Music Reviews



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Artist: Weyes Blood & the Dark Juices
Title: The Outside Room
Format: 12"
Label: Not Not Fun (@)
Rated: *****
The Outside Room is the first solo record from the talented Natalie Mering, after working with Jackie-O-Motherfucker, and under the name Weyes Bluhd. On this LP, released on 2011 on the consistently interesting Not Not Fun Records, out of LA, she summons six spectral soul ballads, somewhere beyond time and genre and fad.

On The Outside Room , Mering reverts to a more conventional song-writing approach, emerging from the tape experiment blur of Weyes Bluhd. Instead, she writes wrenching human narratives using melody, harmony; interplay of traditional rock instruments such as guitar, organ, bass, thunderous drums. What you are left with, is like listening to soul or gospel in slow-motion, through the thin wall of a cheap hotel. These bones are gilded with scrapes squeaks chimes and ensonced in miasmah: an ornate and decorative sculpture of reverb, delay, and fuzz. The lasting impression is anachronistic; it is like falling in slow motion.

I think The Outside Room sounds like Liz Harris' netherworld than the ubiquitous Nico reference, mentioned in every other soundbite about this record. I think its unfair, to be honest; its like comparing every dude who wears sunglasses and sings about drugs to Lou Reed. I feel that's two dimensional thinking, and ignoring the craft involved here. Mering is blurring pop and experimental musicks, she is making something artsy and classic.

One thing she does have in common with Nico is a solemn, gothic feel, also reminiscent of some of the later Swans. She speaks in interviews about being obsessed Halloween and other creepy things. But hers' is an enthralling, feminine kind of creepiness, different than the horrorshow slasher brutality of Wolf Eyes, or even the otherworldliness of Jandek. Instead, her world is rich and full of feeling, full of shadows and dust and notebooks. The Outside Room is a place where much has happened, goodbadotherwise. Laughter, tears, sex, boredom. It is beyond easy answers and trite description.

This record stands up extraodinarily wall to scrutiny, it bears the weight of repeat listening with grace and applomb. It is a suitable soundtrack for drinking tea at night, or a soft reminiscent afternoon. This was limited to 480 copies, on Not Not Fun, and there's still some available. Highly recommended, much appreciated.
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anymore
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Danza Meccanica Italian Synth Wave VOL 2 1981​-​1987
Format: 12"
Label: Mannequin (@)
Rated: *****
Here we are after a couple of years to talk about a new compilation of the DANZA MECCANICA series with ten "new" tracks coming from the treasure box of 80s Italian synth wave. Mannequin dug hard to find the casket which contained bands that hardly had a vinyl release on their back. The album opens with Suicide Dada, a band coming from Pinerolo, 40Km from my city Torino. They officially released only a side of the double vinyl compilation released with VM #5 but they recorded a couple of demos. The version of "Acque" you can find here is coming from the first demo and if you love deep vocals, simmons pads, bouncy bass lines and atmospheric pads, this is for you. Madaski, their singer, put on his soundcloud page another Suicide Dada track titled "Not Satisfied", if you want to check out that one here's the link http://soundcloud.com/madaski-1. Der Blaue Reiter with "Through Glasses" are next with a track that sounds like Joy Division in love with synths. The bass line is typical of the new wave sound of those years and the dry drum machine sounds help painting a cold scenario. They later became State Of Art and they are back nowadays with a new album. I don't really know who Son Of Science were but "Way Of Life" is a nice upbeat tempo with male/female vocals, analog synth lines. The same goes for Waveform. I don't really know them and their "Creep" is a fast analog synth wave, almost punk song with female vocals, obsessive synth bass lines and essential melodies. Ruins were an artsy duo who a couple of years ago reissued some of their tracks on Minimal Wave. Here you can find "New Record", a track originally included into their 1983 tape "Side Roads" but here the version is a bit longer. They mixed funk, jazz, dance and wave in an experimental way. Side B opens with a different version of one of the most famous Jeunesse D'Ivoire tracks, "A Gift Of Tears". This "Silent Version" is a quasi instrumental version of that great wave gem where they changed a bit some melodic lines, removed the sax part and used Patrizia's vocals to underline some parts here and there and to sung the refrain. LASS Crime were active in mid/late 80s and they self released three tapes and they had another one titled "Electa" out on Energeia. "I'll Merry Go Round" is coming from their 1987 demo "Inanitas" and it's a nice electro/goth tune. Musumeci were an obscure combo coming from Torino. I knew them in the mid 80s and they gave me their demo containing six tracks. "Harry Batasuna" is an instrumental track which recalls me D.A.F. and Cabaret Voltaire and opened the B side of the demo. Years later I tried to contact Mauro Missaglia, the guy who played synths, but with no success, so they kinda slipped into oblivion. Deca with "First Frequency" is here with one of the few tracks he sung. As far as I know this is an unreleased track and it's a nice one which, influenced by Depeche Mode, mix synthpop with new wave. If you love Frozen Autumn, for sure you'll love this one. European Stage is another band I don't know at all. Their "Subterranean Wait" mix experimental cosmic sounds to synth coldness. You can check all the tracks here http://goo.gl/xg8RX. The release will be available from the next week on vinyl and digital download.
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anymore
Artist: Absent One (@)
Title: Places
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Ionium Records (@)
Rated: *****
Second full-length album release of this Russian duo, which is actually a collaboration between the Russian Shadowplay Records and the German AF-Music label. Still remembering the good produced debut 'Blowback' (which is additionally available as a re-release via the AF / Ionium Records collaboration label) 'Places' sees some developments and a rather unexpected evolution in the sound of Absent One. First off, it does quite good to listen to a band concentrating to focus their skills on the content of their compositions. This album isn't meant to get consumed to enjoy a straight pattern-after-pattern row supported by a harsh Techno kick-drum performance ' here are real songs with an overview and important meaning behind. A quite critical view on a social- problem regarding the use of drugs combined with unemployment and hopelessness in young years. This album may reflects a doze of some auto-biographical content of these both Russian protagonists, but who knows? What disturbs is the fact, that this real-life content gets presented quite lame with the tendency to bore after a while. Now we'll get a good idea without any Cyber-Christ-Goth-bullshit, but the music construction itself comes out that toothless like my grandma ' it misses toughness, plus I remember to have heard a higher technically state-of-art already presented on the debut. The vocalist sings in that kind, how you would have expected it from a Russian, not completely accent-free and more classic-influenced, but luckily without any distortion regarding vocal-processing. This band needs definitely to work to reach more maturity, although by spreading salt on some open socio-wounds as being the main theme, they are on the right way.


