Music Reviews



May 13 2007
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Artist: MIRIAM (@)
Title: When Beauty Is Invisible
Format: CD
Label: Decadance Records (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Miriam is an Italian band formed back in 1998. They took their name from the Italian title of the 1983 movie "The hunger" (it was "Miriam si sveglia a mezzanotte"). After a demo CD and a member line up change (Massimo Bandiera joined them) the band released their first official album for Decadance Records in 2002. After five years of work they are releasing this month their second album titled WHEN BEAUTY IS INVISIBLE. Since the first songs of the album you can realize how much care they put into production. Their style, which I'll call "shoegaze electronics" due to their electronic instrumentation and to their lushious atmospheres which recalled me Breathless and Cranes, is able to create an good ambience made of fluctuating eletronic layers and reverbered guitars. For sure you have to be in the right mood to listen to this CD because most of the the tracks are mellow melancholic mid tempo songs with whispered female vocals. After five tracks I must admit that even if the band is able to create a good encharmed atmosphere I had to take a break. Sometimes some upbeat rhythms surfaces like on "Endless", a track which remembered me the old Clan Of Xymox atmosphere with updated sounds. A cover of "Nightporter" closes the album: the band did a difficult choice because Daniela vocals can't recreate the emotions I felt with David Sylvian but I must admit that the instrumental part is good. If electronic wave is your style check this out...
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Artist: KEVIN DRUMM
Title: sheer hellish miasma
Format: CD
Label: Mego (@)
Rated: *****
I think there's no need to introduce mr. Drumm, but recently I've found he appears on Wikipedia alas if you never heard his name that's a good opportunity to learn something more about this geat experimental artist. In the past I bought a couple of good records featuring this Chicago based musician, but this repress will help me and you to understand why he has become such a popular name for what concern experimental (and electronic) music. Being a Mego release realized in 2002 you know it's both top notch, smart, but at the same time muscular infact get ready because when Kevin is in for the explosion he’s gonna do it hard. This five legs journey begins with a buzzing drone that grows progressively screwing your ears even if you can’t but notice there a gloomy melody that drives the trip. "Turning point" moves the ground you walk upon by presenting a distorted noisy and altered electronical sound which gets deformed as if it was from Merzbow. This "deformed" digital sensation remains unaltered also in the next episode, this time it’s mostly based on high frequencies thus take for granted the listening is even more "painful" (for those who remember Massimo’s work on Mego, you know what I mean). What can you expect from a track titled "the inferno"? I can’t say if that’s the sound you’re gonna hear while crossing the doors down at "south of heaven", but to quote Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers: "Well, what about anarchy? Please don't ask it no more cos’ we're already living in it". It’s funny for I can imagine Kevin Drumm when choosing the closing track of the album probably felt fter all this "controlled digital violence" melted in "distortion" it was time for a break. Well, "Cloudy" closes this cd with a soft and odd dronical misty... hem... cloudy journey heading nowhere. Ladies and gentleman that’s Kevin Drumm: love him or leave him.

VV.AA.: Ghost Busters III

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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May 09 2007
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Ghost Busters III
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Record Label Records (@)
Rated: *****
This sampler came out on Record Label offers a morsel of music from many artist coming from their catalogue and as I've wrote reviewing their last releases, their output normally are really good. Here you have rhythmical electronic music not so far from recordings out on Warp records (Sote also put out something on this glorious british label), Hefty, Bip Hop or in the likes, and as you can easily guess the most of the artists combine rhythm and melody to a maniacal sound definition. The majority of the tracks is well done and although the sampler is varied it maintains its "modern" electronic identity, sure there are some highlights. Dalgish cold glitching a la Coil meets Alva Noto is catchy and Fluorescent Grey crippled-cut up-melodies kept faith to the good impression I've had while listening to his album. Some of the tracks can be easily filed under "electronic music for the electronic people" (that's the case of the LFO-inspired Mike Dunkley but also that of Kush Arora), some other tunes are weird like the "exotic mixture" of Sote and some other are chaotic and the mighty Farmers Manual (you probably know for their Mego releases), and Brian English give sense to this sentence. This sampler could be a good way to give a try to some Record Label related musicians and to some strange hosts like Ruzerlstirn and Gungelstock or Farmers Manual. If you are deeply into electronic music you probably know many of the names featured on this cd and this is a good product.

