Music Reviews



INFORMÄTIK: Beyond

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 05 2008
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Artist: INFORMÄTIK (@)
Title: Beyond
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
It has been announced almost a year before from the BATTERY CAGE mastermind and INFORMÄTIK musician Tyler Newman in an online forum, that Da5id Din would "forget" for a few tunes his studio and producing work for foreign bands to compose a new INFORMÄTIK album. Said and done, the new album "Beyond" hits the shelves and got released of course via Metropolis Records. "Beyond" globally picks up the musically identity of this project discovered in parts for the first time with the 2002-album "Nymphomatik", followed by the 2004-remix-collection "Re:vision", but in a new manner. INFORMÄTIK have made a big step away from the Dark Electro/Industrial of their early days, the current dedication is more based on a Electro-/Futurepop-oriented base, which definitely allows to break with some boundaries to an Alternative/Pop music kind. This has surely something to do with the grown meaning of Tyler Newman to this project, mostly all of the 10 new tracks got "strengthened" with some guitar riffs. Still more based into the background compared to the latest BATERY CAGE-recordings, all Electro-purists and older fans can be assured that INFORMÄTIK won’t mutate to a calm BATERY CAGE-rip-off, since also Da5id’s influence and his compositional abilities are alive for this release. Also Da5id’s vocal performance comes out for the most part clear and sounds naturally, no comparison to highly manipulated kind presented of the earlier INFORMÄTIK-albums "Direct Memory Access" or "Syntax". "Beyond" is the release of two experienced musicians, which awakes the rich content of the Boston-based Electro/Industrial scene (now based in SF, but both are hailing originally from there...), which had its heydays 12 years before. The perfect and crystal-clear studio production (...as expected from someone like Da5id Din...), the tasteful arranged songs and the clever and intelligent lyrical content touches hearts and minds. But if it also touches the legs of the club-goers has to be proven – this album offers a lot of tracks between slow and mid-tempo, but not at all a track like the Techno-inspired classic "Watching You, Watching Me" or something related. Since Tyler has mentioned somewhere else the problems of BATTERY CAGE to accepted as being a club-oriented act even if they’d decided to produce obvious club-food, I doubt a bit that this will change with INFORMÄTIK – at least only for this album.

Endif: Carbon

 Posted by Michael Grillo   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 16 2008
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Artist: Endif (@)
Title: Carbon
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Rated: *****
From the outset Endif’s latest release "Carbon" is a hard hitting onslaught of industrial powered electronica. The musical alter-ego of Jason Hollis, Endif is one of the newest additions to the ever increasing Tympanik Audio family, whose releases are no stranger to my reviewing. While Tympanik Audio specializes in dark electronic music, each of its artists approach the aesthetic in different ways. Endif, like its label mate Pneumatic Detach ventures into harder rhythmic territories utilizing heavily distorted beats supplemented by various electronic effects. However, Endif departs from Pneumatic Detach in its incorporation of more traditional synth leads found in mainstream European electronica. This is evident on the tracks "Churl" and "Between Two Worlds." This mixture of influences makes the album much more accessible on the first listen, as opposed to more noise laden albums that need time to grow on you. However, make no mistake, Endif is not some wishy washy techno act, as it is rather abrasive at times which is clearly apparent on such tracks as "Peeling the Layers" which booms, crashes, and hits like a munitions factory and "The Answer" which is a disorienting onslaught of noise that I must admit made feel rather queasy as it blasted on my headphones. If you were a fan of Metropolis Records in its late 90’s early 2000’s glory, then Endif’s Carbon is for you as it offers a much more fluid and updated version of the dark electronic sound popularized by that label.

