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Artist: Velvet Condom
Title: Stadtgeil
Format: CD
Label: Cymbeline
Distributor: Pale Music
Rated: *****
I already had the chance to listen to the second Velvet Condom's second album titled "Stadtgeil" as it has been already release by their personal label Cymbeline the last year on vinyl and digital format (which I bought). To tell the truth I didn't know them and Valentina Faith Guida, a dj from my city Torino, pointed them out to me when their "Menace" video was running on the screen of the place where we were drinking. I wrote down that name, because their mix of electro and cold wave intrigued me. The day after I checked their album and I realized that there was more to find out as the opening song "Funeral For My Love" is already different from the song I already knew as it's a bit more shoegaze sounding with cool dreamy atmospheres sustained by bouncing bass lines, noisy guitars and hard drum machine beats. Already by listening these two tracks, you can realize that the French/German duo is aware of how taking care of production: they are alternating bass guitar to deep synth bass lines while guitar riffs cross tiny melodic parts that will stick into your head. The album is balanced from electro wave hit singles like the aforementioned "Menace", the following "Rouge City", the dancey cold wave influenced "Samt Und Stein" or synth based sensual "Ice Disco" and noisy guitar shoegaze influenced tunes where Jesus And Mary Chain meets early My Bloody Valentine like on "Funeral For My Love" , "Separ-Hate", "Faint-Hearted", "A New Fall" (this one recalls me a by "Just Like Honey") and "Scars Shine". This new edition released by Cymbeline and distributed by Pale Music has as bonus track "Little Death", a song that has a bass line which recalls me Suicide, the guitar is building a reverberated distant wall of noise which on some parts sound almost rockabilly while the vocals are cold and and quite tense. For me this album is a must have. Check it!
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Artist: 2kilos & More (@)
Title: kurz vor5
Format: CD
Label: Audiophob (@)
Rated: *****
Audiophob is one of those labels that have been consistently putting out interesting work, and this is no exception. I had not previously heard of 2kilos &More, which is a French duo from Paris created in 2003 and consisting of Séverine Krouch and Hugues Villette of Von Magnet. I listened to this several times to figure out how to review it and it occurred to me that it reminds me somewhat of Recoil's work (specifically Liquid) or the Golden Palominos. For me the standout tracks on the disc are the two featuring Black Sifichi, a spoken word artist out of New York. The first, 'User OK Feelings Rejected,' is an engaging story of racial prejudice on tour in the Southern states as a black man with a white wife and white bandmates. I'll note that this is not something that you would want to listen to at work. The second, 'I Decided to Lie,' is a bit of weirdness about a romantic interlude with a woman he seems to have just picked up. The tone of the vocals have a kind of malevolence that make it that much more interesting. Overall, this is pretty good IDM/electronica, but 2kilos & More are at their best as storytellers. The music blends incredibly well with the story to the point where it seems natural for the vocals and music to be together, which is quite a feat where often either the spoken word or the music seem forced into the mix. Dark and enjoyable and well worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 59 minutes.
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Artist: Xisix
Title: Ghost Knife
Format: CD
Label: Symbolic Insight (@)
Rated: *****
OK. It's time for a walk down memory lane, because this reminds me of some old school stuff. Start with a bit of 'Belief' era Nitzer Ebb with The Orb and a bit of Orbital thrown in for good measure. In some places it reminds me of Ipecac Loop. But towards the end it is somewhat reminiscent of the kinds of stuff Instinct Records was putting out in the late 80s to early 90s - think Cabaret Voltaire's 'The Message.' If you remember all of those, you're probably as old as I am. There are no vocals to speak of, but there are the obligatory random samples which sometimes seem to detract from the music (although the old 'I've fallen and I can't get up' made me laugh mainly because I remember the commercials from back in the day). Overall, it isn't too bad, but then again it isn't too exciting either. I could definitely see this making it into a DJ set and working well in the club. After a while it grows on you though. For me Raverobber (D Gross Remix) was one of the high points on the disc. Frenzyhole was a bit too much of a mashup with a bunch of familiar riffs put together a la Negativland, but not quite as clever. Overall, this was decent, especially in the nostalgia department. This album weighs in at around 55 minutes.
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Artist: Blue Sausage Infant (@)
Title: Manitou
Format: CD
Label: Alrealon (@)
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed Blue Sausage Infant's 'Negative Space' album, so I was interested to see how this one would turn out. With guest artists wielding 'turntable bacon shortwave,' 'fire extinguisher,' and 'beer glass,' we should be in for an interesting ride. Here's how the label describes this: 'Following the long-form kosmische excursions of 2011's 'Negative Space', Blue Sausage Infant's new CD recalls the ruthless energy and shorter attention span of BSI's cassettes from the 1980s. 'Manitou' is a wild ride: a patchwork of huge analog drones, mutant caffeinated space-punk, musique concrete, krautrock-style jams, distorted industrial stomp, and deep electronic mind candy. This collection includes a new remake of the classic BSI track 'The Moss Takes Over' which first appeared in the 1990 cassette 'Infinite Sky.' Guest musicians include members of Insect Factory, Pilesar, Violet, Tag Cloud, and Timmy Sells His Soul. The result is an hour-long celebration of reckless improvisation and joyful nightmares.' I have to admit that I was not sold at the beginning. To me, 'Afflicted by the Wind Disease' and 'Hosebag' were a bit dull. However, it does get better from here. One of my favorites here is 'The Moss Takes Over,' which sounds like a cross between 80's buttrock and a videogame soundtrack from the same era (think boss phase). 'Aphid's Lament' is a nice slab of slow moving distortion and feedback. 'Catoctin' is almost mellow. 'Abdominal Frost' is an interesting cinematic soundscape. For me this is more of a mixed bag, although some of this may be by design. As he goes from style to style, there are sure to be hits and misses. For the most part, the hits outweigh the misses though. I would definitely see him live though, as it seems like it would be a good show. This album weighs in at around 57 minutes.
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Artist: Alberto Boccardi (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: fratto9 under the sky records (@)
Rated: *****
Alberto Boccardi is an Italian electronic musician and aerospace engineer. This is his first solo release after some collaborations. Here's what the label had to say: 'Soundscapes that alternate unstable vibrations of the earth's surface to static animal references. Acoustic instruments, electronics, voice and field recordings, in the first work by Alberto Boccardi, tell emotional phases grown from the memories but living in the present. The use of sound is purely functional to instinct, and to the desire to define the boundaries of otherwise ephemeral images.' Now on to the music. It makes sense that he has done work for dance and video installation, as this music seems designed to fade into the background. In some ways it is a bit too minimal, moving at a sometimes glacial pace. However, 'Desolate Red Fingers' features minimal atmosphere with female vocals that remind me of Sara Lundén. 'Clocking the Time' finally releases some sense of emotion with squalling saxaphone and grinding feedback, if only for a moment. Overall this wasn't too bad, but it doesn't really stand out. I would place this among those that I refer to as good CDs to give to those who are beginning to dabble in experimental music. Limited to 300 copies. This album weighs in at around 27 minutes.
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