Music Reviews



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Artist: Revenant Cult (@)
Title: Spectral Heresy
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
What a nice initiative: Revenant Cult's bombastic track 'Spectral Heresy' has seemingly turned out to be a permanent recognized floor filler and has received good reactions of both press and listeners. So this 5-track CD EP is kind of a reward for their loyal fans and compiles several versions of the most matured track by the Australian duo Jess and Julian Nichols composed so far. Strictly limited to only 36 numbered and autographed exemplars means that all collectors including me (Thank you, Nick) can be proud of to hold this extremely limited item in their hands. The physical CD release is of course completely sold out now, while the digital download can be still purchased via their Bandcamp web resource. The long, uncut version of 'Spectral Heresy' is to me unbeatable, no matter how prominent the names of the foreign remix contributors are. Listening to this fine worked-out Futurepop-tune with its compelling female vocals of Jess Nichols after their highly praised appearance on the Juggernaut compilation 'Calming Cyclones' is still purest entertainment. That counts also for the music of this straight and pretty dancefloor-oriented tune with its well chosen sound-design including the orchestral synth pads. As for the remixes you'll get some remarkable appearances: Tom Shear's omni-present project Assemblage 23 convinces with different bass lines and more dancefloor-compatibility than the original already offers, while the Blast Radius 'Scarlet Light Remix' celebrates depth with huge hall reverb-effects. Studio-X offer a remix in their Industrial-Trance style, while the Aeon Club-Mix compresses this great tune to an ideal length for radio airplay. Half of an hour the same track and it never gets boring. The problem now for this Australian duo is, that they have to manage hard to satisfy my increasing expectations with their hopefully soon to be released album.
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Artist: Break/Fields, Hydro, Mako & Villem
Title: Music Is Better/Celestine
Format: 12"
Label: Symmetry Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
This summer pill from Symmetry Records follows on the heels of last Break's shot "Steamtrain" with a couple of fresh courses. Label boss Break adds his own sonic ingredients and his heavyweight imprint into "Music Is Better", a summer cocktail of uplifting soulful vocals, mellow funk chord progression and sparkling sonorities whose refrigerating freshness got counterbalanced by incandescent weft of dirty bass and blazing drums, which usually spew from Break's machines for an amazing elange of slush, spume, grenades and grenadine, while on the flipside, the cocktail is merely stylistical as eight hands knead beats and sounds on an awesome and pressing roller, "Celestine", where you'll easily recognize the contribution of each artist: charming atmospheres by Hydro and cristal clear snapping slaps by Villem got cemented by dogged funk and heavy bass chains by Fields and Mako.
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Artist: Dax J (@)
Title: Dreamscape EP
Format: 12"
Label: Monnom Black
Distributor: Triple Vision
Rated: *****
First ring of a possibly addictive and supposedly long chain from brand new London-based label Monnom Black comes directly from his owner Dax J, who gained in popularity for his interesting attempts of shaking underground UK techno scene up by catchy sonic engines, which begun to spread more assiduously till the moment he co-signed with Chris Stanford the first release on the acclaimed EarToGround Records. The first track "Planet X" could resemble some trodden tracks of 90ies dark techno-trance emulsions from Northern Europe (particularly from Holland and Belgium...I could mention Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia, Riou, Ra-X or GF), where a somewhat oppressive compression of pumping beats and echo chords hypnotically melts into industrial sonorities such as distant turbines, slammed laminas and oxidized sonorities; "Planet X" remix by Uk techno legend Mark Broom follows the same route, even if Broom highlights his own sonic imprint by means of pulverized hats, blown snares and frenzied mechanical dynamics. On B side, the sound veers towards the raspy acridity and gunky chords of "Alpha Rhythm" and the old-fashioned nuances of "Dreamscape", which reprises some sounds from old British rave scene. Ignition sequence started.
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Artist: Andy-Moor & Anne-James Chaton (@)
Title: TRANSFER
Format: CD
Label: Unsounds (@)
Rated: *****
We already introduced some parts of TRANSFER, the fecund collaborative project about the themes of transportation and transition by The Ex's guitarist Andy Moor and spoken-word poet Anne-James Chaton, whose creative secretions have been impressed upon four vinyls whose side A got built on real or factual information or material (metro maps, major plane crashes, notorious news report such as the deaths of Princess Diana and Grace Kelly) and side B on fiction or fantasy (including Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days", Agatha Christie's "Murder On The Orient Express" and so on) as their mental glands, which got hopped-up by many different and almost casual real or fictional sources of inspiration, emitted them. Unsounds finally bundled them in one full-length, which gives the listener the possibility to appreciate all the stages of this awesome modular project, which combines spoken words by the "rhythmic" and somewhat burdensome Chaton's voice and a sonic style, whose concision runs parallel to its intimate mesmeric hook coming from a balanced dosage of obscure beats, smokey cinematic atmosphere, guitar riffs and loops, live samples and abstract noise. Three previously unreleased tracks have been added as well, including the "USA" version of "Metro", "Journey On The Pequod", inspired by Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" (the fictional side) and "Journal d'un Naufrage", inspired by the sinking of Titanic (the factual side).
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Artist: Parallel Worlds & Dave Bessell (@)
Title: Morphogenic
Format: CD
Label: DiN (@)
Rated: *****
This is my second review of a Parallel Worlds collaboration, the first being a while back with their 'Exit Strategy' collaboration with Ian Boddy. You probably already know of Parallel Worlds, the project name of Bakis Sirros from Greece. Dave Bessell has been active in the field of popular music for many years, he also studied classical composition and orchestration at the Royal College of Music, jazz guitar with John Etheridge, holds a Doctorate in Music and currently teaches Music and Music Technology at Plymouth University. He may be best known as a member of the electronic group, Node, along with Flood, Gary Stout and Ed Buller. In a sense, 'Morphogenic' could be considered a 'dream team' for this type of electronic music. Just a quick look at the equipment used on the album ' Bakis Sirros: Euro/Doepfer, Serge, Buchla 200e modulars, MS20, Odyssey, Xpander, 4Voice, string machines and software. Dave Bessell: Macbeth M5n, Gibson Les Paul & custom software. (Ed Buller plays Moog Modular on one track- 'Heterodyne'.) You just know there are going to be some interesting sounds here.

'Morphogenic' is not just interesting sounds, but elaborate compositions that although varied, have a similar vein running throughout. While a good part of it seems to be amorphous and abstract, there are plenty of defined moments ' massive, weighty and grand themes; inventive and propulsive rhythms; wonderful sequencer work; dramatic orchestration, and more. The overly-used term 'cinematic' comes to mind but 'Morphogenic' is far more space music than soundtrack, although some themes employed on it could be considered motion-picturesque. Bessell's guitar work on the album is a perfect blending in the context of this kind of electronic music (something Edgar Froese never could get quite right with Tangerine Dream) adding power, depth and dimension, not just soloing over the top. Overall, 'Morphogenic' is a dense and heavy listen; a multilayered journey into the unknown that may have you exploring the outermost regions of your consciousness. Majestic, spiritual, sublime ' Parallel Worlds and Dave Bessell seem to have created the perfect environment for analogue space synth freaks to explore on visits that are bound to be return trips. The album was mastered by Ian Boddy and copies are limited to only 500 so get it while you can.
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