Music Reviews



Artist: Books on Tape
Title: The Business End
Format: CD
Label: Grey Day Productions
Mix only a tad of new wave, a dose of electronic beat-driven music (from Meat Beat Manifesto to mid-tempo dance to electro-industrial), throw in lots of computery electronic music, a huge dollop of defiant quirk, and some of the attitude of Mister Rogers mixed with, you know, those big pointed eyebrows bad people have in movies sometimes and you've got Books on Tape and their new CD "The Business End". Anyway, other than the sheer style of personality that's going to come out at you from song to song, all you can really expect from this music - which maybe could be considered experimental electro-industrial - is ... well ... maybe nothing else. You need to have a fetish for music that is strange but still technically traditional music - not over the edge experimental - to fully appreciate what's afoot here. But suffice it to say, Books on Tape are interesting manipulators of electronic music and worth peering at cautiously from around the corner ... just kidding ... check 'em out.

Last Influence of Brain: Illusions And Reality

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 06 2004
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Artist: Last Influence of Brain
Title: Illusions And Reality
Format: CD
Label: Black Flames records / e-noxe / Alive (@)
Rated: *****
Slovakian duo Last Influence of Brain just released their first full length album "Illusions And Reality", which follows their 1998 debut demo-CD "Revolution Countries Evolution", from when they first got together. The duo added live drums on some tracks and guest vocals and guitars on the powerful and thoughful track "N.O.A.C.O.". Their creative EBM mixture will be appreciated by most fans of Leather Strip, FLA, :W:, Mentallo & the Fixer and such. The CD came out on the polish label Black Flame records (who also signed Mexican artist E.R.R.A. - cmp review elsewhere on these pages), sports 13 tracks, of which the last two are bonux remix tracks by E.S.R. and K.I.F.O.T.H. and, among other things, comes with a really beautiful artwork. The bright side of this album is definitely its decidedly powerful full frontal attack, its in your face attitude and its aggressive approach. Altough, in my opinion, EBM is slowly dying due to lack of oxygen, artists such as "Last Influence Of Brain" remind me and probably others what made the genre so great!

E.R.R.A.: Light of Love

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 06 2004
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Artist: E.R.R.A. (@)
Title: Light of Love
Format: CD
Label: Black Flames records
Rated: *****
Electro-synth-pop music with a fascination for extraterrestrial phenomena is what young Mexican artist Rick Nava presents to us with his presumably debut CD "Light of Love", a collection of 13 tracks with up-tempo dancefloor-friendly beats, layers outer-worldly sounds, rave-synth lines, lyrics in English and Spanish (really just one song). The CD comes with a beautiful artwork (even though the in-lay card came out with some printing allignment issue), and the S.E.T.I.-attitude helps spark interest, but musically the young machine lover has to further develop his already remarkable skills to become more personal, original and stand out in the crowd, which I realize is a very hard thing to do in the genre he picked. Keep up the good work.

davaNtage: unholy

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 06 2004
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Artist: davaNtage
Title: unholy
Format: CD EP
Label: Black Rain records (@)
Distributor: Nova Media Distribution
Rated: *****
Even though it's got 13 tracks and 1 hour running time, "Unholy" is referred to as a CD EP, mostly because it features seven tracks (one of which is a cover version of the punk band Skeptiker's "Ja Ja Ja") + six remix versions by Suicide Commando, Soman, LC, Echorausch, Supreme Court, Solitary Experiments. The german trio carries around the word of electro body music with well programmed sequences, drum machine patterns and vocals that are treated with the same old distortion or sometimes with less distorion and more reverb, which isn't bad. Some remix versions are interesting and worthy of mention: Suicide Commando's version of the title-track is more martial/minimal/apocalyptic; Soman go for minimal electro-rhythm in Daft-records style (even though it assumes more dance-friendly shape later on); Echoraush's remix of the afore-mentioned punk classics brings back some guitar rings and more noises, and also slows it down, making it more evil-sounding. "Unholy" is a nice EP and davvaNtage are a good trio of musicians that spend muchh of their time polishing and arranging well written material, too bad the genre itself just seems to be stuck in itself...

STOCHASTIC THEORY: Soliloquy

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 31 2004
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Artist: STOCHASTIC THEORY (@)
Title: Soliloquy
Format: CD
Label: Sonic Mainline (@)
Rated: *****
Stochastic Theory is the personal project of Chuck Spencer, who has been a premiere Midwest electro/industrial/synth DJ for over half a decade. Feeling the urge to express his own musical taste and his own feelings, he started to compose his own music in the fall of 2001. SOLILOQUY is the first Chuck's album and musically the eleven tracks (the last four are remixes of tracks here already present in their original version. The remixers are: Epsilon Minus, Null Device, Blind Faith / Envy and Echo Virus) are a blending of synthpop and electro e.b.m. If you want me to do a comparison I could name Icon Of Coil (for some melodies and for the e.b.m. side) and for the synthpop / new wave side I could hazard a mixture of Dead Or Alive (see tracks like "Blurry lines") and Ultravox (see the introspective "Demons"). Fortunately in this case influences are just influences and SOLILOQUY isn't a copy of the forementioned bands. Even if at a first listening the sound of the first four tracks wasn't that original, luckily the songs from that point on, show a certain personality and the CD changes little by little catching the attention and becoming a good album full of energy and pathos.


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