Music Reviews

Massiv In Mensch: Die Rein

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 08 2002
Artist: Massiv In Mensch (@)
Title: Die Rein
Format: CD
Label: ArtOfFact Records (@)

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While Massiv In Mensch virtually exploded on the scene with their ArtOfFact debut Belestandes Material whose trademark sound was hard industrial with high energy rhythms and harsh vocals, this release is much less harsh. With Die Rein they have taken a bit more of a turn which encompasses synthpop while maintaining their hard and heavy attitude toward club oriented dance tracks with a lessened focus on the harsh and industrial sound. There is still quite a bit of heavy rhythmic thumps, pounds and clanks but not as much as before. This album also seems to have a bit more of a focus on the instrumental track and an almost hardbeat trance influence from time to time. They have maintained high energy without a doubt and are showing some versatility which is always good but I do miss the nearly gutteral German vocals. This album is more likely to be more compatible for a wider range of late night dance club play. While this is more focused on dance music it still remains atypical of the usual genres of dance music, techno, and trance.
One of my favorite tracks on the disc is "Mein Erstes Bonbon" which translates as My First Drop. It is, like much of the album, an unusual marriage of techno, trance, synthpop and industrial rhythms. The only thing I don't like about it is that it begins using some traditions rave sounds. There is even a track titled after the band which sounds like Prodigy's original style in many ways - the orchestral slams and hyper-rhythms. The only track with a bit more vocal and the only with female vocals (I think) is "Endorph-Fusion vs. Reiner's Festung" and is the only track which sounds a bit more like the first album. "Schneiders Sphaere" is a very smooth track too and is one of the best on the disc along with "Entferner" - all very different tracks.
While this is a great album by itself I miss the vocal combination from the previous album and prefer less techno influence. I do however like the exploitation of variance from the original album to display that the band is not just one sound and one style but can play different forms of music.

© Copyright 8/2002 TG Mondalf. All Rights Reserved

KLUSTER COLD: The Third Secret

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 05 2002
Artist: KLUSTER COLD (@)
Title: The Third Secret
Format: CD
Label: AFE (@)
I had never listened to Kluster Cold before, and it's been a nice surprise. Released by Andrea Marutti (Amon, Never Known, Lips Vago) on his personal label AFE, and mastered by one Maurizio Pustianaz (wonder who he is, eheh), "The Third Secret" is a little jewel (7 tracks + intro for 28') of retro electronica/EBM, with Kraftwerk being the most obvious reference. Carlo Ponte seems to have interiorized the best and most peculiar characteristics of the German ensemble: catchy synth melodies coupled with aseptic and danceable drum machine beats, but most of all a romantic and nostalgic atmosphere which now seems to be frozen in paradoxically distant times. Retro-futurism? The real folk music of 20 years ago? Most songs are instrumental, and work perfectly without a voice. "The romance of tar" is present with a nice vocoder version and an instro "flare-up version", and the fact that both stand perfectly well on their own can only mean the track is really good! "The soldier" has an upbeat rhythm and quasi-spoken female vocals, while "The soldier's theme" features the melodies in an ethereal, beatless version. But the instrumentals are cinematic enough to suggest a story of their own, from the more serene, bittersweet atmospheres of "Remember" to the darker and slightly obsessive "As fear comes back". The layout is remarkable as well, with elegant vintage-looking graphics, evocative black and white pictures and a fold-out poster too. This is one of the few cds I wished they lasted longer...

Informatik: Nymphomatik

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 02 2002
Artist: Informatik (@)
Title: Nymphomatik
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)

