Music Reviews



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Artist: The Arch (@)
Title: Engine In Void
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Not so many music lovers remember this Belgian band and the fact they disappeared for almst 15 years, as if we except a "best of" issued in 2009 and a single including a cover version of the punk classic "I Can't Live In A Living Room" in 2008, their last appearance dates back to 1997, when Nova Tekk's sister-label Solar Plexus issued "In Sofa", a release which didn't reach the considerable notoriety of their debut single cd "As Quiet As" including their most famous song, even if they tried to quote it by a remix of their most famous song, "Babsi Ist Tot", inspired by the "generational" junk-story Christiane F. On a sky which is not so much star-spangled like the times they musically lived, such a coming back could be considered nice due to its cartload of nostalgia, but they're far from being considered somewhat original as the only element which could let perceive some contemporary clues is the masterly work on mastering, together with some wise hooks on dancefloor, such as in tracks like "Barbuze" and "Seminary". In many tracks, it's quite recognisable that burbling electric bass and that kind of delay applied on a distinguishable electronic borborygmus which can be easily associated to tricks used by Depeche Mode since their first steps, particularly when they build more melancholic atmospheres, which are the moments that are going to get easily exposed on listener's minds and hearts and on mine as well, being my favorite ones, the initial "Individuals", the final "In Silence", "Miss Take" (whose equivocality could be easily associated to a sort of bondage session...) and "Skinny Meadows", where they manages to fill the voids of some moments where their 80ies reprise sounds excessively meager and predictable. Most of you could disagree with this kind of musical exhumations, but it's quite stunning the fact they keep on emotionally impress new and old generations as showed on the clip of Individuals, you can easily verify. Before some of you ask it to me, that cute child on the cover has been grabbed from a very old phot, taken at the beginning of the last century, portraying a deaf boy hearing for the first time!
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Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: The Tourament: Live At UK Futurefunk Festival 2020
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Diamondback Recordings
Distributor: Junodownload
Rated: *****
"It's 2020 and popular music has descended into chaos with record companies reporting sales at an all time low. From this chaos has emerged a new underground, where electro artists are the new rockstars and where the UK Futurefunk Festival has become the new Glastonbury. This year, in 2020, the main event of the festival features 10 huge electro artists from the UK, Spain and Greece to the USA, battling live in front of a packed main stage crowd of 50,000. Step up Diamondback Kid, Dwellz, Pip Williams, Robert Cosmic, DVS NME, The Hidden Persuader, Mike Ash, Diplomat, Dr Blofeld and Binalog Frequency. Each artist has one minute to prove themselves or be committed to the annuls of history. Ladies and gentlemen....... recorded live from the future and released via Diamondback Recordings..................welcome to THE TOURNAMENT!"
Conceived by his funkiness, the Diamondback Kid, this 4-tracker is unique in every way: it gathers 10 well known and respected electrofunk producers from Europe and the USA and it mixes their (recorded specifically for this project) tunes to two 6-minute tracks, one running at 133bpm and the other at 115bpm. Each "megamix" is featured in two versions (two "rounds", as we're talking about a "tournament"), the "direct" one (see: something like a studio version) and the "live" one (in which Diamonback, with the help of a MC, ...enormous reverb and samples of live audience, creates a virtual stage where the artists are supposed to battle in front of a crowd of thousands of electro fans!). The results, especially the "live" rounds, are simply AMAZING; you get the feeling of a true electro/hip-hop concert, you can really imagine the artists on stage succeed one another while trying their best to win the crown of the best performer!!
I can't recall a release based in such a great idea like this one, i can't remember an electro release i enjoyed that much in 2011! Don't miss it for any reason!! (available on Junodownload by Monday, December 19 http://www.junodownload.com/products/the-tournament-live-at-uk-futurefunk-festival-2020/1878923-02/ and thereafter via Diamondback Bandcamp, iTunes etc.)
