Music Reviews

Artist: XP8 (@)
Title: Adrenochrome
Format: CD
Label: 2393 Records (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
It has been nearly 8 years when I lastly had this Italian project on my table for a review, which doesn't mean that I hadn't the chance in between. Somehow I never had the drive in me to give them some more spins. I also laughed a while with their introducing sentence of their current info-sheet: 'What Benny Benassi and The Bloody Beetrots are for pink-shirt-wearing mainstream girls, XP8 is for the alternative electro scene: and Italy's most successful export in that field, these days.' And while I lost them a while out of sight, they now come up with this new, crowd-funding supported album. There has been several, most unlucky episodes happened in their now 12-years-long band history, especially when it comes to sign with labels. Black Flames of Poland went bankrupt, Infacted Recordings seemed not to much interested in them after two album, and their last episode under Death Watch Asia, which has brought us their 10-years anniversary release 'X: A Decade Of Decadence', was quite too short for a more optimistic resume. What they always had and on what they still can count is a loyal fan-base. 'Adrenochrome' as being a crowd-funding project has become reality in a record-suspiciously time frame (18 hours after initiation). This album represents a concept and tells us track-by-track a still futuristic story of two individuals being placed in London based on a Cyberpunk story-book written by Marco Visconti in the late 90ies, but nowadays revised. The tracks on 'Adrenochrome' are named after the chapters in this book and give the listener some insight into the story-board. Musically Marco Visconti and his partner Marko Resurreccion are sort of a fresh breath to all musty one-dimensional EBM-structures of the old-school formula: Mostly providing very straight produced and dancefloor-oriented tracks with higher bpm-rates, this talented Italian duo integrates Trance, Techno, or Hardfloor styles in their music. Their tracks are definitely able to drive sweat out of the pores of their audience - it's mostly an action-driven form of EBM/Electronica with a fair vocal performance. Since they've seen and experienced a lot of positive as well as negative things this scene has to offer, they are matured enough with their programming skills not to let this new album come out as a pure, blatant stomp-fest. I actually find myself being entertained by their chosen sounds and I am able to consume their tracks without kicking against the loudspeakers. 'Awakenings', 'Night Run' and the very catchy, Futurepop-inspired 'Inside Their Heads' are impressive produced dancefloor-tunes and can be counted to the favorites on here. As for a musically contrast, the angst-driven, dark and raw sounding synth-pads with the sinister drum pattern-programming of a track like 'Going Underground' impresses totally. Finally I too ask myself, why they aren't a bit more successful to become global scene-players, because musically, as well as sound-wisely here's nothing to complain. And even if I still enjoyed them too with their first singer Paul Toohill, I see no longer a reason to slap this dead-beaten horse over and over again, because Marco Visconti's vocals are fair enough produced to support the XP8 sound-outfit properly. Sure, their vision of EBM doesn't fit with the deeds of veteran projects and they rather represent an attractive form of post-modern arrangements and style-diversity. But what they do, they do crafty and decent.
Artist: Atom™
Title: Lassigue Bendthaus ‎– Matter
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: AtomTM_Audio_Archive
Rated: *****
The moment when someone will try to discover if there's some biological secret behind the exceptional musical brain of Uwe Schmidt is hopefully distant, so that even if the remarkable amount of eureka moments which propagated like a widespread reticulum over an otherwise impressive number of stylistical fields could let you conjecture it's an impossible mission, a retrospection, which could look like a nonsense for something which smells of retrofuturism, could help and let save a lot of formaldehyde in the meanwhile. This German genius decided to give his fans their cue by usering in his own roots by way of a brand new label, whose first ring of an hopefully long chain is release no.1 (the release no.0 is "the Engineer's Love" which got released on the cassette-label NG Medien I jealously keep in my colection till the moment I could decide to exchange it with some crazy collector in the event that I'll need a cornea or a kidney...) by Atom TM, "Automotif", which became part of "Matter", signed by Lassigue Bendthaus, one of better known Uwe's innumerable aliases, which dates back to 1991. All those contemporary fans which missed it have the opportunity to appreciate the way by which Uwe drifted and overtook industrial and EBM by means of sonorities which already included the spawns of acid and techno music before these electronic blood vessels begun to get massively pumped up. This first file of Atom TM's massive archive is going to be mouth-watering for the collectors as well, as it includes some versions of legendary tracks of that album such as the above-mentioned "Automotive", "Velocity Life" and "Statique", which got later printed on a number of vinyls, the follow-up "Hertz" on Parade Amoureuse, the second very rare edit and the (previously unreleased) first edit of "Automotive". You can begin to go into ecstasies as the protean feeder of this newborn archive is going to store his whole collection of files. Spruce your hard-disks up!
Artist: Covenant (@)
Title: Leaving Babylon
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
Even if some changes of the line-up and some enhancements occurred - Haujobb's mastermind Daniel Myer, who received praiseful gratitude in the credits by present members, just contributed to the opening title-track and the contrite lyrics of "For Our Time", whereas Andreas Catjar joined the band which came back on Dependent Records for European version as well -, Covenant gloriously came back to a sound which heavily surmises some of their better past hits - some songs from "Sequencer" and "Northern Light" re-emerged from my musical memory -, but "Leaving Babylon", their 9th studio-album, disclosed somewhat wiser poetics and a specific conceptual or I'd rather call it emotional framework, where the immanence of an imploding chaotic world, the perception (and no more just a forboding) of downfall, the increasing awareness of this irreversible decay or that "anti-thesis about the bygones", as "Leaving Babylon" better pinpoints, where "the weight of history and modern society/obscure our true sights" don't degenerate into a craven or bleary escape. The meaning of their getaway seems to be explained by other songs at most: the vertiginous and almost wheezy techno-oriented song "(Auto) Circulation" gives some cues to listeners when they sing "desperation/circulation".../I leave the flow of time", whereas another great song of this album, "I Walk Slow", seems to say that any temporizing, which got rendered by the temporary short circuit of the electron and mental flow of this "getway" and the research for proper strategies and directions as well as by the clouded guitar chords, could be justified by the fear of a nonsensical epilogue which might cripple any reaction and chagrin any purpose, a thought that trigger the electrical storm in the middle of the song. This spiritual need is so driving that it seems to permeates the sound of the first songs of the record such as the piercing pained moan of EBM/future pop hybrid of the heady "Last Dance", the intertwining of the dulcimer, the sharpened basslines, the seraphic voices and the sudden crash sounds by Shift on "Thy Kingdom Come", where lead vocalist Eskil Simonsson sings "come heaven come shadows/come crashing over me/I feel that something has to break/come mother come Caesar/come and tend to me/I feel that something will have to break/and its gonna be me". I let you discover the other amazing nuances of this album (including biblical and thelemic occaisonal references, the lovely piano-driven reinterpretation of Dimbodius' song "Not To Be Here" and the hidden track "Babylon II", a sort of experimental eerie soundtrack, which squeezes the whole spirit of the album) or check the limited edition, which includes a second cd whose text and vocals comes from Swedish poet Helena Osterlund, which could let you surmise that what Covenant are really missing and searching for is their native Sweden and their spiritual nest.

