Music Reviews

Provision: The Consequence

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Sep 15 2007
Artist: Provision (@)
Title: The Consequence
Format: CD
Label: Section 44 (@)
Distributor: A Different Drum
Rated: *****
Although we had already a review of this release several months before, and this album surely can’t be named new at all, please spend a bit attention and note that this is the officially last release of this well-known Houston-based Synth-/Futurepop quartet – at least until further notice. Just a few days before band-leader Breye Kiser, who’s also a building member of the label Section 44, has officially called its quit, as sad as this is. To find reasons and explanations for the end of this band I rather like to explain Breye himself in an upcoming interview here on our pages soon. Nevertheless I guess that too much changes of the band membership have to named as a possible reason, that Breye at least got tired to search for additional new musicians, which can bring on talent as well as the right behavior to join this act. Musically PROVISION follow a classically arranged form of Electro-/Futurepop related to some early NO COMMENT, MATRIX or some acts out of the Memento Materia roster. Their appreciated floor fillers are available here with "Ideal", "Someone Like You", "The Only Thing" or "Perversions Of Conceptual Warfare", but the rather calm and catchy highlight lays on the ballad "Fade" – this track with its slight depressive mood should appeal every Synthpop music fan. Let’s finally hope that "The Consequence" at least won’t be the final release for this act and that they can find the concentration for farewell release. Some plans like a DVD release are still in the pipeline.

VV.AA.: Klangfusion Vol. 1

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 12 2007
image not
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Klangfusion Vol. 1
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Accession-Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
Rated: *****
A new format concept realized by the German Accession-Records to start an autumn offensive after the summer hole. This compilation, if you like to name it so, features two of the most active bands of the label in the last three years, [:SITD:] and PAINBASTARD. Both acts are collaborating not only for this double-EP release, which features some first teasers of their coming autumn full-length releases and a mutual tour entitled "Bestie:Mensch 2007". Since both acts offer their very own EP on this release, I would like to review both separately:

[:SITD:] – Kreuzgang

"Kreuzgang" is a typically [:SITD:]-smasher as expected, featuring an energetic drum programming, German lyrics and – as expected – the always tasteful and fine worked-out melodic synth layers. A club filler for sure, maybe one of their best compositions so far, but nothing what we haven’t heard from them before. Two b-side-tracks as being own productions are featured as well, "Atonement" slows down the speed and provides a mighty bass kick work, while "Metamorphosis" features rather unusual and more experimental sounds and Breakbeat drum patterns – a least a recommendable alternative to the known outfit. 5 additional remix works on the title track "Kreuzgang" accomplishing this EP and the featured names are mostly known forces in the scene like ROTERSAND, ANGELS & AGONY, AGONOIZE, PAINBASTARD and a collaborative effort by DIORAMA, KLANGSTABIL and VA SEE. A bit hard to figure out the best work here, since all bands have something special to offer, but the last mentioned collaborative effort is for sure the most unusual version by providing a different vocal performance and feather-light synth spots. What always and ever speaks for [:SITD:] is the high quality in all terms of production, "Kreuzgang" is no exception. "Metamorphosis" also offers something different from which I hope for a continuation, while the [:SITD:]-part of this release generally leaves out any bigger surprises.

PAINBASTARD – Nyctophobia

I guess the most surprising fact on this new PAINBASTARD track is the slow hymn-like mid-tempo composition – not the awaited club filler, but intense like acid on skin. That’s finest Dark Electro out of the classic school, while the expected floor stomper joins immediately the scenario with "Psychological Disintegration" – PAINBASTARD rules, who ever will speak of :WUMPSCUT: again as being responsible for aggressive end-time Electro/EBM made in Germany? "Torn", completely new remixed and featured by DIORAMA for the vocals, is a look-back on the last full-length album, where you can find the original version of this smoothest of all PAINBASTARD tracks. Follows then another new track "MenschFeind" featuring DIARY OF DREAMS - the construction is electronic-based, some acoustic guitars and the vocals are the contributions of DIARY OF DREAMS. 6 remix works by among others [:SITD:], ASSEMBLAGE 23, IN THE NURSERY, THIS MOURN’ OMINA, STRAFTANZ and SUPREME COURT on "Nyctophobia" are filling this EP, while this isn’t meant negative. Since the original is a mid-tempo based track, it is curious who and who wouldn’t follow the given speed and mood. Tom Shear of A23 has to be praised for his work featuring slightly distorted drum patterns and some ideas out of his "Contempt"-era. What is it – DIVE meets early A23? Applause! IN THE NURSERY, of course, have worked out something more orchestral-tuned and pushed the speed. Best floor-compatible attitude I tend to rate on the THIS MOURN’ OMINA-remix, Mika has done a marvelous job. I had never a positive opinion on STRAFTANZ, but their remix RAWKS, and should animate the masses to storm the floors.