Feb 03 2012
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anymore
Artist: Kite
Title: IV
Format: 12" vinyl + CD
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Broken Silence
Rated: *****
This Swedish Electropop-duo follows again their own tradition: year by year they are releasing an EP consisting of 4 - 5 tracks and mostly available on CD and 12' vinyl formats. I'm not that sure, if Christan Berg and Nicklas Stenemo always know what they are doing musically, well, sometimes that can be seen with doubts. However, to me they are one of the most original sounding duos, which this music genre has to offer. With an obvious dedication to the Pop/Wave-era of the 80s, they are producing Synth-/Electropop music, which isn't that sugar-sweet and easy-to-consumable one would expect. There is additionally featured a sense to produce also uncomfortable sounds and bizarre song structures, which gets even more strengthened through their charismatic vocal performance. Sometimes they seem to be driven by insanity thanks to their unorthodox kind to produce music and to perform their vocals, but they still create a mood to let you again and again giving them some rotations - until the Kite-virus gets you! 'IV' offers to me their best tracks so far, especially the more catchy tunes like 'Step Forward' and 'Stand Back' are pure masterpieces. More is required ' when comes out number 'V'?
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anymore
Artist: Thirteenth Exile (@)
Title: Into Nothing
Format: CD
Label: Prototyp/Memento Materia (@)
Distributor: Industrial Music
Rated: *****
Another Swedish Industrial-Metal band-project, from which I thought, it has been gone for good after only one release. The well recognized debut release 'Assorted Chaos and Broken Machinery' has seen the light of a release 6 years before, but in our rushing lifetime days filled with the consumption of thousands of other releases, one gets nearly forgotten. So H. Svegsjö, the one and only responsible protagonist behind Thirteenth Exile, starts nearly from scratch. Signed again under Prototyp, the sub-label of the legendary Memeto Materia-label, he presents us a raw, harsh pounding assault, which integrates deepest Dark Electronica with assaulting metal-guitar riffs, united through a powerful kick-and-snare rhythm-work. 'Into Nothing' is no stuff for the faint-hearted people, it is a drastic and ominous outfit, which offers a bombastic attitude. Not at all comparable to that childish Hellectro-bawling, this is real dramatic and angst-driven music filled with at times brutal lyrics. The good point is: it sounds authentic. This whole pain-driven sound-scenario gets additionally supported by the overall black cover artwork with that scythe in front of the cloudy horizon. If it needs to search for comparisons, I'd take harder :Wumpscut:, (check out 'A Perfect World'!!!) Little Sap Dungeon and Portishead ('Wandering Star' is a cover to tribute the idols'...) to throw them into the soup-tureen. The thick and frightening atmosphere of this album needs to be pointed out as being the most impressive ability - several tracks are slowing down the speed ('My Legacy', 'Into Nothing') and offer so much more than a wild dancefloor-action. Congratulations to all responsible participants to release one of the most intense produced albums of the last half year. Let's keep the fingers crossed, that we don't need to wait another 5 + years until Mr. Svegsjö decides again to start a comeback.

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