Music Reviews



Feb 01 2008
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Artist: AGENT SIDE GRINDER
Title: Agent Side Grinder
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
After their debut 7" and their track on the "Hoera! Een Hex voor thuis!" album compilation here comes the AGENT SIDE GRINDER debut vinyl album. The platter opens with the two tracks released on the 7" but here presented in a different version. The first unreleased track we find is "Voice of your noise", an obsessive track which pair a rumbling bass guitar with background industrial noises and desperate vocals. No drum. "Lashes of flashes" is less "destructive". On this one the Swedish duo bring to the attention of the listener an hypnotic retro experimental electronic tune. "The leading role", instead mix Suicide with Soft Cell, while "Brave new age" leads the audience through six minutes of slow electronic melancholy. A track which sounds good for a noir movie. "String strikes" is the one I prefer and on this one Agent Side Grinder sound like an electronic version of Gang Of Four/Pere Ubu on acid. This tune is the most melodic of the lot but it has a lot of tribal percussions along with catchy synth lines. Also "Container baby traffic blues" is less experimental, melodically speaking, but it has always that tormented vocals/attitude which fast became the band's peculiarity. The album closes with "Remnants of my sight", a track which reminds me of the less depressed Joy Division. I'm glad to notice that the duo didn't stick on their initial Cabaret Voltaire approach and proposed on this album a wider collection of songs which explore electronic experimentation as well as something more melodic.

Voide: Evolution

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 31 2008
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Artist: Voide (@)
Title: Evolution
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
Although VOIDE is his new music project and has started in 2K6, the Swedish Electro/Industrial-musician David Almgren can’t be at seen as a greenhorn. David already started to experiment with electronic-based music in 1984 and can look back on several music projects in quite different directions. Nothing which could grab enough attention for a possible break-through, but a lot of stuff to learn and to grow on. The result of his growing can be discovered on this new full-length album entitled "Evolution". Compared to the rather spacey background Electronica tunes mostly presented on his early last years’ debut "Space Sponge", VOIDE offers a refreshing new form of Electro-Pop music, which finds musically inspiration in the pioneering works of KRAFTWERK, YELLO, ART OF NOISE or other Synthpop-driven artists with a strictly dedication to the romantic kind of the 80s Pop/Wave-culture. Of course, some of David’s textures as well as his recording abilities are sounding up-to-date, but this doesn’t at all weaken the first impression. He also couldn’t resist to offer his vocals in this mostly vocoderized "robotic-voice" style, which has made KRAFTWERK that famous. Most of the tracks offer a straight-forward and beat-oriented attitude, I finally hope that a DJ will be courageous enough to play this kind of music. Everything on this album sounds coherent and nearly epic, while he’s picking up several themes like the ongoing development of the man – machine dialogue and several astronomy and Sci-fi-related things. Both tracks out of VOIDE’s Si-CD released only a half year before, "Computer Nation" and "Dream Machine", are available on here too, and can be named as being the most catchiest tracks here, while pieces like "Motivator" or "R-Evolution" penetrating the boundaries to some EBM-minded areas. Another great proof, that Electronic-based music has had its heydays around 15 years before, but as much as I adore this album and the artistically concept behind this fine project, it needs to be mentioned, that "Evolution" is only David’s third best work so far. After a now 9-years-old daughter, the entirely Chain D.L.K. staff likes to send out congratulations and all best wishes to the whole Almgren family for the sweet female family addition, which happened to see the light of life during the last week.

ALEC EMPIRE: The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 31 2008
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Artist: ALEC EMPIRE
Title: The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven
Format: CD
Label: Eat Your Heart Out
Rated: *****

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During the last decade crossover between musical genres has always been a refreshing factor for music and has always been a key point for the creation of new sub-genres or new styles. Alec Empire since the early days of Atari Teenage Riot kinda incarnated this way of thinking by experimenting with a sound which later became digital hardcore. The end of the A.T.R. experience didn't make him stop experimenting with sounds but his attitude had always something to do with the punk attitude. His key album in my opinion has been "Intelligence and Sacrifice". On that double CD, the second disc contained tracks inspired by early Cabaret Voltaire and with the widening of influences made Alec's evolve. The following album "The futurist" was focused on a punk approach with less digital distortions and an upfront guitar which maybe made of it his most accessible album. Three years after that album here is THE GOLDEN FORETASTE OF HEAVEN. This new one has ten new tunes which get their influences from the late 70's taking Iggy Pop vocal style (see the opening "New man" and "Ice - as if she could steal a piece of my glamour" which sounds like "Ghost rider" mixed with "Loco mosquito" sung by Iggy Pop) and mixing it with the minimal synth lines of Suicide (see "...If you live or die"), passing through Lou Reed ballads (see "1000 eyes" or "No/Why/New York"). This time guitars are used on some tracks but are also used differently compared to the previous album (less punk riffs and a sound with more bass and middle frequencies with no razor like effect). THE GOLDEN FORETASTE OF HEAVEN sounds different from the previous Alec Empire stuff and it sounds good. Check "Robot love" of "Bug on my windshield" for example and you'll find an updated version of Suicide which seem to be seduced by minimal techno. This time there you won't find an album all based on the "in your face" effect. There's plenty of energy but there isn't the wall of sound you would expect. Alec went back to the roots of punk and reprocessed all those inputs. Try it... P.s. Welcome also his new label "Eat your heart out"!

