Music Reviews

SKOYZ: Hologram

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jun 01 2006
Artist: SKOYZ (@)
Title: Hologram
Format: CD
Label: Cortex-Records (@)
Distributor: SXDistribution / DSBP
Rated: *****
This second full-length release of the both French Electro/Industrial musicians Stephane Ayas and Nicolas Ussel aka SKOYZ is a long-awaited one. It was entitled to be out on the Polish Black Flames label in summer 2005, but shortly before it got released, the label quitted its business. So SKOYZ had to look for a new label and after a while they got picked up by their fellowmen of Cortex-Records, the label which brought out the excellent NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT. It has taken a long time after the release of their promising debut "Decay" on the German Matrix Cube label, but to wait for this new one was worth it. A lot of stuff they’ve been produced and conceived as well, and so this CD really can be called a "full-length" with a playing time of about 73 minutes. 9 new track including the well placed compilation appearances "Dark Energy" and "Distress/Signal" are on here, plus you’ll get 6 remixes done and recreated by good names like the mentioned NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT, DESTROID, INTERLACE THE CRYSTALLINE EFFECT, POLYGON and SKOYZ themselves, offering a lighter version of one of the best tracks here, "Cold Colour". SKOYZ play a refreshing kind of Dark Electro with cold distorted vocals, thick arranged atmospheric synth layers and rotating bass lines, at times with some filter manipulations reminding on some Techno productions. This "Hologram" release got mastered by Mike Johnson in his renowned Mao-Music studios (AGONOIZE, INFEKKTION, VIRTUAL EMBRACE...), so the result is a well produced Electro/EBM album which is not like anything else. It features of course a lot of pieces which go straight forward to storm the floors of the dark clubs on this globe, although it avoids a curry favor of too often heard Hellektro releases. Rich and detailed programming work also give a total satisfying experience under some good headphones as well. SKOYZ are for sure next to the already mentioned NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT and some others like E.S.R. or TAMTRUM one of the leading acts playing hard Electro/EBM/Industrial music France has to offer and this "Hologram" is an excellent example of this from track 1 to track 15. What are you waiting for? Get it!!!
Artist: MONOLITH (@)
Title: Talisman
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
There’s no need to introduce Eric van Wonteghem to the interested audience of Electro/Industrial music for sure, maybe I should mention that he is more active than ever before? Also with his main and classic EBM project INSEKT he just released a new CD at NTP/Dependent besides this already sixth studio album of his solo effort MONOLITH. With this project Eric always tested the audience with his more experimental side of music, mostly the music of MONOLITH is based in the genres between IDM, Electronica, Tribal up to some real Powernoise efforts. So also this new CD features a lot of stuff to break out through some genre boundaries. You’ll get a full dose of never heard before sounds, complex rhythm programmings and strange structures generally. It is definitively a piece taken from the intelligent side of music, although I miss maybe a bit a "composition" and the human touch behind this music integrated through some vocals. Some repeating voice samples in between do never replace a vocalist, so the music of this release has to speak for itself. Eric’s musically activity lately with harder acts like SONAR is best transmitted here through tracks like "Indigo" or the title track "Machinebreak", and I definitively prefer this side of him. The global album is well done and good produced, like usual, what has ever left Eric’s very own Prodam studio. Please note that also from this release – like on almost all Alfa Matrix releases – there’s existing a special packed set with a bonus disc in limited edition of 666 pieces for the die-hard fans.

THELEMA: Burnt Memories

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 01 2006
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Artist: THELEMA (@)
Title: Burnt Memories
Format: CD
Label: Small Voices (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Thelema were and are a reality of the independent Italian music. I won’t talk about their past right now, because I’m preparing the follow up to my interview I did with Massimo back in 1985 so we’ll have the opportunity to talk about the various band’s incarnations and more. This record has been recorded by two members of the original 80s band line up, Massimo Mantovani and Giorgio Parmigiani. Their previous album has been released in 1997 and was produced by Pankow’s Paolo Favati. If the previous one had post punk tracks treated with industrial arrangements by Paolo, the new album BURNT MEMORIES finds the band renewing their style. BURNT MEMORIES didn’t born properly as a Thelema album because Giorgio prepared all the tracks and then asked to Massimo if he wanted to sing them. If you are used to the old post punk sound of the band, well, prepare yourself to something radically different. The twelve tracks of the CD (the double album contains four bonus tracks: a cover of Death In June’s "Heaven street", "Lost in my wonder", "Ballad of untold memories - radio edit mix" and "Ritual - Many moons ago mix by Muthant") are electro ballads with acoustic guitars (check also their cool version of Stranglers’ "European Female" where Thelema catch the original feelings reworking the song with their style). Even if sometimes the rhythm and the structure of the song are similar the beautiful melodies and the deep seducing vocals of Massimo (helped by Francesca Giuli on "Juice of life", who she co-written) help giving life to a good and convincing album. The tracks are written like for a concept album where the writing that you find inside the booklet (it talks about the life of an adept and about his different steps through the path of Magick until his death where he loose everything about his ego in the ocean of Aima) is the key that you have to read to understand the sensations and situations described into the lyrics. Thelema is setting up a band to tour, don’t miss them and visit their website to check some unreleased tracks.

