Music Reviews



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Artist: Egg Chef
Title: Opinions are Meaningless in the Void
Format: 7"
Label: Apop Records (@)
Artist:
I had never heard of Egg Chef. The press sheet describes it as 'three psychotropic tracks of hyperactive, left-brain punk,' and declares that 'Egg Chef will suck your soul.' This comes on interesting orange vinyl and is limited to 375 copies. So let's see what this sounds like ' we'll take each track in turn. 'Opinions are Meaningless in the Void' starts off with a sample of someone talking about how she started in Kansas and 'woke up next to the guy's father.' This is some weird stuff. The vocalist has a pretty distinctive voice that is unlike any of the punk bands I have heard. In some ways it reminds me of Alphaville's vocalist. This is rockin' but not typical rock by any stretch. 'Ice Machine' keeps the weirdness moving. I definitely like the 'LET'S ROCK!' interludes that reminds me of Stormtrooprs of Death's 'mosh part.' 'Orange Wurm' sounded like if the Residents collaborated with a metal band. Thankfully there is a lyric sheet in all of this and a weird little cartoon that doesn't make a lot of sense. I don't really know what to make of it, but if you like your rock weird, this is one to try out. I'll bet they put on an interesting show.
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Artist: Simon Fisher Turner / Mark Spybey
Title: MzMz LaLaLa
Format: 7"
Label: Tourette Records (@)
I have enjoyed Mark Spybey's work over the years. He has been quite prolific and has worked with a host of artists and groups (e.g., Zoviet France, Download, Legendary Pink Dots) while maintaining his own projects, most notably Dead Voices on Air. I was less familiar with Turner's work, but he has worked extensively with filmmaker Derek Jarman and has worked under the name The King of Luxembourg. So let's see what this sounds like. First off, it does not tell you anywhere what speed to play this at. It seemed to work well at 33.3, so we'll go with that! Side A, 'MzMzLaLaLa for Peace' definitely bears the DVOA stamp, with field recordings and soundscape with some muffled voices. Pretty good. Side B, 'MzMzLaLaLa Sing Song Sing' is an interesting mix of acoustic guitar, soothing vocals, and the occasional electronic arpeggio. Quite pleasant, but a bit short. Overall, this is a good start to what will be a series of 20 collaborations celebrating the 20th anniversary of DVOA. I'll look forward to the other ones.
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Artist: Dust to Dearth / Lysergene (@)
Title: The Death of the Sun
Format: CD
Label: Aesthetic Death (@)
Rated: *****
I had already reviewed the Lysergene album 'Critical Mass,' which was decent EBM, so I was a bit surprised when I put this on. Dust to Dearth kicks us off with heavy atmosphere and female vocals reminiscent of Arcana's 'Dark Age of Reason.' Overall, it is pretty consistently dark. There was nothing on the website about the band and it seems that the website has gone away as well, but it has the same email as Murkrat (also with little description except 'Metal for denizens of the mire'), so I assume that there is a connection. Overall pretty solid, but perhaps a bit repetitive after a while. Something that would be quite at home among some of the older Cold Meat Industry stuff. Moving on to Lysergene, we get a completely different side of this act from 'Critical Mass.' This segment starts off with some atmospheric dark ambient with a hint of distortion and noise thrown in for good measure. 'Nebula' moves us into a more melodic zone that continues through the end of the album. This would be at home on the Cyclic Law catalogue. The closest comparison I can come up with is Kammarheit. I actually prefer this version of Lysergene over the other, and think this is a bit stronger than Dust to Dearth, although each has its strengths. Overall a decent album worth checking out.
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Artist: Toshimaru Nakamura and John Butcher (@)
Title: Dusted Machinery
Format: CD
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this duo, but in looking at the liner notes, we see that Nakamura is credited with 'no input mixing board' and Butcher is credited with 'soprano sax, tenor sax, and feedback sax.' This is, in some ways, reminiscent of Bob Ostertag's 'Attention Span,' where you have snippets of John Zorn playing sax cut and spliced beyond all recognition. Now take that and destroy it even further. This is not quite noise, but it is definitely heading to that end of the spectrum. There is a fair amount of feedback and barely recognizable saxophone. What keeps it interesting is the skillful use of silence and dynamics. This is not a full-force, in your face kind of album. But it is still not for the faint of heart, with extended passages of high pitched feedback and other squalls. Not an everyday kind of listen, but fun and interesting. This album weighs in at around 44 minutes.
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Artist: Phil Maggi
Title: Ghost Love
Format: CD
Label: Idiosyncratic Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of Phil Maggi, but evidently he, along with Yannick Franck, is one of the founders of Idiosyncratic Records. Before I put on the CD, but the sepia tone cover image seems meant to convey a time far past, hence the title of the album. Listening to this album is a lot like listening to different channels on the radio. It is all music but none of it is particularly jarring. There are some themes that run throughout. The album begins with staccato tribal drumming that makes way for a pleasant soundscape with disembodied voices. This isn't trying to be scary though. The voices are those of a home movie or children playing, rather than the spectral voices of poltergeists. The singing that is on these tracks is there more for atmosphere than to deliver lyrics. As such, the album works more as a soundtrack to a movie in one's mind, reminiscent of In The Nursery's Optical Music series. Overall, it was a pleasant listen. This album weighs in at around 41 minutes.
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