Music Reviews



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Artist: Severe Illusion (@)
Title: No More Alive Than You Deserve
Format: CD
Label: Complete Control Productions (@)
Distributor: Sound Pollutions Distribution
Rated: *****
Swedish finest Lo-fi/Chaostronica-EBM project returns with an all new album, now signed to the new label Complete Control Productions. And the featured quality of their latest recordings for this album reaches the level of their finest works, since it has been a bit silent during the last three years around them. Fredrik and Ulf are performing with the same harsh rage combined with their ongoing fine nose for the Experimental side to be installed into their sound environment, so that most contributors of the Harsh-EBM/Hellectro camp are standing in a poor light. There isn't magic included behind their synth-arrangements, they rather play with already known and often minimal constructed sound-patterns. But nevertheless you'll get another boosting Severe Illusion release filled with authenticity. After the rather on their side-projects Instans reminding opening track 'Mockingbird', they return into their classic style known from their state-of-art-albums 'Discipline Is Reward Enough' or 'Accomplishments Of Leopold II' with the top-notch tunes 'Try Harder' and 'Clear Head (Album Version)'. Fredrik offers again his 'monstrous' vocal fx-processing, as well as the tracks itself stealing the show with a monotonous bass-line programming resulting in a hypnotic expression. The integration of some Powernoise-like elements also receives an expected revival at latest with the bizarre sound-excesses of 'Rotating Knives, Yes'. All in all, you'll get another plus-good album of this Swedish duo, which comes out a bit like a long missed friend. Severe Illusion stands for a nice, but rather expected addition to the Swedish CCP-label.

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Artist: Subterraneanact (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Z6 (@)
Rated: *****
It's really difficult to recognize the points of departure of this collaborative project by Henk Bakker aka HEK (former member of Dull Schicksal with Lukas Simonis, Hajo Doom an Colin Mclure and one leg of Static Tics) and Jelmer Cnossen aka Malorix, but I think the drawn analogy between the computer (or ableton) assisted way they dissected, miniaturized, crumbled, aggregated and treated inputs from respective instruments - bass clarinet and drums - in order to discover their hidden and more extreme sonic potential and excavation, digging or any other possible activities concerning underground passages or tunnel (as well as any related biological reaction such as the stuffy feeling related to the rarefaction of air) is proper with their sound. You could feeling like some worker in the bowels of the earth for extraction of minerals or for the drilling of the rocks in order to create tunnels for underground trains while listening heavy matsuri-like bumps or hammering, saw-like cacophonic noises, sinister echoes, disturbing explosions and other sonic sketches with many somewhat imaginative episodes - my favorite ones are Specon 9 (where it seems there are sudden gusts from dark underground zones, mixing with clanking rods), Conlet (it seems that the track echoes the devastating whirling of a drilling blading while severing electric wires during its rotation, inspiring some dizzy feeling), Exart (during its listening I imagined some mad miner, who decided to kill a big community of underground bugs or rats with a plenty of sticks of dynamite...), Fiek and the final S-Scape (you could imagine the above-mentioned miner, who frantically looks for a way of escape after realizing that he destroyed its torch together with a plenty of rats!)-. This impacting Dutch project offers a little bit uncanny but very immersive listening experience.
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Artist: youANDme
Title: mouche
Format: 12"
Label: Dub2Dust (@)
Distributor: DBH
Rated: *****
A graceful dub-flavoured tech-house proposal is ready to come on decks from Frankfurt-based vynil label, founded by Gabriel Le Mar and Carsten Schorr, whose publishing efforts are focusing on possible declensions of a dub-derived sounds within techno and house rhythmical patterns. Behind the moniker youANDme, there are two Berlin-based djs and producer, Martin Mueller and Daniel Stroeter, veterans of that scene as they roll interesting musical hybrids since 1995, which magnetized many partygoers and renowned labels such as Cocoon, Compost, 2020Vision, Ornaments, Platzhirsch and many others. On "mouche" (French word meaning "flight"), they let listeners hovering in the air with unobtrusive and well-balanced rhytmical oscillations, frothy echoes and icy ascending samples, so that it seems that there's a sensorial conflict between dynamics which gradually get warmer and warmer by taking possession of the body and inducing almost automatically some movements and sonic breeze which become subject to frostbite, but everyone knows what the mixing of warm and cold currents can cause... "Electric Dub Remix" by skilled dj Luke Hess on B-side immediately kicks with crunchy and regular beats, which sound remarkably influenced by typical Detroit techno progressions (it's quite normal if you consider that Luke is a dj born in metropolitan area of Detroit and musically grown in the legendary mid-90ies warehouse parties there, an influence tempered by a scientific approach on sound coming from his background in engineering and mathematics), the most notable additive to the track, which keep original aerodynamics properties intact.
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Artist: M. Marchoff & MJ Caroline
Title: Voxfields
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
This release is a strange album. Completely constructed upon field recordings is far away from postcard-like sounds of some strange place but closer to evocative industrial soundscapes.
"Voxfields" opens this release with a factory's siren that underlines the oppressive soundscape made out of the field recordings. "Voxfields II" is a short interlude to the next proper track of this album "Voxfields III" with some sparse drones above a sort of rhythm constructed with small noises. "Voxfields IV" is based on metallic rhythmic sounds in a quiet environment while "Voxfields V" deals with metallic resonances. "Voxfields VI" close this release with a sort of dark ambient soundscape ending in a complete silence.
This work made by Marek Marchoff and MJ Caroline is perhaps too particular to be rated with a number between 1 and 5. Adventurous in this search of an industrial way of constructing a field recording album could be a revealing or a boring listening. It depends on the curiosity of the listener.
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Artist: Gtronic
Title: Sergeant Bass EP
Format: 12"
Label: Dim Mak (@)
Distributor: Downtown Music
Rated: *****
I thought that samples of military snares and similar references in dance music were a little bit old-fashioned, especially after many stylists spoke out for the hoped disappearance of combat jackets, helmets, camouflage trousers, admiral coats, uniforms and insignia from wardrobes, arguably related to that smelling-like-teen-spirit feeling of being enlisted by strict rules of society - maybe many workers, retirees, businessmen or jobless people are feeling the same for the heavy tax regimes and the general rising of cost-of-living indexes related to financial crisis, even if such a situation could result in a feeling of belonging to a firing squad -. However that may be, many techno followers are joining to the rowdy forces of Gregory Grauwels aka Gtronic, a young techno maker dealing with the rougher and more contagious side of hard techno and the assault he normally mounts is sensorial as confirmed by this hard-ditting EP, wisely titled "Sergeant Bass" and issued by Steve Aoki's label Dim Mak- he still needs some seniority to reach golden stripes and gleaming medals, but he looks like quite resolute as he says with ogre-like voice in the title track between pasty bass pulses, harsh cuts and sharp sounds -. After he sets himself the target, Gtronic grinds his weaponry to reach the goal: military snares and dirty techno sounds in "March of Evil" are going to inflame the army (the snares used a long time ago by Dutchman Hans Weekhout's brain child Capricorn in "20Hz", which could came to listener's mind, will appear stuff for washouts) and a session of hard training has been scheduled on course sonic surfaces and whirling skretches of "Bubba", a sort of reminder of the dynamics which made Gtronic sound so notorious and beloved. An instrumental version of "Sergeant bass" has been included in the Ep for the sadic pleasure of lieutenants, who are going to recruit new forces in many clubs of the planet. Mission is going to be accomplished.
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