Music Reviews



Guilt Trip: Feed The Fire

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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May 17 2012
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Artist: Guilt Trip
Title: Feed The Fire
Format: CD
Label: Complete Control Productions (@)
Distributor: Sound Pollutions Distribution
Rated: *****
Chirugie Esthetique - a name with which I am still familiar with: it was in 1992, when this Swedish EBM-/Industrial-onslaught came up with 5 tracks published on the 'Malleus Malleficarum' compilation, brought to us by the small Death Publ. label. The music of these underground marauders has been a driving EBM/Dark Electro-inspired sound-design with some similarities to in those days rising projects like X Marks The Pedwalk and/or FLA at their best moments. So I always wondered that this project couldn't reach higher attention throughout the years. At least until today - 20 years later after this compilation debut, Complete Control Productions rewards us hungry listeners, who always lurk for new forces and talents, with this official debut album under the new moniker Guilt Trip. Yes, I had meanwhile to learn, that they've already renamed into Guilt Trip around 1999 and that they have self-released three albums in between. But it's clear, that these happenings around this Guilt Trip / Chirugie Esthetique - project have been mostly unrecognized to the international audience. So here they go and return like Phoenix out of ashes. Stylistically the music has developed and it can reported about changes in their expression. The often pronounced Canadian influence has obviously taken control of their compositions, Skinny Puppy, Cyberaktif, and almost some FLA-like influences you'll get to hear, while Guilt Trip are far away from being clones. Definitively Puppy-inspired somehow comparable to those melodic, classic tracks like 'Worlock', 'Testure', or 'Morpheus Laughing' are their rather mid-tempo-based tunes like 'Inanimate', the ominous and creepy 'Life Spit Love', or 'Braptism'. 'Inanimate' is also extra available as a 2-track digital download version, which features with 'Oppression' a non-album track. On the hand this duo offers us some straight, nearly American-Industrial-like tracks like 'Headplate', 'Breathe', 'One a Week, Twice a Day', or 'Crack Up', which all feature aggressive synth-bass sequences, snatching male vocals, and a solid kick- & snare-work, which should be able to fill the floors of alternative-/dark-clubs worldwide. Especially their excellent programming skills for ripping bass-lines have to be named as being one of the most remarkable points of their production process. Although holding a raw and tough produced sound-outfit in my hands, this duo hasn't lost its sense of humor: the track 'The Bright Side of Lies' earns a cup for being the most inventive song-title, maybe side by side with Snog's classic 'Born to be Mild'? Only good and promising things to report of this latest signing of the Swedish CCP-label, which rages pretty much against the daily, mediocrity Hellectro-overdose. Definitely music for elders and supporters of above mentioned idols, but also perfectly designed for all Electronica-listeners, who are longing for compositional depth. In short: a must-have album!

