Music Reviews



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Artist: Laugh Clown Laugh
Title: Laugh Clown Laugh
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records
Rated: *****
Born in early 80s in northeast Somerset town of Frome (100 miles west of London) and formed by Sam Findlay and Dominic O' Brien, Laugh Clown Laugh released only a song titled 'Feel So Young' for the 101International 2LP compilation "Abstract" in 1984. With an equipment made of SCI Pro One mono synth, Korg MS20 mono synth, Roland TR606 drum machine, (LinnDrum on "Feel So Young"), Teac-32 2b 2 track Reel to Reel tape recorder and a Teac-2a mixer, they recorded different tracks on their living room during the 1982-84 period and they prepared a tape that I don't really know if they ever released. Anyway, decades after their recordings the Crispy Nuggets blog (crispynuggets.blogspot.com) used their "Feel So Young" on their compilation and things started to move. Troy of Medical Records got interested and contacted the band and they restored the home recordings you can find on this eleven tracks compilation (the twelfth is a dub version of "Feel So Young"). Inspired by early 80s synthpop the duo created their own style that mixed pop melodies with new wave darkness and also a certain will to experiment which you can find on certain early Depeche Mode or Yazoo tracks (for example "Big Muff" or "I Before E Except After C") as you can check on "Track 14" and "Aquarium". They had the rough coldness of synth noise as well as the warmth of those sounds and they had the freshness of kids that play with something new and the will to express themselves. As the info sheet reports: this LP will certainly appeal to fans of earliest Human League, Oppenheimer Analysis, and earliest Vince Clarke era Depeche Mode (but even more sparse). Presented on 180gram transparent orange high-quality vinyl in a limited edition. Bonus insert included as well with liner notes by Kurt B. Reighley and other tidbits. Check the whole released and purchase it here http://medicalrecords.bandcamp.com/album/laugh-clown-laugh-mr-025
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Artist: Response
Title: Creep/Resistance
Format: 12"
Label: Ingredients Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Another fresh Mancunian candidate to reign dnb scene comes from Psylence's record label Ingredients; N.Owen aka Dj Response already dropped a couple of massive tunes on the catalogue and the scene together with Lee Davenport (St Files), whose acknowledgement persuaded Ingredients headquarters to release a couple of 12" in quick succession. This is one is the second of them and includes two ironclad tracks: metallic snipping, menacing caustic low frequencies, vocal samples which depict a not-so-far-from-present dark machine-ruled age and an unflagging inflated pressure of kick-drums flounders on "Creep" before a sinister adumbrating pad-synth got injected, while on the flipside "Resistance" is a deadly roller (as well as a declaration of love for African-Jamaican stylistical roots...), whose rising nebulously bright synths and walloping drums are going to chance the rising blood pressure and respiratory drives of all those brave dancers who are going to resist to this powerful body shaker.
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Artist: Antoni Maiovvi
Title: Mater Proditus
Format: 12"
Label: J.A.M. Traxx (@)
Rated: *****
In the last couple of years the Italo horror influenced producer Antoni Maiovvi focused his efforts on 12"s and EPs and also created his own label Giallo Disco Records along with Gianni Vercetti Balopitas (a.k.a. Vercetti Technicolor). At the moment they released a split EP and two solo EPs. Anyway, Maiovvi switches from italo disco influenced catchy tunes to Carpenter influenced synth horror atmospheres. This new EP released by the Italian label J.A.M. Traxx contains three versions of "The War of Self Defence" (the original version plus two remixes), "Music Makes A Good Pet" and "Theme From Maiovvowitz ('88 Redux)". The original version of "The War of Self Defence" is a good upbeat dance electro tune with melodic hooks while the "Against Dave Remix" is more influenced by house and it has also a TB-303 acid bass line here and there. The "Drvg Cvltvre Remix", instead, is a dilated electro version which filter the vocal line with echo and delay and is focused on the arpeggios and the drums. "Music Makes A Good Pet" sounds more 70s and creates a nice tension thanks to the distorted vocals which play with the synth arpeggios. "Theme From Maiovvowitz ('88 Redux)" recalls me the late 70s/early 80s horror movies soundtracks you found at the end titles. Nice but it's the one that convinced me less. You can check and purchase the release here http://jamtraxx.bandcamp.com/album/antoni-maiovvi-mater-proditus
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Artist: Matter (@)
Title: Biorhexistasy
Format: 12"
Label: Kvitnu (@)
Rated: *****
Ukrainian label Kvitnu proves to be one of the best operator nearby the stylistical fizzled and foggy frontlines where flooding techno cracks, rythmic noise and breakcore splinters burst industrial's banks by means of another excellent release which comes from the drilling sonic machines of Italian producer Fabrizio Matrone aka Heidseck, who leaves his second sediment in the guise of Matter on Kvitnu's intriguing catalogue. Matter's wide weaponry of crumbled low frequencies, scraped metallic samples, convulsive knitting, acid hot springs, creaking noises and sequences of compressions and tractions which often mirrors batch processing and give rise to amazingly obscure technoid - or I'd rather say rhexistatic - movements ("Phases", "Biostasy", "Exposure", "Attrition"), which could vaguely resemble industrial-techno corrosive anthmes by sound artists like Riou Tomita, or menacing industrial mechanics ("Sub Soil", "Dominance"), lies on a guessed source of inspiration, the so-called Biorhexistasy theory by pedologist Henri Erhart, who tried to describe the climatic conditions necessary for pedogenesis divided by different periods of soil erosion. Such a geological conceptual framework has been superbly translated into sound by Fabrizio while underlying a semantic transposition of this slow and perpetual mutation into social, psychological or physical terms, so that have this theory in your mind in order to better appreciate the listening experience this Bologna-based sound artist gathered while digging grooves.
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Artist: [.que] (@)
Title: drama
Format: CD
Label: Schole (@)
Rated: *****
After a couple of self-released albums - "Sigh" (May 2012) and "Calm Down" (July 2012)-, some live exhibitions, many collaborations and borrowings to a number of projects for web, TV, radio and visual works, his contributon for "Schole Hope Project" in support of the reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 2011 and a contributuon for the fifth anniversary label-sampler "Joy - Schole compilation vol.3", the burgeoning 25-years old sound designer and composer Nao Kakimoto achieves his first full-length album on the appreciated Japanese label. On his "Drama", Nao seems to dramatize simple pleasures of ordinary life, serene charming scenes and fragrant emotionalism by means of 13 saccharin folk-tronica songs. The detail-oriented research of purity in the sound by the flusing-out of electric piano, whose slight delay on single strokes resembles me the way that Vangelis used to mutate piano on songs like "Chariots OF Fire", and acoustic guitar resembles the work of other compatriot veteran such as Sakamoto or his sponsor Akira Kosemura, who supervised and co-produced this release, some melodic structures sometimes sound too iterative and the rhythmical pattern are often too simple so that you could have the impression of listening to variations of more or less fixed schemes, but the mathematical accuracy of his snap-fit patchworks is really remarkable and the melodic dimmers succeeds in laying emphasis on the emotional nuances, particularly on heartwarming tracks like "bud", "Daybreak", "Air" and "Sunset", where he carefully grafted other sonic elements like field recordings or female choruses. Nao definitively holds great promise for his own musical and artistic path and for the pleasures of ambient-spotted folk-tronica listeners.
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