Music Reviews



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Artist: Trek With Quintronic
Title: Landing Plus
Format: CD
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
Trek With Quintronic was the brainchild of two American guys called David Kane (Trek) and Paul Wilcox (Quintronic). They self released for their own label Bi Plane Records in 1980 and 1981 two albums: "Landing" and "Trek W/ Quintronic". Equipped with a Roland CompuRhythm CR-78 drum machine, guitars and several analog synths (Moog Taurus pedals, etc), the duo wrote nineteen tracks where a bit of glam (they where influenced by Bowie), psychedelia (really good their acid synth version of Eric Burdon and The Animals' "When I Was Young") and electronic rock (sometimes I thought about Sparks even if Trek With Quintronic were sounding less dramatic and pompous). The first album was sounding a bit more introspective and minimal, like the tracks have been written with guitar and then enriched with synth lines. The tracks of the second album were a bit more "wild", if you pass me the term: Paul's voice is more histrionic (like on "Be There Later On") and generally the songs are upbeat and dissonant, like they were a bit more punk. Here and there you can find choruses while distorted guitar duel with synth leads. Sounding dark and a bit crazy, "Trek W/ Quintronic" contains great songs with nice melodies and arrangements. Despite the fact that they recorded and mastered them relatively quick, the final result hasn't been affected. In this Anna Logue CD reissue, you can find both the albums plus two previously unreleased versions of 'Twin Forces' and 'When We Were Young - live' (both on the second album), remixed by Tejo Bolten of MECANO fame. These two sounds a lot more powerful and wild with upfront live drums and the latter sounds like a dancefloor hit. Paul and Tejo are currently working together while David has been active ever since as a solo artist as well as in a couple of bands (The Celibates, Nullstadt, Electroman, Decay Of Western Civilization, Them Jezzbeards). Check them and be ready for something "different"...
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Artist: The Silicon Scientist
Title: Iselwinter
Format: CD
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
Recently I enjoyed two new The Silicon Scientist tracks of the "Sinister Street" 7", but I have another of their releases to review. "Inselwinter" ("Island's winter") isn't a new Silicon Scientist album but it's their first album released back in 2003 which has been reissued by Anna Logue Records with seven bonus tracks. Recorded by Stefan Bornhorst at Studio Ruhrstrasse Hamburg in 2002/03, the original six tracks are an ideal mind travel through winter and are quite different from how the project sounds now. The six movements are quite minimal, melancholic but always with a good quantity of melody. Most tracks are quite long and grow slowly just like a flower which has to reach the air through the snow. Also rhythm is well balanced and never invasive. Take for example "Iselwinter 2", it is based on a pulsating CR-78 rhythm, arpeggio variations and there's a nice effect when the Cut Off filter is opened as the whole track gain brightness and light. If you want me to do a comparison, I thought to the some Vangelis tracks (the less cosmic ones) or to early Jean Michel Jarre (check "Iselwinter 3"). The CD version as bonus tracks has "Elektrum" (a nice track recorded at the same time of "Iselwinter") and demo versions of the first five tracks, while the digital edition, along with the original six tracks, has "Voices On The Wind", another instrumental track featuring field recordings, wind noises and a Mellotron 400 choir that's sounding like coming right off Popul Vuh's 'Nosferatu' soundtrack or Lucio Fulci's 'The Beyond'. You can find the digital edition here http://annaloguerecords.bandcamp.com/album/inselwinter
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Artist: Explosion Technology
Title: Manifestation
Format: CD
Label: Artificial Sun (@)
Rated: *****
Next newcomer project for our Western-based ears which hails out of the huge ex-Sowjet territories: This Ukrainian project out of Kharkov debuts on the Russian Artificial Sun label with a 9-track album. If it comes to describe their music, they are too based mainly in the Industrial-/Metal-Crossover genre with Russian lyrics throughout the album. What makes them standing out of the wide mass of mediocrity is surely their influence of Alternative- and Soundtrack-like anthems. The vocalist with his energetic and angry performance sounds very charismatic and natural-clear in his expression. He is surely one of the best Metal-shouters signed so far to the Artificial Sun roster. The straight, a bit on the likes of Ramstein reminding track 'Impuls Life' represents one of the best tunes here. Same counts for 'Na The Side', which starts calm and gently, until theMetal-driven rage storms in. The definitely best track is the cinematic driven, with some synthesizer bass-lines supported last instrumental track which approves their talent for thrilling Soundtrack-related scenarios. This one got fucking great produced! Maybe this album is a bit too short-timed produced, but it has some good potential and talent under its roof and since it is a debut, you can expect more intense produced stuff of this Ukrainian talent for the future. This strictly limited album (101 exemplars only) comes out including a multi-media section which features bio, photos and the MP3 version of this album.
