Music Reviews



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Artist: ANNI HOGAN
Title: Mountain
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
MOUNTAIN is the newest Anni Hogan album and it gives us the chance to check some of her new music after the 2009 double CD reissue 'Kickabye'. MOUNTAIN is a particular project that sees Anni collaborating musically with Robert Strachan and Itchy Ear. What is its peculiarity? Well, musically Anni performed on her piano some tunes which Itchy Ear manipulated on pre-production and then Robert Strachan re-imagined and remixed. The final result is that the thirteen piano pieces now sound expanded and reinvented. Let me try to explain: you can hear that the main instrument is a piano, but under the main chords and melodies you hear many other sounds that create a spacey ambient and a sidereal effect. These sounds have been created manipulating the piano tracks created by Anni and they are able to bring you on a trip to the top of the Everest. Tracks like 'Sunburst' will make you feel the skin ice burned while the following 'Altitude' will make you tremble because of the wind like noises. Now that musically you have an idea of how it sounds, let me explain what there is behind this project, because this isn't only a musical disc, it is an hybrid CD/DVD disc that on the DVD side has a documentary by film maker Bob Wass and filmed by mountaineer Cathy O'Dowd during her Everest expedition. She also performed a spoken word comment on the track 'Deathzone', describing what she felt during that experience: fear, struggle and despair are there in front of you, bare naked. That track is the only one to have also a sort of rhythmic pattern and it ends into a dramatic crescendo. Five out of thirteen tracks have been used as soundtrack to the thirty minutes documentary and I have to tell you that the musicians (whom have composed the music taking inspiration from the O'Dowd visual material and from Rene Daumal's 'Mount Analogue') did a great job and now you won't imagine a better way to support those shootings. You'll see the majesty of Himalayan Mountains as well as the nature's power during the footage of the snow covering the tents while the wind blows'¦ it was always blowing, helping the sun to burn the noses even more. Fascinating'¦
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anymore
Artist: FLAMINGO DRIVE FEAT. KRISTINE
Title: Strange World
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Rated: *****
Mullet Records is digging in the vaults of 80s synthpop music and found "Strange World", song used on the "The Breakfast Club" soundtrack. Flamingo Drive with Kristine on vocals, are giving their version and the lovers of the Sembello/ Moroder sound will die for this song which here is presented in two versions ("Radio version" and the "Full Length Maxi Mix") and two remixes. Someway the rhythms recalls me the mose famous track of the "Flashdance" soundtrack, but melodically "Strange World" is quite different. It has funky guitars a tight synth bass arpeggio, dreamy pads and nice leads with the charismatic Kristine vocals. This is a hit of the past that will please many fans of that sound which, like me, didn't know the track. The first of the two remixes is by FM Attack. They opted for a new wave approach and now the track sounds like a The Cure tune coming from "The Head On The Door" period. The second remix is by Estate and they gave to the track a retro electro flavor with nice drums, in levare bass lines and dreamy leads. Nice single!
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Artist: Solvent (@)
Title: RDJCS5 EP
Format: 12"
Label: Suction (@)
Rated: *****
In my life, I've met many spendthrift fetishists who rival with other compulsive bidders to pursue the knocking-down for many bizarre objects, often with no real value in use and consequently overpaid, just because they belonged to some famous figure. I've nothing to complain about it to be honest, but I wonder how many people waste money just to stock them in a dusty showcase or inside a trunk whenever they change furniture. You should know that there's a considerably huge market for used musical instruments, where you can even buy off-key guitars, cracked organs or nibbled plectrums for a huge amount of money, which can be just redeemed with some certificate of authenticity, bearing witness to its previous famous owner (it's sometimes reccomendable to check fingerprints if the auctioner didn't wipe them out indeed!) ...well, many people are persuaded that a portion of the creative wit can be ideally engraved in the object he used, a sort of hallmark of the genius! Maybe Solvent's friend who spent $1200 for an old Yamaha CS5, owned by Richard David James aka Aphex Twin, being seemingly part of the audio equipment for Selected Ambient Works Vol.II (as it's explicitly mentioned in the linear notes of that great record) could have justified his purchase at VEMIA auction - acronym for Vintage Electric Musical Instrument Auctions, a private auction held twice a year where you can buy a lot of instruments, previously played by notorious musicians - after such a deduction, as it's quite difficult to admit it was a good bargain, as some friend of mine bought the same instrument for half a price (or even less) from some obscure repairer's workshop, even if on the occasion of another famous VEMIA auction, some anonymous bidder bought an EMS Synthi from Brian Eno for just £16.000! By the way, this guy had at least the good idea to entrust this glorious machine to a skilled friend, Solvent, who managed to create an EP, he entitled RDJCS5 - RDJ are the initials of Richard D.James -, where he gives a demonstration of his compositional skills in assembling 4 nice electro tracks in spite of the limits of this little synth. Most of them, particularly Radiator and Tassels, remind some pieces of sound artillery on AFX's Analords, while the first one, Curtains, could remove the dust from some musical memories related to the very first tunes by Bochum Welt or even some "lighter" tracks by Lowfish for the "dadaist" insert of an atmospheric programming of the oscillators. If you decide to buy the 12" vynil limited edition, you will also find a bonus track, entitled Sandpaper, which is a sort of drone a lot of djs are going to enjoy. A nice release which could persuade you to lend your dusty music machines to Suction's studios!
