Music Reviews



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Artist: Neon Rain
Title: We Are Meat/The Vultures
Format: CD
Label: Steelwork Maschine (@)
Distributor: Steelwork Maschine
Rated: *****
I had fairly High expectations for this release being a huge fan of the Steelwork Maschine label and they were both met, and very much exceeded. Neon Rain has put forth a masterpiece with the double-disc release 'We Are Meat/The Vultures.'

'We are Meat' is essentially a single piece, divided into 7 'songs.' The entire disc slowly makes its way through only a single set of lyrics; a declaration of disgust aimed at the world of corporate slavery. It especially hits the nail on the head in its chanting of 'we are meat' at the final movement.

It starts out very simply with a single recurring distorted bass tone. It doesn't hit you immediately over the head, but slowly chips away at your sanity, eventually trickling in variation, including random sounds, manipulated field recordings, and Jeffrey Dahmer testimonials. It's here that the simple request is made of the listener which by the following track begs us to 'abandon all hope. ' As the disc progresses we're taken through a great range of genre bending aural assaults. It remains noisy throughout, channeling through harsh tones to more abstract textures, but certain sections take you completely by surprise with martial elements including brooding, chugging, heavy guitar rhythms accompanied by the unexpected but very enjoyable industrial vocal stylings of yesteryear.

'The Vultures' sees a bit of a break in the noise, though not completely, so fear not. It offers more melodies, more diverse genre crossovers, and a bit more 'traditional' (and I use the term very loosely) arrangement, while at the same time maintaining that abrasive 'take no prisoners' edge to it. The listener is offered tastes of feedback, strings, synths, Laibach inspired growls, and percussion that is perfect for marching. And even the most accessible and pop-y points of the cd are bathed in just the right amount of noisescapes and mayhem. The lyrics continue to project that martial mindset very effectively stressing at times that 'we are rats' and at others that 'we are the words: we are the lies.' The lyrical content throughout both discs is intense and perfect and incredible. Neon Rain has got the formula DOWN, and are making sure everyone knows it. Don't let this one pass you by.
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Artist: Alexander Volodin
Title: Unfinished Journey
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock Records (@)
Rated: *****
Here we have a genuinely interesting and unique release by Electroshock Records artist Alexander Volodin who has become a decorated musical veteran in his twenty nine years on earth. This, his latest, entitled 'Unfinished Journey' is itself, quite the journey.

It begins with a three part section that grips you right from the start, not in a jarring edge of your seat thrill ride way, but in a more compelling, and must-know kind of way. Not only is it noisy, but at times its folkish, jazzy and explosive. He approaches his compositions in some very unique and exciting ways, keeping even the slower parts fresh and invigorating. Beautifully uneasy textures and tones twist and evolve so that even by the end of even the first piece, you're ready for whatever may come next. The noteworthy 'Saxophonia' spans the reaches of beautiful, well thought out lines to droning to unapologetic noise all constructed from the smooth, vibrant sounds of'¦ you guessed it'¦ the saxophone. It is an eccentric and inspiring interpretation of a classic age-old instrument.

While it's three predecessors focused mainly on particular sound sources (i.e. sax, the lute's cousin the dorma, and even a faucet), 'Silver Thread' sets no boundaries for itself and it shows. From groaning vocals to violin to bass to synth to guitar to just all types of orchestrated noise and even the random melodic interval, it is yet again a masterful work of art.