NOTHING NADA: Nicht Nichego

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 09 2007
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Artist: NOTHING NADA (@)
Title: Nicht Nichego
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya-Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
Originally started as a simple side-project of the Hungarian Electro/Industrial duo IMPACT PULSE to sort out some smoother tracks which wouldn’t fit at all to the high-tech EBM sound of this extremely underrated act, NOTHING NADA has meanwhile become more than this. It started as an experiment to explore straight and danceable Futurepop-tunes with an outstanding female vocal performance. "Red Armageddon", available on the 2005 released first Advoxya label compilation "Post-Alcoholic Body Syndrome [Death] 1", was the first result in this collaboration between Gunhead and Cipree of IMPACT PULSE with the female vocalist Orsi Beres. So after a growing request for more and new material, NOTHING NADA has been formatted officially and likes to present via Advoxya this 11-track long debut release. Musically somewhere between TECHNOIR, AYRIA and CULTURE KULTUR you’ll get the always complex arranged Synth textures of IMPACT PULSE and Orsi’s marvelous voice. Be it straight on "Red Armageddon", nasty intoned on "Irresistible" or full of emotion on the maybe best tune here, "Silent Heroes" – catchy as hell and addictive that I needed to use the "Skip back" button for a few more rotations. Please note that this release is a kind of multimedia-CD featuring a video clip and a "making of..." of the track "Red Armageddon". Normally the Belgian Alfa Matrix has the right nose for talented, female-leaded acts – maybe for some good reasons they’ve decided to ignore this Hungarian talent, because NOTHING NADA beats almost all act signed to them out of the field! It still has to be proven which of both projects, IMPACT PULSE or NOTHING NADA, will be the so-called side-project – if the ongoing request of the listeners will continue. This is how Futurepop music featuring a REAL charismatic female voice has to sound – for the signed artist of the Alfa Matrix label group I would like to recommend to go back into the basements to practice, practice, practice...

ASSEMBLAGE 23: Meta

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 04 2007
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Artist: ASSEMBLAGE 23 (@)
Title: Meta
Format: CD
Label: Accession-Records / Metropolis-Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Two years without any new A23 release, but surely not a quiet or lazy time for Tom Shear. The first full-length CD of his side-project NERVE FILTER got released and Tom brought out two promising releases on his very own 23DB label (LOST SIGNAL, SD6). Not to forget the uncountable requests for a remix work shouldn’t have left Tom inactive. Now he returns with a complete new album and the companion release of a MCD entitled Binary". Although his above mentioned side-project offered a real spring for new sound ideas, structures and different styles, you shouldn’t expect a too drastically change of the known A23 success formula. It’s not that I would yell for this since Tom had his break-through with his "Failure" album and his "Disappoint" MCD – but lately the critical voices especially after the lame wind entitled "Storm" got louder and louder asking for more than the only one A23 song repeated on several albums since 2K1. Face it, A23 is a "business-thingy" with well selling albums, MCD’s and tours – the so-called "independent thought" counts for this project only in very limited dimensions. This new "Meta" album takes off with a new revamped version of "Decades [V2]" – the original recording can be heard on the last years’ released "Accession-Records Vol. 3" label compilation. It is maybe one of the tracks which could the most integrate one or another new sound idea out of Tom’s NERVE FILTER project, while it doesn’t leave any known path. The second track "Raw" surprises with some included Breakbeat elements – just until the inimitable refrain and so the catchy moment sets in to bring this track back into the known fairway. "Binary" - as above mentioned extra released as a MCD, comes out a bit too cheesy – it is one of the most danceable tunes for sure and pushes up the speed, but it is finally that kind of song which can’t bring any surprising addition to Tom’s sound spectrum - same procedure as often heard before. Luckily Tom has spent more dedication to the track "Damaged" – maybe one of best ballads he has ever written so far. Of course, the tempo is reduced, but especially the nice layer and synth texture sounds offer the purest excitement on your home entertainment. "Madman’s Dream" after this offers an attacking lyrical content against the last years’ unconsciousness of the US government after the hurricane Katrina tragedy – and Tom sings one octave higher than usual – a nice and successful experiment. The next track "Truth" is harder-minded than all other tracks on "Meta" with a pounding NEP-like bass line, some background noises and a slight distortion effect on Tom’s voice. With "Crush" we then have a possible candidate for the next MCD release out of this album – although the interrupted bass kick work to the start of the track doesn’t expect this – courageous done for the moment, several coming remix contributions should eliminate this. Compulsory there’s another melodic ballad to fade out this album, "Old", on which Tom himself draws an unsafe picture of his own future. Of course, also this new A23 album stands out for quality and detailed arrangements, modern sounds, well-balanced vocals and lyrically depth – but it isn’t at all a drastically change of course in the long career of Tom Shear. Whoever likes to argue against this?


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