Music Reviews

Aug 20 2013
Artist: Miss FD
Title: Comfort For The Desolate
Format: CD
Label: Quantum Release
Rated: *****
Miss FD is back and two years after "Love Never Dies", "Comfort For The Desolate" seems to be lyrically the natural continuation to that album. This new CD always produced for her own Quantum Release Records, contains seven new tracks which spans from dark electronic ballads (check the opening "Never Felt Better", "Incompleteness" or the closing "The Grand Version" where piano and strings give the right atmosphere to the sense of loss and suspension) and electro pop songs where 4/4 powerful beats meets digital synth leads and pads and bouncing synth bass lines. On tracks like "Wanting Is Not Enough" or "Lover Of Fate" I imagine her like a sort of dark Kylie Minogue because of her sensual way of singing and because of her way to use the choruses. The tracks that remember me the most the old albums are "Dissolve" (a mid tempo with catchy melodies but with an overall dark atmosphere) and "Consciousness Of Awe" (a song which changes its skin as at first it's a sort of electro goth ballad and then it turns into something more dancey thanks to the introduction of upbeat rhythms). In my opinion, with this album, Miss FD wanted to redefine her style and at a first listening everything isn't falling into the right place. Only after some other spin, the album starts to show its potential. Anyway, you can make your own idea by checking all the songs here

The Silicon Scientist: Iselwinter

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 18 2013
Artist: The Silicon Scientist
Title: Iselwinter
Format: CD
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
Recently I enjoyed two new The Silicon Scientist tracks of the "Sinister Street" 7", but I have another of their releases to review. "Inselwinter" ("Island's winter") isn't a new Silicon Scientist album but it's their first album released back in 2003 which has been reissued by Anna Logue Records with seven bonus tracks. Recorded by Stefan Bornhorst at Studio Ruhrstrasse Hamburg in 2002/03, the original six tracks are an ideal mind travel through winter and are quite different from how the project sounds now. The six movements are quite minimal, melancholic but always with a good quantity of melody. Most tracks are quite long and grow slowly just like a flower which has to reach the air through the snow. Also rhythm is well balanced and never invasive. Take for example "Iselwinter 2", it is based on a pulsating CR-78 rhythm, arpeggio variations and there's a nice effect when the Cut Off filter is opened as the whole track gain brightness and light. If you want me to do a comparison, I thought to the some Vangelis tracks (the less cosmic ones) or to early Jean Michel Jarre (check "Iselwinter 3"). The CD version as bonus tracks has "Elektrum" (a nice track recorded at the same time of "Iselwinter") and demo versions of the first five tracks, while the digital edition, along with the original six tracks, has "Voices On The Wind", another instrumental track featuring field recordings, wind noises and a Mellotron 400 choir that's sounding like coming right off Popul Vuh's 'Nosferatu' soundtrack or Lucio Fulci's 'The Beyond'. You can find the digital edition here

Body 11: Youth

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 14 2013
Artist: Body 11
Title: Youth
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records (@)
Rated: *****
Coming from Munich, Body 11 was the one-man project of Tim Stickelbrucks. They had only one four tracks self produced 7" EP out in 1988 and recorded some demo tracks on the same period which have been distributed only to friends but haven't been never officially issued. Medical Records is reissuing the whole recordings on high-quality 180gram 'milky clear' vinyl, containing ten tracks. Most of the tracks have a demo feeling where the urgency of communicate is overwhelming and the perfection of performance isn't the point but this isn't a matter of how perfect those tracks were as the late 80s e.b.m. was also like that: upfront vocals, distorted rhythms and in your face attitude. Most of the tracks gave me the impression to be inspired by Front 242 even if vocally tracks like "Marching" or "Under My Command" recall me Alan Vega's approach: you know, that sort of "I don't care" attitude. There are also synthpop oriented tunes ("Hearts" and the following "Fascination") as well as melodic e.b.m. ones ("You Better Leave Now"). The digital edition has an extra track titled "Nothing Happens" and it's a nice synthpop oriented one. If you are a fan of early Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, late 80s industrial (Wax Trax, Nettwerk) and early Skinny Puppy, you can check this release here

