Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Munk Presents Teutonik Disaster
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
In this 8 track compilation, Munk & Kapote have unearthed a variety of very rare early 80’s German new wave funk and disco punk records- or, more pedantically, they’ve unearthed a 2003 Gomma Records compilation called “Teutonik Disaster” which they themselves curated. They’ve given the tracks some faithful, Greg Wilson-esque re-edits, added a few drum machines, polished them up a bit and the result is a collection of high quality, near-authentic-sounding 1980’s style extended mixes.

Despite the flamboyant name, instrumental opener “Monogamie, Kannibalismus unserer Zeit” by Die Heteros sets the laidback tone rather well. Long, organic, disco-pop music, a true fore-runner of house in its structure and grooves but with the sonics of funk-rock. We stay mostly in 120bpm territory, never getting too dynamic or dramatic, and keeping everything very mid-set and DJ friendly.

Tracks like Carmen’s “Schlaraffenland” (a slightly cheeky take on The Archie’s “Sugar, Sugar”) don’t sound too far away from tracks DFA, Soulwax or LCD Soundsystem might have written in the mid 2000’s, which is to their credit, while the Prince-style (but pre-Prince) funk guitar work on BBB’s “Alltag” glues it thickly into the 80’s as a decade. The squeaky synths on “Mit Der Allein” by Roter Mund and the bendy bass and pitched-up vocals of Camilla Motor’s “Gefahr Im Tovoli” are two of the compilation’s more fun, possibly tongue-in-cheek moments.

It’s a chilled out hour long listen that allows you revel nicely in old-fashioned extended mixes of tracks that may not be familiar, but which are certainly enjoyable, in an unchallenging way. A nice set for giving your leisurely house sets something a little different in character.

Sound Synthesis: Soul Of The Droids EP

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Mar 12 2019
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Artist: Sound Synthesis
Title: Soul Of The Droids EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Ukonx Recordings
Rated: *****
Two months have passed from the Kretz release and it's time for a new EP coming from the Ukonx Recordings headquarters: this time the French label is releasing four new tracks by the Maltese project Sound Synthesis.
Keith Farrugia started producing music with this moniker in 2009 on the Paul Blackford’s label Militant Science and after a seven years hiatus, he started again in 2018 releasing the "Acid Drive" single on Wirebox.
Listening to the EP a couple of times gave me the impression that Keith had in mind a sort of theme and under this influence, he wrote tracks that have a similar structure: a thing which isn't bad per se but it popped out to my attention.
The EP opens with "Soul Of The Droids", a nice instrumental which mix dark atmospheres and 808 robotic beats.
The following "Neurolink Cyborg" and "Electronic Slave" recall me a little a 2011 track made by Embryonik ‎titled "Space Cadet" and I like a lot the menacing detuned/filtered vocals mixed with the synth stabs that sound like coming from the deep space.
For "Modulation", Sound Synthesis is teamed up by Datawave (Mechatronica, Crobot Muzik ) and the result is a bass synth driven powerful dark electro tune with a dance twist.
Deemphasis' remix of "Neurolink Cyborg" closes the EP giving to the track a less dark and more robotic flavor.
A nice EP which is available as digital format on the UKONX Bandcamp and on the major digital channels, such as iTunes, JunoDownload, Spotify, Amazon and Google Play.

Hans Castrup: Heterogeneous Cell Information

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Mar 11 2019
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Artist: Hans Castrup
Title: Heterogeneous Cell Information
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Karlrecords
Hans Castrup’s third album for Karlrecords is, for the most part, a fairly familiar sounding landscape of dystopian and sinister drones and processed electro-acoustic noises that gives us a compact thirty-six minute ride of unsettling tones, dark sci-fi suspense and fear noises. It’s sonically diverse, melding together a variety of sources thoughtfully and very professionally, but from the opener “Cell Information” onwards, there is a niggling feeling of experimental-music-by-numbers that never quite shakes itself off.

