Music Reviews



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Artist: Gerwin/Nuage/2Shy
Title: Lying Portraits/Soul Truth
Format: 12"
Label: IM:Ltd (@)
Distributor: Triple Vision
Rated: *****
"Dishonesty...the grand delusion...the magic trick...complete confusion" 2Shy says on "Lying Portraits", the first tune of this little treat by Gerwin and Nuage from French label IM:Ltd. A moment of shining introspection with meaningful lyrics, which could let you imagine a consciousness rising of some disillusioned person while shredding photos of a cheating lover (or supposedly some holy pictures on a plastified card of some smiling politician...why not?), pierces a scene, which looks like twined around darker and darker beats and sounds by means of a deeply emotional cut for Gerwin, who already teamed up with Russian producer Dmitry Kuzmin aka Nuage for some releases on Dutch label Fokuz and come back with this bass-driven true gemstone for liquid funk and jazzy dnb lovers along the lines of wise and high tenor of some old stuff from Good Looking Records. On the flipside, you're going to find "Soul Truth", an in/fusion of melodic textures, RnB vocals and an electrifying 808 distorted bass snake, which could be a perfect fit both for sofa surfing and for bed rocking.
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Artist: Roedelius + Chaplin
Title: King of Hearts
Format: CD
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
I'm getting into the habit of blindly listening upcoming releases by playing them without worrying about the author or the label: it happened during this kind of random listening that when my eardrum met the first track of this release "Comme Ãça", some scenes from Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" and the moving poetry behind his tender awkwardness and his touching care in the love affair with a blind flower girl, in the attempt of collecting money for an expensive sight-saving operation, have been immediately rendered into my mind. You can just imagine my surprise when I discovered that one of the co-signers of this graceful release is no less than Christopher Chaplin, the youngest son of Charlie Chaplin, who remixed a live piano set by another musical living legend as it is the German avantgarde composer and krautrock pioneer Hans-Joachim Roedelius for Fiona Talkington's "Late Junction Session" on BBC Radio 3. When Roedelius was invited to choose a musician to remix his live set, he opted for Chaplin, whom he first met at the "Gugginger Irritationem 2", a festival in Wien, focused on Art Brut. I've not read anything about source for inspiration and themes behind "King Of Hearts", but the title could let you imagine the tale about a dethroned noble-minded and big-hearted king, who decides to return to his previous kingdom in order to restore justice and peace after hearing and ascertain his previous beloved subjects in despair. The first part of the album seems to evoke a grim reality where oppression and covetousness muted poeple's souls, whose gravity resounds with the sad piano arpeggios and anxious bells on "Autrement", the menacing atmosphere evoked by "Mais oui", the solitary remembrance, which seems to be activated by electronic chirping birds, on "Tout à fait", the aching emotional outbursts on the catchy tangle of a torn and disquiet piano melody, an afflicted violin in "Parce que", which precedes the consciousness raising, the recovered temperament and the declaration of intent by this imaginary king, whose heartbeat and voice first appear on the amazing "Evidemment", whereas the slow slapping on lead guitar and the organ on "Bien Sur" evokes a cogitation about a strategy. The delicate cover of notorious "By This River", the song Roedelius co-wrote with Brian Eno and Moebius, on "Aussi Bien", the regal portamento of jazzy "N'est-ce pas", the sliding joint between a distorted guitar and faltering piano melody on "Tant mieux" and the amazing final track "Voici", a sort of crossbreeding between improvisational jazz techniques and suffused lights Roedelius applies on sounds, are going to let you imagine how the story could end. A somewhat unorthodox piece of good contemporary classical music.
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Artist: Cold Colors
Title: Regrets
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Romance Moderne
Rated: *****
Coming from Bordeaux, France and formed by Frederick Barbe (who's also member of the band Plastic Machine), Cold Colors is the newest artist to join the roster of the Belgian label Romance Moderne. Cold Colors have previously released two tracks on the compilations "Bordeaux Electro" (2009) and "Modernes Et Electroniques" (2010 Falco Invernale Records) and now they release "Regrets". Their debut EP brings to the lovers of electronic cold wave five great songs. In balance from melancholic atmospheres (check the opening instrumentals "Interlude" and the following "When The Summer Ends"), 4/4 upbeat rhythms with detached French vocals (like on "Regrets" and the closing "Tout Oblier") and dreamy dance atmospheres (check the beautiful "Eleven" and its in-levare bass lines), Frederick composed fresh sounding tunes which refers to the past without turning their back to the future. You can judge by yourselves by checking all the tracks at the Romance Moderne's Bandcamp page here http://romancemoderne.bandcamp.com/album/regrets-2. I think that you'll agree with me...
