Music Reviews



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Artist: Aprox (@)
Title: Bad Music EP
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Some Place Else (@)
Rated: *****
Some wholesome stuff for misanthropist is coming from Finnish label Some Place Else, who decided to issue a collection of cheeky sketches of a mad sound tumbler, who's going to delight both Tigerbeat-like stuff and psychotropic sonic stimulations close to 8-bit diggers' soups with the habit of hooking that kind of musical jolts normally associated to notorious names such as the one of Venetian Snares. To be honest, Aprox, nome de plume of the young Finnish composer Julius Valve also known as MR:HC or just Human Chocolate, pierces the listener's space by bringing his prick punch to a red hot on different furnaces. The ferocious introduction, a frenzied From Avanto With Love remix (!) of a track entitled Elbow Knock you're going to hear later, acts (more properly than the original version) as the title suggests through a boiling caldron whereas electromechanical compressed samples, electronic convulsive hiccough (close to the one you can extract when recording the buzzes while short-circuiting the board of a drum machine!), precedes Tissues and Candles, a sort of morbid lullaby built on pitch adjusting of a carillon-like sequence, while the following track, Responsability, walks on the impassable path of industrial and breakcore, slightly alter its own course in the scratching industrial hip-hop in the following Skincrawler (featuring Pedigree, a young and very interesting band by Holden Laamann and Taavi Aavik, armouring the sound of this EP with a course provokative and appreciated tone who could remind the sound of bands such as Swamp Terrorists), letting appear on the surface the sound of many innovative beat-makers. After the banque of noisy jumps on 3-tone sequence of the above-mentioned Elbow Track (a sort of ideal sonic rendez-vous between Autechre, Ab ovo and Negativland I enjoyed a lot), wheres a sort of melody resurface in a more audible way than the initial remix, Julius proposes a plain lulling rockish track, Darkest Days, featuring Roy Boswell, Emily Boswell and a sampled hen, turned into chicken into the recording studio! As the cover artwork by Bon Jarno seems to suggest, it's like Aprox puts a finger into your pavilion before licking it!
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Artist: Nimh (@)
Title: Krungthep Archives
Format: CD
Label: Silentes
With shameful guilt, it took me a while to review this new release by Nimh, but for what it's worth this' one of those record that I listened repeatedly before the review and not for a matter of indecision, but for it's so easy to be listened. In my opinion Giuseppe Verticchio reaches his personal best when dealing with quasi ethnic music, sure it's not pure tribal music and not even anything like Peter Gabriel's Real World, it has a lot of the personal taste of this musician. If you take this "Krungthep Archives" cd in some way its the ideal following to his "Forgotten Tapes" release, but at the same time its quite different from the afore mentioned work. Beside his usual amount of field recordings, Nimh has played a lot of traditional instruments and worked on a sort of quasi-ethnic ambient music that mixed with field-sounds, indirectly it may give the idea of an aural documentary. Everything has been meticulously shaped by Verticchio during the mixing process that means even the most lo-fi sounds and the instrumental insertions have been married harmoniously. Verticchio's freaky taste may bring the listen into a sort of hypnotic dimension and when this musician works on this kind of releases displays a certain amount of security. One of my favourite Nimh releases so far.
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Artist: HIDDEN PLACE (@)
Title: Weather Station Early Works
Format: CD
Label: Twilight Records
Rated: *****
Here's where everything started for Hidden Place. It was 2004 and they started to record their first demo later titled WEATHER STATION. If you follow CHAIN D.L.K. from some years now, you sholud have read my reviews of the following Hidden Place albums "Fantasia meccanicha" and "Punto luce" and then you should know that Hidden Place play electronic music with new wave and a dance attitude. Well, the news is that WEATHER STATION has just been reissued by Twilight Records and now we can check how they sounded at their beginnings. The new version of the demo is slightly different as the track list has been changed, "Flowers of loneliness" and "Flowers Pt. II" have been removed but they added the nice slow atmospheric "Euritmia del fulgore" and "Euritmia (early demo version)". These are the facts, but how did they sound? Well, Hidden Place sounded less like nowadays as they sounded more influenced by Kirlian Camera and less dancey. Only few tracks like "Pure ice" and "A day without time" were driven upbeat tempo tracks as many of the others had martial rhythms, basic synth lead / pad structure and a colder atmosphere. Personally I prefer their nowadays sound as it sounds richer and less obsessive but if you are really into early Kirlian Camera and Runes Order you'll love it for sure.
