Music Reviews

Feb 11 2008
Artist: ANTLERS MULM (@)
Title: Of Withered Sparks
Format: CD
Label: Loki Foundation (@)
Rated: *****
OF WITHERED SPARKS is the third Antlers Mulm full length and it has been a pleasant surprise to me. If you read my reviews you already know that I like both experimentalism and melody, so it's with great pleasure that I listened to this latest Antlers Mulm, because it gathers them both. Hans Johm's personal project with this new album presents ten new tracks which have a minimal throbbing and particular sound with a melodic structure. On most of the tracks the rhythmical part is formed by glitch layers which form an interesting web of sounds. On top of this structure there's Hans' voice singing introspective and a little melancholic lyrics. Some of them seems little haiku, the Japanese short poems. Here's the one of "4 A.M.", for example: "Snow-like / a little slumber is falling down / down on the hazel tree / and all the tiny birds around". We could call this melodic isolationism and you can taste some excerpts at
Feb 10 2008
Title: Split 1
Format: 12"
Label: Basserk (@)
Rated: *****
SPLIT 1 is the first 12" of the SPLIT series and it is the first experiment of the genre for the label which is willing to present two A sides of different projects. Each band will bring their best tracks and each of them is getting a special cover for their side. The first project to start the series is $Jammie The Money and under this moniker is hiding the dj guy of the Nobody Beats The Drum band. He presents here two cool tracks of danceable electro in the Dutch style. "Getting warm" and "Dollars" are two really good tunes of dark electro with pumping bass and distorted synths. Great style and attitude distinct these tracks and are making sound $Jammie The Money like a master in the genre. We already knew Genjini and their "Das funkistador" because of the Basserk CD compilation "Some tunes". On their side the French band brings to the attention of the listener three new tracks: "Sarazvati Genjini botleg", "Tar digit" and "Mama house". The extravagant style of the French combo will make you remember their tunes because they de-construct melodies and beats just to built them back like they were remixing themselves. See for example how they treated the vocals on "Tar digit": they are like cut ups which find a new life between the analog layers of drum and synths. Try to imagine an electro remix of a rriot grrl band and you'll the have the idea. Their last track is a short one and it is a dissonant electro funky tune with distortions and stops and go. Just like an extreme and low-fi version of LCD Soundsystem. Great 12" which deserve your attention!
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Title: Seethe
Format: CD
Label: Rebco Records
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
SEETHE is the first full length for Flesh Eating Foundation and it arrives after a bunch of E.P.s. Their latest CDs, "The Dead", was already showing a band with good capabilities and a certain will to dare. Musically the Flesh Eating Foundation don't have boundaries and mix industrial e.b.m. and digital sounds with post punk attitude. On this album you can find aggressive tunes as well as catchy mid tempos (see "Kiss the tears") where razor like guitars and digital synths build a wall of sound which could convince the lovers of the old e.b.m. school as well as the audience who is used to contaminations of post industrial guitarism with post punk/goth music. On "Pass the knife", for example, they sound like a Batcave band on acid and their mixture of guitar mixed with digital distortions sounds really good. On the booklet they admit that sometimes they could sound like they are using some broken gear but this is how they like to make music. If you are missing the old Velvet Acid Christ but you want also some catchy tunes, try what these three zombies have to give...

