Music Reviews



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Artist: Totakeke
Title: Forgotten On The Other Side Of The Tracks
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Be assured, that the New York-based Electro/Industrial-producer Frank Mokros won’t offer an album filled with outtakes or B-sides, even if the chosen title that may suggests. Or let’s better say it so: if these are seriously outtakes, which couldn’t made it onto his last years’ amazing album "Elekatota: The Other Side Of The Tracks", then these tracks are still light-years above the normal quality level an average Electro/Industrial act would be capable to produce. Frank’s programming abilities to compose his thick layered and thrilling Dark Electro/Sci-Fi-related ambience are outstanding. "Blade Runner" has to be reprised or completely new invented, and please let Frank produce the soundtrack for such a movie project – you’d be amazed already from the music without watching the movie! Main recognition of this another nearly 70 minutes trip into the deepest Dark Electro/Industrial exploration are based on the three different versions of the track "Left At The Station", chapters 1 to 3. This track impresses with its hypnotic bass line programming and of course the unbeatable mood. Chapter 3 of this track got remixed by the famous TERRORFAKT, and – as expected – it pushes forward the masses to the dancefloors, while it too hasn’t to much common things with the original composition. Two further remix works are available of the track "The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes", a track originally based on Frank’s upcoming next album, announced to be out in Spring this year, both provided by his dear Anchorage-based label colleague Jimmy Church with his both projects LUCIDSTATIC and PANDORA’S BLACK BOOK. As to remember his above named last years’ album masterpiece, here comes a different version of one of the most remarkable tunes, "Strangle(_d)" – another save club-friendly tune. Favorites of the new compositions I like to name with the opener "Cry For Help", "Jetee" with its dreamy layer programming and the diverse beating "Euthanasia". A lot of stuff to discover once again from the talented musician – can we say, that Frank is the most and best recognized artist signed to Tympanik Audio? Obama knows the answer: "Yes, we can!"

Flexkiks: Freeland

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 22 2009
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Artist: Flexkiks (@)
Title: Freeland
Format: CD
Label: Lagunamuch Records (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Sad, but true, this review can be seen as an official obituary for this three-men collective. FLEXKIKS, signed to the Russian Lagunamuch Record label, consists of Alex Matrosov (Alexandroid), Liam-Arthur Berent (yes, that multi-talented musician also responsible for ABSTRACT AVENUE) and Vladimir Muhlberg. Only a few days after I received this album, the sad news flash via the label website came in, that Alex Matrosov died under mysterious circumstances in Riga, Latvia. Our condolences to all involved, family, music colleagues and the label. Having this tragically event in mind, to review and describe the music style of this release seems to be the most unimportant thing someone can think of. On the other hand, "Freeland" is sort of a classic album, which balances extremely well out the boundaries between Electro/Industrial and IDM, that it would be a pity if you’d never heard of it. Tracks like "RedoBox" and "Find It" offer food to join the dancefloors, while both calm and melodic pieces "Portobello.Rd." and "Freeday 10AM" let the user sink into a spacey world. Thumbs up also for the hypnotic track "F1", while both German titled tunes "Zwischenraum" and "Lückenschluß" leave the most the discovered course of music by adding some acoustic guitar elements as well. "Freeland" is a well-done album, which offers the best elements out of those two styles and it has even more interesting stuff if it comes to talk on musically diversity. But I guess the initially mentioned tragic event destroys all hopes for an additional follow-up album.
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Artist: Trümmerfrau (@)
Title: Música Mottekki
Format: CD
Label: Flashpop Media (@)
Rated: *****
Actually this TRÜMMERFRAU is a man consisting of the young German Electro-/Industrial musician Jan Pawelczyk. I should admit that my expectations on the quality and the seriousness of his work got limited after checking his cover art. They seriously went down to below than zero, because I never heard of a musician giving out a self-reflection and a review of the things happened in the composition process describing the how, when and were of the creation of each song. Funny for the most part to read, but also witness of how simple the creation with laptop and sequencer program can be. Well, without any expectations on this release I must admit, that some or another FX programming seriously caught attention. Musically somehow comparable with a comedian version of STRAFTANZ, Jan shares a lot of the up-to-date available club sound with a similar composing formula. The try to imitate some old-school veterans with some "Wir sind die Deutschen" revolution-like lyrics in "Fidel Castro Its Nicht" are those better moments with a sense of humor in mind. Great idea also to integrate some chirping harp-like sounds in the well-constructed Synthpop-tune "Alone Against The Tide", another highlight to point out. On the hand, Jan seems too often "influenced" by his both better-looking cheerleaders responsible for some live support, or how can a tune like "Gimme All Ya Juice, Baby" any else rated? Also the creation of Frauke, the hammering woman on the front cover, documented with a dedication track "My Love Is Noisy" counts rather to his more weird ideas. To each one its own style, I can recommend this album for anyone interested in some good club fodder – but too many acts are overfilling this style already. The music generally lacks of more surprises, so let’s hope that Jan can score even more with his sense of humor.

