Music Reviews



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Artist: Grant Cutler (@)
Title: 2012
Format: 12"
Label: Innova (@)
Distributor: naxos
Rated: *****
Listening to Grant Cutler's 2012 sounds a lot like drifting above a landscape similar to the one depicted on the creamy paper of the LP cover. An alien landscape, sparse and rocky, bright white light.

2012 was actually recorded in 2008, and is a snapshot of when the composer first moved to Minnesota. He had just moved into a new house, He'd just purchased a Roland JX-3P synth from 1983, and set about layering otherworldly drones onto his grandfather's reel-to-reel tape deck. The warmth and faded quality that the analog equipment gives these recordings make 2012,/i> delightful to the ears, and it gives one a chance to notice the wonderful musicianship at play. Like the sequenced-bass of "Talk To Me," which could sound at home in a Detroit Techno club, if some wise DJ were to drop a beat on top. The trancey-repetitive nature of this music gets inside yr head, inside yr bones, keeps you coming back for. Mesmerizing.

2012is like the soundtrack to the sweetest metaphysical space opera that was never made. a single panning camera-lens over unbroken deserts, the reddish monotony finally interrupted by a pyramid made of glass. There's nothing much going on, until the Makers reveal themselves. With track names like "Devotion," "Attainment," "Mountain Top," its like these Supreme Beings are blaring wisdom telepathically, straight into yr brain.

