Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 2013 - 2003 = 10 Years of 4mg Records
Format: Tape
Label: 4mg Records
Rated: *****
Coming from Slovakia and run by Imrich Vegh, member of Imiafan, 4mg Records is ten years that releases electronic music that sounds disturbing, catchy and a bit rooted in the 80s. To celebrate this event, few months ago, the label released a compilation tape titled "2013 - 2003 = 10 Years of 4mg Records". The tape opens with Kirdec and its "If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want To Be In Your Revolution (Dedicated To Emma Goldman)". The track already sets the quality level of the compilation which is high... If you love cold electronic sounds and bands like The Exaltics, this is for you (more info here http://www.syrphe.com/projects/cdrik/cdrik.html). Manasyt is here with "Mortal Transfer", an instrumental tune that mix atmospheric elements (the tiny bells sounds), distorted drums and melodic synth pads creating a cinematic effect. Imiafan with "Nocna Alchymia" bring a mid tempo based on a suspended atmosphere, cool analog synth sounds, tiny melodic inserts and detached vocals. Alien Skull Paint with "Buried" mix gothic atmospheres with a mid tempo electronic background. Medora Featuring Natalie Alva with "Unleash Your Dogs" close side A with a nice dancey tune based on a bass arpeggio, male/female vocals duets and a playful atmosphere. Monty Catsin is a pseudonym that anyone can use, so I don't know who really bring us "Modern Hero". Anyway, the track is a nice one that sounds like Devo without guitars. Boys Du Severe with "The Beat Of Neoism" are here with a retro electronic robotic joyful tune (think about an instrumental early O.M.D. track) and I don't really know when it has been recorded, because from the few informations I have about the band (taken from the Anna Logue compilation "Echoes From Our Past"), the band was active in early 80s and the recordings have been made my Monty Catsin. Since both neoism and Monty Catsin are both born under the same rules (collective shared pseudonyms and identities, pranks, paradoxes, plagiarism and fakes), I don't really know what is the right information about them. Anyway... Uj Latasmod Fuzio, the Gaspar Kornel's project is here with "Hasonmas" a track which mix early e.b.m. atmospheres and cold electronic a la Die Form. Lesbian Mouseclicks' "Life Is Precious" sounds dark, menacing and obsessive. It mixes a bit of techno elements (the rhythmic part in the middle of the song) and dark electronic sounds a la Clock DVA. The Trial are a Czech band formed in the late 80s that disbanded in 1993. Their song "Pull It Back" has been re-edited by Max One (sorry but I don't know him) and now it sounds like a mix of synthpop and 80s e.b.m. Makina Girgir close the compilation with "Derniers Mots", a cold track in balance from cinematic atmospheres and cold wave with its obsessive bass lines and fluctuating synth pads. Nice compilation that you can check here http://4mgrecords.bandcamp.com
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Artist: Skullflower/Mastery
Title: s/t
Format: 12"
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
In spite of the truly radical appeal of their releaseas, I honestly hadn't imagined this split release that Cold Spring released some months ago by joining together two interesting names of (deeply) underground industrial scene would have almost stealthly ignored by more cutting-edge "indipendent" zines or bloggers, whose manifest excitement after listening to anything that could be marked by some beasts could let you surmise they drink a glass of milkshake with virginal menstrual blood drops or crucify an innocent domestic cat before writing a review. I'm not really accustomed to write exegetic essays or in-depth analysis of records like this release, as I prefer to consider them as the fruit of a somewhat parodist kind of gloomy humour or just interesting crossbreeding of noise-shaping and "esotheric" lexicon within some more or less accessible conceptual meaning under the full awareness that hell, heaven or supposedly good or evil entities are less intangible and otherworldly than one can think. On the first side of this record, Skullflower, the long lasting band by British musician Matthew Bower, makes another step towards noisy netherworld of free-form noises by breaking a papule of distraught guitar layers, distant metallic clangors and eruptive noises on "Wolf Age" before blowing onto the same elements a sequence of subtly withering whiff on the following "Red Crystal Serpent", which turns into siniserly disturbing vocalizations over ominous strokes on the final "Black Sunshine", which sounds quite similar to previous experiments (particularly "Shiny Birds Of Doom"). The striking juxtaposition of this triptuque with "Europe after the rain, drowned ruins, sunken dreams" where "spiders run across harpsichords in deserted schlosses and chateaus, doors slam and phantom demon choirs are summoned at seances by Blatavskian crones, whose impenetrable china blue dolls eyes open onto Tibetan vistas, terrible, ancient and remote" sounds guessed to me. On the other side of this split release, that kind of Anubi on the cover artwork by Kivios and Abby Helasdottir ushers in a 17-minutes lasting track by Mastery by let his jackal-like mask (and arguably his head) fall: I really never heard about Mastery before, but his bizarre combination of suffocated guitar arpeggios, brutal metal influences, expectorating guitars, breakcore-like puncheons and fearsome sonci tumbles is quite original and headbanging (for mortal beings as well...).