Arzt + Pfusch: Lictor Evaporated

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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May 17 2012
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Artist: Arzt + Pfusch
Title: Lictor Evaporated
Format: CD
Label: Complete Control Productions (@)
Distributor: Sound Pollutions Distribution
Rated: *****
The signing of one of Denmark's most recognized Electro/Industrial projects can be seen as a big step of growing for the roster of the Swedish Complete Control Productions label. 'Lictor Evaporated' is their new output and this one does not only surprise musically. It is the first physically available release of them since the last 11 years, and Der Doktor is back! After their first both albums 'Warum?' and 'Love' Der Doktor has left his partner in crime, Dr. A-Funz, and this successful project for good. In 2007 Arzt + Pfusch have released their freely available digital-only album 'S.I.C.K.', which has at least seen more than 16.000 downloads. Now back and with both band members united, Arzt + Pfusch went over to Sweden's CCP label to release this 8-tracker, which is an outstanding example of a Dark Electro album. Musically the both doctors could integrate a rather demanding, orchestral, nearly Neo-Classic influence into their good old 'noisebmstupidevildustrial' (that's how they call it'¦) music. 'Fall of an Empire' is the opener here and integrates these different styles to a well-sounding melange. The raw and slightly distorted Dark Electro-like patterns go hand in hand with opulent string soundscapes. This track is ' as usual for CCP ' also available as a 2-track download-only item available at all major digital music stores. Even a bit more into this direction turns 'Flæsh Mangler', this one gets cleverly integrated pauses to let the fine produced string-arrangements take effect on you. 'Mars Pattern II' is then a kind of revival, because this one can be seen as being the most comparable tune to their classic, club-leading tracks like 'Anal Toothbrush', 'Boneloc' or 'Skumfuk'. Arzt + Pfusch have grown and developed in their specific style. Luckily this flawless album acts like the ideal comeback of this Dansih veteran project. More than this, it completely impresses with its ominous, but also raw and tough produced Dark Electro-onslaught and has to be called to one of the highlights of the past half year!
May 17 2012
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Artist: Severe Illusion (@)
Title: No More Alive Than You Deserve
Format: CD
Label: Complete Control Productions (@)
Distributor: Sound Pollutions Distribution
Rated: *****
Swedish finest Lo-fi/Chaostronica-EBM project returns with an all new album, now signed to the new label Complete Control Productions. And the featured quality of their latest recordings for this album reaches the level of their finest works, since it has been a bit silent during the last three years around them. Fredrik and Ulf are performing with the same harsh rage combined with their ongoing fine nose for the Experimental side to be installed into their sound environment, so that most contributors of the Harsh-EBM/Hellectro camp are standing in a poor light. There isn't magic included behind their synth-arrangements, they rather play with already known and often minimal constructed sound-patterns. But nevertheless you'll get another boosting Severe Illusion release filled with authenticity. After the rather on their side-projects Instans reminding opening track 'Mockingbird', they return into their classic style known from their state-of-art-albums 'Discipline Is Reward Enough' or 'Accomplishments Of Leopold II' with the top-notch tunes 'Try Harder' and 'Clear Head (Album Version)'. Fredrik offers again his 'monstrous' vocal fx-processing, as well as the tracks itself stealing the show with a monotonous bass-line programming resulting in a hypnotic expression. The integration of some Powernoise-like elements also receives an expected revival at latest with the bizarre sound-excesses of 'Rotating Knives, Yes'. All in all, you'll get another plus-good album of this Swedish duo, which comes out a bit like a long missed friend. Severe Illusion stands for a nice, but rather expected addition to the Swedish CCP-label.

May 13 2012
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Artist: Maurizio Bianchi
Title: CeltiChants
Format: CD
Label: Alone at Last records (@)
Distributor: Alone at Last records
Rated: *****
I think the name of Maurizio Bianchi / MB did not need any introduction here. He is simply one of the great fathers of electronic music in Italy and Europe and is long been considered a cult musician, recognized and enshrined in all our musical environment.
MB is an excellent artist and musician and tight end capable of producing, in over thirty years of activity, real masterpieces of music and ranging experiments at the boundaries between electronic and noise. Many of his records have become genuine landmarks of this genre.
In recent years, Maurizio has also become a point of reference and a friend for the work individual and collective for many of us. Always willing to work with many other artists in the electronic scene, he has managed to create a kind of permanent musical laboratory around them.

