Music Reviews



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Artist: Promonium Jesters / Adaptive Reaction (@)
Title: Split
Format: 7"
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Adaptive Reaction is a two person outfit from Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada and claim to be 'an electronic based raw and sonic blender of old school electro beats, static and crashing ride glitchery, roaring analogue, and sear[ing] vocals.' Well, kind of. Both of these tracks can best be described as industrial punk. Even the fact that the songs weigh in at 1.38 and 1.59 tells you something (although I think that S.O.D. with their two second songs were the masters of brevity). Quite nice though, with a heavy urgency to the songs. Promonium Jesters hail from Uxbridge, Ontario Canada and 'play psychedelic industrial thrash music, incorporating elements of metal, noise, ambient, trance, and digital hardcore with a heavy emphasis on experimentation.' Fair enough, although I didn't get a whole lot of noise here despite the fact that they have performed with Merzbow. I must admit that this track was a lot of fun. There is a lot going on, but it still hangs together. Where Adaptive Reaction seems to have its roots in old school punk, Promonium Jesters seems to draw its inspiration from Ministry and the DTrash roster. Not bad ' I'll bet they both put on one hell of a show. Overall, I would like to hear more from both, which is always a good thing with a 7' split. If you want a digital version instead, you can get it for $2.00 at Promonium Jester's site.
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Artist: Encomiast / The Copper Thieves (@)
Title: 139 Nevada
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Lens Records (@)
Rated: *****
The more I hear from Lens Records, the more I like what they are doing. Everything I have reviewed for them has been excellent. Not bad for a label I had not heard of a year ago. I had not heard of either of these bands, but evidently The Copper Thieves consist of members of Encomiast and Mandible Chatter ' there is a band that I have not heard about in quite some time, but they made (still make?) quite interesting experimental music.

Here is the background on the project from the label: 'In 2004, a group of musicians and curiosity-seekers went to the Belvidere Theatre in Central City, CO because it was rumored to be one of the most haunted buildings in the state. Our initial goal was to attempt to record Electromagnetic Voice Phenomena, but the project eventually took on a much different cast. We never succeeded in capturing any ghostly voices, but we reassembled the recordings into new compositions that captured the haunted spaciousness of the theatre. That's where 139 Nevada began. We returned to record in the theatre two more times while making these two records. Even if the spirits never raised their voices, we hope they were entertained by our presence.' Well, even if the spirits were not entertained, this reviewer certainly was. Let's discuss each disc in turn.

Encomiast: I have listened to this disc a few times and I still don't know how to describe it. This is an excellent thing. The comparisons that come to mind are Coil and Zoviet France. I find this album to be fantastic. At some points it is pleasant droning music that fades into the background. At others, it turns into staccato marimba and metal percussion that has an almost whimsical quality. Other times the atmosphere is think and complex but not overwhelming. At still other times, they flex their muscles and make it a bit noisier. I would have to say that this disc has a combination that is often sorely lacking in experimental music'variety and balance. Some bands try to branch out and tracks are all over the map and sound out of place. Encomiast manages to do so cohesively.

The Copper Thieves: The track begins with peaceful drones and lilting music-box like melody throughout. However, this then transitions to a jungle like atmosphere with a simple drum beat repeated over and over, as if it were the soundtrack to a Tarzan movie. And so it goes throughout the album, much as the Encomiast disc (and this makes sense, considering that they are an integral part of this band as well). Peaceful atmosphere is punctuated by clangs and otherworldly sounds. Piano that sounds as if it were being played in an (almost) empty, decrepit, long forgotten concert hall as a woman sings a concert that will never be heard. At other times, we have a dark, ominous soundtrack-like piece, reminiscent of In The Nursery's 'Optical Music' series. Overall, a pleasant listen that evolves with enough shifts to keep it interesting.

