Music Reviews



VV.AA.: Cryotank Volume 2

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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May 23 2007
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Cryotank Volume 2
Format: CD
Label: cryonica (@)
Rated: *****
"Cryotank" is the second sampler for Cryonica music to celebrate the 5-year activity of the label. Here are the three highlights among some not so interesting clubby electro stompers for dark dancefloors:
Knifeladder - let me say that I loved the gloomy post-punk twist in the last Knifeladder album and that I have a deep admiration for John Murphy (former member of seminal acts like industrial gods SPK & post-punk legends Associates, and playing live for Death In June... need more?!?), here they
have an excellent track called "None of You" and an electro rmx by Antivalium.
Blue October - almost 10 years ago I was totally into synthpop/electropop and I remember I was blown away by Blue October's "Incoming", I even remember writing them emails filled with compliments and asking to come to play in Italy. I'm happy to find them in perfect shape with the two tracks on this compilation even if their style has changed a lot since 1998. Still brilliant!
Swarf - a blend of darkwave, pure electro & electropop a-là The Knife for this female-vocals trio from Brighton.

FADERHEAD: FH 2

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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May 22 2007
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Artist: FADERHEAD (@)
Title: FH 2
Format: CD
Label: Accession Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
Rated: *****
Hamburg-based FADERHEAD returns with his second full-length CD, again signed and brought to us by Accession-Records. Celebrated as being the newcomer in 2K6, FADERHEAD’s new album continues to walk on the path which the predecessor "FH 1" has gone. "FH 2" offers for sure more experience and maturity, but generally FADERHEAD remains himself – drastically style changes are not to expect. So you’ll get again his rather minimal on the whole concentrating Electro bass lines, a solid kick and snare work, his decent male timbre and a well-done at times cynical lyrical performance. This description sounds very old-school EBM-minded, for sure an influence, but not at all the completely style, which FADERHEAD is able to deal with. FADERHEAD likes to perform and describe in his lyrics about the (club) life in the music scene, at times a bit exaggerated, but mostly well on target. An example? "Another crazy Friday night. The boots are laced, the rubber’s tight. It’s time to drink and fornicate. And play the Terrorchrist again" (taken out of "Noisebastardz"). Lyrically he likes to poke fun a bit, musically I wouldn’t wonder if the "Terrorchrist" Electro/EBM purist will stomp to the straight and pounding arranged smasher tracks like the mentioned "Noisebastardz", "Gritty Beats, No Relief" or "Dirtygrrrls / Dirtybois" (featuring some Eifel 65-like vocoderized vocals...huh?). With "Houston" or "All Dead" you’ll get the yelling and raging FADERHEAD – it seems he has visited the hard PAINBASTARD school for while. It between he likes to offer some tracks to calm down and to relax. More diverse drum patterns, here and there some D’n’B influences ("Girly Show", "Sentimental Again") are proving the fact that a coherent album doesn’t need to feature 10 same sounding 4/4-on-the-floor smasher tracks. FADERHEAD offers the maximum in quality here and I’m mostly impressed by the crystal-clear production work in his studio. More of this, please, there should be room, ideas and efforts to release "FH 3", "FH 4", and, and, and.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Document A
Format: CD
Label: SkullLine Mailorder (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
Another new output of the German SkullLine Mailorder, this time a compilation which features all current label artists providing new, unreleased or hard-to-find tracks. For all of you who still have resisted to buy one or another of the amazing and extremely limited label releases, this compilation offers the welcome doze to get some deeper entrance and introduction to the roster. Both projects, TT and TRITON 83 are heavily dedicated to the rhythmically Powernoise genre and can service here the full range between Minimal, Noise and Experimental styles. "Tanzteufel" by TRITON 83 can be named as possible favorite for some Pogo movements on the dancefloors, while the track "Kindstod" with its tragic voice samples rather makes you think on the subject. Another favorite out of the label roster is SHIFT 69 offering a refreshing mixture of Electro/EBM and 80ies-inspired Pop/Wave attitudes. "Alles dreht sich im Kreis", well, it’s fantastic to see and hear how many different ideas especially regarding the used effects on the vocals the track "Im Kreis" has to offer – what a fine old-school inspired work! BLEIBURG – partly amazing if drifting into Experimental/Ambient/Noise drones, partly ridiculous if falling into minimal pre-80ies Kraut-Electronica, can convince here too, simply because Stefan Rukavina’s tracks here are returning to paths of Experimental/Ambient and Ritual-Industrial music – definitively his better side. So we have at least MANMACHINE, a German solo project which still can’t look on an own release for SkullLine, this project has only co-produced the BLEIBURG DCD "History In Flames". So it’s a bit to describe the provided music style – Minimal/Experimental/80ies/Electronica maybe? I guess there’s more to come. Ah, and wanna hear a really sick piece? Check out TT’s "Leichenliebe", which concludes this compilation... As usual for SkullLine release, also this compilation comes out extremely limited to 100 pieces and with an extravagant package. If this compilation draws a real dedication to the world-wide renowned art exhibition Documenta, which takes place all 5 years in Kassel/Germany, and in this year again, is rather questionable. Nevertheless label/mail order chief Harald Jarosch has picked up some quality recordings out his stable and this comp is a perfect invitation to grow deeper in the often harder to discover music stuff of the SkullLine label. More than 77 minutes of some fine and not to underestimating music rather based in experimental genres, get it!

