Music Reviews



Prototype/Morphogenetic: The 11th Hour

 Posted by Evangelos   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 19 2011
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Artist: Prototype/Morphogenetic (@)
Title: The 11th Hour
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Battery Park Studio (@)
Rated: *****
Battery Park Studio's 19th release is yet another collaboration between two masters of the nu electro scene (and good friends of the signer), label's boss Marv Liegat (aka Prototype) and Santino Fernandez (aka Morphogenetic). Four tracks included here, two original and their remixes by well known electronic producers Alek Stark (Spain) and Max Durante (Italy).
"A New Dawn" is a groovy atmospheric track, based in some fine percussive beats, but it sounds a little uninspired as far as it concerns the melodies, especially compared with previous works of the duo. Stark's remix is a little more interesting, sounding dark and spacey. However things change dramatically on the flip-side (if this term is applicable for digital releases ;)). "The Last Stand" is an epic gem, driven by tough DMX beats and built around Santino's awesome synth work. Really great stuff! Durante's remix is excellent too, a rhythmic extravaganza full of speech samples (about the "electro punisher", Durante's alter-ego, who saves the planet and all that stuff) and co(s)mic references; feels like keepin' an eye to what's happening on a decadent earth while escaping with a spaceship to Mars!
Could be a fantastic single, as a 4-tracker it is just a very nice release which you definitely need to check out ( http://www.junodownload.com/products/the-11th-hour/1835404-02/ )

Haujobb: Dead Market

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 17 2011
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Artist: Haujobb (@)
Title: Dead Market
Format: CD EP
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Tympanik Audio
Rated: *****
I've been a fan of Haujobb since the 'Homes and Gardens' and in spite of Daniel Myer's pseudo-defection to Covenant, it looks like he's come back to the roost again to work with Dejan Samardzic, the first new material we've heard from Haujobb since 2003-2005 ('Vertical Theory' and 'Vertical Remixes'). It is also interesting to note another defection- from Metropolis to Tympanik. I'm sure Metropolis's loss is Tympanik's gain; what industrial music label wouldn't want to have such a prestigious act as Haujobb in their stable of artists? (Not to mention the sales potential.)

'Dead Market' is either an EP or a maxi-single, depending on how you look at it. In fact, most of the tracks 8 tracks are 'Dead Market,' with one being the original and six others the song remixed by Haubjobb (extended version),The Horrorist, Chris Kuhn and DrMolle, Nomenklatur, Absolute Body Control, and recording engineer Paul Kendall. The track 'Letting the Demons Sleep' is a bit different but along the same lines, sort of like a sequel or postscript.

The song itself has the signature Haujobb hallmarks; Myer's (mostly) understated brooding vocals and nihilistic technoid lyrics, the squinky techtronic industrialized sounds and rhythm, and plenty of electronic ear candy. 'Dead Market' is underscored by a straight 16th note monotone sequence which serves as the bass element, changing pitch only on the chorus. For some reason this song reminds me more than a little of Front 242. Once you've heard it a couple of times, it's hard to get it out of your head! I think the Extended Version is more potent than the original, perhaps because the bass pulse was pushed up, or the sonic elements just seem more propulsive. The Horrorist adds a more conventional beat to the song, deconstructing many elements save for the bass pulse which doesn't emerge until the first chorus, and Daniel's vocals. It's a bit on the minimal side, and even the leslie treated guitar which emerges towards the end isn't a whole lot. Chris Kuhn and DrMolle's remix adds in adventurous industrial percussion.

The remixes are broken up by 'Letting the Demons Sleep' which as I previously mentioned is along the same lines as 'Dead Market' but sounds more like an afterthought. It's effective in breaking up the repetitiveness of the main track but as a stand-alone doesn't carry much oomph. Nomenklatur's remix of 'Dead Market' has a techno-cyber feel with a steady beat suitable for club play, and here the vocals sound robotic (no, not vocoder robotic) as if they are remote-controlled. Absolute Body Control's remix allows more of the vocals and emotion to come through but still with a steady beat and rat-a-tat snare with the 16th note sequence being the prime musical impetus. A nice building synth counter-melody gives the track a bit of character more than halfway through. Paul Kendall's dub remix of the song might be the most industrial version on the whole EP as it plays up all the instrumental elements of the song and makes the vocals seem like a despairing transmission from 'out there'.

For me, the best track was Haujobb's extended version. Then again, it's their song and they know it best. It also seems to be the most creative of the remixes and remixes is what this EP is all about. Kudos to Susanne Thiele for the lyrics; they definitely fit within Haujobb's oeuvre ('manipulate the pulse, the pattern, the rhythm, dominate the beat; manipulate the pulse, the pattern, the beat, dominate the world'). Of course, this is only a prelude to the new album ('New World March') to be released on November 11th, 2011. I can only hope the rest of the album is as good as 'Dead Market'.
Oct 17 2011
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Artist: Angelspit (@)
Title: Hello My Name Is
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Rated: *****
Even though the Australian cyberpunk band Angelspit have recently singed their fourth album, they entitled it "Hello My Name Is", which could sound as a formula to make the introductions. This great band, one of the most interesting and unconventional dealing with electronic industrial imbued with a wholesome punk attitude, founded by Karl Learmont aka ZooG Von Rock and Amelia "Arsenic" Tan aka Destroyx after a virtual meeting on an online forum (!), was introduced to me some years ago by their former keyboardist Roberto Massaglia together with the astonishing Crash Frequency Crew and I immediately found their sound something pretty for the scene. Such a title could be more related with the concept of this issue, as it sounds more like the incipit of a cover letter addressed to a company and the pitilessly cutthroat analysis of company's environment makes it similar to a room for tortures or better to a sort of musical trasfiguration into a nursery room...it depends on the point of view as you can be the sadistic owner of the aquarium or just a fish compelled to swim inside of it and gradually brought to madness!

