Music Reviews



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Artist: Poordream
Title: Immaterial Monarch
Format: CD EP
Label: Spectraliquid / 33 Recordings (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Sometimes it is totally enough, if some striking voice samples leave an impact of inspiration on a producing musician. Something comparable may has happened to the Greek artist John Valasis, since the track "Immaterial Monarch" is an obvious tribute to the movie series "Zeitgeist". This EP is also the fruitful collaboration between Spectraliquid and the Greek netlabel 33 Recordings. After consuming this EP, I tend to ask for a continuation.
Musically – as expected from Spectraliquid – this release balances well between the styles Ambient, IDM/Electronica and Industrial. The title track impresses with varied instruments and a catchy content thanks to a brilliant inserted piano. "Immaterial Monarch" got featured in 8 different remixes asides the original, mostly constructed by different artists. I am definitely against those actions to collect too many uninspired remixes on a quite good original tune, but since the contributors like NADSAT, MONOTOMUS, Mr. F, DAMA or TAPE 86 are completely unknown to me – yet better, some of them really belong out of totally different music genres – I find this EP quite entertaining. The "Grandma Version" has been conducted by John Valasis himself, it pushes a bit the speed and offer dancefloor-compatibility, but unfortunately it alters the beautiful mood of the original. The remix of BROKEN TEMPO then I like to point out as being the best remix here, since this project turns that original into a pure acoustic experience – even better, they have written real lyrics based on the voice sample stuff out of the movies and the female vocalist does her best, to offer with her voice the fitting depressive mood. Finally you’ll find at last another original track by POORDREAM, "Sounds Of Consciousness", which is another dark collage with voice samples – maybe provided by the Pope – but I’m quite unsure on this. It’s hard to judge on this artist, since the listener gets at least only two original tunes to rate. So how are things with a POORDREAM full-length album?
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Artist: THE DIELECTRIC (@)
Title: Rapid-Eye Vol. 3
Format: CD EP
Label: Urbcom (@)
Distributor: Rough Trade
Rated: *****
Third part of this ongoing trilogy series for THE DIELECTRIC, J. Hookens’ follow-up project after JERICO ONE. This third EP continues with the already discovered path, which he has presented with the predecessor "Flicker Of An Eye". Musically offering a wide-ranging style by integrating extracts out of Electro, Industrial, Ambient and modern IDM/Electronica, he impresses once again with the choice of multiple guest musicians. Each of the presented 5 tracks has its own story behind, be additional help on the production, or be it recorded at different places. The opener "Corridors" pleases with extra-ordinary percussion inserts and German voice samples thrown in the mix. For the tracks "Flight" and "Directiv" J. Hookens has added the Swedish singer Ann-Mari Thim (ARCANA) to perform the female counterpart. The Belarussian Avantgardist Vladislav Buben has provided some additional instruments and has co-written the tracks "Exteria" and "Lucid". Especially the all instrumental tune "Exteria" convinces with some noisy synth lines, it seems that V. Buben’s hand-writing shimmers through. Compared to the above named predecessor, this third chapter of the "Rapid-Eye Assemblage" series seems to be more upbeating, while the percussion work of Hookens is still the outstanding factor in the production process of THE DIELECTRIC. What astonishes me a bit, is the fact, that this release comes out in different formats. There's also available a strictly limited 7" vinyl single, which can be purchased only and directly from THE DIELECTRIC website – if it hasn't been sold out yet.
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Artist: Little Sap Dungeon / Perception Cleanse Perception (@)
Title: :SPLIT:
Format: 4 x CD (quadruple CD boxset)
Label: Backscatter / Dungeon-Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
This is finally that sort of a release, where a simple reviewer feels to get rewarded. The "job" of being a reviewer has become more and more annoying, the mass of freely available stuff, which "needs" to get reviewed grows day by day, if these web-communities like MySpace, Twitter and alike will move towards to be the one and only tool to promote music. Also the bigger labels out of the international Electro/Industrial-scene have to look on their costs for promotion activities, and most of them have switched press promotion completely to download servers. Music itself looses its value and the most paradox thing of this scene is, that labels are strengthen this bad development with these new kind of promotion. Who’s digging here his own grave?
Coming back to this release, because this one differs. It differs completely to anything, what you’ve ever hold physically in your hands. These both SLC-based projects have taken a flashlight and searched in their archives to present their dearest friends and supporters a unique collection of goodies, before some of them start to collect dust. 5 years in the making it has taken until all audio and visual material was sorted, polished and for the most part remastered to get pressed on at least 3 CD’s and 1 DVD. Besides those classic recordings, this box-set also includes new stuff of at least PCP, which offers some remarkable surprises. This all got packaged in an aluminum case, which itself got "saved" with a chain and a padlock. The inserted sleeves, the booklet and the CD’s itself are an awesome work of art, everything got styled in beautiful black, the look of this whole box-set and content is a feast for the eyes and will leave you breathless. So let’s have a look into the details of the CD/DVD content.

