Music Reviews



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Artist: Inter-Connection
Title: Life
Format: CD
Label: A Different Drum
Rated: *****
"Life" is the third album by Inter-Connection and it's their second one to be released on the A Different Drum's VIP series. As for the other releases of this series, three hundred copies have been printed, two hundred sent to the subscribers plus one hundred have been delivered to the band. Inter-Connection are formed by three members who live in three different countries and whom write their music sharing sounds and ideas through the net. Revital Ben Hemo, vocals, is from Acco/Israel, Giuseppe Calandrini, vocals and lyrics, is from Rome/Italy and Rene' Tebbe, composer, producer, synths, is from Hannover/Germany. I read on their Facebook page that they already have finished their fourth album "Strange World" and that they are looking for a label, but let's focus on "Life" now... The album contains twelve tracks and one remix (to tell the truth I dunno if they sent me some extra tracks as the rear album cover on their website has eleven tracks on it) and it's in balance from catchy synth-pop with dance influences, electronic melancholic ballads and cool dark electro pop tunes. The album opens with one catchy one sung by Revital, titled "Synthetic Love". This one, along with "Tie Me Up" (one of the dancey ones), "Traveling" and "How Do You Feel" for me are the highlights of the album but there are also tracks like "Nightmare" (an electro ebm/synth pop monster made out of hard beats and bouncy bass lines), "Red Lights" (a nice synthpop song in balance from 80s and 90s) or "Gone Bad" (an electro dance anthem sounding so Swedish 90s synthpop) which will satisfy your synthpop needs.
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Artist: Ubik (@)
Title: Circadian Rhythm, Sleep Disorder
Format: CD
Label: FARMACIA901 (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Farmacia901 is, according to the press release, dedicated to "sleeping disorders. ['¦] Insomnia is the most common among the most known and clinically studied disorders. ['¦] It consists in awakening only with the mind, while for some time the body remains asleep". Musically speaking this is resolved with heavily processed guitar aiming to reach almost ethereal atmospheres.
The longest track "Irregular Sleep Wake (Tryptophan)" opens this release in a quiet way until the guitar take the scene with his delay above a glitchy beat. "Delayed Sleep Phase (Melatonin)" use sparse notes and carefully chosen effects while "Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (Light Therapy)" uses, instead, reverbs and resonances to depict the dreamy atmosphere of this album. "Hypnic Jerk (Zeitgeber)" is based on almost irregular rhythms while "Suprachiamastic Nucleus (Barbiturates)" is a drone acting as a canvas for the guitar to color. "Sleep Paralysis (Amitriptyline)" feature an hypnotic guitar loop below the small noises and the guitar notes. "Bruxism (Biofeedback) close this release in a fully restructured mode as guitar and effects are in a fully dialectical mode.
Instead of being a mere window dressing, the linear notes are a way to enter into the complex musical offer of this artist. In my opinion, this is one of the albums of the year. Recommanded.

p.s.: all the track are denoted with this scheme: Disorder (name of the therapy)
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Artist: Ossie (@)
Title: Ignore
Format: 12"
Label: Hyperdub
Rated: *****
Unlike many other beatmasters, East London-based producer and dj Ossie Aneke doesn't suffer from artistic incontinence, but he mostly likes to ration energies in order to concentrate them and his remarkable panache on true sonorhythmical gemstones, so that he still manages to stand out of an overcrowded scene, which finds it hard to let emerge authentic talents due to the proliferation of releases, which normally tag along the sound in vogue. Ossie seems to prefer the "little but good" policy and after a couple of successful hits - "Tarantula" and "Set the Tone" -, he comes back with a pair of impressive tracks: both of them are still imbued with garage-house sonorities, but beside the captivating beat-juggling on wisely built rhythmical patterns, mainly lying on back-and-forth broken beats and amazing shuffles, Ossie dashes some catchy preciosities. On "Ignore (Yes I Did)", a song about the battle games between opposite sexes, performed by Tilz on mic, Ossie adds pungent acidolous basslines and rolling snare drums to rise dynamics, while on B-sided "Find It", he sticks a Balearic guitar arpeggio on the pan-fried sequence of chords and effected vocals, which let play at full gallop in the end after he tried to draw in the reins. Proper stuff to let dancehalls wiggle on.
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Artist: Fescal (@)
Title: Alchemical Wanderings
Format: CD
Label: Time Released Sound (@)
Rated: *****
Fescal (real name David Suyeong) is an experimental musician and producer of audio, self-taught graphic designer, photographer and visual creator residing north of Seoul, South Korea. Classically trained as a musician, Fescal has worked with various forms of exploratory media for a number of years and plans to continue to do so in the future. The first thing you'll notice about 'Alchemical Wanderings' is the elaborate packaging. It comes in a see through anti static bag with hand-stamped metallic tag. (Something you'd expect to get an electronic component in, like a circuit board or hard-drive.) It also comes with a 5'³ screw capped pyrex test tube containing a secret TRS blend of semi precious and precious metals, glass and other transposed particulate matter, litmus paper, periodic table of elements, and instructions for 'Exercise 73,' Qualitative Separation of Lead, Silver and Mercury. The CD itself comes in a hand-worked black digipak. This package is numbered and limited to only 100. (Mine was #7, if you care.)

