surmise those catchy alien choirs that featured the first records by Aphex Twin, you'll find Jane's "*** You Alliance", where an acid-techno typical scheme seems to have been reduced to a mush, Dance Company's "Berzerkerz", whose diabolic voice and rumbling basslines seem to prepare listener to some martial metamorphosis, and "Roll Up Your Sleeves, Welcome to the Dance" by Dj Hesburger, the track which should open the forthcoming (in October according to sleevenotes) compilation, whose clashed hi-hats could surmise similar treatments of those percussive elements on Aphex Twin's "Classics" again. That's something definitively worth checking out!
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Artist: iNsCissorS
Title: The Circus of Ichneumons
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from this band is a concept album about 'the life cycle of Ichneumons' described, according to the linear notes, as a way to 'satirize the pestilence of man over nature and its similarities with the parasitic insect'. The most remarkable quality of this release lies in his compactness in the musical development that makes this album sounds as a long unique track.
The piano line of 'Prelude ('¦To Incubation)' introduces the lister as in a classic silent movie while the album is developed, as a theatre play, in five act and three interludes. While the tracks more distant to the others like 'Î¥ÎΡÎΣ (Hubris)', in italian, catch the first attentions, the musical lines that forms the album, that is almost instrumental, divided in almost gothic one as the synthesized string, often in pizzicato, and more ambient oriented ones based on quiet drones forms an almost narrative form that reminds the OST of a fantasy movie. The quality of the musical writing is constant until the initial piano notes returns varied upon a sad string line to end this release with ''¦ ?'.
In times where the music consumption is based upon the model of download, click and delete of a single song a concept album of about 70 minutes without any yielding upon a pop tune or the search of a single reminds of greater times. An essential release.
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Artist: Annulled User
Title: AnnulledUser02
Format: 12"
Label: self-released
Distributor: Re.Birth
Rated: *****
As you can easily gather from its title, AU02 is just the second of a hat-trick of (available only on vynil) releases by Annulled User, a screen name, which masks the real identity of these artists - I think they are more than one as the sonorities of this second ring are slightly different from the ones of the first drop "Ending" - arises from a sad but true realization: "The end user has now become obsolete. We are just an entity that sell goods. We are not the target but on the contrary a mean to make profit". Well, such an idea is not new at all, as I remember that some free thinkers made provocative but somehow enlightened proposal of paying people just to use ordinary things such as clothes, cars, shoes, mobile phones and so on on the assumption that homogenisation turned people into living placards, but it's quite logical the style they've chosen to set contemporary decadence to music: all the tracks of this release, whose meaningful titles ("Society Failure", "Economy Failure" and "World Collapse") sticks to such a conceptual framework or concrete nightmare, features swirling obsessive techno grooves, a stressed sonic chafing and viscuous bleeps, which sounds like a bittersweet and soemwhat hebephrenic invitation to dance over the ashes of mankind, where many people cannot do more than getting overwhelmed by streams of dazing solicitation which could let lose their marbles in spite of the global decay is running fast.
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Artist: Metalycée (@)
Title: Expat Blues
Format: 12"
Label: Interstellar Records (@)
Rated: *****
The sinister and fascinating sound of Telharmonium, the electromechanical organ developed by Thaddeus Cahill more than a century ago, immediately sets the mood on the opening track of "Expat Blues", the third album by Austrian project Metalycee. which inserted one of the forefathers of synthetic instruments in their line-up and I have to highlight that such a choice doesn't misfit their style at all. It rather emphasizes the catching tone of their songs to such an extent that it could surmise the forgotten tradition of radiophonic tales. Besides putting the evocative voice of Melita Jurisic in the limelight, Metalycee's tales don't weave plots about adventurous love affairs, schmaltzy proto-soap radio operas or martian attacks, but sounds like portraying sweltering urban settings, ghoulish borderline entities, suffocating diving into miry ponds of conformed society, strategies of escapism and self-liberation and other psychodramas which reaches the best moments on tracks like the oppressive "Ballad of the Half Orphan", the tormented compulsiveness of "Torturer", the shaking jeremiad of "Everything" and the tricky mirage of emancipation that gushes from the final "The Right Track". The eminent forefather of synths squirms into clots of hard-hitting abrasive rock, gunky electronics, nettlesome trip-hop hooks and clattering grooves which could surmise some stuff by Metalycee's fellow countrymen Sofa Surfers, whose make is so good that some listeners could hope they won't wait five years before coming back on the scene, even if everybody knows that good dough requires long leavening times...
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Artist: Empire State Human
Title: The Dark
Format: Tape
Label: Werkstatt Recordings
Rated: *****
"The Dark" is the newest Empire State Human album and it's their second one in 2014. Coming after "Futura", "The Dark", is a total different affair compared to its predecessor and not only because the first one was an instrumental one. As the title states, the latter sounds darker for the atmospheres and the melodies, both. I like a lot this new version of ESH's sound as it enhances the contrast between Aidan high pitch vocals and the synth lines. Synth melodies now are more direct, always with a rich arrangement, but direct and they paint a sort of menacing atmosphere overall the whole album tracklist. Released by Werkstatt Recordings, label based in Rhodes/Greece founded in 2009 with bands such as Protector 101, Arc Neon, Jowie Schulner, Beatbox Machinery, Kubinski and Droid Sector Decay on their roster, the album has two guests: Attrition's Martin Bowes on "The digital world" (which thanks to his deep vocals, sounds like a sort of synth ambient version of Clock DVA with orchestrations and melancholic melodies) and Tracey Bishop for the 'Drifting' and 'Funhouse' lyrics. We have tunes like "Monochrome" which are kinda mid tempo dance ones as well as "Black Knight Rising" is. "Come Lie With Me" and "Cut Glass", instead, are have a sort of in your face attitude effect. The album has just been released on Bandcamp and Juno by Werkstatt Recordings, which will also include a limited CD-r release run. ESH will handle the digital release. You have to check it and you can do it here http://synthesizer.bandcamp.com/album/167-empire-state-human-the-dark
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