Music Reviews



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Artist: CRUISE [CTRL] (@)
Title: How's Annie?
Format: CD
Label: Divine Comedy
Rated: *****
Largely anticipated by the single "We've Met Before, Haven't We?" which I reviewed back in March 2009, HOW'S ANNIE?, the second album by the Belgian duo Cruise [CTRL], has just been released by Divine Comedy. If you already listened to the three tracks single, you already know what to expect, because those tracks are all into the nine tracks listing of the album. For whom didn't know what I'm talking about, you have to know that Cruise [CTRL] credo resides into the creation of tracks that follow these rules: all tracks at 120bpm, all tracks linked, only analogical sounds and textures, no melodies, no singers, no faces, no explanations, no rules. Being true to most of these "no rules", for HOW'S ANNIE?, they composed nine tracks where the minimal approach to melody (many times melody is only a looping two notes synth bass line) is the counterpart to rich intersecting rhythmic layers. Dry syncopated drum machine patterns beat their rhythm giving the time to clashing clanging synth noises, filtered guitars (which on tracks like "Henry's head" are reduced to a resonating feedback) and drones. The alternation and the quantity of the different elements are the key of the formula and Cruise [CTRL] are good at keeping everything in control. Besides the nine original tracks, on this album we have three bonus remixes: two of "Where's Alice? Alice who?" (Rorscharch Garden gave to the track a retro 80s flavor, turning it into an early e.b.m. tune, while Oil 10, true to their cinematic robotic rich synth sound, remixed it keeping alive also the light original industrial approach) and one of "Pomona road" (which remixed by No More, the famous band that composed "Suicide Commando", now sounds like an ambient e.b.m. tune).
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anymore
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Einsturzende Neubauten: Ibero-Amerikanisches Tribut - from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego
Format: CD
Label: Tacu4ra Records (@)
Rated: *****
As Einsturzende Neubauten are touring the world in celebration of their 30th year anniversary (although the US dates have just been canceled due to visa issues), Argentinian Tacu4ra Records is revering Einsturzende with a 15 track compilation tribute of bands from across the globe covering Neubauten tunes. Bands hailing from Brasil, Chile, Germany, Argentina, Spain, UK, Colombia and France flocked to the label to rise to the ambitious task of paying tribute to one of the greatest industrial bands of all times.
Overall, the level of the tracks is pretty high although the bands are all up & coming. Lots of female singers somehow. Some bands from the latin-speaking continent even courageously chose tunes with german lyrics. My favorite covers are probably "The Garden" by Spain's Oblique or "Sabrina" by UK's ElectroXcentric, but in general the covers I usually like the most are the ones that sound the furthest away from the original (it's easy to copy, it's harder to make a copy sound original!). Some bands that really deviate from the original version are Argentina's Lastrax with their techno-dance version of "Youme&meyou", "Armenia"'s sadly out of phase power-glitch-breakcore version by Colombian Nina Terrorista & STH, Spain's Vondage's "Haus der Luege" power-noise-industrial-goth version and others. To tell you the truth, EN is so original sounding that copying them is so hard most bands attempting it would end up sounding different that the original anyway!
I applaud the label for coming up with this concept and for the bands that decided to participate. It would be great to see a similar kind of tribute to EN by more established bands that have an instantly recognizable sound, because that's when you really know how much of their own a band has put into it (it's harder to make that assessment when you don't know any of the bands). Nothing of what I am saying though should take merits away from this compilation. Everything down to the art work is very professional here. Great idea and great execution overall!
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Artist: Kirchenkampf (@)
Title: Lowland
Format: CD
Label: Cohort Records (@)
Rated: *****
Long time Chain D.L.K. contributor John Gore has quietly kept busy releasing his own music and that of others through his outlet Cohort Records. Even though he's been supporting the scene by releasing artist's music on Cohort and reviewing artist's music on Chain D.L.K., he was so shy or modest that he didn't even send us any of his releases until I asked him to. So here I am, finally, listening to our friend Gore's latest album. His main project, Kirchenkampf, is focused on a combination of radio waves and synth/sound effects. I'm not very familiar with his earlier releases, but I've read that they used to be a bit more extreme. "Lowland" is a very quiet, relaxed and subtle concentration of sounds. It's experimental dark ambient music that weaves in and out of the more noisy and more musical permutations of that combination of genres. There are seven tracks totaling 55 minutes of delicate soundscapes with the right amount of roughness around their edges to keep the listener from getting too comfortable.
The CDR release comes in a beautiful hand-folded, hand-painted, hand-stamped gatefold enclosures in vellum sleeves with a tree printed on it.
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anymore
Artist: Swans
Title: My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
Format: CD
Label: Young God Rercods (@)
Rated: *****
At this point I'm sure everyone has heard that Swans is back. They've been touring and selling out venues all across the US. Unfortunately I missed them when they played in New York but everyone who's attended described it as an amazing and intense show (and one of the loudest ever!). Judging by the opening track of their new CD, I think I know what they are talking about. The sound of tracks like "No Words/No Thoughts" or "You Fucking People Make Me Sick" is just massive! The sonic attack perpetuated across the album is relentless and only at times it eases off to create more diluted and less aggressive, but still somber and intense, atmospheres.

