Music Reviews



Jun 17 2009
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Artist: PNDC & HOUSEWORK (@)
Title: Secondhand Language
Format: CD
Label: Ammonite Records (@)
Rated: *****
SECOND HAND LANGUAGE is the second album for PNDC and this time he tighten the collaboration with Thanos Vavaroutas a.k.a. Housework (each track see him playing guitar and he also sung on four of them) and you find it stated on the CD cover as it has been released under the PNDC & Housework moniker. The net collaboration between Serbia and Greece still worked fine and the duo offers ten new tracks in balance from dark electronic pop and dark wave with no boundaries. Offering intimate atmospheres, electro wave sounds and melodies that will seduce your soul the album convinced me and if Joy Division fans will be pleased by "Animal farm", lovers of female vocals will be seduced by Marina Skiadaresi a.k.a. Shadowlike on "Pilots" and "Goodnight". Musically, Pedrag created a good mixture of synths, piano and bouncing bass/drums sounds which found a good counterpart into the distorted/acoustic guitars of Thanos (which sometimes he sampled and treated). Sounding sophisticated and creative without forgetting to be "popular", SECOND HAND LANGUAGE is a good album which you should check. P.s. As bonus we also have three mix: "30.000 feet" reworked by "Laurent", "Shut my soul" remixed by Harold Nono (he did a wave semi industrial version of it) and "Goodnight" (this one is based mainly on Marina's vocals and layers of treated guitars).

The Crystalline Effect: Identity

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 15 2009
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Artist: The Crystalline Effect (@)
Title: Identity
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
Australia’s Electropop-duo THE CRYSTALLINE EFFECT hasn’t surely any identically problems, although some of the musically influences this duo likes to integrate in their tracks, remains to be filled with diversity. It’s the rich musically horizon represented by especially Pete Crane, which draws on this album with black ink in huge letters by balancing between music styles like Synth-/Futurepop, EBM, Industrial or Trip-Hop. And some Downtempo-tunes only based on some sedating synthesizer sounds, a charismatic vocal performance by the female band member Elenor Rayner as well as slowed-down Breakbeat rhythm-patterns ("One Time In Life"), can be discovered too. TCE aren’t that sort of an "often-heard-often-forgotten" act full of linearity and foreseeable sounds. But they aren’t also a typically floor-filling act relying on the ability to produce that "one-hit-wonder". A fine example can already discovered with the opener "Blue Sea", which starts with a single piano introduction and Elenor’s aesthetic vocals, until the beat joins the scenario to push the audience toward to some floor-movement. As for another highlight I tend to name with "Life Has Failed You", with its staccato-like kick and snare-programming and the included interruptions to strengthen one or another part of the music arrangement. Three additional remix works by Lee Bulig (ex-STARK), ENDIF and especially IMPACT PULSE are offering at least diverse sounding and for the most part straight and dancefloor-compatible reinterpretations, which may help some lazy DJ’s by the decision to play TCE tunes in the club – the original tracks of this album aren’t that suitable for this. A quite interesting Electropop-album, which earns its praising by the refreshing kind to experiment with diverse styles and rhythm programmings.

