Music Reviews



Solar Fake: Broken Grid

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Apr 01 2008
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Artist: Solar Fake (@)
Title: Broken Grid
Format: CD
Label: Synthetic Symphony
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
The highly acclaimed debut of this German solo-project which has already received a lot of praising in advance through all relevant press resources. SOLAR FAKE is Sven Friedrich, who has made himself already a good name as being the vocalist and multiple instrumentalist of Goth-Rock acts like DREADFUL SHADOWS and ZERAPHINE. For SOLAR FAKE he has decided to move on to new musically territories, because all music is pure electronic-driven, here and there some light settled down guitar riffs are complimenting one or another track. So the question in advance flying like a sword over this release was, can a Goth-Rock musician provide enough talent and courage to come out with a pure electronic-driven album, which at least is worth to listen to? To answer this needs only one word: YES! It may belongs that I have never had any interest to discover Sven Friedrich’s usual playing field, it also may belongs on the fact, that Sven is surely a multiple talented and open-minded musician – but to me "Broken Grid" extracts a lot of personality and real emotion thanks to the fact, that Friedrich has seen and done different things in this shark-infiltrated pool entitled music business. It was for sure out of any discussion simply to put some trust in the usual but also repetitive kind to produce an Electro/EBM-album, no, this plan to come out purely electronic-based (...and to shock the die-hard fans...), needed a special effort. In case of Sven Friedrich there’s at first to name the fact, that he has completely created all used sounds on himself – an example of work which I would like to recommend to any other bands else too – where’s the sense to follow given preset sounds or to sample the Access Virus a millionth time again? Another favor is Sven’s well sounding voice – he can sing and proves it often here, plus he knows musically harmonies – this isn’t the debut of a bloody newcomer, or did you expect this? Finally I like to name the rather calm and melodic tracks on this album as being his best works, "Hiding Memories From The Sun" and "Here I Stand" – even if especially this two pieces aren’t too representative, because Sven doesn’t come out one-dimensional in the Futurepop-genre. Some pieces like "Stigmata Rain" or "Creep" still offer a poisonous and dirty Goth-Rock influence. And to all who expect a straight turn-over to some rather commercial-oriented Alternative/Pop music outfit – well, NOOOO, this stuff is beasty enough, not to fall into this redundancy. Thumbs up for a quite entertaining album, which at least can offer one or another jewel, if you’re walking with open ears through this (music) world. If this album will at least have any influence on Sven regarding his further musically career with his Goth-Rock projects? Well, it shouldn’t wonder me...
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Artist: Neon Coil
Title: Non-Stop Electronic Cabaret
Format: CD
Label: Klangdynamik Records (@)
Distributor: Mono Culture
Rated: *****
This is surely one of the most courageous releases in years for the Electro/EBM/Industrial genre because of its musically concept, which can be called unique. NEON COIL is a German newcomer project providing a sort of minimal Synth-Electronica pretty much inspired by the sound aesthetic of some pioneers like KRAFTWERK – you’ve simply to erase the Pop-music-attitude of the German giants, because NEON COIL is light-years away to fit with any mass-compatible attitude. No vocals, only a very few voice samples, this album depends to explore the sound in itself. So the sound of NEON COIL is programmed on analogue synths and Felix Keuling creates hypnotic sequencer lines in vein of old KLINIK or MORTAL CONSTRAINT-like efforts ("Gelb"). No stuff at all to invade the dancefloors, rather experimental-minded Electronica for a consumption under a pair of headphones. So the concept behind this album leaves no space for a so-called "hit" – all tracks have its own kind, some are more, some are lesser accessible, it only depends on your personal taste and your ability to accept this release of what it really is. It is a kind of work-show in which a young fellow offers his vision of sound and programming. Nothing more nothing less, this album is dedicated to sound-fetishists.