Into this second "sonic youth" the great MB gave us a wide range of excellent discs created by several people. And even when such collaborations have not reached the levels of the highest quality of all his previous solo work is still important and valid evidence of the symbiosis possible between his music and the artists who have collaborated with him. This MB work, however, is not in collaboration with others artistis. Maurizio plays alone (at last) and present to us a long and unique suite of sound entitled "Celtichants" that lasts just one hour. But, if you listen this suite, you feel like you take a few moments and you will do everything to try and play it back in the hour immediately following. Even'll be the last hour of your life. Because this "Celtichants" is a very beautiful work. Work i believe is also very, very important. For two different reasons.
The first reason is that, unlike other works of MB more extreme and perhaps less accessible, this work revealed from the beginning in all its splendor. Celtichants represents, for me, really "a new form of beauty" because it not only keeps intact the quality and the best creativity and artistic research of MB's music, that we always used to, but exceeds them instinctively and from the first listen. A real seminal work of which he felt the need after so much noise.
Listen to him with respectful silence then this beautiful "Celtic Songs" by MB! But do not expect human voices or ethnic harmony of the Celtic tradition. Because these Celtic songs come from a sound dreamy and unknown elsewhere and bring us up to the sound of his ethereal and stellar wind. These are our songs of Maldoror for a "fifth dimension", evidence of distant and remote place that belongs to us but in the depths of our being. A place where the spirit of Isidore Ducasse hovers behind every breath of cosmic wind that carries them. I will not say more words on the beauty of this work by Maurizio Bianchi to invite you to buy and listen to this record. But, if the first reason is not enough for a new disk of MB, I will give you a second reason why it fascinates me and I think this album is a masterpiece not to be missed. For fans of the genre but also for the neophyte listen to electronic or industrial music for the first time.
This record I came to me, last week, directly from Moscow. Together with other work which I will label the same way of speaking. The work of MB is the third title included in the catalog of a small fledgling independent label that was for me a revelation.
This label is Russian and is called "Alone at Last" and was born in march this year. On his website (www.alone-at-last.com) looks like a label focused on the realization of very limited editions of artists known and recognized in the electronic scene. It 's also the reason for not accepting demos.
If you visit his site you will sense the line and the painstaking care with which the "Alone at Last" creates their own records.
Rarely in the independent and industrial scene, I got to see this level of packaging. Each disk has a cardboard box, carved on many layers of different dominant color, each designed so as to be then folded by hand on the other in sequence. Each disc is a small gem of paper, carefully close like an ancient Japanese Origami around the jewel it contains. And the first 50 copies of each limited edition is also signed by the artist.
A few meager liner notes accompanying the content. No self-celebration of the label or artist. What is said is used as a theme track for the imaginary linked to each work. And the imagery of this is a poetic song. A deluge text composed by the terms of our technological imaginary. A poem dedicated, as all the work, to Ducasse, Comte de Lautreamont. Each disc also contains within it also precious polychrome photographic prints, based on the work of several photographers. In particular, the three prints that accompany Celtichants, are photographs taken by Siegmar Fricke in the Canary Islands over some beautiful basalt stones of Miocene epoch.
I believe I have nothing more to add. I want to give a final friendly advice: GET FAST THIS WORK by Maurizio Bianchi for Alone at Last Records. You will not regret.

Xiescive: Nexus

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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May 05 2012
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Artist: Xiescive (@)
Title: Nexus
Format: CD
Label: Nilaihah Records (@)
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
A few months before we already had the chance to introduce you this new project of Trevor Weeks and his first tracks recorded under this new moniker. Trevor can be counted to the veterans of the US-based Electro-/Industrial scene, who has made himself a quite good name under his pseudonym XoN and his cult-music-project Boundless as well as his being as one half of Symbiont.
So here comes out an all new album of him now signed to Nilaihah Records, which is, I must admit, another surprise, since Trevor owns a label for longer than a decade (Backscatter). I guess here stands a business-related decision behind this deal, as this means a lesser financial risk for Trevor. At least this allows him more and more to concentrate on the needs of an artist only, instead of trying to unite additionally the interests of a label under that one hat. Nilaihah itself proves to have a fine nose for a mega-talented up- and coming music-project, which hopefully scores with this new album also internationally.
After checking with the tracks of this album, I am relative sure, that missing success cannot have anything to do with Trevor's talent. His compositions follow a well worked-out progression and unite to the same time melodic components with modern sounding kick-and-snare works. The tracks are for the most part beat-driven, and especially the harder tunes like 'Subversion', 'The Crucible Effect', or the fast pacing, sample-driven 'Bloodwork' should be able to satisfy the needs of every Harsh EBM-fan. Personally I can find preference with 'Just a Dream', on which Trevor varies with his vocal performance more than usual. Also the slow, ballad-like 'Liars Plea' with some beautiful string- and piano-arrangements receives a 'thumb up'-rating. Finally 4 foreign remix contributions can be heard too (Nitronoise, The Luna Sequence, Cutoff:Sky, and Dryft). With the exception of Dryft, you'll get alternative versions on 'Time to Die' and 'Subversion', all suitable for body movement on the dancefloor. Applause I spend for the Dryft-remix on 'The Crucible Effect', because the project of Mike Cadoo (ex-Gridlock) transforms this originally straight and dancefloor-compatible tune into an epic sounding instrumental experience, which will leave you speechless. What a great interpretation.
'Nexus' is a diverse arranged album, which doesn't fall into the same-sounding Harsh-EBM-redundancy, although a few of the featured tracks on here will appeal the fans of this genre. It continues musically the path, which Trevor has walked under the Boundless-moniker, while he has developed his production skills to reach a higher state-of-art ranking


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