Neon Dream: Metropolitan West

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jun 15 2009
cover
Artist: Neon Dream
Title: Metropolitan West
Format: CD
Label: Equinoxe (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Hey, folks... please take your eyes off the green-filtered (you should know that green is an hypnotic color, shouldn't you?) picture of the entrancing neckline of that cutie model on the artwork and respect our fatigue of reviewing records for hours and hours just for a while as the Munster old gothic school seems to be more active than ever... Well, after the renowned issue of the prog-rock band Long Distance Call, here it is the second long-awaited act (... the whole fan-base and those critics which acclaimed to their debut Anodyne have patiently waited for five years their coming back in a studio recording... ) by Neon Dream, a fine band of contemporary gothic novelist and music translators of "dark" feelings swarming in the bowels of contemporary society into a musical idiom deeply rooted in the traditional gothic-rock ground' it's almost impossible to deny a certain influence of bands such as Paradise Lost - enhanced by some elements deriving from metal and wave and inventing a sort of (not so) fictional plot with a fertile level of metaphorical imaginary. In the illuminating preface to the record, the band headed up by singer Klaus Mollers' his gloomy voice is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable element of Neon Dream's line up... - clearly states that their main theme is "war and aggression against life" and quoting a famous sentence of Platoon ("We did not fight against an enemy. We fought against ourselves. The Enemy was inside us") in order to describe the state of the art of the mankind today, they identify their source of inspiration in a sort of nightly revelation inside of which there could be an hidden remedy ("It is despair, that characterizes all the beliefs in imaginary spiritual forces... call them god. Because: did those powers ever arrive or have been seen yet at all? I watch out for them every night. Hours, in which all lyrics of this album were written"... that's maybe why the album metaphorically begins with an atmospheric intro entitled "Flight to Dusk"... there're even some samples of an helicopter just to underline the technology evolution since the times of wax wings by Daedelus! ). Metropolitan West is not only what is normally known as a "conceptual album", even if its cohesion could suggest it, but the honeycombed way this band well balance gothic influences with metal and new wave excerpts is a body of evidence of their musical skills, which are clear since the first track Black Cicada, a sort of allegorical spell highlighted by a somber vocal interpretation by Klaus, whose visionary but not inducted by hallucinogenic drugs (!) state reach a peak in the title-track, a track which stylistically has a more "commercial" appeal, reminding to us some tv fictional series' soundtracks and classical goth-rock throughout airy sounds and sequenced guitar sets. We really like the inspired lyrics of Stealth, a sort of call-to-arms combined with a disquieting transliteration of a modern incubus in the "trillion lights up to 90th floor" of a skyscraper, which is depicted almost as a treasure of terrible mysteries connected to homologation plans ("crowds rushed beneath dark skies/Woman and man . dressed the same") transcending common people's imagination... ! Melancholy and depression as well as a sick sense of inadequacy are the leitmotiv which seems to inspire Veils , while in Agnostic there's a synth-pop pigment which doesn't disfigure the darkish visions of the whole album as well the touch of medieval folk harmonies roosting on Last Hours harmonies. The next track, "Exil" the only one with German lyrics with his industrial-novelistic wit and a hieratical tic-tac of a pendulum clock is with no doubt one of the most atmospheric one (and one of my favorite one). The harder side of Neon Dreamz' sound is surely Child Night Dream, which partially join with the support the band's giving to the Kim Foundation for helping children who physically or mentally suffer from war experiences (have a look to the foundation website: http://www.www.kimfoundation.com) . Some influences by the famous Finnish goth-roch band 69 Eyes on the luscious Sexaholica, while Human Replica seems to be another lucid inversion of a predictive dreamlike realism. The bonus track, Overscreening, with gears moving from the new-wave scene, is another body of evidence showing how diversified Neon Dream style seems to be! Thanks for your attention... now you can look elsewhere!

PLASMODIUM: PARADISE UNDER FIRE

 Posted by Mariano Equizzi (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (5186)
Jun 13 2009
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Artist: PLASMODIUM
Title: PARADISE UNDER FIRE
Format: CD
Label: Caustic Records (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
Straight, "simple", hammered Gothic EBM with a Spanish voice coming out from Balaguerò best movies ( the firsts ), Synths are like whips and in their music the absence of hope and the literary presence of an infernal chaos is evident, just like in today stock market. The work is powerful and the energy they put on this CD is without doubt sincere, they have a total control upon their art and their imaginary. All the tracks are ready for the club where EBM and strobolight are the gods of the night and I strongly suggest to EBM djs to pick up this useful instrument for ears "torture". What I love of EBM is the ability to be sharp and without remorse from the first vibes, PLASMODIVM wins this essential challenge and their music is even ready for an utilization really peculiar: cut all the sound of DOOM 3 or HALO and play at maximum volume this tracks, thats a symphony perfect to frag monsters, aliens and demons. My fav tracks, the sixth, sorry but I love Euro Techno ;)

