Music Reviews



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Artist: The [Law-Rah] Collective (@)
Title: Solitaire
Format: CD
Label: Raubbau (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Active since the beginning of the century, the musical pineal gland by the duo made up of Martijn Pieck and Bauke Van Der Wal aka the [law-rah] collective - two of different Dutch twisted minds of the collective founded by Bauke - keeps on secreting superb distillates of emotional dark-ambient, giving a concise sonic account of somewhat borderline feelings. Solitaire is their 7th full release and for this occasion, it seems they squeezed the nostalgic and most abstract aspect of memory as they create a mosaic of translations of mental snapshots and hidden emotions into sonic as well as visual fragments referring to the solipsistic mental process deriving from the “rendering” of memories from the past, superbly interpreted even by Salt’s photographic lens for an evocative plumbeous artwork with the abandoned remains of a rural little house standing out on a leaden sky.

This cinematic journey starts with the atmospheric From Inside An Empty Room, in which a constant quivering tune and an uplifting some shamanic whispering slightly disturbed by the typical crackling caused by wind on mic membrane will elevate your soul through the wider spaces evocated by the [Law-Rah] collective’s sound sculptures. Just to set the mood, the filthy resonance on percussion and a protracted low frequency pitpat on gradually resurfacing creepy tonals on the synesthetical string crescendo of Lavender Scent, setting the mood for the sumptuous breathtaking symphony of When Blue Turns Grey. If you consider the general mood of the album, you could imagine this track as an attempt of giving a musical shape to unspoken desire gradually sliding into more restless sonorities, translating into music the understanding of ineluctability, a theme which seems superbly afforded in the following track, Silent Voices, starting with a slow waltz of piano, interrupted by an obsessive choir of obscure voices, following some bass tones and suffocating the initial sign of melody before it comes back again on the stage even if in scantier melodic phrases like a day-dream whose perfection has been raped by the somewhat frightening tunneling of reality. The dramatic peak of this recording is touched by Away From Home, the most worried track of Solitaire, whose conclusion with some grave piano strokes will bring listeners to “reality” through lulling oscillations. Being imbued with the right emotional set and setting, Solitaire is a record which is going to break the heart of all those who love this kind of musical experiences.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: The Anna Logue Years - Fifth Anniversary Compilation
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
The title says it all! This is the celebratory compilation for the fifth Anna Logue Records year of activity. Into this six panel digipack double CD you'll find one track for each of the past thirty label's releases, CD, LP and 7 inches included. There are also three tracks coming from future releases (Chromagain CD/LP, Intelligence Department CD and Paul Chambers CD/LP) and three unreleased tunes exclusive to this release which are Camera Obscura's "Village of stars" (a track recorded back in 1983), The Silicon Scientist's "Operators" and Twins Natalia's "Destiny" (if you loved their 7" you don't have to miss this one). Érick Moncollin (ADN’ Ckrystall) did the drawings and Stefan Bornhorst (The Silicon Scientist) remastered the tracks. For an in depth view of the releases you can check my article and each of the reviews I did but if you love 80s synth sounds, new wave and cold wave, for 17 euros plus post you can check the what Anna Logue did during their first five vibrant years!
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Artist: POEME ELECTRONIQUE
Title: The Echoes Fade
Format: CD
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
Some months after the release of the deluxe double album edition here's the CD edition of the first ever Poeme Electronique album THE ECHOES FADE. Remastered for an optimum CD experience the album has a different track list sequence, two tracks less ("Voice" and "Give your life away") and even if Marc decided to put a fold out poster with the graphics for each track (just like on the double gatefold vinyl edition) you will miss all the lyrics and the limited postcard. It's the first time that Anna Logue decided to release a double edition of an album and Poeme Electronique's lost album is the first case. As I already wrote on my review to the vinyl's edition, THE ECHOES FADE ideally link late 70s music a la Toya/Kate Bush or Tubeway Army with the electronic sounds of early 80s with deep atmospheres, cool melodies and the distinctive vocals of Sharon and Julie. If you missed the vinyl because you don't have a turntable, now you don't have no excuses. Check it!
