Music Reviews



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Artist: MAX BONDI
Title: M
Format: CD
Label: Tartaruga Records (@)
Rated: *****
Boss of London based label Tartaruga Records and experimental musician, Max Bondi is releasing on his own label his debut album titled M. Recorded in one week in a North Spain small flat, the album opens with "Aleph, bet", an track based on minimal variations of organ sounds with the add of xylophone like sounds. During only its four minutes, "Aleph, bet" is already able to built a cinematic atmosphere and musically it reminds me of "Lucifer rising" soundtrack. "Morendo" has a suspended/tense atmosphere thanks to a treated bass guitar (it sounds like noises coming from a cave) with sparse snare drum beats. "Volante!" is a tribal tune based on percussions, guitar distortions and organ drones. "In such seeming all things are" creates a similar effect to some Glenn Branca guitar orchestrations (the ones without rhythms) with its organ sound mixed with guitar high pitched drones. "Alina" has a dramatic touch because is based on violin melodies which are delayed and repeated. "A desperate threnody" is a 15' long suite where organ drones, tiny bells, distorted guitars sounds grow reaching their top just to silently fall turning into a rarefied melancholic piano moment then a noisy distortion starts and step by step it become a giant monster that eat everything else and from its sound it seems to contort on itself. The closing "Elenco" is based on minimal melodic repetitions where a windy noise after three minutes is replaced by a noisy guitar drone which becomes louder and louder just to stop at the end of the suite. Personally I found the first six tracks enchanting and convincing (they are able to sound fresh because of the kind of sounds chosen by Max and because of the atmosphere they create) and this last one less interesting because more "conventional" if paragoned to other experimental albums I listened during the last twenty years. The album is available as a limited 200 copies CD edition and as digital download at the major online stores like iTunes, Amazon, 7digital, etc.
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Artist: Brillig (@)
Title: The Red Coats
Format: CD
Label: Black Rain (@)
Rated: *****
From the virginal land of Australia, it comes another interesting and genuine musical proposal, the one by four folks artistically and humanly grown in Adelaide fond on playing instruments, singing songs, old stories and fairytales, good company and some appropriate beverage (something not so dissimilar to what Irish people usually term craic!). These wizards founded a band called Brillig (a word invented by Lewis Carroll in Jabberwacky '“ one of most famous nonsense poem, in the English literature -which according to the explanation of the fictitious character Humpty Dumpty was used to name that moment of the afternoon around four' o'clock during which some people use to begin preparing dinner by broiling recipes... ) and after they spread this album entitled The Red Coats on various music journalists' desktops, they deservedly gained enthusiastic reviews for their enchanting way of combining dark-tinged folk freak hybridized by storytelling, some gentle Celtic inhalations and even a certain gipsy scent filtered through a somewhat gothic mood, which is not so pervasive or depressive. The plucking tones of a banjo and a relevant verse ("This is how the story starts") in Death At Sea (a song with a refrain sentencing "A Band Of Constant Sorrow" which seems to our musical memory something like a quote of Man Of Constant Sorrow, a famous traditional American folk song by the half-blind fiddler Dick Burnett) the listener in the sputtering and pleasant warmth of Brilig's music, giving to him a sort of visit card to collect in his/her pavilion. Entrancing ballads alternates to tales which seems to be sung in an old bad-smelling tavern where all the elements of the magical musical textures are interwoven and always find a sort of meeting point in the finger-plucked guitar emotionally played by Matt Swayne and the background but precise drumming by Ben Macklin and a slight sense of tragedy in the lyrics are just some of the key notes of their guessed formula.

Have a careful listen to The Old Captain (a sort of funereal march with a funny touch of buccaneer's collective imagination hooked by the great performance by The Drunken Bastard Choir), the lovely melancholy dropping from The Frozen Lake and the gloomy Absinthe Makes The Heart Grow Fonder in order to understand that the influences by Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, The Decemberists and even The Cure (undeniable the similarities between the use of vocal chords by Matt to the one by Mr.Smith) are anything but influences as their retro style looks paradoxically original! All the lucky people which have seen them performing don't hesitate in testifying their skills in evoking the old-fashioned smell of their music even on the stage increasing our desire to see them perform out of Australian boundaries. They've begun their short European tour in Leipzig in Mat 2009, but some rumors say they'll come back touring the planet in 2010. In the meanwhile, enjoy the warmth of their Red Coats to protect from the cold breezes of the forthcoming winter, folks!