Robert Schroeder: Slow Motion

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (7871)
Nov 02 2013
Artist: Robert Schroeder
Title: Slow Motion
Format: CD
Label: Spheric Music (@)
Rated: *****
One year after his latest album 'Ferro Oxid', Robert Schroeder is back with a new one titled 'Slow Motion'. Eight new tracks for a total of one hour and four minutes of music with the aim of cool down from chaotic and stressful modern life. By saying so, I know that you might imagine a sort of non sense chill out sound with a mishmash of synth sounds giving life to tracks which have only to be bar music. Well, fortunately this isn't the case as Robert is always finding new ways of refining his sound. The album opens with 'SlowMo' and its thirteen minutes of sequencer lead melodies where reverbs, noises, upbeat rhythms, pads are added just to form a sound universe of its own. 'The Inside Of My Soul' is more based on pads and liquid sounds where we have intense moments thanks to the add of synth choruses. At its middle the track changes a little its skin thanks to a tribal rhythm which is joined by a synth arpeggio and a trumpet sound soon after. 'A Sign Of Light' mix trip hop rhythm lines, trumpet solos, pads, dub bass lines and some drum tribal solos here and there. 'Synergy Effect' is a magmatic tune with metallic percussive sounds inserts. It's a real hypnotic track that hunts the listener. 'Pertinax Love' is quite tense with its breathing like sounds and it's nice how it evolves with the add of a bass line arpeggio, lead arpeggio and rhythmic blasts. It has a real late 70s/early 80s classy touch. 'Space Litter' mix choirs, pads, leads, trumpet sounds and here and there upbeat rhythms. 'Relax' starts as a spacey trip with pads, CR-78 like drum beats, upbeat bass lines which are joined by a nice slow lead melodic line and a synth arpeggio. 'Time Is Running Out' is the last track of the album and like 'Pertinax Love' has a lot of 70s/80s influences. This is one hour long journey that it's worth your attention!
Nov 01 2013
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

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