Music Reviews

Artist: Young Hunting (@)
Title: Night of the Burning
Format: 12"
Label: Blackest Ever Black (@)
Rated: *****
Night of the Burning, the second album from the Scottish duo of Marc Dall and Alex Ander, is a voyage into the darkness; ink-black and without landmark. This place seems pre-historic, archetypal; a dark dream of the id, subconscious, yearning, erotic, irrational, bestial.

Night of the Burning is a train-ride through the post-industrial continuum, bridging the gap from early Throbbing Gristle to latter era Coil, mainly in spirit rather than sonics. Not afraid of chanting, or grinding plasticine beats, this is Moon Musick, pagan music for the modern day, to be enacted in slimy, grimy warehouses, before venturing out into the forest clearing. It is ancient and modern, it is timeless and ritualistic. This ritual invokes strength, bloodlust, a mutant offspring of Boyd Rice's Iron Youth. It is strong, iron-willed, resolute.

Sonically, they never miss a beat, everything recorded in glorious hi-fi. The strings could have come from the Berlin Philharmonic, and the beats could be on a Bjork record. Everything is lovingly, glowingly captured, and expertly etched and packaged by Blackest Ever Black, a label i can't wait to hear more from. The thing which i was most pleasantly surprised to notice is how many miniscule moments there are on Night of the Burning, seamlessly sequenced and segued, sometimes on the same track. Seemingly unrelated moments arise, often undetected, until it is staring you in the face, fully formed. There is dream logic at work here, they have created a world in which to lose one's' self.

This album can be a harrowing listen; the first time found me curled up, clutching my knees, hypnotized into a catatonic gnosis, but unable to sleep. It recalls madness and passion, and the rampant genre disregard means this won't be for everyone, but for those that are beyond boundaries, that dislike boxes and tags, that legitimately want to get off the grid and off the map, then i encourage you to take the plunge. Rare it is to find such adventurous music captured with such clarity and focus, and the fact that this is only their second album, with a third primed to drop sometime this spring, means this is band is hungry. They are fighting, they have something to say.

Night of the Burning is magickal, mighty, dark, and holy.
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Zero State Media Upload 2011
Format: CD
Label: Zero State Media (@)
Rated: *****
I find not easy reviewing compilation, and usually it's because of compilations, not me. I think that compilations, unless vehiculating a specific project or background able to give a sense of unity to a bunch of different bands put together, become something not organic and easily boring, and you start skipping tracks one by one. Ok, that's might be not that bad, compilation are useful to get to know music, different projects, etc., but fact is that you skip tracks. And the only way to review the record would be writing down a pletora of single microreviews... boring. Zero State actually tries to give the whole compilation some organicity. "Zero State is a new futurist movement exploring the impact of accelerating technological growth on society [...]", "We want a new, healthy society - a new future - which embraces the compassionate use of technology [...]", "It is our ultimate goal to create a society in which involuntary suffering has been Abolished by the considered, compassionate application of technology [...]". As a background, I find it pretentious, metaphysical as well as naively optimistic, I have a completely different view about "technology", it doesn't put me in the best mood, and from mere titles and names I can't get the evidence of real criteria in putting all this music together, but I can always skip tracks. Actually I did it many times. As you would expect you find the good and the bad in this kind of compilations, so it's here. There's some interesting stuff, the highlights would be Prompter (up-tempo future pop, entertaining), Kommand + Kontrol (catchy modern ebm), Temp0rary (IDM related) and the nice electro-beats of Amon Zero and LXPK, then we have several variations on the "electronic music" theme, and some of the rest sometimes is even hardly definable electronic, a bit heterogeneous to keep the level of attention high. I would finally highlight Xykogen, probably the most original music on the compilation, worth checking out.
Feb 07 2012
Title: T.V.
Format: 7"
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
In the 80s, you know, we were living in a different world and since we're used to how we live today, we kinda removed it. Visiting Eastern countries wasn't easy at all, but also there, despite the repression and a difficult political situation, there was a fervent musical scene. Near my country, Italy, there was Yugoslavia and it was kinda obscure to me. I only knew that Laibach and Borghesia were coming from that country but I didn't know much more. In the latest years, thanks to Matthias Weise of Dominance Electricity I had the chance to check some Eastern European electronic music and it would be amazing to reissue also that stuff. Marc at Anna Logue Records, succeeded into getting his hands on some recordings of an electronic band called Beograd. They were from Belgrade, Serbia and their line-up was: Dejan Stanisavljevic, Aleksandar Rodic, Ljubodrag Bubalo and Milan Bubalo. They recorded only a 7" and an album sung in their original language. On this 7" EP you can find the two tracks of their 1982 single "Tv" / "Sanjas Li U Boji?", "Mrak" (the best track of their 1983 album "Remek Depo") plus two demo version of "T.V." and "Mrak" which sound like recorded by ghosts because of the bad quality but which have a eerie atmosphere and a nice retro sound. Musically, Beograd, sounded like a dark version of Telex thanks also to the fact that back then they hadn't sequencers or midi. They had to play live bass lines and melodic parts and along with the Roland CR-78 drum machine, they were able to play something unique. Their songs are minimal but rich thanks to all the nice synth parts and rhythm changes. They knew how to pack a hit and the three original tracks just prove that. They also didn't have pop lyrics as they were critical about tv and also on the second track, which translated it's titled "Do You Dream In Colour?", they were covering the anxiousness of a generation. Great release! You can check some excerpts here
Artist: Weyes Blood & the Dark Juices
Title: The Outside Room
Format: 12"
Label: Not Not Fun (@)
Rated: *****
The Outside Room is the first solo record from the talented Natalie Mering, after working with Jackie-O-Motherfucker, and under the name Weyes Bluhd. On this LP, released on 2011 on the consistently interesting Not Not Fun Records, out of LA, she summons six spectral soul ballads, somewhere beyond time and genre and fad.