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Artist: ESPLENDOR GEOMETRICO
Title: Pulsion
Format: CD
Label: Geometrik Records
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
PULSION is the newest Esplendor Geometrico which follows "Compuesto de hierro" (their previous studio album) and the 2007 live album "8 tracks and live". The new album brings to the attention of the lovers of industrial music nine new tracks (they have already performed live some of them) which are based mainly on rhythms manipulation with the add of vocal samples. The interesting thing about the samples is that they chose speeches of people of a radical Japanese party, Che Guevara, anti occidental words from an Islamic leader (but the band underline that they have used these sources without any political meaning) plus ethnic chants and music. Everything have been filtered, treated and encrypted into the personal Esplendor Geometrico sound to form a thick hypnotic hammering industrial sound. The album is also available on a limited vinyl edition of 500 copies.
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Artist: QUARTERSIZED
Title: Robotic Funk
Format: CD EP
Label: MOMT (@)
Rated: *****
Quartersized is the musical project of MOMT label's boss Ian Proudfoot and ROBOTIC FUNK is its debut EP. This release contains four tracks where Ian, influenced by twenty years of electronic music listening, is giving his personal vision of electronic funk music. "Robotic funk", "Tribal flux", "Subliminal" and "Clockwork noise crash" mix dub bass lines, ambient atmospheres and dark electro solutions (check the overall atmosphere on "Tribal flux"). Each track is built around one or two melodic lines and Ian then alternates sounds sources and rhythms giving to them spatiality. At a first listen I thought that their melodic minimality was their limit but after a couple of spins the tracks started to "grow" in my ear. If electro with a bit of experimental approach is your cup of tea check this out.
Artist: The 69 Eyes
Title: Back in Blood
Format: CD + DVD
Label: The Ends Records
Distributor: The End Records
Rated: *****
The 69 Eyes are back in blood and better then ever. The new album is called " Back in Blood " and kicks some Goth and Roll butt. I just saw the 69 Eyes live after a two year stretch in Chicago at Reggies and they put on one hell of a show, complete with new and old hits we so love. On this new album, all tracks are about vampires and have unique stories of the old and new in each one. Tales of woe, blood, hunger. pain, anguish all wrapped up in one album for the masses to sink their teeth into and taste. We begin with title track 1, " Back in Blood." which is reminscent of AC/DC bit darker than ever and Gother than ever. This song is already a crowd favourite and hit and calls to us again and again. We move on to track 3 called, " Dead N. Gone. " which is already another crowd favorite and as we speak a video is being made for it. The lyrics are beautiful, sad but true and really pull at our heart strings and won't let go until it is heard loud and clear and with sentiment. Still moving further we come to track 5 called, ' Kiss Me Undead." whcih is a sad song that tells the tale of lost loves and the damage that has been done. Jyrki sings, " " Wake me from the darkness, kiss me undead and break the chains of my life so heartless." Truly a memorable song for all ages. Next is track 6 called, " Lips of Blood." whcih is based on the movie, it's concepts and it's visuals. It has a slow. haunting, melodic Sistery sound that chills you to the bone and is a song not to forget. Coming next is track 7, already an instant hit and most watched video called, " Dead Girls are Easy." whcih is a tongue and cheek take on dead girls being easy but untouchable. Truly a video and song that will probably become another Goth anthem like " This Corossion" Moving ahead we come to track 9, " Some kind of Magick." , whcih is a catchy little tune that has bark for it's bite and got me moving and singing in my seat as I wrote this review. The track that stuck out the most is the next track 10. called " Hunger." which is based on the actual movie and haunts and taunts you with it's tragedies it projects onto you. Jyrki calls out to " Miriam." in the most dark echo that causes goose bumps up and down your spine and tears to fall down your pale face. This song is by far the best track on the album. Track 11 is called, " Suspiria Snow White and it is based on the chilling movie ' Suspiria." and all the darkness and chaos it brings all wrapped up in a little white bow only to be opened and let the madness get out. You are in for one hell of a ride. Lastly is track 12 called " Eternal " which is a slow, melodic orchestrated dark symphony in blood and terror that only shows the 69 Eyes are back in blood and back for more...~ 4 stars Michelle Russo
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