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anymore
Artist: Bill Horist (@)
Title: Covalent Lodge
Format: CD
Label: North Pole records (@)
Rated: *****
For his new album "Covalent Lodge", Seattle-based guitarist Bill Horist (who also plays with Musicians of Bukkake and Ghidra) recruited some of the most amazing performers the new music scene currently has to offer, including amazing violist Eyvind Kang (John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Marc Ribot), Grammy winning dummer Matt Chamberlain, vocalist B.R.A.D. (ASVA, The Accused, MMOB), Steve Moore, Shazad Ismaily, Seattle Harmonic Voices, Jessika Kenney (Gamelan Pacifica) and many many others. With this caliber of musicians I don't think I should even waste any more ink (or pixels) on quality and musicianship. It's all there and there's plenty of it.
To musically describe an album this eclectic is however no easy task. It is minimal at times and orchestral other times, flirting with jazz chord progressions, classical ensemble arrangements, experimental/avantgarde improvisations. Bill's signature electric and acoustic guitar arpeggios are the common denominator and glue of this record and sometimes reminded me of Bill Frisell, other times of Fred Frith. To throw you off and tip your comfort balance Horist's deliberate finger pickings are augmented by a layer of choir that sometimes remind of John Zorn's vocal-only albums like "FilmWorks XXI: The Last Supper" or his yet to be released vocal-only piece "Song of Songs" that he's been performing for a few lucky audiences. In addition to all that, the haunting overtones and subtle all-encompassing melody lines of Eyvind Kang's viola and the worldly drums and percussions patterns by Chamberlain just make this whole thing so special and unique that you'll be hard pressed finding a similarly sounding album. Speaking of sound, it was beautifully recorded by my esteemed west coast colleague (and other member of Master Musicians of Bukakke) Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Boris, Kinski, Earth) at Aleph Studios. You really can't go wrong with this much talent on one disc!
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anymore
Artist: KMFDM
Title: Krieg
Format: CD
Label: KMFDM records (@)
Distributor: KMFDM Store
Rated: *****
KMFDM is the Fugazi of electro/industrial music but even more intense and persistent: they've been at it relentlessly since the '80es, they stand the test of time, nothing can stop them, they are totally D.I.Y. and they continue to make records to this day. KMFDM the band today is backed by KMFDM Records and is distributed online by their KMFDM store!
If you were unable to keep up with Sascha Konietzko’s revolving band of misfits, the line up currently consists of the man himself, Lucia Cifarelli on vocals, Jules Hodgson on guitar/bass/keys, Steve White on guitar and Andy Selway on drums (and let's not forget Brute!'s original artworks which punctuates every KMFDM release!). However in this case the names that matter the most are not those of the band members. "Krieg" is a remix album with tracks from their album "Blitz" (yes that is a throw back to 1993's Excessive Force's single "Blitzkrieg") and it features remixes by current and former members of NIN, White Zombie, Danzig, Static-X, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Prong, Combichrist, Apollo 440, Tweaker, Icon of Coil, Pop Will Eat Itself, Die Warzau, Gaye Bykers on Acid, Stabbing Westward, Zombie Girl, Jacklope, Vile Evils, Melt, Healer, Revolve, Seismologist, Girder, Assemblage 23 and of course past and present members of KMFDM... You might have expected the usual suspects that had done 2006's "Ruck Zuck" remixes, but the approach on this one was different. This one reads like a who's who of the electro-industrial-metal scene and did you really doubt that?
If you are a KMFDM fan you can't miss out on this because listening to other people's re-interpretations of the band's music is a treat for everyone who knows the originals. However, even if you are not a die hard KMFDM fan or you simply didn't keep up with the band's output and you don't know the "Blitz" record, "Krieg" is a great record that can stand on its own two legs and even throw some hard punches. It's always great to listen to a remix album and recognize the signature sound of the remixers, and this is one of those cases, where you can really hear the remixers personality peak through.
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