Music Reviews



Andrea Senatore: Vulkan

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 18 2014
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Artist: Andrea Senatore
Title: Vulkan
Format: CD
Label: Minus Habens
Rated: *****
Active as composer, musician with a background as piano player, Andrea Senatore started to deal with electronic music in the nineties as well he ended his studies in harmony. In 2006 he started Scientist & Cynic and the year after released their debut album "Primatoid". Out of that album the track "Soundsation" found a success on its own and ended getting air played for a whole year by the main Italian national radio station. On the same year Andrea started a collaboration with the cello player Giovanni Sollima. After releasing an EP for Recycle Records and one for Miraloop Hearts, he took care of the "Pompeii city ''to discover" documentary soundtrack. In 2012 Recycle Limited released the single "Polar" and on the same year he joined Minus Habens Records which released his "De/Nucleo" album, born from the collaboration with Sollima. The last year he collaborated to edit the electronic parts for the worldwide famous Notte della Taranta festival, event which was broadcasted live on Sky TV and on Radio Rai 3. This year, Minus Habens just released his first album as Andrea Senatore, an album titled "Vulkan". The album contains eight new tracks where we can find as collaborators: Nabil Bey of Radiodervish (Arab and English vocals "Clouds"), Carmen Buss (German vocals on "Vulkan"), Mitsuko Morita (Japanese vocals on "Shiro-ko" and "Dromo"), Giorgio Distante (trumpet on "Noom" and "T-bana"), Simone Quarta (synthesizer and drum machine in "Monochrome") and Elisa Nitti (backing vocals on "Monochrome") and Ernesto Galicia for the visual part (the cover is one of his art pieces, called "The Power of White"). The tracks show a multi-faceted side of Andrea, as if on tracks like "T-Bana", "Sistor" or "Noom" a certain nightly atmosphere prevail (thanks to the trumpet and piano solo, the ambient electronic parts and the dilated sounds), on tracks like the main one we have a colder approach with squared rhythms. Things change radically on "Clouds" or the following "Monochrome" as the synthpop approach to melody and the upbeat rhythms open up the atmosphere of the tracks making them sound bright and catchy. On "Vulkan" we can catch i.d.m. influences, pop, ambient, techno and jazz in a fresh blend that I enjoyed a lot. You can check a video with sound excerpt on Andrea's website.

Ulli Bomans: Riven

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jun 11 2014
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Artist: Ulli Bomans
Title: Riven
Format: CD
Label: Shitkatapult
Rated: *****
Already active with Schieres and Shrubbn!! (along with Marco Haas of T.Raumschmiere) of which I reviewed their first album "Echos" a couple of years ago Ulli Bomans is now releasing for Shitkatapult his first solo album "Riven". Mainly active as visual artist in Hamburg and Bremen, Ully's work is based on large-scale collages of urban landscapes, principally and the cover of the album is an example of that. His approach to visual and musical arts are pretty similar as he mix different elements giving them a new feeling. About music, if you already checked the Shrubbn!! album, on this one, he takes the noise elements of that one and put them under a dance-floor lens re-processing the sound. The album opens with the mid tempo of "So What?" where a slow synth melodic arpeggio is playing upon layers of little synth noises which, added, form a rhythmically rich texture. "Missing Ships" sounds like a dream in reverse and little by little the tracks become more upbeat and dance-floor friendly. "Barbara" sounds like a dub track with de-constructed melodies. "$55", is kinda minimal and it's based on noise echoes, rhythms and reverbs. With "Dirty Yoga", Ulli, throw in a great dance-floor techno killer with in levare rhythms which grows little by little. "Spoilpark", which is also the title of his last exhibition, moves its sound on a same field, made of techno intuitions, rich sound palette made of synth melodies, clanging noises, fat bass lines and a rich 4/4 rhythmical texture. "On Mars" closes the album and it's another good throbbing techno killer (if you checked the VCMG album, you can have pretty much the idea of what I mean). Check it here: http://www.shitkatapult.com/artist/ulli-bomans

LektroiD: Quantum Theory

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jun 03 2014
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Artist: LektroiD (@)
Title: Quantum Theory
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: LEK Productions
Rated: *****
Active since early 80s as producer and DJ, Richard Elliott has released music under the Energy Principle, Brainstormer, Logical Breaks, Brainstorm Crew, Sola, Solaris, Wise Ones, LektroiD monikers and under his own name. I had the chance to ckech some of his tracks as Lektroid on the Binalog Productions and Dominance Electricity compilations I reviewed as well as on a couple I purchased ("Nu Electro" volume 2 and 3). RIchard started to play as a self taught pianist at age 11 and has been producing his own breakbeat, ambient and electro since the 1980s, starting on his trusted Commodore 64 and analogue hardware. First getting his music played in a club called 'Tekno Dreem' in Peterborough, UK back in 1989, soon after he teamed up with various other artists as a producer, forming groups such as Digital Kaos, Mysticism and the better known Brainstorm Crew. After leaving the Brainstorm Crew, Richard teamed back up with the other member of Digital Kaos for another release, which was also on F-Project. After producing and remixing for several other dance-floor related genres through the '90s, Richard had further involvement in the breakbeat scene under the moniker Brainstormer. After that, he started to produce music under the LektroiD moniker and released tracks for Street Sounds, Binalog Productions, and Dominance Electricity. He started his own label Lek Productions and released four single and two albums since. The latest one, is titled "Quantum Theory" and contains fifteen new tracks which are in balance from 80s electro, 90s techno, space atmospheres, a little bit of acid (on "Synthone 1000") and breakbeat (the closing "Bar Groove"). LektroiD's sound is powerful and rich thanks to Richard's decades experience and also thanks to the fact that he builds some of his machines, giving in this way, a personal touch to the lot. Mixing 808 and 909 drum sounds with bleeping dry sounds, warm pads and a bit of filtered vocals, LektroiD's music tend to be upbeat and dancey but without forgetting the importance of melody and a complex rhythmical texture. Check for example "Macrocosm": it sounds like an early 80s electro version of Jean Michael Jarre with catchy synth phrases. You can check and purchase the album at this link http://lektroid.bandcamp.com/album/quantum-theory

