Music Reviews



NAMNAMBULU: Distances

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 09 2004
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Artist: NAMNAMBULU
Title: Distances
Format: CD
Label: Nilaihah Records (@)
Rated: *****

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First released the last year thanks to Infacted Records, Namnumbulu's first album DISTANCES has been released for the States by Nilaihah Records which added to this new version a track ("Now or never - Dopamin mix") and the video of "Memories". Coming from Switzerland, Namnambulu is a duo formed by Vasi Vallis and Henrik Iversen. The band's sound has already been paragoned to bands like VNV Nation, Assemblage 23 or Camouflage (I'd add also the Apoptygma Berzerk of the "Welcome To Earth" period). The tracks generally are based on melody (thanks to Henrik's deep vocals) and on rhythm (only the closing "Apart" is a ballad a la Depeche Mode). The web formed by layers of sequencered synthetic sounds duet with the melody forming a good mixture of danceable future pop. There isn't a best track as the twelve tracks equally have a good dose of melody and rhythm. At the moment the sound of the band's hasn't reached its top, talking about personality but DISTANCES is a good first album which will be able to make the band gain a certain following.

Taxi: The Accessory

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 05 2004
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Artist: Taxi
Title: The Accessory
Format: CD
Label: Infracom! (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Rated: *****
Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it: my number one record of the week! Now I'll likely stop listening to any other records, let them pile up, while I enjoy this multiple times a day, multiple days a week or driving my car in the sun(set), 'cause that's just how beautiful it is. Two years after their debut "Blue Zero One" on the german label INFRAcom!, the British trio composed by Paul Cullen, Simon Lovejoy and Joel Laundy, are back for another portion of lush, silky, smooth, loungy, jazz, trippy electronica. "The Accessory" blends rhythm&blues with electro, jazz with trip hop, nu-jazz with acid-jazz, classical with ambient, techno with downbeat: sweet deep&digital, uppright and cello bass lines, with mushy keys and rhodes comping, layers of ethereal textures (strings, pads), groovy percussive carpets (triangle, bongos, congas, shakers, cabasa, drums), jazzy guitar parts, orchestral arrangements, breath instruments (flute, trumpet), distant world music influences (indian sitar) and of course the delicious and warm voice that sings all the way through the record. If all of this doesn't help just think of them of very personal (and UK-sounding)combination of Massive Attack, Rebro, Echo, Groove Armada, The Future Sound of London, Portishead, Delerium, Antenne, Lamb, Autechre, The Flying Dutchman, Sasha, Chance's End, Kaskade, Luis Junior, Marquess Wyatt, Joe Clausell, Coppe', Device, The Brave, Saafi Brothers, Laurent Brondell influences. Need I really say more? Hit single potential is to be found everywhere in the record, but the opening track should do it all alone! Albums of this kind come around only every once in a while, and when they do you better jump on them and enjoy while the magic lasts (although I must say the band's desire to create tunes that will stand the test of time is probably fullfilled by the beauty of these timeless compositions). The CD comes as a black-surface CD and its art work makes it look exactly like a vinyl (I have seen others do this, but Taxi's is definitely the closest to vinyl-looking I ever got). The CD also comes with a Mac/PC-compatible rom track that has lyrics, pictures and a link to an exclusive mp3 bonus track. We should all have enough for a week of joy, right? So now let me shut up mates and let's enjoy and chill out...
Jun 04 2004
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Artist: Apell (@)
Title: Beaver Street & Beyond
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

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Definitely winner of the "most original way to bribe a music reviewer" award because he enclosed a sweet candy bar in his promo package, this mate is definitely not lacking ideas or innovative approach to marketing and music (a peek at the song titles should be enough proof of that). Melbourne, Austialia, based indiependent artist and producer Anthony Pell's second release as Apell, "Beaver Street & Beyond" represents an original and groovy album of seducvtive electronic music, convincingly flirting with jazzy flavors, rock approaches, 70es glamour, disco-funk fun, dub effects, industrial attitude, drum'n'bass aesthetics, retro samples and more. Mostly downtempo electronica, the tunes are easily captured by the free flying spirit of uptempo break beats that make it even more exciting. The everyday sounds (samples and location recordings from Australia) definitely offer a lot in terms of personal touch and originality, but also a heavy use of guitars (even classical ones) help better define its character. The key of interpretation lays in the eclectic and brilliant mind of this dynamic and pro-active fellow who came up with this music. This album is so diverse and multifaceted in style that it could appe(a)l to a number of different music fans, including those who like Massive Attack, Unkle, Groove Armada, Zappa, Radiohead, John Zorn and many others. The only negative thing I would mention, if I had to, is that even though the album goes by without getting boring and maintaining a certain frenzy excitment, it also lacks in outstanding episodes, or potential hit-singles, if you will. Everything is interesting and cool, but nothing is mind-shattering phenomenal, altough I can see Mr. Pell might be on the right track.
There's quite a buzz around Apell's music, at least in Australia, so I suggest you make some time to figure out if it is worth your time, because it was worth mine.

[GRENDEL]: Prescription: Medicide

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jun 04 2004
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Artist: [GRENDEL] (@)
Title: Prescription: Medicide
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: NoiTekk (@)
Rated: *****
New release by [VLRK] (vocals, synthesis, programming, sampling) and [4N1T4] (live synthesis and engineering), aka [Grendel], following the wake of their past releases of sombre, melodic electro with harsh, almost black-metal yelled vocals and socio-political concerns. I think it's done fairly well and will certainly please the fans of this genre (it already does, indeed) - to my ears it becomes quite monotonous after a couple of tracks, obviously because of the vocals, which are not bad in itself, but just sound all the same throughout the whole cd. A bit of orchestral arrangement is used in tracks like "Pax Psychosis", and acoustic guitars show up in "Dream", but for the most part it's the usual beats + keyboards mix. Again, well done, but a bit abused I think. The first 1,500 copies come with a bonus 31-minute cd, featuring remixes by Infekktion, Ah Cama-Sotz, Tactical Sekt, Urkom and 4/4 whore, plus a live recording of "Zombie Nation" and the anti-war videoclip of "Pax Psychosis".

Sasha: Involver

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jun 04 2004
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Artist: Sasha
Title: Involver
Format: CD
Label: Global Underground (@)
Rated: *****
This is how every DJ's album should be made in the new millennium! Finally somebody that displays some serious creativity and hands-on production, and, what do you know, from the one I maybe least expected it. After the success of "Airdrawndagger", two years ago, Dj Sasha's new album "Involver" (to be released June 22nd) presents an artist that has undergone some serious artistic growth and evolution, a Dj that has taken Djing to the next (ultimate?) level: each and every track has been written, remixed, re-produced or re-edited for the sole purpose of the creation of this album. So it's more than just spinning and mixing and blending a bunch of records together, Sasha's "Involver" is almost a real artist album. Contrarywise to the live environment he now has the tools and the time to make everything sound as if it is his own creation, and most importantly he chooses to do so. The tracklist includes pieces by Grand National, Shpongle, Petter, Unkle, The Youngsters, Spooky, Lostep, Felix da Housecat, Ulrich Schnauss. Sasha's artistic re-working covers all grounds from ambient, to funky-dance, from house to chill out, from electronica to lounge music, from world beats to latin-brazilian influences. Lots of ethereal voices and arrangments find their way into the sneaky electronica-based format of "Involver", which totally makes it a winner in my book.


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