Music Reviews



LEGOWELT: Dark Days

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 29 2005
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Artist: LEGOWELT (@)
Title: Dark Days
Format: CD
Label: Strange Life Records (@)
Distributor: Phear
Rated: *****
If you don't own a turntable or if you don't use peer to peer programs to share music, is highly probable that you don't know Legowelt. Danny Wolfers released about ten E.P.s (mostly on Bunker Records) and only one CD titled "Classics 1998-2003: A Selection Of Tracks From The Bunker Archive" which gathers some of his tracks released for Bunker Records. Well, this time with DARK DAYS, you've got the opportunity to get into Legowelt's realm at a cheap price (Phear, who's in charge of the distribution sells it at 7 euros) even if you haven't got a turntable. Deeply influenced by Detroit techno and other thousands of electronic pulsations, Danny is taking off his hat fourteen old tracks, which he tought lost and gone. Fortunately the tracks, which span through the 1992 ÷ 1997 period (i.e. from the early days), are available for the first time for the listening pleasure of all the Legowelt fans and for all the curious who wants to discover the inspired music of one of the most appreciated guys into the techno/electro scene. Tracks like the opening "Lego resistance", "Nowhere track", the following "Techno madchen" or "Myst" are able to mix ambient sounds and rough synth sounds with melodic loops, creating in this way a particular blend of dance experimental music which isn't only at the dancefloor service but it's also out there for you to enjoy. If you already know Danny's releases, well don't wait for tracks like "Total pussy control" or "Dirty tango" because this album contains instrumental tracks just like the ones you can find on releases like "Tower Of The Gipsies". Don't lose the opportunity to get this stuff, it won't last for long time!
Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Soundwave Assassins 2
Format: CD
Label: Backscatter (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Second volume of a CD compilation series which is designed for promotional use only and cost-free but hard to get for a normal consumer. Released again as co-operation between both labels Dungeon-Recordings and Backscatter with the distribution help of the infamous DSBP label this new comp brings us the newest efforts and appetizers directly taken from the upcoming new full-length releases by DIVERJE, LEXINCRYPT, BOUNDLESS, LITTLE SAP DUNGEON or P.C.P. to name a few. The skill and diversity is richly present here and I personally can’t await the release of the newest pieces. This remarkable comp starts with a dark gloomy co-operation project between P.C.P. and the new Dungeon signing IN’VEKTIV. Musically almost based on some dark and spooky LITTLE SAP DUNGEON efforts this track has still enough own identity to give fully satisfaction. Comes next a more traditional dark Electro smasher by LEXINCRYPT. Harsh distorted vocals, pounding rhythms, wide melodic layers – so are the trademarks of this solo project of Wrythe (SYMBIONT) – maybe a bit influenced by some harsh SUICIDE COMMANDO classics, but still with a stand-out in quality. BOUNDLESS is of course also present here and give us a new "Mechanos Failed" pretty much in their already known lighter Electro style. Xon offers with this track some nice varied vocal progression and the sequences sound more trendy than ever before. Follows then one of the main DSBP acts, DIVERJE, leaded by the very own label chief Tommy T. I have never heard and expected such a great evolution in complexity and production by this project with this track "Your Pleasure (Harsh)". It sounds and reminds me a bit on some works done by the great French act E.S.R. and maybe Vince Pujol of this band has put a helping hand on this track. But again – DIVERJE has never been so strong, so rich in composition and sequencing like on this marvelous dark Electro track. A must! Then I must admit that I have never heard a full length CD by CARPHAX FILES, a band recording for COP International. Uuuhm, big mistake, shame on me – they offer a decent and danceable Electro track with some angry vocals. Strong enough done to grab your attention, go and check it out. ROSES AND EXILE offer us a dark and weird piece with a harsh edge. Vocals are here destroyed through the use of some guitar effect machines and the globally structure of their piece is a bit chaotic. Follows then a marvelous and gloomy Electro dark piece by CIRCUIT SURGEON which offers here one of the biggest surprises with well worked out synth layers and Alien-like vocals. LITTLE SAP DUNGEON finally give us here the revamped version of their classic "Ask Alice (Acidland 25 Mix)" which I could already check out on their split-CD with BOUNDLESS, "Geist". It sounds almost like a new track and nothing remembers on the original version. Lately after this track this comp turned into some more or less weird and experimental music stuff which do not fit my personal preferences. Take some Rap (!!!) from FIXX & THE INSUFFERABLE NOISE MACHINE, some abstract experiments with strange sounds by SAVANT GARDE, Powernoise-efforts by SONIC DISORDER, TWILLIGHT TRANSMISSION's Dark Techno experiments and finally SCAPEGOAT’s dark Ambient-like piece you have an idea how diverse and mixed this comp went. Backscatter and Dungeon-Recordings in collaboration offer again a fine compilation which is worth to be a regular release. Highly recommend, try to get it!

