Music Reviews



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Artist: Denight (@)
Title: Human Reflections
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Human Reflections is the second full-length album by Denight (nice word-trick underlining the paradox of the light-in-dark imbuing their songs, mainly dealing with intimate and emotive themes such as human defects, greed, fear and soul depths, even if there're some themes closely related to contemporary history as confirmed by some words in the title-track ' 'We wage war for the so-called freedom/But where is it for those who lose?/Most times we fight for no reason/For land, profit or an evil we choose' -) this 6-members German gothic metal band, born from the sudden flash after the meeting of the auditory canal of the guitarist Tim Hochstetter (former member of Diary of Dreams) and the deep and velvety voice of the singer Stephen, playing under the Saturnian dim light, as suggested by their own sygil. They maybe doesn't add anything particularly innovative to the scene and I think that comparing themselves to similar bands such as Dreadful Shadows (especially in the use of voice inside the compositional structure, which is definitively very similar to the one by Sven Friedrich, even in his more electronic-oriented side project Zeraphine), Love Like Blood, Lacrimas Profundere or The Cascades (especially for the frequent inoculation of energetic and solid guitar riffs in each track'¦) is an appreciable act of intellectual honesty, but their technical skills as well as their sound, based on a mixture of gothic metal standards, metal ballads and even some slices of Wagnerian epic majesty, is quite convincing and the listener will easily admit Denight are some steps upwards if compared to similar bands. If I should say which tracks are better, I'll definitively suggest the smoother and slower ones (I particularly appreciated the delicate use of instruments and the guessed intertwining between rhythm and melody in Sorry and the melodic skin in The Core), but the up-tempo tracks are wisely forged and performed. Maybe they should dare more experimental musical solutions in order to tower above the scene in a more ear-catching way (the eye-catching graphic workout deserves to be mentioned for some nice choices such the opened eye printed on the bricks on the cover artwork, closing just under the cd'¦), but these first sprouts look promising'¦
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Artist: White Pulp (@)
Title: Lost Inc.
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
If you are asking who could be the moneyed partners of Lost Incorporated, the Italian band White Pulp which could potentially act as their supervisors seems depicting just their traits and their ways without naming them. Politicians, disco bitches, drunkards, drug addicts and even cliched dark or goth followers seem to crowd the rich imaginary inspiring their lyrics, even if the band created by Nuke and Sonny ' the bassist and the anti-hero looking front leader respectively - after a long and satisfactory experience playing covers from Marylin Manson's arsenal looks not so interested neither in celebrating summary executions nor in toadying the mentioned categories. Starting by some impetuous and scornful invectives of a track entitled Malediction (it seems referred to some fashion victims "drinking cups of rum and coke until their brain is afloat'') could belie such a consideration, but the general impression is that they are lenient towards sinners as they maybe partially feel as a part of them!

