Music Reviews



Portion Control: Pure Form

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 30 2012
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Artist: Portion Control (@)
Title: Pure Form
Format: CD
Label: Other Sounds (@)
Distributor: Cherry Red Records
Rated: *****
I have to confess, that I've never been that much into the music of one of the pioneers with such an enormous meaning for everything, which can related to EBM and its finding. UK's Portion Control, active since the early 80s, have been often pronounced as being an inspiration for so well-known projects like among others Front 242, Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, or Front Line Assembly. Okay, in my vinyl collection you'll find a 'Raise The Pulse' 12-inch single, but that's it - no further stuff, also nothing after their triumphant return in 2009. Therefore to receive this complete new studio-album has surprised. After checking and giving it some first spins, I was quite blasted by its quality and became more and more clear, that this album is additionally a kind of reward. Under the sub-title 'Electronic dissonance for Techno Industrial pilgrims' you'll get 14 new tracks, from which some of them will leave you completely breathless. The reason is simple: Portion Control are able to integrate best programming abilities to present you an album, which even doesn't start to bore after the 47 + spinning. First and foremost, this album is a raw and pummelling, very EBM-inspired piece of work with its strongest moments presented in its diverse drum pattern programming. Tracks like 'Deadstar', 'Katsu' or 'Skins' are promising stuff to cause an intense pogo-movement on the floors of the darkest clubs. Above of these fine tracks thrones with 'Point Blank' the most outstanding produced track, which takes your brain into an acid bath. John Whybrew and Dean Paviani, the both protagonists behind this tiny masterpiece offer from the first to the last, the 14th track, a diverse sounding Electronica-experience in its finest kind. Surprising tempo changes are also a useful tool for them; with a track like 'Chosen Seed' they at least represent one of the most unconventional tunes by integrating drastic white noise-like textures into the mix. It astonishes, how easy this productive duo expresses different moods in their tracks, the float and authenticity of this amazing album just celebrates highlight after highlight also with those mysterious sample-driven interludes like 'Something Fierce' or the last track, 'Chrono Form'. A fat produced, rather old-school-minded Electro/Industrial onslaught not at all to be missed - Portion Control are regaining ground of that territory they've in between left in hiatus. This album represents their triumphant return on top of the scene - buy it!!!

Desdemona: Endorphins

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 30 2012
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Artist: Desdemona (@)
Title: Endorphins
Format: CD
Label: Danse Macabre Records (@)
Rated: *****
Even if this band is considered, in the press notes, "one of most popular dark independent acts in Poland. The band has recorded 3 albums so far" this is the first release of this band that I've heard. Being a dark act these days means something close to Vnv Nation and Katatonia than Sister of Mercy.
So "Bring In All" opens the album with synth, a dancey beat and a catchy vocal line, "Desdream" is another track made from the same elements while "Poison" with a slower rhythm and heavier guitar lines is more reminiscent of dark metal, Katatonia style, and has also a good athosphere. "Jealous Sky" return to territories closer to dancefloor as "Devil's Game" that is even more closer to EBM territories. "Sorrow" featuring an highly curated vocal line is one of this release's surprises. So "Let's Play Love" is another dance-oriented track and "In Flames" is more metal oriented. "Euphoria" is an almost pop track and "XXX" closes this releases with metal guitars over an almost EBM beats.
Honestly speaking this album is enjoyable if is not approached as a dark release (it doesn't fit my parameters for this genre) but, considered as an EBM or dancefloor oriented release, even is not groundbreaking it's a well written album enjoyable in most situation. Nice but only for fans.

