Music Reviews



LARVA: Diogenes Sindrome

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Feb 10 2006
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Artist: LARVA (@)
Title: Diogenes Sindrome
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
This is the debut release of a new project hailing from Barcelona, Spain, consisting of four members – and also another proof that Spain has to offer here and there some talents behind the known CULTURE KULTÜR, PAIL or ALLIED VISION. The presented 10 tracks on this release here spin a wide range of diverse styles, ranging mainly from minimal EBM structures ("Ojos Secos") to some experimental, up to Powernoise-like efforts ("Larvas I", "Larvas II"). There is also space for some good Dark Electro themes with a remarkable melodic infiltration like on "Religion", as well as a scary, intense and slowed down track like "No Soy Nada", which is my favorite here. This act shows its talent – but there’s for sure a lot of room for some improvements, timing and recording quality aren’t fully convincing here. They are looking for label to get signed, but I would say that this would come a bit to early for them. This CD can be more seen as a first demo output to the audience and I would like to advise them to use the possibilities to get on some compilations at first. Be sure and check also back their nice web shop where they offer some nice shirts, stickers and this CD of course.
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Artist: ANDREW COLEMAN (@)
Title: Tony Alva's hair
Format: CD
Label: Cocosolidciti (@)
Rated: *****
This autumn I've seen "Lords of Dogtown", an ok movie, nothing special in comparison to the documentary "Dogtown and the Z-boys", but definitely worth of the ticket (above all if you're into skateboard, or underground culture). Even if the average skater nowadays listens to crappy third rate punk bands or even worse to cheap gangsta rap, this work has nothing to do with the afore mentioned categories. Cocosolidciti is interested in high-quality electronic music and judging by they back catalogue and listening to this their costumers won't be disappointed. The menu is: electronic music with a 4/4 relaxed beat, sometimes it recalls some stylish Warp artist like Prefuse 72 or Savath and Savalas minus the post rock/instrumental feel, but that's just one percent of the whole mixture. With a such a cool rhythmical skeleton I was awaiting some rapping and it finally came with the third track ("Not a speculation" where Dose One is the mc!) and the song is a pure kick ass hit. Another interesting characteristic of this release is represented by its heterogeneity, one good example could be the electro-jazzy sketch of "Fingertip control". Andrew Coleman put together a smart tracklist and while listening you won't have the time to get bored by a single kind of song, just give a listen to such another great stylish exercise like the piano of "Rain and dogs" or to the acoustic guitar of "Constraints, huddles and hoops". Melody, melody and again melody, a great dose of class and if you're into hip-hoppish rhythm, electronic music, melody and post jazzy influences I think you outta add "Tony Alva's hair" to your want list.

ABSURD MINDS: Noumenon

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Feb 06 2006
cover
Artist: ABSURD MINDS (@)
Title: Noumenon
Format: CD
Label: Scanner (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****

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This trio hailing from Landau/Germany is maybe the most successful act recording for the Scanner label and they give us here just another example of a continuous good work on their known success formula. While I made my fun with their kind to win a "singing like Peter Spilles" contest in the early days, I recognize that this obviously intended sound of male vocals works well with their fat arrangements. It is Dark Electro in vein of IN STRICT CONFIDENCE or comparable acts without that scary and mystic feeling – maybe mass compatible Dark Electro? Anyhow – music and production are worth to listen to and flawless. For the vocals – well, that’s a kind of taste. ABSURD MINDS remain mostly in their one and only style globally. There are some hints here on this 14 new tracks, some alternative beat programmings on "Lord", or the use of some guitar sounds in "Stop The Fall" and "A Man Received The Answer 05". Especially the both last tracks I would call outstanding here, because also the Synth layers offer some more life and seem to be better worked out – while I am not sure if I really should advise them to concentrate more on guitar efforts... The one and only flaw is that this band cannot really surprise with anything else what couldn’t be compared with their earlier works. I would like to advise them to change something that can be called a real improvement. Try to compose different, change the kind of vocals – simply do something that nobody would expect from you. Globally a well done release which gets a few rotations, but nothing what can become my favorite. This release is also available as a limited DCD edition with 5 extra tracks, remixes of three album tracks, a remix of their classic "Damn The Lie" and a new unreleased piece called "No Saints, No Sinners".