However the star element, that lifts it above the norm and gives it a more distinct character, is the introduction of Carla Worgull, who adds a variety of melodic vocalisations that span a variety of styles and moods. It’s sometimes operatic, sometimes theatrical, sometimes throat singing, sometimes a spontaneous exercise in small croaking (“Secret Of Fragmented Control”), and on the highlight track “Perfect Present” it sounds akin to a vocal impersonation of a 1950’s theremin (unless that actually is a theremin? I’m left not totally sure!).

It’s a tightly woven collection of short pieces that works as a nicely structured abstract soundtrack, transporting you to alien environments, but for my personal taste I found myself wishing it had been more adventurous.

Exseind: s/t

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
New Music / Downtown / Avantgarde Jazz / New Classical / World
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Mar 03 2019
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Artist: Exseind
Title: s/t
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Orion Network
Exseind, from “EXperiencia SEnsorial INterDisciplinaria” is as the name suggests an audio-visual hybrid from three collaborators, though as I’m reviewing the sonic product only, I’ll rudely disregard the real-time visual synthesis of Ce Pams, for the simple reason that I can’t see it, and concentrate on an audio work that is then a two-part collaboration between Cristian Gallardo on alto sax and flute, and Lars Gaugaard’s computing and electronics.

What this collaboration provides is an unusual and in-depth fusion of fairly light and intellectual slow techno that wouldn’t sound out of place on Planet Mu, with melodic improvised elements lifted from avantgarde jazz and liable at times to sound like Jethro Tull. On paper it’s an awkward-sounding combination, but in practice, it definitely works.

After the complex and intriguing opener “Greynarl”, it’s longest track “Is That A Gofford?” that has the most sense of purpose, building on a steady 4/4 beat that some of the other tracks eschew to give the clarinet a broad, fifteen-minute-long playing field to enjoy itself on, and the positivity is infectious and seems to hark back a little to the early days of electronic club music and exploring the limits of how far a 12” mix could go.

“Paloma” twists the time signatures in a more unorthodox fashion, turning the interplay between multi-layered sax and synth bass into a kind of waltz, before the strangely titled “So Flute”, while continuing to mix up the threes and fours to keep you on your toes, takes the electronics into deeper, rumblier territory and makes Gallardo’s flute work seem bizarrely abstracted and alien. Over twelve minutes it gradually becomes a little edgier, with just slight hints of 80’s dark and electronic industrial.

The return to bendy bass tones and quite jaunty, sometimes almost squeaky melody of final track “Beyond The Yonder” is so very listenable that when it slowly fades away at the end of the forty-eight minute album, you’re definitely left wanting more.

It’s a really strong release. Apparently it’s also available on floppy disc as well, but that isn’t one of ChainDLK’s format options- plus the size and format of the floppy is undisclosed, so as well as being unable to comment on the visuals, I can’t review its compatibility with my old BBC Micro model B either...

Pylône: A Jamais / Ping

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Mar 01 2019
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Artist: Pylône
Title: A Jamais / Ping
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Sound On Probation
Laurent Perrier’s third album as Pylône comprises two eighteen-minute works wholly built from modular synthesizers and channeling what feels like quite a purist, bordering on ‘retro’ approach to electroacoustic experimental synth work.

“A Jamais”, the more intriguing of the two pieces, plays with sampled spoken-word reading from Lyne Vernes which gets twisted and reprocessed into a broad spread of sonic effects that bear the character of the words long after the syllables have gone. Some of the hollow and simpler parts seem to resemble Alvin Lucier’s “I am sitting in a room”, but it frequently twists into more manic, weirder, backwards-reverb-heavy oddness- Lucier on hallucinogens, if you like.

“Ping” is similarly derived from a single source, this time an Epoch Modular twinpeak filter, which undergoes a not dissimilar set of treatments, that this time is a little more insular and modest. It’s a detailed little exercise in sonic manipulation that doesn’t pull off any magic tricks nor command your attention, resulting in sonic art you can appreciate but not revel in.

It’s a focussed and well-handled couple of audio works with a refreshingly simple ethos.


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