Controlled Collapse: Babel

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 11 2013
Artist: Controlled Collapse (@)
Title: Babel
Format: CD
Label: Machineries / Alchera Visions (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
I promised to start this review as follows: once more a review I should have written months before (cheers kr-lik!). Poland's most prominent Electro/Industrial project Controlled Collapse returns with this all new studio album and likes to invite us to their vision of 'Babel'. It's a musically journey through cleverly arranged EBM/Electro tunes, which are luckily far away from the early beginnings of this Polish talent. Once started as Poland's answer on Suicide Commando, it was in the early years (2003 - 2007) Johan van Roy himself taking care of this project and signed it for his NTP label under the Dependent wing. Controlled Collapse got established in 2003 by the young Electro-musician Wojciech Krol (a.k.a. kr-lik) as a solo-project, but nowadays he receives support from his brother Piotr as well as the two live-musicians Tomasz Krawiec (keys) and Paulina Lewek (drums). Somehow it is a pity for kr-lik to get reduced on the Harsh EBM/Hellectro formula, because he has already proven with the self-released follow-up album 'Things Come To Pass' in 2010, that he is able to develop regarding arrangements and compositions. Same counts for this new album, 'Babel' has several nice examples to offer. The opener 'Pain' with its edgy guitar riff inserts, the vocoderized vocals of kr-lik, and a typically US-Industrial related kick-and-snare-work marks a decent shaking-up tune for all those expecting the usual harsh introduction. The mid-tempo, very old-school-EBM-like track 'Numb' convinces with a deep-synthesizer badass-bass line (ha-ha), which reminds me on some earlier Croc Shop tunes ('Beneath'/ 'Metalwerks'-era). 'Change The World' counts rather to the more melodic pieces on here, while the speedy 'Dzien Sadu' with some biting guitar drops represents the only one tune with lyrics in kr-lik's mother language Polish. 'Fragment of Time' features a dual vocal performance Aleksandra Burska and it represents again the more catchy side of Controlled Collapse. Another favorite is 'Cube' with its tricky percussion elements asides the normal kick-and-snare-work. Also the cold, Dark Electro-like track 'Alone' with its sinister synthesizer pads as well as kr-lik's impressive vocoder fx-manipulations on his vocals should leave the listener impressed. Finally there's to mention 'My Fault' as being the one and only tune acting a bit like a blast of the past with some distortion fx-elements on the vocals, rhythms and a generally harsher EBM outfit. All in all is this new album not the soundtrack to discover new shores for the Electro/Industrial genre. It also won't win any imaginary 'produce-the-hardest-album-around' contest. But it generally services all needs and expectations you would have on a solid, crafty and still modern sounding produced EBM album. A bit more than this, because kr-lik provides diversity and shows different possible directions in which he and his fine project could develop. 'Babel' isn't definitely the end of the rope, so keep it on!

tEaR!doWn: Clouds Cover The Sun

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 11 2013
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Artist: tEaR!doWn (@)
Title: Clouds Cover The Sun
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Electro Aggression Records (@)
Rated: *****
Third stroke for Electro Aggression Records brings us this DCD set of a young German/Swiss duo. tEaR!doWn consists of the German Electronica musician Charly and his prominent partner, the Swiss vocalist Oliver Spring. Oliver has already made himself a good name in the international scene as being the vocalist of Sleepwalk for more than 15 years until his engagement ended surprisingly in 2007. tEaR!doWn has been established earlier in 2004 and the first recordings have been mainly instrumental tunes. In 2007 Oliver met Charly and they decided to add Oliver's vocals to the compositions. A first CDR entitled 'Mind!Kick' was the result and since these days they are composing together on new tEar!doWn recordings. Musically this duo works too in the field of authentic Dark Electro music, but differently than their label comrades. If it was obvious to name the inspiring quells of Object, Terminal State, and Pyrroline with Puppy, FLA, or Mentallo & The Fixer, the things are more difficult to figure out with tEaR!doWn. I am equally surprised because this duo stands for a Dark Electro sound with typical European influences of the mid-90s during the heydays of labels like Celtic Circle Productions, Cyberware, Hypnobeat or Gothic Art Records. Let's pick up names like Splatter Squall, Page 12, Fuze Box Machine and - I need to name them - Sleepwalk, to get an idea how the music of tEaR!doWn sounds. It's also obviously that this album deserves much more names to get compared with, but especially the comparison with Sleepwalk amazes, because Charly hasn't had further relations to them until Oliver joint his project. This album offers musically a wide spectrum and it is filled with lots of hidden effect-elements in its Electronica music. Their best ability is surely their intention to vary the moods of each single track. 'Sign From Above' is your typical floor-compatible smasher for some body movement, while the scenario changes completely with the only 90 bpm slowly tune 'Lost' with its opulent, flute-like synthesizer pads. 'Disploded Visions', a collaboration track with Nine Seconds, which is a project by Thomas Kowalzik (NoComment) surprises with smooth, nearly Electro-Pop-like structures. 'This Cold Room' marks their return to the hard and shattering EBM formula, while 'Burnt By The Sun' with its slow tempo and some well-known, sinister 'Babylon 5' voice-samples falls again into a completely different mood. So it turns out on all 14 tracks of the main album: Just if you think you have identified a typical signature of their sound, they come up with some completely different content.
The second CD entitled 'Torn Down & Reconstructed' out of this opulent DCD set stands for 14 track remix companion album and got compiled by the E.A.R. label manager himself, Nader Moumneh a.k.a. 'Il Grandre Padre Della Vecchia Scuola Elettronica'. Nader could once again hire a lot of promising projects of the old-school league and some of the remix works are standing itself for own and authentic sounding interpretations of the tEaR!doWn track. Seriously, to have names like Jihad, Amnistia, MC1R, Brain Leisure, Second Disease, or Mr. Al of Sleepwalk in the line-up to receive remix contributions, can make an Electronica-musician proud of. The results of their work, as well as for the further contributors (Soillodge, Framework, Pyrroline, Terminal State, Synaptic Defect, To Avoid, One Eye Wanders, and Red+Test) are breathtaking and you as being the listener can be assured to get quality interpretations. Since the music of tEaR!doWn and their composing style personifies a special era of EBM/Dark Electro music with typical European roots, they may do not fit with everybody's tastes. To me their album offers a lot of pearls from which some of them can be only discovered after several more spins than usual. The most diverse sounding album of the E.A.R. label so far.

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