Music Reviews



VV.AA.: Electronic Overseas Vol. 1

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 25 2010
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electronic Overseas Vol. 1
Format: CD
Label: Tacuara Records (@)
Rated: *****
Argentina's Tacuara Records (in conjunction with Germany's Fk Digital Records - www.fkdigitalrecords.com) releases this compilation of various goth-industrial artists from a number of different countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Estonia, France, Peru, Russia, Spain and Turkey. Of course, as on just about any compilation album, it's a mixed bag, and even moreso here with the diversity of nationalities. The opener by Division of Blue (Spain) has intelligibly spoken-sung lyrics in English over typical EBM style music. Not a lot of substance, but okay club fodder. Definitely reminds me of some late 80's or early 80's synth band, but I can't think of who offhand. LAP (Argentina) employ scary pterodactyl synth and morphing, ripping saw-bass over relentless breakcore beats'¦and that's about it. Unnerving, but not utterly convincing. Sadiztik Injection (Turkey) sound more conventionally dark-electro/EMB with 'Realize the Suicide,' a good dancefloor pounder with the requisite raspy vocals. Gee, I didn't know they went for this kind of stuff in Turkey'¦no baglamas, tars or davuls? Not even a sampled muezzin wail. I'm shocked!

Say Just Words (Chile) pull off a pretty intense and dramatic dark-electro number with 'The Perfect Killer,' raspy vocals and all, another track suitable for club play. Freakangel (Estonia) is up next with 'The Last White Dance,' typical Freakangel old-skool EBM. Freakangel is one of the (two) bands on this comp I've heard (and reviewed) previously, and they certainly belong on this compilation. Utero's (Spain) 'Sex Me' reminds me of Marilyn Manson for some reason, although they really don't sound like him. Maybe it's what you'd get if you combined Manson with Nitzer Ebb; it will surely keep those platform boots stomping at Club Dead. Good hook too. Lastrax (Argentina) actually seems to tell a story in 'Special Offer,' yet another old-skool dark electro number along the lines of Signal Aout 42. Nice track but lacks a potent hook. France's Ad Inferna sticks to French lyrically, and adds some ethereal wordless female backing vocals for their dark electro dance number, but I found the sub-bass overwhelming at times. DJ's - keep a ready finger on the EQ, depending on your system's requirements. Suicidal Romance (Estonia), the other of the two bands I reviewed previously, doesn't offer up one of their best tracks off 'Shattered Heart Reflections' for this comp, but 'Love Stays the Same' still isn't a bad song. It's dramatic enough and has Dimitry (Freakangel) on the verse vocals and Viktoria's vox on the chorus. It's Viktoria's voice that is the focal point of this band and she uses it to better effect on other songs off the album.

Matias Parisi (Argentina) offer a rather clubby bit of monotony with 'You can never stop me' with metered processed male & female vocal recitation. At least it has a good beat and groove. Slip it into a dance set and nobody will notice. Roppongi Inc Project (Russia) perform a 'Temporary Evacuation 27.04.86,' sort of an instrumental (except for the unintelligible Russkie PA warning vox) doomsday dance. Carlos Shaw (Argentina) begins 'Los Ninos Del Parque' with a groove that reminded me of Frontline Assembly. I was waiting for the vocoder to break in but all I got was the speak-sing of three amigos, and kind of low key at that. Except for some incidentals, the track didn't change much from its initial groove. Disappointing. Dj Quien (Bolivia) ups the BPM with 'Sudaca y parador,' spoken word over breakcore filled in by average synth and bass. Maybe if I understood Spanish it might have more impact, but it left me kind of flat. Back to Argentina with Plan Quinquenal and their chaotic offering 'Sudamerica Vanzaii'. Nearly relentless pounding beats and wildness until the 2 minute mark when it changes tempo and form into some type of doom metal pastiche. Code Name (Spain) must really think they're in an 'Arena' (yes, that's the title of the song), a jaw dropping supersonic high-energy disco song with 70's style male and female vocals! What the hell is this doing on this comp??? I'm flabbergasted. Maybe this is supposed to tongue-in-cheek, but I don't think so. Yikes! The comp concludes with Peru's Dj Lokuron & Chusma Crazy's 'Enterprise of Justice'. I'm not getting much justice out of this piece of insanity. It is pretty bizarre in its own headache-inducing way. It has a beat but you won't be dancing to it.

So as I said in the beginning, a mixed bag for sure but with enough worthies to check it out, if you can find it. If you're in the U.S. just go to the label website and they have a list of outlets. Better yet, just ask your local Goth-Industrial CD shop (if there even is one anymore by where you live) to order it for you.

