Music Reviews



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Artist: Trümmerfrau (@)
Title: Música Mottekki
Format: CD
Label: Flashpop Media (@)
Rated: *****
Actually this TRÜMMERFRAU is a man consisting of the young German Electro-/Industrial musician Jan Pawelczyk. I should admit that my expectations on the quality and the seriousness of his work got limited after checking his cover art. They seriously went down to below than zero, because I never heard of a musician giving out a self-reflection and a review of the things happened in the composition process describing the how, when and were of the creation of each song. Funny for the most part to read, but also witness of how simple the creation with laptop and sequencer program can be. Well, without any expectations on this release I must admit, that some or another FX programming seriously caught attention. Musically somehow comparable with a comedian version of STRAFTANZ, Jan shares a lot of the up-to-date available club sound with a similar composing formula. The try to imitate some old-school veterans with some "Wir sind die Deutschen" revolution-like lyrics in "Fidel Castro Its Nicht" are those better moments with a sense of humor in mind. Great idea also to integrate some chirping harp-like sounds in the well-constructed Synthpop-tune "Alone Against The Tide", another highlight to point out. On the hand, Jan seems too often "influenced" by his both better-looking cheerleaders responsible for some live support, or how can a tune like "Gimme All Ya Juice, Baby" any else rated? Also the creation of Frauke, the hammering woman on the front cover, documented with a dedication track "My Love Is Noisy" counts rather to his more weird ideas. To each one its own style, I can recommend this album for anyone interested in some good club fodder – but too many acts are overfilling this style already. The music generally lacks of more surprises, so let’s hope that Jan can score even more with his sense of humor.
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Artist: Aliftree
Title: Clockwork
Format: CD
Label: Compost records (@)
Rated: *****
Alif Tree is a seasoned and well established French composer, producer, engineer and sound designer. Based in Marseille but constantly traveling around the world he writes for film/TV, produces remixes, writes for classical dance ballets, plays gigs and at the same time magically finds the time to write great music, gets top musicians to record it in Nashville and then packages it into a beautiful and sophisticated melange of ambient, electronica, trip-hop, jazz, pop, blues and more. I don't think I heard his debut "The Observatory" back in 2000, but considering it took him 8 years to create the follow up to that you can imagine that this is indeed a great album, and he makes no qualms about proudly stating that himself. "Clockwork" is delicate and classy like french cusine but at the same time rough and live like some of the most well conceived and put together examples of live-music-based electronica. With male and female singers ranging in style from the Soprano-theme-ish deep blues tone to the chantouse-ish lounge/acid-jazz ethereal, "Clockwork" draws from influences and eras as disparate as every music lover's collection. Borrowing counter clock wise while attempting to look clockwise ahead, "Clockwork" is for the most part the result of live sessions with only minimal (if at all) sampling. Even so it manages to stand the test of time while challenging a unique temporal context. The album sounds fresh but rooted in the past, which is probably the best of both worlds today. Alif Tree draws a picture of depth and complexity that only the most eclectic and open-minded of producers can.
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Artist: EMPIRE STATE HUMAN (@)
Title: Audio Gothic
Format: CD
Label: Ninthwave Records (@)
Rated: *****
Four years after their latest studio album "Cycles" released by Kiss My Asterix Records, Empire State Human are back on Ninthwave Records (they already released two albums for Ninthwave in the meantime but they were two compilations available only as download) with their strongest album to date: AUDIO GOTHIC. Behind such a particular title (I'll ask to Aidan why they picked up this one on my forthcoming interview to the band), the album shows a sparkling sound performed by a band in a great shape that found a balance with electronic instruments/funky guitars and upbeat rhythms/ballads. With a great sound production worthy of a major release the album has ten songs that will stick into your head. I had previously checked "Audio Gothic" and "Melancholic afro" (songs that features Wolfgang Flur of Kraftwerk/Yamo fame) and I already knew that this album had a great potential. Now, listening to the whole track list, I'm damn sure that AUDIO GOTHIC is worth a world wide success because, first of all, after ten years of hard working Empire State Human deserve it, then because you should be deaf if you won't recognize a great pop sensibility coupled to a good songwriting. Do you want a dancey attitude? Great melodies? Good sounds and top notch production? Well, you can't go wrong... this record has them all!