Both acts, [:SITD:] and PAINBASTARD, can totally convince with this fine EP’s, the teasers here make hungry for more. As mentioned, both will release this autumn new full-length albums, and both will cooperate with their special guests DESTROID for a mutual European tour. Highly recommended!

PROVISION: Ideal Warfare

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Sep 12 2007
Artist: PROVISION (@)
Title: Ideal Warfare
Format: CD EP
Label: Section 44 (@)
Distributor: A Different Drum
Rated: *****
For sure not the newest release of this Synth-/Futurepop 4-member-outfit hailing out of Houston, TX, but somehow important. Since PROVISION have recently announced their end of existence, this 15-track remix EP marks one out of two last official releases for this band. It is the companion release to their last studio album "The Consequence" featuring two of the most remarkable tracks out of it, "Ideal" and "Perversions Of Conventional Warfare" (Here abbreviated "P.O.C.W."), which got both remixed several times by diverse colleagues and label comrades. PROVISION’s talent can be discovered with an own revamped version on "Ideal", somehow their sounds and arrangements remind a bit on some earlier NO COMMENT works. To pick out some remarkable remix works, the Radio Mix of "P.O.C.W." by RENAME comes smooth and very Synthpop-stylish, but intense and fat arranged. The Austin-based act CTRL has worked on the same track and added some Rock-like guitars, for sure a decent idea and contrast. Metropolis-recording artist SYSTEM SYN offers an unusual remix on "P.O.C.W." and nails the listener with some rotating harsh bass kicks, one of the most aggressive works on the PROVISION tracks. NULL DEVICE have entitled their work on "P.O.C.W." Misadventures in Dub – well, it comes conspicuous with some vocoderized vocals. The remix work of CLOUDLESS on "Ideal" brings back a retro-EBM-feeling and can be counted to one of the strangest works. EBM seems to be also the hobby of UNITCODE:MACHINE, but besides the expected different rhythm patterns, they also surprise with some well worked-out synth layers. This release of course appeals Synth-/Futurepop-fanatics, but has also some further interesting moments to offer.