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Artist: Northcape (@)
Title: Exploration and Ascent
Format: CD
Label: Sun Sea Sky Productions (@)
Rated: *****
I don't think we've ever reviewed anything by Northcape here at Chain D. L. K. before which is odd because Northcape has three other releases and has gotten a lot of Internet play. So who is this Northcape anyway? Well, Northcape is the project name of Alastair Brown from Warwickshire, England. Been there, nice place for making music like this. This electronic music artist makes easy to digest downtempo electronica ' synths and drum programming. It's quite mellow instrumental stuff, occasionally tinged with a bit of melancholia, but living in Warwickshire might do that to you. 'Exploration and Ascent' is sort of non-melodic melodic, meaning there's no set or memorable melody but still has an overall melodic feel to it. Gentle arpeggios and drifting synth lines, percussion that never becomes obtrusive, but moves the music along as an integral part of the whole is largely what this is made of. Although sometimes it skirts IDM the music never strays too far from its simple form. It's often hypnotic while not even trying to be, and there is just enough variation to keep it from getting boring. With the title, 'Exploration and Ascent' there would seem to be some allusion to mountaineering, but I'm not necessarily getting that out of it, except that some of the compositions on this 11-track album seem rather airy. For me, it was a very pleasant listen, smooth and never jarring, good for contemplation, drinking a cup of coffee (or tea) and reading a good book. Northcape's 'Exploration and Ascent' will likely end up in rotation at my bookstore; it's good ambience for this place. Northcape's not breaking any new ground here, but definitely planted some worthy seeds in the old pasture.
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Artist: Lingouf (@)
Title: Terre de pierres
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Rated: *****
Lingouf is French artist Vincent Ingouf who has oodles of releases, none of which I've ever heard until 'terre de pierres'. Look at the cover of this C D. It will give you NO CLUE what this music is like, and yet nearly every clue about the elements in the music music. Lingouf's cartoon aesthetics (as seen on the CD cover, his website and elsewhere) translate to some degree to the music. The music here is sample-based electronica and glitch electronics using a good amount of acoustic sound source material. Most of what you see on the cover represents in some part, the sound of this CD, but then again, not really. Let me explain the pieces. First track 'l'horioge a mimi' has the ambient sounds of birds, metronomal mechanical clocks and winding of the same, and eventually clock chimes. This develops into a clocky melodic rhythm of chimes with light percussive elements becoming a beguiling little tune. It could have gone on for another five minutes and I'd still have been entranced. Title track 'terre de pierre' begins like a foley fiesta (still some birds in the background) also with analogue echo machine feedback bringing in tinkling chiming elements into this glitch-driven rhythm that also uses some electronic sounds. Very crafty and sort of cartoonish. 'la marche du vent de glace' has surf/wind noise, barking dog, a variety of little acoustic percussive and non-percussive sounds (shuffling, scraping, etc.) before accordion chords prompts the piece to develop some rhythmic impetus. A Bontempi organ also helps develop a melodic theme. It's very simple stuff but so cleverly done I can't help but be enamored. 'accordrobion' begins sounding like someone just learning the accordion (long sustained chords and simple arpeggios) playing with a rhythm ace but turns into something much deeper as it builds and expands on a simple ascending chord progression becoming a dub extravaganza with some other interesting electronic variations employed. The ominous deep drone and metallic squeal beginning of 'varionuguicaa' doesn't give a clue to where this hallucinatory piece of weirdness is headed, and the howling dog lends a strange touch, along with the snippets of human coughs, voices and other ephemeral sounds incorporated in the music. Before you know it you're steamrolled by a mad gamelan orchestra. 'b 22 le soufflÃé du feu' has a female voice sustaining a single note (and later, female voices sustaining chords), fast accordion arpeggios and a rhythm before it completely weirds out into an electronic fantasia. Recorded street conversation (in French of course) and ambience begins 'l'annee du chat' and then a marching band on speed comes along but then an IDM inspired dubstep crew takes over and things become really bizarre. Am I giving you any idea how crazy this is getting?

Lingouf is big on building on simple dramatic minor progressions, lots of arpeggios and adding as many unusual sounds as he can get his hands on, be it water, hammers, birds, oscillating electronics, modulated accordion, water glasses, whatever. To some degree it reminds me of musician-composers such as Ron Geesin, (early) David Van Tieghem and Philip Glass, but in a remix war between The Orb and Skrillex. Actually, you might think that would sound very BIG, but not really. Look at the CD cover again. This is a homey sort of electronica but in a very warped and twisted way. Something you just have to hear, and believe me, you should.
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