Music Reviews



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Artist: Movement Ten (@)
Title: Build Them And They Will Come
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Second full-length album for this British Alternative/Electronica-duo released only 10 months after their promising self-titled debut. Movement Ten surely like to keep alive in the eyes and ears of their fans instead to restart from scratch again. But although both of these releases have been out in between a short time period, there are significant differences between them. This new album starts with an energizing track entitled 'Get Down' in which the minimal arranged bass-line and rhythm section receives some Brit-Pop-like support through some roaring guitar riffs. A good kick-off. 'Black And White Living' then switches to a complete Electronica-based sound-design. It could be a well-done Synthpop tune, but somehow it misses musically a bit the target. Mostly because the synth-arrangements are too minimal produced and could need a bit more inspiration. Next is 'Halo' and the band has already announced this one to be a possible candidate for a single release. 'Halo' has a straight and danceable structure and reminds with its strong early 80ies affiliation on some British Post-Punk and New Wave-pioneers like Joy Division or Wire. But asides of this I tend to say, that 'Ghost Road' could be a better alternative, since it turns out to be the softer, but easier recognizable tune. If the monotonous drum-patterns could bring in a bit more brilliance, this track would be ideally working for airplay. Another favorite is 'Behind Me' with its hypnotic synthesizer-play and some oriental-sounding insertions - maybe one of the tracks which offers the most maturity of this productive duo. 'Never' then returns to the straighter side of this duo and adds quality guitar riffs to the monotonous bass-lines. It has some similarities on the starter 'Get Down', although the starter sounds more refreshing. With a try to test some Techno/Trance playgrounds through some 303-like bass-line sequences and typical TR808/909 rhythm patterns Movement Ten return on the all-Electronica sound-outfit - sorry, but this one sounds helpless and a bit too much off-topic for them. Since the last two tracks do not add any more valuable content to report of, this album leaves me a bit unsatisfied. 'Build Them And They Will Come' sounds surely darker oriented than expected, but it actually misses a bit of the pioneering impact of the debut. The vocals are still sounding well in the mix and deliver all needed emotion, but musically the tracks of this new album are too one-dimensional and leave too seldom already discovered paths. It even strengthens this globally unpleasant impression thanks to the fact that the ultimate 'smash hit', which could have been easily discovered on the debut ('Gravity' / 'FTBIA') is a miss here. Where has their ease and cheerfulness gone? Movement Ten can deliver better.
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anymore
Artist: Noir
Title: Darkly Near
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mail-order
Rated: *****
Athan Maroulis as being vocalist of Spahn Ranch ' well, that has been a big and prominent name of the late 90ies. Who can not remember those classic tunes like 'Locusts' or 'Heretic's Fork', which have made their way into the history books of dancefloor classics? Spahn Ranch albums like 'The Coiled One' and mostly 'Architecture Beta' have been genre-bending and Athan and his colleagues may have been a bit ahead of their times. While things have slowed down around him and Spahn Ranch after 2001, he now returns into the Electronica music genre with his new established project Noir. A first debut single out this all new album has been already released with 'My Dear' ' I must admit, that this one hasn't impressed me that much. It was a relative unspectacular produced Synth-/Electropop tune which missed catchiness to keep in the ears of the audience, although prominent remix contributors like Tom Shear's Assemblage 23 and/or Ego Likeness did a good job to hi-jack this tune a bit.
The same feelings I had after consuming the first 4 tracks of this new album. 'My Dear' starts this album and I still think that this track is one of Athan's weakest so far. Also his cover of The Cure's classic 'A Forrest', also available on the teaser single release, has already been covered with much more devotion before ' just remember K-Bereit's version on Machinery for instance. I was about to rate this album as a simple, mediocre Electropop-album, which only stands the contest because of Athan still awesome sounding vocals. Then comes track 5, 'The Voyeurs', and moreover track 6, 'The Tragics', which made me to correct this rating. Maybe it is because Athan's voice has its best moments with slow, ballad-like tunes, which offer tendencies to explore Ambient-like soundscapes. Maybe these both ones represent the best Athan's Dark Goth-side of his Black Tape For A Blue Girl membership? Back on the straighter, more Electropop-compatible side of the mirror, also 'Timephase' is well-balanced and features some nice EBM-related percussion sets and some interesting effects on Athan's voice. With a strange and bizarre sounding Downtempo-track entitled 'In Every Dream Home A Heartache' this album ends all in all satisfying after 10 tracks. As for a final result, it needs to be said, that these aren't the days for innovation. Spahn Ranch is a part of the history and remains alive and kicking in our minds ' here you'll get the voice on returning and it offers some beautiful moments.
