Music Reviews



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Artist: Aria Rostami (@)
Title: Uniform
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Audiomoves (@)
Rated: *****
This second release signed by San Francisco based sonic designer Aria Rostami titled Uniform has been introduced both as a remix album (although this release contains just three proper remixes) and as a follow up to his lovely debut album Form I spoke about some months ago just because while the latter was based on deconstruction of sound, the former concerns the reconstruction of it, but this approach centered on a totally different way of processing sound (or emotions...) could let think about something new coming from the same source for inspiration, the gentle and sometimes foggy slopes of Rostami's city. In spite of the importance of some compositional aspects, what really matters in my modest opinion is not a comparison between Form and Uniform, but the preservation of Rostami's intimate enchantment, which has kept his wholeness even though some matter has been processed according to different standards: psychedelic melodious breezes blow on field recordings, delayed piano touches, percussive tingles, stifled metallic sounds, so that all tracks sound like evoking a veiled feeling of opacified purity. It's clear Rostami's past experiences related to the production of scores for films in many moments of Uniform, even in those ones where he seems to fill sound machines' wires with laudanum ("Memorium: The Choir", "Triagnol" - what a lovely cameo! -, "White"), whereas in other moments his agglomerative sound (re)processing reminds some sonic artifacts by Arovane, Boards Of Canada or Bauri ("Midori", "Tokyo"). It's astonishing the way the three remixers kept remarkably high the psychedelic level and the daydreaming emanations, being my favorite ones the treatment Shawn Dickerson reserved for "Cleare": the mentioned remix let drip silicium and sugar from broken pipes carrying fuel for dreams, letting resurface some past listenings of mine such as some stuff by Norken Lee Norris, and the highly cinematic version of "Streetlights As Fairgrounds" by Saine.
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Artist: Acretongue (@)
Title: Strange Cargo
Format: CD
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive
Rated: *****
Ladies and Gentlemen, if it still needs to name a potential candidate for the album-of-the-year-2011 - contest, I'd give my vote to this South-African talent. Already discovered on some editions of the highly recognized 'Septic' compilation-series of the famous German Dependent-label, it was about time to reward Nico J. and his long-year patience and trust in the activities of Stefan Herwig and his Dependent-team with this professional recorded and produced album. But it is not only Nico and his Acretongue-project, who gets rewarded - it's rather you, the listener, because the often pronounced 'Dependent Seal of quality' has never before hit the mail that exactly than with this newcomer project. Nico J. proves his talent by releasing a detailed form of Dark Electro music, which touches the crown of those complex producers like haujobb and Mind.In.A.Box, although expressed in a different style. The label information-sheet also names projects like Trauma, Violet Arcana, Clock DVA, Chris & Cosey and This Digital Ocean as possible comparisons, while I tend rather to name classic Dark Electro artists like Blame, Australia's outstanding duo Empty, the too early vanished French project Neon Cage Experiment, and/or the awfully underestimated US-project Heavy Water Factory as being names, which all have expressed a comparable form of layered Electronica music. Regarding this stylistically description, it should quite clear, that Nico and his music hasn't got anything to do with that repetitive, but still club-leading Harsh-EBM/Hellectro rush. Acretongue's arrangements are filled with fat and matured electronic sounds, it is amazing, that this whole album shall represent the work of a newcomer act - if we don't call that self-produced and limited available debut in 2007 as being a 'real' debut. Also Nico's natural sounding vocal performance needs to be mentioned and praised, because he integrates with his warm, at times melancholic sounding voice a contrast to the typical Dark Electro-artist using multiple cookie-monster-effects to reach a Puppy-related sound outfit. Acretongue's addictive and complex produced Electronica-music got designed for you to get consumed; the best way is surely under a pair of good headphones, although you shouldn't think, that Acretongue is unable to produce club-compatible stuff. 'Oblivion' has the right speed for some dancefloor-action; also 'Orphan's Affinity' can follow almost. Best track has to be named with 'These Soft Machines', which starts with an obscure rhythm pattern, until the chorus offers a singing-along-the-line attitude, not to forget the marvelous song progression.