THE TENTH STAGE: Grand Guignol

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 16 2008
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Artist: THE TENTH STAGE (@)
Title: Grand Guignol
Format: CD
Label: Crash Frequency
Rated: *****
A year after their debut album The Tenth Stage present to their audience and to the lovers of electro/theatrical goth music a new work titled GRAND GUIGNOL. As on the previous album, the duo formed by John Von Ahlen and Roberto Missaglia, is delivering a perfectly produced album with a top notch graphic work. This time we have a sort of concept album focused on the last decades of the 19th century: the graphic work, the themes and some songs' atmosphere (mostly on the ballads) recall that age. Mixing genres like on the other album, The Tenth Stage for each track use different sets of instruments. They span from ballads with accordions and bass guitar ("Eldorado") to joyful tunes with tambourines and strings ("Cinderella's revenge"), electro pop songs ("Travelogue" and "Early morning prayer"), dark piano ballads with catchy vocals a la Tears For Fears ("The ballad of the decomposing man"), stripped down to clean electric guitars/drums/synth NIN like songs ("Sex is bad Eddie", song that is inspired by Ed Gein. One of the few exceptions to their 19th century theme), dub tunes ("Sends my regards to hell"), etc. Eclecticism is a quality and also a weakness for a first listening, so you need a little of time to fully appreciate GRAND GUIGNOL. The catchy tunes aren't missing, so you can start from those ones first.
Sep 14 2008
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Artist: TRAUTES HEIM (@)
Title: Dunkelziffer
Format: CD
Rated: *****
Formed by Matthias Knake and Uwe Rohlfs (already active with Reversal Penetrations, band that had a couple of releases on Cop Int.) Trautes Heim (which stands for "My house is my castle") is sending me their first demo containing eight good tracks in balance from early e.b.m. and retro electro industrial. To realize how good is their attitude check the cover of the Abwärts' song "Computerstaat". The original was a nice punk '77 track and Trautes Heim turned it into a electro industrial track a la D.A.F. without forgetting to use a distorted guitar on the background. Also the original tracks are good ones and merge minimal attitude, melody, energy, samples and analog sounds. Creating hypnotizing and dark atmospheres, the duo is able to convince in not time. Unfortunately at the moment they aren't signed to a label but you can check them by contacting Uwe and asking for their CD-r. On the data section of the CD you could also find three bonus tracks (they are two intriguing instrumental electro industrial suites and an instrumental electro remix of the opening "Trialog") plus all the lyrics and the album already ripped to mp3 files.
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Artist: Battery Cage (@)
Title: Forever Never Ends
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: iTunes, Napster and related
Rated: *****
I guess I’m getting old or Alzheimer is taking influence on me. The US act BATTERY CAGE has released a new album via Metropolis almost a half year before, and I completely ignored it a while. It was then Tyler Newman of the band, who needed to wake me up and inform me. This all may belongs to the fact, that a well-known label like Metropolis has decided to strengthen the path of download-available items. This new BATTERY CAGE release is nothing else than a download-only album. Too bad, because I requested the files some months ago and then I’ve totally forgotten to take care on this for a second time. I am very sorry about this, but this proves that numerous mp3 files on my PC can’t offer the same dedication than the physical graspable product. But enough rambled, let’s watch and listen to the product. "Forever Never Ends" is sort of a follow-up to the last years’ fucking intense album "A Young Person’s Guide To Heartbreak" and BATTERY CAGE have once again refined their style. It is still good to see and hear that they don’t completely ignore the Electronic part in their music, but the whole compositional and production process has turned to be acoustic based. It’s rocking, but still Electronica-complimented to offer good club food – in case the audience has nowadays the courage to accept BATTERY CAGE as a "club-oriented band". Strongly influenced by its predecessor, "Forever Never End" offer 5 new compositions, two outtakes of the "A Young Person’s Guide..." recording procedure and 4 remix/alternative works of that album provided by among others OUT OUT or the Canadian act FRACTURED. A must-have download-item to all those who got touched by the content of the strongest emotions a broken heart can produce - but moreover specially dedicated to all followers of the intense last BATTERY CAGE album. This is an ideal follow-up release.


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