Music Reviews



Freeform: Condensed (Finest Filets1997-2002)

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Mar 21 2003
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Artist: Freeform (@)
Title: Condensed (Finest Filets1997-2002)
Format: CD
Label: Nonplace (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Following Simon Pyke's own CDR label Freefarm's debut 100-copies limited edition release "Late Surfaces 1990-2000" (which collects unreleased material), "Condensed (Finest Filets 1997-2002)" is a Freeform tribute/retrospective/best of to be released by the German label Nonplace on April 8th. He's been making electronic-inspired music since 1995 (you'll find Freeform releases on Warp, Skam, Worm Interface and Quartermass) and his production embraces ambient/IDM as much as experimental and dub, to mention just a few of his music's aspects (check out "Phu Qouc" to get an idea of how "free" and abstract he can get, but don't be deceived by that because it'll be just one side). For that matter his moniker is not only a perfect art nickname but also a good description of the type of electronica he proposes. It's hard to pin point the time period the pieces are from, and I don't know if we are even supposed to, but it's easy to see how Pyke has experimented with a number of styles, shaping every one of his creations according to the particular vision his eclectic and multifaceted brain was focusing on and going after. Nonplace recordings' boss Burnt Friedman (Flanger, Nu Dub Players) has risen to the challenge of transposing the multi-dimensional world of this artist into one single CD by (re-)editing thirteen (only nine on the LP version) of his best cuts in a continuous mix. Very interesting record. Good entry point for getting acquainted with Freeform's music. Good collection for Freeform fans. Especially good buy for vinyl fanatics (since most of the tracks have never seen the light on vinyl anyway).

Dither: Summit

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Mar 20 2003
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Artist: Dither
Title: Summit
Format: CD
Label: M-Tronic (@)
Lately the french have all my support and love either way, so I can only warmly welcome an all French product! Paris-based label M-Tronic confirms their firm grip on new and more melodic ambient electro-experimental music with French one man band Dither's (aka Mart Titolo) fifth album "Summit". A departure from his last year's critically acclaimed "Urei" and a revelation of new uncharted musical territories that embrace a certain type of IDM attitude and welcome contamination of more dance-friendly and accessible structures. It all is spiced up with a touch of thoughtful experimental sonics and loungey substance. The album is thick and cold and preserves its ties with the true origins by dynamically and occasionally breaking them with overall restyling and changeful antithesis. His (and your) idiosyncratic re-action to the music making process and the strong imagery provoking synaesthesia have a dreadful impact on the unprepared individual and an utterly enveloping one on the challenging and challengeable soul. I recommend you give it a try whether you previously knew, appreciated or disliked Dither's production.All songs are named after their length in minutes and seconds and the CD comes in a Staalplaat-Brombron-series-look-alike wine red colored cardboard folding package. Nice.

Displacer: Moon_Phase

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Mar 20 2003
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Artist: Displacer (@)
Title: Moon_Phase
Format: CD
Label: M-Tronic (@)
M-Tronic is know for the quality of their releases and with Mlada Fronta and Mimetic it accustomed us to a certain signature sound made of great electro-industrial music. That signature can be found in this record as well but along with a new element and powerful that I had never before heard in a M-Tronic release and that I warmly welcome as a great addition to the roster of sonorities the label deals with. Basically there is a whole lotta more ambient to it, pumping with a definite UK heartbeat. If you like Warp stuff in the vein of great artists such as Autechre or Aphex Twin you'll be very pleased with this, I know I am, and it won't come as no surprise to know that Mute actually licensed one of their titles. Therefore expect dense atmospheres made of harsh ambient-electro rhythmical patterns, layers of dark-industrial soundscapes, fast pace sequences of hi tech sounds, fast and slow beats. It's a real shame that my CD was fucked half way through and I couldn't really enjoy it all because it is a stunning work."Moon_Phase" was mastered (and in part even re-mixed) by Mike Wells (Gridlock) in San Fran and also contains remixes of Beefcake and Polish Ch District.Displacer is yet another Canadian project (these Canadians!!! ...not only do they have politicians who are not afraid to speak up, which is great, but they also have plenty of electronic musicians, mostly in the cities of Montreal and Toronto, where this guy's from), by young web-designer, visual artist and musician Mike Morton. Definitely keep an eye on him because his first steps in the musical world sure are very promising.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Zombiet Commandos From Hell! Sonic Assault! (An Electronic Soundtrack to Humanity's Final Conflict)
Format: CD
Label: Geska, Optikon, Boneyard Press
Apparently while that warhead monkey of G.W. Bush is gearing up for the oil war that is gonna make him richer and probably leading a nation partly destroyed by nuclear retaliation, somewhere else somebody else is already scoring the soundtrack for those terrible events as they unfold. Geska recordings, together with BoneyardPress.com who published this CD's very fine designer and compiler Steph Dumais' comic series "Zombie Commandos from Hell!" (www.raisinlove.com/zombies) and Optikon records, have dropped this electronic nuke into the battlefield triggering musical burst of impressive firepower and ammunitions of samples and sequences shooting off from all over the world. This zombie war's combat team is composed by Milligramme, Headscan, Implant, Mimetic Data, Cage Decay, Empusae, Negative Format, Tarmvred, Mlada Fronta, PTSMC, SMP, Mind COnfusion, Andraculoid, Flint Glass, Babel-17. Readers of Chain D.L.K. should be familiar with at least half of these names and thus should also know that the type of sonic explosions involved range from industrial/power noise to electronic/dark-electro all the way through dance/techno tunes. The nice thing is that most bands followed the topic and contributed war-themed tunes and some were able to actually draw a picture of it that goes beyond simply the use of speech sampling from war movies. This one is standing out of the crowd, that is if there will be a crowd left after Bush destroys all evil in the world except for himself. By the way check out Steph Dumais's art work, really cool guy, really great work!

XP8: Forgive

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Mar 01 2003
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Artist: XP8 (@)
Title: Forgive
Format: CD
Label: selfreleased (mp3.com)
Distributor: MP3.com
How about some powerful old-school ebm-industrial music for you dancing folks out there? XP8 (featuring members of Cat Fud) is a new band from Rome, Italy, that displays great talent on a number of levels. The trio is into the whole dancefloor-friendly hammering EBM thing with hovering synth string pads, nice sequencing backbone and English lyrics (the singer -whose vocals are not constantly distorted for a change- is actually an English transplant and is also a booking agent, a Dj and a radio host on his show "Futureshock"). If you are still "hungry" for description you might like to hear that they enjoy describing themselves as «passing from electro to goth, whilst stopping at the side of the road and eating a techno sandwich looking at an industrial landscape». Even though XP8 are a pretty new outlet in the scene they do have their act straight and cut right to the chase to strike you with a dense, energizing and bodily blend. After two demos and collaborations with Assemblage 23 (who remixed the last track of this album as well), "Forgive" is their first full length album and comes in the ever more popular mp3 format (it is NOT a CD of mp3 files, it is a normal audio CD, but it is manufactured and distributed by the mp3.com website, a service that a lot of bands are taking advantage of lately).The group also displays their skills when it comes to art work (their CD is very nicely illustrated), web presence (both their own site and their Italian hosting Cure fan site www.the-cure.it have a quite sleek design) and recording (their newest member is also a project studio owner/sound engineer). This definitely would be the complete package that you might be looking for and that I know labels out there are in search of, so step forward and get in touch with XP8, 'cause they've got a lot to bring to the table!


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