Nearly 60 minutes of a thrilling Electronica experience and you will never get the impression, to have discovered a single minute of filling stuff. I can hardly remember to have received a debut, leaving so much euphoria and a never-ending smile in my face the more I spin this album. Awesome stuff, this one is a must-have item!
Good news too for all US-based listeners: Metropolis Records has licensed this album and will release it at th 10th of January 2012.
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Artist: Taxim (@)
Title: 2011
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Anybody out there who can remember the German Electro/Industrial-artist Taxim being signed to the FL-based label Telegrammetry and presented us the album 'Ecclesiophobia' in 2006? Well, right to the start of the new year, this project returns on our radar with a new, freely available digital-only 2-track-release, which reminds me how the last year has been named'¦ Seriously, Alex Ney, mastermind behind Taxim, feeds us with a quality track filled with driving Breakbeat rhythm-patterns, up-to-date synthesizer sequences, with got supported by Metal-like bass-guitar riffs. This new sound outfit of Alex generally surprises and inhales a deep breath of the US-based Coldwave-movement. Not surprising is the fact, that Alex still feels more comfortable to produce instrumental tunes only, although '2011' in its original version is richly filled with drastic and atrocious voice-samples. Thematically Alex has collected various newsflashes and/or documentaries dealing with the oppressive happenings in Libya under the regime of Mohammad El Gadhafi. Maybe to name this well produced track '2011' is a bit too opulent, since the last year has seen several more tragedies and crises, which would work well as being quells of inspiration for artists of this genre. But however, '2011' (original and Alternative version) is a perfect appetizer for the upcoming new Taxim-album 'Monitoring', which will be out in summer 2012.

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Artist: Static Sky (@)
Title: They Look To The Sky
Format: CD
Label: Vendetta Music (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
One of the latest new signings of Denver's Vendetta Music label, whose musically formula can be reduced on the simple 'S.A.M. meets [In]Toxin' comment. Static Sky operates in the wide and often copied field of TBM and I tend to say, that this project deals with a higher Techno-/Trance-influence than it can draw nearer relations to anything what has my understanding of EBM or Industrial Dance music. This stuff features pure Adrenalin-driven Techno mass-production music and it unfortunately misses anything what can be compared to terms like innovation or authenticity. Of course it works excellent to warm the leg muscles of the crowds on the dancefloors. But that's it: no stuff at all to consume at your home entertainment, it rather more starts to bore after the second spinning. The tracks are missing musically depth and are following a foreseeable pattern arrangement without variations. This stuff is repetitive and exchangeable, for instance with stuff of the above comparable projects, who have been proved before to be more inspiring than Static Sky. Good reactions of the club audience and DJ's worldwide are only one side of the medal, maybe the better and financially wiser one, but finally this isn't that stuff for people searching for the more and better content behind.
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Artist: T.W.A.T. (@)
Title: Working Class Love
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Machineries of Joy / COP International (@)
Distributor: Alive
Rated: *****
A Swedish newcomer signed to the Belgian Machinery Of Joy-label, but to me personally, this went a bit down under my radar. T.W.A.T. has been founded by Martin Sax and his wife Mary S. Sax and they like to introduce us with this debut EP their fusion of Punk and EBM styles, entitled Oi!BM. By using the term Oi! as being a style description, no one of course ' especially in the over-correct Germany ' has to expect any politically direction and/or meaning. T.W.A.T. drawing themselves relations to veteran EBM projects like DAF or Pouppée Fabrikk. That fits so far with the content of this EP, on which I'm globally unable to identify the Oi!-content. Because both main tracks 'Working Class' (3 versions/remixes by Ionic Vision, Darkmen and Sheriffen) and 'Lovesong' (exclusive b-side, remix by S.P.Z.) follow pretty much to work-out the concept to introduce this duo and to offer the needed help to grow in the scene with prominent remix contributions. Finally it is all rather typical Anhalt-/Neo-Old-EBM, following the above mentioned idols - I guess you know what you'll get. What needs to point out is the musically quite different remix of Sheriffen on "Working Class", which drifts into unexpected territories like IDM/Post-Modern Ambient music. No stuff one would have expected at all. "Working Class Love" stands for a good introduction to the related music scene, while I'm sure, that this duo will approve its skills much better with the upcoming album "Blood, Sweat and Teargas", also to be released on Machineries Of Joy.
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