Music Reviews

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Artist: Mystified (@)
Title: Passing through the outer gates
Format: CD
Label: First Fallen Star (@)
Rated: *****
Mystified is the musical project of Thomas Park, an actively recording but unknown (at least for me) act. The eulogy series is the first volume of a series of installements based around the idea of sonically describing the death and the events around what is known as the passing. The result, in the Mistified intents, is non to make another drone record but to move toward a sort of "Dark New Age". The good news is that is a fulfilled result: beginning with "Eulogy for Thomas Park" this is not the classic noise records but has a sense of movements that express a true sense of peace and meditation. "Dark Transition" lives by the battle from loops, drones and orchestral samples. "Lost My Body" is a beat driven track that drive to "Up down and Out", an ambient-drone track that is the the soundtrack of the cover image of series of funeral torch. After his ethereal intro "Approaching Something" starts with beats conducting to "Soul in Motion", an ambient track made out of violins samples and a sorts of dance beats. "The Final Gate" is a meditative ambient track of a really relaxing beauty and sorrow. "The Soul's Resting Place" is a final drone closing the album.
The variety and compositional strength of this album made this record a recommended release for all drone fans.
Title: Uberschleiss
Format: 12"
Label: Avant! Records (@)
Rated: *****
The first time I talked about the French duo Scorpion Violente was when I reviewed their first split 7" issued by Hex Grammofoonplaten (Enfant Terrible sub label) on the summer of 2009. On that record there were the first seeds of what we can find on their first album released by Avant! and titled "Uberschleiss ", which I summed with the phrase "Suicide playing electro punk". Well, the eight tracks of this release don't offer only that: the core sound is made of distorted analog synthesizers, drum machine and filtered vocals but if Suicide were based on synth obsessive loops and raving vocals, Scorpion Violente digested those sounds and made their own which is still son of 80s industrial electronic (Cabaret Voltaire, Chris & Cosey, etc) but processed following their twisted vision. Minimal electronic mid tempos run wild on the two sides of this record which finds also a bit of Kraftwerk echoes ("Trans Europe Express" on acid) on the synth melodies of the instrumental "Ray Ov Gold". I liked all the tracks but personally I loved the sick instrumentals (like the main title, the fore mentioned "Ray Ov Gold" and "Fugue De Pute Mineure") which are able to create, with few saturated chords, powerful nightmarish atmospheres without forgetting melodies.
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Artist: Funker Vogt (@)
Title: Arising hero
Format: CD EP
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
A new appetizer released by this German veteran-project with an aptly and nearly expected title. FUNKER VOGT once again continue their career with another story out of their hero-saga and also this new main track out of this 8-track EP includes all known sound ingredients by them. Catchy synth arrangements, a very dancefloor-compatible 4/4-on-the-floor kick-and-snare-work, an easy-to-follow song structure with a singing-along-the-refrain-attitude, and the raspy vocal performance by Jens Kästel. FUNKER VOGT do what they can do best, tacky comments may would turn out into that direction, that they repeat themselves once again, no matter, if machinist Gerrit Thomas can nowadays rely on a new and better equipped studio ' the success-promising ingredients remain nearly the same. If it comes to find differences to their earlier released smasher tunes, well, it may surprises, how calm and smooth 'Arising Hero' turns to be out ' to me a bit too obviously a try to satisfy listeners out of Synth-/Futurepop-genre as well. Asides the expected 'Club Mix' of 'Arising Hero', you'll get two different interpretations by the band itself, plus 3 foreign remix works by ROTERSAND, FADERHEAD, and KOMOR KOMMANDO. As being the b-side, the track 'My Innermost' has found a slot ('Loop Mix') and got featured additionally with a foreign remix contribution by NOBLESSE OBLIGE. No stuff included to get thrown into a trash-can, but also no stuff, which really kicks your body out of the seat for some wild dancefloor movements. Let's hope for a bit more biting stuff provided through their upcoming new album 'Blutzoll'.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Stürmer IV