track list:

01.Bleiburg - Guilty by association
02.Trition 83 - Tanzteufel
03.TT - Täuschung
04.Shift69 - Im Kreis
05.Manmaschine - Covered in Blood
06.Bleiburg - Lament of Irish Immigrant
07.Triton 83 - Kindstod
08.TT - Start - Sequence
09.Shift69 - I love it
10.Manmaschine - A peace of life
11.Bleiburg - Cthulu rising
12.TT - Biggi
13.TT - Leichenliebe (slow)

READJUST: Statement

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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May 18 2007
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Artist: READJUST (@)
Title: Statement
Format: CD
Label: Telegrammetry/Hypervoxx (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Another new signing for the Miami-based Telegrammetry/Hypervoxx label, and with READJUST another German act which has been active for years, but mostly very underground-based and out of sight of a wider audience. Against to their rhythmically Powernoise-presenting label comrades of STAHLSCHLAG, the music of READJUST follows rather the known path of EBM/Dark Electro and Industrial. I had the impression to listen to one of the uncountable debut releases of a Celtic Circle band – which may gives you an idea of the provided music style here. The opener "Hard To Die" provides convincing synth textures near to the Futurepop genre, while the vocals are too "unfriendly" performed that they would allow a relation to this genre. Also the track "Mein Hass", featuring useful German lyrics, can convince with some well integrated guitar riffs. Unfortunately the good quality of both opening tracks disappears with the following Goth-ballad "Queen Of Beauty", a track which really stumbles over all thinkable scene-related cliches. A weak female vocalists (Gundula Schikora/ARCANA MOON) horrific mixed in the foreground providing all that foreseeable lyrically nonsense which the title likes to announce – definitively a piece I would be ashamed to play it to anyone in 10 years – let’s call it a youth sin. Also "Born To Die (Club Mix)" isn’t at all the golden egg, the parrot-like male co-vocals are totally unnecessary and are causing toothache – same destroying judgement therefore also on the track "Locked In Silence". These tracks are luckily rather exceptions and READJUST are able to improve - "Break The Silence" and "My Star" are the better and more satisfying works of the band. The slow and creepy track "Nackte Angst" also isn’t free of cliches (...haven’t we heard lyrics about the happenings on the operation table before?) and services the average, but the also included killer remix of CENTHRON pushes the speed and offers the missed dancefloor attitude. Also the remix of CROWNICK on the track "Schwarze Seele" is up-to-date arranged and a marvelous work. This READJUST release would do a lot better if the band could decide to replace 4 – 5 tracks into new and more refreshing compositions. This "Statement" seems to be incomplete and sounds rather like a kind of collection of several tracks arranged and composed throughout years. That most of tracks are obviously driven by the "death-hate-disease" vocabulary in use for the lyrics isn’t the point here, also there’s nothing to say against the try to include musically diversity with the addition of several guest musicians and composers. But for READJUST and their debut this is rather poisonous. Some more improvement and practice would help to create a more floating and coherent album.

DIORAMA: A Different Life

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 18 2007
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Artist: DIORAMA (@)
Title: A Different Life
Format: CD
Label: Accession Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
Rated: *****
A new full-length release for the German act DIORAMA – that’s indeed another very fine item. Connoisseurs of the scene are digging their artistic being since years, maybe and thanks to the fact that their musically output has a special and very own signature which drifts away of the known formula. The music is electronic-minded and plays easily in between scene-related boundaries of Future/Synthpop to Dark Electro and Dark Wave. The band around mastermind Torben Wendt has traveled to some places between Austria and the North Sea coast of the Netherlands to pick up different moods and impression. They’ve recorded these influences in their mobile studio, simply to hold and save that moment. Also this new full-length release offers again the social-critically content the band is known for, again authentic and introverted intoned by Torben Wendt. To get DIORAMA known and heard in the clubs, they’ve also produced an EP of the track "Synthesize Me" – a straight Future-/Electro-Pop inspired track. In the same vain hits "Exit The Grey", a catchy tune aptly designed to be a possible second EP release out of this album. Also worth to mention are the rather strange constructed tracks like the opener "Screenface" and "Sands", featuring both more experimental percussion elements and effected vocals. Nevertheless I think that this band deals better with the rather subtle and melancholic arranged tracks like "Blessed" or "Burning Out" (excellent vocal performance!!!) – the favorites on this album. Please note also a hidden track starting shortly after the listed last track, "Colder". DIORAMA are still standing faithful to their own authentic kind and offer again a quality and not-to-be-missed album. Thumbs up also for the fine photo art in the booklet.


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