Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Emerging Organisms Vol. 3
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Tympanik Audio storms into the next year of existence, and how can this label find a better entrance, by releasing a once again valuable compilation DCD set, which allows the listener to hash one or another upcoming new talents signed to this highly prolific label? The predecessors made this compilation series that unique, because Tympanik watches and listens carefully without envy and restrictions over the own stable to discover new and fresh ideas. The intention to present a diverse and musically demanding compilation can not suffer under own declared label policies, although the roster of Tympanik grows meanwhile in a breathtaking speed. However, also 'Emerging Organisms Vol. 3' holds again participants of labels like Hymen/Ant-Zen (S:CAGE, AB OVO, MILIPEDE, or KLANGSTABIL), Ad Nauseam (Raoul Sinier), Bugscrawlingoutofpeople (FAMINE ' now newly signed to Tympanik!), Funkwelten (O.T.X.), or Brume Records (FRACTIONAL ' new album called 'Blood' is now available in collaboration between Brume and Tympanik!). Asides a respectful number of undiscovered newcomer acts like IP NEVA or SKYTREE, Tympanik's own roster mostly presents new and unreleased stuff, which even more adds appreciation for this beloved compilation set. SE ('Chrono'), ACCESS TO ARASAKA ('Kill Recorder'), TAPAGE & MEANDER, or APHORISM ('Arc Towards') offer finest stuff in their respectively style, while I would rate both tunes of the newcomer CANDLE NINE and AUTOCLAV1.1 as being the best of the best on here. While Tony Young and his AUTOCLAV1.1 project continues his path to present a linear, and nowadays non-expected catchy track with supported acoustic instruments, the Michigan-based, mysterious CANDLE NINE project impresses with detailed, but icy-cold synth layers combined with abrasive rhythm patterns. Even if this third chapter turns more and more out to be an ideal promotion tool for Tympanik's own label roster, here's still so much good stuff to discover. A must-have investment for fans of the modern IDM/Electronica music genre.

Disc One:
01 - SE: Chrono
02 - Access To Arasaka: Kill Recorder
03 - Klangstabil: Beziehungsohr (Subheim remix)
04 - Lucidstatic: Coal Cage (Access To Arasaka remix)
05 - Aphorism: Arc Towards
06 - Candle Nine: Penumbra
07 - S:cage: Seven Endings (Departure)
08 - Ab Ovo: Bees
09 - Displacer: Sun_Phase (Nightfall mix)
10 - Empusae: Hard Boiled Wonderland (Detritus remix)
11 - Loss: 071123
12 - Terminal Sound System: We Eat The Sun
13 - Opposite Exhale: Clear Green
14 - If: I Only Miss You When You're Here (remix)

Disc Two:
01 - IP Neva: Calm Before The Storm
02 - Millipede: Cell Division
03 - Liar's Rosebush: You Are Here
04 - Famine: Sig/Int
05 - Fractional: Blood
06 - Michael Fakesch: Rand VA
07 - Metaform: OCD
08 - Autoclav1.1: Let Me Sleep
09 - Raoul Sinier: Untitled 1.0
10 - Undermathic: Bodhi
11 - Keef Baker: Trion
12 - Tapage & Meander: Jelly Battleship
13 - Skytree: Stomata Spirit
14 - Poordream: Immense Present
15 - OTX: Anna
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Artist: Gregorio Bardini & Gerstein (@)
Title: Arise of a Bleeding Rose
Format: CD
Label: The Eastern Front
Rated: *****
I remember reviewing a CD called "Eurasia" by the talented Italian wind instrumentalist and ex Thelema member Gregorio Bardini a long long time ago but that was the last time I had heard of him until my colleague and fellow Chain D.L.K. founder Maurizio Pustianaz mentioned him to me again. For those who don't know it, Pustianaz has been musically active as Gerstein since the mid eighties and has been sporadically releasing new music under different labels since. After his most recent collaboration with Cold Cluster, which dates back to 2005, he's been quietly working with Bardini on something that eventually turned into "Arise of the Bleeding Rose", released by the Israeli label The Eastern Front.
It's hard to categorize or describe this. It is first and foremost an electronic music record but it is very minimal and in a way a bit retro-sounding. The electro sound is very martial (check out the opener "Von Guten Maechten" and the title-track for example) and there are defined rhythmical structures made of big slamming timpani-like drums, rolling military snare drums and fast-paced hi hats... However all of that is counteracted by long synthetic pads which might echo Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, Emerson, Jarre or Goblin... Maurizio's tense sequences and syncopated beats create an atmosphere of anxiety and a certain aura of darkness. Of course Bardini's flutes and the uniqueness of such sounds in this context deliver some kind of relaxation to the tension. His interventions add a sort of world music layer on top of the existing programming, and on pieces like "Il Male" the conjunction of all elements really create beautiful and, at times, even very asian sounding soundscapes.
After having heard the Gerstein/Cold Cluster collaboration I was aware that Gerstein was moving into a much more electronic and much more rhythmic place, but it would seem that this album marks a return to the darker vein that characterized his earlier productions. One thing that is certainly new to me I think, is that on this album Gerstein even sings in german (along with Bardini as well), which enhances the martial and teutonic aspect of it even more. I would even go as far as saying that (and maybe the german singing contributed to that) there is a certain EBM aesthetics, but it's nothing like the EBM clones you hear out there these days. That influence is more deeply rooted and much less obvious
The whole record is also interleaved with samples from english, italian and german movies.
If you think you are up for some original martial minimal-electro world music I would definitely recommend giving this a spin, after all if you have been reading Chain D.L.K. you have trusted the man's words about music for so long, why wouldn't you trust the man's music too?
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Artist: Denight (@)
Title: Human Reflections
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Human Reflections is the second full-length album by Denight (nice word-trick underlining the paradox of the light-in-dark imbuing their songs, mainly dealing with intimate and emotive themes such as human defects, greed, fear and soul depths, even if there're some themes closely related to contemporary history as confirmed by some words in the title-track ' 'We wage war for the so-called freedom/But where is it for those who lose?/Most times we fight for no reason/For land, profit or an evil we choose' -) this 6-members German gothic metal band, born from the sudden flash after the meeting of the auditory canal of the guitarist Tim Hochstetter (former member of Diary of Dreams) and the deep and velvety voice of the singer Stephen, playing under the Saturnian dim light, as suggested by their own sygil. They maybe doesn't add anything particularly innovative to the scene and I think that comparing themselves to similar bands such as Dreadful Shadows (especially in the use of voice inside the compositional structure, which is definitively very similar to the one by Sven Friedrich, even in his more electronic-oriented side project Zeraphine), Love Like Blood, Lacrimas Profundere or The Cascades (especially for the frequent inoculation of energetic and solid guitar riffs in each track'¦) is an appreciable act of intellectual honesty, but their technical skills as well as their sound, based on a mixture of gothic metal standards, metal ballads and even some slices of Wagnerian epic majesty, is quite convincing and the listener will easily admit Denight are some steps upwards if compared to similar bands. If I should say which tracks are better, I'll definitively suggest the smoother and slower ones (I particularly appreciated the delicate use of instruments and the guessed intertwining between rhythm and melody in Sorry and the melodic skin in The Core), but the up-tempo tracks are wisely forged and performed. Maybe they should dare more experimental musical solutions in order to tower above the scene in a more ear-catching way (the eye-catching graphic workout deserves to be mentioned for some nice choices such the opened eye printed on the bricks on the cover artwork, closing just under the cd'¦), but these first sprouts look promising'¦
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Artist: White Pulp (@)
Title: Lost Inc.
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
If you are asking who could be the moneyed partners of Lost Incorporated, the Italian band White Pulp which could potentially act as their supervisors seems depicting just their traits and their ways without naming them. Politicians, disco bitches, drunkards, drug addicts and even cliched dark or goth followers seem to crowd the rich imaginary inspiring their lyrics, even if the band created by Nuke and Sonny ' the bassist and the anti-hero looking front leader respectively - after a long and satisfactory experience playing covers from Marylin Manson's arsenal looks not so interested neither in celebrating summary executions nor in toadying the mentioned categories. Starting by some impetuous and scornful invectives of a track entitled Malediction (it seems referred to some fashion victims "drinking cups of rum and coke until their brain is afloat'') could belie such a consideration, but the general impression is that they are lenient towards sinners as they maybe partially feel as a part of them!

