Music Reviews

Terence Fixmer: Muscle Collection

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 08 2007
Artist: Terence Fixmer
Title: Muscle Collection
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Masterhit Recordings (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
A DCD set for the French Electro/Techno/Industrial musician, DJ and produce Terence Fixmer, who could earn a lot of success especially with his mutual project with Douglas McCarthy of NITZER EBB. Released under the Out Of Line side-label Masterhit Recordings, this release gives some insight in the harsher and EBM-driven works Terence can offer. TBM = Techno Body Music is the name for this style which they have created here, but I don’t see the sense for it. This DCD simply offers repetitive old-school EBM bass lines with some steady rhythm patterns placed between EBM and Techno and here and there some vocal inputs of Terence. This stuff would offer much more kind of an old-school EBM feeling, if Douglas McCarthy would join his side here, Terence’s talent is rather limited behind the microphone. Of course, Techno/Trance-influenced Hellektro marching music doesn’t get any chance here, it strongly reminds musically on the pounding bass lines of old NITZER EBB, POUPPEE FABRIKK and colleagues. A kind of collection providing some highlights back to his beginnings at 1998 up till today, it also holds the long out of print classic album "Muscle Machine", several outtakes, b-sides and other unreleased goodies. Also two remix works he has done for some famous colleagues (CLIENT and THE HACKER) are featured here. Quality stuff with historically meaning, especially designed for the old-school EBM maniacs.
Title: Enlightenment Through A Chemical Catalyst
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Gary Dassing finally tries to enlighten us with his new sooner awaited new full-length album. The term "full-length" fits extremely well with more than 73 minutes playing time – but only pressed into 9 tracks. So you’ll get a new MENTALLO release presenting the very own multi-layered and complex style Gary likes to create and is known for, almost in the same vein like the EP "Commandments For The Molecular Age" has announced it in spring last year. So this album needs the fullest attention of the listener and it is recommended to use a good pair of headphones. Futuristic-apocalyptic end time Electro/Industrial sound somewhere in vein of DOWNLOAD or SKINNY PUPPY, but I guess lesser accessible. The classic MENTALLO releases like "Revelations 23" or "Where Angels Fear To Tread" of course won’t get in danger to be thrown from their throne of history – also "Burnt Beyond Recognition" isn’t in reach with this. Somehow I have the impression that Gary could need a helping hand to put his stuff in order, somebody who – at times – tells him when a song definitively needs to find an end ("Amigdula" clocks more than 14 minutes...). I guess this album will find its audience with some old-school influenced fanatics and music junkies which can invest time enough to spin it several hours. The typical Electro/Industrial listener, who still prefers that repetitive Hellektro madness won’t find access to the rich content this album for sure offers. This isn’t a bad album at all, but I guess Gary overtaxes the "normal" listener a bit...
Artist: NEON WOMB (@)
Title: Intimate Moments
Format: CD
Label: Cranial Fracture Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Not a very fresh release indeed, this review covers the only one real output the Australian Powernoise/Industrial label Cranial Fracture has brought out. The reason to include this here belongs on the fact, that this label under the leadership of Leon Tranter currently works hard to start a comeback. For sure another fine resource out of Australia of a growing scene next to the Crash Frequency collective. Besides this, it features with NEON WOMB experimental recordings of the musician Lee Bulig – whom we all here know much better under the name STARK. Experimental recordings compared to STARK – well, indeed, and you shouldn’t expect to get a similar sonic onslaught. His signature is recognizable also with NEON WOMB, but with a very few exceptions you’ll get a harsh electronic-based almost instrumental album, which totally avoids the known 4/4 bass lines, which brought comparisons to a big player like :WUMPSCUT:. Globally a noisy and disturbing work of Lee, far away from some "Intimate Moments", while this track is available next to the original also as a remix work by SCALAR. Not that harsh Powernoise effort this label stands for, because Lee’s Electro-minded background is still alive. Designed for all STARK fans out there to grow deeper into the musically universe of this talented musician.

