Music Reviews



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Artist: Movement Ten (@)
Title: Movement Ten
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
We have here the debut release of a British duo consisting of the music-producer Shadowless Man and vocalist The Sweet Chap. Why they feel the need to hide behind pseudonyms you ask? Well, I really don't know, also their web resources don't offer too much information. However, what counts is the music, and after consuming the self-titled debut of them, I really don't see a reason to hide anything. 'Movement Ten' is a self-produced and self-released 10-tracker, which provides some well-sounding and interesting arranged content to the Electropop-/New Wave-/Alternative-scene. 'Gravity', also released as being the first single out of this album, opens this album and they couldn't have chosen any better one. A catchy song progression with subtle insertions of Electronica- / acoustic-guitar elements and a pure, natural sounding male vocal performance in vein of 'James Blunt meets Synthpop' opens the hearts of the fainted listener. The ongoing tracks are sort of straighter produced: 'Machine Girl' surprises with a robotic sound-effect on the vocals, while 'BWK' celebrates straightness through its pummeling kick drum. One of the best tunes of this overall quite promising album is the Synth-/Futurepop-related 'FTBIA' with its melodic chorus, well-done vocals and its machinated beat-work. Not too much impressed with both following tunes, the marching samples of 'One Hundred Percent' are storming in until the slow Breakbeats starts to lead the scenario. I enjoyed those warm Kraftwerk-ish synthesizer-pads woven into an arpeggio-environment to rule the chorus. 'Monochrome' with its acoustic-guitar undertones is the next one and will represent the bands' third single release after 'Gravity' and 'BWK'. Last track worth a mention is the sugar-sweet album-closer 'Moon Palace', with beautiful male vocals provided in a higher Erasure-like register. Movement Ten are one of the most promising newcomers lately discovered of the British Independent-scene. This album proves a wide taste for musically diversity of the protagonists and leaves enough room for several, similar interesting sounding follow-up releases. Good work, keep it on!
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Artist: Traffic A.M.
Title: Left Behind Left Within
Format: 12"
Label: Seja Records (@)
Distributor: Seja Records
Rated: *****
Where the fuck have I heard about Traffic A.M. before? It isn't their debut because this Cologne-based duo has already released a CD signed to the German label Plastic Frog Records. The music of Michel Kissing and Stefan Gonser sounds like a long missed friend as they give a flying fuck on the recent efforts and inventions of the pseudo-Goth/Electro-kids. There is a huge amount of nostalgia and 80s-inpired mood integrated to their music, reviews of them often picked-up relations to The Cure and/or Joy Division. Here stands surely a fair amount of truth behind, but since we so-called music journalists are always searching for the right shelf to sort music-projects into, I was about to throw in additionally names like Poesie Noire and melodic-sounding Neon Judgement as possible quells of inspiration to the ring. To cut that short: Traffic A.M. play a sort of Electronica-driven Dark Wave music, which can find influences with already established projects, but it is far away of being a faceless try to copy. Signed to the Netherlands-based label Seja Records, this vinyl-only release (!!!) limited to 300 exemplars is a goody not to be missed. The attractive, mostly calm and Electropop-inspired synthesizer arrangements as well as the Wave-influenced guitar inserts got perfectly united with Stefan Gonser's natural and melodic sounding vocal performance. This duo knows the right registers to entertain: they avoid musically any hectic of the rushing times, although their lyrical content reflects pretty much socio-critical content. The Post-Industrial / Neo-Wave flame is alive and kicking with them, and even if they fall into the trap to get very close to already known EBM-related themes ('Subway Story (Repetition)'), they still proof to find an elegant way out of it. 8 tracks for you to consume pressed on high-quality vinyl and to me especially that warm, analogue sound of the needle of your record-player strengthens the overall good impression of this release. Traffic A.M. want their music to speak for itself - the music speaks wisely in this case, so hurry up and purchase this records - only 300 available exemplars are faster gone than you can think of...
