Music Reviews



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Artist: VORTEX
Title: Phanopoeia
Format: CD
Label: Tesco (@)
Distributor: Tesco Organisation
Rated: *****
Vortex first release is taking inspiration from "Vorticism", a movement founded by Wyndham Lewis: the movement lasted from 1913 to 1920 and was inspired by Cubism and Futurism and took this name because it incarnated the concept of chaotic vortex of creative energy. The title PHANOPOEIA comes from an Ezra Pound's idea (he joined that movement soon after and coined the term "Vorticism") and it is a term to describe a poem which relies upon 'throwing a visual image on the mind'. He had the idea by looking at Chinese poetry as the Chinese language is composed of pictograms. Vortex is the solo-project of a :Golgatha:-member and with the ten tracks of PHANOPOEIA he did a great work by giving a musical transposition to "vorticism". The music mix dark ambient, ritualistic music, tribal rhythms and samples of Pound's readings (on some tracks) and the atmosphere created is cinematic and tense. Here and there, piano notes and looped melodies hypnotize the listener taking him to a different level. Good album indeed...
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Artist: Noorglo
Title: Hard Body Music
Format: CD
Label: Rustblade (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
Hard Body Music is a title which wears the new unmusical effort by the esteemed Italian promoter and dj (but not so many people knows he's also a talented techno forger... ) Noorglo like plastic gummy (and potentially carcinogen!) overalls giving the illusion of a perfect body. His name is mainly related to Decadence parties, among the most famous rendez-vous involving a lot of people devoted to Gothicism, fetishism (and related fashion branches... ) and obviously electro-techno music, but he's considered one of the most active of the underground Italian scene, as he also shared the stage with legendary names of the international music-biz such as Covenant, Massive Attack, Funker Vogt, Einsturzende Neubaten, Hocico, Lacrimosa and many others. A lot of respectful ackonwledgements which are justified not only by his enthusiastic way of promoting his devil-like eyebeam and his guessed figure for introducing to darkish dancing masses as well as by his bumpy sets and his philosophical excerpts giving a conceptual framework to his musical "mission" (... and we could not anything but wink when he states that "performance is the physical expression of music. Often, a musical work is performed once its structure and instrumentation are satisfactory to its creators; however, as it gets performed more and more over time, it can evolve and change in any number of ways"... have a look to Noorglo's myspace to get bodies of evidence of its nite and clear statements, folks!), but also for his good music taste confirmed by this work, which could be ideally detached in two parts: the first one contains a plenty of impressive catching rhythms, progressively gathering (high) speed '“ but please don't fine him or his sample machines for excess of speed!!! '“ oscillating between the experimental grasps on well-sequenced beat storms of Waratah '“ a reference to the Australian beautiful flower whose extract is supposedly able to give courage and heal from depression and anxiety '“ and the suffocating Arena '“ a clashy way to start the fire on dancehalls -, the "aspirated" suctions of Lashes, the harsh idiosyncratic beats of Hyerarchy '“ a nervous and powerful techno mayhem which I didn't hear since a lot of time!!! -, the ironic gabber movement (do you wanna Debord?!?!?) of Bedroom Corrosion and some good slices of sad-istic divertssment in the remix of Oph '“ reminding to us some cranium-clastic issues by Venetian Snares and the first Aphex Twin -. The second part of the record seems to be less refined than the first one, but we're almost sure a lot of people loving technomantras will love it: the trumpet announcing a charge in Beast (a quote of Lumukanda?!?!?), the ultradistorted ready-to-chew brass in Concrete Flesh and the violently sucked tribal-techno stepping in Hbmopera32 reminded to us some acts of Belgian techno music and Rotterdam(ne-R-d) old school. And after the doors of hell have benn disclosed, Mr.Noorglo proposes a Biosphere-like nice cameo in 12 with lovely trembling and tension-filled atmospheres. A really concrete -!- way to modulate noise in-shape-of something musical to train your sinews and go mouldy on a dancehall.
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Artist: SOLANACEAE
Title: Solanaceae
Format: CD
Label: Heidrunar Myrkrunar (@)
Distributor: Tesco Organisation
Rated: *****
Kim Larsen is best known for his :Of The Wand & The Moon: project where he gives life to dark neo-folk ballads. With Solanaceae, instead, he explored a different side of folk. Helped by Chelsea Robb (Arrowwood), Pythagumus Marshall (Novemthree), Michael Laird (Unto Ashes), John van der Lieth (Sonne Hagal), Fenella Overgaard (:Of The Wand & The Moon:), Vincent Farrow (Solblot) and Anne Eltard (who also appeared on the first :Of The Wand & The Moon: album), Kim created thirteen new songs influenced by traditional folk and English psychedelia (see the beautiful "Nihil sum", "O deep woods" or "The blood of my lady II") without losing his characteristic sound. Even if on Solanaceae's self titled album you can't find the tension of classic tunes of the likes of "Lieblos Hin Zur Dunkelheit", "I shall feast" or "Black moth", lyrics talk about horned ones who wants to to reach inside maidens, circles of blood, people who see the blood of their ladies everywhere or dead men that carried by the waters have brought back to their loved ones. Acoustic guitars, flutes and violins play ballads that gently talk of tragedies... A black album for dark ages.
