Music Reviews



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Artist: DATO
Title: Hard To Find EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Rated: *****
Coming from Danimark, Thomas Erichsen and David Kosteljanetz are DATO, a duo which is capable to mix funk, electro and synthpop in a catchy blend. HARD TO FIND is their first EP and contains three tracks and two "Extended club mix" of the main track and of "My life is perfect now". "Hard to find" is a 4/4 dancey song with in levare bass lines, funky guitars and catchy vocoder filtered vocals. "My life is perfect now" is a great 80s electro pop mid tempo tune with the nice Jannie Linnebaek vocals and dance attitude. Check the slap bass lines, the lush synths and the funky clean guitar riffs. This is a really catchy tune that won't make you looking into your record collection to check that Missing Persons song you wanted to listen to again. "Got to get out" closes the EP with rhodes chords, mid tempo dance rhythms, funk bass lines and female / male duet. This music is sensual nu-disco that you'll love to dance with. Check them at their Soundcloud page at www.soundcloud.com/dato
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Artist: CONTREPOISON
Title: ...Until Next Morning
Format: 12"
Label: Avant! Records (@)
Rated: *****
Countrepoison is the personal project of a guy called Pierre-Marc Tremblay. Coming from Canada, he self-released a four tracks tape and did a split C10 tape with Vatican Shadow on Hospital Productions. Avant!, always looking for good minimal electronic acts, noticed him and now it is re-releasing on vinyl ...UNTIL NEXT MORNING, the first Countrepoison tape. Mixing basic rhythm lines focused on bass drum beats (they recall the sound of an heartbeat) with few analog monophonic distorted synth lead sounds, Pierre-Marc is creating post punk intimistic electronic songs which talks about love disillusion: "It's coming back again, because you went away. It's going back again, forever it may stay. It should have been forever but it won't be" he sings on "Never forever" mixing melody to moanings. His music is full of phatos and, it is strange to say so, depression never sounded so catchy. You can check the whole songs and purchase the digital files here http://avantrecords.bandcamp.com/album/contrepoison-until-next-morning-12-ep.
May 02 2011
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Artist: CYLIX (@)
Title: Alpha
Format: CD
Label: Life Is Painful
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
Formed in 2008, Cylix are a Greek duo formed by Plasma G and DV/H, djs and event organizers active since early 2000s in the electro goth scene. Inspired by German and Swedish 90s synthpop, the duo started to record their own tracks and after taking part to some compilations, they are now releasing through Life Is Painful their first album ALPHA. The album mix pop vocals with energetic electronic music based on arpeggios, 4/4 dance hard beats and catchy refrains. With lyrics based on the difficulties and pleasures of love relationships, Cylix succeed into giving to their album a touch of freshness and an atmosphere of classic synthpop influenced by e.b.m. ALPHA includes also two remixes by Lights Of Euphoria (their version of "So much for love" sounds intimate and energetic at the same time) and by Psyche ("Heal me" now sounds melancholic and epic thanks to a piano arrangement.
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Artist: Music From the Film (@)
Title: How The West Was Once
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
Well I'm back again with another batch of CDs to review and Music From the Film's 'How The West Was Once' is up first. When I first get a CD to review, I have a habit of just glancing at the title and popping it into the CD player so I won't get any pre-conceived notions of what I'm about to hear. I thought I was going to be listening to some kind of remix of music from a 60s Western. HA! Whatta joke! They got me. There is absolutely no relevance whatsoever here to any 'boots 'n saddles' movie music.

Music From the Film is the name of the project and 'How The West Was Once' is the title of the CD. Main man Gary Young (drums, bass, keyboard, banjo, glockenspiel, organ, horns, circular saw, guitar, cooler, turntable, sound wands, AM radio, zither, whistle, springs, drill, koto, dulcimer, guiro, bongo, maracas, chimes, rubber bands, aluminum, whizzer, and Tibetan singing bowl), and co-conspirator Arthur Harrison (theremin, cacophonator, pseudorandom noise sequencer, and vocals) are from Upper Marlboro, MD. From the instrumentation, maybe you can imagine what this might sound like. Then again, you'd probably be way off base. Since I seem to be Chain D. L. K.'s go-to guy for the outré, it was only natural this CD would make its way to me.

When I first heard 'How The West Was Once' I absolutely hated it. 'What the hell is this fucked up shit??' I actually found myself saying outloud. I couldn't even make it through the whole CD. But fortunately (for most artists) I never do a music review on a one-pass listen. Sometimes it's a mood-thing; you're just not prepared for certain types of music and it's easy to slough off when it's not what you're expecting. Yet I'm always willing to give whatever is presented the benefit of the doubt, as an additional listening (or listenings) is essential. These artists (most of 'em anyway) work hard on the music they present for sale and review, and deserve a fair assessment. Then again, there is something valid in first impressions, and it is your hard-earned dollars (or euros, rubles, yuan, yen, whatever) that are at stake.

