Music Reviews

Oct 25 2010
Artist: Mirage
Title: ElectroMech
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Binalog Productions (@)
Rated: *****
ELECTROMECH by Mirage is one of the most epic tunes you can find into the first Binalog Productions' vinyl release (I remember you that its digital edition has five bonus tracks/bands). On this EP you can check four remixes of that track (reworked by Diplomat, R21, George Tsakiris and Binalog Freq) along with a new version (the "EMP remix") made by Mirage. Diplomat's remix is giving to the tune a cool electrofunk flavor with melodic synth leads and robotic rhythms. R21 focused their remix on the epic atmospheres with punching 4/4, gated synth lines and fat bass lines (take a look to the EP's cover and you'll have the right idea of what I mean telling you that this is epic). George Tsakiris made a remix which is a balanced blend of breakbeat rhythms, fast arpeggios, samples and obsessive melodies. Binalog Freq's "Dark Funk" version has moments with fat distorted leads and others with bouncing bass lines (the "dark" and the "funk" elements). Mirage's "EMP mix" version is sounding saturated and epic with robotic rhythm patters and has also a sort of stop and go effect where you have only rhythms, samples and a synth line, just to explode soon after. You can purchase this cool EP directly here
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electronic Overseas Vol. 1
Format: CD
Label: Tacuara Records (@)
Rated: *****
Argentina's Tacuara Records (in conjunction with Germany's Fk Digital Records - releases this compilation of various goth-industrial artists from a number of different countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Estonia, France, Peru, Russia, Spain and Turkey. Of course, as on just about any compilation album, it's a mixed bag, and even moreso here with the diversity of nationalities. The opener by Division of Blue (Spain) has intelligibly spoken-sung lyrics in English over typical EBM style music. Not a lot of substance, but okay club fodder. Definitely reminds me of some late 80's or early 80's synth band, but I can't think of who offhand. LAP (Argentina) employ scary pterodactyl synth and morphing, ripping saw-bass over relentless breakcore beats'¦and that's about it. Unnerving, but not utterly convincing. Sadiztik Injection (Turkey) sound more conventionally dark-electro/EMB with 'Realize the Suicide,' a good dancefloor pounder with the requisite raspy vocals. Gee, I didn't know they went for this kind of stuff in Turkey'¦no baglamas, tars or davuls? Not even a sampled muezzin wail. I'm shocked!

Say Just Words (Chile) pull off a pretty intense and dramatic dark-electro number with 'The Perfect Killer,' raspy vocals and all, another track suitable for club play. Freakangel (Estonia) is up next with 'The Last White Dance,' typical Freakangel old-skool EBM. Freakangel is one of the (two) bands on this comp I've heard (and reviewed) previously, and they certainly belong on this compilation. Utero's (Spain) 'Sex Me' reminds me of Marilyn Manson for some reason, although they really don't sound like him. Maybe it's what you'd get if you combined Manson with Nitzer Ebb; it will surely keep those platform boots stomping at Club Dead. Good hook too. Lastrax (Argentina) actually seems to tell a story in 'Special Offer,' yet another old-skool dark electro number along the lines of Signal Aout 42. Nice track but lacks a potent hook. France's Ad Inferna sticks to French lyrically, and adds some ethereal wordless female backing vocals for their dark electro dance number, but I found the sub-bass overwhelming at times. DJ's - keep a ready finger on the EQ, depending on your system's requirements. Suicidal Romance (Estonia), the other of the two bands I reviewed previously, doesn't offer up one of their best tracks off 'Shattered Heart Reflections' for this comp, but 'Love Stays the Same' still isn't a bad song. It's dramatic enough and has Dimitry (Freakangel) on the verse vocals and Viktoria's vox on the chorus. It's Viktoria's voice that is the focal point of this band and she uses it to better effect on other songs off the album.

Matias Parisi (Argentina) offer a rather clubby bit of monotony with 'You can never stop me' with metered processed male & female vocal recitation. At least it has a good beat and groove. Slip it into a dance set and nobody will notice. Roppongi Inc Project (Russia) perform a 'Temporary Evacuation 27.04.86,' sort of an instrumental (except for the unintelligible Russkie PA warning vox) doomsday dance. Carlos Shaw (Argentina) begins 'Los Ninos Del Parque' with a groove that reminded me of Frontline Assembly. I was waiting for the vocoder to break in but all I got was the speak-sing of three amigos, and kind of low key at that. Except for some incidentals, the track didn't change much from its initial groove. Disappointing. Dj Quien (Bolivia) ups the BPM with 'Sudaca y parador,' spoken word over breakcore filled in by average synth and bass. Maybe if I understood Spanish it might have more impact, but it left me kind of flat. Back to Argentina with Plan Quinquenal and their chaotic offering 'Sudamerica Vanzaii'. Nearly relentless pounding beats and wildness until the 2 minute mark when it changes tempo and form into some type of doom metal pastiche. Code Name (Spain) must really think they're in an 'Arena' (yes, that's the title of the song), a jaw dropping supersonic high-energy disco song with 70's style male and female vocals! What the hell is this doing on this comp??? I'm flabbergasted. Maybe this is supposed to tongue-in-cheek, but I don't think so. Yikes! The comp concludes with Peru's Dj Lokuron & Chusma Crazy's 'Enterprise of Justice'. I'm not getting much justice out of this piece of insanity. It is pretty bizarre in its own headache-inducing way. It has a beat but you won't be dancing to it.

