Music Reviews



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Artist: DREAM AFFAIR
Title: Endless Days
Format: CD
Label: Avant! Records (@)
Rated: *****
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Dream Affair printed their first release the last year. "All I Want" was a self released limited EP printed in 100 copies containing five tracks influenced by 80s cold wave and post punk. A year has passed and Dream Affair are back with their debut album titled ENDLESS DAYS which is out on the Italian Avant! records. The album, which is available in CD, vinyl and digital format, contains nine new tracks that bring you back to the early 80s when Cure, Modern English, The Sound and post punk bands like Uk Decay wrote the history of those sounds (I know that you have in mind thousands other bands that you think that deserve to be in the place of some of the ones I mentioned here, but I had to do some names and I did the names that fits the most). Dream Affair are taking the cold wave introspective atmosphere and mixed it with drum machine upbeat tempos adding post punk dry guitar riffs, flanger bass guitar plus synth pads / leads here and there. Male / Female vocal alternation help giving to the whole album a great sound and just check "Lucid" and "Drifting" to realize how cool is that. No matter if you preferred 4AD bands, new wave of post punk, because Dream Affair have them all and they deserve your attention... now!
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Artist: Diatribes & Abdul Moimeme (@)
Title: Complaintes de Marée Basse
Format: CD
Label: Insubordinations Netlabel (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of these artists before I got this in the mail, but in reading the instrument listings, which includes things like springs, metronome, metallic objects, along with the traditional things like prepared guitars, cymbals, and snare drums, you get a sense of what you are in for. This is pretty interesting experimental improvisational music of the Musique concrète variety. I've listened to the disc a few times and that is the best description that I could come up with. The compositions hang together loosely with elements of chance thrown in as chains clank and rattle on pavement, drums pound softly in the distance, and at times the whole thing threatens to fall apart in a wall of chaotic noise. I don't think that I would put this in with harsh noise artists like MSBR and the like, but would rather file this with Zoviet France and Hafler Trio. That said, the best comparison I can come up with is Bob Ostertag for those familiar with his work. Overall, this is a good listen. This album weighs in at around 47 minutes.
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Artist: Control (@)
Title: Deadly Sins
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
If you have even remotely followed power electronics over the last 10 years, you've heard of Control. The project of Thomas Garrison (who can also do body piercing and audio mastering for you if you have need of such services in northern California), Control has been a major player in the PE scene. 'Deadly Sins' seems to be a theme right up his alley, based on previous albums. Let's start off with the obvious question of what he did with Lust. I was pleasantly surprised that he took the artistic high road and did not rely on porn samples and the like. This album sets out to distill the essence of the sin rather than to simply illustrate it. Each track is 7 minutes long, which provides a nice sense of symmetry. The music is about what you would expect. Washes of static and noise with heavily distorted unintelligible vocals. Some seem to work well with the genre Garrison works with. Sloth, for example, is quite nice with its glacial pace and repetition. And power electronics and wrath is a natural fit. But the tracks for envy and gluttony, for example, just seem to be variations on the same theme. Perhaps the lyrics, if we could understand them, would provide some illumination, but there were none in the digipack. Overall, this is solidly done power electronics, but one could listen to it without knowing the theme and have a similar experience. This album wighs in at just over 49 minutes.
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Artist: Michael Bisio (@)
Title: Travel Music
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Michael Bisio is a rather accomplished bassist. One thing that stands out on this album is that it seems to only be Bisio on the album. Although this can be a disadvantage, especially with an instrument so accustomed to accompaniment, this was not too much of an issue. At times it sounds like there are other players there, but it is all bass. Imagine almost an hour of nothing but bass ' but it didn't get boring. However, it also tended to fade into the background because it also wasn't as engaging as a more expanded group might have been. Part of this stems from the fact that he seems, for the most part, to stay true to the traditional uses of the instrument. As a comparison, consider Architeuthis Walks on Land, a bassoon and viola duo that force their instruments into making fantastic unconventional sounds. This album didn't really seem like much of a fit for ChainDLK readers. It's nice improv bass solo with covers of Human Being by Charlie Haden and Alabama by John Coltrane, but not really too experimental. This album weighs in at around 54 minutes.
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Artist: Fosdyk Well (@)
Title: Slumber and Stark Lots
Format: CD
Label: Blackcity Records (@)
Rated: *****
As usual, I had not heard of this band, but the note that came with this disc said to file under experimental folk. Fair enough, but I don't get a real sense of the experimental part of this filing. The Current 93 influence is certainly present and accounted for as mentioned in their press release, along with This Mortal Coil, which are two of my favorites (although the only influences they claim on their Myspace page is 'dreams, dusk, fragments') but it lacks a lot of the complexity of bands like Current 93, This Mortal Coil, In Gowan Ring, and the like. The feel is there, but not much of the experimental vibe. Granted, not all folk bands have Steven Stapleton in their ranks, but I would like to see Fosdyk Well mix it up a bit and go out on a limb. It's not bad, but it doesn't really push the envelope with its heavy emphasis on acoustic guitar and voice. One can easily see this band playing in a coffee house somewhere. That said, I would definitely go to see them perform because I get the sense that it would be a good show. For a first album it's a good start and I will be interested to see how they evolve. This disc is a bit short, weighing in at around 23 minutes.
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