Disc 1 - LSD – "Sickness Beneath Transparent Beauty" (re-issue):
Yes, this is the sought-after third official LSD-album originally released in 2001. Since this one has been for a long time out-of-print, a re-release available in this box-set makes sense. "Sickness Beneath Transparent Beauty" has been LSD’s "jump" into that Dark/Splatter Electro genre, a high PUPPYan influence as being the grandfathers of this special genre is recognizable track by track. This album is by far lesser harsh than the follow-up album "Silent Entities", it rather concentrates to build these typical angst-driven mood by using genre-related sample work and ominous sounding synth pads. Tracks like "Resyncell", "In The Forever" or "Stained Confessions" could be still a valuable reference to bands like OBJECT, NORDSCHLACHT or FIX8:SED8, since these projects are servicing this genre more or less. Some of the latter tracks like "Lovesick Syndrome" or "31 Flavors" also include some hefty guitar riffs and push the speed to a maximum. Last but not least, you’ll get a bonus track, which isn’t available on the original recording entitled "Till Death Do Us Part", which is another angry tune with attacking guitar riffs and heavily distorted vocals.

Disc 2 – LSD – "Repressed Memory Therapy" (DVD):
Maybe to collect and to cut the content of this DVD has been the biggest expenditure of work to fulfill this box-set. This DVD is based on some live recordings made during the "Silent Entities" CD release-party, which happened in 2004. This stuff got collected and sorted in with a relatively new done in-depth interview, which has been conducted and edited by the Backscatter leader, friend and musician XoN (BOUNDLESS). You’ll get detailed info about the band members favorite genres and musically preferences, details of the origins of some LSD releases, opinions to the ongoing file stealing piracy, and several other gimmicks right and mostly with humor included by the both protagonists, Alan E. Wilson and Kevin J. Cazier. The inserted live performance gives you a hint, how this happening has been. Alan and Kevin have been joined by Chris Alvarado from the music project TWILLIGHT TRANSMISSIONS as being additional stage musician. The live footage offers too several photo and video inserts to set the audience into the right mood. Quite interesting stuff and a knowledge base for all who like to know more about the what, when, where and why around this project.

Disc 3: PCP – "Black Labyrinth Wonderland"
The third part of this box-set then includes the all new album from Kevin’s solo project PERCEPTION CLEANSE PERCEPTION. All of you, who’ve listened to his last, very diverse sounding album "Cross-Cutting in Cold Frames" will be surprised by this new one. At least I am surprised. "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" sets an end with those white-man-raps-like-Enimen-assaults, also sampled guitar riffs wildly interpreted in the tracks seem to be a relict of the past. "Black Light Labyrinth" rather impresses with the sense to create haunting soundscapes and real industrial ambiences. The rhythm work of these new tracks don’t the center position, it is rather an addition to the whole sound foundation. The title tracks stalks in mid-tempo and features deep dark synth bass sounds, ominous vocals, various FX sample quells and impresses with its oppressive mood. The next tune "Dionysus (Work Of The Devil)" picks up the rather slow tempo and adds more and more haunting pad and sweep sounds to the whole foundation. It’s a haunting, dark instrumental tune mainly driven through the repetitive voice sample ("The Work Of The Devil"). "Drop" finally breaks out of the discovered path so far with a harsher and more distorted percussion work, while the speed of this track remains rather slow, but hypnotic. Not to forget, that Kevin has placed an unlisted 7th track. It is a comparable ominous sounding tune, which picks up the dark atmosphere of the tracks before and convinces again with the uncountable amount of strange voice samples and spooky ingredients thrown in.
This whole album wonders me a bit - can it be, that "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" got produced under the unspoken certainty in mind, that Kevin’s partner in LSD, Alan E. Wilson, wouldn’t find the needed free time to continue under that mutual project? The chosen samples, the haunting pads, effects, parts of the slightly distorted percussion work, this all can be related on the latter works of LSD – maybe not completely and in a similar consequence, but "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" draws too much comparable elements, that this hasn’t happened by chance or out of a special mood of Kevin. However, thumbs up for one of the most remarkable works Kevin has produced in years. A must-have release dedicated to all Dark Electro fans!