From the stylistic viewpoint, they improved the music formula they exhibited in their first full-length Ashamed of Yourself by filling the furrows traced alongside their artistic pathway up with more electronics - sometimes surrounding the classic goth-rock line up - and therefore I personally appreciated more those tracks whereas this electronic vein pulses stronger (such as Full Time Bitch - it's really funny the parodistic incipit based on the usual techno-trance tune turning into a solid goth-rock movement, highlighting the pitiless portrait of...you know what...just read the title! -, STFU - an attempt of invective against mass media frightening strategies -, A Lie In Everyone or Misunderstood Sweetnes - being definitively my favorite 'intimate' moment as well -), but it's undeniable they should work more on a really personal music language, too influenced by the mentioned experience as a Marylin Manson cover band as it seems they reprise its music which appears just filtered by fashionable eletropop soups a-la-Depeche Mode or slightly scratched by some industrial-rock clutches, but I argue they're on the right way. Paradoxically some listener could even appreciate more the 3 bonus tracks, which are just 3 acoustic versions of songs previously issued on Ashamed Of Yourself, revealing the melodic skeletons of White Pulp's composition. Maybe we should be patient and wait till the moment the value of Lost Inc. shares goes up...
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Artist: Mike Vernusky
Title: Music or Film and Electro-Theatre
Format: CD
Label: Quiet Design (@)
Rated: *****
Fellow Chain D.L.K. writer and colleague Mike Vernusky has been "quietly making his loud music for nearly a decade" and yet his musical output is sparse and sporadic. As a composer he is the equivalent of a reclusive hermit or a holy medicine man who only really comes out when he's got something important to say. Granted, there are even more un-prolific artists out there (after all his debut "Blood that Sees the Light" is only from 2006), Vernusky is a deep thinker who dwells on his musical ideas for long periods of time before, as he says, "rushing anything to the public ear". In fact I was almost surprised to find out that he had something ready so soon after what he defined a life-changing experience and inspiration (seeing Richard Foreman's theater show "Astronome: A Night at the Opera" based on Zorn's music). "Music for Film and Electro-Theatre" is no doubt inspired by that event and his subsequent study of Foreman's work. Other artists that came to my mind while listening to this album were Ben Frost, Artemiy Artemiev, Pan Sonic, Asmus Tietchens... The music is diluted, long, slow, engulfing and somber. Very cinematic and layered, requiring your full and undivided attention and focus in order to transcend and move beyond the passive listening experience. Induced, surreal and suggested states are sometimes complemented or even extrapolated by the use of live improvising actors who depict scenes that will play out in the imagination of the listener sculpted by the surrounding ambiance brought forth by context they are presented in.
This album features two electronic pieces, two scores to films by Daniel Maldonando and two previously staged theatrical works by Vernusky's Texas and Philadelphia based electro-theater enxemble Electric Wolf, who staged productions in several cities internationally, with the help of playwright Greg Romero.
Definitely worth your time and buck if you are interested in expanding your vision and stimulating your imaginative mind.
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Artist: Jonas Ruchenhever/Peter Stenberg (@)
Title: Traumphantasie/Plateau
Format: CD
Label: Industrial Culture (@)
Rated: *****
Even if maybe this collaborative project by two talented sound experimenters such as the Swedish Peter Stenberg and the Belgian Jonas Ruchenhever is not properly the typical record which a listener can consider as a record for summertime as, according to the sleeve notes by Artur Olejarczyk from Freequency Institute highlighting the 'seasonal' appeal of Traumphantasie/Plateau, it could stand as an 'extraordinary soundtrack for the end of the year and lonely winter' ' it was issued on December 2009 by Industrial Culture, but has recently landed on my stereo system! -, I'd like to bring the attention on it for the crafting skills of their signers. There're just two deeper ruts on the cdr surface, but each of the two over-20-minutes-lasting tracks encloses various sketches, so that each track looks split up in different chapters or, it's better to say, in different moments which could even have a sort of narrative coherence indeed! A propos of narrative coherence, it could just be a personal fancy, but the subdivision in different acts, some references and even the name of the composition of Traumphantasie reminded to me the narrative sequence of Traumnovelle, a book by Arthur Schnitzel related to double identities and including many references to psychoanalytical matters such as amnesia, the loss of time perception and some matters related to the sensation of mysterious lightheadedness described by the main character, which at a certain point of the story asks himself if what he lived was a real experience or just a dream. The intriguing web of unrecognizable sounds ' being my favorite the disquieting central episode entitled The Bedroom (A Mess), ending with a sort of duck squawking inserted into a storm of unrecognizable high-frequency sounds and sliding into some sad stirred guitar blunts of A Cabin, Reconstructed ' together with some blurry sound effects on field recordings could be fitted to an imaginary soundtrack of that story in my opinion.

The second part of this release, Plateau, divided into three parts (In The Distance, In The Far reaches and A Cabin), sounds less cacophonous: it starts with some prepared piano notes, echoing in a foggy sound space where the most careful listener could hear bizarre environmental sounds including the thumbing of a foot, a relatively peaceful before some chiming and some guitar notes, which have been gradually distorted in volume and strike, begins the gradual cramming of sound space by drawing a sort of drone, wrapping the other sounds grabbed by microphones and mixer without towering above them. Really interesting sound experience!
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Artist: EightFourSeven
Title: Lossless
Format: CD
Label: Minus Head records (@)
Rated: *****
EightFourSeven is a Sacramento-based four piece and they just came out with their new full length album "Lossless" after a debut EP in 2002, a self-released full-length in 2004 and another EP in 2006.
"Lossless" is a powerful blend of rock and electronica. Be warned reader, there is more of the former than the latter, but if you have an open mind and you like some of the West Coast sounding more adventurous bands I would give this a spin. The sound is powerful and the sonic impact is grand. They reminded me of The Dreaming (Stabbing Westward's lead singer's project) and in a way they might remind a bit of Linkin Park, but they will also remind you of a bunch of other bands with this new rock sound...
For "Lossless" EightFourSeven decided to break out the big guns. They enlisted the help of producer Eric Stenman (M.I.A., Senses Fail, Thrice) and local heroes Far's guitar player Shaun Lopez and took the whole show down to the big Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica. It took them four years of work but the results paid off qualitatively speaking and hopefully it will be same in terms of exposure and feedback.
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