Music Reviews



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Artist: Piemont (@)
Title: Sand Hills Remixes
Format: 12"
Label: Suchtreflex (@)
Rated: *****
As a consequence of their stylistical decision to shift their musical loads from agit-prop-like grunde to electronic dance music, many reviewers argued Piemont's Sand Hills maybe ushered in a new season for minimal techno, even they prefer to say the mutation fo their style was almost automatic, as it belongs to the tectonic plates' movement between indierock and idm, whereas some rocks easily crumbled into dancehalls. The acclamation they mainly received from dancing audiences for their fuzzy live-sets and from music press who understood the real value of their balanced sound dosage appears to be confirmed by this nice release, available on mp3 and vynil, issued by Suchtreflex and supported by many notorious lights of techno star-let such as Laurent Garnier, Chris Wood and Gregor Tresher, which contains four nice dance-oriented remixes (plus two other ones if you opted for digital download), a logical step after Piemont's choice of assembling a kind of techno, whose harmonics made it appreciable not only on firing dance halls but also on listener's sofa. I particularly enjoyed the remix of Run Down by the Italian producer Hugo (it's just a coincidence his studio is located in Turin, the administrative centre of Northern Italy's region called Piemont!), who decanted some jazzy trumpet slices into his elating deep house according to a sort of musical osmosis he already proposed in his album "The Sloop and the Siren" on Jay Haze's label Tuning Spork. The mentioned Jay Haze itself, quite known for his philantropic attitude as he raised some money for important causes (including the disgusting phenomenon of child abuse during the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the devastating Asian tsunami in 2004), signs the "Jay Haze For Palestine" remix of With Small Pupils, a more bumpey version of the original, whereas childish vocal samples and sounds reminding a boat in the act of werighing off for a new harbour (!) are perfectly balanced. I've noticed no particularly deforming warp on Instead Of Multiple's remix by the Spanish producer Uner (better this way!), while Philipp aka Sante' flambes the track Self Of Sense with many recipes, which are going to espouse the tastes of many Ibiza frequent visitors! The bonus remixes on digital version, the rhythmically rumbling one of A Bound Of Passivity by Re:You and the vortical crunchy plaything the French producer Lowris made from Try To Read The Numbers - my personal favorite one! -, are very easygoing tunes as well. Nice stuff.
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Artist: Achenar
Title: Super Death Explosion Kittens
Format: CD
Label: Earthen Records
Rated: *****
Achenar's sophomore effort, the aptly titled 'Super Death Explosion Kittens,' is precision aural assault right from the onslaught. The intro 'Arise, Minions' commands you do exactly that. At a mere 44 seconds, you only barely get to immerse yourself in the tune before the rest of the disc comes bashing you over the head with its industrial-death-breakcore brutality. Most of the songs here at 'first glance' seem almost to have little apparent rhyme or reason other than to bruise the eardrums, but listening even the tiniest bit deeper shows exactly how meticulously and painstakingly crafted this release truly is. Every nuance has been carefully planned and executed with perfection. Some of this can be proven by watching sole member Duncan Hemingway's Renoise Video Blog which chronicles certain aspects of the creation of this EP (which was done entirely in Renoise) in detail, describing how he careful orchestrated the 'live but humanly impossible' sound to his drums, how he created melodic noise textures from a fraction of a vocal sample or how he essentially converts his own aural perception into audio effects and many other unorthodox yet intriguing topics. I originally saw these videos when I was learning Renoise myself so I can say with certainty that they are extremely informative and effective.

'Super Death Explosion Kittens' (aside from having quite possibly the BEST title of any CD ever) proves to be a sonic thrill ride throughout. From the intro; to 'Liberation,' the fantasy inspired segue into the second half; to the destructive beauty of 'Born into Steam' this disc doesn't disappoint, not even for a second. It isn't exactly for the faint of heart, but once you've crossed over into the battleground of Achenar, you'll never look back.
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Artist: Wolfuneral (@)
Title: Night\'s Symphonies
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
At first glance, when I saw the layout my first thoughts were that this album would be something into Doom Black Metal or the related, however the situation differs a lot.