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Artist: Psykkle (@)
Title: Mother Monoxide
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Another review I should have written months before, but also another release which picked me by the nuts! Psykkle, so far for me a relative unknown force in the world-wide scene, although they already released a first album entitled 'Rock Bottom Paradise', consists of Evan Collingwood (sounds, machines, production) and his prominent main vocalist Gerry Hawkins of Cryogenic Echelon. 'Mother Monoxide' is their second album and represents a full-scale 16-track Dark Electro-release which offers some surprising style variations thrown into the mix. The globally Dark-Electro sound-outfit receives successfully support by Dub-Step, Trip-Hop and IDM styles mostly concentrated to take impact on the rhythm section. It is the overall very Cyberpunk- and Sci-Fi related attitude making this album a special gem. If you look out for an album with non-stop violent dancefloor-compatible Harsh EBM assaults, then you'll go wrong with this one. The few tunes totally suitable for the floors of darkest clubs around can be counted with one hand (examples: 'Nanonet', 'Breathing In'). Also their already discovered track 'City of Nodes', which has been revamped previously by several foreign remix contributors (Revenant Cult for instance'¦), rather follows the globally tone of this album. 'Mother Monoxide' lives and celebrates its cinematic outfit as it would be a matter of course. Also Gerry's well inserted harsh and nightmarish-sounding vocal performance, which has been mostly manipulated by multiple vocoder-effects, offers a perfect symbiosis to the layered and richly textured Dark Electro sound-design. Good stuff, not to underestimate!
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anymore
Artist: M.B., Massimo Croce, DBPIT and XxeNa (@)
Title: ISOMETRIE SONORE
Format: 12"
Label: Arte Nel Rumore | GattoAlieno (@)
Rated: *****
In the presentation of this release, the postface written by Maurizio Bianchi, this release is based around a geometrical concept: the preservation of the sonic distance between the metrical spaces that, in musical terms, are the sonic ideas of the participants. 'Isometrie sonore' is an album that collect four collaboration of M.B. with some of the most obscure entities of italian industrial: DBPIT, XxeNa (already known for their 'drawings at an exhibition' release) and Maurizio Croce.
Perhaps the best way to approach this release is starting with the limited edition tape 'Artemisio' featuring four track from each of the participant to this release: 'Biettiva' is the track from M.B. and is a dialogue between two mono track low volume noise track so there's a stereo track that seems a blend between musical opposite: noise and lowercase. 'People', the track from DBPIT, is based around a trumpet line above a soundscape made of bells and synth vaguely resembling the most experimental Death in June tracks. 'Erama', the track from XxeNa, is the most industrial like with her use of declamatory vocals and small noises. 'Oblomizzati', the track from Maurizio Croce, is the most dark ambient like creating a cold soundscape. Oddly enough every track is louder from his predecessor as the quieter is from M.B..
The proper release, a vinyl one, features four collaboration '01' is between M.B. and XxeNa and is a clear ambient tune in the vein of the quieter period of M.B. from his '90 return. '02' is between M.B. and DBPIT and is opened by a martial noisy beat suddenly juxtaposed by a small noise that round between the channels. and ends with a dialogue between the lines exposed during the track. '03' is between M.B. and Massimo Croce and is a soundscape based on drones. '04', the track on the b side is a collaboration between the four musicians and seems the sum of the musical ideas of the tape as is the sum of small beats (of DBPIT), a soundscape (from Massimo Croce), small noises (from M.B.) and vocal lines and samples (from XxeNa).
In some way this release seems more a solo release from M.B. with some guests rather than a true collaboration, perhaps because he's a musical influence for his collaborators however is impressive to hear new musical ideas from an artist with so many years of activity. Absolute respect.
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Artist: Rapoon
Title: To West and Blue
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
After the remarkable series of reissues made from Zoharum (the second volume of the 'seeds in the tide' series has just been released and will be reviewed soon) this is the first release of new material from Robin Storey and is presented as 'about the area grew up in in the UK. ['¦] surrounded by the sea when the tide was in and surrounded by endless mudflats when the tide was out'. This image is translated in musical terms with slowly moving drones with small or no movement to the point to graze pointlessness.
The drone of 'East window lights' opens this release and is colored by sparse noises. 'Solace' is menacing soundscape with a sort of ritualistic sample at the mid of the track and some piano notes in the end. 'The gold of salvation' is a gentle drone carefully constructed in his timbres. 'A heavy door locked' is based around processed loops in the first part and evolves with synth lines and ends with a drone. 'Sunset' is based around the juxtaposition of a couple of drones as 'An angels breath' even if this track features an evolving beat in his final part. 'To west and blue' features the loops above the quiet drone so seems more ritualistic and evocative and is the best track of this release.
This album is a little disappointing as it seems more an exercise of style rather than a new release from one of the crucial artist of industrial scene. Only for collectors.
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