This set is wonderfully packaged in a paper box with cotton batting and postcards. All in all, I would highly recommend this set. It's limited to 200 copies, so you will want to pick this one up quickly.
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Artist: Kosmodromm (@)
Title: Kosmodromm 1.0
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Synthematik (@)
Rated: *****
Some new stuff brought to us by the Russian Synthematik netlabel, KOSMODROMM is a Dark Synthpop/Goth-project out of Belarus. Consisting since 2010 as being the one-man project by Eiden Dark (vocals, lyrics), he can still rely on the musically helping hand of D-emsi (programming, arrangements) and several session musicians. This project unites the ability to produce smooth synthesizer melodies, combined electronic beats and gently Dark-Wave atmospheres. Most striking in their sound environment is the sound of the baritone-like vocal performance of band-leader Eiden Dark. In combination with the Russian language and all of its difficult accents and punctuation, this vocal performance seriously reminds on some opera-like stuff taken out of a 50-years-old past. This release is a collection of some self-produced singles entitled 'Stalker' and 'Pustoj Gorod', originally released by the band in 2009. For this free downloadable album, these tracks got completely revamped and newly mastered. Additional remix contributions by up and coming acts like ALIEN 2064 and FRACTAL DECAY offer at least a bit more dancefloor compatibility, which is more than the originals would be able to offer. Not a bad one, but this sound outfit generally needs some usage through multiple spins to get completely satisfying.
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Artist: X Marks The Pedwalk (@)
Title: Inner Zone Journey
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records / Infacted Reocrdings (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
It's indeed a good year for comebacks of veteran acts, and this one once-in-a-lifetime-giant of the legendary Zoth Ommog label isn't an exception. It fits perfectly that Sevren Ni-arb, his better female half Estefania and his old partner in crime, Raive Yarx, have decided to collaborate with Infacted Recordings for their comeback ' since Infacted label-chief Torben Schmidt (LIGHTS OF EUPHORIA) is another important time witness of this glorious label. So how big can expectations grow after so many years without any audio sign of life? I think it rather belongs on personal preferences, to each one its own taste. XMTP have earned a lot of appreciation during their early years for the try not to repeat themselves over and over again ' and to me, this can be noticed on this new album too, because 'Inner Zone Journey' sounds like none of the previous released albums before. 'Inner Zone Journey' and its chosen sounds and arrangements are the work of true Electro/Industrial experts with real and senses-touching compositions and a matured state-of-the-art-like sound-design. If it really comes to search for a hair in the soup, I tend to criticize one or another track as being too obviously infected with that often discovered 'we-need-a-catchy-club-hit-to-appease-the-masses'-syndrome ('Run Away', 'Seventeen'), as these tracks are losing intensity in sound and composition. But tracks like 'Human Scientists' or 'Snapshots In A Dark Room' are true masterpieces, which surely appeal the rather Dark-Electro-inspired fans of their golden days ' maybe these tunes are more comparable to the XMTP-side-project RINGTAILED SNORTER and their deep sadness-spreading 'Absolute Void'-times ' but hasn't this historic masterpiece received the best reviews in those days? It does good to have XMTP back, although the release of 'Inner Zone Journey' has produced a lesser euphoric reaction compared to the release of some other cult acts. Quite logical, because this album is rather dedicated to satisfy the parental and experienced Electro/Industrial listener, as it doesn't offer any pseudo-aggressive Hellectro-like bawling - it is nevertheless one of the best comeback releases of this year so far.
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Artist: We Love
Title: We Love
Format: CD
Label: BPitch Control
Rated: *****
We Love is a new band that recently signed for BPitch Control. Coming from South Italy, Giorgia Angiuli and Pietro Fragola moved to Florence and there they found a new artistic life being involved into different multimedia projects (Giorgia has appeared with the Paris fashion designer Amelie Labarthe as Metsuo and Piero is as a designer, VJ and university tutor who works also with musicians, theatre groups and film directors). In the past Giorgia, after studying classical guitar, played with black metal and hardcore bands. She discovered electronic music thanks to a birthday gift some friends gave her: it was a CD: "Berlinette" by Ellen Allien. The discovery of those sounds made her decide to purchase a laptop and a audio card and to start experimenting with electronic music. We Love formed in 2009 and by looking to the photos I received I can say that the duo (musically helped by Marco Palazzo) decided to use they theatrical experience also into this project, because they mix fashion and theatrical performance thanks to the use of futuristic dresses which ends into some kind of helmets with sun protection shields. Musically they mix obsessive minimal electronic sound layers to upbeat mid tempos, sparse guitar parts and dreamy male / female duets. A characteristic of the ten songs of the album is that melody is a constant of the sound and even if we can't talk of pure pop songs, you'll always find a bass line or a melodic refrain that is freshen up the atmosphere. So, we pass from pure dance on 'Escape destination' to melancholic dance mid tempos of the opening "Ice lips" and "Cruise control" (with a upfront viola driving the main melody) passing from the electronic wave of "Even if". If you loved the latest Ellen Allien and Moderat albums, I suggest to check also this one. It will be out on September the 13th.
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