Music Reviews



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Artist: Nouvelle Phenomene (@)
Title: Caresse
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Other Voices Records
Rated: *****
Coming from Budapest, Hungary, Nouvelle Phenomene is a band formed by Santa Angela, Santa Fanni, Dziba Zsolt and Peter Buza. After self producing a CDr EP the last year, they are preparing their first album for Other Voices and this two track digital single is an appetizer of what is coming. Both the tracks, "Caresse" and "Glory Of Romance", are deeply rooted into the lushy electro wave sound of bands of the likes of Visage thanks to catchy melodies, overall dance attitude, sensual girls vocal performance, synth sounds and 4/4 powerful drum beats. Both the tracks catched my attention immediately and I think that their first album will be a real test for them. For the moment they won and you can check the proof here http://othervoicesrecords.bandcamp.com/album/vox-18-dd-caresse-glory-of-romance
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Artist: Twins Natalia / Poeme Electronique
Title: I Avoid Strangers / I Wouldn't Change Me For Anyone
Format: 12"
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
Twins Natalia are back after their split 7" with Marsheaux with a new split. This time we have a two tracks 12" with Twins Natalia, with "I Avoid Strangers" and Poeme Electronique, with "I Wouldn't Change Me For Anyone". Always formed by Steve Lippert, Marc Schaffer (Anna Logue Records' boss) plus Sharon Abbott, Julie Ruler and Dave Hewson of Poeme Electronique, Twins Natalia are presenting a nine minutes 'special extended night version' of the track which is coming from their forthcoming debut album "The Destiny Room". "I Avoid Strangers" is a powerful retro electro pop upbeat dance floor killer based on bouncing bass lines, catchy lead solos and rich synth arpeggios. Dave's vocals recall a bit Human League and in the middle of the track you can find an intermezzo which could fit an 80s ebm tune. This song is a hit, no doubt about that! On the AA side, Poeme Electronique present their first track after 25 years. "I Wouldn't Change Me For Anyone" is a really good song about empty glamour lives and behind its upbeat rhythms it has a certain dose of darkness and mystery. Girls' voice are passionate and good as in the past and the track sound just like one of their classic hits. The release is presented in a deluxe package with posters and postcards ( Poeme Electronique's artwork is based on original paintings by German artist Peter K. Endres) and it's also available on digital download.
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Artist: The Blank Vrs
Title: The Idiots And The Envious
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Pale Music International! (@)
Rated: *****
Originally from Stockholm, Sweden and currently based in Berlin, Germany, Kalle Fagerberg is the mastermind behind The Blank VRS. Active since 2010 or so, he did a couple of releases (a tape for Color Triangle Recordings and a digital self produced release) before making his first CD EP "The Idiots And The Envious" for Pale Music. Based on a piece of poetry by John Wilmotworks, the EP contains six tracks which experiments with synths, electronics, guitars and melody. Listening to tracks like "Pigeon Song (for Sparrow)" and the following "Polygraph", I think about a raw mix of Placebo, early Gene Loves Jezebel (check the opening "Fig Head") and early Cindytalk. The sound is based on guitar riffs, synth melodic distortions, 4/4 upbeat drum machine beats and new wave vocals. Already having played a lot in Europe, The Blank VRS is now looking west and plans a NorthAmerica/Canada Tour in early 2014 and as many shows in Europe as possible. You can check the whole EP at this link http://theblankvrs.bandcamp.com/album/the-idiots-and-the-envious
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: The Return
Format: 12" vinyl + CD
Label: BIOS Recordings
Rated: *****
Before the barrage of beats and the warm blast of wind of the track which introduces this compilation, "Sirocco" by Raw Q and Thomas Amaning, who plays host, the first atmospheric seconds seem to evoke the arcane words of the magic formula by a necromancer who can resuscite dead and such an introduction for the official and well-appreciated return on the stage by Amaning's German dnb label Bios Recordings after five years of silence sounds right and proper. Bios comes back to fertilize the acquainted stylistical grounds where airy and liquid sonorities blend into quick-paced breaks and loops, an explosive concoction which is going to accelerate body movements and spin heads towards unexpected mental destinations or supposedly inside some hidden level of Wipe Out whose finish line got placed over the clouds by means of many interesting variations of the above-mentioned dynamics: the oriental scents of Indian summers of tracks like "Heaven Sent" by Simplification, Sunny Crimea and Scott Allen and the awesome "Bangra Nights" by another incendiary trio made up of Submatic, Dan-E and S.Finesse, the overshadowing popping of darker tunes such as Survey's "Chatter" - one of the tracks on the top of my personal liking rank -, Generic's "Get Away" and the spooky "Below The Down" by NotioN, the twinkling sub-bass rotations of "Nomad" by Savage Rehab and Physics, the holistic hyper-reality of "Love" by Locksmith, the balearic reverie of "Moonlight Piano" by NajeemS, the daydreaming junglism of "Blue Velvet" by Stereotype, the radiophonic hooks of "All Because Of Me" by Bassface Sascha, whose rubber bumps, pulsating whooshes and female singing could resemble Tali's style, the soulful protease of "All Wrong" by Random Movement and the flipping guitar which entwines on rolling beats of the final "Soul Prints" by Furney and Locksmith. A cruise on deeply emotional waves and top-notch sounds.
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Artist: Bitcrush (@)
Title: Collapse
Format: CD
Label: n5MD (@)
Rated: *****
Anybody remember Gridlock? I do ( or did) ' from their first couple of releases back into the mid-to-late 90's. As I recall they were a competent electro-industrial band at the time, and very much 'of the time'. Mike Cadoo was ½ the band along with founder Mike Wells. I didn't follow Gridlock in the 21st century so I don't know the direction their music took prior to their dissolution in 2005. I imagine it wasn't much like Cadoo's Bitcrush though. The best way to describe Bitcrush is shoegazer-ambient with a metal edge. Of course, shoegaze implies slow, shimmery guitar, which of course Bitcrush has, but also an underpinning of sludgy MBV style distoro-guitar. Vocals (where they occur) are minimal and somewhat submerged. There are only 5 tracks on the 49 minutes of 'Collapse' and 3 are over 10 minutes long with others clocking in at nearly six minutes and about 9 ½ minutes. 'The Weight (Of a Future Mutation)' which begins the album has a somewhat conventionally song-like in structure after the extended intro. It's an achingly beautiful as well as melancholy piece. And yes, it sounds like a full band complete with keys, bass and drums. Following track 'To Collapse Into' (the longest on the album) has a kind of a doom metal sound in its sludgy density , but that's only the first half. The second half sounds a lot prettier. The sister track to 'To Collapse Into' is 'To Collapse Out Of' and is the shortest one. Even though it maintains the rhythm section it is mostly melodically ambient. With a title like 'All At Once It Was Erased' you might expect silence for the duration of the track but no, not here. After the extended intro (the tracks are full of extended intros and outros) this sounds like the closest thing to a pop song (the vocals are back), depending on what your definition of 'pop' is. Still, it is highly unlikey you'll ever hear this on conventional radio, unless you run across an adventurous college radio program. Pity, but who listens to conventional radio anymore? ''¦For A Void' begins placidly enough in an easygoing shoegaze rock band mode but keeps building and building with layers and layers of sound and intensity while the progression becomes more defined and heavier, but before it's over the track mellows out into shimmering effervesence. Powerful stuff. For me, I would have preferred more tracks, and more track with vocals. No doubt Cadoo can deliver, it's just a question of what he feels like delivering. Still, it's a pretty cool disc, and worth getting. Cadoo also happens to run the n5MD label. I just wonder, where does he find the time?
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