Music Reviews

XMH: In Your Face

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jun 18 2014
Artist: XMH (@)
Title: In Your Face
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
This Netherlands-based trio has been well in my memories with their last album "State Of Mind", released by Danse Macabre and later licensed to Nilaihah Records for North-American availability. Now newly signed to the Belgian Alfa Matrix label they present us a new 12-track long album full of their expected Harsh EBM/Hellectro sound outfit. "The Business" released earlier as a teaser track for this album already could enter quite good reactions from the audience and moreover from the club-junkies. This track also opens this album with its straight and sweat-driving Techno-like beat-work, the screaming synthesizer-leads and the usual cookie-monster-like growling of the vocalist. It's Hellectro, Baby, what else do you expect? Also some of the further tracks like "Product", 'Forever' (with lead vocalist performance by the female member Isa Garcia), or the title track don't allow any dancefloor-victims to get out alive, because this action-driven album doesn't take prisoners. And with "Stiere und Schwule" this album holds up an ideal club-hit right up to follow the success and prominence of "Komasaufen" available on the predecessor. "Stiere und Schwule" is a prominent voice-sample taken out of the German synchronization of the overused "Full Metal Jacket" movie, in the scene where the drill instructor asks Private Cowboy about his roots (Texas). Not very original to use those prominent samples you might say - yes, but with its straight beat- and rhythm-work this one is quite effective and will let the masses stomp!
Funny I found the sentence in their information sheet, that they "slightly leaving the agro tech path and moving to new directions." They actually do so? Well, they rather leave their harsh style in micrometer-like dimensions and are still and undoubting members of the Hellectro-camp. Good and quality-producing members, yes, but actually with a very small, nearly unrecognizable will to change their throughout successfully formula. Here comes the point where I find the hair in the soup: "In Your Face" is to me a bit too repetitive and a bit too obviously drilled to follow the success of "State Of Mind" in its kind, production and out-coming. The musically development of this "Oranje-team" and their course to reach new directions is still active and hopefully not ending herewith.
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: A Visual And Auditory Reminder Of The Beauty Of Life
Format: 12"
Label: Seja Records (@)
Distributor: Seja Mailorder
Rated: *****
Netherlands-based and still very stubborn operating label Seja Records brings out the next hit for friends and listeners of Minimal, Synthpop, New Wave, and EBM. This new compilation again pressed in limited editions on vinyl (first 100 copies in red, 233 copies in black vinyl) offers 11 tunes pretty much woven into above mentioned styles. Side A starts with one of their greatest pearls in their holster, the Swedish Dark Electro-duo Fatal Casualties. The story of their establishing 28 years before in their bio amused me a while, because I couldn't figure out, why a band-project should need such a long time to come out with a first release ('Pariah' EP in early 2013). Although their end of last year released follow-up EP 'Somewhere in The Middle', which had prominent remix contributions by Daniel B. (of Front 242) or Beate Bartel (of Liasons Dangereuses) on board, couldn't impress me that much, they here return to their dark and sinister mood. Thumbs up also for Niton Cage presenting an exclusive remix of 'Generate Electricity' with haunting vocals integrated like samples and the wobbling bass-line sequence. Well, and that elegant early-80s-like Synthpop tune 'Let There Be Neon' proofs again, that quite often these years have had more innovation and originality than the current days. What a great track. Click Click is another legend I don't need to introduce since they lately have come back in action. Their vocalist Adrian Smith here contributes his magical timbre to ImiAFan's Minimal Electronica tune 'Try One'. Finally Kompleta like to invite us in 'Das Haus', but'¦, well, I prefer not to follow. Netherlands-based Mrs. Sophya with her beautiful voice opens the second side of this vinyl-only release with her mutation between New Wave / Minimal Electronica called 'Mechanical Butterflies'. I also dig the nice vocoder-vocals and Chiptune-like Electropop of another Netherlands-based legend of the golden era, Das Ding. Germany's Mängelexemplar give a Minimal/Synthpop tune dealing pretty much with an up-to-date phenomenon entitled 'Internetdemenz'. As expected, also Traffic A.M. with the still brilliant-sounding male vocals and their unreleased track 'Babylon' impresses s lot. The track list speaks for itself and if you find any preference for the mentioned music styles, this well-compiled vinyl-compilation needs to find a slot in your collection! Let's look forward and keep the fingers crossed for a bright future of this hard-working label. They know pretty well which switches they need to switch to bring some decent listening experiences especially designed for the elder and veteran listeners in these music styles.

Track listing:
A1 Fatal Casualties - Porta Breath (Remake)
A2 Niton Decay - Generate Electricity
A3 Poeme Electronique - Let There Be Neon
A4 ImiAFan & Adrian Smith - Try One
A5 Kompleta - Das Haus

B1 Sophya - Mechanical Butterflies
B2 Das Ding - Kafka Blues
B3 Mängelexemplar - Internetdemenz
B4 Selofan - Nafthalini
B5 Traffic A.M. - Babylon
B6 Chambre Froide - Les Machine

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
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:

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
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

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