So, the second time around I was a bit more prepped for what I was going to hear. What that is is a hodge-podge of musical and sonic elements that do have some kind of format but also seem to be randomly cobbled together in an abstract and disjunct manner. Sometimes you'll hear sounds like a beverage being poured next to randomly plucked strings and a theremin with it's modulated pitch in the background, some cloppy percussion and clatter, the sound of some metal being twisted, and turntable manipulation. Next thing could be an out-of-tune guitar riffing over modulating oscillator tone with a drumkit thrashing away in the background.

You're really going to need an appreciation of the avant-garde to dig this stuff. It tends to make a band like The Residents sound commercial. It's also really hard to assess whether it's good or bad; I felt somewhat ambivalent about it. On one level I appreciate what they're doing artistically, but on another I found much of the random jammy aspect of much of the music distracting and lacking in cohesion. Overall, there is a lot of wackiness going on in 'How The West Was Once'. A prime example is the nearly 14 minute (mostly lengthy track on the album) 'Sin and Suffering Enterprise Adam' when they mix samples of a black female radio preacher quoting from the bible and intoning about 'the mission of these two men who boldly went where no man has gone before,' with insane oscillator modulation with an intermittent descending (dulcimer?) out of tune plucked string thing, punctuated by vaguely rhythmic cymbals and drums and other sonic effluvia in the background including occasional Gregorian chants. The joke gets old quickly though, and becomes tedious in spite of the fervor madam preacher works herself up into over the course of the piece. This track might be the exception because of its length, but 14 minutes out of 53 is a significant portion that just can't be overlooked. I would have given it 5 minutes tops.

Fortunately most of the rest of the tracks on this album are briefer excursions into dementia. Occasionally, Music From the Film creates an intriguing little ditty like 'Drinking with Kirk' that mixes quirky percussion with pseudo-gamelan melodics, horn farts, electronic squeals and other random noises. This is the kind of stuff The Residents often tried to pull off but always sounded too controlled and contrived in my estimation. Here, MFTF seem to make it work effortlessly, as if it was just the result of some live and inspired improvisation. (I have no idea whether it was or wasn't.) Still, this stuff is so far from mainstream anything, that you will absolutely require a high level of 'weird tolerance' to appreciate it.

I have no idea whether Gary Young and Arthur Harrison were inspired by Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, but there are time it sounds like it, along with 50s sci-fi movie soundtracks (it's the theremin) and a little Autechre and Nurse With Wound on the side. There is undoubtedly an inspired method to all this madness, and it may take a while to fall under the spell of Music From the Film. There are passages on 'HTWWO' that I enjoyed immensely, yet there are other things that I found incredibly annoying. Maybe it's their propensity for these out of tune plucked strings (which is probably intentional) that just seemed to grate on my nerves.

The album is most definitely a mixed bag, and sounds a lot more organic than electronic in spite of the prolific use of electronics. The timing is often a bit off-kilter, an indication that most of it was played live rather than programmed. There is a high 'nerd quotient' too, as evidenced by numerous Star Trekian references, and from the photos of these guys on their Facebook page, I don't think I'm off base in that respect. They actually look quite serious, and somewhat like your high school science teacher.

If you're the type of listener who craves bizarre with a capital 'B' you're really going to want to check this stuff out. But be warned, it just may test your limits. Music From the Film's first two CDs ('Playfully Abusive' and 'World War Tree') are available at CD Baby, Amazon.com, and CDUniverse.com. This one, and a 7-inch ('BIT' b/w 'CRUSHFACE') are not, being limited, and you'll have to email them at gyoung@iepevents.com or pick it up at one of their live shows if you happen to be not too far from Maryland. First though, I'd advise checking out a few tracks on their MySpace page to see if you're up for the challenge.
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Artist: RUMPISTOL
Title: Talk To You
Format: CD EP
Label: Rump Recordings
Rated: *****
Three years after the latest album "Dynamo", Rumpistol is back with a new EP and with new influences into his sound. TALK TO YOU is the newest Rumpistol EP and it contains four new tracks (seven into the digital download edition). Listening to the first track, the main one, is evident that Jens B. Christiansen used more melody and decided to use samples in a creative way, introducing into his i.d.m. based sound, dub and soul. I must say that now his music has more power and it sounds epic, also. "Don't go" is a slow chant with throbbing bass lines and "We're not gonna make it" sounds like a romantic version of Portishead. "Through all this madness" sounds like a broken remix of Depeche Mode of the "Songs of faith and devotion" period. "In this song", thanks to its bass distortions and 8bit sounds, has the vocals sounding like a prayer. This is something I wouldn't expect from a Rumpistol release but I'm pleased he enhanced his sound this way!
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