THE HOLOCAUST HUMANITY: s/t

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 30 2008
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Artist: THE HOLOCAUST HUMANITY (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Zoviet Records (@)
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
This is a new Dark Electro/Industrial duo hailing out of Austin, TX, and they offer us their debut album. Consisting of the both musicians Nathan Hewitt and John Mrugalla, it seems that this kind of music has to belong out of Texas, some comparable relations to some international renowned acts like MENTALLO & THE FIXER and their multiple side-projects, or JIHAD can be recognized. Also the tunes of THE HOLOCAUST HUMANITY offer a sort of classic inspired Dark Electro music very much in vein of the mentioned patterns, but I tend also to name highly anticipated acts like HEAVY WATER FACTORY as a possible reference. Their sound outfit extracts a lot of charisma thanks to the fact, that they provide their vocals mostly natural sounding. Only a few tracks offer a harsh effected vocal performance ("Grasping To Hold To") and these are mostly those works, which follow the most the typically but still beloved PUPPY-an identity by combining a cinematic atmosphere and creepy percussive elements. This self-titled album impresses the most with its positive aura and the rather melodic tracks like "Knew Life" and "Only Living" featuring a catchy "singing-along-the-line" attitude. Sure, tracks like "Us Astray", "A Suicide" or "When Bombs Are Falling" (cool shuffle-like drums...) are offering in the first instance an inviting tempo to animate the listener to some floor action, but some unconventional interruptions of the song structures at least are proving the fact, that THE HOLOCAUST HUMANITY don’t like to get reduced to a simple formula. This music seems rather to be composed for a consumption on your home entertainment, the easy-to-go movement to share the dancefloors they left out to some competitors. On the other side, this is one of the best and most surprising debuts I had the honor to discover. Many thanks from my side to the German duo Schmoun and Arnte of NORDSCHLACHT for the recommendation of this talented US-duo, whose career should have just been started here. A promising collaboration between NORDSCHLACHT and THE HOLOCAUST HUMANITY is already in the works. But first of, go out and buy this essential album.

MISS KITTIN: Batbox

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jan 29 2008
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Artist: MISS KITTIN
Title: Batbox
Format: CD
Label: Nobody's Bizzness (@)
Rated: *****

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I knew Miss Kitten a.k.a. Caroline Herve since her collaboration with Felix Da Housecat and after that I discovered her stuff with Golden Boy and The Hacker. Some years later I happily saw her releasing an album for Mute and I really liked "I com" since the first listening. After four years without producing a studio album I was expecting her big comeback and at first I didn't know that Nobody's Bizzness was her own and new label. With a new label, new sound and new collaborator (she isn't helped out by The Hacker on this new adventure but by Pascal Gabriel, producer of ex Propaganda Claudia Brucken, Erasure, Debbie Harry, Dido, Natalie Imbruglia, etc) I didn't know what to expect from BATBOX. Well, at a first listening I must admit that I really miss The Hacker production and the quasi punk attitude of Miss Kittin previous releases. BATBOX is well produced but it seems lacking of ideas as the tracks kinda play around one riff with the enhancement of nice audio tricks. If on tracks like "Silver Screen Shower Screen" or "Frank Sinatra" her vocals were sounding sensual, the polished sounds of "Solidasarockstar" or "Wash'n'dry" make sound her voice like she was bored. Is this album so lame? No, I don't think this is the case but if we have good tracks like the single "Kittin is high" or "Sunset strip" we have also other ones like "Grace" or "Pollution of the mind" where you are like waiting for the blast to come but when the following song starts, you have a sour taste in your mouth. Just to make you understand what I mean, try to imagine to listen to "I com" for the 20th time in a month. After all those listening you will miss a little its initial effect. Well, this is what I felt the second time with BATBOX. Mind that if this will be your really first time you are listening to Miss Kittin, probably you'll like it since the first note. P.s. BATBOX's cover and graphics have been made by Rob Reger, creator of Emily The Strange character.


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