Music Reviews



Nov 01 2013
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Artist: Illustration Sonore
Title: Undisciplined Strips Of Emotions
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records
Rated: *****
After twenty-six releases of reissues from the past, Medical Records is releasing its first release played by a nowadays band and at this purpose they picked up the Paris based duo Illustration Sonore. Formed by Dash (active also with Dolina) and Christina (from Froe Char), the duo released this year two songs ('Flying Lights' and 'Violence') on the La Forme Lente compilation 'Circuit d'Actes 3' and had only a demo out. On their debut album titled 'Undisciplined Strips Of Emotions', we can find ten tracks of which five really new as 'Flying Lights' was on the compilation and 'Buried In The Hearts', 'Divinatorium', 'Vision & Prayer' plus 'Die Gefhuleduselei' were on their first self titled demo. Anyway'¦ The album opens with 'Ulysses', a really good song which sets the atmosphere for the whole set: dark ambience, catchy melodies, deep analog sounds and punching electronic drums. Mixing male and female vocals, Illustration Sonore succeed into giving their personal touch to 80s electronic wave blending it with electro industrial influences (see Cabaret Voltaire or Chris And Cosey). See tracks like 'Cannibals' or 'Blacklights' (distortion, melody arpeggios and cold vocals are their core elements) and you'll understand what I mean. There also tracks which are less aggressive like 'Divinatorium' (to my surprise a song with Italian lyrics!) and good for an alternative dance floor. This is a nice debut and you can check it at this page http://medicalrecords.bandcamp.com/album/undisciplined-strips-of-emotions-mr-027
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Artist: Download (@)
Title: LingAM
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
The most mischievous listeners with a vague knowledge of Hinduism or just Kamasutra are going to think that the title of the new incendiary album by Download, the amazing project by Kevin Crompton aka cEvin Key - mostly known as one leg of legendary band Skinny Puppy - and Phil "Philth" Western, could refer to the phallic symbol of Shiva and emblem of generative power as well as an idea which could echo something like a downwards load and if you think about a possible contemproary adaptation of that symbol in the guise of a 1/4 in phone connector, such a link could sound somewhat fascinating, but besides any possible display of virility, a title like "lingAM" made me think about a sort of self awareness of their intrinsic value and stylistical eminence since Download's technical mastery with frequencies and electronics, which sometimes are like part of difficult codes, could be more associated with oratorical skills so that they proficiently work on a lingo they perfectly know. They lower start up lever on the initial title-track where the first elements of this electrically boiled soup they serve resurface from the bottom of sonic hoards, which draw on many stylistical basins - techno, goa-trance, electro, abstract electronics, toytronics, IDM, broken beats, ambient... -, whereas any following movement earmarks sonic recipes for unexpected ascetic and ascending pleasing moments as well as listening reminiscences: from Chemical Bros., which sound evoked over the listening of the overcharged "AAARD", to Underworld's "Beaucup Fish", which could come to mind while listening to "Duppy", from psychedelic hooks of FSOL, which could appear in the electrical storms of "Saw Crust", to Skinny Puppy's first experiments, which come out here and there over the whole album. The tracks like "Yoni", Blotch" where beat-driven concatenations hack the listening sphere up by speading wisely inoculated meditative moments, as if rhythm acts like a battery charger for mental right ascension, and the lysergic activated sludges of "INAGE MAntra", "PiLLAR" or "JirAFFE from the planet Sanders" are maybe the most pleasing moments and the best propellers for listener's imagination.
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Artist: Agent Side Grinder (@)
Title: Hardware (sfwr Included!)
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Artoffact (@)
Rated: *****
I could begin the introduction of this amazing release by a nostalgic "once upon a time" as if it were the introduction of a fable, but I won't, even if this amazing Swedish band seems to have crafted a sort of tribute to the miliar stones of new wave and synth-pop by injecting doses of primordial EBM mutations. I could make a list of all stars of late 8ies and first 90ies which came to my mind while listening to this old-fashioned, but still working in an excellent way, computerized device such as Depeche Mode, DAF, Kraftwerk, Joy Division, Clock DVA, Nitzer Ebb, Cabaret Voltaire, the first Front Line Assembly and so on, but if you missed this release, I'll let you discover all the wisely dissolved sonic minerals which spring from Agent Side Grinder's analogue devices and even from the way lead vocalist Kristoffer Grip modulates his voice, which nimbly moves within a wide range between Dave Gahan ("Look Within"), Jim Morrison ("Mag 7") and Gabi Delgado, on the condition that you don't goof by thinking about wrong or inappropriate stylistical kinships like the ones I've heard by people who listened this album, the "poppiest" one of their discography, who for instance linked the nice electronic march of "Sleeping Fury" to Capricorn, the chirpiest melody of "Rip Me" to LCD Soundsystem or Blur and so on. The difficult assignment of bringing Agent Side Grinder back to less archetypal styles has been committed to 15 remixers, which have been grouped on the second cd (that's the included software suite!) of this enhanced reissue, which set many suprising outcomes aside such as the sci-fi-scented broken waves by Swedish electro/krautrock band /MF/MB, the kraftwerkian synths of Emanuel Lundgren aka Red Idiot on "Wolf Hour", the track which features vocals by Henric de la Cour, the pruning electro/disco hooks by Jacques C and the amazing techno-dub by CCIS on "Life In Advance", the crisp punkish EBM by Container 90 and the syncopated pop-punk by Blackstrap on "Die To Live", the drilling techno incubation of "Voice Of Your Noise" by FOLD, the seducing beauty of the cover of "String Strikes" by Styx Tiger, the lulling and somewhat sepulchral cosmic radiance of "010-195" remix by Thomas Ekelund aka Th.Tot, the alienating ambient-drone tech version of "Mag 7" by Jasper TX and so on. All the remixers manage to elicit many different prompts from Agent Side Grinder's music, which already sounds like a retro-futuristic shrine.
Oct 02 2013
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Artist: Skinny Puppy
Title: Weapon
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
The freightful description of a nation which has been put in chains by fear, the dangerous proliferation of weapons, the guessed portrayal of such a paralyzing dread in the guise of weapon-made giant spider, which sometimes seems to menacingly and malevolently sing through the throaty and knurling voice by Kevin "Ogre" Ogilvie, who seems to evoke the disintegration of the egg inside which it grew on the first song's refrain ("i've been out, so out of i/i've been hiding out/i've been hiding out of it/hiding so far out" says the initial "Wornin") to announce the advent of criminal age on the following song "illisiT", which speaks about the repressive function of terror in contemporary nations ("A police state invents you/Give me your name/.../Master and serf/A failed state connects us"), are elements of a conceptual album, where weapon itself becomes a sort of proper symbol of savage human nature, a justifiably misanthropic vision which got rendered in the manner that long-lasting fans of legendary Canadian band Skinny Puppy know, based on deformed words and double meanings (one nice example comes in the final strophe of "saLvo" where Ogre sings "i'm the weapon with a lot to say/freedoms end in armed displays/amend the bullet given life/a metal casing with more rights_than we bE guN"). But the element those fans are going appreciate the most is the stylistical partial reverse towards their primordial geometries, which got enhanced by unobtrusive melodies and electronic correctives, and I could surmise such a choice is not casual at all. Echoed by the quotation of some words by the so-called "father of the atomic bomb" (who refused any engagement for the development of H-bomb), the American physicist Julius Robert Oppenheimer, who said "we knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent" before quoting some words from the Bhagavad-Gita ("Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds" while recalling his involvement of such a damned tremendous discovery, the whole record sounds like an "I warned you, folks...this world would have become so scary...and now that foreseen future is present and it sucks and smells like shit (as the song "Terminal" seems to evoke by singing about satisfied flies...)" by these evergreen guys. "Weapon" is maybe the upgrade many fans of Skinny Puppy were waiting for after their re-union.