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Artist: !distain (@)
Title: on|off
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Another plunge with hyper-technological brand new fiber-coated bathing suite from Echozone recording label is the one given by !distain into the 80ies synth-pop swimming pool, where they have an invigorating swim wearing some gaudy plastic life buoys and glitzy trunks. Such a dip could be relaxing for some glib attitude, but it's everything but stupid or just nostalgic. Their nimbleness in juggling with synth sounds and statuesque rhythms comes from a long experience - they recently issued an anthology embracing the period between 1992 and 2010 through which they climbed some German Alternative Charts windy peaks! - and I argue they have a considerable retinue not only for their "nostalgic" hooks but also for the topicality of the themes they afford or ironically quote in the songs. The title itself, On|Off, refers to the irreconcilability of opposites as there's a pipe detaching those two different states, neither an hyphen or a stroke, almost suggesting we're not imbued in some Eastern culture where yin and yang appear complimentary. Here it's different: there's light or dark, love or hate, peace or war, left or right,life or death, true or false, on or off. No space for fading tones, even if sometimes they look like mixed together when the barriers between virtual and real (maybe some primes could bee more fitted!) as suggested by lyrics of Why (Bootlicking Hypocrites) - a song speaking about some female careerism saying "You smile in my face/but I can see through it/you tell me you care/but I know it's not true/you think you're so smart/but I see you act up" is not just a modern paranoia... - or Values Of Trust - where the approach sounds more socio|pathological - ! Songs like Monokultur (notwithstanding stereophony!) or even a seemingly innocent love song such as Together (my favorite song with Mein Weg, the "dialogic" What do you want from me? featuring Tess Fries on vocals and Second Coming - linger on it as it's not just blind anti-christianity -) constantly reflect such a dichotomy through the usage of a simple musical language which is going to leave some trace on listeners. Nice album.
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Artist: Northern Kind (@)
Title: Euphonic / Dreams
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Distributor: iTunes
Rated: *****
Guess I've never been that fast to write a review lately, phhh. But for this time, it is 'only' a 2-track release, which I received thankfully as a numbered promotional disc directly from the band. The day before yesterday, 6th of June, British Synthpop-duo NORTHERN KIND has released its new single 'Euphonic / Dreams', which will be available on iTunes and shortly after on Spotify for downloading. Two new and official tracks from this brilliant duo since their fine worked-out album 'Wired:', which has been released in April 2009. Matt Culpin's (programming) and Sarah Heeley's (vocals) new tunes are following generally the known path, with which they could reach a high scale of attention of international Synthpop listeners. Matt's magical skills in synthesizer and sequencer programming follow the biggest icons in this genre, someone like Vince Clarke (Erasure, Yazoo) could be his instructor. Also Sarah's abilities behind the micro with her compelling vocal performances are a perfect addition to Matt's efforts and offer the right warmth and depth to the relative mechanical Synthpop-music. 'Euphonic' is a highly danceable and optimistic produced Electropop-track, which offers interesting variations of the drum pattern programming. 'Dreams' isn't at all filling stuff, slows a bit down the tempo and mood, but has similar catchy song structures like 'Euphonic'. Both tracks are highly recommendable works and excellent appetizers to the hopefully soon to be released third album of this talented duo. Previews of both tracks can be checked at their Soundcloud website. A must-download 2-tracker, get it!
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