Music Reviews



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Artist: THE HUNTERS
Title: Hands On Fire
Format: CD EP
Label: Aagoo Records
Rated: *****
The Hunters are a band hailing from Brooklyn/N.Y. formed by singers/guitarists Derek Watson and Isabel Almeida. Their E.P. HANDS ON FIRE is out on Aagoo Records and contains five new tracks. As far as I know this is their first official release and it fill its fifteen minutes with derailing guitars, tribal drumming and boy/girl duets. Mixed by Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and produced by former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha, The Hunters deliver tracks that are a mix of Sonic Youth and the Vaselines: a sort of N.Y. punk with shoegaze attitude. "Deadbeat", "Noisybitch" or "Headache" are tracks that are capable to be immediate, powerful and melodic. A nice surprise that you can check in its entirety here http://huntersny.bandcamp.com/album/hands-on-fire
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Artist: Minerve (@)
Title: Repleased
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Many gigs around Germany, mainly as a support band for the notorious synthpop and EBM And One, together with important names of the scene such as Camouflage and DE/VISION (arguably the stylistically closer band to the sound of Minerve), and this double-cd collection issued by Echozone properly crown an excellent year for musical career and growth of Minerve, mainly due to the long wave generated by the issue of the remarkable album Pleased in 2010. As you can easily guess, Repleased is a remix-album, but its tight connection with the above-mentioned miliar stone of their discography as well as the purpose has been partially mirrored by the order of the tracks, which is the same of the European edition of Pleased (there's also a Russian one with just some little differences in the tracklist), with the mere difference of the inclusion of a cover version of Eurythmics'"Here Comes The Rain", so that even if the twelve remixers got fun in playing as make-up artists, most of melodic structures stayed quite similar to the sources instead of most of them winked at the dancefloors, being my favorites those moments when cosmetics get so acid that they manage to burn the skin, such as the ones used by Stum on "Down To The Ground" (arguably delighting some Depeche Mode lovers) and For A Space vs. Destroid remix of "Life Is An Illusion" (looking like a sleight-of-hand by Funkstorung or Funckarma!), the dark grey paint of Lakeside X on "Read In My Memories", the nice atomizing of "Please"'s samples by Liquid Divine (my favorite remix) and those techno-pop regurgitations used by Mechanical Apfelsine on "Under My Skin". The second cd is a bonus including all tracks from previous singles - available mainly on digital till now - and it's rich of some funny stuff and good vibes such as Evvilking mix of "Hold Me Tight", demo versions of "Hold Me Tight" and "Down To The Ground", the pretty chilling tech tunes of Seabound's Frank M.Spinath on "In love with an open end", whose sound looks like a time travel to those years when Humate's or Paul van Dyk's techno-trance filled floors, and the lovely ballad "I Welcome The Rain", whose vocal interpretation by Richard Bjorklund of Spektralized adds that sense of dazed grace which manages to emphasize Minerve's skills in evoking deep emotional sets.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Strange Tales From The Future Vol.3
Format: 12"
Label: Solar One Music
Rated: *****
Solar One Music is back with a new vinyl release and this time it's the the third volume of the "Strange Tales From The Future" series. It contains two songs each by Luke Eargoggle/Johan Inkinen (Stilleben, Lunar Disko), Kan3da (Stilleben, Transient Force), Oestral (SOM, Black Montanas) and Weltwirtschaft (Dominance Electricity, Kommando 6). Basically is like having four singles packed into a single release. Weltwirtschaft opens the dances with "Invention", a track with dark atmospheres and electro techno intuitions. Luke Eargoggle with Johan Inkinen (the same duo who is active as Faceless Mind) is next with "The Highest Height", a bleeping kinda mysterious tune which has their characteristic analog sound we already love. Oestral's first track is titled "Vade Retro" which is kinda obsessive 4/4 as it evolves around a looping melody where other synth short arpeggios are added. Side A is closed by Kan3da with "Mm", another bleeping track (that could be a consequence of being Swedish, maybe) which is halfway from the robotic and the acid sound. On Side B we have the band sequence messed up. It is opened by Eargoggle/Inkinen with "Empathy Window", a fast syncopated tune that gives me the idea that it could fit the closing titles of an 80s movie. "Robocop takes Miami" could be its title. Oestral is next with "Sarah Or Rahema" a track that sounds almost nightmarish thanks to its hissing background sounds. Weltwirtschaft on "Evighet" mixes again electro and a bit of techno using also stop and go and analog bleeping effects. Kan3da is the last one with "Stupid", a mix of robotic analog sounds and late 70s electronic music. This is another Solar One Music fine release. Check some samples at the label's website.
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Artist: THE MICRONAUT
Title: Friedfisch
Format: CD
Label: Acker Records
Rated: *****
Out on Acker Records at the end of January 2012, FRIEDFISCH is the first album for The Micronaut. Actually I don't know who's behind this moniker but the thirteen tracks of the album shows a different way to approaching electronic sounds as he, supposing that there's only one person behind these sounds, uses samples and synth sounds to create a moving/emotional music background that then it's enriched by acoustic sounds. Take, for example, "Karausche": it has a sort of dubstep midtempo rhythm core with acoustic guitar parts, piano inserts and synth samples. Everything is mixed to for a gentle atmosphere where the use of melody is well balanced. "Schleie", instead, mix ambient recordings with samples taken from the Misteres Des Voix Bulgares records, electro beats and acoustic guitar arpeggios. All the tracks tend to mix different elements that go from strings to concrete noises (like on "Asche") passing from deep synth bass sounds or glitches (like on "Mairenke"). The link between all the tracks is the overall atmospheres which is gentle and soft but including also upbeat rhythms.
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Artist: Unease (@)
Title: Mind The Gloom
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Seemingly a newcomer with a self-released 7-track EP, this Swedish duo consisting of Tommy Falk and Patrik Lark surprises with its smooth sound-outfit somewhere between Depeche Mode, Ultravox and/or New Order. These prominent global players are the idols for them, although it needs a bit more development and polishing, until Tommy and Patrik will be able to reach more recognition. Unease are producing a sound strongly dedicated to Alternative/Electronica music featuring a good, warm sounding vocalist, which gets mostly supported by acoustic guitar insertions. Not completely my cup of tea, plus not completely flawless, but the talent is like a raw diamond pressed onto a silver plastic circle, which spins some rounds in my home entertainment. What I generally miss is a bit more variation in their kind of composing and their choice of sound design. Their song structures, of course only presented on these 7 tracks, are a bit repetitive and mostly based in a slow, up to a mid-tempo ranging area. The lyrics are filled with melancholy, which fits to the music. These 7 tracks don't offer anything which could additionally work on the dancefloors - and here hides the problem. If Unease decide to start to write an everlasting club smash-hit, which additionally could be able to impress the more Pop-music based audience, then I tend to say, that they could start a well doing career. Thumb up though for their tasteful artwork, which looks surprisingly professional for a self-released product. This review ends with the short comment 'not poppy enough', but whoever knows what will be with their next release? This duo has definitely a good talent, so let's see and hear, which course they will take'¦
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