Music Reviews



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Artist: A Sphere Of Simple Green (@)
Title: Untitled Soundscapes
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Magick With Tears (@)
Rated: *****
The musicians Adriano Orru' (double bass), Silvia Corda (on prepared piano) and Simon Balestrazzi (electronics and amplified objects) drag in the great American poet Emily Dickinson to baptize their project - "A Sphere Of Simple Green" is the second verse of the little poem "the Grass so little has to do" - and as you can easily imagine, my personal research has been immediately oriented to find out some reason for such a choice by digging into musical grounds. An attempt of stylistical recording could lead this project in some empty place between improvisational jazz and electroacoustic experiments, but it's amazing the way they let tunes grow lively since the beginning whereas amplified objects and the heavy piano chord seem to assert themselves over some mumbling voices in order to bore a hole in the sound space which gradually seems turning into a vortex where instrumental tunes looks like being swallowed - while piano tunes sound falling headlong by heavy thuds, double bass ones looks like trying to cling to the sliding sides of the chasm... -. The one I tried to describe is the first of the three "untitled soundscape"; in the second after some double bass hoeing, an electronic piercing sound introduces to an impressive alternation between choral gurgling where this combo manages to give their sound an hypnotic gear without resorting to loops and flirts with silence, a conjuration, the last mentioned, which is more evident in the third untitled soundscape. Their skils in resulting hypnotical without recurring structures (many think green is an hypnotical color as well), the lack of symmetry in sound structures, some bombastic digressions, the preference for an unconventional musical language and certain performative togetherness which doesn't scratch the regularity of their sound (appearing perfect and compact like a sphere in spite of the uneven grounds they're moving on) could be a set of possible intersections with Dickinson's art.
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Artist: The Chemical Sweet Kid (@)
Title: Tears Of Pain
Format: CD
Label: self-released / Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Advoxya Distribution
Rated: *****
This Chemical Sweet Kid isn't at all that sweet, but rather a relative new rising star out of the Harsh EBM/Hellectro-camp. It's too bad, that this specific genre offers new and/or undiscovered additions nearly on a daily base, since this can be finally being a reason of getting unrecognized. While I don't think, that this will count for this album too. The Chemical Sweet Kid, or short CSK, is the musically brainchild of Julien M. out of Metz, France, who can look back on a DJ-career under the moniker Xanax. CSK has been established in 2008 and in 2009 Julien has added with Coralie a female counterpart. The right drive to push forward the musically career can be surely named with the participation on the Alfa Matrix 4-CD box-set 'Endzeit Bunkertracks (Act V)', while CSK have been also active as remix contributors for those notorious fellowmen like Dolls Of Pain or Schultz.
Finally CSK could release this first album, which is seemingly self-produced. The Hungarian-based label Advoxya Records acts only as a distribution partner to ensure world-wide availability to purchase this album. Starting with the first track "Tears Of Blood" as being the opener for this album, I wasn't at all too much fond of it. The sequences in use and the style of the chosen synthesizer-sounds are too obviously influenced by the Belgium (sound-) slaughter of all Harsh EBM-relations, Mr. Johan van Roy. Another colourless SC-clone, well, that would be another unnecessary addition out of the Hellectro-camp.
Luckily things get better with tracks like 'Human' or moreover with the straight 'Six Feet Under'. If CSK concentrate to keep the speed high of their tunes (Six Feet Under', 'No Longer', 'Ergo Sum'), they can easily fill in the niche, which their countrymen Tamtrum have left open, after their horrible last album. The hatred energy to reach this target can be extracted through Julien's energetic vocal performance, which doesn't need FX elements to sound that angry. That's raw and a rather Punk-driven form to express the ominous lyrical content.
Thumbs up also for the will to add breaks in between the tracks: 'Identity' is a fine example, how to completely interrupt a straight oriented tune with totally different sounding interceptions. The will to produce also darker and more creeping stuff can be additionally discovered with tracks like 'So Many Things', or 'Face To Pain', which feature mystic and ominous synth-layers to embrace a Dark Electro-related attitude.
Also note that hidden tracks placed at track position 26, which is a cover of the self-explanatory 'Paint It Black' ' surely that kind of track to animate a reserved audience during gigs! This all is well-thought to take care for diversity, which can unfortunately too seldom discovered in this music genre. CSK can also score through some of the used synthesizer- and drum pattern sounds, which differ from the usual formula.
All of this pressed on a silver circle featuring a fine looking cover artwork which includes all lyrics; this debut satisfies all expectations of the Harsh EBM listener. It's far away from being named musically innovative, but who seriously expects this from a newcomer project in this music genre? The potential behind this duo is recognizable, and that counts. Good job done so far, kids, now move on to your next!