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Informatik are David Din of Din_Fiv and Tyler Newman, the driving force behind Battery Cage plus Matthew Crofoot. This release sees Tyler joining the project while Matthew is on hiatus. This is some strong EBM with a highly sexually charged theme, thus the title is not a misnomer or just something they thought would sound cool - it really does relate to the song content.
The first track is an invitation to play and includes lines like "Three is really company" which makes thier concept very clear. You will also note some very strong female moaning samples. Sorta reminds me of TKK in that aspect alone.
The song "Hopeless" is a song about all love ending in misery and is very Synthpop oriented with dark vocals. "Perfect Stranger" is about promiscuity and going home with someone you've just met and the dangers that lie in that and takes the pace musically more into the EBM field - as if it wasn't already there. "Phycical Education" is about the elements of an almost simulated ritual of sensuality and this track has some heavy Front Line Assembly sounds to it. "Over" is a song about longing after loss and begins almost ballad-like but quickly builds into more danceable rhythms.
One of my favorite tracks has got to be "Built For Pleasure" which is about a pleasure droid named Synthia - sort of a Cherry 2000. One part flesh and one part technology. This is just sheer fun and a very upbeat dance track too and includes some vocoded vocals in the chorus.
"A Matter of Time" begins with a drum beat that reminds me much of Martin Atkins when he plays a slow groove but is very heavy on the synth. Another dark EBM track - another song about longing after loss but this is more on the terms of waiting eternally for someone who leaves you feeling like an empty shell when they've gone. It is about want more than anything.
"Ovlivion v2" is about being 'blown away' by someone - or rather by exploring the boundaries of consciousness through sexual exploration. It nearly makes sex sound religious or at least focuses on the ecstasy of passion.
You'll also find a Negative Format mix of "Perfect Stranger" which moves the track into more af the Trance region and a Stromkern mix of "Physical Education" which takes it into a heavier, darker and more industial arena.
Where is the "Built For Pleasure" or "Flesh Menagerie" mixes? These two tracks would have been more likely candidates and maybe that is why they were not chosen. Maybe there will be CD singles later.
© Copyright 6/2002 TG Mondalf. All Rights Reserved

[GRENDEL]: End of Ages

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jul 31 2002
Artist: [GRENDEL] (@)
Title: End of Ages
Format: CD EP
Label: Noi Tekk (@)
Distributor: Triton
This is a CDep (but featuring 8 tracks for 40') with 5 original songs from Netherlandish artist Vlerk and three remixes: "End of Ages" re-styled by Arzt+Pfusch Japscat and God Module, and "Corroding Conscience" by Feindflug. Grendel play electro with faster, more melodic and epic moments (which work better) and more mid-tempo tunes. There's no particular point of interest both in rhythms and in synth melodies, but the real problem is the voice: it's high pitched and distorted (a bit black metal sounding, with all due differences), but in some tracks (listen to "Catastrophe" for example) it barely stands above the instrumental part. Besides being momotonous per se, it also risks of sounding indistinct...

Conjure One: Conjure One

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jul 29 2002
Artist: Conjure One (@)
Title: Conjure One
Format: CD
Label: Nettwerk America (@)
Distributor: Nettwerk
Due for release on Nettwerk America in more than two months from now (Sept 17th), Chain D.L.K. in collaboration with MSO promotions is proud and pleased to offer you a sneak-(p)review of "Conjure One", the first solo creature of well-known and rightfully respected Front Line Assembly / Delerium co-mastermind Rhys Fulber. We all knew that Bill Leeb is capable of miracles and now, if you even needed a proof of that, you also have Fulber's producer take on what a solo album should sound like. Perfect symbiosis of electronic music and pop music, a 'synesthetic electronica' if you would, but also a bridge from west to east vibing with world-music influences (Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean mainly) and flirting with radio-friendly vocal interpretations. Oh by the way, speaking of Synaesthesia (one of Bill & Rhys' many cool side-projects), a number of songs have percussive elements in common with that great record of theirs called "Embody" (listen to Conjure One's song "Redemption" if you need a perfect example of what I am talking about)...
A gorgeous, thrilling and majestic cinematic intro opens this beautiful album, but its rapturing and harmonious balance is carried on by an outstanding line-up of female vocalists including Sinead O'Connor, Poe, Chemda (Israel), Marie-Clair D'Ubaldo (Argentina) and by a team of skilled composers including Billy Steinberg (Madonna, Bangles), Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL), Rick Nowels (Madonna, Dido). They all bring something special and truly unique to the table. The singers' very personal voices and styles breaths new character into the songs and their geographical background unmistakably emerges and helps lift the compositions to a whole new level where ethnicity becomes a signature and purity becomes a strength. Their contribution, teamed up with epic atmospheres, distant soundscapes, ethereal melodies, electronic textures and orchestral greatness are the forces at work here. Forces that breath like wind, burn like fire and flow like water. All elements, starting with the synthesized grooves, textures and bass lines, the relaxing and lush pads, the vocal performances and down to the terrific job with the string arrangements (by Chris Elliot; performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra) acting like a coesive glue in a great masterplan, interact pursuing the key to success and playing a specific role in the final orchestration of Rhys Fulber's craft. If you absolutely need comparisons think of Delerium's "Karma" with spotlights on haunting dreamy textures and old-continent traces. It took him three years and lots of travelling (the album was recorded in Vancouver, Amsterdam, LA and London) but it's all there and you can and will hear it. It delivers, it really does.
PS: Read the interview with Rhys Fulber in the interview section.

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