Founding member Michael Gira on guitar and vocals is joined by original member Norman Westberg on guitar, mid period member Christoph Hahn on guitar, Phil Puleo on drums, percussion and dulcimer (who had been on the final swans tour and most angels), Chris Pravdica on bass and gadgets (flux information sciences / services/ gunga din), Thor Harris on drums, percussion, vibes, dulcimer, curios, keys (angels, now also with Shearwater).

The record also features a bunch of guests including Bill Rieflin (long-time Swans and Angels of Light contributor, also worked with Ministry and currently drummer for REM and Robyn Hitchcock) on piano, synthesizer, organ, acoustic and electric guitar drums/percussion and more; Grasshopper's (Mercury Rev) Mr. Grass on mandolins and Devendra Banhart on lead vocals (accompanied by Gira's 3 year old daughter too!)

Ater 5 years of Angels of Light albums, this should be the most welcome addition to any Swans fan's recprd collection and a great introduction to the band's wall of sound, regardless of whether you ever even heard one of their earlier records.

Available as Digipack CD, LP + MP3 download card or MP3 download only from Gira's lable YoungGodRecords.com
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Artist: Komet (@)
Title: P.S.T.
Format: 12"
Label: False Industries (@)
Distributor: Whay People Play
Rated: *****
The signature on the third release by the newborn label False Industries cannot be so highly esteemed like the one by Komet, musical alter-ego of the renowned co-founder of Raster Noton (formerly Rastermusic) Frank Bretschneider, one of the most talented innovator amidst the overcrowded minimal techno scene, bringing out another delicious pie of perfectly razor cut beats, growling punchy digital bass sequences and distinguashable mechanical hearth pulsations. Accordingly to minimalist approach, it seems that every looped sound has been added in the magmatic amalgama in order to let the listener appreciate the perfection of the forging process all over the session, where Dr.Frank seems amplifying the sounds of the breath and the cardiac beat of an engine by his personal stethoscope. Among the three auscultations, I particularly liked the first one, P.S.T09, where some delicate sounds introduces the track before the pasty begins tasting burned by smoked bass sequences, and the third one, Flights 09 for his slow minimal involving obscure progression, but also the remaining one, even if a little bit eccentric and not really addressed to dancefloors, entitled Clap 05 sounds really interesting.

Dr.Breitschneider is not greedy as well as he shares his auscultations with other well-versed beat forgers, including False Industries label-boss Yair Etziony, who adds some entrancing drones to Clap 05 (maybe the remix which preserved more original elements of the source code), among which there are some brilliant versions, in particular the "nostalgic" one of Clap 05 by Donnacha Costello under the moniker MSF, who tuned the track into a piece which seems coming from the primordial archives of 90s post-Detroit techno forgers such as Dietrich Schoenemann or Taylor Deupree featuring nice bubbly synths cauterizing and cymbal-propelled stomping beats, Lobeygram aka Gabe Morley's one (maybe the most defaced version of Clap 05, but not less interisting than the original track...) and the eccentric foggy dubstep make-up of Stream by the mysterious moniker Tramway V, maybe the most groundbreaking among the remixes included in this juicy release.
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