Music Reviews



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Artist: ROTTERDAM
Title: Cambodia
Format: CD
Label: Everest Records (@)
Coming from Vienna, Rotterdam are a duo formed by Susanne Amann (cello, flute, electronics) and Michael Klauser (acoustic guitar, electronics). CAMBODIA is their debut album and it is the result of ten years of sound experiments. The seven tracks of the album born from compression of sound treatments obtained from acoustic instruments mixed with samples. The result is a sort of minimal hypnotic schizophrenia which finds its way out through repetitive loops progressions. The effect is a particular one, because it sounds like a minimal techno album where the only source of rhythm is coming from strings picking, violin squeaking and I don't know what kind of treated sound source, which at the end sounds like a digital beat. The tracks sound obsessive and repetitive but the atmosphere span from melancholy to confusion passing though schizophrenia and isolation. Intense experience but avoid the listening if you are already feeling stressed by your daily life.
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Artist: In Viro (@)
Title: Gehorche! Fuhle! Glaube!
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
There is only one possible reason explaining why In Viro's imperative debut album Gehorche! Fuelhe! Glaube! (literally meaning "Obey! Feel! Believe!", the so-called imperative principles for traditional social organizations such as family and religion) isn't going to be welcomed (arguably by reviewers) with the same stir Richard Kruspe & C. induced in the judging committee of the ill-famed Berlin Senate Metro when they started off so laying the foundations of Rammstein and that mixture of Hard and Glam Rock partially rediscovered by the so-called Neue Deutsche Haerte: the earliness and the creative skills by Rammstein! And the association with that notorious German band is not so fortuitous as In Viro's sound - maybe just a little less "electronic" then the one by their more famous fellow countrymen - doesn't only trace their drawing, but even some lyrical references (a title such as Herzbrecher could remind Herzeleid, Rammstein's debut album, and the fierce song Ich Bin - a sort of realistic and upset nursery rhyme -could echo the angry "Ich Will" by Lindermann) sound as aware references to Kruspe's brave horde, but in spite of the fact originality is definitively not their forte, I couldn't say In Viro's strenghtened debut will be unwelcomed by followers of this genre and other armoured inhabitants of the Neue Deutsche Haerte stronghold, as it's quite genuine and when not winking at dancefloors (it seems to be a fashion nowadays the abuse of too generic and easy-fittable words on such a purpose), their lyrics touch on themes (including a kind of reprise of Faust-ian dramatic themes in tracks such as Geiles Stuck, which will delight metal disciples...) which animate that scene in a way which sometimes sounds even more provoking than the one of some legendary Industrial Metal bulwarks. Moreover even if it sounds not so good for more "intimate" and slower songs, Dante Frost's voice perfectly fits the good programming by Joey Six, reaching some qualitative peaks in the instrumental parts of tracks like Kuss Mich! or Vaterland, oh, Vaterland - the most catching and definitively my favorite track of this album -. I'm curios to know which path they will run after this good debut album in order to get rid of charges of being not so original, but I definively welcome them in the circle of "New German Hardness"!
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Artist: THOLEN (@)
Title: Neuropol
Format: CD
Label: Cyclic Law
Rated: *****
This album is a dark ambient album with strong soundtrack influence, it just evoke scene of an horror movie. in fact, the title of the album, Neuropol, is the name of a fictional city whose society is divided in two distinct classes: a lethargic mass of working slaves on the surface trapped in the industrial landscapes and the elite who lives underground.
"They are watching through my eyes" opens this release with a mesmerizing drone below evocative soundscapes. "Neuropol Underground Infrastructure" uses high volume low frequencies to evoke a (perhaps) moral darkness above higher frequencies effects while "Cryogenic Ceremonies" is an highly evocative track ending with a sad line of piano. "Among The Tormented" is constructed with lines of filtered synth above a dark drone. "Tiefe - Floating Corpses Odor" opens with filtered voices walking around all the track. "Becomming (Segmented Minds)" starts with a dialog of a man and a, presumely, young women and develops with layers of low frequencies drones. "When all hope was dying" ends this records with layers of melancholy lines.