ESC: Eight Thousand Square Feet

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 23 2010
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Artist: ESC
Title: Eight Thousand Square Feet
Format: CD
Label: Scanner / Dark Dimensions (@)
Rated: *****
Portugal's most recognized Harsh-EBM quartet returns with another new full-length album, their third so far. And nearly out of tradition, also this one impresses with a comic-stripe as telling the story and meaning hiding behind. The graphical work is once again an outstanding form of expression by them, which receives additional support by their art to produce band photos ' the new ones, especially the one with body hanging lifeless out of a damaged bus, are very stylish and well fitting with the music. If they will reach their definite break-through also in middle-Europe, that ' to me ' has no longer anything to do with their quality of music. Fans of this special music genre, as well as the dancefloor-junkies, can't go wrong with them, since Hypecrash, Chainheart (both also active under HYSTAKMINE, lately signed to Hellektro Holocaust Records ' from which I lately haven't heard anything new..?), IDK (who helped out the country mate of IN[PERFEKTION] with some production efforts'¦) and the graphical mastermind Glamour Diesel do offers their most matured, but maybe also their calmest release so far. Yes, some socks-rocking tunes for the hard-stuff consumers are of course featured like 'Correcting God's Design', or the nailing 'Le Voyage D'Ivoire Sophisme', which features Jan L. of X-FUSION providing the lead vocals. But in all I have the impression, that this new album rather focuses more to present opulent arranged synth sweeps ('White Beast (Retribution', or some orchestral-like inserts ('Eight Thousand Square Feet') - stuff, which is nice to get consumed at your home entertainment too. And this gets a real crown with the track 'Leitbild', which offers German lyrics provided by Carsten Jacek of [:SITD:]. His voice as well as the rather [:SITD:]-related instrumentation results in the maybe most catchiest track ever by them. Coming back to their upcoming break-through: I think, this can be only reached, if they can decide to storm the stages in all thinkable dark clubs ' they suffer well under the circumstances to belong too far away from the bigger markets for this kind of music, Germany for instance. Musically here is nothing to complain with, ESC offer as usual the better and more comfortable form of Harsh-EBM/Hellectro music and are technically far above their average followers. Slight tendencies to repeat themselves a bit can be recognized too, but'¦ Let's agree, that this special genre of EBM/Electro/Industrial music is generally repetitive.

Mind.Area: Long-Distance Side Trip

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 23 2010
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Artist: Mind.Area
Title: Long-Distance Side Trip
Format: CD
Label: Ionium Records (@)
Distributor: TS Musix
Rated: *****
This one lays already for some months available on my table, but I unfortunately didn't find the right time to check more detailed with this new, first album of Maikko A. (member of HUMAN DECAY). Thumbs up also to Ionium Records/AF Music to remind me two times to concentrate on this remarkable album. This isn't that sort of a time-stealing procedure to review the deeds of a red-headed step-child, this is rather a review done with pleasure, as Maikko has already gained higher recognition with the previously released downloadable EP 'Thenceforward', as this one is still the biggest pearl in the roster of the Russian X-Line label. 'Long-Distance Side Trip' continues to catch its listeners through dense, but also haunting and ominous moods, combined with an extravagant kind of rhythm programming. Where comparable Dark Electro artists may here and there try to re-animate the dusty PUPPYan-ghost, Maikko manages hard to figure out alternative paths. A tiny Break-Beat, a bit Dub, or Trip-Hop beats here and there mixed under his matured synth arrangements offer a delicious meal for the ears. Tracks which feature his remarkable synth programming skills as its best, like 'Assimilate' (No PUPPYan influence at all here!), 'Fanatic Romance', or 'New World' are fine tunes not to be missed ' in that case, you prefer some 'real' compositional efforts over the still rushing, pseudo-aggressive Hellectro-repetitions. Three remixes by such musically valuable and well-chosen artists like the too seldom re-discovered Serbia/German project BLAME (too much gaming, Boris!), Slovakia's Dark Electro-/IDM-/Ambient-institution DISHARMONY (well done and surprisingly straight, Ryby'¦), and of course of Maikko's alter ego-comrades HUMAN DECAY offer all their best, to bring in diversity to Maikko's sound environment. A modern sounding and fine worked-out Dark-Electro opus full of intelligence ' stuff, which suits at best with fans of older FLA, PUPPY, DISMANTLED, but too with the new kids of the block like OBJECT, NCE, or Australia's EMPTY. Good one, keep it on.