Virtual Space Industrial: Gehenna

 Posted by Ian Hall   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Mar 22 2005
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Artist: Virtual Space Industrial
Title: Gehenna
Format: CD
Label: Pandailectric (@)
Distributor: Alive
Rated: *****
Gehenna, the first full-length release by Poland’s Virtual Space Industrial [VSI], paints a dire picture of the future with its simmering mix of apocalyptic themes, highly charged electronic body music and thought-provoking samples. The album is named for a Latin word, meaning "a place of torment or suffering," and sure enough there are plenty of references to hell, including a number of thinly veiled suggestions that our world is headed quickly in that direction. The first track, "Holy Children," is mildly reminiscent of X Marks the Pedwalk in sound and feel, with its mildly processed vocals and smooth, catchy electro refrains. "Liar" slows down the musical pace and cranks up the vocal distortion. "Strange Films" grows from humble beginnings into a lengthy, deeply introspective examination of personal pain and anguish. "Traitor" lashes out angrily against the irresponsibility of those who would be guardians of the human race. "Return to Beginning" is a short, sweet musical interlude that connects nicely to the subtly evangelical "Rest of my Life." "Angel of Death" is fairly brimming with homily, Father and Son coming to kick our heathen asses for our dirty perversions. At least we’re given the courtesy of a decent dance beat during this righteous reaming! "Right Hand of God" puts war under the microscope, mocking man’s folly in the face of a higher power. "Love for a Moment" is lyrically cryptic, but pleasant nonetheless with its repetitive refrain. "Hope" injects a bit of their native Polish tongue into the mix with an incantation during the early part of the track, and chugs along on the rails of an arp refrain that is very similar to Evils Toy, circa Human Refuse. A much more languid pace drives the instrumental track, "Shadow of Death." The slow progression at the beginning of "Bad Dream" is something I’ve heard before, but I can’t remember the source for the life of me. It is quickly shed in favor of a fast-paced beat, evolving into the most solid dance track on the entire disc. The disc ends on a somewhat hopeful note, as VSI sing of a "New World Order."This album appears on Pandailectric, a German label, and follows an earlier EP entitled Angel of Death, which was released in 2002. Nice looking artwork and liner notes! The message isn’t necessarily my cup of tea, and there are some entertaining liberties taken with the English language, but the music is solid and the feeling sincere. Overall, it’s pretty damned good.

Duuster: Habitat

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Mar 17 2005
cover
Artist: Duuster (@)
Title: Habitat
Format: CD
Label: M-Tronic (@)
Rated: *****
France-based Dutch musician Duuster (formerly known as Element 11 on Unit/Possessive Blindfold records) mastered to put out his debut full lenght album at a time when people in the electronic scene were already aware of who he is and what music he makes, and that's mainly because he had left a mark in the scene with his previous split CD with CH.District, also released by the very attentive M-Tronic (most definitely one of the two best electronic labels in France, together with Parametric). "Habitat" gives further proof of Duuster's artistic maturity with a bunch of tracks that will make every heart that beats fast for the top-selling Warp artists beat even faster (and speaking of Warp, Funckarma also remixes one of Duuster's 11 tracks, and so do the americans Emotional Joystick, on Zod records). The sound is that signature IDM/ambient Autechre, Boards of Canada etc, the music is that of Duuster. Choose your chemical element!

The Azoic: Illuminate

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Mar 12 2005
cover
Artist: The Azoic
Title: Illuminate
Format: CD
Label: Nilaihah Records (@)
Rated: *****
This U.S. duo's third and latest CD, Illuminate, is a very strong EBM/darkwave release that is also firmly rooted in Euro-dance. Most of the tracks are hard-hitting anthems with female vocals attractively and subtly woven in. The title track, "Illuminate," stands out the most. The last number is an interesting "medley" remix by cyberDJ of "Conflict," from Azoic's eponymous 2003 release on Nilaihah Records (the original mix is included on this disc as well, for some reason). "Ever" makes for a timely change-up midway through the CD. Its sinuous, sexy drum pattern is a welcome respite from the relentless club tempo of the first five tracks. It's my favorite moment on the disc--you can imagine stepping into a strip club for one song, before returning to the dance club.... For you '80s throwbacks, track number 8 is a nicely done cover of "Obsession" by Animotion, and as far as the overall flow is concerned it is an excellent choice.

Singer Kristy Venrick never strays beyond the bounds of good sense in her delivery, and at times makes tasteful use of the vocorder. Her lyrics display many personal themes--desire, obsession, devotion, loss of love and many emotions in between. Musically, Steve Laskarides's programming is fiercely competent, and the production is appropriately tight and professional.

Illuminate is full of good, solid, no-nonsense dance grooves that would mix well in any club setting (and no doubt already has, by this time). I'd say that if The Azoic can one day transcend the genres that this new CD pays homage to, they could be unstoppable. The otherwise excellent CD insert design could have used a little proofreading in the liner notes and lyric sheet.... Nonetheless, it amounts to a terrific dancefloor wallop to the ears, and is a must-have if you are already a fan. And your iTunes will love it, too.


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