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Artist: Pail
Title: Faith in The Void
Format: CD
Label: Caustic Records (@)
Rated: *****
So, you think, the latest FLA recordings are too much guitar-driven? Well, you can be helped, since the Spanish Electro/Industrial project Pail offers alternatively a 10-tracker filled with a remarkable 90s EBM/Electronic-music flavour, which reaches the programming skills of these Canadian heroes. If I tell you additionally, that Mr. FLA-producer himself, Greg Reely, has had his claws at the mixing and mastering desk for this album, I guess, you all can imagine, how much related a few of the tracks are sounding. Another hint: just check out the vocal performance of the chorus of the opener 'Burnt Out System' ' is it Bill Leeb behind the microphone?
Manix S., the mastermind behind Pail, takes his time to produce full-length albums. Also this one is long awaited, 'Faith In The Void' is at least his third album in nearly 13 years of his project career. Quite explainable, because Manix stands also behind the Spanish label Caustic Records (among others Plasmodivm, Culture Kultür...), he has, as expected, a day job to pay all bills, so his free time to act as a music project is limited. Therefore a new Pail album is a real gift, especially to all of you having an open ear for a well produced, crafty Electro/Industrial-album which reduces newer tendencies of ouf the Harsh EBM/Hellectro/TBM genre to one or two tracks ('Ingeniera Del Consentimiento' for instance). Don't expect a total FLA rip-off, because Manix knows quite well to play with diverse styles. There can be discovered Trance-elements in 'Hyper Reality', or a pure old-school Ahalt-EBM performance with 'Energy Bodies'.
'Faith In The Void' offers 10 masterpieces, which are all that matured produced and mixed, that some of Manix's attributes to different styles do not alter the good impression. The awesome looking digipack (3 panel/12 pages booklet included) gives additionally a detailed and with all lyrics included expression of art. And if you're looking for a chance to pick up a special goody ' there is available a limited edition of only 50 exemplars, which features asides the album a shirt, patch, lanyard, pins all packaged in a wooden box. A must-buy item!
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anymore
Artist: Project Rotten
Title: Remixing The Flesh
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Twisted Flesh Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Swedish Harsh-EBM musician Fredrik Croona has founded his very own label Twisted Flesh Recordings, and after the release of a first introducing compilation entitled 'Face The Darkness 1', it was relatively expectable, that Fredrik's own Project Rotten would earlier or later enter a free slot in his label stable. 'Remixing the Flesh' is, as the title announces it, sort of a remix companion to Fredrik's debut 'Freakshow', self-released during 2010. Rather acting like an EP, this download-only release offers 6 foreign-band remix contributions by ES 23, Say Just Words (with two remixes on 'Buried Alive' and 'Nightmares'), Ad Inferna, Anamadim and Incubite. Besides this, you'll get a new 'Melancholic Version' of the track 'The Lust To Kill' and a marvellous new tune entitled 'Desecrating The Dead', which at least is the highlight of this EP. No one of the remix contributors falls down the drain, so far, so good, but also no one is able to offer something remarkable, which drifts a bit away from the usual Harsh-EBM formula. It can't be attested, that this EP deals with innovation and it proves, that the own work of Project Rotten, especially discovered with the new track 'Desecrating The Dead', offers the most maturity. But in all a good bridging to wait for new recordings of this Swedish music project.
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