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Juggernaut Services presents: Calming Cyclones Vol. 2
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Juggernaut Services (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
This is the second chapter and companion releases to the 'Moving Mountains' compilation of the British Juggernaut Services. The title already announces it, this one is the more song-oriented, rather calm selection of the clients represented by Nick Quarm. With the Italian duo XP8 another prominent project has joined forces with Nick and they are opening and closing this compilation with two tracks. The opener 'Burning Down' is the title-track of their current EP release. It mixes the styles between Futurepop and Harsh EBM/Hellectro and gives the impression, that both genres are closer related than expected. 'Burning Down' starts as a boring 08/15-standard Hellectro-tune, while the refrain itself offers more melodic maturity. Maybe I repeat it once again, but this project still suffers a lot from the absence of a good vocalist. No complains to the second track 'Trip', a fast-forward driving tune with robotic-like vocoder-vocals and fast 'n' furious sequencer lines. This one got remixed by the Russian project Cutoff:Sky. The British Static Distortion-recording artist MIXE1 offers an interesting genre-mutation with tendencies to Trip-Hop/Alternative styles. Very tasteful arranged as well as the emotional vocals are fitting perfectly on both tracks. Things are getting darker with the US-based project Pittersplatter. Vampire-, monster- and horror-genres itself seem to have an impact on both lyrical and musically expression, 'Necrotech' as well as 'Mummies and Music Boxes' are proving this. Cortex Defect is proud enough to have Mr. Nick Quarm as full member involved. Also this project represents a rather calm and melodic oriented Electronica sound-outfit on their both tracks with tendencies into Goth-Rock/Wave and/or Alternative genres. Well done and consumable stuff. Kaltherzig lately could receive a lot of exposure through the German glossy print-magazines like Zillo. But seriously, I find their Goth-/New Wave-sound relative repetitive and uninspired. Already this compilation holds much more promising projects deserving the same the same exposure. Retrogramme for instance have a great talent in the Electropop/Futurepop genre. Their track '911 For Locals' combines attacking rhythm patterns with a clear male vocal performance plus a convincing melodic aspect. Congrats also to the very good second track by them entitled 'Heaven Is Closer Than You Think', which includes mighty guitar loops to support the clear vocal performance in the refrain. A project definitely to follow! Nevertheless the crown for providing the best and most outstanding tune goes this time to Australia and the male/female duo Revenant Cult. Maybe we have here a tiny, more electrified version of a prominent project like The Birthday Massacre, but their track 'Spectral Heresy' is a well balanced Futurepop-related Electronica-track filled with high-end programming skills as well as tasteful arranged synthesizer layers. But best content of their sound is the compelling female vocal performance. Seriously, this is the most emotional and best female vocalists I have heard in years! Keep an eye on this duo; they are going to be HUGE! Revenant Cult then add a remix contribution of them on a track of the Hellectro-act Psykke into the ring - well done, but not comparable with the possible top-notch class of an own composition. Two further guests have finally found a slot on this compilation: Plastic Noose and Tactical Module, both already featured on the companion release 'Moving Mountains'. Plastic Noose once again convinces me with their fat and noisy bass-lines and the energetic vocals - although the lyrics, well, do not let me sweat! Tactical Module offer again 'Dead Zone', but this time remixed by Cortex Defect. The problem remains the same: I can't stand the quality of the vocals, which are still drowning deep and plain into the mix.
It isn't a secret if I tell you, that I play this second chapter a bit more often than the first installment. Maybe I get old, but I enjoy Electronica music with attitude and own ideas. If it then provides a good composition and not only a harder-than-hard attitude I am mostly on board. 'Calming Cyclones' offers some valuable participants with stylistically interesting ideas, so let's see and hear how and in which direction some of them will develop.