Aliftree: Clockwork

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 22 2009
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Artist: Aliftree
Title: Clockwork
Format: CD
Label: Compost records (@)
Rated: *****
Alif Tree is a seasoned and well established French composer, producer, engineer and sound designer. Based in Marseille but constantly traveling around the world he writes for film/TV, produces remixes, writes for classical dance ballets, plays gigs and at the same time magically finds the time to write great music, gets top musicians to record it in Nashville and then packages it into a beautiful and sophisticated melange of ambient, electronica, trip-hop, jazz, pop, blues and more. I don't think I heard his debut "The Observatory" back in 2000, but considering it took him 8 years to create the follow up to that you can imagine that this is indeed a great album, and he makes no qualms about proudly stating that himself. "Clockwork" is delicate and classy like french cusine but at the same time rough and live like some of the most well conceived and put together examples of live-music-based electronica. With male and female singers ranging in style from the Soprano-theme-ish deep blues tone to the chantouse-ish lounge/acid-jazz ethereal, "Clockwork" draws from influences and eras as disparate as every music lover's collection. Borrowing counter clock wise while attempting to look clockwise ahead, "Clockwork" is for the most part the result of live sessions with only minimal (if at all) sampling. Even so it manages to stand the test of time while challenging a unique temporal context. The album sounds fresh but rooted in the past, which is probably the best of both worlds today. Alif Tree draws a picture of depth and complexity that only the most eclectic and open-minded of producers can.

T_ERROR 404: Million Thoughts

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Apr 15 2009
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Artist: T_ERROR 404 (@)
Title: Million Thoughts
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: X-Line (@)
Rated: *****
X-Line can be surely named as being one of the best known net-labels hailing out of Russia. It is the legitimate follow-up label to NBK-Records, but with respect on the current hard times, they release their stuff as digital downloads for free under the Common Creative License. The label X-Line is part of the Alter-X Promotion Project, which at least consists of three different labels. X-Line itself stands for a crossover between EBM/IDM, while Absetzer provide rhythmic Powernoise and the third Space-Time Continuum takes care on various forms of Ambient music. T_ERROR 404 is surely one of these promising and still need-to-discover-them related acts and they stand luckily for a hard Electro/EBM sound, which doesn’t remind on a daily doze of repetitive Hellectro-mutations. "Million Thoughts" presents a wide-ranging style between classic Dark Electro music ("Million Thoughts", "Solaris") to powerful rhythmical Noise-like tune ("One On One", "Sky Surfer"). This musically diversity for sure helps T_ERROR 404 to earn respect for their work, although they not reinvent the wheel. Also good to hear that they still prefer a subtle form of audio compression, instead to a volume make-up for breaking the highest peaks. EBM/Industrial can still be an aesthetic form of experimental-oriented music, and this talented Russian act proves this well. An act to follow without doubts and I hope for a better and international recognition for them. Also good to see and know, that this act has conceptual releases in stock, which seem to fit with the musically outfits of the above mentioned three labels. As I said before, this album is available for free in both formats MP3 and lossless FLAC directly from the X-Line website.


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