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Sturm (@)
Rated: *****
Latvia's most influential dark Electronica-label Sturm comes out with a new and awesome looking DCD set, which presents once again the who is who of this genre hailing out this small Eastern European country. By having a more detailed look and listening the label roster, it once again astonishes, how far away from any hypes and how diverse the provided music got spread. It seems to be quite natural for the responsible people behind this label, that the listener gets thrown into styles of abstract experimental Electronica side by side with Neo-Folk influences and harshest Powernoise efforts. A genre boundary is seemingly a foreign word for them, as this label has to offer a lot of undiscovered and never heard before music stuff. 'Stürmer IV' finally sorts and collects the most influential acts out this country, and it too collaborates also with artists, which have decided to release on their own, or are signed to other labels. As I mentioned above, the package of this DCD set is a feast for the eyes. It's a heavy-weight digipack-like packaging, but a bit bigger than normal in size, consisting of a robust, serrated black cardboard work. The silver-colored script, for example used for the track list, which got hidden as a special gimmick under both CD's, and the imprints are offering a glossy and beautiful contrast ' in short, to hold this DCD set in your hands suggests a rewarding feeling to any listener. Which form of a downloading procedure can rival with this? Musically you'll get a relatively strict separation of music styles by the choice between a black- and silver-colored CD.
Starting with the silver edition, you'll get the rather straight, harsh and rhythmic music assaults with band projects/artists like ROSEWATER, which are maybe the international most recognized act out of Latvia. All of you listeners, who have thrown them into the straight Hellectro-like drawer because of their contribution to Johan van Roy's NTP-label will be astonished by this dark and haunting instrumental tune, which is filled with ominous voice samples and opulent orchestral-like string sounds ' relatively unexpected from them, but atmospherically thick produced. HEZZEL is another fine solo project presenting with 'Magnets' a straight-forward moving track, which has been the title-track of one of the previously freely downloadable releases of this artist (signed to the Russian Absetzer / Alter-X Promotion group). TETSUO SHIMA sounds from its name like an uncompromising Japanese Noise-artist, but offers a steady slashing tune somewhere comparable to SONAR meets ARZT + PFUSCH. To produce rather distorted and rhythmic oriented tracks on the edge between the Harsh-EBM and very near to the Powernoise genre seems to be generally a specialty for most of the artists presented here, the tunes of NAV SAULES, NARKOSE-X ('Masturbators', how delicious'¦), or G-SHOWER (what a band-name'¦) are some excellent references for this dedication. Also PIXEL HERO are thrown into this harder kind, although this has happened because of the choice of the contributing track, as this project normally produces C64-related Electronica music following veterans like KRAFTWERK, or DEVO. Another highlight I would like to point out with SYMMETRY OF ASYMMETRY, whose track is a real, classic arranged Dark Electro tune with reduced noisy ingredients, but with a hopeless sounding male vocalist. Another 'thumbs up' also for CYBERPUNK for offering DIVE-like minimal Electro/Industrial structures. 18 tracks not only to warm your socks in your boots, it is also stuff worth to listen to.
The black and second CD edition of this DCD set then offers the more abstract and experimental-minded kind of music, featuring some more or less known names like SCRIPTA SENSUS, KNAUZERS, CLAUSTRUM, or ANTARKTIDA. The music ranges between the darkest Ambient tunes (SEASNSFDSPAIR, SCRIPTA SENSUS, CLAUSTRUM, MACABRO), to ominous Ritual-Industrial tracks featuring confusing voice samples (SVAMPKOKS, KNAUZERS, POSTS), to seemingly uncontrollable sound experiments (CLAUSTHOME offering some abrasive drone sounds, while ANTARKTIDA convince with percussive metallic noises thrown in a monotonous environment). Stylistically very far away from any norm, here you'll find that stuff, you couldn't imagine to experience it. The music presented here is well-suited to get checked out under a good pair of headphones, while you should be warned, that also this stuff presented on this black CD isn't suited for the faint-hearted listeners.
