Music Reviews



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Artist: Double Elvis (@)
Title: Vampyre Songs
Format: CD EP
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Vampyre Songs is just a delicious appetizer before the issue of the forthcoming Twins On Canvas by the French band Double Elvis ' as you could easily guess, they borrowed their name from Andy Warhol notorious series of posters, a nice and somewhat provocative image with an unusual Mr Prestley, portrayed in cow boy garb pointing a gun towards the observer, taken from a publicity for a western movie entitled Flaming Stars -, which could mouth watering all fans of Gothic-tinged rock. It contains two songs which are going to be issued on the above mentioned album, giving an example of their style based on consciousness lyrics ('¦and videos as well'¦have a look to the clip they made for A Sea Of Ashes, dealing with the shameful and delicate matter of soldier children), walls of blasting guitars, vigorous drumming, refined by some melancholic synth slices in the sweet full-blooded Vampyre Song and some caressing rhythmical stepping in A Sea Of Ashes colliding with a punkish soul coming out here and there. A pulsating vein feeding their sound which explodes in the live recording of The Art Of War, included in this EP with an EPK video ' it's really involving the enthusiasm this duo shows off on the stage ' together with the prickly Virginia Tech and the second part of Vampyre Song, a sort of remake of the introductory song plunged in more industrial sound gravy enhancing the emotional flavor of Double Elvis sound. Enthralling music typhoons which are going to blast artificial deserts and false paradises increasing expectations for the imminent issue of their album'¦
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anymore
Artist: System
Title: B
Format: CD
Label: Rump Recordings (@)
Distributor: VME
Rated: *****
Always busy with their personal projects (Opiate, Dub Tractor and Acustic) and after a new release under the Future 3 moniker, Anders Remmer, Thomas Knak and Jesper Skaaning are back with their first full length release as System: its title is B. The nine tracks of the album, as for the previous EP, find their roots into dub and electronic music but if on "Tempo EP" there was also a sort of jazz vein you could find between the melodic lines, B, is a mix of rich ambient sounds (do anyone named Brian Eno?), dub warm atmospheres and dubstep mid tempo rhythms with a bit of i.d.m. influences. So, while tiny melodic progressions paint a sort of melancholic canvas, complex rhythmic textures made of noises and bleeps strengthen the drum sounds. The whole result sounds like a two step record in slow motion which gives the right idea of the warm Jamaican weather transposed to Denmark...
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anymore
Artist: Sistol
Title: On The Bright Side
Format: CD
Label: Halo Cyan/Phthalo
Rated: *****
Sistol is one of the projects (along with Luomo, Uusitalo, Conoco, Vladislav Delay, etc) of Sasu Ripatti and ON THE BRIGHT SIDE is his newest release under this moniker. The eight tracks of the CD show Sasu focusing on upbeat sincopated rhythms, anxious atmospheres (check also the cover which shows a gun made out of medicinal blisters and syringes) and minimal techno structures. Also melody has a big part on the Sistol's musical scheme and even if repetition and sounds alternation is its core. In this way ON THE BRIGHT SIDE sounds more dj friendly (more than Sistol's first album which has just been reissued always by Halo Cyan/Phthalo) and multifaceted.
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Artist: Teiji Ito
Title: Watermill
Format: CD
Label: Tzadik
Distributor: Amazon, iTunes, Tzadik
Rated: *****
Composer Teiji Ito is one of the most unique voices of the 20th century musical avant garde. Born in Tokyo, his family emigrated to New York where he would remain for the rest of his musical career. Growing up in the big apple from the age of 6, he soon became part of the NYC underground (later known as the Downtown scene), where he worked with some of the most legendary artists on the planet in music, film, dance and theatre.

His early work can be heard in the films of Maya Deren, whose films Ito would begin scoring at the age of 17. As the story goes, it was here that he acquired an appreciation for ceremonial and secular drumming techniques from traveling to Haiti, where he would later pass away in 1982.

A little background to this album: Ito grew up in a working theatrical family, and this influence is clear in his music. There are hints of Kibuki theatre, borrowing rhythms from here as well as taiko drumming. He works primarily from the pentatonic tonal system, but draws from all sources to add an almost sound design-y element to his music. Its wild in context, causing the spaces to shift unexpectedly time and again through the course of the album. The sound is somehow always fresh and light, despite the various terrains traversed through its course.

Watermill, denoting name of this album as well as the ensemble, was written by Ito in 1972. The instruments alone are a formidable presence. To name a few: shakuhachi, calimba, sho, voice, koto, bamboo sticks, ocarina, wratchets, flutes, gongs, the list goes on. As mentioned above, also flown in are sound effects like dogs barking, jet planes, and unidentified noise. Nevertheless, it's cohesive throughout.

At times meditative and at others nightmarish, Watermill covers a wide variety of spaces and places. Impeccable and virtuosic performances by the Watermill ensemble make this one of the most definitive performances that might ever come available. And what makes this version worth owning is the connections to Ito and the piece itself performer- Mara Purl was in the original ensemble that premiered this work. Teiji's daughter also performs on the piece, which (it would seem) provides some legitimacy and endorsement to such a timeless endeavor by this underappreciated composer. Either way, this disc deserves a standing ovation.

Watermill is a truly authentic presence in itself. Highly recommended.
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Artist: In A Mindset
Title: Compartments
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Abstrakt Reflections (@)
Rated: *****
And another promising newcomer act, which installs cinematic Ambient-like synth arrangement combined with experimental and part-wise abrasive percussion elements. What surprises the most is surely the musically background of the German fellow Steven S., mastermind behind IN A MINDSET. I.A.M. has been started in 2009 and is therefore a relatively new project, but Steven has played previously in various Metal-bands (FTE, MORTHEIM) and he is still active in this genre with the project SERAPEUM. For hailing out of a relatively different music genre, he provides a really cleverly and matured kind of music work, which can be described as an Electronica/IDM-onslaught consisting of elements out of Dark Ambient and Neo-Classical influences combined with Industrial, Noise and Abstract rhythms. I tend to pick out again the often named US cult act GRIDLOCK as being a quell of inspiration, while I would too agree to name Steven's Neo-Classical influence with its bombastic tendencies ('Devastation P. 2' ' did I hear a real cello riff here???) as being the most remarkable difference. A quite good 5-track EP to hopefully soon more to be discovered stuff from this talented artist ' which fits quite well to the Abstrakt Reflection label-roster.

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