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Artist: Deemphasis
Title: Mechanical Beats
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Ukonx Recordings
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
"Mechanical Beats" is the first album by french electronic producer Stephane Bastien, the man behind the Deemphasis moniker. Hailing from Antibes, Stephane has already a vinyl release under his belt, last year's excellent "Synthetic Cells" EP on french label Newflesh Records (NF06). This digital-only long player finds Deemphasis in full effect, blending flawlessly dark electro and acid vibes in a unique futuristic dystopian sonic environment. The result is a very tight album in which every track stands as a completed piece of electronic music, while all together could also work conceptually (but i'm pretty sure that a concept lp wasn't in Stephane's intentions ;)). Apparently it's very hard to pick a track or two as personal favourites, however i must say that i'm completely hooked by "Our Destiny", a very atmospheric groovy number which blends perfectly syncopated beats, space pads and some really great chords, the moody "Sleep Little Men" with its fat minimal bassline, absolutely fantastic synth work and distorted robotic vocals, and "Cosmic Strings", the bounciest of all 10 tracks, built around an unmistakable rhythm, acidic sequences, "mysterious" synths and a totally captivating main theme. The evocative "The Age Of Steel" and the dreamy "Moonlight" are also great, working as the album's intro and outro respectively.
This is a release not to be missed, so go grab yourself a copy at Deempasis' Bandcamp page, where it is exclusively available ( http://deemphasis.bandcamp.com/ )
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Artist: ZZT (@)
Title: Vulkan Alarm!
Format: 12"
Label: Turbo Recordings (@)
Distributor: N.E.W.S.
Rated: *****
A taste which is going to whet listener's appetite and arguably arouse curiosity in volcanologists and some fuzzy prophets of doom and gloom - I refer to those ones who have decided to wait if some prophecies about 2012 are true by taking a break from work and study in order to have fun till the Judgement's day! - has been issued by Tiga's Turbo Recordings as Vulkan Alarm! is just an appetizer where the main course is going to be the forthcoming album Partys Over Earth, served hot by Tiga himself and Florian Senfter widely known as Zombie Nation. Two sorceres of electrified house as well as experienced pyromaniacs with references (in particular Tiga's releases had already many references to unextinguashable fires!) who have matched their skills on a project they called ZZT, whereas their mutual fingerprints are quite easy to recognize. In Vulkan Alarm!, they craftly insert rolling sounds, clashed and distorted hats, which could render the illusion of burning metal (!), a sort of effected agonizing miaowing from a cat locked in a sudatorium, a gluey plastic slipping (my favorite sound sample!) on a highly-danceable rhythmical pattern, a pot of acustic stimulations which makes listening even more intriguing than just aimed to let your asses oscillate. Turbo has also included three remixes of the track signed by Proxy, Jan Driver and Perc, which recombine the elements of the original track by emphasizing one or two of them. My favorite one is Perc's one as it starts with "inflamed" metal sound effects since the beginning, but the other ones are quite good as well. Ignition sequence's started!
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Artist: STATIC
Title: Freedom Of Noise
Format: CD
Label: Karaoke Kalk
Rated: *****
Hanno Leichtmann is a Berlin musician who's active with different projects such as Center Of Excellence, Dawn, Denseland, Groupshow, Forest Jackson, etc. FREEDOM OF NOISE is the newest Static album and for this one the personnel was: Hanno Leichtmann (drums and electronics), Axel Dorner (trumpet), Tobias Delius (saxophone) and Clare Cooper (harp) with guest appearances by Christof Kurzmann, Ronald Lippok, Stefan Schneider, Valerie Trebeljahr, Martin Siewert and Justine Electra. Released by Karaoke Kalk, the album contains ten movements which presents a varied mixture of electronica, experimental music with ambient intuitions. Since from the opening "Introduction" the listener is projected into the Static sonic world which is made of minimal loops enriched by orchestral arrangements and ends with harp, sax and guitar improvisations. With "Stubby Fingers", we have vocal and piano loops coupled by cool sax melodies and light metallic rhythmical patterns. It sounds like Tuxedomoon on acid. The main track is a mixture noisy synth analog obsessive track with folk blows arrangements and happy melodic vocals (something similar goes for "The Boy Who Run Into The Sun" but this one is more based on drums and blows). The whole album is in balance from jazz influences, ambient sounds and experimental approaches but with a nice use of melody which allows the listener to really enjoy all the tracks.
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Artist: Obtane, Giorgio Gigli, Milton Bradley (@)
Title: The Dark Thoughts Of Fate's Manufacturer
Format: 12"
Label: Zooloft (@)
Distributor: Rubadub
Rated: *****
A record entitled The Dark Thoughts of Fate's Manufacturer should necessarily feature a sinister and obscure sound, but this act by Giorgio Gigli and Obtane displays more than just some gloomy sonic shoddy goods. The narrative set evoked by the title could properly stimulate the imagination of some listener who believes in conspirational theories, but manages to sprinkle this release with magic powder, which give the possibility to contextualize it better. The usage of subterranean industrial sounds (giving the illusion of walking inside a thermal nuclear implant) blindstiched to a sort of visceral rumbling by some perfect bass cuts and a propelling step in the initial "You Can't Hide Yourself" and the disquieting ambient Zooloft guys assembled while remixing a track by Milton Bradley (not the famous toy industrialist, but one man behing the small but interesting label Do Not Resist The Beat, together with Dj Zeal, as well as autheor of the project The End Of All Existence), entitled Escaped From The Dark, reminded to me a sort of mixture between the seminal techno-industrial by Riou Tomita, the most experimental side of acid techno and detroit style, with some other casual cross-reference marks, such as that sort of laser beam/siren in the above-mentioned remix, who's quite close to the one Future Sound Of London used in Accelerator. Good musical food for dystopian stomachs and ears.
Artist: The Tunnel (@)
Title: Fathoms Deep
Format: 12"
Label: Glorious Alchemical
Rated: *****
It's difficult to nail down Fathoms Deep. It's definitely dark. It's dramatic. It's Goth, but it's not purely Goth or even dark wave. It's more. It's cool. Fathoms Deep is produced by the band, and they deliver a very good production and mix that is mostly sparse and raw, with slinky guitars and distorted bass, and is big exactly when it needs to be, never over-the-top.

Fathoms Deep opens with 'Wraithes,' a short, airy instrumental which gives way to the cool, slinky, guitar riff-driven, 'Strange Heaven' which is reminiscent of a garage-rock version of the Church with very dramatic, campy vocals. The band stays in garage-rock land with the uptempo 'King of the Impossible.' The track has a cool, late 60s vibe (thanks, mostly, to the farfisa-sounding organ), with vocals delivered with a David Johansen-like attitude. 'King of the Impossible' could also compare with very early tracks by The Damned. 'Fathomless Deep,' another dark, airy instrumental rounds out side one.

On side two the band kicks into story telling-mode delivering Nick Cave & Bad Seeds influenced rock opera drama. With less riffing, and more complex arrangements, 'The Beast-Catcher,' 'Scurvey Dreames' and "The Bitter End" focus more on the vocals and the story. On these tracks Wagner drops the Johansen-esque attitude and brings back the drama and camp we heard earlier on 'Strange Heaven.'

The band describes Fathoms Deep as a collection of 'Ragged, darkly romantic tales of lust and loss,' and the production delivers that. Fathoms Deep was reviewed on CD, but is only available as 12' vinyl and 320 kbps mp3 album.
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