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Artist: Arsine Tibe' (@)
Title: Good evening, the mountain said
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
One leg of the synth-pop duo !Distain, Manfred Thomaser looks like having come back with the tables of the law (or better a 10-track new album!) after some chat with an unknown god smoking and chilling at lounge noir, his imaginary temple arguably hollowed on the side of some high well-mannered mountain (as the title suggests, it should be the same mountain who used to pursue Mohammed, which nowadays due to the fact there're too many pavid mad people who easily call for police to protect themselves even from people who incidentally walk on the same route to get out from a station, it confined itself to merely greet!), through his solo-project Arsine Tibe'. If you didn't know such a sonic semblance and demanour, when Manfred wears Arsine Tibe''s dress, he normally entartains listeners in a less enquiring way without refraining from simple compositional schemes combined with a narrative approach, delicious hooks on some 80ies sonorities. The initial track "Light" dips the sound in the ink of some sacred text by a delicate percussive textures, leavened synth sounds and the spongy vocal performance by Tania Murray (I have to say that the light hypnotical breeze of the song as well as the gentle vocal tune of the singer repeating "give me the light, give me the anime" could induce some of you to post some comics and a lighter to Tania!), whereas the second track plays on the contract between the dim evoked by the title "Darkness" and the general mood of the lyrics and the ethereal shine of the sound close to some stuff by Ataraxia or Cocteau Twins. The simple bassline and some delayed synth-piano of "In My Room At Night" bring gracefully the listener into the oniric dimension where Manfred could have imagined (or just dreamt) the narration, which looks like described as "a stranger's dream" or arguably a possession by "a stranger's mind" by Tania's voice in "Dawn At Night", where the possessed girl ("feeling not like a girl") finds herself in a noisy lounge bar (it's quite bizarre the jump of setting in "Maximum boy", the track describing such a change of scene), which looks like belonging to an undefined past time. I dont' anticipate anything about the way this character reaches its redemption and enlightenment, but it's quite clear this album sounds like a soundtrack of a spiritual journey whose goal is the understanding of the roots of existence. From the stylistical viewpoint, I think that Arsine Tibe' could be considerably enhanced by recurring to less conventional and braver choices, but it's appreciable anyway.
Dec 14 2011
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Artist: DATO
Title: Bangkok
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
After their May debut EP, Denmark duo Dato are back with BANGKOK. The main track is here present in three different version, "Radio", "Extended" and "Extended Dub". The difference between the two extended ones is that the latter hasn't the vocals, so if you're going to purchase only one or two tracks from this release, I'd go for the "Extended" but if I were you, I'd purchase also the only remix you can find here: it's a real nice one made by Casio Social Club. For his track, Justin, pushed the electro pedal to the metal and switched the female choruses with vocoder filtered vocals and added warm synth sweeps. Anyway... "Bangkok" is a great electro funk track with 4/4 rhythms, hand claps, cool female choruses and catchy melodies. It has that cheesy atmosphere that it's perfect for a sexy dance.
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Artist: HYBOID
Title: Where Androids Come To Die
Format: 12"
Label: Astro Chicken (@)
Rated: *****
With his fist album "Aliens ate my Synthesizer!" we knew the most sidereal side of Sebastian Hübert. Tracks like the opening "Madhouse In Space Pt. I" were introducing us to the spacey side of Hyboid, thanks to dreamy melodies and 808 beats. With this new MLP titled WHERE ANDROIDS COME TO DIE, you're invited to attend to the funeral of a robot. As reported on the info sheet, this is the story behing the release: "On a quest for his ancestral roots our hero suffers a CPU arrest. Unable to recover, certain death is only a matter of time". Printed on a special deluxe cardboard, the cover reminds a funeral card and the seven tracks are perfect as its soundtrack. Despite all this funeral thing, I sincerely hope that this isn't meaning that Hyboid won't be no more, because I love both the albums. Musically, if until now Sebastian was using fast arpeggios and upbeat tempos, on all the tracks the rhythmic part is kinda bouncing and energetic but the atmosphere has turned dark and the arpeggios are slowed down, creating in this way, an hypnotic sound that it's captivating but if you want to check something great, put your needle on the final track "Requiem For Hyboid": it is touching and even if it is an instrumental one, it's like hearing thousands of unspoken words. With this MLP, Sebastian, took Hyboid toward new lands and he brought his music to level of people like Klaus Schulze. Rich textures, great analog sounds and catchy melodies will convince you to support this release... Get well soon cyborg!!!
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