Music Reviews



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Artist: Candle Nine
Title: The Muse In The Machine
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Tympanik Audio isn't sparse, when it comes to release newcomer acts ' but to 99,9 % this is welcomed, as this debut release for CANDLE NINE proofs well. CANDLE NINE is also a nice proof, of the 'how-to-feed-the-masses-after-a-stunning-compilation-appearance' procedure, because 'Penumbra', featured on the last 'Emerging Organisms Vol. 3' compilation, was without any doubt the best participant. The music presented on this fine looking album (artwork by Mr. Justin PNEUMATIC DETACH Brink) consists mainly out of two quite different parts in the sound dimension of this Chicago-based, mysterious musician. There we have real ear-candy stuff for friends of icy-cold synth-pad programmings, as CANDLE NINE knows well and proofs to be an expert, how to produce moody Industrial ambiences through this. As for a merciless contrast, CANDLE NINE installs abrasive and brutal performed rhythm elements, which draw some relations to the works of acts like GRIDLOCK or APPARENT SYMMETRY. To unite the raw percussion work with the fragility of the matured synth-play, well, that's the biggest adventure, which CANDLE NINE solves with fortune. And this is at least the most thrilling point in this production for the listener. CANDLE NINE offers brilliant ideas, when it come to merge both of his different stylistic elements - with the usage of tempo-bending interruptions and an experienced fx-processing with reverb, delay and/or saturation effects, this tracks are becoming unique. Another good point worth to mention, is the rather straight and linear orientation of the tracks. Asides 'Penumbra', the track 'Kerrianne's Spine' would allow some movements on the dancefloors of the dark clubs worldwide. Two extra remix contributions by the renowned label colleagues of ACCESS TO ARASAKA and AUTOCLAV 1.1 do not alter the total positive impression of this album, in case of AUTOCLAV's remix on the track 'R5-D5-RB', I would like to congratulate Mr. Tony Young, for offering an upbeating and totally different sounding interpretation to the original composition. The muse may hides somewhere in the machine. Luckily Tympanik Audio was able to sign one of the most talented wizards, who's capable to release this muse out of the machine and to burn it onto this silver plastic circle - this is a top-notch album like a milestone!

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Artist: Gregorio Bardini & Gerstein (@)
Title: Arise of a Bleeding Rose
Format: CD
Label: The Eastern Front
Rated: *****
I remember reviewing a CD called "Eurasia" by the talented Italian wind instrumentalist and ex Thelema member Gregorio Bardini a long long time ago but that was the last time I had heard of him until my colleague and fellow Chain D.L.K. founder Maurizio Pustianaz mentioned him to me again. For those who don't know it, Pustianaz has been musically active as Gerstein since the mid eighties and has been sporadically releasing new music under different labels since. After his most recent collaboration with Cold Cluster, which dates back to 2005, he's been quietly working with Bardini on something that eventually turned into "Arise of the Bleeding Rose", released by the Israeli label The Eastern Front.
It's hard to categorize or describe this. It is first and foremost an electronic music record but it is very minimal and in a way a bit retro-sounding. The electro sound is very martial (check out the opener "Von Guten Maechten" and the title-track for example) and there are defined rhythmical structures made of big slamming timpani-like drums, rolling military snare drums and fast-paced hi hats... However all of that is counteracted by long synthetic pads which might echo Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, Emerson, Jarre or Goblin... Maurizio's tense sequences and syncopated beats create an atmosphere of anxiety and a certain aura of darkness. Of course Bardini's flutes and the uniqueness of such sounds in this context deliver some kind of relaxation to the tension. His interventions add a sort of world music layer on top of the existing programming, and on pieces like "Il Male" the conjunction of all elements really create beautiful and, at times, even very asian sounding soundscapes.
After having heard the Gerstein/Cold Cluster collaboration I was aware that Gerstein was moving into a much more electronic and much more rhythmic place, but it would seem that this album marks a return to the darker vein that characterized his earlier productions. One thing that is certainly new to me I think, is that on this album Gerstein even sings in german (along with Bardini as well), which enhances the martial and teutonic aspect of it even more. I would even go as far as saying that (and maybe the german singing contributed to that) there is a certain EBM aesthetics, but it's nothing like the EBM clones you hear out there these days. That influence is more deeply rooted and much less obvious
The whole record is also interleaved with samples from english, italian and german movies.
If you think you are up for some original martial minimal-electro world music I would definitely recommend giving this a spin, after all if you have been reading Chain D.L.K. you have trusted the man's words about music for so long, why wouldn't you trust the man's music too?