Hydra Division V: Ostracized

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (7812)
Sep 22 2013
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Artist: Hydra Division V
Title: Ostracized
Format: CD
Label: Artificial Sun (@)
Rated: *****
The roster of the Russian Artificial Sun label grows and grows and presents us for the first time a music project which doesn't hail out of the Ex-Sowjet-/Russian-territorities. Hydra Division V is the Harsh EBM/Hellectro outfit of Vincent Andelmoth and he established this project 6 years ago in his home-country Greece. Greece is surely a well-known place for this special music-genre and has already brought out several leading projects like Pre-Emptive Strike 0.1, Iambia, Cygnosic, Inline.Sex.Terror or Nano Infect. After a debut release with a 4-track EP in 2010 under the assistance of George of Cygnosic Vincent presents us his first full-length album. Already that bloody cover artwork provides suggestion in which kind Mr Andelmoth would like to express himself artistically. It is the raw, repetitive and often blamed sort of Hellectro/Harsh-EBM-procedure with its usual Vanguard-like lead-synth-sounds, the Techno-inspired deep kick-and-snare-works and the overall pseudo-aggressive, cookie-monster-like vocal performance. 'Ostacized' offers all of these ingredients in a more or lesser perfectly arranged manner. Vincent has surely extracted a lot of content of the well-sounding studio works of his famous countrymen mentioned above, but what counts for thousands of other projects out of this genre, counts also for him: his music isn't new or in any matter to be called authentic. It's rather more difficult with the danger to end in a musically dead valley. Just in times when leading projects Suicide Commando are obviously re-thinking their musically course through the last years, his debut may tries too obviously to jump on the train of time, which has already left the station. 'Ostracized' is without doubt crafty and driving enough produced to impress especially the dancefloor addicts of the dark clubs, while it becomes a bit strenuous to consume it on the whole length on your home entertainment. In addition to the main part of the album you'll get two remixes of Larva and Acylum, which both add their view of musically expression to Vincent's tunes. All in all consumable like a daily burger, but nothing which could transform this effort into a first class meal.


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