Music Reviews



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Artist: Achenar
Title: Super Death Explosion Kittens
Format: CD
Label: Earthen Records
Rated: *****
Achenar's sophomore effort, the aptly titled 'Super Death Explosion Kittens,' is precision aural assault right from the onslaught. The intro 'Arise, Minions' commands you do exactly that. At a mere 44 seconds, you only barely get to immerse yourself in the tune before the rest of the disc comes bashing you over the head with its industrial-death-breakcore brutality. Most of the songs here at 'first glance' seem almost to have little apparent rhyme or reason other than to bruise the eardrums, but listening even the tiniest bit deeper shows exactly how meticulously and painstakingly crafted this release truly is. Every nuance has been carefully planned and executed with perfection. Some of this can be proven by watching sole member Duncan Hemingway's Renoise Video Blog which chronicles certain aspects of the creation of this EP (which was done entirely in Renoise) in detail, describing how he careful orchestrated the 'live but humanly impossible' sound to his drums, how he created melodic noise textures from a fraction of a vocal sample or how he essentially converts his own aural perception into audio effects and many other unorthodox yet intriguing topics. I originally saw these videos when I was learning Renoise myself so I can say with certainty that they are extremely informative and effective.

'Super Death Explosion Kittens' (aside from having quite possibly the BEST title of any CD ever) proves to be a sonic thrill ride throughout. From the intro; to 'Liberation,' the fantasy inspired segue into the second half; to the destructive beauty of 'Born into Steam' this disc doesn't disappoint, not even for a second. It isn't exactly for the faint of heart, but once you've crossed over into the battleground of Achenar, you'll never look back.
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Artist: Wolfuneral (@)
Title: Night\'s Symphonies
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
At first glance, when I saw the layout my first thoughts were that this album would be something into Doom Black Metal or the related, however the situation differs a lot.

Wolfuneral is a solo project owned by Stefano Gagliarducci from Roma, Italy and so far he presented his 9 track (total time: 58 minutes) debut release entitled 'Night's Symphonies', which was actually release back in 2010. The main genre behind (unlike my first impressions on the layout) is a cross between Orchestral and Symphonic Music with occasional hints of Gothic, Neo-Classical music and on rare instances distorted parts. I am more than sure that those who favor these 'sweet' pleasant styles would find this album mostly enjoyable.

All in all these 9 compositions are engulfed in gloom, melancholy and especially romanticism that gives quite an 'epic' sensation on the whole album especially the agitating strings, pizzicato and violins. Moreover I cannot exclude mentioning the element of coldness and the sense of both solitude and nostalgia emitted from most of the songs. Not the whole album is based solely on symphonic orchestrations. For instance the song entitled 'Out of the Dark' is based mainly on Pianos and distant atmospheres; whereas the track entitled 'Lucifer' is filled with ambiance, screechy distant whispers/voices and disturbing haunting sounds typically found in old fashioned horror movies. This debut effort reminds me of bands/projects like Nox Arcana, Elend, plus a bit of Profanum (pl) and Professor Fate (uk) in which means that listeners of Nox Arcana would probably value Wolfuneral.

From a critical point of view the drawbacks are monotony and arrangement. Some of the songs tend to be predictable and repetitive. Although the arrangement is quite satisfactory, some parts definitely need improvement for instance the occasional drumming which sounds a bit too loud and raw! Finally the worst thing I have to point out is about the first track entitled 'Over the Skies', which is unfortunately the worst in the album. Its introduction is quite beautiful (ambiance, vibrating strings and peaceful orchestrations) but the timpani sound somehow too loud. Moreover the more time passes by the more it become worse since the additional orchestrations aren't ear friendly at all enough to say that harmony is lacking. At least the rest of the album is a stepping milestone compared to the introductory track.

Having said that, one cannot deny that the author have splendid ideas. Overall this is a quality start for Wolfuneral, and considering the fact that 'Night's Symphonies' is a debut release, and judging its caliber I can say that the next work will be a stepping mile-head (of course if to include the adjustments in the arrangements).