EFERMIX: Undolate

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 27 2006
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Artist: EFERMIX (@)
Title: Undolate
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: ainia (@)
Rated: *****
"Feed your birds, folks!"... no, it’s not John Cage and it has nothing to do with his recurring interest for winged animals, anyhow that's another lane since Efermix plays electronic danceable music. This four tracks cdr is danceable but at the same time grey and cold as the feeling suggested by the front cover. This ep can be found in the ranks of north european electronic music, not unlike Biosphere odd melodies but you can still hear the heart beating behind three layers of ice. I've mentioned Biosphere just for the global sensation, I don't think Efermix is s close to the finnish musician, judging from the first track I'd say this music could remind latest Scorn faster and less obsessive but Future Sound of London and Orbital are part of the lot. The drum sound even if programmed has still an acoustic taste with a post-dub emphasis on the rimshot, (in the title track becomes almost hypnotical). I think the dub influence (like in many Mick Harris' works) emerges right from the stoned use of rhythms. The most of the tracks are not lasting more than three minutes except for the hard kicking march of Birdwalk where a repetitive drum plus vocal loop makes the most of the structure. Simple, straight, cold electronics but good.

VV.AA.: Weatherhead 2: Surrealistic Macrocosm

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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May 25 2006
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Weatherhead 2: Surrealistic Macrocosm
Format: CD
Label: Telegrammetry Recordings (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
The Miami-based US label Telegrammetry surprises again with a new compilation, the follow-up to the first "Weatherhead" compilation. And again this label could collect some real new and never heard before of acts, also for me. Before this comp I had only heard of NEUROVERSE, the Swedish act MICROBODY, Canada’s ADAPTIVE REACTION and the German STRAFBOMER, so also for me this comp is a real treasure to discover something new. I can say it in advance that Telegrammetry proves again a good taste for undiscovered acts, all presented stuff has its own unique mood. Things start excellent with the Swedish act TRAKKTOR and their track "High On Your Hate", which finds the right balance between Dark Electro and a danceable melodic content – it’s an amazing opener and I hope to hear more from this act soon! Next comes the unavoidable highlight of this comp, the US act NEUROVERSE brings in a track called "Metal B (Plan C Mix)". Musically pretty much influenced by the great FLA for sure, but with an own and authentic style. Please note the excellent and surprising integrated piano sounds to the end of this marvelous track, it’s unbelievable that this act isn’t signed somehow! PARTICLE SON, also hailing from the USA comes next bringing us minimal EBM bass lines, harsh distorted vocals and some integrated guitar riffs – not bad, maybe a bit too much following some Coldwave themes. Dark Electro is also presented by the Swedish act MICROBODY with their track "Is It Real Blood In American Movies?" – well, can some of you really answer on this? Please take a note also on the straight Electro track of ADAPTIVE REACTION, which remembers me a bit on the old SHPERE LAZZA stuff. I haven’t also ever heard of A-STATE hailing from Belgium, which provide here a fast and rhythmic Powernoise piece with am minimal melodic content. Also Scotland sets a mark here with SIRIUS B, musically based on danceable Futurepop music, although the vocals are sounding a bit boring. Comes then the last piece done by the US act SERAPH 49 providing a danceable EBM piece with well worked out vocals and a good melodic content. So we have 12 real talents of the scene and I am sure that some of them will make a good way on their journey through this music genre. Musically diversity is rich presented on this comp and there’s no real weak appearance. It’s only a pity that the artwork of this comp doesn’t feature any further info on the bands, no links or contacts are given. Anyhow, it is worth the investment.

track list:

1. TRAKKTOR - High on Your Hate
3. PARTICLE SON - Anthem for a New Tomorrow
4. MICROBODY - Is it Real Blood in American Movies
5. SUBURBAN PROTOTYPE - Again Ibid Again
7. ANALOGUE vs DIGITAL - Cities of the Dead
9. LURID AURA - Fake
10. A-STATE - En Larmes Mordores
11. SIRIUS B - Free
12. SERAPH 49 - 1000 Sunsets

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