Music Reviews



CRYO: Cryogenic

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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May 24 2006
cover
Artist: CRYO (@)
Title: Cryogenic
Format: CD
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Border Music
Rated: *****
Another fine debut for the growing Armada of the Swedish Progress Productions! The long awaited first CD for Martin Rudefelt’s project CRYO is finally out now and – to make the diversity of the label program perfect – his musically direction tends to integrate the ideas of some old school EBM classics played with the technique of the current times. What I’ve already discovered with the marvelous track "The Pain" appearing on the Plutonium Showcase Vol. 2 compilation, finds here a well and full of decent ideas produced continuation. It is always great to hear a release based on this old school vibe without falling into that "copying old NEP bass lines with shouted vocals" syndrome - this syndrome is without doubt also heavily based in Sweden, but Martin has spend a lot of efforts not to fall into this cliche. His music is cold and machinated, also mostly very static along the lines. Nevertheless his tracks offer a lot of free space to express some nice worked out effects, just use this CD under a good pair of headphones – you’ll be amazed about the used stereo mix! I also don’t share the opinion, that "Cryogenic" sounds "like a logical follow-up of COVENANT’s "Sequencer" – a few similar bass lines like presented in "One" do not at allow a comparison between apples and pears – I would moreover say that CRYO can be the Swedish answer on acts like the French E.S.R., only focusing on the more minimal and old school influenced part of EBM/Electro. Another winning point of CRYO is the sound and diversity of Martin’s vocals – no matter if clear ("The Pain"), filled with distortion effects ("Does It Hurt") or vocoderized ("Want It" or "Uniform"). I hope the best for a total breakthrough for this amazing project with a similar success like his label comrades of HYPE could earn, they entered lately the official album sale charts of Sweden. Well, that’s maybe a bit too pompous for CRYO, but the hope dies at last...

MENTALLO & THE FIXER: Commandments for the Molecular Age

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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May 24 2006
cover
Artist: MENTALLO & THE FIXER (@)
Title: Commandments for the Molecular Age
Format: CD EP
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
America’s most influential Electro/Industrial act returns with this 5-track EP, now signed under the wings of the Belgium Alfa Matrix label. It was also determined to be released at Static Sky Records in the USA, but unfortunately this label has closed its business until further notice. Still in a good memory is also their contribution "Signaljammer" to a compilation out on Static Sky, a track which can be seen as a first hint of what to expect from Gary Dassing this time. The new MENTALLO sound luckily makes a step back into a pure electronic-based sound design and you won’t find any further strange experiments with acoustic instruments. Nevertheless I find it also a bit early to celebrate the return to the good old days, the new MENTALLO sound here has to grow long and often on you. 5 tracks and a playing time of 52:00 minutes, this already gives you hint, how long the pieces are running here. Also that this release is an EP – real club-feeling will never come up. Gary Dassing offers ultra-complex Electro/Industrial tracks, at times monotone and diving into some Ambient-like styles ("My Fondest Drug Related Memory (Chimora Mix)"). The included sounds, noises, scratches and effects generally are quite impressive arranged, although it needs the totally attention of the listener to recognize all ingredients. A good pair of headphones and some patience are needed to get a satisfying result. It is hard to point out a favorite track of this 5 remix versions, somehow all of them turn into the vain. Impressive especially for sound freaks, for which no kind of music can be complex enough. It is an interesting release globally, but nothing which can create any body motion. Listen this and check yourself, I look forward to hear the stuff of the upcoming new full length CD "Enlightenment Through A Chemical Catalyst".

REIN[FORCED]: Futile Longings Of A Condescending Man

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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May 21 2006
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Artist: REIN[FORCED] (@)
Title: Futile Longings Of A Condescending Man
Format: CD
Label: DSBP (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
This review starts unfortunately with the horrible News that Ben Bloom, responsible for composition and production for REIN[FORCED] died a few weeks before, just after the release of this CD. Our sincere condolences go out to Ben’s family, as well to the both other band members Jim and Turner and to the label DSBP. It’s a bit hard now to come back to the daily business, to write this review.
This release is not really a debut, it is moreover the second release of a band called FORCED, which could release its debut "Cherophobia" also on DSBP in collaboration with the side-label Optikon Records. The original band quitted its business somewhere in 2003, but Jim Semonik could integrate new members, he changed the band name into REIN[FORCED] and here I hold the result thankfully (probs to you, Tommy!) in my hands. Globally there aren’t too much changes in the style of this act, but why change a style if this act has found a very special niche and authentic sound? Also REIN[FORCED] provide the FORCED-like dual voice attacks, high-speed EBM tracks with rotating sequences and ass-kicking d’n’b flavors mixed in the straight arrangements. No European EBM band will ever be able to produce such stuff in this very unique style, that’s for sure. The EBM content placed in the kind how to produce pummeling bass lines maybe has lost a bit of intensity, therefore this act has grown a lot musically, mostly all tracks show some special things which proof a big knowledge in production and arrangement. The biggest winning point of this release is for sure the fact that it is able to cause a hurricane on the dancefloors, while it is still listen- and enjoyable at your home entertainment. Best worked out tracks can be named here with the opener "Waster", "Commitment Suicide" and "Cyn-Dicated". Note also the last track "Crisis", which features a female voice input done by Dagny Neel. As usual for the DSBP label – this release deserves a big recommendation and features outstanding stuff regarding music, production and style!