Science kit aside (although it makes a nice collectible) the album is ambient much in the way of Alio Die, Vidna Obmana, and maybe to an extent Brian Eno, and yet in places unlike them too. While not dealing strictly in drone, the album has an overall placid feel with elongated sustain of atmospheres that can be construed as drone-like. There is one long track (50:30) comprised of episodes with brief space between them. There is enough variety between these ambiences to keep things interesting and non-monotonous. In fact, as drone-based ambient albums go, this one leans toward the superb side. There is only one problem- throughout the album is the (faux) sound of vinyl on a turntable, as if you're listening to a record instead of a CD, or a record that was transferred to CD. Purists may find this quite annoying. On my first listen I found it so distracting that it was all I could think about. I remembered why I stopped listening to my ambient albums on vinyl, as over time the snap, crackle, pop just became a nuisance and distraction. I'm sure it was Fescal's intention to incorporate the vinyl listening experience into the sound of 'Alchemical Wanderings,' but to me it seems as though the purpose would have been better served releasing it on record rather than disc and let it occur naturally. The one advantage is that it won't get any worse or more predominant as it could on vinyl. If the music wasn't so subtle I could abide it, but there is no question that the stylus-on-plastic effect cannot be easily overlooked. Perhaps over time and repeated listenings one may become used to it, but I for one would have preferred a cleaner sound.

Still, this is a worthy effort, and probably worth owning as its limited release and unusual packaging will assure this one increases in value over time.
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Artist: Necro Deathmort (@)
Title: The Colonial Script
Format: CD
Label: Distraction Records (@)
Rated: *****
AJ Cookson and Matthew Rozeik are back with another Necro Deathmort album titled 'The Colonial Script' traveling even darker and heavier terrain than they did in 2010's 'Music of Bleak Origin'. For those into doom metal, this is an extraordinary treat. First track 'Imperial' has no vocals but it serves as the perfect opening to this exercise in anguish. Beginning atmospherically, it rises into a tempest of torment before settling into a majestic pageant of saturninity. It lurches, stops, and starts again like some irradiated behemoth out of a Japanese sci-fi movie. The wailing vocals surface in the much slower 'Led to the Water' drowning in a roiling sea of sonic despondency. 'Endless Vortex' just builds and builds with creepy malevolence like an unstoppable monster stalker intent on crushing every obstacle in its path to get to you. You have no idea...

'Wretched Hag' is primarily a black ambient piece, cinematic in its spaciousness, yet oppressive in its atmosphere. 'Arrows' sounds much more band-like than some of the prior material on 'The Colonial Script,' and even Trent Reznor in his deepest fit of howling rage couldn't conjure this kind of wall of woe. Vocals and lyrics on this track come courtesy of Eliza Gregory. She ably proves she's no shrinking violet (shrieking violet might be more like it) easily going toe-to-toe with the Necro Deathmort boys. 'Shadows of Reflections of Ghosts Past' seethes with an undercurrent of doom, but pacing of the drums and the restraint exercised by Necro Deathmort on this track gives the impression of detachment, as if witnessing some truly ugly horror from afar. 'Theme From Escape' is nearly as traditionally doom metal as it gets on this album, but the next track, 'Starbeast' is somewhat its antithesis, exploring uncharted regions of hyperspace with moving percussion in nearly 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' fashion, and the electronics don't disappoint either, weird as they are. 'Insecto' ends 'The Colonial Script' with a bang rather than a whimper as the beast goes down not without a struggle. Wave after wave of sludgy distorted guitar keeps building on a monolithic riff as the screamed raw vocal swathed in echo-upon-echo bears witness to the abominable horror that is the track's title. All is laid to waste in the aftermath.

What makes this group really great is that they have the ability to temper traditional doom metal with a somewhat sophisticated grasp of black ambience while still managing to expand their experimental horizons and remain true to their vision never getting too far afield. If you've heard and enjoyed 'Music of Bleak Origin' you're very likely to enjoy this even more as they've gone from Titanium to Lutetium and show no signs of letting up. Highly recommended.
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