Electro Synthetic Rebellion: A Passage In Time V1

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 03 2007
Artist: Electro Synthetic Rebellion (@)
Title: A Passage In Time V1
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Sooner than expected the French Electro/Industrial musician Vincent Puyol aka ELECTRO SYNTHETIC REBELLION returns with "a collection of previously unreleased and rare versions". Aptly titled with the additional term "V1", Vince has opened his filled archives and gives us a first kind of "best of...". While other maybe more famous bands release here and there such a "best of..." collection featuring their already known and released stuff, the concept behind this one differs a lot. Yes, Vincent’s club-compatible doorknockers like "Re-Animate", Final Rebellion", "Free My Soul" or "Shattered Dreams" are all here – but they’re all presented in exclusive and never-heard-before remix versions. It seems that Vince has produced to almost all of his tracks alternative versions – no doubt, this stuff needs to get published. Also, and this is another remarkable point, here’s no foreign remix work presented – all stuff here is the purest ESR work. Besides this, here are some unreleased tracks which have a historical importance if you’re an approved ESR user with deeper knowledge of the discography and happenings around this French act.
This release opens with the unreleased track "Rebirth" which seems to be the title track of the first ESR demo, which Vince has produced in 1999. Musically – not surprising – very much placed into his "Distorted Visions" era, but still surprising, that this fine tune hasn’t found its way on this debut full-length release out on the now defunct Wire Records. Two alternative remix versions of "Re-Animate (Pulse Remix)" and "Bio-Machine (Slow Agony)" are coming next – both pieces were available in Vincent’s earlier years as free MP3 downloads from his website.
We then come into the real treat to get two unreleased tracks named "Contamination" and "Dark Sky", both produced around 2002. With respect to the rich given quality his second full-length album "Corroded Fragments", released in 2003 on both Wire (European edition) and DSBP (US edition), has to offer, both would have been well-placed on this album. So sad, that a CD can handle at maximum up to 78 minutes and "Corroded Fragments" is filled. As far what I remember, I guess that these both tracks were originally recorded to take place on a planned DCD set, which Vince was gonna conducting to be out on a French label called La Citadel. This release came never to life and this label has closed its doors before anything seriously could be arranged. Also the track "Re-Programmed", which is for the most European consumers a rather unknown piece, because it is originally only available on the US version, seems to be taken out of this time. This track to me was always that piece which the most marked the difference between the rather minimal constructed debut "Distorted Vision" compared to the technically improved "Corroded Fragments". So here you’ll got an alternative version of "Re-Programmed" plus then 4 additional versions of "Synthetic Stimulant", "Final Rebellion", "Losing Control" and "Free My Soul". So his "Corroded Fragments" era takes the most space on this collection release.

His third studio album "Persistence", out in 2004 on DSBP and with a planned release on the defunct Polish label Black Flames Records, brought us the two pieces "Shattered Dreams" and "Regression". So also from these fine pieces here are the alternative versions. Last but not least, here comes a demo version of a new track called "Tinnitus". It isn’t fun at all if you – as a musician – have to live with a limitation of the ability to hear. Unfortunately this happened with Vince in the last year, as he has open and friendly commented in our interview, which you can find here somewhere on our website. I guess this piece deals directly with his disease, instead of some pieces available on his last studio album "Scars And Wounds", which were rather dedicated with the issues and influences on his personality and behavior.
Finally I would like to point out, that almost all important compilations featuring a special version or remix of ESR will keep their value. So CD hunters and collectors who – like me – were always pleased to find a special goody produced by this French mad man on a few comps can be proud to own this releases:

V/A- In This Cold Terrific Room #2, out on La Chambre Froide in March 2005,
Track : Fight Power (Tactical Mix)", Label :

V/A – High Voltage III, out on Dying Culture in May 2002
Track : Black Out (edited)", (out of business)

V/A – Resist The Command 2, out on Dystopian Records in March 2002
Track : Resist (Counterstroke Mix)", (in hiatus)

V/A - Elegy Magazine Issue #15, out in April 2001
Track : Re-Animate (Free Your Mind Remix)",

Soon out on the Spanish label Caustic Records will be a DCD set collecting French and Spanish acts, on which you’ll be able to find a different version on the ESR track "Regression".
So finally, if this collective release will be repeated with a second or a third issue belongs on you, the fan and interested Electro/Industrial listener, and how much of you will purchase this item. There’s a lot of more stuff collecting dust in Vincent’s archives, just notice his always included remix names he has added through the years on all of his albums. Much more is in stock, the only on his website released Hypno Mix of his track "Under Control" (a very personal favorite of min I have to admit...), or the Cyber Mix of "Bio-Machine", both out originally on his "Distorted Vision" debut come to my mind as possible examples. I look forward to this and keep my hopes high, that Vince will be able to continue this as a kind of series.

Jan 02 2007
Title: We're Set Silently On Fire
Format: CD
Label: Crunch Pod Media (@)
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
Already the fourth full-length for this highly anticipated US Powernoise act of mastermind Karloz .M, who had to bear some hard times full of personal tragedies (I think you all know...). His episodes are for sure also the reason for some thankfully words to his fans, family and supporters in the sleeve of the CD, as well as a tragic memorial to his died father. Musically I’m quite surprised that this new album isn’t that rough and merciless Powernoise effort like expected. For sure, here are some snatching pieces like "Live By The Knife, Die By The Knife", "Mephistopheles" or "Unforgiving Dreams ", but moreover Karloz tries to offer a different musically output. There’s a constant Dark Electro attitude presented on a lot of pieces here, just check out "The Divine Discontent", "There’s No Destination" or "The Betrayal". Pleasant also to hear that Karloz really cares to include vocals, mostly a kind on which other related acts fail. There’s no need to ask for a deeper meaning of the lyrical content, alone some track titles like "Death Of The Other" or "The Whore That Loved Me" will give you the right impression. But compared to the music I also can’t imagine to hear some "love-and-sunshine" bullshit. Also included a co-operation track with DJ Helltrash with the track "I am The Enemy". For Karloz maybe a difficult album regarding the influence of his personal issues, but maybe also a kind of cure that he still finds acceptance and recognition. Good job here, keep it on!

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