Music Reviews



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Artist: Voyager
Title: FAQ/LuvBLoved/Big Picture
Format: 12"
Label: Tempo
Rated: *****
The hearts of many lovers of that embryonic and extremely charming stage of drum'n'bass that LTJ Bukem an his own Good Looking Records epitomized are going to be touched to hear that Pete "Voyager" Parsons, the prolific producer of a number of finest drum'n'bass tunes in the early 90ies such as "Hypersleep" from his fine album "Future Retro" for Belgian label R&S, one of the most played track by Ltj Bukem himself, "Burning Love" together with Dj Rap and the beautiful "Desire" who featured Christina Murphy on mix, has finally come back after Tempo Records picked three of Pete's last workouts, which got mainly inspired by the early death of his father in 2013. Such a sad occurrence in Pete's life emphasizes the emotional intensity which normally marks Voyager's stuff. According to his own words, the opening track "F.A.Q" got inspired by a documentary about the origin of DNA, which normally raises questions which have been reprised by repeated vocal samples - "Who we are", "where do we come from", "Why do we exist" -; the stunning "LuvBLoved" has a particular emotional bond with the above-mentioned experience as it was the first track he composed after his homecoming, which followed months with his dying dad, whose title has been broght from an old Frank Sinatra song which his dad quoted at the end of something he wrote to him when in life ("One of the most important things in life/is to love and to be loved"); the final "Big Picture" is a wonderful melancholic hymn, which closes a release whose underlying sob story will pleasantly tickle the aural memory of many dnb followers.
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Artist: Heterotic
Title: Rain EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
You could surmise that this lovely tidbit from the hermaphrodite and somehow aphrodisiac Heterotic, the project Heterotic by Mike Paradinas and his partner-in-life and partner-in-art Lara Rix-Martin, is a way to rekindle the romance, which got wisely instilled by their beautiful album "Love and Devotion". Mauybe it's so or maybe not. Even if the single "Rain" lets listener wander more or less on the same kind of romance by means of fluffy retro-synths, well-cushioned brightness and daydreaming vocals by French vocalist Matthieu Le Berre aka Vezelay, this release precedes the already announced forthcoming album from this whimsical couple, so that the floating housey synth-pop of "Problemo" - that kind of track that could be voluptuousness danced together with your partner where any red-hot movement is just a sort of wingbeat towards heavenly dimensions - and the inspiring combination of more muscolar robotic steps and heady pads on "The Tripods" could be an appetizer of what they are going to deliver, but their love-driven flair is so fertile that Heterotic could even go beyond any predictable expectations, which could ensue from the listening of this mellow EP. An instrumental version of "Rain" has been included as well, so that you could maybe have a shot at singing it to your partner and fixing the spat which could have followed your wrong choice of St.Valentine's gift!
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Artist: wndfrm
Title: c60 / tmkutekt
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
Ian Hawgood recently pop many interesting records that we're going to speak about for the pleasure of lovers of deep listening experiences on his small, but really active Japanese label Home Normal. this one comes from Portland sound artist Tim Wescott, mostly known under the guise of Cloudburst, whose first record as wndfrm - created by means of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts - is a laudable assay of sound processing of a pile of field recordings he mainly grabbed during a visit in the lovely Montreal, Canada, in the early summer of 2011. The first 37-minutes lasting track "c60" could meet requirements of this branch of sound art by itself: the title supposedly refers to the formula of so-called buckminsterfullurene or bucky-balls, the smallest fullurene molecole, whose name is a tribute to American futirist Buckminster Fuller, the architect who made its spherical cage-like carbon-based structure inadvertently popular by its resemblance with the geodesic domes he used to design. One of the most famouse dome by Fuller is the Montreal Biosphere in Parc Jean-Drapeau on Ile Sainte-Helene, which surrounds the Biosphere Museum of the Environment, a laudable educational museum where visitors could learn differnet ecological subjects by entertaining themselves. The first 17 minutes of the above-mentioned tracks are close to the threshold of silence where the mantle of ethereal and airy noises, which could come from fans or engines in slow motion got just puckered some thundering low frequencies, before some childish yakety-yak ushers in a drone-like sequence of different noises. This first whirlpool of "artificial" noises seems to mimic human activity and its delicate and almost mystical balance with surrounding environment, which got even more highlighted on the second track of this release "tmkutekt", whose ethereal consistency as well as some bizarre esoteric details (such as the sudden "extrusion" of words like "escape" or "risky" in the initial cloud of the people talking, which got supposedly grabbed in a train station as the following noises could let you surmise) could be similar to some cerebral experiments from Boards Of Canada, Tear Ceremony or Stars Of The Lid and other possible sonic stripes for the idealistic soundtrack of an hopefully upcoming evolutionary step of human progress.
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Artist: Seba
Title: Mesmerism EP
Format: 12"
Label: Secret Operations (@)
Rated: *****
The clicking sound of a clock and the first offshoots of hypnotist's magnetic fluid begins to hit listener's sensorial sphere and while seconds sound like weighing and weighing like eyelids, serpentine sonorities menacingly swirl while self-control fades out. Likewise the quintessential hypnotist starts a session by asking its interlocutor to look into its eyes, the renowned Swedish dnb producer Sebastian Ahrenberg aka Seba sounds like asking its listener to listen to his tunes, even if the sneaking ill-fated atmosphere of the track might be associated to the mass hypnosis of the planet by some liberticidal institutions, who are subjugatinbf people's thought in a more or less underhand manner. Seba keeps on letting his pendulum oscillate on the following "Physickl" by soaking the synth-driven lightweight opening into pre-mayhem acid pools, while the liquid funk which featured most of his acclaimed recent album "Identity" is more recognisable on "Life Is", which could be ideally considered the break point of the above-mentioned kind of mesmerism by means of an ethereal celebration of life and spiritual freedom. The final "Science Fiction" sounds ike on collision course with early Photek-like "scientific" stuff and ends with a bang an EP, which clearly displays the possible future steps of Seba sound, whose pristine nucleus seems to have not been really contaminated by these interesting deflections.
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Artist: Emotikon (@)
Title: Remixes
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Emotikon is back with an album of remixes of material from their self-titled debut album, with mixed results. If you recall I reviewed that not too long ago, rather positively. For those who missed that, Emotikon is a Dusseldorf, Germany based duo consisting of the Japanese Mine Voss (vocals) and the German Tom Tron (synths, keys, guitar, programming) mostly in the synthpop genre. While many artists prefer to put their remixes in the hands of DJs and capable remixers, Emotikon chose to do it themselves. This may not have been a brilliant idea for a remix album; it's more of a reimagining for the most part. For those who follow my reviews (yeah, the three of you), you know that I generally frown on remixes. They're rarely as good as the original, more geared for the dancefloor, and add a lot of, '¦crap. There are exceptions of course, and sometimes on those rare occasions, supersede the original.

