Music Reviews



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Artist: Cylix (@)
Title: Alpha
Format: CD
Label: Life Is Painful Records (@)
Distributor: Nova MD
Rated: *****
Greece gets featured negative in our daily news flash regarding its economic and financial problems. Unfortunately this may alters a bit the concentration on the positive, artistically precious elements out of this country. Also Synth-/Futurepop music made in Greece is a seldom discovered music style ' international recognition are rather gaining the harder Electro/Industrial projects like Iambia, Inline.Sex.Terror, or Siva Six. So the debut release of Cylix is sort of a premiere, and I was about to listen carefully for a special unique trademark behind the music of the duo. Let's say it friendly, because it is hardly possible to discover a glimpse of undiscovered ingredients: Cylix are walking musically on known paths and are still in a developing process to find an own, unique niche. 'Alpha' focuses to install danceable Futurepop-elements in a comparable direction to bands like Culture Kultür or the Swedish Electropop-institution Elegant Machinery. Some of their tracks are moving near to the EBM genre ('Miles Divide', or 'Deepest Fear'), while other tracks like 'Heal Me' and 'Keine Zeit' are rather calm, presenting clear the melodic Synthpop-driven style. Their smooth side offered through these both tracks is the better one. Also important for a debut is the invitation to some better known projects asking for remix contributions. On 'Alpha' you'll get a remix of Germany's Lights Of Euphoria (fair, but unobtrusive remix on 'So Much For Love''¦), and from Psyche ' sometimes a good idea for a well-done remix can be, to reduce a track only on vocals and synthesizer sounds ' congratulations to Darrin Huss for removing the rhythm section of 'Heal Me', which finally proofs, how much depth hides behind this song. 'Alpha' is a good debut, well suited for Synth-/Futurepop-fans, although it leaves space for development. I guess, an imaginary entitled 'Beta' album will already show a step forward for this duo.

Sep 17 2011
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anymore
Artist: Dagobert
Title: S/T
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Dominance Electricity (@)
Rated: *****
Celebrating the return of Dagobert (with "Astronauten", a split EP with serbian producer Kalson-see Maurizio's review here: http://www.chaindlk.com/reviews/?id=6555 ), Dominance Electricity re-releases their resident artist's self-titled debut album for the first time in digital format. Original LP came out in 1997, on Harzfein Records (a hip-hop/electro label based in Dessau, Germany, also the hometown of Dominance Records, which was apparently the parent company) and it is considered as one of the classic 90s electro records.
An obvious question would be if this album stands the test of time. It took me only a couple of listens to answer: yes, definitely! After 14 years every single track included in the original version still sounds fresh, like it was released sometime during the last couple of years, time in which the electrofunk scene seems to be more active than ever. From the imposing intro track "Jam-Duction (Let's Jam)" to the bouncy closing one "Boomdrummer" (both characterised by mr. Howe's dope vocoder skills), through the pure electrofunk jam "For The Sure Shock Rockers", the speedy dark number "Dark Power", the dreamy "Sliproad To Feel" (love this track!), the laidback beauty of "Bonus Chill" (a nice surprise the inclusion of a chill-out track in this kind of album!), the epic "Bass Invasion" (really great synth work here) and the perfect blending of acid and space electro vibes on "Inharmonic Whispers" (track featured in the german tv series "Space Night - New Frontiers", back in '98), it's all here: 808 beats, breakbeats, synth melodies, vocoded rhymes and, of course, the (((BASS))), blended unmistakably to create one of the very first examples of the (common today, but quite a novelty back then) oldschool/breaks fusion aka nu electro.
Even if you have the original wax you might still want to buy this edition, as all the tracks are remastered and it also contains 3 bonus Dagobert jams ("It's Time", "Get On It" and "Untitled", the first 2 taken from Dagobert & Dj Magic Mayer's 1997 12" "Harzfein Presentz Kingz Of Electro" and the last one taken from the 1996 compilation "DAP (Dessau Action Pack)"-both releases on Harzfein).