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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Juggernaut Services presents: Moving Mountains Vol. 1
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Juggernaut Services (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
We at the Chain D.L.K. are welcoming and sending congratulations to our colleague Nick Quarm and his new activity under Juggernaut Services. Nick has made himself a quite good name as reviewer/interviewer for the Swedish Brutal Resonance webzine. He has established with Juggernaut Services a promotional tool to interested underground artists to extract more exposure out of Nick's experience and world-wide based contacts. In the first instance Nick works with his clients to gain attention by the international press, promoters, online-bloggers and other resources. His website introduces widely this promotional agency, so I leave it for now and start to concentrate on the music content of this first compilation compiled to introduce the most important content of the whole concept, the artist. 'Moving Mountains', which is available via the Bandcamp website of Juggernaut Services, represents the rather hard side of his clients and it is filled with driving beats and harsh distorted vocals. Some ideal stuff to invade the dancefloors of the darkest clubs is pretty much available here. The COP-recording project nolongerhuman opens and also closes this compilation and this one already counts to the more prominent clients of Nick's agency. 'One For You, One For Me 2010' as being the opener already sets the standard on a very high level and if I listen to the used synthesizer pads, song structure and vocal processing, I feel myself pretty much remembered to Suicide Commando's 'Axis Of Evil' album. Also the closing track 'Transcend Humanity' impresses with a straight but melodic sound-design and it is quite clear that this project can be hardly topped by the further participants. Next one is the UK-based project Tactical Module with 'Dead Zone' the title track of their latest, freely available same-titled EP (http://tacticalmodule.bandcamp.com/). Straight-forward produced beats and sequencer lines supported by dark Metal-like guitar-riffs, but unfortunately with a very poor sounding vocal performance are the leading elements of this appearance. Cease2xist are one of the British hopes to storm on top of the Harsh EBM genre, but compared to the crystal-clear quality of nolongerhuman they are suffering a bit on the fact not to have the best studio possibilities available. Like most of the invited projects on this 15 track-compilation, also Cease2xist present us two tunes. 'Teenage America' is a great composition with a well recognized socio-critical content, but also 'Tonight' convinces. San Diego's duo RetConStruct comes up next, also they could enter two slots on this compilation. They are to me pretty much gifted with talent, but at times they are dwelling a bit to much in obscurity. 'All Gone Awry' provides a strange and out-of-range-sounding vocal performance which actually ruins a good track, while their straight produced second appearance 'The Maelstrom' is the much better done track. With the Poland-based project Controlled Collapse and their two appearances 'Halloween' and 'This Nightmare' you'll get another relative prominent contributor to this compilation and it does good to hear Mr. Wojciech leaving the field of Harsh EBM/Hellectro to the other kids. This band has grown and reached maturity, the arrangements are pretty much filled with details, while I sometimes dislike the deep, a bit monotonous sounding vocals. However, musically on a quite recommendable course, keep it on. Warsickle hails, as far what I know, out of the Czech Republic. Their first track 'Help From Outer Space' is a well-done Dark Electro instrumental tune, while the second 'Call For Help' suffers again under a not convincing vocal performance. It gets heavier and to me hard to bite with the Australian quartet of Eschaton Hive - that is hard and raging Metal-Industrial music, which is in the first instance louder produced than bombs - while this doesn't make it any better. And please don't ask me what kind of poem you can extract out of a title like 'Zombie Attack Plan', phhh. We have two additional one-track appearances with the rhythmic Powernoise-project Tapewyrm - actually a good and unique sounding addition to this genre - and the Scotland-based Industrial project Plastic Noose. Their 'Zu Allen' features energetic male vocals - actually good and natural sounding vocals - in a rusty Electro/Industrial/Coldwave-like sound environment, which reminds me somehow on a classic project like Carbon 12 (... who remembers them?). Nice to hear a project to break a bit with conventions, this one is recommendable - through the darkness we will hear!
All in all a first nice overview of the musically harder-minded projects presented through Juggernaut Services - it has highs and depths, but I guess this was to expect. This compilation as well as the follow-up contender 'Calming Cyclones' is currently available as downloads via the Juggernaut Bandcamp website, but there are plans to release the best participants out of both as a real pressed CD. It belongs a bit on your will to support the Electro/Industrial underground. So you can be a part of it by donating via IndieGoGo here: http://www.indiegogo.com/juggernautcd. The advantages for you can be told: you'll be the first in the world to own the releases, and some of the Juggernaut acts have put personal gifts in the pot to say thanks. In recent news, the track listing for the CD release is in development. To top all this, the release will have unreleased and exclusive tracks by God Destruction and Rein[Forced]. So let's get in and join the forces of the Juggernaut Services and its attractive roster.
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