November Process: Deafinition

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Apr 01 2008
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Artist: November Process (@)
Title: Deafinition
Format: CD
Label: Vendetta-Music (@)
Distributor: KDG Media
Rated: *****
Well, I guess I’m a lot after schedule by reviewing this new EP of Germany’s Synth-/Futurepop-act NOVEMBER PROCESS, which has signed now on Vendetta-Music. A bit surprising though, since all acts of the Vendetta-roster are rather presenting the harder styles between old-school EBM and authentic Dark Electro music. After their first release on Germany’s Sonic-X label, they here offer a 39 minutes long new release – maybe opulent enough for an EP, but for sure not long enough to call it a full-length album. The music generally follows quite expected paths, it’s technically well-done Futurepop-music with elegant arrangements, solid compositions and a satisfying male vocal performance. Normally bands place for the both opening slots a club hit or such, in case of NP you’ll get an instrumental intro track ("Disharmonic") and the second track "Antiharmony", which seems to be the second chapter of the intro. Sad but true, it’s unexplainable to put both weakest tracks of this whole EP at this entrancing and important positions, because the overdriven use of repetitive and generic Techno sequences gives especially "Antiharmony" an unpleasant outfit. The enjoyment starts with track 3, "Men In Grey" as well as the follow-up "#Define Friend", which both impress with a much better song construction and the required doze of melodic components to bring them in sight with global players like EDGE OF DAWN or NOYCE TM. Danceable highlight is the title track, which pushes the speed even more, also the bass lines have been worked out more intense. A melodic and sentimental ballad hasn’t to be missed for bands out of this genre and "Coldwar" is a fine piano-driven example for this. Nothing to complain with the further tracks too, the last track "Lead The Way" surprises with some guitar insertions, so you’ll get a globally convincing new EP of this German act. Musically they’re surely talented enough to rival with the both above mentioned names, but this they still have to prove with perseverance and a coming next release.

PNDC: Fading Away

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 31 2008
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Artist: PNDC (@)
Title: Fading Away
Format: CD
Label: Listen Loudest / Slusaj Najglasnije
Rated: *****
Released by the Croatian D.I.Y. label Listen Loudest, FADING AWAY is the first album by Pndc (a.k.a. Pendrag Nedic). Member of the Serbian electronic ambient band Erogenius, Pendrag started working at some songs of his own in mid 2007, then he published some instrumental tracks on his myspace page. After receiving a good feedback he decided it was worth developing them. He was lucky enough to find a guy called Thanos (a.k.a. Housework) who was interested into collaborating by singing and writing lyrics. The fact is that Thanos not only is from Greece but he also lives there and the duo did everything through the net. The final result is really good and the particular electro wave songs produced, sound fresh and introspective. Listening to the album a couple of times I thought I was listening to an hybrid version of Bowie/Nick Cave dealing with dissonant electro-wave songs. Pendrag song construction seems to be always in search of a particular solution (sometimes experimenting also, like on "Oh my God it's true") which could make sound the song more interesting. At this purpose you can find reversed guitars, flangered bass guitar, catchy sinth lines, etc. The really deep and convincing vocals provided by Thanos are doing the rest and all these things make of FADE AWAY a perfect CD for whose who are needing something new into the new wave scene. Check some songs at the myspace link provided and you'll fall in love with "Disco disco" or "Pick up your tears". Mind that on the CD there aren't fill ins!
Mar 29 2008
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Artist: Noiseshaper
Title: Real to Reel
Format: CD
Label: Miracle Sounds (@)
Distributor: Rooftop Promotion
Rated: *****

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Florian Fleischmann and Axel Hirn, who form the Berlin-based duo Noiseshaper, turn in a deft and playful collection of self-produced dance singles that fold Reggae/Dancehall/Dub vocals and influences into conventional Electronica sensibilities. This CD, which has Adrian Sherwood on dubs and overdubs, and the legion of guest singers and toasters also include Beans & Hawkman, G. Rizo, Juggla, Jackie Deane, Vido Jelashe I, Wayne Martin, MC Shureshock and Jahcoustix. Accordingly the CD has a pleasing balance of numbers, songs of many different tempos, which are hard-hitting or gentle as called for, and uniformly well-produced.

The featured themes of the disc include both those of "conscious" roots Reggae and the much-heralded violence certain parts of Jamaica are known for (referenced in the very first two tracks, notably). The second of these, "Me Done" (featuring Ari Up of the Slits as the featured toastmaster), is armed with Chemical Brothers-style dance flavor -- you can hear the same grinding, groovy bass line that propels the Chems' "Leave Home" from Exit Planet Dust. Curiously, in track 4, pumping bedroom piece "Love to the Rhythm," the refrain is clearly saying "Sla-a-a-ave to the rid-dim..." -- not even the plantation is forsaken on this cruise. "All A Dem A Do," track 10, opens with lovely guitar arpeggios, and evolves into and out of a kicking drum line that would make Groove Armada proud. Track 13, the TVS remix of "Walls of Silence," recalls some of the sample-y weirdness of Sherwood's earlier associations with Tackhead and African Headcharge, but with less of the spontaneity and more of an eye for the dance market itself.

To the orthodox Reggae fan, it may sound as though Fleischmann and Hirn are taking some liberties with Reggae music's various genres and sub-genres, but from here it seems to do more good than harm. Although by now this compilation of Noiseshaper's singles can't hope to sound anything close to groundbreaking, it has the function of exposing one to a surprisingly broad range of Reggae styles -- and simply shoving a much-needed Reggae/Electronica stone into its proper corner of the Dance temple.


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