Music Reviews



Jun 28 2013
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Artist: Deth Rok (@)
Title: Us & Them
Format: CD
Label: 13th Planet records (@)
Rated: *****
Deth Rok is the moniker used by NY-native Texas-based electronic artist Aaron Havill, a young electronic music producer, composer and engineer who has been working for Ministry's Al Jourgensen. Al's label is in fact the one who gave Aaron a chance and released his new CD "Us & Them" on his 13th Planet records. You shouldn't however except a Ministry clone or even an industrial-metal band. "US & Them" has no guitars or even distortions at all (except for maybe one track)... The music is more on the quieter side, although it has an underlaying sinister vein that pervades all the songs. Slow down-tempo electronica with a hoarse softly-spoken vocal parts whose themes fringe upon apocalyptic, political and cynical. The vocals actually are a pretty focal point here. Where most bands in the electronic genre might choose to hide their lyrics behind walls of saturation and screams, Havill makes the conscious choice of tackling uncomfortable topics and making sure what he thinks and says is actually intelligible and unadulterated. The sarcastic nature of the topics is futher exacerbated by samples of preachers talking about the end of the world, TV/radio commercials about medicine with really bad side effects and things like that. The slow pace and the articulation of his voice helps drive home the points he is making. Sure a lot of it is metaphoric and not necessarily matter-of-factual, but obviously the lyrics are important or the artist would not have chosen to include them in the digipack packaging.
If you are in the mood for some dark and sombre death-electronica give Deth Rok a spin, unless you are Eddie Kramer, you probably won't be disappointed!
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Artist: CoH (@)
Title: RETRO-2038
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
This record by Russian-born, but Sweden-based Ivan Pavlov (what a reminiscent surname...), whose nom de guerre is CoH - a word which should be pronounced as "son" and mean "dream" or "sleep" in Russian if you read it in Cyrillic -, could be described by an allusive paraphrase of the album title by Coil, a band Ivan might like: "Retro-2038", a title whose reference should be clear to many nerds and people dealing with computational bugs related to time counting, could be considered as a collection of new backwards or possibly old forwards. This specimen of retrofuturism or avant-primitivism seems to play cowboys and indians with the concept of future and past, as if it was inspired by the defilement of a disused robotic prototype, who sounds rewired in the initial track "Retrotech Overture": the electric hiss, the reactivation of logical circuits and even a feeling of dizziness that even machines could experience after a prolonged "coma" have been mirrored by CoH before the playful electronic tingling of the following "Bugs Build A House", where the merry micromelody rejigs and gels with other sonic elements of the track, and the amazing analog/digital tic tacks of "Time To Time", where the binomial distribution of time scanning seems to emphasize the intrinsic logics of this record along the lines of an ambigous duality, which is even more stressed on the gleaming buzzers of entrancing low-frequencies of the following "On Wings Of Gravity". Crystalline drops over buzzing electronic bruises and shredded sequences oddly group together on "Aniki" and the beatless bleeping dance of "Disco Discrete". In spite of the dedication to Mika Vainio on the nubby glissando of "Vainio", "Retro-2038" sounds definitely less coarse-grained than CoH's previous releases, while the final "Method As Fun" is the peak which enshrines the declension of suprematist retro-futurism by this talented composer and his learned modulation of attacks and decays.
