Music Reviews



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Artist: Bisclaveret (@)
Title: Ephemeros [ante 'Te Deum']
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
Have you ever tried to play an instrument at night in the darkness? It's something strange if you are used to stay always with the lights on and used to have your senses kinda under control. It's like floating carried by waves of sounds and you feel like you are a medium. It's like it isn't you that is playing but it's like you are connected to something that normally you aren't aware of. Bisclaveret's new album EPHEMEROS [ANTE 'TE DEUM'] is a concept album focused on the link between the man and the seven angels "Ofis", "Ejael", "Donkuel", "Izrafael", "Semakiel", "Azrael" and "Androgyne" (names used also for titles of the seven tracks of the release). Musically the tracks sound like a ritual where words and sounds blend into one flux where guitars, litanies and synth pads create pulsating suites that actually sound like recordings of improvisations... maybe performed at night in the darkness.
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Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Elaste vol.3 compiled by Dompteur Mooner
Format: CD
Label: Compost Records (@)
Rated: *****
Entrusted to the wise course of Dompteur Mooner, the third volume of the appreciated compilation Elaste is going to be something more than a stylish relic for nostalgic people, missing shoulder padded jackets, pailettes, sprayed hairdoes or preferably Kano tunes propelling rushing disco-nights in some brimful club of the roaring 80ies and most of the golden illusions embellishing the crawling canvas of the yuppie generation. This Munich-based producer ' he's been part of Florian Senfter's crossover project Zombie Nation, whose smash remixed hit Kerkraft 400 landed in highest peaks of dance charts all over the world-, dj and label manager (he founded both Erkrangung durch Musique, a label mainly exploring left-field, electronic, techno and experimental pop, vintage and nu, and Love In C-Minor, a countdown label which is going to be stopped after 10 releases, founded together with his wife Pollyester), whose tastes have been fatally influenced by Italo-disco B-sides, cassettes containing mysterious samples of electro, acid, rock, krautrock and punk-funk as well as by the wild Club Le Bomb days ' being the last mentioned act a sort of anti-techno-wildstyle club, hosted with some of his art-academy friends nearby a forsaken hydroelectric power plant in Munich downtown - is neither a dummy nor a newcomer ' you should book a flight to Munich as well as an entrance ticket for the famous Club Die Registratur to have an indisputable evidence of the elegant plus he's able to add to Munich's nightlife, but listening to Dompteur's selection for Elaste could be enough! -.

Among the 14 tracks, re-found in different old-mix cassettes from the early 80ise, mainly the ones recorded by Beppe Loda and Daniele Baldelli, he's managed to find many lost love letters, being my favorites the emblematic trash-disco of Maccaroni Radio (what an eloquent name for an italo-disco track!), Moebius' Urth ' a funny example of the primordial stage of cosmic disco -, the afro-coated beat of Jamaica Running by The Pool, the bizarre dub mix of Toto's Africa by Key Of Dreams ' taken from an issue by the legendary Baby Records -, the stunning uberpop by Riccardo Cioni & D.J.F.T. , the Depeche Mode-sound shadows on Conrad & Gregor Schnitzler's The Shark Eats Ice and Dompteur Mooner's of Neon Man by Phantom Band. Very good and somewhat inspirational relic, even if more fitted to those nostalgic djs and dancers still weeping for those light-ball illuminated nightclubs and its glittering galaxy'¦
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Artist: Distance
Title: at the end of all things?
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
This album stay in a sub-genre of dark wave, DM-Clone: listening to "Back in Place" is like listen to an outtake of "Violator". That rhythm, that sound, that synths but also, fortunately, that level of production too. It's subjective to say this is a musical value or not, certainly this project plays his match on the production quality and songwriting. This album is thinked, planned, the synth are layered in a clever way. Listening to "something" could well be instructive to all people playing this type of music: a carefully layer of drum machine, synth and a clean line of vocal. That's it, simple but seductive. "Silent Days" is the track that set the line of the album. It's not original at all, but the form is carefully done. While the songs run on the cd, i never stop thinking this could well be a great album if only there's almost one original musical idea, because the songwriting is enviable.
Distance, a cooperation between Avalist who produced some albums of Misantrophe and René (ZERITAS), has openly declared his influence but, with a more personal path, could well stand above many popular acts of dark wave.
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Artist: Talbot & Deru (@)
Title: Genus
Format: CD
Label: Dear Oh Dear Records/Ant-Zen (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
This breathtaking electro-acoustic record, coming from a prolific collaboration between the talented British composer Joby Talbot ' member of the creative team that produced the ballet 'Chroma' for the Royal Ballet, whose curriculum twinkles for a plenty of awarded works, such as his first major orchestral opera 'Luminescence', premiered by the BBC Philarmonic, boasting an enviable profile as a film and Tv composer as well ' and the quick wit by Benjamin Wynn aka Deru - an electronic musician and sound designer from Los Angeles, counting many releases labeled by Delikatessen Records, Neo Ouija, Ghostly International, Mush, Merck, whose passion for art and architecture seems to live in concord with his high interest in music technology innovations and his talent in carving marvelous synthetic symphonies -, was intended to act as the score for Wayne McGregor's ballet Genus, based on Charles Darwin's theories and discoveries of evolution, being a really topical matter aroused by media due to the increasing interest in genetic research. I'll skip the subject of Darwinism ' you'll find a huge amount of stuff about this matter -, but it's impossible to pass over the impressive charm of the evoked atmosphere in this release as well as its narrative homogeneity, doing its part side by side the documentary inflection of this opus (there are some excerpts taken from Darwin's notes, among which the scientist's ones describing the exact moment of the discovery of evolution, hieratically beginning with the words 'I think..' forestalling his famous diagram as well as many other quotations), so as the whole atmosphere of Genus seems a musical adaptation of the evolutionary graph, translated into a fable-like musical language.