On The Outside Room , Mering reverts to a more conventional song-writing approach, emerging from the tape experiment blur of Weyes Bluhd. Instead, she writes wrenching human narratives using melody, harmony; interplay of traditional rock instruments such as guitar, organ, bass, thunderous drums. What you are left with, is like listening to soul or gospel in slow-motion, through the thin wall of a cheap hotel. These bones are gilded with scrapes squeaks chimes and ensonced in miasmah: an ornate and decorative sculpture of reverb, delay, and fuzz. The lasting impression is anachronistic; it is like falling in slow motion.

I think The Outside Room sounds like Liz Harris' netherworld than the ubiquitous Nico reference, mentioned in every other soundbite about this record. I think its unfair, to be honest; its like comparing every dude who wears sunglasses and sings about drugs to Lou Reed. I feel that's two dimensional thinking, and ignoring the craft involved here. Mering is blurring pop and experimental musicks, she is making something artsy and classic.

One thing she does have in common with Nico is a solemn, gothic feel, also reminiscent of some of the later Swans. She speaks in interviews about being obsessed Halloween and other creepy things. But hers' is an enthralling, feminine kind of creepiness, different than the horrorshow slasher brutality of Wolf Eyes, or even the otherworldliness of Jandek. Instead, her world is rich and full of feeling, full of shadows and dust and notebooks. The Outside Room is a place where much has happened, goodbadotherwise. Laughter, tears, sex, boredom. It is beyond easy answers and trite description.

This record stands up extraodinarily wall to scrutiny, it bears the weight of repeat listening with grace and applomb. It is a suitable soundtrack for drinking tea at night, or a soft reminiscent afternoon. This was limited to 480 copies, on Not Not Fun, and there's still some available. Highly recommended, much appreciated.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Danza Meccanica Italian Synth Wave VOL 2 1981​-​1987
Format: 12"
Label: Mannequin (@)
Rated: *****
Here we are after a couple of years to talk about a new compilation of the DANZA MECCANICA series with ten "new" tracks coming from the treasure box of 80s Italian synth wave. Mannequin dug hard to find the casket which contained bands that hardly had a vinyl release on their back. The album opens with Suicide Dada, a band coming from Pinerolo, 40Km from my city Torino. They officially released only a side of the double vinyl compilation released with VM #5 but they recorded a couple of demos. The version of "Acque" you can find here is coming from the first demo and if you love deep vocals, simmons pads, bouncy bass lines and atmospheric pads, this is for you. Madaski, their singer, put on his soundcloud page another Suicide Dada track titled "Not Satisfied", if you want to check out that one here's the link Der Blaue Reiter with "Through Glasses" are next with a track that sounds like Joy Division in love with synths. The bass line is typical of the new wave sound of those years and the dry drum machine sounds help painting a cold scenario. They later became State Of Art and they are back nowadays with a new album. I don't really know who Son Of Science were but "Way Of Life" is a nice upbeat tempo with male/female vocals, analog synth lines. The same goes for Waveform. I don't really know them and their "Creep" is a fast analog synth wave, almost punk song with female vocals, obsessive synth bass lines and essential melodies. Ruins were an artsy duo who a couple of years ago reissued some of their tracks on Minimal Wave. Here you can find "New Record", a track originally included into their 1983 tape "Side Roads" but here the version is a bit longer. They mixed funk, jazz, dance and wave in an experimental way. Side B opens with a different version of one of the most famous Jeunesse D'Ivoire tracks, "A Gift Of Tears". This "Silent Version" is a quasi instrumental version of that great wave gem where they changed a bit some melodic lines, removed the sax part and used Patrizia's vocals to underline some parts here and there and to sung the refrain. LASS Crime were active in mid/late 80s and they self released three tapes and they had another one titled "Electa" out on Energeia. "I'll Merry Go Round" is coming from their 1987 demo "Inanitas" and it's a nice electro/goth tune. Musumeci were an obscure combo coming from Torino. I knew them in the mid 80s and they gave me their demo containing six tracks. "Harry Batasuna" is an instrumental track which recalls me D.A.F. and Cabaret Voltaire and opened the B side of the demo. Years later I tried to contact Mauro Missaglia, the guy who played synths, but with no success, so they kinda slipped into oblivion. Deca with "First Frequency" is here with one of the few tracks he sung. As far as I know this is an unreleased track and it's a nice one which, influenced by Depeche Mode, mix synthpop with new wave. If you love Frozen Autumn, for sure you'll love this one. European Stage is another band I don't know at all. Their "Subterranean Wait" mix experimental cosmic sounds to synth coldness. You can check all the tracks here The release will be available from the next week on vinyl and digital download.
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