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Artist: Lady Maru (@)
Title: My Secret
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Deep Strips (@)
Rated: *****
On this palatable digital tidbit, Rome-based dj and producer Lady Maru, one half of the project Trouble vs Glue, which got already introduced on this zine, properly goes deeper and deeper than previous cheeky stuff and delivers an intriguing and somewhat daydreaming assay of techno-spotted indie-disco. The initial title-track "My secret" seems to groom some nicely candied past stages of (mainly) German tech-house - I could quote some stuff that came from Playhouse or Klang Eletronik such as the very first stuff by Villalobos, Rework, Roman Flugel - where fingersnaps, electronic peppy pinches, slight bongo drums could cause automatic euphoric dances before she begins to bubble deep-house sonorities. The deep-house and almost lush venations are more clearly throbbing on the following two tracks, but whereas she intersects them by means of waving electronic buzzes and frisky drumming on "Out Of Time", the final "The End" revolves on more concise and impactful disco flourishes, roaring kicks and soapy saturations.
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Artist: Monno
Title: Cheval Ouvert
Format: CD
Label: Idiosyncratics (@)
Rated: *****
Enhanced butchering and simulated downfall mode on. Noise art-rock seems to strive for gain proper physical features according to the declension that this impressive (mainly) band excellently renders in spite of the quintessential abstract nature of this specific stylistical branch. Coming from Switzerland, a nation which has already been the birthplace of a number of inventive musicians and sound artists dealing with noisecore and noisy avant-garde experiments (I could mention Alboth!, Michael Wertmueller, Stephan Wittwer, Cristoph Fringeli, Swamp Terrorists, The Young Gods and many more), Monno delivers one of their best release under the wise supervision by Roli Mossiman, former Swans drummer and producer of a pile of glorious music acts (the above-mentioned Young Gods, Celtic Frost, New Order, The The, Skinny Puppy and so on), who recorded a session they held in a Polish farm in December (I could surmise those cold days had an influence on the breathtaking flat racing on drums and chords of the first two tracks) before the final mastering by James Plotkin. They immediately trigger this possible soundtrack for human collapse by morbidly grazed saxophone, strangled electronics, sinister flurries and furiously gurgling drums where an organ-like loop wraps the whole skein into an almost holy cloak in the first track, which clear the ground for the properly earsplitting slaughter of the second track, where the brutal strength of the typhoon they generated reaches the highest consumptive intensity which gets through with distorted vocal and electronic gasps by Gilles Aubry...you'll wonder if drummer Marc Fantini didn't dislocate his wrists after such a furious drumming! Survirors cannot but fumble into magmatic muds, which got evoked by the third part, before turning into the frizzling particles of the fourth and final track, which portends the accomplishment of the definitive annihilation.
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Artist: Julian & Der Fux
Title: Hin Und Weg
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Jhruza
Rated: *****
After the Ken Hayakawa collaboration on the EP "Uber Den Dachern", Julian & Der Fux are back with a batch of new songs gathered in the new EP "Hin Und Weg". During the last year, the duo did different gigs in clubs and had the chance to experiment on the audience their songs. The opening of this new release is "Without You" and it's the first with English lyrics. Musically, it moves between seducing house/electro atmospheres with a great attention on arrangements (as you can hear, the rhythm part is formed by a multi-layered web of tiny arpeggios, acoustic guitar pickering, piano chords that added, to the 4/4 beat structure, create a great effect). The main track is present with two versions, "Radio Edit" and a longer one. It is a nice song but in my opinion it doesn't succeed into coupling the awesomeness of the opening one as it moves between the same riff and the same atmosphere. "Magic String" is an instrumental which creates a suspension effect thanks to its melancholic touch. "Unglaublich", like "Hin Und Weg" and the following "Durch Die Stille", is a nice one but it's like a rocket ready to go which you won't see flying. It's strange to say this, but the fact that "Without You" had a richer arrangement and a wider atmosphere made the other songs look a bit weak even if they aren't. This effect will fade away after different spins, so don't be afraid. Check it with your own ears here http://jhruza.com/hin-und-weg/.
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