Music Reviews



Indicia: Identifying Marks

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 26 2005
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Artist: Indicia
Title: Identifying Marks
Format: CD
Label: Kanpai records
Distributor: IDN Innovative Distribution Network
Rated: *****
Indicia is a relatively new duo from the west coast. They present a powerful, well-balanced, skillfully-produced and aggressive mixture of electronica and trip-hop. The band comes through as a professional act and their sound is very mature, more than you'd expect from a debut. Musically speaking Indicia is pretty minimal, but manages to still be pretty raw and powerful. Deep bass lines, sizzling drum sounds, careful and never excessive programming of pad layers and texture sounds all work together towards awesome sonics that are beautifully complemented by the sexy, versatile, eclectic and talented vocals of the female singer. Very impressive indeed.
Aug 26 2005
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Artist: STROMKERN (@)
Title: Light it up
Format: CD
Label: Dependent, WTII (@)
Distributor: Alive!, Metropolis Records
Rated: *****

BUY from  HERE
I don’t like to hold back an original quotation by J. Ned Kirby, vocalist and main head behind STROMKERN out of the info sheet to this new release:

"In the past I was generally careful to keep politics out of STROMKERN but it has simply become impossible. I find myself struck dumb on an almost daily basis by the events that are taking place. It has become increasingly clear that a war is underway, a culture war, being waged by fanatical, hyper-religious conservatives against anyone who questions their religious, moral, political or economic agenda. All of which seem to have the maximum disregard for the personal freedoms of others as well as the safeguarding of the planet for future generations."

Well, I am not here to arguing on this. I would like to say: "Hello and welcome to the daily madness", because it seems to me that STROMKERN have developed a lot since their latest full length CD "Armageddon", which is already now three years old. To include some more or less decent guitar riffs into the already stylistically diverse sound of the multi-talented musicians, J. Ned Kirby and Kelly Shaffer, is surely more than a hint. "Electro/Industrial/Alternative" – well, so it is! Some European Electro purists will be surely get shocked by listening to the new STROMKERN sound, but here are still some remarkable tracks which can easily show all the rich musical talent in production and composition. STROMKERN have grown up not only musically, also for the lyrically content with a more critically interpretation of the current politically situation (excellent example: "Reminders"). This is surely not that typically STROMKERN release of early days, it needs some more rotations until it can satisfy. The title track of the previously released Single-CD "Stand Up" is of course still present here, as well as the track "Slow Cascade", both tracks can be called next to the already mentioned "Reminders" to the favorite of the purists. This been said we can noticed some prominent help on the vocals done by F. Spinath of SEABOUND performing on "Sentinel", while Victoria Lloyd (CLAIRE VOYANT) helped out on the slow "Hindsign". Also a favorite is the slow track and with a nice piano performance done by J. Ned Kirby, "Forgiven" which melodic insult will not leave your head... Congratulations again to the German label Dependent (for the USA: WTII Records, check out: www.wtiirecords.com) for picking up one of the leaders of complex and innovative electronic-minded music. Make sure to visit a gig of their current tour to watch these guys with the Metropolis recording artist BATTERY CAGE. Nice done!!!

VEX'D: Degenerate

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 23 2005
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Artist: VEX'D (@)
Title: Degenerate
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
After releasing three 12" ("Function" for Drum+Breaks and "Pop pop" and "Lion" for the Subtext label), Jamie and Roly landed on Planet Mu with the single "Gunman" / "Smart bomb". Now, after some months they release, for the same label, their first album titled DEGENERATE. The album contains new versions of their previous cuts "Pop pop" and "Lion" plus ten new tracks of grime sounds. The duo focus their music on low frequency sounds and on distorted tunes. The effect created make me remember of a distorted and dilated version of Prodigy of the "Fat of the land" era plus a dub attitude which gives to the tracks a dark intriguing aspect. About this, check the first part of "Thunder" where the dark ambient sounds are mixed with the distorted and pumping bass drum. Mostl of the tracks are instrumental ones and they create a strange ambience in the room while you listen to them. Is like a dreamy landscape disturbed by living nightmares that bleeps in and out of the room. If you are willing to try something different from the Cold Meat old dark ambient sound you could try Vex'd and even if dark ambient isn't exactly your cup of tea, DEGENERATE is always a good grime record full of breakbeat sounds and rhythms. If you are a vinyl purist you can get the ten tracks vinyl edition but I suggest you to get also the double CD edition as it contains twelve tracks on the first CD and the tracks coming from the two Subtext 12" plus "Smart bomb" (from their first Planet Mu's 12") and a new track titled "End of line" (which features Search & Destroy).
Aug 21 2005
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Artist: SCI-FI INDUSTRIES
Title: The air cutter
Format: CD
Label: THISCO (@)
Rated: *****
Cool!! According to the good remarks I've wrote in the review of three way split cd on Thisco, here it is, Sci-fi industries which features Luis van Seixas (one of the founders of the portuguese label). Believe it or not this "picciotto" knows how to do it and the result is delicious: rhythmic electronica with heart-striking melodies. I'm sorry to repeat myself again but here we have another guy who's probably grown breathing air and Warp and it enlightened his brain enough to give us a juicy fruit like "The air cutter". Pulsing electronic music with a foot in the nineties, comparison could be misleading but it gave me the same beautiful impression of Black Dog, somewhere else it was like giving a listen to Two Lone Swordsman at their top (damn what a band they were!!!). I've happened to listen bands that were good but a blatant replica, for Portugal sake, Sci-fi industries is not a clone but a sort of re-edition, since you hear this' not old fashioned music but just something loyal to its root but at the same time the songs express a strong personality (like the english debut of Passarani). Electronic lover from the old school will love this for sure.
Aug 19 2005
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Artist: Liquid Divine
Title: Interface
Format: CD
Label: Nilaihah Records (@)
Rated: *****

BUY from  HERE
Interface, the debut release from eastern German duo Liquid Divine, is easy to like--at first. The media kit nails their influences: Haujobb, Front Line Assembly, Recoil, Kraftwerk, and Tear Garden all describe their pedigree very well. The lyrics, all in English, are actually a strong suit for once, coming from the Continent. In fact, the tracks that seem to work best contain odd passages spoken in a low, gutteral drawl, like some post-apocalyptic Romeo whispering to his teenage date. Check out this line describing a sunset: "How fucking wonderful it is to watch that big ball of fire melt into the ocean...!" At last, someone who REALLY knows how to get romantic in a song.

At the middle of the disc, the promising pace ebbs. The trip-hoppy track number 8, "9 to 5", finally rescues my wandering attention from total distraction with more of that cool crypto-poetic speak. After that, however, the rest of the CD becomes filler, losing my attention for good. About four songs pruned from here and there (including that meritless and patronizing 9/11 soundbite at the end of the last track) would do some justice.


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