Wolfuneral is a solo project owned by Stefano Gagliarducci from Roma, Italy and so far he presented his 9 track (total time: 58 minutes) debut release entitled 'Night's Symphonies', which was actually release back in 2010. The main genre behind (unlike my first impressions on the layout) is a cross between Orchestral and Symphonic Music with occasional hints of Gothic, Neo-Classical music and on rare instances distorted parts. I am more than sure that those who favor these 'sweet' pleasant styles would find this album mostly enjoyable.

All in all these 9 compositions are engulfed in gloom, melancholy and especially romanticism that gives quite an 'epic' sensation on the whole album especially the agitating strings, pizzicato and violins. Moreover I cannot exclude mentioning the element of coldness and the sense of both solitude and nostalgia emitted from most of the songs. Not the whole album is based solely on symphonic orchestrations. For instance the song entitled 'Out of the Dark' is based mainly on Pianos and distant atmospheres; whereas the track entitled 'Lucifer' is filled with ambiance, screechy distant whispers/voices and disturbing haunting sounds typically found in old fashioned horror movies. This debut effort reminds me of bands/projects like Nox Arcana, Elend, plus a bit of Profanum (pl) and Professor Fate (uk) in which means that listeners of Nox Arcana would probably value Wolfuneral.

From a critical point of view the drawbacks are monotony and arrangement. Some of the songs tend to be predictable and repetitive. Although the arrangement is quite satisfactory, some parts definitely need improvement for instance the occasional drumming which sounds a bit too loud and raw! Finally the worst thing I have to point out is about the first track entitled 'Over the Skies', which is unfortunately the worst in the album. Its introduction is quite beautiful (ambiance, vibrating strings and peaceful orchestrations) but the timpani sound somehow too loud. Moreover the more time passes by the more it become worse since the additional orchestrations aren't ear friendly at all enough to say that harmony is lacking. At least the rest of the album is a stepping milestone compared to the introductory track.

Having said that, one cannot deny that the author have splendid ideas. Overall this is a quality start for Wolfuneral, and considering the fact that 'Night's Symphonies' is a debut release, and judging its caliber I can say that the next work will be a stepping mile-head (of course if to include the adjustments in the arrangements).


Jun 30 2011
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Artist: ELASTIK (@)
Title: Critik
Format: CD
Label: Koma Records (@)
Rated: *****
CRITIK is the second and newest album by a project coming from Paris / France called Elastik. Thomas Prigent is the main guy behind it and he collaborated with different people who composed the lyrics and sung on most of the album tracks. We have Horror 4o4 on "Ekymose", "Toxic" and "Skalpel" (she did a spoken word performance in French language while Thomas built a strong musical background in balance from industrial, new wave and experimental electronic music), Faustine on "Automatik" (this is a powerful track that begins with an hypnotic tiny bell melody and that grows slowly with the add of distorted drum beats and bass lines just to find its climax when catchy piano / bells melodies joins the great Faustine's performance), Cecilia H on "Organik" (this is an upbeat track based on warm synth bass lines, reverberated clean guitar arpeggios, analog drum machine beats that add pathos to the Cecilia H speech), Cheval Blanc on "Synkrone" (this is a melancholic tune with a nice piano / distorted reverse guitars duet with the add of powerful hard beats. Cheval Blanc is a guy who here performs his French speech) and Black Sifichi on "Insomniak" (this track is a mix of upbeat beats and minimal electronic melodies and Black Sifichi vocals sounds like a speech of an English actor). We have also three instrumental tracks ("Kristal", "Nevrotik" and "Klone") where Thomas build a strong mix made of industrial electronic music and catchy melodic intuitions or creates a nightmarish mix of piano echoes (on "Klone"). CRITIK is a great album which is able to mix cinematic atmospheres, cool sounds and convincing vocal performances. You can check the whole stream on the label's website.
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Artist: SATIN JACKETS
Title: Everywhere I Go
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
EVERYWHERE I GO is the newest Satin Jackets single which is out now on Mullet Records. The track is a fresh funk wave song with dance attitude, deep bass lines, swinging guitar riffs, nice synth leads melodies and the great voice of Eric Cozier, here as guest. The EP contains three versions of the main tune: "Radio edit", "Original mix" (which is eight minutes long) and the "Instrumental version". It also contains an instrumental B-side titled "Don't Stop Looking", a song based on 4/4 hard beats, house synth pads breaks and funky guitar riffs. Nice one...
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