The Alacrity: Shapeshifter

 Posted by Barton Graham   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 27 2012
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Artist: The Alacrity (@)
Title: Shapeshifter
Format: CD
Label: Shinto Records (@)
Rated: *****
Upon first listen of 'Shapeshifter' by The Alacrity, I was unsure how I felt. At the time I was hearing a LOT of music that really sounded the same, followed the same formula, had the same vibe. I was rather disillusioned with the whole industrial movement as a whole at the time (which isn't to say that I'm not still.) But I felt I my state of mind was an unfair one to be judging music of this nature, so I set it aside for a while and let some time go by. So finally I felt able to objectively listen to the record, and put it on. A very different listen than I recalled having that first time around. There are certainly some thoughts that came to me that were similar, but on the whole, I actually found myself enjoying the record FAR more. It even made me fondly reminisce of my club days. Jason Alacrity, mastermind behind The Alacrity, has an impressive resume including opening for Skinny Puppy, remixes for a variety of acts, and performances with Stromkern, Song of Zarathustra, Babyland and Trance the Sun which fellow Shinto records artist Scarlet Slipping's Dawn Wagner (whose music I've been in love with since the 90's) was at one time a part of. Needless to say, you don't gain these sorts of credentials without producing some worthwhile music. 'Shapeshifter' is an interesting ride through a collection of EBM and industrial tracks, some of which really shine, some of which may be a tad generic, but all of which are certainly well produced and performed. Songs like 'D:soLVE (Original Sin),' 'Shapeshifter,' and 'Wolfs Hook' demonstrate a careful cocktail of darkness evident in the harder beats, aggressive synths and occasional guitars; mixed with the light. A particular gem is 'Graveyards of Empires,' a bit slower, a bit quieter, but still manages to be quite epic, yet emotional. Vocally a lot of the work on this record is rather reminiscent to VNV Nation, but with a bit rougher, a bit more industrial, a little less dance, which is good. On the whole it's a relatively solid release with certain moments better than others, but nothing that drags the album down. Maybe a little less VNV next time around, but that's just my personal opinion.

ImiAFan: Neurozone

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 22 2012
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Artist: ImiAFan
Title: Neurozone
Format: 12"
Label: 4mg Records (@)
Rated: *****
Six years have passed from the last time I reviewed ImiAFan. This time Imrich Vegh, the guy behind the project coming from Slovakia, has produced his first MLP titled "Neurozone". The vinyl is available in a limited print run of 274 copies 12" and as a pay as you want digital release. For this release Imrich collaborated with Keen K, Clive Pierce (ex Hard Corps), Adriana Vegh, Charles Kent, Dario Seraval (Borghesia) and Peter Baarends a.k.a. Sololust. "Neurozone" contains six new tracks and a second version of the opening track "Remember Yourself". All the tracks are based on a dry electronic sound that is influenced by old school e.b.m. sounds as well by minimal wave. The opening "Remember Yourself" is a cool tune with syncopated rhythms, analog squared bass lines and nice pads with the melodic Peter Baarends' vocals. "Is It Fiction" is an upbeat electronic 4/4 track with hard beats and a nice mysterious atmosphere where Sololust melodic vocals enrich the whole result. "She Leaves" mixes throbbing bass frequencies, different cool synth layers that form a catchy web of floating electronic sounds where, again, Sololust sings passionately. "Words Strong As Blood" is the hardest track of the lot, maybe the most e.b.m. sounding, this also thanks to the characteristic Borghesia deep timbre vocals. "Soldier" is a mix from Devo and Die Form but in a kinky way. It sounds cold and sharpened as a knife. The "Utrecht" version of "Remember Yourself" is really different from the other one, more minimal and cold and it's as nice as the original version. The MLP is closed by "Program", an atmospheric track which mix synth noises and effected bass guitar and it's a cool cold wave track. The right way to say goodbye... P.s. You can preview it here http://imiafan.bandcamp.com

Binalog Frequency: Cosmic Boogie

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 20 2012
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Artist: Binalog Frequency (@)
Title: Cosmic Boogie
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Binalog Productions (@)
Distributor: Juno
Rated: *****
'Binalog Frequency', has always been consistent. His high quality musical output, is obvious, through his remixes and solo albums. He has offered many views of his musical personality and some deeper, darker aspects of it, as well (which is always good). His latest two - track 'Cosmic Boogie' single, finds him in a more upbeat mood, though, while staying true to his electrofunk background, as always. 'Cosmic Boogie' starts off slowly with a beat and haunting pads sneaking up on the listener, until the thunderous funky bassline kicks in. From then on is pure infectious electrofunk beauty, with off-beat hi-hats and distorted lead synthlines. There is a 'disco mix' of the track that is equally infectious taking advantage of all the stomping elements of the original version, in a 4/4 manner with extra variations and an 'in your face' attitude that simply works! The production is crisp and straightforward, as always, and the arrangement is kept minimal, for maximum impact. The key element here is 'FUN'. There's even a neon-star on the cover artwork! Try it!


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