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Artist: Lyndsie Alguire
Title: Clair Obscur
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Time Released Sound (@)
Rated: *****
I'm not sure if there are some available copies of this interesting ambient release by Canadian pianist and soundscape chiseler Lyndsie Alguire yet, as Colin Herrick's Time Released Sound printed just 100 fingerprinted and handsigned 3inches CDR copies, but you can try as the listening experience this young musician signed sounds like a proper blow moulding from her inner soul. Out of curiosity, I had a listen to "Suspended Light", her previous album on Camomile records, and I can say that "Clair Obscur" could just remotely have been patterned on the above-mentioned release as it's less focused on piano and voice. Only one distant note resound in the initial "I Was Dreaming Of You", which sound like a self-tuning or I'd rather say a tuning on Self over interfering zephyrs. Piano melodies resurface on the following "You Used To Look Happy", where Lyndsie seems to find out a grotto inside her inner world where echoes of whispers of the voice of the above-mentioned Self are barely audible, and the radiantly aglow "The Twin Stones (Lovechain)", but it's on the final 10-minutes lasting track "All Possible Stories" that the dim light which sounds evoked by the title of this release, appears vividly sketched: piano flashlight-like melodies and supposedly sense of self got diluted by the somehow dramaticly emotional perception of the multitude in the guise of field recordings of murmuring voices. In the light of the intimate value of this release, the 8 polaroid prints taken by Lindsie's friend Mat Guerin have no sexual meaming, but they might portray the "naked" lingering on a disarming, but bewitching clear insight.
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Artist: The Exaltics
Title: Das Heise Experiment
Format: 12"
Label: Abstract Acid (@)
Rated: *****
Here we are, after three years from the latest album ("The Freefall" was released by Solar One Music on a double CD along with AS1's "Code Reference ") and after several EPs, finally we have a new The Exaltics album. Released by Abstract Form's sublabel Abstract Acid on LP and on CD (the CD has two bonus tracks "Siebenundzwanzig" and "Vier"), "Das Heise Experiment", brings to the attention of Robert Witschakowski's fans ten new tracks. If you followed CHAIN D.L.K. regularly, you'd realize that The Exaltics has been really active during the last couple of years and the thing that amaze me is that the music produced in this time span, has always reached high quality standards and I think that this is a sort of gift and also the fruit of a real passion. Anyway... Despite the fact that "Das Heise Experiment" has been released by Abstract Acid, don't wait for a release like the second part of "1000 Lights In The Sky", because on this album the acid elements are mostly TB-303 bass lines which are mixed to dark menacing atmospheres. Already the opening track "Neun" is a manifesto of the release as we have drone pads, robotic powerful drumming, dissontant distant arpeggios and acid bass lines. Robert decided to mix all the elements creating, in this way, a uniform track list as it was a sort of soundtrack where techno, acid and dark electro form a sound which is capable of catch the listener immediately. Tiny melodic lines are used to hypnotize as well as subtle noises and powerful rhythms are used as weapons of mass destruction! This album is a blast and I suggest you to reserve one of the 300 copies of the LP or one of the 100 CDs.
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Artist: Spaceheads (@)
Title: Sun Radar EP
Format: CD
Label: Electric Brass Records (@)
Rated: *****
First of a series of three EP on their label Electric Brass, "Sun Radar EP" seals the relished comeback of another glorious duo of early 90ies pioneers of live looping, the Spaceheads by Andy Diagram, who warms many alternative and leftfield acts by the sound of his engaging trumpet, and Richard Harrison on drums. I'd say they could be awaken by recent intense solar activity - maybe some solar flares or some neutrino storms - after nearly 10 years from their last tour over USA and Europe and nine amazing albums where they whiskied sugar-coated funky pills, high-spirited fanfares, psychotropic electronics and sci-fi floaters in their alembics. On this appetizer, they come in peace shrouded in an uproariously hippy-like aura with four amazing tracks - their playful approach to music could be gathered by the same duration of each track (around 3 minutes and 30 seconds): the initial "Sun Radar" ignites the boogie by a funky trumpet, a friction drum they made from a Moet Chandon ice bucket, playthings, a gripping groove whereas the following "Atomic Clock" seems to translate the downfall of nuclear age in their own musical words and "Miles to go" frivolously evokes a carefree journey by an uplifting rhythmical pattern, an overjoyed trumpet, a foot-loose whispering and scattering of echoes and delays. The final "North of the Border" gradually takes wing over smoother sounds and gentle drum brushes before gaining altitude. These half-serious missionaries of peace perfectly know how to make music carom over eardrums and joints.
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