My first impression of Emotikon's 'Remixes' was 'Oh brother, this is not the direction I expected this band to take. This kind of blows.' Subsequent listenings have softened me up a bit, although not a whole lot. Opening with a Bossa Nova Remix of 'The Eye in the Sky' came as a bit of a shock. It kind of sounds like muzak, or maybe a lounge band. Funny, because I like real Bossa Nova music, but this was ersatz at best. The French House Remix of 'You Are' was better, taking some of the coy innocence out of the original but adding more motion and dancability. The Rock Remix of 'Where Are You From' substitutes guitars for synths and falls flat in my estimation, ending rather abruptly. 'Too Old' gets the disco treatment with a 1990 Party Remix. Never was a disco fan. The Chopstick Remix of 'Still Thinking of You' was not much more than okay, with the guitars making it sound rather ordinary. At least some of the synths were still present. 'Big Bad Dragon' is given a Kaiju Dance Remix, but it's hard to beat the original. There's another Bossa Nova Remix on 'True Love' and this is just awful, with frequencies clashing with the vocals. 'When Does My Life Begin?' gets a Robotik Remix sapping all the cuteness out of the original with too much portamento synth, robotic voices and a superfluous guitar break. The Space Remix of 'Money Isn't Everything' soups up the synths but when it comes time for the rap break, it no longer sounds like a spoof. Be that as it may, it might be one of the better remixes on the album. If you're going down the remix road, I guess you gotta have a Dub Remix, and Emotikon reserved that for 'The End of the World'. It's okay, but nothing earthshaking, clip-clopping along.

If you haven't heard Emotikon's debut album, I suggest you get that before investing in this. And if you're thinking of putting out a remix album, put it in the hands of the remixers (the more the merrier). At least that way you can exercise plausible deniability.
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