Jun 30 2011
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Artist: ELASTIK (@)
Title: Critik
Format: CD
Label: Koma Records (@)
Rated: *****
CRITIK is the second and newest album by a project coming from Paris / France called Elastik. Thomas Prigent is the main guy behind it and he collaborated with different people who composed the lyrics and sung on most of the album tracks. We have Horror 4o4 on "Ekymose", "Toxic" and "Skalpel" (she did a spoken word performance in French language while Thomas built a strong musical background in balance from industrial, new wave and experimental electronic music), Faustine on "Automatik" (this is a powerful track that begins with an hypnotic tiny bell melody and that grows slowly with the add of distorted drum beats and bass lines just to find its climax when catchy piano / bells melodies joins the great Faustine's performance), Cecilia H on "Organik" (this is an upbeat track based on warm synth bass lines, reverberated clean guitar arpeggios, analog drum machine beats that add pathos to the Cecilia H speech), Cheval Blanc on "Synkrone" (this is a melancholic tune with a nice piano / distorted reverse guitars duet with the add of powerful hard beats. Cheval Blanc is a guy who here performs his French speech) and Black Sifichi on "Insomniak" (this track is a mix of upbeat beats and minimal electronic melodies and Black Sifichi vocals sounds like a speech of an English actor). We have also three instrumental tracks ("Kristal", "Nevrotik" and "Klone") where Thomas build a strong mix made of industrial electronic music and catchy melodic intuitions or creates a nightmarish mix of piano echoes (on "Klone"). CRITIK is a great album which is able to mix cinematic atmospheres, cool sounds and convincing vocal performances. You can check the whole stream on the label's website.
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Artist: SATIN JACKETS
Title: Everywhere I Go
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
EVERYWHERE I GO is the newest Satin Jackets single which is out now on Mullet Records. The track is a fresh funk wave song with dance attitude, deep bass lines, swinging guitar riffs, nice synth leads melodies and the great voice of Eric Cozier, here as guest. The EP contains three versions of the main tune: "Radio edit", "Original mix" (which is eight minutes long) and the "Instrumental version". It also contains an instrumental B-side titled "Don't Stop Looking", a song based on 4/4 hard beats, house synth pads breaks and funky guitar riffs. Nice one...
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Artist: Bit-Tuner (@)
Title: Drome EP
Format: CD
Label: Trepok (@)
Distributor: Phonofile
Rated: *****
The petrified stern face standing out on the cover artwork's makes resurface to my mind one of the most iconic fictional character of the notorious L.Frank Baum's Oz books I used to read when I was a little child, the Nome King, so that my mind started to find any possible similarities out with this astonishing proof of sound ballistics by Swiss producer Marcel Gschwend aka Bit-Tuner and the fearful antagonist of Oz villains! Even if I cannot be sure Marcel doesn't like eggs (if you've seen the Disney movie adaptation of that story, you'll arguably remember the Nome King was killed by an egg, laid by Billina, the nuisance-hen Dorothy accidentally brought in Oz during his second travel in the emerald city!), his style, a juicy hybridization of ill-bient, booming dubstep and experimental hip hop, sounds rocky like the cells of any gnome and dim like the obscure underground hollows where they use to dwell. Another feature of this stony civilization consists of their habit of hiding jewels. Well, this could be undoubtedly a controversial point as you'll unlikely deny his skills in melting styles in a turgidly psychedelic way by mining authentic gold from previously drilled soils (especially in gorgeous tracks such as Traffic, Anger or Dizzer - what a guessed title! -), but you'll notice Bit-Tuner is inclined to bury the nice harmonics he assembles with layers and layers of heavyweight basslines or thrilling samples (I appreciated the sci-fi nuances of tracks such as the final Full Bass Bonus or the clocking abrasive dubstep of Nuclear Silence). Really bewitching stuff, which is potentially going to daze the listener...especially if related to some Oz stupidly happy villain!
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