'There, House Stood' is an all out soundtrack to insanity. At times even evoking qualities of john Lennon tape experiments with its field recordings and dialogue samples, both manipulated and not, and it's almost random flow from 'subject' to 'subject.' It appears for the most part to follow a motif set forth by the title, of seemingly random events and conversations and emotions that the house itself might perceive over time as people filtered in and out, documenting their comings and goings, expressing its joy, loneliness and occasional anger at its situations. Occupying over half the record, it really takes you through a journey of moments, some trivial, some whimsical, some candid, some maddening, that this dwelling has experienced in its many years. It's a very intriguing piece and I recommend that you listen when and ONLY when you have the time to dedicate to listening to all of its forty-one minutes in their entirety, you won't regret it.
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Artist: Antanas Jasenka
Title: Point/Circle
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock Records (@)
Rated: *****
Antanas Jasenka has taken the opportunity with his latest record 'Point/Circle' to really create a vessel for the listener to take advantage of, if he or she wishes to step out of mind and body for oh say sixty-seven minutes. The collections of fluctuating tones snuck up upon by moments of sheer dissonant fear and terror enable you to transcend time and space, if only for a short time. Each piece was arranged for a specific instrument (and computer) ranging from flute to trombone to electric organ and finally culminating with a piece 'for string quartet and live electronics.' Each song is distinct while remaining a part of the whole (appropriate considering the first six songs are technically different movements of a single entity wholly entitled 'In/Out'), some with tastefully abrupt and crashing endings are reasonably minimal in a way that really works, with textures flowing slowly in, around and through themselves. There is even a point where Jasenka introduces what I could only classify as light digital funk. This album is otherworldly, drifting along the edges of reality.

The record defies me not to specifically mention the incredible 'Out of Ciurlionis,' the piece designed for string quartet. Now I definitely expected something other than the average symphonic piece here, but my expectations were nonetheless completely shattered. COMPLETELY unconventional use of the instruments makes for one of the most interesting string pieces I've had the pleasure to baste my ears with. The booklet of the disc contains a schematic diagram of the processes used in the creation of this song wherein the actual audio of the instruments was through various means converted into digital commands which fueled both audio and video processing, essentially making one great, giant proverbial feedback loop, a concept which I find quite interesting, if only I could see the video which was produced'¦
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Artist: Yney
Title: Micro Macro
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock Records (@)
Rated: *****
'Micro Macro' opens up nicely with manipulated dialogue samples and processed synths, that somehow manage to sneak in a few choice chord progressions. The instrumentation is very sparse on Yney's Sophomore release, with jazzy six string basslines incorporated throughout, though in the second half of the disc they become more abstract and/or distorted. Those bass riffs add a certain something to the experience, even if at times they seem to work against the surrounding instrumentation. There were certain parts which were a bit 'Casio' for my liking, being of a noticeably lower quality than others whose instrumentation were much more appealing and professional sounding. I completely understand the concept of 'minimal' and am a big fan when it's executed well and properly thought out, I'm just not positive that this release was entirely effective in those two areas. By the final track, the listener is presented with what could potentially have proven to be the beginnings of a great piece, until it is abruptly cut short at just a minute twenty. The record was overall a little sleepy, which worked in some parts but not quite in others. It also has a very unique 'ethereal jazz fusion' quality to certain pieces that despite being a bit partitioned, were undeniably interesting.
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Artist: Ascii.Disko (@)
Title: Black Orchid: From Airlines To Lifelines
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact (@)
Rated: *****
Hot out of Artoffact ovens, Black Orchid: From Airlines to Lifelines (what a wise tilte!) is the new album by Daniel Gerhard Hol aka Ascii.Disko where he seems squeezing efficaciously danceable beats and good sounds into a stylistically crammed suitcase. Many electro techno djs who stocked some of Ascii.Disko releases in their bags and all those who listened some of his acid stuff could feel somewhat surprised while listening to the musical turnabout of this guy towards more dulcet and whimsically pop directions, but it's quite difficult to escape from the pleasant tunes by which Piemont manage to pamper the listeners subtly inviting them for a merrily desperate sinking into imaginary quicksands! My favorite moments of the albums are those ones when Daniel Gerhard Hol melt together elements of rock, funk and house, whereas in stunning tracks such as Horizon, the frenzically erotic White Lines Black Lines, the frenzically ego trip of 100 Demons (...wittily tinged of that kind of guitar textures post-rock lovers habitually get stoned by - a neatly audible influence in track such as Crystals and Knives as well as in other lovely intimistic exfoliations -!) or the controversially sexy and slap-happy From Airline to Lifelines and even in some brightful solipsistic reveries such as the brilliant The Black Angels Love Song the tender french kissed Butterfly some witty listeners could hear echoes of French Teen Idol or Alex Gopher (...or at least the Alex Gopher emerging from his self-titled album!). A sort of new era even for satanic acid youth could have come... Brilliant workout!
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