Music Reviews



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Artist: ITT
Title: The Star Ruby
Format: CD
Label: Pale Noir (@)
Rated: *****
When I got this package, my first thought was 'great ' black metal.' Look at the cover. Pentacle. Check. Song titles like 'Atrocity' and 'Invoke Necro.' Check. As such, I was pleasantly surprised. The label describes the band as 'Noise echos and ghost drones from this dark and bloody ground'¦ I' ' is a lo-fi hypersigil casting spells in various mediums. The name itself is a sigil for magickal workings, but if it must be pronounced it is eyedoublecross.' Well, it is definitely lo-fi. Almost too lo-fi. For example, 'Invoke Necro' becomes a bit repetitive with the delay and echo chamber effects and 'Catacombs' went on a bit too long with little progression. But other parts are pleasantly noisy and much better than I thought it would be. So sometimes you can't judge an album by its cover. If you like your noise droney and minimally processed, this may be worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 39 minutes.
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Artist: Sunday Strain
Title: Destiny.Done
Format: CD
Label: Wrotycz (@)
Rated: *****
I got this in a package with Contagious Orgasm and Kadaver on the same label, so I was pretty surprised when I put this in the player. For those unfamiliar, Contagious Orgasm is an absolutely amazing noise performer. However, this sounded more akin to mid 1990s Cleopatra Records gothic pop. I had not heard of Sunday Strain, but it seems to have been a side project of Llovespell (who I had also not heard of). The label describes the album as a 'sophisticated electronic music with admixture of pop elements and dark atmosphere.' The opening track, 'Temporary Files,' did not really sell me on the album. I began wondering if they had sent this to Chain DLK by mistake. However, it begins to get interesting as it progresses. By the time we get to the final track, 'Autumn Waves,' the sound is much darker and more ethereal. Overall, I found this to be a mixed bag. I get the sense that their next album will be much more interesting as they find their niche. This album weighs in at around 48 minutes.
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Artist: Rant (@)
Title: Land
Format: CD
Label: Schraum (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this duo, but this is their third album. Here's how the label describes the album: 'Merle Bennett on drums and Torsten Papenheim on guitar, explore the various possibilities of the duo: concrete statements and abstract sounds, exploding and imploding while never losing the thread. This play creates the perfect balance between precision and looseness, groove and sound, describing their musical world in form and colour.' Imagine if you took the multitrack recording of a typical song, and then broke it into its component tracks. Now slow it down and play them one at a time. This is kind of the feel that I got in listening to Rant. This is pretty stripped down improvisation, but there is a logic to it. I was particularly impressed with the complexity of the drummer here. But for the most part, I found this to be just a bit too sparse and slow moving. The complexity could certainly be there, but the guitar parts dominate with a simplicity that didn't seem to work (e.g., Luen). There are some bright spots, such as 'Orlando,' which is reminiscent of some shoegazer pop. This album weighs in at around 33 minutes.
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Artist: noisepoetnobody & Vance Galloway
Title: Uranium 238
Format: CD
Label: Lens Records (@)
Rated: *****
I have become quite enamored with Lens Records. Whenever I wind up with something from them in my mailbox, I know that it will at least be interesting. This is a difficult album to describe and the press release was not much help either. On his website, noisepoetnobody lists as influences such bands as Psychic TV, The Legendary Pink Dots, Scorn, Hafler Trio, Download, Dead Voices on Air, Muslimgauze and Coil, and in this case you can actually tell. Perhaps the best way to describe this album is subdued experimental. Take a mix of drones, toys, and bits of noise, shake it up, and apply liberally. I found this to be wonderful background music while I was grading papers. If you want your experimental music to be peaceful instead of noisy, this is the release for you. Quite enjoyable. This album weighs in at around 50 minutes.
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Artist: Mana ERG
Title: Idiosyncratic
Format: CD
Label: XBDA (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of Mana ERG, so I did some searching and found an interview with Chain DLK in which they cite The Residents, Clock DVA, My Bloody Valentine, Laibach and Recoil as their influences. Now the band is down to Bruno de Angelis (not to be confused with the fashion designer) and a few guest musicians. This is pretty standard electronica with a fair amount of samples. I'm not quite sure the samples really work here, but the music is pleasant. There are definitely overtones of Clock DVA's Digital Soundtracks here, but not quite as dark. The samples are the only vocals. This album weighs in at around 42 minutes.
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