Music Reviews

VV.AA.: Chicken Accelerator

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 20 2010
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Chicken Accelerator
Format: 12"
Label: Astro Chicken (@)
Rated: *****
CHICKEN ACCELERATOR is the first release of a new German label called Astro Chicken. Dedicated to spaced out disco/electro sounds the label starts its journey presenting four cool tracks brought to us from four different bands: Hyboid, Starlight Hammer Sounds, Telebot and Sternrekorder. "Vogon poetry" by Hyboid has the task to start the dances and does it with an electro spacey upbeat tune. "Starlight Hammer Sounds" with "Turrican 2" sounds a little more robotic but always upbeat, with cool melodies and nice arpeggiator progressions. Telebot's "Disco dump" is a mid tempo with moog solos and alternates disco 70's atmospheres to dark atmospheres. Sternrekorder close the compilation with their "Geh lieber nie", which is the only song to have vocals and it's an upbeat song with 80's electro melodies and nice echoed German vocals. Sebastian Hübert of Astro Chicken Records did a great job gathering four bands that will be able to make you enjoy even more your galactic trips!

Ben Frost: By the Throat

 Posted by eskaton   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 10 2010
Artist: Ben Frost (@)
Title: By the Throat
Format: CD
Label: Bedroom Community (@)
Distributor: Kompakt
Rated: *****
I had not heard of Ben Frost before this disc came in the mail. This can best be described as electronic, although I would not compare it to the Orb or such, but rather, this has an experimental edge to it. At times it is glitch and noisy, while at others, peaceful and droning. I found it interesting that the last three songs take their titles from the lyrics of 'Disintegration' by the Cure, although none of them seem to have anything to do with that song (Peter Venkman does seem like it would be at home on a Ghostbusters soundtrack though). From the very beginning it is clear that this is not going to be just an easy listening album with the track 'Killshot' that has crescendoing pulses of music interwoven with strings. 'The Carpathians' has an unsettling claustrophobic feel to it that immediately gives way to the stripped down minimalism of 'O God Protect Me,' which in turn transitions to the noisiness of 'Híbakúsja.' 'Leo Needs a New Pair of Shoes' is perhaps the most traditional song on this disc, sounding like something off a Narada sampler. Overall, this was a pretty good introduction to this artist and if you have someone who likes their experimental music not too experimental, this would certainly be worth checking out.
Aug 09 2010
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Artist: X Marks The Pedwalk (@)
Title: Inner Zone Journey
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records / Infacted Reocrdings (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
It's indeed a good year for comebacks of veteran acts, and this one once-in-a-lifetime-giant of the legendary Zoth Ommog label isn't an exception. It fits perfectly that Sevren Ni-arb, his better female half Estefania and his old partner in crime, Raive Yarx, have decided to collaborate with Infacted Recordings for their comeback ' since Infacted label-chief Torben Schmidt (LIGHTS OF EUPHORIA) is another important time witness of this glorious label. So how big can expectations grow after so many years without any audio sign of life? I think it rather belongs on personal preferences, to each one its own taste. XMTP have earned a lot of appreciation during their early years for the try not to repeat themselves over and over again ' and to me, this can be noticed on this new album too, because 'Inner Zone Journey' sounds like none of the previous released albums before. 'Inner Zone Journey' and its chosen sounds and arrangements are the work of true Electro/Industrial experts with real and senses-touching compositions and a matured state-of-the-art-like sound-design. If it really comes to search for a hair in the soup, I tend to criticize one or another track as being too obviously infected with that often discovered 'we-need-a-catchy-club-hit-to-appease-the-masses'-syndrome ('Run Away', 'Seventeen'), as these tracks are losing intensity in sound and composition. But tracks like 'Human Scientists' or 'Snapshots In A Dark Room' are true masterpieces, which surely appeal the rather Dark-Electro-inspired fans of their golden days ' maybe these tunes are more comparable to the XMTP-side-project RINGTAILED SNORTER and their deep sadness-spreading 'Absolute Void'-times ' but hasn't this historic masterpiece received the best reviews in those days? It does good to have XMTP back, although the release of 'Inner Zone Journey' has produced a lesser euphoric reaction compared to the release of some other cult acts. Quite logical, because this album is rather dedicated to satisfy the parental and experienced Electro/Industrial listener, as it doesn't offer any pseudo-aggressive Hellectro-like bawling - it is nevertheless one of the best comeback releases of this year so far.
Artist: Iberian Spleen
Title: Dracula Vampire Hunters Club Versions
Format: CD EP
Label: Caustic Records (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
After a longer pause for this Spanish Electronica-project, here comes the comeback for Frans Beltran. This is a quite special release brought out in a rare format. To release a CD EP with only three tracks completely packed in a beautiful and artistically valuable digi-pack speaks for the courage, but also the endless confidence from the label Caustic Records into the abilities of the artist. The title of this EP has received the additional name 'from the original Francis Ford Copolla's motion picture soundtrack' ' and it is shortly said a three-track EP of a cover version on a well-known instrumental film score available in three different versions. Being asked after the sense of this release, Frans' slated in his artwork his dedication for the works of the original composer of this Dracula film score, Wojciech Kilar. A quite fabulous idea and well done performed, but I doubt, that the concept in our rushing times does earn the required success. Does the artist or the label expect to enter higher chart positions, or at least do both expect to have any serious chance against a still dominating Hellectro project in the clubs? May I am totally wrong to ask for this in this case, to switch a relatively known artist in a same manner with stronger than usual sales, because musically these three different versions offer a lot of demand and are musically complicated enough produced, to kick any repetitive act out of the Hellectro-camp out of the ring. I would wish for all included, that the listeners at least pay a bit more attention to those, which produce Electrnica music not only to stomp after, but also to consume it while sitting in front of a wwell sounding home entertainment. It's because this IBERIAN SPLEEN release services both needs...