From the stylistic viewpoint, they improved the music formula they exhibited in their first full-length Ashamed of Yourself by filling the furrows traced alongside their artistic pathway up with more electronics - sometimes surrounding the classic goth-rock line up - and therefore I personally appreciated more those tracks whereas this electronic vein pulses stronger (such as Full Time Bitch - it's really funny the parodistic incipit based on the usual techno-trance tune turning into a solid goth-rock movement, highlighting the pitiless portrait of...you know what...just read the title! -, STFU - an attempt of invective against mass media frightening strategies -, A Lie In Everyone or Misunderstood Sweetnes - being definitively my favorite 'intimate' moment as well -), but it's undeniable they should work more on a really personal music language, too influenced by the mentioned experience as a Marylin Manson cover band as it seems they reprise its music which appears just filtered by fashionable eletropop soups a-la-Depeche Mode or slightly scratched by some industrial-rock clutches, but I argue they're on the right way. Paradoxically some listener could even appreciate more the 3 bonus tracks, which are just 3 acoustic versions of songs previously issued on Ashamed Of Yourself, revealing the melodic skeletons of White Pulp's composition. Maybe we should be patient and wait till the moment the value of Lost Inc. shares goes up...
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Artist: Mike Vernusky
Title: Music or Film and Electro-Theatre
Format: CD
Label: Quiet Design (@)
Rated: *****
Fellow Chain D.L.K. writer and colleague Mike Vernusky has been "quietly making his loud music for nearly a decade" and yet his musical output is sparse and sporadic. As a composer he is the equivalent of a reclusive hermit or a holy medicine man who only really comes out when he's got something important to say. Granted, there are even more un-prolific artists out there (after all his debut "Blood that Sees the Light" is only from 2006), Vernusky is a deep thinker who dwells on his musical ideas for long periods of time before, as he says, "rushing anything to the public ear". In fact I was almost surprised to find out that he had something ready so soon after what he defined a life-changing experience and inspiration (seeing Richard Foreman's theater show "Astronome: A Night at the Opera" based on Zorn's music). "Music for Film and Electro-Theatre" is no doubt inspired by that event and his subsequent study of Foreman's work. Other artists that came to my mind while listening to this album were Ben Frost, Artemiy Artemiev, Pan Sonic, Asmus Tietchens... The music is diluted, long, slow, engulfing and somber. Very cinematic and layered, requiring your full and undivided attention and focus in order to transcend and move beyond the passive listening experience. Induced, surreal and suggested states are sometimes complemented or even extrapolated by the use of live improvising actors who depict scenes that will play out in the imagination of the listener sculpted by the surrounding ambiance brought forth by context they are presented in.
This album features two electronic pieces, two scores to films by Daniel Maldonando and two previously staged theatrical works by Vernusky's Texas and Philadelphia based electro-theater enxemble Electric Wolf, who staged productions in several cities internationally, with the help of playwright Greg Romero.
Definitely worth your time and buck if you are interested in expanding your vision and stimulating your imaginative mind.
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