Splatterpunk: Channel 83

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 08 2009
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Artist: Splatterpunk
Title: Channel 83
Format: CD
Label: Caustic Records (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
"The future is now" ... and it is obviously bad smelling... First full-length album signed by the evocative moniker of Splatterpunk (a term coined by D.J.Schow in order to describe a movement which rebels against the traditional horror fictional structure by depicting '“ even from the graphical viewpoint '“ the violence in a very tangible way and using horror novels just as a tool to propose a non-fictional analysis of the most disgusting portraits of the daily social life in a provocative way!), an interesting ebm project empowered by sharp reviews of contemporary lunacy, ideally broadcasted on channel 83, the highest frequency (now defunct) for NTSC-M terrestrial broadcasting! Even if there �re a plenty of references to some EBM classics, it's evident that a rich eclectic vein pulses using new music forms to propel its sometimes "subversive" messages in Splatterpunk's electromechanical body and Oscar Javierre Payà aka F18, the man behind this moniker, keep on dissecting the foggy pall enwrapping media-COMtrolled minds through an exquisite blend of sound tricks and well-crafted frequencies full of style variations, which sounds really good and absolutely enjoyable according to our ear response! Rooted down in the cyberpunk fertile cultural ground, the lyrics contains some eruptive statements since the beginning: Future Shock is a good ebm-techno liberation march related to the almost scientifical control some mass media use for enticing minds through apparently inoffensive bombing of info-shit ("digital emotion is the wrong devotion, connected to their lies by optic fiber line") and the nice Psychoterminal (... it's adorable that girl's voice contrasting with the hoarse one by Oscar repeating in an obsessive way "psycho"!) continues with the similar themes which is a sort of leitmotiv of the whole album, inherited by a lot of ebm and dark past acts ("the operative system that they install on your mind is just a simple extension of their fucking masterplan" evokes some dystopian writings by the legendary Philip K.Dick). After the whistling and suppurative minimalistic My Neurosis with the classic crumbling on some brass'n'bass sounds with an 808 State-like (to be honest, we should speak about a 909-State!!!) rhythmical pattern, there's the first pit stop, Robot Interface, a mumbling little candy (a little more than one minute is enough to take breath... !) with technospheric soundings which stands almost like a sort of tribute to Kraftwerk lessons before the further snapshot on social manias (un)frozen in the track Hi Technology, Low Life, a good example of danceable yeasty lo-fi tunes with grizzling "vocoderized" captions for a technologized world suffocated sentencing "the time has come and it will never come back again, we live in the last step of the final end", a nostalgic caress before the retro-futuristic high-propelled track Renegade Hacker 3.0 (prepare to repeat a lot of words ending with '“tion if you like to sing this song while dancing, folks!!!!). What a great track for a supposedly forthcoming Apocalypse engineered by Intel!!! Mr.Ralph appears again on Self Isolation, a catchy conglomerate of pitiful assumptions on people which decide to live this condition as a way of escapism... what can't be cured must be endured... ! A bleeding conceptual passage from robotic to zombie interface (not casual!) before another bath in an acid pool throughout the trance inducted by the well-done XXX-Terminator and the (voi)dances on a sort of vituperative "thrust and parry" in Suicde Epidemix ("I'm tired to see you in these fuckin photos, throw away this shit, it shows your self's lightlessness" seems to be the words a strong-minded friend will shout to an absent-minded one loving filling his albums on facebook!!!). Turbina Neoplastic with the flux of exercises on throaty beating vocals is certainly not my favorite track (even if it contains good samples), while the howls introducing the romantic intercepted love affair (let's say so!) of an idiot and a mechanical whore (containing a sample of the lies by Jose Maria Aznar told to Spanish people to justify the war on Irak... you should already know the bullshits on Iraki mass destructive weapons... shame on you, politicians!) is surely one of my favorite ones! Don't forget to have a listen (and some jumpy steps) on the two remixes included in the album, among which the ASCII-Disko one of XXX Terminator is an highlight! My personal compliments to Die-6 form Barcellona for pictures and artwork (well... the "fluttering" girl on cover artwork presumably taken from a Japanese porno movie is not the next picture taken from Berlusconi's Sardinean villa family album bought by El Pais!!!).


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