So as I said in the beginning, a mixed bag for sure but with enough worthies to check it out, if you can find it. If you're in the U.S. just go to the label website and they have a list of outlets. Better yet, just ask your local Goth-Industrial CD shop (if there even is one anymore by where you live) to order it for you.
Artist: Spruke (@)
Title: Infektipede EP
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Spruke is Bill Boulden from Buffalo, NY. Hey, that's not all that far away. Nice to get something from New York State artists now and then. Bill's DIY project is obviously geared for the dancefloor with big-beat synthpop leanings. The title track might be a bit spazzy for club play, but it's certainly catchy. Nicely processed vocals too. 'Wir Konnen Nicht Deutsch' remedies the dance beat situation and adds a bit of satire lyrically concerning Teutonic Industrial music. 'Eight Above or Twenty Below' is a very cool synthpop gem with vocoder enhanced vocal. A bit more production work and it could have monster hit potential. 'Motorcade' (featuring Digital Geist with the F-16 Remix) has a compelling club techno beat and choppy processed vocals. Sounds kind of future-poppy with an old skool vibe. Very infectious dancefloor fodder. Digital Geist's remix of 'Infektipede' is more straight ahead and upbeat than the original, definitely geared for the dancefloor. At 9:28 it's also the longest track on the EP. Since the bass has changed along with the rhythmic momentum, it bears little similarity to the original except for touches here and there. My problem with remixes (and if you read my reviews with any regularity, you know how I usually loathe them) is that you can take nearly any piece of music and turn it into something else, and it usually isn't better. Such is the case with this one. Except for the odd sample here and there, this isn't even the same song. It's just another club groove. Why even bother?

Still, there is enough on this EP that shows promise. It is interesting to hear an artist (this is only Boulden's Spruke project's sophomore release even though he's been at it ten years) honing his craft and working through ideas to establish an identity. Few artists have risen overnight to create sonic masterpieces. It merits checking out and keeping an eye on. That goes double for DJs. I think Spruke needs to focus on a theme or concept and run with it. The talent is there. What follows next could be really interesting. I believe the EP is available on iTunes.
Artist: Poésie Noire
Title: Sence of Purpose
Format: CD
Label: Body Electric
Distributor: CNR Records NV
Poésie Noire was founded so long ago, not even its press release can tell the year for sure. The best it can do is dating the foundation to the early 80s. To the influences of black poetry belong Front 242 and Neon Judgement, but also pop artists such as Paul Haig and Fad Gadget. Soon enough the trio has obtained a small but loyal fan base. This is supposedly one of the most discussed Belgian acts according to Oor magazine.
Their sound can be best labeled as Electropop. Marianne voice will mesmerize you ' clean and feminine. The lyrics are so to say real life lyrics. They criticize the current state of the art in terms of norms and opinions in today's European society; they are dark, not very jolly and share honestly personal experiences.
The album has quite a number of songs that could be enjoyed while driving or in the club. To my personal faves belong 'Eurika', 'Dream One', melodic 'Uncertain Smile', somewhat Roxette-like 'The Radio Plays' and sung in German 'Die Sonne' (no, it is not a Rammstein cover).
'Sence of Purpose' is a totally pleasant album to listen to.
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Artist: ESC
Title: Eight Thousand Square Feet
Format: CD
Label: Scanner / Dark Dimensions (@)
Rated: *****
Portugal's most recognized Harsh-EBM quartet returns with another new full-length album, their third so far. And nearly out of tradition, also this one impresses with a comic-stripe as telling the story and meaning hiding behind. The graphical work is once again an outstanding form of expression by them, which receives additional support by their art to produce band photos ' the new ones, especially the one with body hanging lifeless out of a damaged bus, are very stylish and well fitting with the music. If they will reach their definite break-through also in middle-Europe, that ' to me ' has no longer anything to do with their quality of music. Fans of this special music genre, as well as the dancefloor-junkies, can't go wrong with them, since Hypecrash, Chainheart (both also active under HYSTAKMINE, lately signed to Hellektro Holocaust Records ' from which I lately haven't heard anything new..?), IDK (who helped out the country mate of IN[PERFEKTION] with some production efforts'¦) and the graphical mastermind Glamour Diesel do offers their most matured, but maybe also their calmest release so far. Yes, some socks-rocking tunes for the hard-stuff consumers are of course featured like 'Correcting God's Design', or the nailing 'Le Voyage D'Ivoire Sophisme', which features Jan L. of X-FUSION providing the lead vocals. But in all I have the impression, that this new album rather focuses more to present opulent arranged synth sweeps ('White Beast (Retribution', or some orchestral-like inserts ('Eight Thousand Square Feet') - stuff, which is nice to get consumed at your home entertainment too. And this gets a real crown with the track 'Leitbild', which offers German lyrics provided by Carsten Jacek of [:SITD:]. His voice as well as the rather [:SITD:]-related instrumentation results in the maybe most catchiest track ever by them. Coming back to their upcoming break-through: I think, this can be only reached, if they can decide to storm the stages in all thinkable dark clubs ' they suffer well under the circumstances to belong too far away from the bigger markets for this kind of music, Germany for instance. Musically here is nothing to complain with, ESC offer as usual the better and more comfortable form of Harsh-EBM/Hellectro music and are technically far above their average followers. Slight tendencies to repeat themselves a bit can be recognized too, but'¦ Let's agree, that this special genre of EBM/Electro/Industrial music is generally repetitive.
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