The first four tracks, grouped into just one title, Transmutation, sound more austere and tenser: the initial crackling fading into slightly delayed modulated voices which seem coming from distant places, before they begin flowing around the sound sphere and finally amalgamating into undulating choirs, is going to carry your imagination to the very first evolutionary phases and smelling the scent of that primordial soup Darwin speaks about. The somewhat-liturgical atmosphere, maybe influenced by the location where it was recorded I the end of July 2007 ' St-Michael's Church at Highgate in London - is partially broken by the mechanical sound-clicks by Deru dropped into the gloomy smoky soup in the second track, partially reminding to my mind that kind of sound sculptures Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto usually mould together. The Transmutations follow an ascending whirl-like movement with many dramatic and sometimes obscure moments (that's maybe cause their project has sometimes been compared to the one by the esteemed Mexican composer Murcof'¦ even if Talbot & Deru's sound is not so dim) till the erupting togetherness of all sounding elements reach a critical point. After that moment, according to the words by Joby Talbot, the music 'fractures and collapses into the ambient sounds of the storm that raged outside the church where we recording', a magical moment you could breathe in the second (and more idylliac) part of Genus, featuring a touching performance as solo violinist by Louisa Fuller and the choral one by The Duke Quartet ' it seems that at the end of the recording of the suite Genus, flood waters begun cascading through the building's interiors! -.

The final movement, The Great Tree of Life, shows the perfect amalgamation between classical music elements and the buzz of minimal electronics and it definitively depicts in a lovingly magnificent way the final revelation of the English naturalist, i.e. the discovery of the mechanism by which life has covered the surface of the earth 'with its ever-branching and beautiful ramifications'. Available in a deluxe edition (strictly limited to 100 copies) with hardcover sleeve and a 20-page booklet, Genus contains also two intriguing video-clips and a sort of documentary on the matter. Hauntingly sublime workout!
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Artist: HUNTER COMPLEX
Title: Hunter Complex
Format: CD
Label: Narrominded (@)
Rated: *****
Hunter Complex is the project of Lars Meijer, guy already involved with Living Ornaments and Psychon and also one of the people who run the Narrominded label. HUNTER COMPLEX is his debut album under this moniker and contains twelve songs that find their roots into 80s electronic / synthpop music. Lars' songwriting recalled me the electronic wave of the last decade of 70s and the first three years of the 80s when people like John Foxx, Paul Haig and Thomas Leer were producing their hits. If you're questioning yourself if there is a reason why I picked up these three names, well for sure there is one: Lars, in my opinion, is looking for the right blend of electronic analog sounds and personal songwriting and for this reason we have intimate song like "Chinese restaurants" and "Fashion street" (with an upfront piano/organ duet that remind me of some Scritti Politti atmospheres), cold wave tunes like "Here is the night" (the last year Lars issued an E.P. with three mixes of the song, the original and the instrumental versions which is available as free download and as MCD) and "Kerosine". If you love all the kind of 80s wave bands, from Human League to ABC passing from A Flock Of Seagulls, Ultravox, Dalis Car or obscure cold wave bands, I suggest you to check Hunter Complex.
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