Music Reviews



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Artist: Covenant (@)
Title: Leaving Babylon
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
Even if some changes of the line-up and some enhancements occurred - Haujobb's mastermind Daniel Myer, who received praiseful gratitude in the credits by present members, just contributed to the opening title-track and the contrite lyrics of "For Our Time", whereas Andreas Catjar joined the band which came back on Dependent Records for European version as well -, Covenant gloriously came back to a sound which heavily surmises some of their better past hits - some songs from "Sequencer" and "Northern Light" re-emerged from my musical memory -, but "Leaving Babylon", their 9th studio-album, disclosed somewhat wiser poetics and a specific conceptual or I'd rather call it emotional framework, where the immanence of an imploding chaotic world, the perception (and no more just a forboding) of downfall, the increasing awareness of this irreversible decay or that "anti-thesis about the bygones", as "Leaving Babylon" better pinpoints, where "the weight of history and modern society/obscure our true sights" don't degenerate into a craven or bleary escape. The meaning of their getaway seems to be explained by other songs at most: the vertiginous and almost wheezy techno-oriented song "(Auto) Circulation" gives some cues to listeners when they sing "desperation/circulation".../I leave the flow of time", whereas another great song of this album, "I Walk Slow", seems to say that any temporizing, which got rendered by the temporary short circuit of the electron and mental flow of this "getway" and the research for proper strategies and directions as well as by the clouded guitar chords, could be justified by the fear of a nonsensical epilogue which might cripple any reaction and chagrin any purpose, a thought that trigger the electrical storm in the middle of the song. This spiritual need is so driving that it seems to permeates the sound of the first songs of the record such as the piercing pained moan of EBM/future pop hybrid of the heady "Last Dance", the intertwining of the dulcimer, the sharpened basslines, the seraphic voices and the sudden crash sounds by Shift on "Thy Kingdom Come", where lead vocalist Eskil Simonsson sings "come heaven come shadows/come crashing over me/I feel that something has to break/come mother come Caesar/come and tend to me/I feel that something will have to break/and its gonna be me". I let you discover the other amazing nuances of this album (including biblical and thelemic occaisonal references, the lovely piano-driven reinterpretation of Dimbodius' song "Not To Be Here" and the hidden track "Babylon II", a sort of experimental eerie soundtrack, which squeezes the whole spirit of the album) or check the limited edition, which includes a second cd whose text and vocals comes from Swedish poet Helena Osterlund, which could let you surmise that what Covenant are really missing and searching for is their native Sweden and their spiritual nest.
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Artist: Hati
Title: Zero Coma Zero + Recycled Magick Emissions
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This album is a reissue of two limited edition CD-R released in 2005. 'Zero Coma Zero' constructed by Dariusz WojtaÅ and RafaÅ IwaÅski using ritual instruments (Tibetan and Indian bells, cymbals, horns and pipes) combined with discarded utility objects recovered from the junkyard (scrap metal, plastic tubes, screws and bolts etc) and 'Recycled Magick Emissions' where they used only recycled instruments (gongs, cymbals and barrels). They don't use electronic processing to create a sort of void for the development of sound with an almost ritual and meditative purpose.
While 'zero' opens this release with horns and pipes, 'animal' features a ritual beat that is colored by small noises and horns in the second part of the track. 'Homines' is a centered upon a drone and 'templum' upon small metallic found sounds created with objects. 'Aqua' uses extensively the metallic resonances of cymbals while 'V' uses bamboo pipes and 'Y' features the wood for the construction of the beat thus passing from a clear ambient soundscape to more ritual one using almost the same instruments. 'Anima' is a long dialog of a noisy beat, made perhaps from recycled plastics, and clear tones made by cymbals. The percussions of 'coma' close this release that is a statement of how a record could be vary using a small palette of tones and a structure, remarkable.
'Recycled Magick Emissions' features instead three tracks: '0' that is constructed upon layers of metallic resonances created with gong and cymbals, '1' created with berrels with a noisy sound and '2' that juxtaposes the two sound source in search of dialogue. Perhaps less adventurous than his companion but is a confirmation of the quality of this musical offer. A project to (re)discover.
