Music Reviews

The Exaltics: Muted World

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Feb 18 2013
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Artist: The Exaltics
Title: Muted World
Format: 12"
Label: Trust
Rated: *****
Robert Witschakowski has always been really active and also 2013 has started in a good way as The Exaltics already released a split 12" EP and this new "Muted World" EP which has been released by Austrian label Trust. Available as 12" and digital download, "Muted World" blends electro, a bit of acid (like on "Second Phases"), ambient electronica and Detroit techno. As usual the tracks offer hard beat complex rhythmic textures, tense atmospheres and almost a maniacal cure into the arrangement procedure. "Muted World" offers four new instrumentals "Every Beginning Has An End", "Second Phases", "Muted World" and "Broken" plus a remix of "Second Phases" by bristol's Kamikaze Space Programme, the new experimental techno project of veteran drum'n'bass producer Chris Jarman a.k.a. Raiden. On this version, Chris kept the main melodic structure and added distortion here and there, but mainly to rhythmic elements, just to give more boost to the whole track. As usual, for The Exaltics, wait for a quality release!

Bassazynthz: Strictly Approach

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Feb 10 2013
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Artist: Bassazynthz (@)
Title: Strictly Approach
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Battery Park Studio
Distributor: Juno
Rated: *****
The first thought that came to my mind after i played the new 'Strictly Approach' e.p. by mr Ronny Kuenniger aka BASSAZYNTHZ, is that this man is passionate about his music (and a very skilled producer). After playing it again, many times over, and listening carefully, i was starting to discover little details with each listen and to me, that always is an indication of that passion.
In this five track e.p. released on the 'Battery Park Studio' label, Bassazynthz, embarks on a multidimensional electro journey, that covers all bases.
Of course there is the much needed sonic edge, to move things forward, the very contemporary and modern production approach, that ensures that the end result is gratifying, but he does not stop there. In most of the tracks, there are little 'injections' of retro elements that enrich his compositions giving a very stable platform for him to evolve and release his melodic vibes that add this multilayered feeling/emotion, to the otherwise sometimes cold and robotic - by definition - genre of electro.
All the tracks are very carefully structured, with great attention to detail, and the overall production is flawless. There are haunting pads, driving beats, great vocoder action, and lead synth hooks, thunderous basslines and intriguing arrangements that guarantee repeated listens and ultimately a very happy music buyer!
The 'Strictly Approach' e.p. is out now, on digital form, but watch out for the vinyl release soon!

Shhh…: Low Lights

 Posted by eskaton   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Feb 04 2013
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Artist: Shhh… (@)
Title: Low Lights
Format: CD
Label: Thisco (@)
Rated: *****
The first thing you notice about the album is the cover itself. More specifically, you feel the cover, as it is red sandpaper on the digipack with 'shhh'¦' stamped on it in gold and black lettering. And yes, you are in for something a bit gritty. One could see parts of this at home on the Ant-Zen label with its distorted beats and almost minimalist compositions. Not quite as in your face as Converter or Noisex, but still in the same arena. At other times, it is reminiscent of old school electro-industrial a la Mentallo and the Fixer, as in the track '67 000 mph.' but the beat is the important thing here. Atmosphere is present, but unlike the other album I reviewed from them (self-titled), it seems to take a backseat to the beats. 'Parasite Device,' for example, combines a nice ominous atmosphere with heavy beats. But shh... does make good use of silence on this album to help draw in the listener. This album weighs in at around 42 minutes.


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 28 2013
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: SOM 5
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Solar One Music
Rated: *****
Born in the mid 00s the label founded in Jena, Germany, by Nico Jagiella and Robert Witschakowski, Solar One Music has been the right place for finding electronic sounds influenced by Detroit techno, Miami deep basslines, acid and differents sorts of experimentations. Three years ago I discovered their sounds and decided to review all their releases and to interview Nico; you can find that article at this link Solar One Music made of the phrase "Something different, something special" its manifesto and with the compilation SOM5 (its twentieth release) wanted to release something even more special: this time to celebrate they released a 2CD compilation housed into a A4 32 pages color booklet containing photos, interviews and background story for everyone of the 22 artists present on the CDs. With unreleased and some released tracks (like DVS NME's "Unobtainium"), the compilation offers a good view on the state of underground electronic music touching different influences. We have the electro driven sounds with some ambient elements of Hyboid, CN, -=UHU=-, Plant43, Komarken, The Exaltics Meets Crotaphytus; the Detroit techno syncopated rhythms of Defekt, Dcast Dynamics, Goliath, DVS NME, Arnold Steiner, Sync 24, Headnoaks and CPU; the electro atmospheres of CRC, Frank Di Sarrio, Heinrich Dressel and Scape One; the semi industrial experimentations of Schmerzlabor; the electro acid sounds of Dioxine Waves; the horror Twin Peaks influenced perversions of Elec Pt1; the Miami techno influences of Matti Turunen (member of Morphology). For sure you'll find different tracks you'll love and I'm sure you'll want to hear more!
Artist: Worsel Strauss
Title: Unattention Economy
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Vicmod Records (@)
Rated: *****
One of the main criticisms levelled at electronic music is that anyone can make it, the machines do all the work. That is true, just press the triangle and let fly! This then raises the question: What makes good electronic music? Sure, we can listen to the refrigerator hum or blender whine for hours, but does that constitute good 'music'? Worsel Strauss, half of the retro electronics outfit Schleusolz, plugs in his machines, and considers the results.

Inspired by an infamous piece of early electronics, Douglas Leedy's 'Entropical Paradise (with bird call),' a triple-LP of self-generated modular synth music, Strauss wondered if he could make some interesting synthnoise, without resorting to sidelong synth soundscapes. Instead, he wondered if the machines could come up with more conventional 'songs', and set to, armed with a vintage Buchla synthesizer and some other analog electronics. The pieces were composed, straight to tape, and then edited later, in a process he called 'subtractive mixing'. 'If there is a creative process involved at all it is the design of the rules and the final choice of which results to present, and which ones not.' He even wonders if it can be considered music at all.

Which brings us to the mechanical heart of 'Unattention Economy,': Does it sound good? An album reviewers purpose is to report back what he hears, and to alert listeners as to whether a particular piece is worthy of their attention. While 'UE' might be cyberdine techno, it sounds REALLY good. At first i was skeptical: another experimental synth record? How much knob twiddling can a bloke hack? But it is my job, to parse through the datastream and report what i see, and i will not let you down. It is our job, as listeners, to try and remain unjaded, to not let the cultural torrent wash us away. This comes through presence and awareness, and the final analysis is, Strauss' machines sound boss. Bringing to mind a surprising amount of modern electricians (Nine Inch Nails, Autechre, Jessica Rylan), the sounds are all sourced from exquisite components. The drums kick like a Parisian siege, while the analog pads are as warm as a Sahara sun. There's bleepy, gloopy tones, that'll appeal to the retro-fetishists out there, but there's also dance floor fare (Shopping for Antibiotics). 'Swarm Intelligence' is a standout track, killer martial breakbeats and detuned swarming melodies. Its like an instrumental outtake from 'The Downward Spiral' remixed with a Pure Data patch. It brings the body and the head together, and could help introduce some listeners to the world of abstract electronica that's out there.

Vicmod Records could have a real hit on their hands here. Worsel Strauss is worthy of yr time and attention, possibly yr praise. The time and care he took to setup the experiment allowed for some remarkable alleatoric daemons to manifest, and i'll be damned if i don't hear a bit of soul in there. 'Unattention Economy' is very highly recommended.

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