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Artist: Vomito Negro (@)
Title: Death Sun
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
I think it is unnecessary to introduce this Belgian cult-project a bit more detailed, isn't it? Gin Devo strikes back with his famous EBM/Electro music-project and offers a completely new album signed to Scanner / Dark Dimension label-group in Europe, but thankfully too with a license deal to Metropolis Records. I call this release as being one of the best license deals of the last 6 months! 'Death Sun' picks up the ideas left after their last years' marvellous album 'Fall Of An Empire'. The musical approach of this project is essentially based on the EBM sound outfit so popular in Europe in the mid-80s. If you count Front 242, The Klinik, and/or A Split-Second to be the most prominent names out of the Belgian EBM-heydays, you have to add Vomito Negro in the same row. And also for this new album counts still the same successful formula: no usage of software-based synthesizers, only hardware equipment has been used to record this album. The result comes out as wanted: it's purest, massive produced EBM/Electronica-music with the dark mood so typical and genre-building for Vomito Negro, if you remember your beloved collections with classics like 'The New Drug', 'Human', 'Shock' or 'Dare'. Gin Devo's music impresses with the machinated pressure through hammering sequencer loops and tough kick-and-snare works with the typical raw and Punk-like kind of the EBM heydays. This album kicks of with haunting instrumental tune called 'Time' with sinister sounding synth-pads in a Downtempo-like, Dark Electro-vein. 'Stain' animates for the first time the dark audience to storm the floors in the clubs with its cold and repetitive bass line sequences and the dramatic sounding vocal performance of Gin. 'Fighting The Force' also doesn't take prisoners and impresses with its monotonous song-structure and the tormented vocal performances. 'Obsession' is still danceable, but lesser drastic produced, more subtle with the exception of the pummelling percussion section to the end of the track. 'White Lights' with its slightly distorted rhythm-section proves once again the originality of the musician Gin Devo and actually no one using software plug-ins will be able to copy this in a satisfying manner. Same counts for the noisy soundscapes in 'Nairaland' woven into a Klinik-al rhythm section. Deeply impressed I was also with the closing tune 'Angel Fire', an epic sounding Dark Electro instrumental tune with a repetitive kick and snare-work. Crafty and powerful produced, this album doesn't leave any wishes open if you want to find a well-fitting soundtrack to bring back the tough Belgian EBM heydays. Forget whatever you have heard lately out of the Harsh-EBM camp, because this one here is more intense and most importantly more authentic produced than any of the recent up-to-date stuff. Excellent work!
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Artist: THYX (@)
Title: Super Vision
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Since the Austrian Electro-/Industrial magicians of Mind.In.A.Box are quite bonded thematically to the ongoing story-board of the main protagonist Black and his adventures in the Dreamweb (story written by A. Gruber, www.agruber.com), it may has become a bit boring for the mastermind behind, Stefan Poiss So this MIAB side-project has come to life and has been named after a song written by Poiss about 15 years ago. This song and its name have a deeper meaning for Poiss, because this name stands for a synonym of a specific kind of soundscape he has once discovered. So now he hunts after this soundscape under THYX and tries hard to re-create what he once discovered. 'Super Vision' is already the third album on this hunt in a very short time-line. Of course, Poiss cannot at all wear off all of the sound ingredients which have made MIAB that famous and highly recognized. Also under THYX he produces his well-known formula with a futuristic sound-design, with bombastic synthesizer layers and also the often with MIAB discovered vocoderized vocals. So THYX is more than a valuable copy to MIAB and you can be assured to get another high-quality release out of the Austrian sound-stable. Musically Poiss services a wide playing-field and entertains with genre-bending changes. 'Robots Don't Lie' is a decent sci-fi storyboard with wobbling synthesizer-leads and a straight beat-work. Another great tune to satisfy the dancefloor-junkies in the dark clubs can be discovered with 'Forgotten', while the charming pop harmonies of 'Our Only Home' have to be mentioned too in the highlight-listing of this overall marvellous album. 'Für Immer' combines different vocal performances into a darker than usual sound design. This list of highlights can be continued endlessly while it only proofs that Strfan Poiss still enjoys his being in creating unique soundscapes for the after-world. If you've been impressed with MIAB before you will also love THYX. 'Super Vision' is a top-notch Electronica album and another lecture for all the poor wannabes out there providing keyboard-music with factory preset-sounds.