Electro Synthetic Rebellion: Distorted Memories

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 02 2010
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Artist: Electro Synthetic Rebellion (@)
Title: Distorted Memories
Format: CD EP
Label: e.s.r. productions
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
'Limited Edition ' Extendet Play' ' although small typed right below on the front-cover, this has been one of the first positive facts of E.S.R.'s latest release. French fellow Vincent Pujol at least adds another goody to his rich filled and excellence-infiltrated discography. 'Distorted Memories' holds totally 13 tracks and can be temporary seen as a remix companion to Vincent's last full-length album 'Post-Industrial' (DSBP/Gravitator/Urgence Disk Records), but too as being a kind of EP to offer new tracks and to introduce some new projects and tendencies, how and in which kind Vince could continue.
You'll get 4 all new tracks, a new and still untitled demo track, a cover version on Public Relation's 'Eighty Eight', plus a first track named 'Twisted Shadow' of the new built side-project JOINT VISION, which includes Vincent and his friend Jerome Caulier. At least a remix contribution by the French act PSYCHICOLD accompanies this release. With more than 70 minutes of pure, adrenaline-driven Electro/Industrial music, you'll get a lot quantity, but also the quality of this on only 100 exemplars limited EP should be able to appeal you as being the interested listener.
In the first instance, the focus of attention lays on the four new tracks, from which the title-track 'Distorted Memories' 'available in two different versions - offers the most intensity in both parts of the composition ' it features an attractive synth-layer programming with a high recognition level, as well as a song structure, which invites the listeners to sink completely into the arrangements and it allows dancefloor movements of masses. What additionally attracts attention, is the fact, that Vince seemingly concentrates more to add a smoother fx-processing on his vocals ' compared to his earlier albums the vocals are sounding lesser harsh, although still aggressive enough.
As for the 4 remix works on his latest full-length studio album 'Post-Industrial', well, I guess you all know since Vince's self-released collection 'A Passage in Time V.1', that he quite often produces alternative versions on his tracks. This attitude helps out also on this EP, because all remixed tracks ('Cyberthief', 'World Domination', 'Resurrected' and 'Fallen Angels') got completely revamped by Vince himself ' no foreign remix work on his older tracks, no so-called prominent names offering remix contributions with questionable quality ' in all, it is a quite welcomed idea, to concentrate on his own abilities. The Warlock Mix on 'World Domination' is at least my personal favorite, especially after consuming Vince's icy-cold, but richly detailed synth pad programming on this tune.
As for the additional stuff, the still untitled new demo track sounds promising in its first versions, while the mutual new side-project JOINT VISION can't be judged on after only one track. The already above mentioned cover version sounds as expected from E.S.R., while I've to admit that I don't know anything about the original and have never heard of it. At least we'll get the remix work on the new track 'Low Life' of PSYCHICOLD and so the only one foreign band contribution, which adds musically the integration of some guitar riffs into the Electronica-driven sound.
A lot of stuff to discover, as usual from E.S.R., but I won't leave this one without a small word of criticism. I thought it was 'Wounds And Scars', released 4 years before, with which Vince has received his personal best-of-the-best album, as it was this one, which offered the most diversity and different moods pressed onto one silver circle. After consuming 'Post-Industrial' and now this EP, I come to the conclusion, that these both can only follow the quality of 'Wounds And Scars', but can't formulating anything new. To reach perfection and an automatically working process of composition can't be any longer the target of an Electro/Industrial project after 5 different studio albums, one collection and now one EP ' or to say it in short words ' Vincent runs into danger to repeat himself. Contrary to nearly all previous released albums, I miss a bit that groundbreaking idea in Vincent's work for a new or refreshing sound-design, a more consequent variation of speed, or simply the try to question own compositional tactics ' whatever may the most promising formula is to result into more diversity. But I am sure, that Vincent is quite aware of this situation and will find the right weapons against all upcoming hints of stagnancy.

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