Music Reviews



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Artist: NICKER HILL ORCHESTRA (@)
Title: NICKER HILL ORCHESTRA All the different deaths....and rebirths
Format: CD
Label: In the bottle / Waiting Room
Rated: *****
I’ve read and heard many good things about this band and finally it happens that somebody has sent me their record for a review. If I were mighty Frans De Waard from Vital Weekly you can bet this full length would have been classified as "nothing new under the sun" infact we’re dealing with what some mighty easily describe as a post-rock/post-emo combo, but if you’re used to De Waard’s style as a reviewer, I’m sure you know that doesn’t imply we’re in front of a so and so band. That’s exactly the point: the band is good and sure the music is ok, sure it’s post rock/post-emo with those delayed/reverbered guitars sailing on a emphatic rock drumming, add the music has a slight prog-rock feel and I think you have all the elements you need to identify this unidentified "flying" object. Everybody is always looking for comparisons, I know, as I know musicians hate to be compared to this or that band, by the way this four piece reminds of early Tristeza meets Mogwai meets some soft parts from these quasi post rock bands that were on Temporary Residence, what differentiates them from so many boring imitators of the genre is that they have the strong-rock touch and the trippy prog-feel that comes out quite naturally therefore forget the dead boring side effect you suffered while listening many bands dealing with this style. I like some of their mid tempos with math-solutions you can hear in songs like "Shit you!", the cinematic feel is still there but they remind me also of a bunch of bands from the slow-core era. I think the band should be definitively catchy live, and if you dig the style it’s definitely worth of a try, the song-construction is good and dynamics give more and more points to listeneability of the work.
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Artist: KARSTEN HAMRE
Title: Through The Eyes Of A Stranger
Format: CD + DVD
Label: First Fallen Star (@)
Rated: *****
THROUGH THE EYES OF A STRANGER is the second release for the new label First Fallen Star and it is the second 2009 release for Karsten Hamre (this time under his own name). Released always with a printed run of 1000 CDs with a free bonus DVD along with the first 500 copies (which, like the Dense Vision Shrine one, contains the music of the album with a sideshow of images that Karsten uses on his live performances), the album bring to the attention of dark ambient music lovers seven new tracks. Created mixing layers of melodic drones, sporadic percussive and orchestral sounds, the 45 minutes of music form a flux of fluctuating tense sounds that find their perfect visual counterpart on the limited DVD. The slow sideshow give to the music a good timing and the b/w images create a particular atmosphere where the audience is lead through a sort of voyage where, as stated by the opening track's title, "Darkness gently falling".
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Artist: DENSE VISION SHRINE
Title: Time Lost In Oblivion
Format: CD + DVD
Label: First Fallen Star (@)
Rated: *****
Dense Vision Shrine is back and after two years from the previous album "Unwinding The Inside" is releasing for the new label First Fallen Star (label run by the www.darkmusicdomain.com people) a new CD titled TIME LOST IN OBLIVION. On this new one Karsten Hamre is leading his music toward darkest places where melody is present but not properly defined. Where synth pads tremble while daring a new tone. Where subtle rhythm patterns play, slowed down to death. This time we don't have neo-classical influences, everything sounds just a procession like following a litany. Sometimes the bleak atmosphere is shacked by some obsessive percussive part but soon after the old flux takes a hold just to repeat itself. The titles give an idea of consequentiality like if they are tracking down a sort of story. We have:
1. From Oblivion
2. A Voyage from the North
3. Through Fjords and Burning Skies
4. The Kingdom of Bucovnia
5. Time Lost in Oblivion
6. Through Eternity
7. The Guardians of Staglieno
8. The Black Forest
9. A Womans Cave
10. The Girl Next Door
The first 500 copies comes with a free dvd with the same track list coupled to the image sideshow used by Karsten during his gigs. Those images (natural sights, monuments, etc) help a lot the creation of the atmosphere giving to the listener the right mood for losing themselves in oblivion.
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Artist: PLAYDOE
Title: Sibot And Spoek Are Playdoe
Format: 12"
Label: Jarring Effects
Rated: *****
Coming from South Africa, Playdoe, as stated by their debut 12", are Sibot And Spoek. Living in the opposite side of Johannesburg, the duo were already active with different projects. Spoek Mathambo is original from Soweto and is descended from distant African royalty. He with with Mokgata is active as Sweat.X but he's also active as Bulgarian or DJ Edjotronicand. He also run a blog (sdotx.blogspot.com) where he track down the South African electro/hip hop sounds. Sibot a.k.a. DJ Fuck is the white man behind the electronic gears. He's been active with Max Normal, Constructus, Closet Snare, Knights of the Round and Real Estate Agents. Their MLP contains six great electro hip hop tunes (plus a great dance distorted remix of the opening tune) that sounds like a mix of 80's electro funk (see Professor X, Egyptian Lover and Newcleus), electro pop and a bit of breakbeat. Even if based on classic retro electro sounds (which I love) their mix sounds really fresh. Take for example "Metro" (a sort of upbeat nightly synthpop tune that wink the eye to Soft Cell) or the opening "It's that beat" (a great electro hip hop tune that features the catchy female voice of Chi Chi), both have catchy melodies and bouncing rhythms. Good to party with and to listen to when you need for an energy shot. Check some tunes at the label's website as well as at the band's myspace. Great release!
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Artist: $JAMMIE THE MONEY
Title: Get Paid
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Basserk (@)
Rated: *****
$Jammie The Money is back bringing to your ears some more bouncing rhythms, grime distortion and fun. The digital E.P. opens the dances with "Break even", a track that each The Prodigy lover should check. "Get paid" with its syncopate rhythms will drive you crazy thanks to its stop and go and to its dancey attitude. "Monkey in my brain" features MilkMoneyMaffia on vocals and it could be a great electro grime single. The filtered toy like vocals are fun and $Jammie great choice of rap'n'grime sounds/arrangements will make of this one your favorite tune of the week. The closing tracks "The money maker" is a mid tempo tune with many stops and go, crossing sounds, bleeps and energy. You can check each track of this E.P. at the Basserk website.
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