ENCODER: Supernatural

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 20 2006
cover
Artist: ENCODER (@)
Title: Supernatural
Format: CD EP
Label: DSBP (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
"Engineered for Maximum Dancefloor Impact", so it is printed in black letters on a white info sheet. Should this be taken as a warning? Nah, take it as a hint of what you get here. This Cleveland based duo, consisting of DJ Cable and Pat Berdysz (the BRUNO of a US-legend called UV, www.uv-wavelength.com) has finally released its debut CD, this one here called an EP, but with a playing time of more than 78 minutes. So you’ll get a really filled CD for your money, just check back the nice DSBP mail order service for this. Some comparable similarities in comparison to the mentioned UV are of course given. The concept of this release reminds me a lot on the self-released UV debut "Refractions: Remixes In A Different Light". First of the long playing time, then we have on both some original tracks and several remix works, although on the ENCODER EP are more original tracks featured – and then finally we have on both releases the appearance of Romell Regulacion of the Hawaiian act RAZED IN BLACK. He has done the lyrics and vocals for the track "November", a sentimental Futurepop-inspired track here which is available in its original version and in a remix done by BRUNO. So you get it already on the first 3 tracks on this EP here, where the musically journey goes and where to find the biggest differences between UV and ENCODER. ENCODER definitively presents the softer side, Synth/Futurepop and only with a very few EBM influences. The title track "Supernatural" is well done, available here in its original version plus in three remix versions done by good names like BRAINCLAW, INTERFACE and DECODED FEEDBACK. The second main track "Dancemotherfuckers" is mostly a fast paced instrumental piece simply containing the command "Dance Motherfuckers!" with modern dancefloor rhythm patterns and well played bass lines. Not the greatest composition in lifetime for sure, more a track to show technical abilities, but damned catchy. Remixers at work here are DJ CABLE himself, FLESH FIELD, TERRORFAKT and the German act SCHATTENSCHLAG. So we have finally a few other tracks available in their original versions – and that's for sure is the best part of this EP, it gives a better introduction to the ENCODER sound than any remix work. Worth to mention are here "Rush", "Now You’re Gone" and of course the harsh piece "Contraption" – all tracks feature darker instrumentals and rougher vocals as well. On the other side we have two more tracks, "The Killer’s Last Stand" and "Erased" which give me the impression that they are musically ready produced – but someone has "forgotten" to include the vocals. Really – these tracks would work a lot better if they would feature a singer – for instrumental pieces these tracks are too uninteresting produced, the vocalist is hardly missed here. Please note also the eye-catching artwork featuring the Goth beauty Malice (www.beautydestroyed.com) – the info mentioned, that "it is still better to purchase this CD than downloading it". I would say, it is the best to know her somehow personal – but don’t tell this my wife...Although it is a bit strange for me to get mostly Futurepop-inspired stuff from the DSBP label, I’ll find this one impressive, the more I listen to it. Musically diversity is presented rich, also thanks to the valuable remix contributors presenting different styles of electronic-based music. Also the long playing time of this release makes it to get purchased.

RESURRECTION EVE: Ascension

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 20 2006
cover
Artist: RESURRECTION EVE (@)
Title: Ascension
Format: CD
Label: GUP / Endless Records (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Yes, it took me a while until I had the right feeling for this review. But this has nothing to do that this release would lack somehow of quality, no, it depends more on the opposite of this. I have heard a lot of Synthpop/Futurepop influenced stuff, but lately nothing like this second CD of this Australian duo. Especially the vocals done by front man Jordan Robbins are somehow strange, but also beautiful placed in the mix, plus Robbins is able to change the octaves. A very catchy and important point in the music of RESURRECTION EVE for sure. But also the music has its quality and surprises to offer. Take the slow starting and with decent piano and flute sounds arranged "Hope" as a well produced reference here – the rich musical content only placed in this track beats a lot of Genre-related acts out of this playing field! RESURRECTION EVE have found the right feeling to fill in a well working melody when needed without sounding like heard several times before. And although they are sounding modern and up-to-date, they still do not feature that typical F-Pop sound, on which almost everybody has to suffer in between. Next to the already mentioned "Hope", I would like to advise you to check out their tracks "Life", "Ascension" (danceable, but strong melodic...) and "Guide Me Home" (remarkable Synthpop entertainment...). Also RESURRECTION EVE are a member of the Australian Crash Frequency community (www.crashfrequency.com). This album has a lot of to offer, also for some open-minded Electro listeners. What a pity that their label Ground Under Productions in Australia has finally closed their business doors – for Europe this great release is still available through Endless Records, for the USA you have to contact the known mail order resources like DSBP or Metropolis-Records. Get it!


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