Music Reviews

HOH: We Can Work It Out

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 07 2008
Artist: HOH (@)
Title: We Can Work It Out
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Zang: Records (@)
Rated: *****
Active since early 2000s Hoh a.k.a. Helge Olav Øksendal is releasing for Zang Records a new MCD after his latest album "Bestemor" published the last year. Unfortunately for me, this is the first time I have the chance to try his music and it's really difficult to understand his music having two original compositions and four remixes of those two. Anyway, the CD opens with "Lovebreak", a track which starts slowly like a dripping water tap and slowly it's rhythmically enriched sounding like a dub i.d.m. track. After a couple of minutes the track reveals itself adding a nice nervous bass line which subsequently is coupled by the performance of an agitated vocalist. The Dj Woo and the QRT remixes give to that track a break-beat and an electro experimental treatment. The second original track is the main one "Wecan work it out". The track is twelve minutes long and it starts with a calm synth loop. After a while rhymth and a nice female vocal are added and some other little synth layers are added. The tracks plays with these elements for its whole length without being changed that much. Is like HOH wanted to create a melodic moment suspended in time. The ".P remix" of the tracks de-construct it by slowing it and adding distortion little by little until there's nothing left of the melody. After three minutes (on the middle of it) a sort of industrial scenario made of a looped synth pattern plus some other throbbing sounds has take a hold and it sounds like Godzilla stomping on a birth cake. Nice one. The closing track is a radio edit which represent the essence of the track. A better one, because it's less dispersive.
Title: Critical Mass
Format: CD
Label: Aesthetic Death (@)
Rated: *****
After publishing the Dead Beat Project, Aesthetic Death is releasing another solo album by a member of Esoteric. This time we have Gordon Bicknell, Esoteric's guitarist, who under the Lysergene moniker is bringing us a good album titled CRITICAL MASS. The album has nine tracks which are in balance from ambient industrial, industrial e.b.m. and 70's cosmic ambience. The album opens with the main track and just after one minute of tense ambient sounds it literally explodes proposing a multitude of sounds: on the background we have light industrial percussions, upfront we have a drum machine which duets with distorted horns and synth layers which gone mad. An intricate web of sounds which only apparently is chaotic. "Twisted and evil" is less chaotic and it's a sort of continuum to the opening one. It starts like an ambient track just to turn into a rhythmic tribal electronic dance. "Monolith" is pure industrial e.b.m. while "L.s.d." starts like an ambient track just to turn into a cinematic electronic tune. "Neon flow" and "Network tv" are ideally linked to "Monolith" bringing more instrumental industrial e.b.m. to the menu. With "The groke" the album changes and we have a sort of industrial version of Sunn o))) just to turn again on a more ambient industrial e.b.m. ambience on "The becoming". "Shock treatment" closes the album with a blast, proposing a mix of all the above. If you love cinematic tense atmospheres, ambient industrial CRITICAL MASS and 70's electronic as well as kraut rock, try this one...

Chance's End: The Outsider

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Apr 03 2008
Artist: Chance's End (@)
Title: The Outsider
Format: CD
Rated: *****

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Lately there seems to be an increase in the number of the talented violin players (Christian Howes, Warren Hood etc) who are pushing the envelope of what the role of a classically-trained violin(ist) is. Ryan Avery does so himself with his instrument and his passion for downtempo electronica. His pleasant new album called "The Outsider", showcases his Groove Armada, Hybrid and Vanessa-Mae influences. The 13 songs (including two Astor Piazzola covers) feature violin melody lines with counter-parts, rhythmical accompaniments and harmonies also played on the violin. The whole thing gently lays on a simple but effective backdrop of electronic drums, pads, sequences and all the other usual suspects of electronica. In fact the colors of the production vary from plain electronic music to more acid jazz material, reaching out to the far corners of accordion-graced tango-inspired lounge music as well as uptempo breakbeats. Definitely an interesting departure from what we usually receive and review in this category and a fresh of breath air from, indeed, an outsider!

Solar Fake: Broken Grid

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Apr 01 2008
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.

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