Music Reviews



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Artist: Autogen (@)
Title: Mutagen
Format: CD
Label: 4iB Records / Sturm (@)
Distributor: 4iB Records
Rated: *****
I know that I should have written this review months before, but unfortunately I lost track in between, so this one comes out late. The debut release of Autogen out of Latvia promised to be one of the outstanding releases during the last months for the Dark Electro/Post-modern Ambient/IDM genre. It is an experimental Electronica project by Kaspars Kalnins, also known under his pseudonym Kaps. He is maybe better known for his involvement in the Electro/Industrial project Rosewater or as being the founder of the Latvian cult label Sturm. Kaps is surely one of leading forces behind any activity of underground-related music in this small Eastern European country. This debut album is a collaboration release between Sturm and the new Singapore-based 4iB Records, which concentrates to present Ambient / Noise / Martial-Industrial styles. Autogen has been firstly discovered with an appearance on the latest Sturm compilation 'Stürmer 4' DCD set ('Par Veelu'), 'Mutagen' now collects all tracks written in between 2008 - 2012. Ever since the establishing of Autogen, this project has been often active with rude live performances and has visited numerous industrial and fetish clubs in Latvia, Finland, Belarus, Hungary, Denmark, Lithuania, Estonia and also Bangkok in March 2012. The shows of Autogen are for parental usage only, they often display cruel scenarios of blood, gore and fetishism. The musically direction of this debut tends clearly into the field of demanding Dark Electro music. Projects like The Klinik, Mortal Constraint, or Disharmony have to be named to throw in possible quells of inspiration, although this album in its presented quality would also well fitting side by side with some highly praised signed to the US-based Tympanik Audio label. And so this album explores a wide range of dark and cold sounding Electronica styles and leaves out warmer and smooth sounding ingredients. The work of Mortal Constraint or Ingo Lindmeier's Polygon-project in its early recordings is surely witness for tracks 'Nevajag', 'Trakumá', or 'Súrums' in its existence. Massive applause for the rather deep drowning, stone-cold Modern-Ambient-like tune 'Vél Né', one of my personal favorites. That this album is also able to scratch some inner nerves can be discovered in 'Nederings', the ideal and raw soundtrack for your next dentists visit. 'Mutagen' is a brilliant collection of tracks full of creative sound-design with matured programming skill. No pseudo-aggressive Techno kick-and-snare-bawling on here, 'Mutagen' is rather designed to freeze your brain. A nice, cinematic, but also ice-cold sound-trip not to be missed. Get it!
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Artist: Revenant Cult (@)
Title: Spectral Heresy
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
What a nice initiative: Revenant Cult's bombastic track 'Spectral Heresy' has seemingly turned out to be a permanent recognized floor filler and has received good reactions of both press and listeners. So this 5-track CD EP is kind of a reward for their loyal fans and compiles several versions of the most matured track by the Australian duo Jess and Julian Nichols composed so far. Strictly limited to only 36 numbered and autographed exemplars means that all collectors including me (Thank you, Nick) can be proud of to hold this extremely limited item in their hands. The physical CD release is of course completely sold out now, while the digital download can be still purchased via their Bandcamp web resource. The long, uncut version of 'Spectral Heresy' is to me unbeatable, no matter how prominent the names of the foreign remix contributors are. Listening to this fine worked-out Futurepop-tune with its compelling female vocals of Jess Nichols after their highly praised appearance on the Juggernaut compilation 'Calming Cyclones' is still purest entertainment. That counts also for the music of this straight and pretty dancefloor-oriented tune with its well chosen sound-design including the orchestral synth pads. As for the remixes you'll get some remarkable appearances: Tom Shear's omni-present project Assemblage 23 convinces with different bass lines and more dancefloor-compatibility than the original already offers, while the Blast Radius 'Scarlet Light Remix' celebrates depth with huge hall reverb-effects. Studio-X offer a remix in their Industrial-Trance style, while the Aeon Club-Mix compresses this great tune to an ideal length for radio airplay. Half of an hour the same track and it never gets boring. The problem now for this Australian duo is, that they have to manage hard to satisfy my increasing expectations with their hopefully soon to be released album.
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Artist: Break/Fields, Hydro, Mako & Villem
Title: Music Is Better/Celestine
Format: 12"
Label: Symmetry Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
This summer pill from Symmetry Records follows on the heels of last Break's shot "Steamtrain" with a couple of fresh courses. Label boss Break adds his own sonic ingredients and his heavyweight imprint into "Music Is Better", a summer cocktail of uplifting soulful vocals, mellow funk chord progression and sparkling sonorities whose refrigerating freshness got counterbalanced by incandescent weft of dirty bass and blazing drums, which usually spew from Break's machines for an amazing elange of slush, spume, grenades and grenadine, while on the flipside, the cocktail is merely stylistical as eight hands knead beats and sounds on an awesome and pressing roller, "Celestine", where you'll easily recognize the contribution of each artist: charming atmospheres by Hydro and cristal clear snapping slaps by Villem got cemented by dogged funk and heavy bass chains by Fields and Mako.
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Artist: Dax J (@)
Title: Dreamscape EP
Format: 12"
Label: Monnom Black
Distributor: Triple Vision
Rated: *****
First ring of a possibly addictive and supposedly long chain from brand new London-based label Monnom Black comes directly from his owner Dax J, who gained in popularity for his interesting attempts of shaking underground UK techno scene up by catchy sonic engines, which begun to spread more assiduously till the moment he co-signed with Chris Stanford the first release on the acclaimed EarToGround Records. The first track "Planet X" could resemble some trodden tracks of 90ies dark techno-trance emulsions from Northern Europe (particularly from Holland and Belgium...I could mention Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia, Riou, Ra-X or GF), where a somewhat oppressive compression of pumping beats and echo chords hypnotically melts into industrial sonorities such as distant turbines, slammed laminas and oxidized sonorities; "Planet X" remix by Uk techno legend Mark Broom follows the same route, even if Broom highlights his own sonic imprint by means of pulverized hats, blown snares and frenzied mechanical dynamics. On B side, the sound veers towards the raspy acridity and gunky chords of "Alpha Rhythm" and the old-fashioned nuances of "Dreamscape", which reprises some sounds from old British rave scene. Ignition sequence started.
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Artist: Andy-Moor & Anne-James Chaton (@)
Title: TRANSFER
Format: CD
Label: Unsounds (@)
Rated: *****
We already introduced some parts of TRANSFER, the fecund collaborative project about the themes of transportation and transition by The Ex's guitarist Andy Moor and spoken-word poet Anne-James Chaton, whose creative secretions have been impressed upon four vinyls whose side A got built on real or factual information or material (metro maps, major plane crashes, notorious news report such as the deaths of Princess Diana and Grace Kelly) and side B on fiction or fantasy (including Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days", Agatha Christie's "Murder On The Orient Express" and so on) as their mental glands, which got hopped-up by many different and almost casual real or fictional sources of inspiration, emitted them. Unsounds finally bundled them in one full-length, which gives the listener the possibility to appreciate all the stages of this awesome modular project, which combines spoken words by the "rhythmic" and somewhat burdensome Chaton's voice and a sonic style, whose concision runs parallel to its intimate mesmeric hook coming from a balanced dosage of obscure beats, smokey cinematic atmosphere, guitar riffs and loops, live samples and abstract noise. Three previously unreleased tracks have been added as well, including the "USA" version of "Metro", "Journey On The Pequod", inspired by Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" (the fictional side) and "Journal d'un Naufrage", inspired by the sinking of Titanic (the factual side).
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