Music Reviews



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Artist: [de:ad:cibel] (@)
Title: Klondike
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
One of the strongest point of the debut album by the German bouldering duo [de:ad:cibel], hiding the musical ids of Daniel Galda and Armin Kuester, could lie in the power of amusing different kind of listeners by preserving a certain stylistical unoiformity: amalgamated by appreciable EBM structures and deafening bass lines for the likes of Front Line Assembly or Funkervogt fan-base and considerably insisting on topics such as depression, religion and faith (I enjoyed some "marxist" remembrance in the lyrics of the song Jerusalem Syndrom whereas any builder of make-believe system on the basis of revealed religion acts like a pusher/seller: "...Verkauf ich euch mein Opium./Ein Konstruct aus Angst und Regeln/Die Warheit wind indoktriniert/Mit Richtig- oder Falsch-Befehlen/Die Herde grundlich selektiert" as well as the invitations on reflection on the real final aim of some religious doctrines in the song Human Product - "These lies are corridors of mundane power/to hold the might they built a watchtower/superstition was the fundament/they used it as an instrument"), ironic critics on consumerism (it's somehow funny the ideal breaking of the sacred trinity of the socio-economical system - buy, consume, die - hinting at the words of the humorous song Too tired to consume, making a long list on an enjoyable danceable psychotic electro movement of "prescribed" quinine for keep someone's finance healthy or for celebrating the scene...allelujah!) and its consequences on human relations (songs such as Architecture or B.I.I.D. arguably insists on the refusal of distorted way of considering feelings, mixed up with low-grade bodily functions) and even some conceptual statements (I enjoyed the neural connections activated by songs such as Heteronomy or One Of 47 - maybe the best song of this album -, forcing thoughts while moving dancin steps...), these lads could be even appreciated by a large range of listeners as they're able to satisfy classical dark-electro fans (One of 47, Architecture), cyber-goth or mindful techno addicts (Monster Train's ferocious march or the less rough grip of Selektionsfunktion and Geteert und gefedert should switch their hungry neurons on...), synth-pop or future-pop lovers (tracks such as the above-mentioned Heteronomy or Between My Headphones and even more "romantic" songs such as Nobody hurts like I do could be injected in their lower abdomen...), but I won't be surprised to see some reviews of Klondike on metal mags as well. Concerning the quality, Klondike ideally traces a reversed Gaussian route as I listened to more well-crafted works in the beginning and in the end of the record, being the highest peaks Jerusalm Syndrome (featuring some icy treatments on the harsch Daniel Galda's voice...) One of 47 and Geteert und gefedert. It's nice the idea of showing the dynamic range of each track! Even if they're not really newcomers of the scene if you just consider for instance that Daniel was keyboardist for Das Ich's live stages (...and it's not casual that sometimes you'll have the impression of listening an electrified version of Das Ich as well...), I could say it's really a brilliant debut!
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Artist: Traumtänzer
Title: Der Weisse Raum
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
I'm not so surprised at discovering Traumtänzer, brand new German band founded by the Irish guitarist Tom O'Conell (former member of the gothic-rock band Garden of Delight by the well-known singer Artaud Seth and co-signing maybe GOD best acts, before its founder ideally signed a sort of waiver of that project which should issue 7 albums in 7 years, each of them including 7 songs - ...and most of readers should know how meaningful is such a number for some "esoteric" cultural areas... - through the launch of Merciful Nuns) after he involved the male voice of Marco Blum from Downscared and female one by Eva Paschen (whose expressive peak has been reached in Eisprinzessin, maybe for the crystalline and fairy sound and the daydreaming medieval-folk melodies intertwined by what it seems to eb a gipsy guitar as well as the hypnotical repetition of some magnetic siren-like decoy, highlighting her skills as well certain nuance) as well as the violinist Sandra Spinnraths, precious element of the line-up. comes up from the North-Rhein Westfalia musical hatchery.