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Artist: Orange Dust
Title: Always Under Attack
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Vermin Street
Rated: *****
Orange Dust is a breakbeat/dnb project from Australia. The work ( 'Always under attack' released by Vermin Street) is a 6-tracks album plus a remix by Hitori Toke. The album seems, paradoxically, both a little bit wimpy and a little bit contorted. For instance there is a track ('Drive of unloving things') that is full of useless samples effected in a very messy way, and the structure of the song is completely misleading. One may say 'well, this is a feature of the genre'...but it is not the kind of messiness that you may find in, for example, Venetian Snares. I mean that it is difficult to make sense of all stop 'n' go, samples and strange rhythmic part. Another example is 'Wizard eyes' that, although it is a very good track (the melody is amazing and the voice sample is finely tailored), sometimes samples and insertions are overused and they make no sense at all. In 'Dead Broke' there are plenty of scratches and my impression is that they are out of time. But I see where the guy wants to go and actually 'Salvador and the knife' is a fantastic track, in which the messy aspects and more melodic parts are arranged finely. There are then some track a little bit wimpy. This depends on the mix, in the sense that the drum section is not captivating, although the guy has a good command of rhythm. However, drum machine does not impact on the listener as it should in this genre. I'm not a native speaker, so I don't know how to explain this concept as a native speaker would do: I say that it is not powerful. Examples are 'Moth' that, after a short intro with (I suppose) cello, it explodes in the usual dnb manner, but the drum sounds doesn't do its job. It is the same for 'Misunderstood Machine': the drum machine is quite flat and the song is pretty boring. I think there is a lot of potential in Orange Dust, because the guy has a really good command of softwares. However (in my opinion) he has to improve substantially the mix part and (just sometimes) to 'lighten' a little bit songs from samples and insertions.
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Artist: Stefkovic van Interesse (@)
Title: In the Fields
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I was unfamiliar with this artist, who draws heavily on field recordings for his work. The website describes his work thus: 'Rich textures are unfolding, stretching beyond their place of origin, thus creating a new space for them to breathe. The journey might start out in the forest, but listening carefully you will end up somewhere else that bears no resemblance to the sound source.' Sounds promising, so let's get to the music. It started off a bit slow, as 'Sclocean' opens with slow pounding percussion and little else, it then kicks into the heavy dark ambient soundscapes that will define the rest of the album with 'Fields of ZP.' Throughout the album, we have the sensation of watching as tectonic plates crunch together over a sea of primordial soup. Waves of drone wash over everything with just the right touches of noise. At times it gets a bit minimal ('Deep Guiana' and the first half of '(Shocked by) Forest') but overall, this is solid dark ambient work. This album weighs in at around 41 minutes.
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Artist: Clarke Robinson
Title: Suburban Echoes
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
So here's how the album was recorded: 'All tracks were improvised and recorded in a parking garage on portable, battery-operated equipment with no overdubs or additional effects. Care was taken to maintain the dynamic range of the performances as much as possible, and so the album will reward listening at high volume levels.' The titles are evocative, having been appropriated from the likes of Aldous Huxley, Noam Chomsky, Socrates, Bertrand Russell, C.S. Lewis, and others. I am really not sure how to describe this. This is a lot of short blasts of noisy electronics. Most of the tracks are around 3 minutes. But I am reluctant to call it noise, since that has a specific connotation. People who like noise will certainly like this, but it is not limited to adherents of that genre. This is uneasy listening for the experimental set. It is harsh at times, and generally aggressive. There is a lot crammed into this short disc, which keeps everything fresh. Very enjoyable. This album weighs in at around 29 minutes.
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