The first song "Cubicle" could be written down by those robotic clerks living in their icy cubicles of the notorious censored videoclip "Revolution Action" by Atari Teenage Riot, but you have to wait the following track, "Counterfeit", to have more evidence of the acid juice Angelspit can extract from sound machines, even if the structure of the track could remind some KMFDM songs (a band they toured with for a while), and the third one "Vermin", a nice clappy kind of morbid counting-out rhyme ("1 2 3 5 8...who do we decapitate?", the first line of the lyrics!) to start dancing after getting contaminated by their viral sound. After the provoking "Catatonic" and the social (but not so far from reality) parody "Monkey Byte", you run into the side of this band I like more: "Defibrillator" and "Bullet Proof" are maybe the tracks where they make joyfully jump all the elements of their sound on a boiling pan and where the angel after spitting shows its grimace and its best mocking tone! Then the listening experience sounds more like a fast and furious riding (I'm pretty sure many djs are going to cook tracks like Jailbait and Deadly in their cdj-shaped oven) towards the final track, Violence, the slowest and almost intimistic place of this full cycling break circuit, which seems to proclaim publicly it doesn't exist anything equally violent than love!

Downrocks: Intron

 Posted by Evangelos   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 15 2011
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Artist: Downrocks (@)
Title: Intron
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Beathazard Records
Rated: *****
Respect to those who struggle to keep the funk alive! And Barcelona-based producer Camilo Sampayo (aka Kapi, the man behind the Downrocks moniker) is definitely one of them.
What we have here is Downrocks' debut album, a long player that follows last year's critically acclaimed EP "Mecanismos". More a compilation of previously released (and now updated), remixed and unreleased material, than an album built from scratch, "Intron" represents perfectly the current retro/modern spanish electro-funk scene: strong syncopated beats, funky basslines, video game melodies, vocoded rhymes (rapped either in spanish or in english), even some def scratching by the man himself, all these classic oldschool ingredients a true electro fan expects are here in heavy doses and, guess what, the stuff is really fffresh! Present also is the nu school with its dark techy instrumentation on tracks like "Mech City" or "A Split Hazard Extended (Top Bass mix)", but it's the funk that's really the driving force of this record and i can tell you people that fly jams like "Venus (The Island mix)" or "Pop And Locking (Freestyle mix-Video version), a true p-funk gem, are increasingly difficult to hear them recorded anymore.
Kapi's not alone in his effort to preserve the values of the intergalactic funkiness; a posse of extremely talented producers is down with the man: Renko, Split DJ, my man Ivan Arnau (aka Dark Vektor), Invisible Rockers Crew and the mighty Dynamic Bass System are featured on "Intron", the latter 2 as remixers (Ivan remixes A Split Hazard Extended and he also contributes in "Entropia").
Released on his own Beathazard Records, this super fresh debut album by Downrocks is also available in cd format at a very affordable price (buy directly here: http://www.beathazard.com/04.htm). Don't miss it!

Control.org: Degenerate

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 14 2011
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Artist: Control.org (@)
Title: Degenerate
Format: CD
Label: Control Freak Records (@)
Rated: *****
Well, it may has a lot to do with my own degeneration, that I nearly 'forgot' to put an ear on this release, which, to my surprise, arrived me several months before from a totally different part of the world, New Zealand. I somehow have them always counted to be US-based, especially when I think back on the both Control.org releases 'Radiation' and 'Manipulate', both out on the Albuquerque-based cult label DSBP. But maybe I am totally confusing some facts.
However, Control.org, C2 and all related projects behind the Control Freak label are celebrating their comeback with new and upcoming releases after a longer break. After listening this new Control.org-album multiple times, you may like to read, that this EBM/Electropop-music project hasn't generally changed its kind and sound outfit. 'Degenerate' is still inspired by crafty Electropop music out of the mid-90s, which allows classic EBM-like structures to take a free slot in the global concept. This album quite often varies in its style and ranges from smoother, more Synthpop-driven tracks to more classic EBM-related efforts. They seemingly put special attention on their bass-line programming skills, the title-track 'Degenerate', or 'Thought Control' let the head seesawing to the beat and vibration.
In between, and to me at quite unlucky chosen song-positions, they have included some instrumental, voice-sample-driven tunes ('Pending Hope', 'Greed Surplus'), which cannot defend the impression to have discovered filler stuff ' a bit more spectacular next time, please. The floating of this album gets completely interrupted, but luckily gets back on track with 'Degenerate' and/or 'Analogue Killer'. Finally a label-internal remix of the Powernoise-inspired side-project C2 end this album after 13 tracks.
Control.org albums offer always a remarkable amount of quality behind sound design and production. 'Degenerate' isn't an example, although it pauses at some moments.



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