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Artist: Purple Fog Side
Title: Project:Rentgen
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Synthematik (@)
Rated: *****
If one of the oldest and best known Russian Goth-/Dark Wave-bands like PURPLE SIDE FOG (2 albums available on Shadowplay Records) decides to collaborate with Synthematik ' in no negative meaning a pure net-label ' then there must be growing a kind of sensible sensation in the minds of the responsible band-members. The certainty, that the days of the physical product, the CD, are counted, may can be taken as a reference, that this formation has documented the will to collaborate. On the other hand, Synthematik has made themselves a good name during the last half year, to be an excellent promoter by using multiple kinds of online resources to gain a maximum of attention, so why not to give it a try? This freely downloadable album consist of an experiment of PFS ' they have recorded all featured tracks in kind of a real-time mode, which means, that they have produced song by song in a strictly declared time window of 1 ½ months, starting all compositions completely from scratch. The band has used online communities and has uploaded any raw demo version of these tracks for their fans and listeners to start a mutual interaction. Completely remixed and mastered after this experimental phase, this 10 all new tracks (plus 3 remix contributions by ALPHA POINT, X-TI, and ELEKTRONNOE OBLAKO, plus an alternative radio version in Russian language on 'My Secret friend') are far away from being demos or uninspired stuff established out of a short expiration time. I am unable to draw comparisons to their Shadowplay recordings, as I am unfamiliar with them, but especially tracks like the already mentioned 'My Secret Friend', or 'Crystal Castle' offer enough potential to impress Goth-, Wave, and Electro-minded listeners completely. Especially the intended contrast between the raw- and dark-sounding male vocalist to the compelling, nearly angelic vocals of the female counterpart can be called exceptionally well-done. This album may needs 2 ' 3 spins more to disclose all good elements, but it is definitely worth to invest it. So there's only one thing I would like to know from the band: what is a 'PVC Slut'?

LPF 12: Inhibition Level

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (6039)
Oct 21 2010
cover
Artist: LPF 12
Title: Inhibition Level
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Abstrakt Reflections (@)
Rated: *****
I don't know, how often I wrote this phrase, but: it is the year of comebacks! LPF 12 is a Northern-Germany-based one-man-project which has been highly active with its musically assaulting efforts somewhere between DIVE and harsher MENTALLO & THE FIXER in the years between 1993 to 1995. Those have been the days, where bands had to record demo tapes as being the most affordable medium, and LPF 12 has entered a lot of stock lists of tapes labels like Obscura Records, Side-Line, Catkiller, Crewzine, or Crippled Abortion Tapes. Also a few CD compilation appearances became reality and Sascha could enter a free slot on such highly recognized releases like 'An Ideal For Living (Gothic Arts Records)', 'Neues Elektro Blut Vol. 1 (Khazad-Dum/Side-Line)', or the 'Vertigo Compilation Vol. 1/1996 (magazine + CD comp./Celtic Circle Prod.)'. In 1996 Sascha stopped abruptly his musically path and he set LPF 12 in hiatus. It has at least taken 14 years, until he decided to re-animate his beloved project with a bang. He's seemingly a hyperactive musician, who isn't able to take off his nervous fingers away from his equipment to relax for a while, because since early 2010 he has now produced music to fill 5 (!!!) different releases available on different labels. After an own released downloadable EP entitled 'Vicious Circle' via his bandcamp website, he presents his album 'Inhibition Level' signed to the Abstrakt Reflections netlabel, and so his official second release during this year. Compared to his previously discovered label colleagues like APPARENT SYMMETRY and IN A MINDSET, Sascha's LPF 12 acts a bit like a bird of paradise. His rather classic Electro-/EBM-related background can be easily recognized, because Sascha's tracks are focusing for the most part on abstract produced rhythm patterns, while his above named colleagues are stronger in producing luscious and haunting Ambient-like moods. Another obvious ability contrary to his label colleagues is his usage of vocals with real composed lyrics. Sascha's tracks are straight and rhythmic-oriented arranged, although his stuff isn't compatible to any Harsh-EBM/Hellectro dancefloor attitudes ' he rather offers stuff which creeps over the eardrums into the brain. I tend to point out 'Break My Core' as being an awesome example, how to install experimental rhythm pattern with a handy composition line and raspy vocals ' a tiny masterpiece, which balances well on the thin line between Dark Electro and Noise. With the haunting 'The White Room' he also proves a good sense to produce a different sounding, rather Dark Ambient-related tune ' while he still can develop in some things in this playing field. Some remixes and collaborations with MISSRATENER SOHN, MC1R (Hey Nick!), MENSCHLICHE ENERGIE, or DECI?HER are featured too on this album, and especially the remix of the German fellow IN A MINDSET on 'Towards Nowhere' charms the ear-channel with intensely produced synth sweep sounds. 13 tracks in all and a lot of good things to report from ' LPF 12 hasn't reached any end of rope and will continue highly productive path.



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