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Artist: COPH NIA
Title: Qliphothic Phantasmagoria (Exorcising Old Demons)
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Wrotycz Records (@)
Rated: *****
Revisiting old gems isn't an unusual thing for Coph Nia see the versions of "Prime Mover" by Leather Nun and "Stygmata Martir" by Bauhaus recorded for "Shape Shifter" or the ones contained on their latest full length "The Dark Illuminati: A Celestial Tragedy In Two Acts": "Fire" originally performed by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, "Sympathy For The Devil" originally performed by The Rolling Stones and "Religion" originally performed by Front 242. This time for Wrotycz Records they decided to propose four tracks that in the seventies were classic cuts of devilish hard rock music: "Black Sabbath" originally performed by Black Sabbath, "Sick Thing" originally performed by Alice Cooper, "Levitation" originally performed by Hawkwind and an old success of Ozzy Osbourne, "Mr. Crowley" (the best of the lot which contains also samples of Aleister Crowley voice). As usual, the original songs have been ripped to pieces and slowed down just to sound like Coph Nia used to sound: dark, epic and ritualistic. The recitative deep vocals coupled by militaristic kettledrums, orchestrations and dark ambient sounds make of this MCD a convincing one and if you are a fan of the band for sure you'll want to check this out.
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Artist: Aidan Baker & The Infant Cycle (@)
Title: Rural Sprawl
Format: CD
Label: Zhelozobeton (@)
Rated: *****
Seasonal music, id est a music that could be fitted to or associated with a particular season, has always been a good deal and that's quite notorious to a lot of music operators since centuries: Christmas-related marketing specialists launching cds fillep up with Xmas carols, pop stars, official and unofficial religious institutions and even ancient Celtic bards and Hindi gandharvas seems to know that! And there're some nice attempts even among electronic musicians (think for instance to Martin Jules' Herbstlaub or as well as well as more famous ones by classical old composers (from Vivaldi to Prokofiev) aware of the fact that each season of the year could arguably have its own sound. This intriguing album well-crafted by the Canadian musicians Aidan Beker and Jim DeJong (aka The Infant Cycle) issue by the juicy industrial and experimental Russian label Zhelezobeton seems to be another attempt of giving voice and grabbing sounds from the intimate spirit of the four seasons eternally cycling in a year (even if nowadays pollution is slightly changing the natural rules... ). Rural Sprawl '“ what an elegiac title! '“ contains four tracks, one for each season, four states of the soul, which seems to be the acousmatic harvest from a mindful haemorragia derived by the squeezing of perceptive spheres of the musicians by help of a respectable kit including tapes, a bass, some guitars, a feedback generator, a sampler, some playouts and a thumb piano. Four tracks partially reminding works by Strings of Consciousness or Origami Galaktica, mainly designed on powerfully hypnotic overstretched drones enriched with entrancing binaural pulses and nicely sequenced sounds, skewing the audio climax. This sprawl starts with the flat loopline saturated by a guadually eruptive infiltration of an atonal sound sustained by fluttering rhythms and a follicular guitar tune, wholly exudating the memory of those sneaking summer noons and its intimate sense of stunning stillness. My favourite track '“ and just by chance my favourite season '“ is the one dedicated to autumn: the sense of suffocating oppression is reduced and a more melodic and melancholic (and sometimes moaning) tone permeates through the drone surrounding the listener till the end, when it turns into a strangled lovely guitar solo... Both Summer and Temperature Drop were recorded in 2001 and already release on a very limited CD-R by the Italian label Blade Records. In order to complete the natural cycle of this album, Aidan and Jim recorded two others in 2005. The first one reflects the lethargic savour of winter throughout a silently murmourous set of subtones, an hardly dragging kit of electronic sounds and pure jems of isolationist drones, gradually preparing the ground for the more organic one of the final track, an enchanting anthem with tiny sounds on majestic sounds waves, summing up the reflowering of natural elements normally marking spring-time in a captivating way. Very good record, highly recommended for brain machine addicts!
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