Music Reviews



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Artist: Phaenon (@)
Title: His Master’s Voice
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
Let's try a bit of word association for this disc. Bleak. Cold. Dark. Heavy. Glacial. I listened to this as I drove around and found that as the disc began I was no longer simply in my car, but was transported to the vast darkness of space to Lovecraftian vistas where the geometry itself is no longer as it should be. This is a disc of slowly pulsating drones punctuated with grinding machinery noises and raw, jagged blasts of sound. Although this is broken up into four tracks, this flows well together and works as a single piece. Evidently this is inspired by Stanislaw Lem's science fiction novel 'His Master's Voice,' with quotes from the book in the packaging. I have not read it, but I looked up reviews and it explores a group of scientists' efforts to decode an alien transmission. I would guess that Phaenon decided to try to create the alien transmission himself and I would say that he did a pretty good job of it. It has some similarities thematically to Arecibo, Lustmord's side project using sound source from radio telescopes, but from a musical standpoint Phaenon far exceeds that effort. This is much more comparable to another Lustmord effort, 'The Place Where the Black Stars Hang.' Overall this is great dark ambient and quite engaging. Highly recommended.
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Artist: Stephen Haunts (@)
Title: After Light
Format: CD
Label: Haunted House Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this project, so let's see how the label describes it: 'This project centres on dark ambient soundscapes and noise to create ambient music that is felt as well as heard through the use of noise and sub bass drones.' This label seems mostly as a vehicle for releasing Haunts' work, so I assume they know what they are talking about. Influences cited include horror film sound tracks, Lustmord, Steve Roach, Robert Rich, and Andrew Liles. Now let's see if this disc lives up to the description. After a few listens, I can say that it does live up to its influence pedigree. The best description I can give would be 'noisy dark ambient.' It does seem to have that horror movie vibe to it, but not in the lame 'I'm going to sample screaming and other crap from my favorite movies' sort of way. Rather, this unfolds like a good Lovecraft story, leaving the ominous undercurrents largely to your imagination. Heavy bass drones mix with broken machinery and grinding noises to create a nice soundscape. The only down point is that it becomes, at times, a bit repetitive, as in the final track. That said, this is more ambience than noise, but a good combination of the two. If you like the kind of stuff that Cyclic Law and Malignant have been putting out, this would be up your alley.
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Artist: DETONAZIONE
Title: Sorvegliare E Punire
Format: CD
Label: Sometimes Records (@)
Rated: *****
This year starts with a blast if you are interested into reissues because Detonazione are long gone but never forgotten and this is true for me for sure because I loved their first releases: I still remember when I received the packet with their first three releases I ordered directly from them. Mixing post punk (they were more anarchic than punk), new wave, no-wave and jazz, Detonazione self released two 7"s ("Sorvegliare e punire" and "L'arido utile", both released in 1983) and a MLP ("Riflessi conseguenti" released in 1985 after their tour with Annie Anxiety), before releasing in 1986 for IRA (label which when started had on their roster bands like Litfiba, Diaframma, Moda and Underground Life) another MLP titled "Ultimi pezzi". After that, they disbanded and in 1989 they self released a posthumous album titled "Ultimi pezzi", containing studio and live tracks. Now, thanks to Sometimes Records you can finally have on CD their first three releases along with two compilation tracks ("La grigia miseria / I programmi agli inferi" is from the 1984 LP compilation Rockgarage Compilation Vol 4 and "Zingari In Viaggio" from The Other Side Of Futurism tape compilation released with the fanzine Tribal Cabaret #5). Since the opening track "I don't wanna be (a frustrated one)", you'll release that you never heard something similar (the neurotic rhythmic section is coupled by Bruno Romani's crazy vocals/sax). The atmosphere in balance from a nervous breakdown and a mystic vision is the core of the six tracks of the first two 7"s which with Italian and English lyrics, exploded in Udine contaminating the whole Italian country. "Riflessi conseguenti" is a bit different from the previous ones: it opens with the self titled track which starts sounding like a jazz version of Virgin Prunes just to turn into jazzy version of Japan with beautiful sax solos, fretless bass inserts and percussive drums. Really catchy and evocative... "Tempo" is a atmospheric mid tempo and "Spazio", along with "Assenza di ideali", are two upbeat synth percussive tunes with sax solos and slapped bass. Anyway, my descriptions is just to give you an idea of what Detonazione were capable of but you can check everything by yourselves purchasing a copy directly from the label or if you are a little lazy, from the nearest alternative music store.
Jan 13 2011
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anymore
Artist: SOLILA
Title: Three Thirds
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
Electronic music producer from Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, Valeriy Monov has been the former member of DJ/producer duo project Tonika Provocation, alongside Michael Belikhin (aka Michael Khimick). Valeriy has been signed to Mullet Records with his Solila monicker and he didn't lost time and prepared this THREE THIRDS EP. Opening with "Debauche", Solila is showing to the listeners their intentions to make them sweat on the funkadelic dance floor thanks to this instrumental electronic dance tune. Also the second track "The space bar" doesn't make no prisoners and decides to kill everyone thanks to 4/4 hard beats, funky bass lines and catchy synth brass solos. "Till the light comes" is a declaration of intents and thanks to bouncing guitar riffs, synth leads solos, piano chords and syncopated drum rhythms is a blend of 70s/80s dance music elements. Try it if you ain't afraid to lose too much fat while dancing...
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Voices from the Underground
Format: CD
Label: Creative Commons
Rated: *****
This is always a great feeling to find a new, still anonymous artist which has a fresh sound and something meaningful to say. This is an even better feeling to help such an artist to reach out to potential listeners. For this reason I take pride in introducing this compilation to the readers of ChainDLK. This album was produced by the common efforts of Promofabrik and darkradio.com. Most of the artist are absolute newcomers yet they have provided great material for the album.
Alpha Point opens the album with 'I like the Angels'; a high quality electro track bearing serious potential for darker clubs. A catchy, emotional refrain, clear male vocals have already made me rocking my torso sitting on my chair. Degrees have got a rather alternative rock sounding composition. A rather optimistic and romantic sounded number of a sort you could expect to find on the 'Twilight' OST. Reactor7x ' has got some heavy EBM beats. The musical arrangement is weaker than I'd wished, but I know a whole bunch of younger cybers who will dig it for sure. Aeon Sable, on contrary, is very old school. A darker, gloomier, more atmospheric kind of gothic song. I found it very enjoyable. Perhaps not the best for a jolly birthday party but very good to enjoy alone. The Wars have got some serious alternative kick ass attitude and the vocalist's manner reminds of the early David Bowie. Teardown have got another electro track to dance to. Smoke Fish contributed a strange entitled song 'Cigarettes & Family' with a stoner rock attitude. Mezzamo is a band I wish to hear more from. The front lady has certainly some talent. Something of Switchblade Symphony is certainly to be spotted in her voice. Pontifex are probably no fans of the pope, no matter what is band name. They have got more with Die Ãrzte, a German cult punk band, than with the German guy on the Vaticans throne. Mundtot is perhaps the only band on the compilation that has released their own CDs before. Switchface has a good track to round the album up. It is instrumental, thoughtful, but not boring.
There are more diamonds, or at least pearls in the underground than most people assume. Give those artist some attention instead of applauding bands who have proven their talent, yet have their best releases years in the past.
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