What a diverse sound experience provided by these 36 artists and pressed on 2 full-length CD's! This one is remarkable and a nice introduction to all newbies to check out the dark conditions of the Eastern European territory. To live a life in Latvia must be a hard one, as you won't find any tendency for lighter and smoother sounds, as styles like Synth- or Futurepop are generally left out at the Sturm label. Released under Strumamndat No. 29, this DCD set is strictly limited to 666 numbered exemplars and you should save your bucks to purchase it directly from the source.

CD 1 : Black
1 SeasnsFDspair - Tai ZiemÄ
2 Scripta Sensus - DvÄseļu Putenis
3 Swamp Koks - Murgs Visupirms
4 Veerot - Shvakais Uzpariht Marsch
5 Knauzers - MelnÄ SÄga
6 Claustrum - Melanhola
7 BÄdu VÄstnesis - Å Ä·irotava
8 Antarktīda - Katorga
9 Macabro - Black Moon Rising
10 Darba Dienests - PornodiÄta
11 Mortarum - Sonar
12 ApÄtijas Process - Slave Boy
13 Celmlauzis - Nelifts
14 Posts - AicinÄjums
15 Clausthome - Sieben.Drei.Zwolf
16 Meld - Mechabuddha
17 V.S.K.B. - Aiz Muguras
18 AutogÄns - Par VÄlu

CD2 : Silver

1 Rosewater - Cerihbu Juhra
2 Nav Saules - Noizexperience
3 Anacodaine - PieskÄriens
4 Hezzel - Magnets 5:01
5 Tetsuo Shima - Plumbum
6 Pixel Hero - The Warp / Raiders
7 Purva Pihschli - Disciplīna
8 G-Shower - Maizes Dziesma
9 Narkose X - Masturbators
10 Tec 17 - NeÄrstÄjams
11 Symmetry Of Asymmetry - Burning Footsteps
12 Lenoras SapÅi - Stigmata Plague
13 W.O.M.B. - Dead Undead
14 Cyberpunk - Trust Yourself
15 Ls Tur - Trachrakts
16 Thinner - Curriculum Vitae
17 Oyaarss - Holeage
18 Audioscope - Lasting
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Artist: Runes Order
Title: Disco Nero
Format: CD
Label: HR! SPQR (@)
Rated: *****
In 2007 when I reviewed " X: Final Solution" I thought that it was their very last Runes Order release, so I was surprised to receive DISCO NERO. Listening to the twelve tracks of the album I can say that the project hit a new phase (their fourth, maybe? Their first was the one with the improvised synth suites of the tapes on Allegorical Tapes, the second, the one of their first albums on CD and then the third, the one with Dondo and Trevor). Teaming up with members of Egida Aurea (Diego Banchero, Carolina Cecchinato, Davide Bruzzi, etc), Claudio Dondo is giving to Runes Order a new sound which doesn't reflect the one of Egida Aurea but the one of another Diego Banchero's bands: Il Segno Del Comando. Inspired by the sound of Italian progressive rock and of Goblin in particular, now, Runes Order expand their synthesizers based sound thanks to guitar solos, deep bass lines, a drum section and Carolina's vocals. Also songwriting has been affected by this collaboration as Diego wrote "Voci dal Profondo", "Terra dell'Amore e della Morte" and "Lucida Follia". Talking with him he told me that he wanted to analyze these days with the eyes of different people's psychology, so, if "Voci dal Profondo" talks about an antisocial narcissistic profile, "Terra dell'Amore e della Morte" is about the experience of two old people who are about to leave because death is approaching and "Lucida Follia" is about a psychopath who's between a state of madness and illumination. Claudio Dondo wrote most of the music (but I think that the arrangements have been a team work) and the lyrics of "Chiave Quadra", a track about Donato Bilancia, serial killer who murdered 17 people (nine women and eight men) on the Italian Riviera in the seven months from October, 1997 to May, 1998. Musically, the album sounds epic and mysterious with obscure atmospheres that explode here and there with psychedelic rock phrases. A really nice one!
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