Grant Cutler was studying Zen meditation at the time of this recording, and it shows, songs periodically being swallowed up by unexpected trance-inducing drones. Its like a less-boring meditation record. Honestly, after several visits to 2012's hazy climate, i could say that there is nothing wrong with this record. Its for a certain type, sure, those prone to closed-eye meditations and walking around with headphones on, but for those visionary types, there is a very distinctive world etched onto the two sides of this vinyl.
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Artist: Rivolta Dell'Odio
Title: Osanna! L'Angelo Sterminatore
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Sometimes Records (@)
Rated: *****
Coming from Ancona and active during the early/mid 80s, Rivolta Dell'Odio were a band which musically started with an hc/punk sound, ending with a particular kind of post punk sound. The story of Rivolta Dell'Odio is deeply linked to the one of the label Attack Punk/Toto' Alle Prese Coi Dischi, label born thanks to people involved with the band Raf Punk (Gianpaolo Giorgetti, better known as Jumpy and now as Helena Velena and Laura Carroli). Influenced by the anarchic experience of Crass Records, they produced about sixty records of different bands such as CCCP, Borghesia, Disciplinatha, Rivolta Dell'Odio, etc. Rivolta Dell'Odio never had their releases reissued and this double album "Osanna! L'Angelo Sterminatore", contains all their recordings plus four live tracks. The band lyrics incarnated the anarchist, vegetarian, anti-clerical credo and on their first two releases "L'Affaire Marat/Sade" (split 7" with Cracked Hirn) and "La Danza Del Sangue E Del Sole", mixed hc attitude with will to experiment (check the monophonic synth noise on "Casa Rossa"). Their sound was obsessive and dissonant (on some tracks they also recalled the no-New York guitarism) and the declamative vocals made the audience focus on their lyrics. With "Il Cuore Della Bestia" EP, their sound became a bit more influenced by post punk. Try to think about UK Decay and the following band formed by Abbo: Furyo. The sound is still powerful but the drums were more tribal and the guitar arpeggios created a more focused melodic schema. To me this single has been their best release because the recordings were kinda rough but really energetic. "Osanna! L'Angelo Sterminatore" was their last release. Some tracks are re-arrangements of old ones (the opening "Metanoia", was a reworked version of "Altari Del Terrore", "L'Anticristo" was also on the their first tape, "Terezin" was on their EP with the title "Dal Fumo Di Terezin") and then there were new ones: "La Caduta Di Babilonia", "Per Chi Ci Ha Amato", "Golgotha", etc were good tracks but in my opinion the mix, which exalted the drums (they have been constatly filtered through a reverb like on some Sex Gang Children early recordings), vocals and the bass guitar invalidate a bit the whole result. Anyway, this is a nice reissue and thanks to Sometimes Records and Fono Arte, another piece of Italian music which meant something for the scene of the past, won't be forgotten.
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Artist: Guilt Trip
Title: Feed The Fire
Format: CD
Label: Complete Control Productions (@)
Distributor: Sound Pollutions Distribution
Rated: *****
Chirugie Esthetique - a name with which I am still familiar with: it was in 1992, when this Swedish EBM-/Industrial-onslaught came up with 5 tracks published on the 'Malleus Malleficarum' compilation, brought to us by the small Death Publ. label. The music of these underground marauders has been a driving EBM/Dark Electro-inspired sound-design with some similarities to in those days rising projects like X Marks The Pedwalk and/or FLA at their best moments. So I always wondered that this project couldn't reach higher attention throughout the years. At least until today - 20 years later after this compilation debut, Complete Control Productions rewards us hungry listeners, who always lurk for new forces and talents, with this official debut album under the new moniker Guilt Trip. Yes, I had meanwhile to learn, that they've already renamed into Guilt Trip around 1999 and that they have self-released three albums in between. But it's clear, that these happenings around this Guilt Trip / Chirugie Esthetique - project have been mostly unrecognized to the international audience. So here they go and return like Phoenix out of ashes. Stylistically the music has developed and it can reported about changes in their expression. The often pronounced Canadian influence has obviously taken control of their compositions, Skinny Puppy, Cyberaktif, and almost some FLA-like influences you'll get to hear, while Guilt Trip are far away from being clones. Definitively Puppy-inspired somehow comparable to those melodic, classic tracks like 'Worlock', 'Testure', or 'Morpheus Laughing' are their rather mid-tempo-based tunes like 'Inanimate', the ominous and creepy 'Life Spit Love', or 'Braptism'. 'Inanimate' is also extra available as a 2-track digital download version, which features with 'Oppression' a non-album track. On the hand this duo offers us some straight, nearly American-Industrial-like tracks like 'Headplate', 'Breathe', 'One a Week, Twice a Day', or 'Crack Up', which all feature aggressive synth-bass sequences, snatching male vocals, and a solid kick- & snare-work, which should be able to fill the floors of alternative-/dark-clubs worldwide. Especially their excellent programming skills for ripping bass-lines have to be named as being one of the most remarkable points of their production process. Although holding a raw and tough produced sound-outfit in my hands, this duo hasn't lost its sense of humor: the track 'The Bright Side of Lies' earns a cup for being the most inventive song-title, maybe side by side with Snog's classic 'Born to be Mild'? Only good and promising things to report of this latest signing of the Swedish CCP-label, which rages pretty much against the daily, mediocrity Hellectro-overdose. Definitely music for elders and supporters of above mentioned idols, but also perfectly designed for all Electronica-listeners, who are longing for compositional depth. In short: a must-have album!
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Artist: Arzt + Pfusch
Title: Lictor Evaporated
Format: CD
Label: Complete Control Productions (@)
Distributor: Sound Pollutions Distribution
Rated: *****
The signing of one of Denmark's most recognized Electro/Industrial projects can be seen as a big step of growing for the roster of the Swedish Complete Control Productions label. 'Lictor Evaporated' is their new output and this one does not only surprise musically. It is the first physically available release of them since the last 11 years, and Der Doktor is back! After their first both albums 'Warum?' and 'Love' Der Doktor has left his partner in crime, Dr. A-Funz, and this successful project for good. In 2007 Arzt + Pfusch have released their freely available digital-only album 'S.I.C.K.', which has at least seen more than 16.000 downloads. Now back and with both band members united, Arzt + Pfusch went over to Sweden's CCP label to release this 8-tracker, which is an outstanding example of a Dark Electro album. Musically the both doctors could integrate a rather demanding, orchestral, nearly Neo-Classic influence into their good old 'noisebmstupidevildustrial' (that's how they call it'¦) music. 'Fall of an Empire' is the opener here and integrates these different styles to a well-sounding melange. The raw and slightly distorted Dark Electro-like patterns go hand in hand with opulent string soundscapes. This track is ' as usual for CCP ' also available as a 2-track download-only item available at all major digital music stores. Even a bit more into this direction turns 'Flæsh Mangler', this one gets cleverly integrated pauses to let the fine produced string-arrangements take effect on you. 'Mars Pattern II' is then a kind of revival, because this one can be seen as being the most comparable tune to their classic, club-leading tracks like 'Anal Toothbrush', 'Boneloc' or 'Skumfuk'. Arzt + Pfusch have grown and developed in their specific style. Luckily this flawless album acts like the ideal comeback of this Dansih veteran project. More than this, it completely impresses with its ominous, but also raw and tough produced Dark Electro-onslaught and has to be called to one of the highlights of the past half year!
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Artist: Severe Illusion (@)
Title: No More Alive Than You Deserve
Format: CD
Label: Complete Control Productions (@)
Distributor: Sound Pollutions Distribution
Rated: *****
Swedish finest Lo-fi/Chaostronica-EBM project returns with an all new album, now signed to the new label Complete Control Productions. And the featured quality of their latest recordings for this album reaches the level of their finest works, since it has been a bit silent during the last three years around them. Fredrik and Ulf are performing with the same harsh rage combined with their ongoing fine nose for the Experimental side to be installed into their sound environment, so that most contributors of the Harsh-EBM/Hellectro camp are standing in a poor light. There isn't magic included behind their synth-arrangements, they rather play with already known and often minimal constructed sound-patterns. But nevertheless you'll get another boosting Severe Illusion release filled with authenticity. After the rather on their side-projects Instans reminding opening track 'Mockingbird', they return into their classic style known from their state-of-art-albums 'Discipline Is Reward Enough' or 'Accomplishments Of Leopold II' with the top-notch tunes 'Try Harder' and 'Clear Head (Album Version)'. Fredrik offers again his 'monstrous' vocal fx-processing, as well as the tracks itself stealing the show with a monotonous bass-line programming resulting in a hypnotic expression. The integration of some Powernoise-like elements also receives an expected revival at latest with the bizarre sound-excesses of 'Rotating Knives, Yes'. All in all, you'll get another plus-good album of this Swedish duo, which comes out a bit like a long missed friend. Severe Illusion stands for a nice, but rather expected addition to the Swedish CCP-label.

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