SPIRITUAL REALITY: Fear Future

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Feb 06 2006
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Artist: SPIRITUAL REALITY (@)
Title: Fear Future
Format: CD
Label: Scanner (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
A new release on the Scanner label, out of the Dark Dimensions label group. SPIRITUAL REALITY is a German male/female duo presenting here their second full-length release. They already printed a nice style description on the sleeves of their CD, "Electronic – Independent – Pop". Well, that fits it for sure – I would maybe add a constant Futurepop feeling to almost all of their tracks here. The chosen sounds and arrangements do not offer any sense of experimentalism, almost all structures are known and can’t surprise – with the one and only exception named "The System (TRITOXIN Remix)" placed on the last position, track 13. I haven’t heard about this project named TRITOXIN, but this remix finally shows a harder and more experimental side falling into some Powernoise efforts. Nothing against their good sounding vocals which are their main used "instrument" and perfectly placed into the mix. But I would like to advise them to try at times something different. A lot of tracks walk on the same level – you hear them once, you hear them twice – but after this they are forgotten. Nice exceptions are luckily included here with "Lost In Lust", "The Way Is Not Clear" and of course with their best track "What Can I Do?" – it is one of the very few tracks which has the right balance between dancefloor attitude and slow melodic phases. There is also to mention the remix of the highly recognized band like MASSIV IN MENSCH on the good piece "The Way Is Not Clear" – but to destroy the given dark but melodious mood of the original with the replacement through some more dancefloor attitudes can’t end in a satisfying result. This isn’t at all a bad release – I recognize their good compositions, their tasty arrangements and the good production – but I do miss that surprising element which could help this duo to left the average behind.

Tuner (Pat Mastelotto & Markus Reute: Totem

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Feb 03 2006
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Artist: Tuner (Pat Mastelotto & Markus Reute
Title: Totem
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Unsung records (@)
Distributor: The Orchard, Soleilmoon, Burning Shed, DGM, Penn Music, JPC
Rated: *****
Except for the Young Gods and more live-d'n'b-oriented projects (such as the ones by Jojo Majer or Guy Licata), it seems to me that very few bands have understood how much a live drummer rocking out on his skins (instead of just swinging on the cymbals like many goth bands have done) can add to an electronic music project, making it more exciting, more powerful and more delivering. This record might not be able to change the course of events for the better in the future, but at least adds another great example of how effective the drum+electronics union really is.
US drummer Pat Mastelotto is certainly not new to this concept (he used to also play for King Crimson for more than 10 years), so when you pair up a guy like him with Germany's virtuoso touch-guitarist Markus Reuter (of Centrozoon fame), you'll pretty quickly end up with some kick ass good electronic-rock music. Contrarywise to what you might expect, this is not your average technical-abilities-showcasing prog-rock old-timers reuinion were skilled cats celebrate themselves with never ending solos and intricate fusion of rock tunes and jazz constructions. "Totem" rather focuses on composition and on conveying the message, whatever that might be, in an articulate, powerful and engaging way. Their mixture of avant-rock is heavily infuenced by the sum of the duo's experiences but sounds new and original all together. The multi-faceted talents of Mastelotto's versatile performances come out in the form of wild cymbal-heavy experimental drumming, drum-pad beats, square on the money drumming with powerful tom toms breaks (that might actually remind you of some of the afore-mentioned Swiss trio's stuff) and all of what's within the wide spectrum of a drummer's sonic and rhythmical palette. The space around him is smartly and un-obtrusively filled by guitar, bass, hammond parts, layers of electronics and even heavily-manipulated vocal parts, all written by Reuter in a way that complements Mastelotto's ideas while still showing Reuter's training without having to splatter out one single note of what you'd conventionally refer to as a solo. In fact you'll hardly ever hear anything like a regular guitar sound at all, since Reuter's prime pride is his touch-guitar, an instrument with an eight octave pitch range that he complements and interfaces with all his other electronic equipment (that includes what seems to be becoming every live musician's favourite digital performance software-based tool: Abelton Live).
Without getting too technical or too windy, I strongly suggest that you check out this Unsung Records release. The CD also features a video clip (directed by Renee Stieger) that showcases the most drum'n'bass (speaking off...) track on the record. Too bad that nothing of the duo's performance is included in the video.
Also make sure to check out www.patmastelotto.com and www.markusreuter.com.
A great example of musicianship and electro-acoustic rock-electronica.


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