At the end of the listening, it's difficult to express the images evoked in this musical journey; this is an album really well mastered, not a so common feature these days, that requires good subwoofer to really appreciate the depth of the careful elaborated layers constituting the track. An album to be played loud.
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Artist: DANISHMENDT
Title: Un Passe Aride
Format: CD
Label: Odio Sonoro / Architecht Of Noise
Rated: *****
UN PASSE ARIDE is the third album by the French band Danishmendt and it contains eight tracks/suites which length goes from five to fifteen minutes. Based on guitar noise, powerful drum beats and dissonant melodies, the album influences goes from noise core (see Neurosis), noise (I hear echoes of the 90s Anphetamine Reptile sound) to industrial/ambient (these elements tend to work in the background, building a solid basement to the granitic sound of the band, but on "Das boot", they play the main role thanks to echoes of grinding machines). While listening to the album a question came to my mind: what is the difference from pain and controlled suffering and what happens if you mix them? Well, I'll try to explain what I mean... Karl's vocals represent the pure pain. There are no moanings or else, he cries his lungs out, like there's no other way out. He has to take everything out, painting a desolation scenario where abandoned factories are visited by modern primitives that try to build a new world by following their ancestors rules. Guitars, drums, effects and stuff, instead, offer a varied sound based on obscure pounding formulas where stops and go, guitar arpeggios and brutal riffs are alternated creating a good sound canvas that is enriched also by the great recording production. If you want a taste of Danishmendt, you can check the whole album on streaming at the bands website.
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Artist: Leykam | Mark
Title: Live Extracts 96-98
Format: CD
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
1996-1998...for some mysterious reasons I still have vivid memories around the music circulating in those years. For instance I remember in some elitarian sets it wasn't so difficult to listen performances of Buddhist monks while emitting trance-inducing vocals together with eccentric keyboardists and sound crafters dealing with ethnic instruments whereas people sitting in the stalls included someone winking at this musical explorations with libels of some more or less improvised guru in the pocket or on the bedside table nearby a finely chiselled censer and sweet-smelling stick of incense and day-dreaming about any bizarre intersection point between technological progress and spirituality and other groups of radical-chic people feeling a certain nostalgia for their roaring twenties in the 60s/70s and taking a liking to those teenagers spreading rumors about a possible alien conspiracy for anaesthetizing human race througout ambient and trance music and some exotic food in order to conquer and arguably destroy the Planet Earth! I vividly remember a live exhibition of the Buddhist Buthanese monk Lama Gyourme and J.P. Rykiel whereas there was a background sound on the amplified one of snoring dispirited people and pensive aum(or ohm)-like hypnotized ones filling the sound space amidst the audience. These live extracts by the respected cosmic ambient knights Frank Mark and Roman Leykam, issued by the renowned Frank Mark's imprint and recorded in different live-sessions in Germany during those years, partially enucleates that cultural tumor without renouncing to an appreciable sound research as well as to its stage set so that the themes are more or less the same, which even if nowadays could be considered quite old-fashioned used to be the knaves in social scene. There are many nice episodes along this collection , especially those ones where the cosmic and progressive rock vein by Roman Leykam pulsates more intensely by highlithing the mystical pressure of the polished and clean sandpapering on frequencies and the thinning of sounds coming from samples and tapes by Frank Mark, but their style sounds ineluctably influenced by those cultural memes as well as by famous ambient archives of labels emitting in that period (FAX, Silent and even the plenty of selections filled with some classics by composers such as Brian Eno, Hector Zazou, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, Edgar Froese dealing with that unconventional way of treating standards, especially for the substantial lack of melody, supposedly inducing the illusion of floating or cruising or helping introspection...). By the way, some listener
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