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Artist: ESA
Title: The Sea & The Silence
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
It seems that Hive-recording artists are free for sale, because sooner than expected the British project ESA (stands for Electronic Substance Abuse) a.k.a. Jamie Blacker returns after 2 albums on Hive with a completely new album out on Tympanik Audio. Besides ESA, Jamie could make himself a quite good name thanks to some guest-musician contributions to STRAY (side-project of Erica UNTER NULL Dunham) and his label comrade AUTOCLAV 1.1.
And ESA stands surely for the harder side of the release catalogue of the uprising Tympanik label, maybe side by side with PNEUMATIC DETACH. "The Sea & The Silence" seems to be a conceptual release and the medium itself seems to have a healthy effort on Jamie, since he has added a special quote, which documents his dedication: "This album is in dedication to the three things that have helped me through this year, my music, my close friends and the sea, that seems to wash away my worries with every wave."
Musically, ESA offers a straight pounding Powernoise sound pretty much along the classic CONVERTER/IMMINENT-line. The opening track "Tasting Nails" is one of the best introductions I’ve ever heard, presenting very well the balance between dark and ominous sample sounds and hammering rhythm lines to the end of the track. "Absolute Fury (in its very Fabric)" then doesn’t takes any prisoners and executes the dancefloor. Remarkable also to note is the fact, that Jamie uses and integrates vocals. Be it his own timbre, often fx manipulated and inserted in different kinds, or be it with the help of several female guest vocalists, Jacqueline Curd, featured on the title track, "Your Anger Is A Gift" and "The Devil Worships Me" has to named for example.
Another highlight worth to mention is the dark sounding "Open To Me Your Black And Bitter Heart" and the try to combine DIVE-like noisy arrangements with some acoustic guitar loops – total contrary instruments can sound united.
"The Sea & The Silence" is a great example of a modern sounding rhythmically Powernoise album. It avoids too much repetitions, it doesn’t fall into that unnecessary Hard-Tec/EBM-sound, but it is still straight oriented. An album with depth, message, Industrial ambience not to be missed.
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Artist: VOIDE (@)
Title: Humachine
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
Asides the recently released Single-CD "Love" (feat. Suzi Electric), David Almgren alias VOIDE has also produced a complete new studio album. "Humachine" picks up for the most part the line of his last album "Evolution", with which VOIDE could score intensely the ears of both, audience and reviewers.
As the title announces it, "Humachine" continues mostly to write an additional storyboard of the connection man - machine in a new and straight upbeating kind. A sheer evergreen of a theme, available in multiple variations, which especially fits well with Electronica artists. Musically David seems to lay his focus on a better balance between the styles, he especially allows more and more stylistically different drum patterns to invade the spacey EBM/Electronica music outfit. Compared with "Evolution", the EBM influence comes out a bit more reduced (exception: "Rock The Geek"), but several new and up-to-date-arranged tracks ("Humachine", "Electrolyte" or "Toxic") are increasing with the speed.
It can be generally noticed, that David has perfected several parts of his composition process, although the integration of his vocals is and remains still the part in which he could develop a bit. As for the float of the album, I must admit, that I would have changed the track listing a bit, just because the best pieces like "The Mechanical Fiddler" (brilliant "fiddling" synth drops...), the pummeling "Toxic", which features some typical-303-sounding bass synths and the beautiful layered "Retrothought" do definitely deserve a better and more striking rank in the track list.
Let’s keep out the well-done opening title track "Humachine" and the melodic synth-fanfares of "Between Sheets", I for the most part skip the tracks up to track 6, because these tunes come out to me as average and somehow I have heard them in a more diverse and refreshing kind available on "Evolution".
Track 6 then is the brilliant and nearly 7 minutes long dancefloor-massacre named "Electrolyte", which completely impresses with its staccato-like clap-and-snare-programmings. Thumbs up also for the diverse layers of "In Agony With Hope", while the sequencing work of "Sometimes I Daydream" would be able to bring VOIDE next to international renowned artists like Vangelis on every "Synthesizer Essentials" compilation.
Even if I tend to criticize one or another track of this album, it has to be said, that "Humachine" is an excellent piece of work, which may wouldn’t stand in the shadow of the almighty monument named "Evolution", if I wouldn’t have heard it before. It’s a hard cake with the try to better an own produced monument – some of the new tracks on "Humachine" offer a possible direction, while some others act like repetitions. But I’m sure that David continues to figure out the needed diversity to return even stronger with another new studio album.
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