Neon Cage Experiment: Materials and Methods

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (4163)
Feb 05 2008
Artist: Neon Cage Experiment (@)
Title: Materials and Methods
Format: CD
Label: Vendetta-Music (@)
Distributor: KGD Media
Rated: *****
The new and second full-length album of this French Electro/Industrial act is surely one of those events several fans out of the scene have been waiting for – at least for more than 3 years. Since their debut "Oscillations" has been reached euphoric reactions of both press and audience, the curiosity but also the high expectations on the quality of a second NCE release has been grown enormously.
Although "Oscillations" was only a debut release, the integrated musicians behind NCE could prove their unbreakable talents which they’d already reached with their different music projects in the past. NCE is mainly the surviving product out of the acts STIGMA (Daft Records/ant-zen) and AXONAL WARFARE (Celtic Circle Productions). Yes, the days of these bands have gone, though they’ve both produced a sort of special impressions with their early and now more than 10 years old releases on me personally. I still hold their debut demo tapes of both acts which have been produced, when no one was thinking on a CD-burner (not unavailable in 1995, but extremely expensive...), internet and mp3 files. STIGMA at least was the reason why I started to "like" the rougher forms of noise-driven Industrial, while the Dark-Electro-minded CD releases of AXONAL WARFARE have been the most underrated releases of CCP at all.
I could understand that AXONAL WARFARE had to call their quit out of the frustration about the unsatisfying situation, because they had that bad luck that their releases came out when CCP was about to close the doors – which means no serious promotional efforts at all from the label. The sudden and unexpected end of STIGMA is still mysterious and hard to accept – who would seriously give up a well recognized project with a deal of ant-zen in the hands??? Laurent Kistler, the leader behind STIGMA seemed to have some good reasons for this, so in 2003 STIGMA (Laurent Kistler) and AXONAL WARFARE (Nicolas Revil, Bruno Laborde) have united with the fourth member, Yoann Bourreau, to form NCE.
The further story has been told already, "Oscillations" came out, the band did some gigs and tours, some compilation appearances ("Endzeit Bunkertracks Vol. 1" for example...) came up – but at least they got a bit forgotten. Yes, some promising signs for new stuff have been switched to some rather underground-minded comp series, like La Chambre Froide’s "In This Cold Terrific Room 2" (track: "Breathing Cities") and Caustic Records’ "Electronic Manifesto" (track: "Memento"), but at least it may has taken a bit too long until this new album came out. This may belongs on the fact that the band seemed to think very long to change the label, because the small French label and mail order service Cortex Records has reached its boundaries to fulfill all requirements of an internationally renowned artist. In the meantime – and this is another unexpected loss for this project – Bruno Laborde, mainly responsible for programming and lyrics, has decided to leave the save NCE haven to concentrate on his solo effort NORMOTONE. So NCE will continue as a trio, though "Materials And Methods" has been produced as a quartet.
However, and if there are some negative-minded wankers complaining on the long pause, the wait is over now. "Materials And Methods" is that sort of an epic sounding Dark Electro-album which fulfills the highest expectations. The label info-sheet has stated some comparisons to some SKINNY PUPPY/HAUJOBB works, and I’ve seldom before agreed so much on this. I would add INTERLACE as a third reference, but finally this hits the same musically direction. Where "Oscillations" has offered diverse possible musically tendencies, this new album works out more coherent the structures to a complex and multiple-layered Dark Electro album as its best. Besides the sinister and thick synth layer sounds and the always tasteful and diverse produced rhythm constructions, the music of NCE earns a lot of depth thanks to the hypnotic vocal performance of Laurent Kistler. Human and mostly natural sounding, he offers his very best to sound authentic with needed doze of charisma.
13 tracks are available, plus a remix work on the track "Puppy" (originally available on "Oscillations") provided by HAUJOBB are resulting in nearly 80 minutes of an ominous sounding Dark-Electro masterpiece, on which it is a bit difficult to pick out the finest tunes. I would rate both "Hell’s Darker Chamber" for combining the best the typical NCE-athmosphere with gritty and experimental beats, and "Masquerade" because of ist catchy synth layer programming to be the outstanding works of a damned great album. Both "Breathing Cities" and "Forgiven Lies" are pushing the blood into the legs of some bodies for doing some Pogo-related dancefloor-action, but globally this albums relies on ist opulent layers and unforeseeable drum pattern programming.
An album rather more to get consumed as loud as possible on your home entertainment and although that the German promoter Hardbeat should work well to service the DJ’s in Europe, I finally fear that it won’t get played that much compared to the still straight-forward moving generic Hellectro stuff. Nevertheless, this album is musically that well balanced that it is a possible contender for the fictional "album-of-the-year" contest.

POSITION PARALLELE: Position Parallele

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (4162)
Feb 05 2008
Title: Position Parallele
Format: CD
Label: Hau Ruck! (@)
Distributor: Tesco Germany
Rated: *****
Position Parallele is a French duo which see Pierre Pi and Geoffroy D. (of Derniere Volonte) dealing with dark electronic pop tunes. Deeply influenced by 80's electro, Position Parallele on their self titled album propose eight minimalistic songs which mix cold wave atmospheres and electro pop attitude. Most of the tracks have a basic rhythm, a simple bass line and few other synths with Geoffroy singing his French lyrics (which unfortunately I don't understand. Only few things here and there but I can't say what they are about). Try to imagine Soft Cell playing Die Form and you'll have quite well the idea of what you'll find on this great album. At first it sounded strange to me to hear Geoffroy vocal style on electronic tunes because I'm used to hear it on neo-folk music so I allowed me to wait another day to listen to it the second time. The second listening I tried to focus on music without being distracted by a voice I already knew and I have to admit that the tracks are really great and they are able to create cold atmospheres without being too isolationistic. Try "Fortune" or the short "George - Arachnee" and you'll be instantaneously absorbed by a mixture of dark pop and melancholic electro. Try some songs on their Myspace and order your copy!

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