Available at all digital stores, this is highly recommended stuff so save your money for a copy ;)
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anymore
Artist: NOTIC NASTIC
Title: Fullscreen
Format: CD
Label: Notic Nastic
Distributor: Shitkatapult
Rated: *****
After one year from their debut album "It's Dark But It's Ok", Notic Nastic are back with a new album titled FULLSCREEN. Released on their personal label and distributed by Shitkatapult (the label that released their previous one), FULLSCREEN will catch your attention starting from its mesmerizing cover where their female singer has an arrow painted starting from her mouth, pointing to the ground. On all their visual representation she proved herself to be a real performer and also on this album she will convince people both for her visual and vocal performances. Anyway... The album opens with four hits in a row "Cyanide", "Illuminati Bitch", "I Don't Wanna Do It Right" and "Both Eyes Open" and all of them shout out loud the theme/message that the Berlin/N.Y. duo wanted to deal with for this album: FULLSCREEN is a symbol of the frustration that arises because of the sleepy minds of the masses. With their lyrics Notic Nastic shout WAKE UP! Open your eyes wide and see the truth behind the smokescreen. It's a particular thing that into a record which could be considered dancey you can find lyrics like "I was entrapped by lies, in fear that the truth was danger, are you free, if you always have to hide" ("Cyanide"), or "Though I was fucking around and I had to ditch, cause I'm not gonna be some illuminati bitch" ("Illuminati Bitch"). Musically, as for the first album, the duo deliver twelve new tracks which mix analog/digital distorted synth sounds, hard beats and cool melodies. Alternating upbeat tempo tracks (mostly the first half of the tracks) and mid tempo tunes, Notic Nastic produced themselves the album helped by Philip Hansmann on mixing and Stefan Betke on mastering and succeeded into creating a mixture of dark pulsating danceable songs which work so well. Thanks to the vocal performances of the unnamed singer and to their ability to tweak vocals (which are now slowed then pitched and sampled, creating sometimes an effect you can also find on Crystal Castles albums) FULLSCREEN will convince you as much as "It's Dark But It's Ok" did. It will be out on October 21st.
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Artist: ADJ
Title: Beats, Blips & Other Dimensions
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Shameless Toady (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Sometimes i wonder how some people manage to do so many great things in so little time. Take the case of Phil Ventre (aka Pip Williams) for example: top (and very open-minded) electronic producer, dope dj, excellent graphic artist and boss of one of today's most eclectic labels, Shameless Toady! This multi-talented guy seems unstoppable, like he somehow found the secret formula to... clone himself and sent his clones to conquer the electro scene! Here he delivers ST's second album (after the excellent compilation "Peers#1", released last March-TOADLP001), "Bits, Blips & Other Dimensions" by ADJ, a well respected electro dj and producer based in London, who's also co-founder of another quality label, Pyramid Transmissions ( www.pyramidtransmissions.com ). In this long player Andy Jaggers (that's ADJ's real name) builds complex pieces of rhythmic electronica, not necessarily uptempo (listen to the quirky opener "Sub Aquatic Dialog" with its cool electro beat and the dubstep-inspired "Knee Jerk" and "Flush It"-both are great!), characterised by an organic feel, as the result of the extended use of glitch sounds. Personal favourites are also the imposing "Batstreet", the menacing "Spirit Of IQ" and the moody "Void", a dark electro track full of tension that closes the album, but i'm pretty sure that these are for... today; tomorrow i'll go with others, as this release is a fine example of too many styles put together to create a sonic mosaic that, finally, defies categorization!
So, file under "leftfield" (although you'll find it at the electro section on most digital stores) and support artist and label by getting this very nice album via Shameless Toady's Bandcamp page ( http://shamelesstoady.bandcamp.com/ )
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Artist: STERNREKORDER
Title: Weissensee
Format: 12"
Label: Astro Chicken (@)
Rated: *****
After participating with the track "Geh lieber nie" to the first Astro Chicken label album compilation, one year after, Sternrekorder is here with his first album WEISSENSEE. Limited to 250 copies printed on 180gr red vinyl, the 12" contains seven new tracks plus "Geh lieber nie", which, along with "On My Roof", is the only track to have vocals. Sternrekorder's music finds it roots on the late 70s was synth sounds when the synthesizers didn't have midi either. Based on arpeggios and light bleeping sounds the tracks on WEISSENSEE pulse like a distant star and paint a canvas where you can see space lands and new incredible landscapes. With the help of what I think could be a CR-78 drum machine, Sternrekorder revive the atmospheres of the pioneers of electronic music adding joyful melodies and passion. Upbeat rhythms with fat bass lines duet with vibrating synth pads. You can check the sound samples on the label's website.
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