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Artist: Concise feat. Flaque (@)
Title: Ingénue
Format: CD
Label: Wycombe Music (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
Another goody I received several months before and which was well hidden under my huge heap of still-not-reviewed releases ' again, I am very sorry for these awful delays. This full-length album is sort of a surprise, as I was eagerly awaiting new stuff to listen from Flaque. This modern-IDM/Electronica-project has been quite too long in hiatus after the excellent debut 'Mindscapes' (also released by Wycombe Music...), which has been one out of three parts of the last Concise box-set release 'Revive'.
Also Concise, featuring the compelling vocal performance by the Austrian female singer Katrin Segert, stands for subtle Electronica music with demanding arrangements and abstract sound designs. Both projects, Flaque and Concise, have additionally collaborated in the past, not only with the 'Revice' ' CD box-set. The mutual course started somewhere in 2006, when Concise released their 'The Power Of Love'-MCD, which included a remix of Flaque of this remarkable Frankie Goes To Hollywood classic hit song.
Now both projects have united again, but there is a strictly separation of the track listing on this new album available. Concise, meanwhile grown to 4 official band members in its formation, are starting here with the first seven tracks providing us an attractive form of Synthpop-Electronica, which picks up here and there glimpses of different influences like House, Jazz and Experimental. The Electronica elements installed here draw intentionally relations to the kind, which can be discovered with the label comrade High Wycombe. That shouldn't wonder you, since the High Wycombe-mastermind Christian Grass is next to Katrin Segert the founding member of Concise and responsible for the Electronica components. Christian's sounds are as expected very mechanical, cold-sounding, but crystal-clear mixed and tasteful installed, so it is quite enjoyable to listen him creating and placing one or another yet unheard sound idea.
Katrin's warm-sounding vocals are of course out of any doubts or discussions; she offers the 'human' factor and provides the optimal contrast in the sound environment of Concise. Best track, because the most accessible, is 'Voyager', which follows a clear song structure and catchy elements to remain into the ear-channel of their audience already after the first listen.
Flaque invades the scenario starting track 8, 'Reflections', and the influence of Florian Ziller is recognizable from the very tone. Flaque's talent fits pretty much to those high prolific artists of the Tympanik Audio label, who are capable to produce compare IDM/Ambient/Electronica-music, such as Geomatic, Candle Nine, or the Swiss Stendeck. Opulent and moody synth-layers, experimental rhythms and subtle environmental/field recordings thrown into the mix are the trademarks of Florian's music. The layered programming of Florian then turns out to be the leading element of the 7 minutes clocking masterpiece 'Reflections', which turns out to be the purest audio entertainment. Florian continues to add his skilful arrangements on the following tracks, maybe a bit lesser accessible than on 'Reflections', but still intensely enough to amaze and satisfy the listener.
If it sounded initially like a contrast, to let these talented musicians unite their shills, works out to be a matured, quality Electronica album. I don't know, if it's allowed to ask for, but: when will they unite again to produce the follow-up album to 'Ingénue'?

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Artist: Edgey
Title: Misfire
Format: CD
Label: Hands Productions (@)
Rated: *****
Although the New York-based IDM/Breakcore-musician Stephen Knight is a relative known person in the international Industrial-scene, I must confess, that I have passed almost all of his earlier works, which includes his both previous albums on Hands, 'Square Form Annihilations' and 'Flawed'. After checking the content of 'Misfire', I should fairly admit, that this could have been a mistake.
'Misfire' blows me away with its tough and uncompromising kind to install multiple Drum'n'Bass/Breakcore-patterns in every thinkable free slot of a part. It starts dark and layered with 'Before The Storm', but the inferno-like percussion-storm, which features a constant Powernoise-influence, presented in those pummelling tracks like 'Terminal Accretion', 'Stress Failure' or most of all 'Drown' can cause damages to the nervous-system of an unprepared listener. Pain is only for the weak and Edgey takes no prisoners.
Stephen composes his very own highlight with the following track 'Chaosbane', which reduces a bit the overwhelming Breakcore-injection and rather progresses with Dark Electro-like synth-pads and mysterious voice-samples thrown in. The raw and noisy treatment returns and continues with the following tracks, until the last one, 'Floor Crank', allows in between some rest.
'Misfire' is a hell of a noisy Breakcore-album, somehow comparable, if Lucidstatic and Famine would celebrate a studio session under the influence of LSD. Harsh, pounding and not at all suitable, if you plan to sit still while listening to it ' but fucking awesome, if you search for stuff to terrorize your neighbourhood.
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Artist: Simon Balestrazzi (@)
Title: A Rainbow In My Mirror
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Magick With Tears (@)
Rated: *****
The sketch of the skeleton belonging to some Siamese twins is a becoming dress for the first tangible self-titled release by Simon Balestrazzi, one of the most prolific sound forger, mainly known as the only enduring member of the notorious exmperimental and industrial Italian cult band T.A.C. (acronym of Tomografia Assiale Computerizzata, i.e. what is known in English speaking countries as "computerized axial tomography", a notorious diagnostic test, a bizarre name marking some of the most interesting combination between progressive-rock and industrial gothic) and former member of Kirlian Camera. Such a pertinence hangs on the circumstance A Rainbow In My Mirror has been completely recorded in two "twin" but mirrored moments - autumnal equinox in 2009 and vernal equinox in 2010 -, surgically joined together in one 21 minutes-lasting trance inducing track, whereas the whirligig of sounds departing from a sort of drone built on piercing and almost cacophonic sounds interrupted by a panting breath and flowing into a sort of cloudy organ - including one prepared toy psaltery (!), the glorious MS-20, many field recording (really disquieting some vocal childish ones appearing in the middle of the sound storm), arguably processed through Bidule, a funny modular music software, developed by Plogue - becomes gradually more vortical even if it seems possible to recognize the transition from an equinotial day to the following one when some natural sounds burst into the sonorous space previously crossed by metallic rushes, clanging hums and other sinister presences. Simon shows a considerable talent as sound-weaver and although many moments could sound quite abrasive, the bountiful way by which he fasten together the manifest esoteric aspect of this product and the stylistical exploration into one creature is somewhat interesting.
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