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Artist: John Wizards (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
This new satellite, which entered the orbit of Mike Paradinas's Planet Mu, reflects the gorgeous vibrations of the shining and engaging sonorities of some amazing musical styles of South-Eastern Africa and, besides representing a praiseworthy epitome of musical integration, is undoubtedly one of the best musical hybridization of the year, whose pulpy fruit followed the meeting of Rwandan refugee Emmanuel Nzaramba, the voice of John Wizards, and 25-year-old musician John Withers, who was noticed by his partner-in-art with his guitar on his back while Emmanuel was working as a car guard outside a coffee shop in Cape Town where he moved to become a musician. On that occasion John told Emmanuel that he was looking for a voice for the music he was writing, but they met again a year later when John moved to a new apartment on Loop Street nearby Emmanual's home by chance, a fortuity which got poured into this wonderful album, whose combination of champer pop, r'n'b and guessed electronic treatments on one side and genres like South African Mbaqanga and Kwaito, Zimbabwean Sangura and Shangaan or Congolese rumba is so charming that it doesn't sound like a poncey exotic stretching. The listening experience they offer is pleasing from the initial "Tek Lek Schrempf", where a blissful waltz sounds like sliding into a frisky tribal dance which involves listeners by means of an eccentric weave of handclaps, conch shells, curly electronics and pitched-up guitar riffs, to the final "Friend", where a subtle dubbing on Emmanual's song and a lulling harp-like guitar goes back over Mali's meditative music. Even when the influence of "western" music is more audible - on tracks like the delicate r'n'b of "Jamieo", the diluition with post-rock-scenting pearls of "LEUK" or the housey "Durvs", which almost quotes early British techno -, there's a sort of fragrancy of homemade genuine stuff which doesn't tamper with the balanced harmonic symbiosis of the record. I'm quite surprised by the fact that this dainty record has not received the exposure that it deserves yet.
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Artist: Robert Schroeder
Title: Slow Motion
Format: CD
Label: Spheric Music (@)
Rated: *****
One year after his latest album 'Ferro Oxid', Robert Schroeder is back with a new one titled 'Slow Motion'. Eight new tracks for a total of one hour and four minutes of music with the aim of cool down from chaotic and stressful modern life. By saying so, I know that you might imagine a sort of non sense chill out sound with a mishmash of synth sounds giving life to tracks which have only to be bar music. Well, fortunately this isn't the case as Robert is always finding new ways of refining his sound. The album opens with 'SlowMo' and its thirteen minutes of sequencer lead melodies where reverbs, noises, upbeat rhythms, pads are added just to form a sound universe of its own. 'The Inside Of My Soul' is more based on pads and liquid sounds where we have intense moments thanks to the add of synth choruses. At its middle the track changes a little its skin thanks to a tribal rhythm which is joined by a synth arpeggio and a trumpet sound soon after. 'A Sign Of Light' mix trip hop rhythm lines, trumpet solos, pads, dub bass lines and some drum tribal solos here and there. 'Synergy Effect' is a magmatic tune with metallic percussive sounds inserts. It's a real hypnotic track that hunts the listener. 'Pertinax Love' is quite tense with its breathing like sounds and it's nice how it evolves with the add of a bass line arpeggio, lead arpeggio and rhythmic blasts. It has a real late 70s/early 80s classy touch. 'Space Litter' mix choirs, pads, leads, trumpet sounds and here and there upbeat rhythms. 'Relax' starts as a spacey trip with pads, CR-78 like drum beats, upbeat bass lines which are joined by a nice slow lead melodic line and a synth arpeggio. 'Time Is Running Out' is the last track of the album and like 'Pertinax Love' has a lot of 70s/80s influences. This is one hour long journey that it's worth your attention!
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Artist: Kajkyt
Title: II
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: GOD Records (@)
Rated: *****
Besides the sepulchral and cryptic vocals (sounding more cryptic as I don't know a Serbian word to be honest, even if I could guess he's not singing about carefree jaunts, harvest festivals or love games...), the very first song of this album by Serbian-born, but currently living in Graz, Austria, composer Slobodan Kajkut aka Kajkyt made me thought about an obsidian variation of Radiohead's "National Anthem" or some imaginary remix of some stuff by Unkle by witch-house rising stars like AAimon or Lustmord, due to the easier structure this interesting composer applied to his sonorities. Such a gimmick doesn't alter both the elliptical halo of his stuff, which heavily draws from his past and current projects - Slobodan contributed to regroup English industrial seminal band Sleeping Dogs Wake as well as Daine Lakain's voice Alexander Veljanov's project Porta Macedonia by performing on the record and on the occasion of the album tour, which was brought all over Germany and on notorious stages such as the ones of M'era Luna and Wave Gothic Treffen - as well as from seemingly different stylistical fields by holding downtempo, illbient, drone, noise, Byzantine chant and dark ambient doors ajar all over a record which alternates hefty industrial clashes, industrial ("IV") and trip-hop ("VII") inoculations, dull thuds onto sinisterly obscure cones of silence, trepanning guitars or piercing low frequencies, which sound somewhat menacingly spooky on tracks like "I", "V" or "VI", and stifling stridencies. All these sonic entities lift nebulous dazes around Kajkyt's voice, which is maybe the most striking active ingredient of this dark-soaked mash. It's a shame I don't understand Serbian in order to appreciate lyrical content of this release, which deserves a listening anyway.
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