Music Reviews



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.
Mar 26 2008
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Artist: THREE CHEERS FOR DIRTY / LUCKY GOAT
Title: Split 2
Format: 12"
Label: Basserk (@)
Rated: *****
SPLIT 2 is the second 12" of the Basserk Netherlands/French split series. This series want to introduce you new exiting bands which characteristic is to deal with the electro sound in a special way. May it with punk influence or may it with techno impetuosity, the bands are picked up by Basserk and treated like number ones. Printed on deluxe heavy vinyl 12" each band has a side and three cuts to prove their greatness. This time, for this second release, we have the French Three Cheers For Dirty and Netherlands Lucky Goat (formed by two ex 3-1 members, which already released a 12" on Basserk). Three Cheers For Dirty are presenting on their side three techno punk grooves where techno fat bass lines duet with electro bleeps and raw distorted vocals creating a distorted mixture which sound like Miss Kittin meet Peaches. The French guys aren't afraid to get their hands dirty and shoot out three hypnotic punk upbeat tempos. Lucky Goat are less raw sounding and propose three of what the label calls "electronic music with a tropical breeze". "Ooh yeah (Lionfish rmx)", "Midnight sour" and "Salad" are a mixture of electro reggae and low bit-rate dub with bass frequencies and echoed vocals: particular and funny. If you have the opportunity check for first "Salad", a good example of funky electro with jazzy inserts. Bounce it baby!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Emerging Organisms
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Rated: *****
Also declared under the sub-title "Hidden Forms Compilation Series One", the new US-label Tympanik Audio offers its first release of a well packaged DCD digipak-set. Musically they have collected 29 appearances based into the wide and mysterious fields of Dark Electro, Experimental, IDM, Techno, Dark Ambient and Electronica music. This isn’t that sort of a Harsh EBM collection, which gets often praised and released like sand on the beach, the whole concept rather tends to collect Electronica music with demand – the featured music here requires attention from the listener.
Some international renowned names like the haujobb-project ARCHITECT (with a double-remix-play on here, remix works got provided by DRYFT and DISPLACER), S:CAGE, the up and coming NEGATIVE FORMAT side-project DISTRAUB, TOTAKEKE (Frank Mokros, new signed to Tympanik Audio!), FLINT GLASS, AB OVO, HECQ or MNEMONIC are proof of a diverse and quality-oriented selection. CD 1 is mostly influenced by Dark Ambient and technoid Industrial tunes, but – as strange as this sounds – I tend to say that the most promising appearances got provided by the rather unknown artists of this compilation. ARCHITRAV seems to be a Dark Ambient-inspired side-project of Germany’s MNEMONIC and offer a static and ominous sounding opening track. We had already the Alaska-based project LUCIDSTATIC in our review section on here, but this new tune left me breathless! So it has to sound if multiple programmings can mean multiple drum patterns, this "Night Vision" is a rhythmically bomb and the best piece of work of this project so far. Good to know that Tympanik has signed on them too, a new album should be come out during summer. TZOLK’IN is a mutual project between EMPUSAE and FLINT GLASS and got recently signed to Ant-Zen. Their track comes out quite melodious and straight oriented, while not at all forgetting its musically belongings. There are more favorites worth to be named available on CD 1 for sure, but since this whole compilation is that filled with more than 143 minutes of purest Experimental Electronica music, I just like to concentrate only on the to me very best.
CD 2 offers a decent collaboration between the Ant-Zen AB OVO and FLAQUE, while the Swiss act STENDECK gets remixed by Slovakia’s top-notch act DISHARMONY. FREEZE ETCH and their track "Stalwart" is another straight example with inserting layer sounds. Other highlights I like to name with GINORMOUS (straight and effective) FLAQUE ("Black Shadows In The Fog" – the title couldn’t explain it better how it sounds...), while the Big-Beat- and sample-driven "Witching Hour" of Canada’s DISPLACER causes a smile in the face of the listener. Same judgement like on CD 1, here can be named several other act, which my satisfy the listeners even more.
However, Tympanik Audio have released a full-scale quality compilation which is a feast to all open-minded listeners who get thrilled by some more Experimental-oriented music. Another nice side effect is the fact that this DCD set will never enter the world of legally download portals. Although I have already seen a link available on a well-known illegal Russian downloading portal, I like to forward congratulations to the responsible people behind this label – this may is the right initiative to start a rage against downloading procedures to save the format CD. Soon more with new releases about this fine new label.

Track list:

EO¹:

Architrav: Bewegungsspielraum
Eretsua: Proto-Awareness
Rekt: Somebody Set Up Us The Bomb
Urusai: Slow Forward
Lucidstatic: Night Vision
Architect: Caine in the Brain | Displacer remix
Distraub: Motion Sensor | Recalibrated
Tzolk'in: Imix | Hidden Forms remix
Totakeke: Power of Ideas | Hidden Forms mix
Talvekoidik: Hymn
S:cage: Unearth
Freeze Etch: Irrotator
Architect: Stairway | Stairwell Sidearm remix by Dryft
Unterm Rad: On the Brink (Verge) | remix by Dreams Are Maps

EO¹ - Run Time: 71:30

EO²:

Flint Glass: At Takwi
Ab Ovo vs. Flaque: Circle of Memories
Stendeck: Like Falling Crystals | Disharmony remix
Freeze Etch: Stalwart
Atomatik13: Traffic Lights
Hecq: Moonkissed
Ginormous: Part of Him Died That Night
N0nplus: In Your Wake | Lying Right Next To Me remix
Phylum Sinter: Shadow Codex
Justin McGrath: The Last Thing You Said Was Fall
Displacer: Witching Hour
Flaque: Black Shadows in the Fog
Nebulo: Reverse | remix
Mnemonic feat. Qasot: Porous Dreams
Aural: Narcoleptic

EO² - Run Time: 72:04

Total Run Time: 143:34


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