Music Reviews



Artist: L'ENFANCE ROUGE (@)
Title: Bar-Bari
Format: CD
Label: Wallace Records (@)
Rated: *****
New episode from this historical italo-french band involving Chiara Locardi on bass and vocals, Francois Cambuzat on guitar plus vocals and Jacopo Andreini on drums. I think this there's no need for introduction but if this' the first time you read about them, consider the band itself in some way has its own small cult status. Let's say they've remained one of the few bands last from the first generation of french noise/avant rockers, during the years they've gone toward many changes but the noise-rock root of the trio has remained the same above all if you're not exactly young like me. While on their last cd they add some "non rock" instruments and arrangements, Bar-Bari represent a sort of turn toward their rock origin. French singing and the style of Cambuzat have a big part in the economy of the sound and that's exactly what make my mind go to that legendary french noise scene from the late Eighties / early Nineties. The global atmosphere is heavier than before but you can easily perceive it from the layout of the cd and it's post-atomic, "defeat of modern society" scenario, but as you know it that's another characteristic of the Locardi-Cambuzant view on the world. Even if the last recording was interesting, this final step to their original trio sound gives a more vivid portrait of the band (also thanks to a great recording by Fabio Magistrali).
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Artist: VANESSA VAN BASTEN
Title: Closer To The Small / Dark / Door
Format: CD
Label: Robotic Empire (@)
Rated: *****
It's been a long wait until this new Vanessa Van Basten release and here it is on Robotic Empire, that means it's out for good!. For those who have never heard the band I can just say they play a blend of power shoegaze a la Jesu mixed with some dream-pop, post-rock influences. Like their previous materials also this cd is deeply influenced by the style of Justin Broadrick but the result is brilliant and more than once I've caught myself thinking their writing skill has become even better than that of dear ol' Justin. Said that there're a couple of elements the brought Bellini and friends one step ahead from the past, they've added a real drummer to their original line up and the song structure did benefit from this solid power trio formula. The other interesting element is the fact the combo has put more and more emphasis on what some music expert would label as "dream pop", that means sometimes they barely resemble bands like Cocteau Twins, materials from 4AD records or some of the production signed by Robin Guthrie. Don't worry you little hardcore kid / post metalhead, this' no "fruity" version of avant metal trying to make it in the heart of indie fans, they still have heavy parts, colossal riffs and loud explosions, they just pass from those that kind of sound to quasi acoustic guitars with keyboards and a those soft long delays or reverbs that give a lot of deepness to the ambience. This' exactly one of those rare records that can put together many different listeners into melancholic music of different kinds but at the same time it hasn't lost an ounce of credibility. Thumbs up for me.
Feb 18 2011
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Artist: PRESTON FLEX
Title: Little Feller
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mars Frequency (@)
Distributor: Juno
Rated: *****
Mars Frequency is a label coming from Spain and is run by Robert Cosmic (who released under that moniker for his first EP on Shameless Toady). Their third release is an EP titled 'LITTLE FELLER' by an English artist called Preston Flex. Unfortunately I don't have further information about this artist but the music is able to speak for itself. Preston's music is based on deep warm bass lines influenced by electro and 90s electronica. Imagine lush warm pads mixed with deep bass lines/beats where synth leads bounce here and there. Try to imagine a mix of Orb and the latest Gosub. This is the core sound but a nice surprise is awaiting you on the closing. "The Stuff Of Thought" is a nice, robotic, schizoid approach to leads and rhythms with an addition of haunted pads. Everything is well produced and recorded and you can find it at Juno. Though if you want to pay less and you want to support the label directly, make it yours here: http://marsfrequency.bandcamp.com/album/preston-flex-little-feller
(Proofread by Johan Sebastian Bot)
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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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