Even if their sound cannot be considered ground-breaking at all, Der Weisse Raum is able to show that they're neither a sort of GOD diorama or relics of some past time nor a tribute band to 80ies or 90ies gothic scene (but it's somewhat listenable some echoes of Dead Can Dance in many songs in fairness to that age...) by grabbing some of the contemporary tendencies in gothic scene such as the one of melting different phases (from the stylistical viewpoint as well) in the same record and I'm not referring just to the Arabian intro of Krieger (Warrior), a sample having a defined role if you consider the words of the song, or oriental scents emanating from songs such as Stigmata or Fremdes Land (maybe the most energetic and danceable rockish track of the album), but also to the way Tom managed to combine meaningful lyrics with melancholy alternated to more reactive moments and electro-industrial winking. Maybe all this different faces of this dream dancers look winded into skeins and that could be the reason I personally prefer those moments when the lines of Traumtänzer sound are more clearly defined, such as Monolith and Die Maschine, in spite of the New Wave gentle touch O'Conell instills in a regular gothic-rock patchwork, or the nicely dramatic stages ofetn imbued in classical music standards and epic vibrations of the two interludes, Zwischenspiel der Asche and Zwischenspiel der Ewigkeit, and the final track, whoch cannot be entitled other than Die Wahreit (The Truth). A little too "nostalgic" among bonus tracks, the Clubmixes of Die Wahreit and Stigmata, but those tracks are surely not the reason to avoid listening to Der Weisse Raum.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: All Aboard The Mulletship Vol 1
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
ALL ABOARD THE MULLETSHIP VOL.1 is the first Mullet label compilation and it greets its first two years of activity. Containing twenty five tracks hand picked by label boss Justin Winks, the compilation sums the many highlights of Mullet Records. As you may know, the label's growing catalog deals with synth driven electro funk, nu disco and cosmicboogie beats; music deeply influenced by 80s sound. Being a download only release and including one unreleased mix, you may ask me why this release would be worth the purchase. Well, first of all, price wise, this is a budget compilation as you can get twenty five tunes for the price of a normal album and secondly, its track list covers every genre released by the label, including tracks by Casio Social Club, Tesla Boy, The Diogenes Club, Sare Havlicek, Long Distance Analog, Baxter, Estate, The Artificial Arm, ODahl, Nuvo Rich, Two Cosmic Kids, Fatback 4Way, Dabeull, Long Distance Analog and Kouros. I can't say if this is a best of, because there are so many great tracks that didn't find space here, but for sure ALL ABOARD THE MULLETSHIP VOL.1 will give you a good view of what Mullet Records sounds like. Check it out and you won't regret it.
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Artist: Spirit of the Matter
Title: Zuble Land
Format: CD
Label: Musea (@)
Rated: *****
Here's bit of retro for you; a psychedelic rock outfit from France called Spirit of the Matter. Maybe if they weren't so odd, they wouldn't be reviewed here on Chain D.L.K., but odd they are, and hence the review. Formed in 2007 by Ian Marek ((guitar, violin, theremin), El Jibi (keyboards, electronics), and Remi (drums), these guys do improvisational instrumentals in the old-school psychedelic mode. Think of Krautrock in the vein of Can, Cluster, Guru Guru, Neu! etc., and you'll get a pretty good picture of what we have here.

The cover of the CD looks like an early Gong album in its flying saucer alien goofiness, but you won't find any twee Daevid Allenism on this album, except for the song titles. Being entirely instrumental (except for the occasional mostly French dialogue vocal samples), there are no vocals to get in the way and color the music into something that might be off-putting. That the music is improvised and the tracks don't drone on like some boring jam is remarkable. There is actually quite a bit of inventiveness and interplay between the musicians. True, there was some overdubbing involved, but that just goes with the terrain of making a decent studio album.

While Marek is no Jean-Luc Ponty, but his violin work is competent enough for the material here. There is plenty of wah-wah guitar too, if you crave that sort of thing. Only a few tracks have much more than a skeletal song structure and some are very 'out-there.' Opening track, 'Space Cheap Trip' begins with burbling electronics and has a theme led with psych slide guitar and violin, enhanced by a bit of theremin. Obviously Remi subscribes to the Lieberzeit school of drumming and it shows, although Jaki has nothing to worry about. Although the first track sounded a bit generic, the rest seem to show more spunk and oddity, and most of the improvisation is remarkably interesting and engaging, even when it wanders into abstract reions as it often does. Track #10, 'Ublaie Stoned' has a pretty cool sci-fi sounding theme and seems to be the least improvisational song on the album.

Some people who dote on this old school style Kraut-psyche are really going to love this album, and it's eclectic and multifaceted enough to stand up to repeated plays. I'd like to see what would happen if they added some actual structured songs with vocals to their repertoire. I think the right kind of female vocalist might really work well in their sonic environment, but that's only my opinion. Worth a listen if you're craving Krautrock-style psychedleia.

