Music Reviews



Apr 13 2011
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Artist: R21
Title: Minimum Remixes
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Binalog Productions (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
MINIMUM REMIXES is the newest R21 release out on Binalog Productions. It has the original R21 tune (which was included into the double vinyl compilation "Advanced Funk Vol.1") plus nine new versions reworked by new electro producers. Mike Ash and DJ Xed didn't vary too much from the original structure, they preferred working on rhythm variation and stop and go's. Microslav did a great version enriched by new catchy melodic lines and robotic atmospheres. N-Ter's version plays with electro funk melodies and dark atmospheres. Mirage (the dj chosen to rock on the forthcoming Street Sounds UK Fresh Reunion) made a nasty version with hard beats and mid-Oriental melodies. The Grow remix sounds claustrophobic and robotic with warm pads, bleeping sounds and filtered vocals. Pip Williams enriched his upbeat mix with a raw bass sound, dub influences and spacey synth sounds. Binalog Freq focused his mix on obsessive 4/4 hard beats and nice techno acid influences. R21 closes the EP with a "Slow and low" version of their track, which now sounds like a nice electro ragamuffin tune.
(Proofread: Johan Sebastian Bot)
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Artist: Skeleton Trees (@)
Title: Season of Mists
Format: CD
Label: Les Productions Kaivalya
Rated: *****
'Season of Mists,' Skeleton Trees' debut effort, is a hauntingly beautiful venture into dreamland. Their goal with this concept album was to "compose a soundtrack for the mind and to forge a unique universe in which all dreams can resonate' and I think they achieved that in several ways. For one, the vast majority of the record is extremely low key (and low tempo) and filled with beautifully toned synths, ambience and just HAUNTINGLY beautiful vocals (courtesy of Alice Morrison's not only beautiful voice, but alluring French accent) and melodies interspersed with the occasional dialogue sample and contrasting, upbeat (and at times almost carnevallian) runs that more often than not, work. There are many influences notably at work here: the Beatles (think Harrison-esque harpsichord work and Lennon's 'Tomorrow Never Knows,' evident in the eerie 'Inside Her Cave'), a variety of late 70's to early 80's goth and post-punk bands, just a HINT of Nine Inch Nails (specifically the melody in the ending of 'Lady of the Snow') and even a moment of Jack Off Jill, sans the inherently vulgar subject matter (though I imagine this one is more coincidence than influence) and too many more to mention. The only pitfalls are the drums on occasion can verge on clumsy, and the bass seemed a bit lackadaisical, at times being noticeably off, and finding its way to notes that can be just cringe inspiring, which is much more obvious at points in or after 'Shadows' at which point the album seems to become just ever so slightly disjointed, but pulls itself back together by the end. But don't let the sound of those points fool you, it's a great cd, and I'm very much looking forward to their upcoming sophomore release tentatively titled 'Between the Floor and the Downstairs Ceiling'.
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Artist: Mark Snyder (@)
Title: Messy
Format: CD
Label: Royal Livermush Records
Rated: *****
Accomplished multimedia artist Mark Snyder's latest effort 'Messy' proves to be a beautifully ethereal and thought provoking experience. To properly experience the album, one must find their way to Mark's website where there are videos accompanying each of the songs (and more, I might add). These videos (from live multimedia performances, upon which the respective songs are based) provide a complete aural experience for the listener/viewer. While the music, which is based around just three main instruments: the clarinet, the accordian and the tuba; is very droning, spacious and airy, it tends to be minimal, yet VERY effective. As each song begins with its respective instrument, they then build with synths, electronics, sparse field recordings, etc. While most of the songs follow the same basic formula or 'structure' it takes nothing away from the experience as the ever evovling kaleidoscope of imagery ranges from dark, grainy and slowly evolving to bright, colorful and rapidly strobing. While a majority of the pieces herein are arranged for clarinet (and what use he makes of it!), I found myself compelled by the tuba pieces (Malmo and Copenhagen), wherein he transforms the instrument into a haunting, howling, even chanting creature while folding in just a bit of hope beneath rich, dissonant tones with (I'll dare to say it) Bach-like qualities; and a growling beast bathed in whispers and noise which build to an atmosphere of near madness; respectively. I definitely recommend the cd, but even moreso, I recommend viewing the accompanying videos as you listen.
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Artist: Urban Electronic Music (@)
Title: Science Can\'t Explain It
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Ambient feedback flowing elegantly through the air, spiced with fluttering digital runs dance with each other, building slowly to climax and eventual descension. This is
how 'Science Can't Explain It' opens with 'Ragabhara.' This evolves into 'Fermet's Last Theorem' which is comprised of field recordings nestled perfectly beneath ominous textures and seemingly (yet perfectly) random piano lines. The eeriness works its way into paranoia, just in time for 'Mathematics of Truth' to bring with it the first signs of true 'percussion.' This blend of new, live and remixed recordings takes quite the journey across varying sonic landscapes, from more gentle and beautiful dissonance to more harsh, and even sound effect-like pieces. The entire record is grounded in the use of the Kaossilator and while it's more apparent in some pieces than others, it couldn't have been more masterfully employed than here on 'Science...'
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Artist: HIV+
Title: Anthology Of Noise
Format: CD
Label: Meka Prods (@)
Born in Spain in 1968, Pedro Penas y Robles, moved in France and on early 90s he was djing at Trolleybus in Marseille. He started his activity under the HIV+ moniker in 2000 and the year after he signed for Divine Comedy Records. With different albums on this label as well as on Caustic Records and Black Flames Records to name few, Pedro, after collaborating with and remixing many bands such as Hocico, The Hacker, Sonar, Nitzer Ebb, etc. in 2008 decided to stop to play. Three years after Meka Prods decided to collect on a limited to 100 CDr run HIV+'s rare tracks, remixes (made by and for HIV+) and collaborations.ANTHOLOGY OF NOISE contains fourteen harsh industrial tracks where you can check Pedro's style made of rich percussive hard beats, distortions, minimal melodic loops and aggressive atmospheres. The tracks I preferred are the ones that mix genres that could be unrelated but which give unexpected results: check Pedro Peñas y Robles & Laurent Maltinti's industrial flamenco of "Vaya Con Dios (Normotone Edit Version)", the electro techno sounds of The Hacker & HIV+ "Novo Disko" (a song which remind me of D.A.F. as well as the following Millimetric's "Coco Pino") or the Die-6 Vs Splatterpunk remix of "Warm Leatherette" (a remix of a cover could be an hard judging thing). Fans of harsh industrial would be pleased by the remix of Hocico's "Born To Be Hated". A nice way to say goodbye... On this CD you'll find:
R3MUTE_less than zero feat HIV+ (Normotone rmx II)
SENSORY MINDFIELDS aka HIV_doors to kiev (instrumental)
AQL_milano d'agosto (sensory mindfield rmx by HIV+)
HIV+ atomic kashmir (remixed by SONAR)
HIV+ I heard a strange noise
HIV+_warm leatherette (Normotone version)
HOCICO_born to be hated (remixed by HIV+)
EMPUSAE_dark alchemy (harsh floor mix by HIV+)
PEDRO PEÃAS ROBLES & LAURENT MALTINTI_vaya con dios (Normotone edit version)
BUZZ berlin (HIV+ version)
NÃVÃ_insane robots (cold machine mix by HIV+)
THE HACKER & HIV+_novo disko
MILLIMETRIC feat. HIV+_coco pino
HIV+_warm leatherette (Die-6 vs SPLATTERPUNK rmx)
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