Disc 4 – LSD & PCP – Remixes and rare tracks
Last, but not least, you’ll get the fourth CD which collects new remix contributions by friends and international artists (THE PAIN MACHINERY), as well as some rare recording or early works of both projects. Acts like BOUNDLESS (contributed a remix on LSD’s "Night Fall’s Prey") and LEXINCRYPT (featured with a remix on "Never Ever Land") of course don’t have to be missed here, since the fine people behind this projects have been friends since years. THE PAIN MACHINERY has received the order to work on PCB’s "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" – musically quite difficult, but Anders Karlsson could successfully include his own creativity by the usage of distorted percussion elements, which finally adds a quite different mood to the original. I personally enjoyed also the remake of that old LSD classic track "The Bishop’s Daughter V.2 (Daddy’s Woodshed Remix)", which sounds a bit like LSD on Acid (uuhmmm..). However, this remixed and compiled stuff stands a bit in the shadow of that glorious PCB stuff published under the third disc – this fourth disc is rather dedicated to the die-hard fans to catch up some alternatives or rarities.

Well, what kind of rating can be given for this huge release with its unique art and packaging? Be assured, that you won’t be able to pick-up such an outstanding kind of art anytime soon again. The dedication behind the creation of this box-set is extra-ordinary and can’t be quoted in numbers. At least, this is physical and graspable hard stuff – no anonymous mp3 file placed in an undiscovered area of your hard-drive. May to possess this extravagant kind of work will let some of you think out there, until you push once again the easy-going "download" button once again?

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Artist: Access To Arasaka
Title: Oppidan
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio / Spectraliquid (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
This is an US-based newcomer-act, which has lately caused a lot of euphoric reactions through some breathtaking remix contributions for acts like ZENTRIERT INS ANTLITZ, TOTAKEKE or APHORISM. The long awaited official debut release for ACCESS TO ARASAKA is out now, and it features all good ingredients, an interested listener of modern IDM/Ambient/Electronica would like to expect. At first it does good to see, that intercontinental collaborations between two labels are possible – especially in this kind of music. "Oppidan" will be released as a mutual project by both, Tympanik Audio and the Greek Spectraliquid label and let’s hope the best, that this initiative will pay off for all involved. Musically, "Oppidan" is a high complex IDM/Electronica-album, which draws possible comparisons under the formula "GRIDLOCK meets HEQC". What sounds so simple with this courageous comparison, is by far lesser easy than expected. It is the sci-fi related mood pressed into the music, the pad- and sweep-sounds are cold as ice and fragile to the same time. This moody scenario gets crispy penetrated by the broken rhythm structures, which includes several clicks n’ cuts, breaks and interrupted beats. It’s hard to figure out the highlights of this fantastic soundtrip into a possible next future, I therefore recommend to check this album completely under a good pair of headphones. ACCESS TO ARASAKA are reaching a target, which only seldom can be reached by comparable acts out of this genre – this project sounds authentic. Congrats to both labels for this mutual release, but also to the artist for offering such a demanding, but highly attractive album.
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Breaks Series: Issue 2
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Vermin Street
Rated: *****
Vermin Street's second Issue of Breaks Series sees again Petr Passive at the desk bringing on the virtual side A of this digital download single a new tune titled "Hardtmuth1500". The track starts with vocals filtered with a vocoder and 8 bit sounds that will make you think about a retro electro song. Soon after hard distorted 140 bpm kick and 808 snare are added turning the track into a dancey electro acid Amiga game soundtrack gone wild. Next track is titled "There Is No Enemy" and it's brought to you by Vinyl Blight. It sounds like a blend of dubstep and breakbeat with a nice piano lead melody that make it good for a mystery movie soundtrack. Available the 8th of December through the usual digital marketplaces.
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