Recoil: Selected

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (5945)
Aug 26 2010
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Artist: Recoil (@)
Title: Selected
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Mute records
Rated: *****
Released in June, "Recoil Selected" is a double CD retrospective of some of Recoil's best material according to founding member Alan Wilder (also with Depeche Mode until '95) and Paul Kendall. Wilder curated this collection based on his personal favorites and it features singers such as Diamanda Galas, Joe Richardson, Douglas McCarthy, Samantha Coerbell, Toni Halliday, Nicole Blackman, The Golden Gate, Carla Trevaskis, Hildia Cambell, Siobhan Lynch and Maggie Estep. Recoil has always had the unique talent of creating timeless music. With a discography spanning from 1988 to 2007 (yet made of only five releases), it is still hard to pick out which are the older tracks from the '90es and which are from the last couple of records. "Soundscapes without boundaries and without compromise", as Wilder calls them, that perfectly stood the test of time and will please music lovers with the most varied of listening habits (Delerium, Pink Floyd, Manorexia, Clock DVA, Synaesthesia, Laurie Anderson and many other of his peers come to mind).
The first CD contains original classics while the second one features remixes. They will both be available as a physical double CD or as separate digital downloads.
This release will be supported by a "Selected Tour 2010" which promises to be a stunning collaboration of visuals, electronics and crafty synthesized arrangements.

Bionic: Closer To Nature

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (5939)
Aug 25 2010
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Artist: Bionic
Title: Closer To Nature
Format: CD
Label: Echozone
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
Personal project of Dariusch Dalili, Bionic released only an album for OffBeat back in 1995. I don't know what he did in the meantime but his coming back album is really nice. Still having his roots on e.b.m. sound, Bionic offer to the fans of the genre a strong album with ten new songs where hard beats and melody are the winning couple. The CD opens with "It doesn't matter", a song that melodically and vocally reminds me of Sisters Of Mercy. Fortunately, tracks two, sounds more personal and based on 4/4 rhythms, clear vocals and cool retro e.b.m. sounds. Alternating dance atmospheres (check "Cold eyes"), new wave intuitions a bit of pop ("Somewhere"), Dariusch succeeds into packing a nice album that sounds fresh even if based on classic sounds. You can find also two nice remixes made by Accessory and Minusheart.
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Artist: OBSIL (@)
Title: Distances
Format: CD
Label: Disaster by Choice (@)
Rated: *****
Releases like this have the indisputable quality to help people like me to reconcile with soft electronic music that usually is filed under idm. This Italian musician has assembled a soft track-list that walks on the tight rope suspended between quasi-ambient and post-classic/soundtrack music, I'm sure you'll get it after a few tracks. Eighties Warp alike sounding synths, soft pianos, string sounding sections, bleeps, electronic devices field-recordings and other kind of instruments cross the aural scene and enrich every single track of a series of arrangements that soften the journey during the listening. Track after track I've been positively surprised seeing what emphasis he has put on melody and on the song structure in spite of getting lost in the useless search of some fake avant-gardist coolness. What I've just said doesn't imply Obsil is sounding like a zillion of other electronic acts, infact I think he managed to put a personal touch in the recipe, but after having experienced "Distances" I think you will agree his primary interest was not exactly working on the experimental side of song-writing. Obsil songs sometimes have been developed in a quite uniform way, sometimes present many unexpected variations, but in most of the cases it could remind a strange hybrid of Lusine with Plone and Plaid elements cut with some neo-classical Murcof alike solutions. In its apparent simplicity "Distances" offers the example of a good and well pondered release where the aesthetic profile is submitted to writing soft, easy-listening, emotionally charged electronic tracks non based on rhythms. Nice work.


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