Mikkel Meyer: Jolly

 Posted by Edward Trethowan   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jun 01 2014
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Artist: Mikkel Meyer (@)
Title: Jolly
Format: 12"
Label: Rump Recordings (@)
This EP consists largely of bright acid dance productions, with all but the remix utilising consistently similar instrument patches. The music is openly influenced by the untroubled summers of Meyer's youth in the 1980s, in particular the halcyon beach settings depicted in the marketing of the Jolly cola brand (whence the title). However, while it's his chief point of reference Meyer isn't altogether reproducing the music of that era. The overall tone and production are contemporary. The acid bass is controlled and innocuous, but certainly more sophisticated than most of what was being made at the time. Melodic influences also range from outside the 80s, incorporating progressions found in the work of "various new/freak/lo-fi/indie folk artists" (press release). Altogether, the result is a tasteful mixture of styles, with the stated subject matter coming across as increasingly textual.

In fact, the only track that I think directly and unequivocally evokes the 80s/Jolly topic is the Beastie Respond remix. In particular, the bass regresses unapologetically from deft acid to sheer synthetic slap. Further cementing the theme are the likes of canned chanting, sampled police siren and a lush, studied synth bell melody. Though less adventurous, this is the catchiest and most floor-friendly number on offer here. It seems to represent and anchor the original reference point, tapping straight into those Jolly beaches and gaudy nightclubs. We are then in no doubt as to where Meyer has come from and how he has combined this particular influence with others.

The first two Meyer originals ('Oh, Jolly Good', 'John Wayne') are gentle plodders, rather slow for the floor, mainly built around gradually shifting bass envelopes. Both are warm and elegant, particularly the latter. To boot, it has an impressively restrained video, panning close-up across the circuitry and control surfaces of analogue equipment. The two remaining originals ('Rosie', 'Clap Your Hands') bump up the pace and introduce wordless, mostly textural vocals. 'Clap Your Hands' is the more successful of these two, with a low pass on the giddy bass that suggests the haze of intoxication, or approaching exhaustion.

AEC: Sex.Drug.Sequence

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 01 2014
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Artist: AEC (@)
Title: Sex.Drug.Sequence
Format: CD
Label: Solid.Grey.Sky.Recordings
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Tyler Newman as being the founder of Battery Cage and one half of Informatik doesn't need any more detailed introduction. He and his female partner Stacey P. have lately decided to bring the AEC project back to life after the debut 'Hate Life' back in 2001. Was this debut the step after the Battery Cage-debut 'Product' pretty much influenced by the recent Electro/Industrial sounds as well as internal band- and downtime-problems of Battery Cage in those days, the project regained activity with the addition of Stacy in 2003. Signed and brought to us by Tyler's very own label Solid.Grey.Sky.Recordings label, this new album isn't at least that new as expected. 'Sex.Drug.Sequence' has already collected dust in their store for more than 9 years until both now found the right time and inspiration to release this album out. So this album rather reflects what was up-to-date in 2004 and it is pretty much inspired by the danceable Synth-/Futurepop-sound in those days. But however the things have turned out around this album, it a refreshing and vital sounding one, which has enough attractive spears in the holster to entertain. 'Supernatural' is the ideal opening and stomping tune with heavy Techno-beat works and Tyler's emotional voice ' add some Metal-guitars and this one could find a slot to Battery Cage's 'World Wide Wasteland' album. 'Pain' then introduces Stacey for the first time doing the co-vocals during the chorus. Her talent shines even better through if she provides some solo performances like on 'The Strength Of Steel', 'Still', or the very melancholic sounding 'Final'. 'Manipulate Me' maybe represents the most the intention to produce a Futurepop-related album, although I don't call this a highlight. Brilliant programming skills, catchy melodies and perfectly intonated vocals of the both protagonists can be heard in between 'Still', 'Cold Glass' and 'Move Together'. Here you can hear the best and most representative moments of this highly recommended album. A 'thump-up' also deserves the remix contribution of Epsilon Minus on 'Supernatural', which adds a more relaxing note to the original. This is a perfect-as-can-be sounding album in this specific genre whose compositions provide an always entertaining and diverse sounding listening experience. Some of the songs allow dancefloor-action; while others let you sink deeply into a melancholic mood. It only leaves open one final question: why does this album composed in 2004 sound so much more refreshing, so much more dedicated than any genre-comparable album of the present times? This must belong to the talent of the musicians behind'¦


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