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Artist: Voide (@)
Title: Electric Jungle
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
After the teaser freebie 'Agents and Radios', the Swedish Electronica-producer David Almgren releases his all new studio album. With 'Electric Jungle', David continues to explore his vision to produce attractive, spacey, futuristic-sounding Synthesizer-Electronica music, which is still authentic enough to avoid a dangerous approach to any Pop-related meaninglessness. After a dark sounding introduction, the title track comes up and features all of David's talent discovered through previous 4 album releases. Also again involved is his female partner behind the microphone, Mrs. M. Craven, and she does her best to provide a smooth and warm sounding vocal performance to oppose with David's cold and mechanic Electronica efforts. Both, Craven and Almgren, have teamed up a while back and know each others talent well. Wouldn't be there such a huge distance between Sweden and Australia, they could have been united for a real band project. Also 'Haunted House' works excellent with both talents included and it isn't at all that 'haunting' as the title may suggests. This track can be counted asides the hit smashing tune 'I Am There' and the already known, earlier released 'Side By Side' to be the most important tracks available on this album. In between we have again David's own instrumental compositions. 'Green Solitude' impresses with its nearly Lounge-/Late-Night-Electronica inspired instrumentation, while 'For Savannah' could work well as being the title-melody of a sports TV-broadcast format. 'Electric Jungle' consumed as a whole album doesn't leave any wishes of the listener unfulfilled, in case that Synth-/Futurepop-inspired Electronica music with a Spacesynth-undertone counts to your preferences. Unfortunately this album ends abruptly after only 37 minutes, which is definitely a bit too short. 2 - 3 more tracks available on this well designed album (art/photos by Are Eidet, www.areeidet.com) wouldn't hurt any of the listeners, because none of the featured 12 tracks sounds unattractive or provides boredom. Christmas we've just survived, but I still have wishes: more stuff and a lesser short pause for the next album, Mr. Almgren!
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Artist: Plastic Noose (@)
Title: Zu Allen
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
This Scottish Electro/Industrial project was one of the revelations available on the both Juggernaut Services-compilations 'Moving Mountains' and 'Calming Cyclones', so thanks to the help of Mr. Nick Quarm I'll be able to take a listen to this promising debut release. Plastic Noose consists mainly of Alan Emslie responsible for all musically requirements and decisions. He receives here and there the helping hand of David Irvine providing some snatching guitar riffs. 'Zu Allen' is a 7-track mini-album, which includes both Juggernaut-compilation appearances 'Road To Perdition' and of course the title-track 'Zu Allen'. The music of Plastic Noose reminds pretty much on the work of some Industrial-/Coldwave-artists active mostly during the mid-90ies in the USA: Carbon 12, early-16 Volt, Society Burning, Hate Dept. and related can be called quells of inspiration, although Plastic Noose manages hard to offer authenticity with the integration of darker, more haunting song structures ('Snow King', 'Before The Lord'). This works out generally quite well: the music has a raw foundation thanks to the often pitched and fx-manipulated bass-guitar performance of Alan, plus his natural, mostly very angry sounding vocals are fitting excellent to create his own sound environment. Both compilation appearances can be called to be the highlights of this album, but also 'Lie Back' with its marching snare drum performance, or the more than 9 minutes striking and through different moods stalking last tune 'This Is Not A Game' are worth to mention. 'Zu Allen' is a crafty produced debut of a promising up and coming artist, who has been clever enough to see a niche, where he could fill in his talent the best. Plastic Noose does not produce stuff for the faint-hearted audience expecting the smoothness of a Pop-Music related song structure. But if you have the will to take a trip into a dark and cold sounding Industrial- / Coldwave-experience, you'll be able to discover these 7 pearls provided by this talented artist.
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Artist: Cold Design
Title: Ckopo Aeto (Summer Will Soon Be Here)
Format: CD
Label: Electrica Caelestis / Shadowplay Records (@)
Distributor: Casus Belli Musica
Rated: *****
This is a Russian release by the both labels Electrica Caelestis and the well-known Goth-label Shadowplay Records. This promotional package has seemingly had a bizarre course taken by snail mail, the stamps of the envelope are based from the first half of this year, but I received it a few weeks ago. By freeing the CD out of its unique packaging the surprise was on the side of the responsible art-worker for this release. It's a real goody with a high glossy, folded cardboard packaging including a huge poster with the both protagonists Al_Ex and Mar_La. The art is filled with black/white photos of tanks, soldiers, KGB officers, general Military, and related. So my expectations have turned to get another newbie producing Harsh-EBM/Hellectro or a rather Military/Neo-Classic/Dark Ambient producing project. Luckily they have included an information sheet, which actually offers English translations of the content including a track-list. They call their music style Combat Electro-Goth and are singing complete in Russian language, so also the lyrics printed on the back side of the poster are completely printed in Cyrillic letters. This is still a problem for us at Chain D.L.K., as we are not able to provide reviews in its original Cyrillic letters. The music is a fair mutation between Electro with a driving kick and snare work and a Goth-related pathos. Military elements can be noticed here and there too, marching snare drums, some war trumpets, or military voice-samples are the chosen ingredients. Most outstanding, but also most unusual element in the music of this Voronezh-based duo, is the vocal performance of band-leader Al_Ex. He sings like a classic-trained tenor and offers a full scale of emotion for sure, but since this isn't the daily routine of an often discovered vocal style, one needs to get used to it in the first instance. Cold Design offer a well constructed third album (limited to 555 numbered copies), which deserves respect for its kind and crafty progression, though it will be a hard cake to bite for them to score against international-based rivals.
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