Music Reviews



VV.AA.: A.L.P.H.A.

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (2385)
Dec 26 2005
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: A.L.P.H.A.
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Geska (@)
Rated: *****
The A.L.P.H.A. compilation (which stands for Altered.Lives.Producing.Humanoid.Atmospheres.) is a two CD release by the Canadian label Geska Records featuring 27 tracks and some multimedia content spacing between power-industrial/rhythm noise and dark electronic music. The "Modus Vivendi" CD features Remain Silent, Empusae, Y P Y Wai Pi Wai, AQL, H.I.V+ vs C/A/T, Stendeck, Iszoloscope, PerfectionPlastic, Converter, Nos Royaumes, Nimp, Lambwool, Koin and S:Cage while the "Fatum" CD features Squale, Re_Agent, Synapscape, Communication Zero (feat. Princess_Coldheard), Lith, Lapsed, OTX, Displacer, Shizuka, Mlada Fronta, Flint Glass, Stendeck, again, and Komplex. I am only familiar with a third or so of the bands, but the level seems to be pretty consistently high, there are no major dull moments, mostly just good stuff and stuff that is maybe a little less interesting or original at times; but overall an outstanding collection of shady digital music. The ROM track of the CD features a nice flash interface with cretis, links, pictures and other info as well as two video clips by Converter and by Flint Glass (of the same track present on the CD, which is one of the most obscure and myserious tracks). The CD's art work features photography of Rik Allen's glass scultpures by Jenny Sturgis (www.dislocationphoto.com).

Stendeck: Can You Hear My Call?

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Dec 23 2005
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Artist: Stendeck (@)
Title: Can You Hear My Call?
Format: CD
Label: Geska records (@)
Rated: *****
Swiss Alessandro Zampieri's one-man project Stendeck (whose name is inspired by the last morse code sent by the Stardust plane before it crashed in '47) debuted with "A Crash Into Another World" in 2002 and after doing some sound designing for a short-film called "The Birdge" (directed by Gaston Dupuy), he's back with "Can You Hear My Call?", an album that is allegedly about falling in love and about the "celebration of death who is still breathing life", whatever that means... Interestingly enough, his music does sound very cinematic and perfect for soundtracks: I guess it is true that a man is the sum of all his experiences... This full length album is completely instrumental and taps into multiple areas of the electronic genre, mostly drawing from the school of ambient and dark-ambient made with lo-fi beats, layers of pads, loops a canadian-inspired minimalistic attitude. Sliding back and forth from electronica and ambient into power electronics and rhtyhm noise, Stendeck packs in over a full hour of music for the enjoyment for those who are in search of very atmospheric and yet spiced up music who can make them dream, wake them up and then take them away all over again...

LAL: Warm Belly High Power

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Dec 21 2005
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Artist: LAL
Title: Warm Belly High Power
Format: CD
Label: Public Transit Recordings (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Rated: *****
In 2000 Toronto-based Lal released "Corners" and cut out a little niche of fans for themselves that kept growing as they started to play with a live band and got to open for Nelly Furtado, Terry Callier, Roy Ayers, State of Bengal and others. I haven't heard their debut record, which is said to be "gritty", but I listened to its following October 2005 "Warm Belly High Power" for about 5 times now, and have let myself be captured every time by how sublimely and unnoticeably it can carry one away... Eclectic and multifaceted, this Canadian outlet effortlessly maneuvers through picking and borrowing from the sonic traditions of Northern Europe, South Asia, Latin America mostly, and if you wanna mention every little detail, you could possibly add West India and Africa... In this hyper-geographic intense and hot magma of sound palettes, Rosina Kazi, who at times sounds like a more relaxed version of Furtado herself flirting with the ever so vocally quoted Beth Gibbons, nonchalantly weaves through her partner's Nick Murray's elaborate textures made of lo-fi, slow-motion breakcore, trip-hop, orchestral hints, dub, french musique concretisms, spanish guitars, world music percussions, electro-pop, minimal techno, downtempo, jazz, hip hop etc... The exquisite musicianship of instrumentalists Rakesh Tewari, Nilan Pereira, Santosh Naidu and Ian De Souza help convey the message properly, in fact this record is so well done that it has already been remixed several times by Nick Holder, Moonstarr (also on Public Transit Recordings), Nu Era (4 Hero) and Abacus. If you like albums that will make spin your head in every direction, definitely go for this one...

TOTAL MACCHINA: Dream Machine

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 21 2005
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Artist: TOTAL MACCHINA (@)
Title: Dream Machine
Format: CD
Label: Kinetik Media (@)
Rated: *****
Total Macchina is a side project of John Langdon (a.k.a. Inform3r) and Katya Casio which are both active also as Hong Kong Counterfeit. DREAM MACHINE is their first release and it contains ten gems of electronic purity. The sound cherishes '80s but John and Katya for sure dig also electronic music of the '70s. Listening to tracks like "Elephant storm" you immediately think about Jean Michel Jarre (of the Oxigene or Magnetic Fields period) or Kraftwerk when you listen to "Cash register". Total Macchina balance really well the dance bits with the experimental side of their music, thanks to the dissonating melodies or the arrangements (most of the tracks are instrumental), maybe. This blend of rhythms and research of the inusual (check "Grid jumper", "Valley of the kings"or "Faded photograph") create a sort of dark vein that give to their music something that isn't that normal to get nowadays: creativity. Great album that makes you wish for more! Follow them...

DIORAMA: Repale

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 21 2005
cover
Artist: DIORAMA (@)
Title: Repale
Format: CD
Label: Accession-Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
Rated: *****
Not really a complete new CD by the German Electro-/Wave act DIORAMA, more a kind of collection of unreleased tracks recorded during some studio sessions, rare pieces, or remix works are featured here. "Repale" offers an excellent insight view of the band’s work ranging from real Futurepop anthems like "Drowned" or "Contradictive (yes = no version)" up to the both remix works done by KARTAGON ("Logic Friends") and FROZEN PLASMA ("Friends We Used To Know"). Also some slight Electro/EBM tunes are here with "The Girls (Bombay Overdose version)" or with "The Rich Are All Perverted" and both can satisfy. I must say that I am quite impressed how strong their compositions are and how easy they are able to realize their musically vision into listen-able tunes. The whole album gets never boring, it’s moreover a strong monument of the music of this introvert duo. Highlight of this almost 80 minutes long masterpiece is the "Chamber Version" of "Leaving Hollywood" where they place a fine melodic piano line with smooth vocals – a track you won’t forget already after the first listen! There are not too many releases out of this music genre which get consumed over and over again – and also my "outer-scene" wife likes it a lot! I think there can’t be any better words to describe how marvelous this release is!


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