Scrape: Cruelest Intentions

 Posted by Michael Grillo   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 11 2007
Artist: Scrape (@)
Title: Cruelest Intentions
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dark Reality Productions (@)
Rated: *****
Scrape�s latest effort entitled "Cruelest Intentions" is an album that can best be described by a single word, which is trite. While other reviewers have praised the album for charting unexplored territories in the realms of terror EBM and noise, I simply do not see what all the fuss is about. Most of the tracks on the album rely on most of the tried and true clich�s that have made the once exciting genre of EBM the bastion of mediocrity that is today. We all know the clich�s rather well from repetitive late 1980�s and early 1990�s sounding synthesizer patterns to indiscernible vocals using bad vocoder effects to the same 4/4 distorted techno rhythm. In the case of Scrape, they use the same obnoxiously corny vocoder effect on every single track, which is made worse by their incredibly hackneyed lyrics, which is the stuff of disaffected fifteen year old angst with lines like "When all love has washed away, I hate myself for how I feel, I see the world in a grey haze, I hate everything about my life." The best track on the album is actually the intro track, which is a short ambient, yet rather dark and menacing instrumental piece that gives one the false hope that "Cruelest Intentions" is going to be the "Music for a Slaughtering Tribe" for the next generation. However, this hope is fleeting as everything from the second track forward descends into a malaise of bland and uninspired EBM where every track sounds exactly the same. This is rather tragic given that it is very apparent that the members of Scrape seem know their way around the studio and are well versed in sequencing and programming.
Sep 10 2007
Artist: Diverje (@)
Title: Stitched
Format: CD
Label: DSBP (@)
Distributor: Indietective
Rated: *****
Thanks to multiple gigs at all thinkable venues in AZ, NM and TX, the electronic-musician-collective DIVERJE, leaded by Tommy T. Rapisardi, has grown to a constant, if not the biggest and best-selling act of the DSBP label. Tommy has built a nice live line-up with 4 other band members which seem to stand dedicated to their "chief" – Tommy himself provides an energetic and extravagant vocal performance. So it was about time to return with a new full-length album two years after the predecessor "The Distortion Chamber", since the audience wants to hear new tracks. And somehow the uncountable live performances seem to have left impression especially on Tommy. Is it me, or does his voice sound this time much more aggressive and raging than ever recorded before? Musically I tend to say that the new DIVERJE-sound hasn't changed that much in comparison to "The Distortion Chamber". The reasons for this can be recognized thanks to the fact that Tommy’s stable of integrated "guest" musicians especially for the main tracks hasn’t changed. And why changing a fine working music collective?
At first there’s to name Vince Pujol of the French Electro/Industrial act E.S.R.. He has contributed and helped out Tommy over the last 4 years with compositions, sounds, remix works, mixing and production – it is obviously that a lot of DIVERJE tracks offer Vince’s authentic sci-fi-infiltrated textures. For this album he has provided his marvelous programming abilities on "Smell The Blood", which has to be seen as one out of two main tracks here, because this piece has received 2 additional remix works by the Infacted-recording artist PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE 0.1 and the fine DSBP-recording act NOISE PROCESS. Vince has also provided the music for the track "Evil One" and "Run Like Hell", plus he shares the production with Tommy on "Help Me" and "Wrapped Around".
Next one to name is Josh Wood of the New Zealand-based artist THE MERCY CAGE. Josh also stands faithful at Tommy’s side if it comes to integrate some guitar works to provide a rather Crossover/Cold-Wave-driven sound to DIVERJE. Besides the track "Tear It Down" he has contributed the music of the cover version available on "Stitched", "Come Back", originally offered by the J. Geils Band – can somebody imagine how it sounds with the tiger-like vocals of Tommy T.?
Ever faithful to Tommy through the years, this counts also for Xon of BOUNDLESS. Although he has slowed down his musically activities a bit through the past years thanks to his private family situation, he has always proven his abilities when the call of Tommy came in.
So asides this regulars, some new forces are joining in to offer their abilities too. That NOISE PROCESS would join the DIVERJE collective, isn’t that surprising, also regarding the fact, that Michael Renfield’s solo project R010R is in consideration to be one of the next releases. That they could provide besides the E.S.R.-track "Run Like Hell" one of the best tracks at all here, "Unleashed", featuring some fine catchy synth layer sounds, well, that’s surprising. NOISE PROCESS develops to a constant and important trademark for the DSBP label, they also provide a remix work on "Smell The Blood".
But I tend to say that the appearance of the Argentinean project ALIEN PRODUKT to compose the title track is the biggest surprise at all. It proves that Tommy T. is able to watch over his own plate, because ALIEN PRODUKT is signed to BLC Productions. Also a second version, a remix of "Stitched" got created by this South-American act. Emileigh Rohn of the US-Coldwave artist CHIASM provides her well-tuned vocals and the lyrics on "Help Me", and the Synth-/Futurepop-act DIVIDER did the composition on the instrumental track "Ho For Sho" (sampling work by Tommy T.). Last but not least, another remix work provided by the Brazilian act DEAD JUMP accomplishes this album.
As usual for a DIVERJE album, you’ll get a convincing and diverse sounding Electro/Industrial release, which should be able to appeal fans of the harder-minded EBM/Electro music. It doesn’t fall into the flaw – and this has to be said – to explore already known paths of the Hellektro camp, but it is at least thanks to Tommy’s vocal performance aggressive as hell.

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