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Artist: Winter North Atlantic (@)
Title: A Memento for Dr. Mori Remixes
Format: CD
Label: Boltfish Recordings (@)
Distributor: Boltfish Recordings
Rated: *****
Winter North Atlantic is the music of Ed Carter (of Newcastle, U.K.), self-described as the utilization of live acoustic instruments, analogue synths, stumbling rhythms and dissonant melodies. This is the 4th release from WNA; lots more if you count collaborations and compilations. I am at somewhat of a disadvantage having never heard WNA before, and more importantly, not the original 'A Memento for Dr. Mori' album, so a full comparison with the source from which this remix album was taken is virtually impossible. The best I could come up with is listening to the few tracks form the artist's (original) album on his MySpace site and those pitifully short song samples in iTunes. Still, I got a pretty good (if not complete) perspective of what is going on here.

From what I've heard, the original tracks are more fully realized and solidly structured musical compositions; quite eclectic and hard to pin down genre-wise, but not necessarily ambient. What this remix CD does is bring them into the realm of ambient. There is a somewhat downtempo jazz feel to the original tracks, as far as I can tell, with a bit of folktronica flavoring the mood. The treatment given the tracks here is as if a bunch of hotshot IDM and Gitch Electronica producers had been given full reign to slice and dice as they wished in order to reformat the music to electro-acoustic ambient. First track, 'The Maid," remixed by Fieldhead (Home Assembly, Static Caravan) is virtually unrecognizable from the solidity of the original. All the acoustic guitar-work of the original (which reminds me of Bert Jansch) has been removed, but the little bell tones remain and are amplified in the remix as they play lightly against glitchy string scrapes.

'Cuts and Tears' (Dextro Remix) is a busy little piece with a lot of musical elements sounding as if Brian Eno, Laraaji, Dan Lanois and Michael Brook got together to record 'Music For Films IV'. 'Occam's Razor' is given a very subtle ambient remix treatment by The Gentleman Losers. I especially like the tremolous electric guitar chords that give this piece a lot of atmosphere. Although there is rhythm, it is downplayed giving the piece a free-flowing, laconic mood. 'Fallen Fruit' is only a scant 43 seconds of female vocal and electronic atmospherics on the original, and here it is expanded to 3:36 by the remixing of Paul Sleaze. 'He gets a lot of mileage out of the phrase, 'The apple tree'¦it fell from your window'¦' twisting around the words over a glitchy beat, interspersed with organ bits and other electronics. It's a tasty stew of mildly funky electronica and stands quite nicely on its own.

'Bokor,' remixed by Damien Shingleton sounded like Middle Eastern flavored nu-jazz in the original, and Shingleton retains a bit of the flavor but glitches up the beat and adds a wobbly heavy sub-bass. This was one of my least favorite tracks on the album. From what I can tell, 'The Flute Player' seemed to have a lot of acoustic guitar in the original, but it is not present on Mint's Loner Remix. It does have a very mysterious meditative Eastern sound, enhanced with effective background strings and crisp, simple beat work. The original 'Fall of Stone' (one other full track I was able to hear of the original on the artist's MySpace site) sounded like a quirky New Age Jazz guitar piece for the most part. Cheju's Remix of it removes the guitar and the drums and replaces the melody with xylo-glock-vibe synth and more muted percussion. The overall effect is somewhere between Pentangle (sans vocals) and something delicately Japanese. Bracken's Remix of 'Kinay 816' may just be the most interesting thing on the entire album. Spacey voices replace the fuzzy electric piano of the original, and the well-placed bass, brushed drums and ambient aural vibe makes this a pleasurable trip that could have gone on a lot longer.

The brief clip of the original of 'Guidonian Hand,' although predominantly acoustic guitar, seemed a bit heavy-handed to me. Animat's Can of Worms Remix eliminates any sign of heavy-handedness and turns the piece into a gorgeous ambient chill journey, doubling its length. Good music for the hookah bar. John Ashton's Remix of 'Opportunity Mist' may just be the strangest thing on the album. It is odd ambience to be sure. If John Cale were to do an ambient album, it might sound something like this track. The slow, repetitive harmonium riff with the drum machine that comes towards the end is something else. Makes me think of a march of dead pirates. The little clip I heard of the original of 'Barrel Organ' had a lively Circus-like flavor. The Declining Winter Remix gives it a bit more of a demented carnival atmosphere removing the vocal entirely. Perfect.

You can appreciate 'A Memento for Dr. Mori Remixes' all on its own without having the slightest idea of what the original sounds like. In fact, the Remixes are more like what a good segment of Chain D.L.K. listeners enjoy; ambience music with eclectic elements. A surprisingly good album, and recommended.
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