Music Reviews



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Artist: Gianluca Becuzzi / Luigi Turra (@)
Title: In Winter
Format: CD
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
One of the most interesting branch of ambient and neo-classical music, but also the one which exposes musicians to the risk of misfiring and getting jammed by stylistical platitudes and "already listened" stuff, is the "seasonal" one, which tries to use sounds as if they were paintbrushes in order to portray a particular season. The prolific Italian sound artist Gianluca Becuzzi joined together with Luigi Turra, who already made similar two-headed collaborations where he usually explores aural sonorities, in order to give "voice" to winter: most of tracks focused on the research of a balance between an evocative set of natural field recordings and sound objects by Becuzzi and slow, melancholic and often muffled (as they have been stopped by icy hard ground and crystallized landscapes) melodies on acoustic guitar and piano by Turra, which gradually sound like melting together whereas sustained reverbations of the last tones blur into gentle glacial breezes or scatter over a surreal silent scenery so that it seems to stare by sound at a person within the emotionless uniformity of a mute snowy expanse. Both Turra's minimal tonal weaves and Becuzzi's sonic faint setting seems more focused on the building of a deeply immersive virtual reality for the listener than on the maniacal research of musical perfection (maybe some common headphones which emphasize low frequencies won't neatly render some amplified stresses on low tones) and if listeners predispose themselves to such an experience, they will easily appreciate the enthralling recollection this couple of experienced sound artists patiently assembled.
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Artist: Sensate Focus (@)
Title: Sensate Focus 3.333333333333333333333333333333333333333333
Format: 12"
Label: Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Last evening I enjoyed a chat in front of a cup of coffee with a friend who theorized about a possible connection between sexual life and music style and according to his personal vision, house music could fit bored people in order to make them feel sexier than they really are. Even if such an amazing discussion could be more asymptotic than the repeating decimal which gives name to this third release of Sensate Focus series, the way Mego and supposedly Mark Fell, the ill-concealed producer behind this "neat house" project, which has been used by some sex therapist in order to describe a set of exercise for the enhancement of sexual life recalled that conversation. I belong to those people who stopped listening to this genre after its roaring years due to the fact it became too recurrant and quite boring and I think that Mark Fell paradoxically could join this community! Even if I've not listened to the first two issues of the series, it's quite clear that Mark squeezed some of the most seducing sounds which branded that genre and tried an update by adding some funnier and diversified breaks and rhytmical patterns in order to avoid listener's frequent yawns. The final result is very interesting: both the melodic aspect and the rhythmic pattern, the real propellant of already known ingredients (you'll easily recognise sounds which were massively used when so--called Uk garage-house made his very first steps), together with funny vocal treatments could sound nostalgic, but extremely seducing at the same time, even though I'm not sure it could have some provable effect on couples!
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Artist: Steven Severin (@)
Title: Vampyr
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Also known as "The Strange adventure of Allan Grey", Vampyr has been considered one of the miliar stones and cult classics of the whole vampire-related cinematography together with Murnau's "Nosferatu" and Browning's "Dracula", even if it's the only one which was not inspired by Bram Stoker: when Danish film director Carl Theodor Dreyer planned it together with its financial backer and leading actor Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg under the screen name Julian West, they preferred Sheridan Le Fanu writings to the ones by Stoker, so that Vampyr's plot contains a mixture of references taken not only to the sapphic vampire Carmilla, but mainly by Dr Hesselius, the first occult detective in literature, which after his debut in the pages of "In A Glass Darkly", quoted on this musical issue by the first track "Though A Glass Darkly", clearly inspired the portrait of Allan Gray and his most visionary moments of the movie, whereas the boundaries between real and unreal looks blurred. If you have the possibility to watch that movie, beyond the quotation of the Charon-like character appearing in the very first minutes of the movie by Arban on the sleeve design, you'll notice that Steven Severin, whose legendary past as bassist for Siouxsie and the Banshees doesn't seem to be eclipsed by his solo project as score composer - I've already introduced his previous soundtrack for Cocteau's "Blood of a Poet" -, perfectly follows the "rhythm" of the original movie by avoiding any temptation related to contemporary horror soundtracks so that the evoked scenes have been vividly called back by an evocative and sometimes stern dark-ambient suite. Sinister tolls, ectoplasmic atmospheres, haunting voices and other dusky imaginative suggestions are so catching that can fit a theme park focused on ghosts or haunted houses beyond its close connection to Dreyer's art.
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Artist: Suicide Commando (@)
Title: Attention Whore
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Back to his usual business, Johan van Roy seems to be currently buried into his studio to record a new full-length onslaught. 'Attention Whore' is a first teaser of his upcoming work, a fast raging Harsh-EBM tune with a crafty beat work, which will surely set fire under the international dancefloors of the dark clubs. Lyrically, 'Attention Whore' criticizes the egoistic and ruthless behavior of one to hunt for attention and honor on someone else's invoice. Musically solid arranged and overall satisfying for his die-hard fans, but it is to me far away from standing in a row of Johan's best compositions. Further remix contributions by foreign artists like Funker Vogt, [X]-RX, the Russians of Sleetgrout, and Nachtmahr are of course strengthening the dancefloor compatibility and are part of the usual business behavior, if it comes to release appetizer tracks for an upcoming new album. With 'Evacuate' Johan also provides us a b-side track, which is lyrically limited to the title, but it features additionally multiple, dramatic voice samples, sirens and noises, which fit pretty well to this track. Also this b-side track receives a straight and pummeling remix contribution from an unknown artist to me, entitled John Lord Fonda. Good stuff for the club-goers and dancefloor fanatics, it lesser fits to spin it at your home entertainment at a fair volume level, in case you don't like to disturb your neighbors.
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Artist: Wavefall (@)
Title: Future Rock ‘n’ Roll
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
This is not only the new title for this third full-length album of Russia's former Harsh-EBM/Hellectro institution Wavefall ' it is also the manifest for their musically development. Slava Busygin and his female, better half Tat'yana Borisova are returning with this new album and they have some surprises hidden in their backpack, which the interested Harsh-EBM listener wouldn't have expected. They may had already integrate some first hints for a style changing with their last release, the 'EP-Tronics' EP, and I thought already on a mutation from the Hellectro to a more Punk-driven genre, somehow comparable to classic Cat Rapes Dog inspired works. First of all, with the new band member Kirill Ivanushkin being responsible for electric, bass, and acoustic guitars, you may get a hint of what has Wavefall become. They are more than ever inspired by guitar-driven Punk and Rock 'n' Roll music. The electronic elements are still present, but got often reduced to a minimal insert. 'Collider' is a good example for the still active Electronica-side in their work, though this one has been taken part in a 'Speed'-Mix on their last 'EP-Tronics' EP. Their Punk-attitude can be also discovered through their track-list and their beautiful, comic-strip cover artwork. The artwork shows the both protagonists being green-colored, Alien-like bank robbers on the run. 'God, Guns, and Gasoline' has been a title of a classic Cat Rapes Dog album, Wavefall nowadays could name their album 'Cash, Guns, and Gasoline'. This album develops completely into new territories and results finally into a hard cake to bite for their old Electro-based fans. It really needs a lot of tolerance and an open horizon of the Rivetheads to accept and enjoy this release completely. I personally think that this release is also an experiment for their Advoxya-label, since the Hungarian label-giant is known for their 'only-Electronica' attitude. Wavefall seem to be quite convinced with their new direction, to me they are taking the risk and have to start from scratch again. Multiple live performances might be helpful to perform conviction work.
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