Music Reviews

Tolchock: Elements of Rage

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 03 2015
Artist: Tolchock (@)
Title: Elements of Rage
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Tolchock is back with a brand new album after nine long years and that's a damn good thing. For those unfamiliar, Swedish band Tolchock is Christer Lundmark and Jens Persson with the addition of Jenny Runa (voice and choire) and Michael Forslund (guitars) on this album. They've been around since 1990 but I admit the only release of theirs I'm very familiar with is their 1998 album, 'In the Name of Tolchock' which I thought was fucking great and played to death for a good long time. I dusted it off and played it again for this this review, and I still think it's fucking great. I checked out their interim 2006 album, 'Wipe Out - Burn Down - Annihilate', and although it had a lot of power and anger, there was a lack of really good hooks, and it wasn't all that memorable. Not so on 'Elements of Rage', which find the band more focused, and on top on their game, with killer hooks galore and a more polished sound. This is EBM at its finest; snappy synth work, dynamic clubworthy beats, excellent edgy EBM style vocals, appropriate (and mercifully brief) samples and on-target songwriting. Although Jens is the voice of Tolchock, Jenny's vocals are the perfect foil and add a lot to this album. Forslund's guitar fits perfectly in place, never overstepping its bounds. For me, favorite tracks on the album are the (obvious) "One Second" (an undeniable hit if I ever heard one), the potent "Self Extractor", and the rather humorous "Walk of Shame". Go baby, go baby go baby go...down on your knees and crawl! "Day of Rage" and "Firecell" get honorable mentions. Three tracks get the remix treatment on the album - "Time To Breath" (Machinsta Remix); "Down The Hole" (Biomekkanik Remix); "Self Extractor" (Red Mecca Remix); and once again "Time To Breath" (Blipp Remix). While they all offer a bit different takes on the originals, none of them were anything I couldn't live without. I usually prefer the originals to remixes anyway. So the bottom line is, if you're looking for some great punchy new EBM, look no further. 'Elements of Rage' has got what you need.

ImiAFan + Dario Seraval: Against The Walls

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jul 23 2015
Artist: ImiAFan + Dario Seraval
Title: Against The Walls
Format: 12"
Label: Seja Records (@)
Rated: *****
Imi Vegh lately is kinda busy collaborating and releasing music under his moniker ImiAFan and "Against The Walls" is his latest one which has been released recently by the Dutch label Seja Records. For this new MLP Imi collaborated, again, as for the "Neurozone" LP, with a legend of 80s electronic music: Dario Seraval, singer of Borghesia. I'm sure that if you are acquainted with e.b.m., you know at least their album "Ljubav Je Hladnija Od Smrti". On this new ImiAFan MLP, you can find four new tracks ("Možgani Na Asfaltu", "Crne Rukavice", "Poker" and "Words Strong As Blood - Original Instrumental Version") with music composed by Imi Vegh, Miki Bernath and Dario Seraval and vocals by the latter. For the lyrics they did a particular thing, because they wrote them taking inspiration from eastern Europe punk bands GRC, Berlinski Zid and the Slovenian poet Tomaz Salamun. Musically, the tracks are based on a minimal atmosphere where upbeat tempos and synth sequences create a strong structure where Dario is able to sing his vocals giving life to a convincing performance full of pathos. You can call it minimal e.b.m. or else but it really doesn't matter, because Imi has his own style which you'll appreciate, thanks to the use of analog synths sounds and catchy tiny melodies. Closing the vinyl, you can find a Damolh33 remix of "Poker" and a so called gothic version of "Crne Rukavice". I found this record really good but you can check by yourselves following this link:

Bertrand Loreau: From Past To Past

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jul 18 2015
Artist: Bertrand Loreau
Title: From Past To Past
Format: CD
Label: Spheric Music (@)
Rated: *****
A couple of years ago with "Nostalgic Steps" I already wrote about the Bertrand Loreau / Olivier Briand collaboration and now it's time to review a new Bertrand Loreau album titled "From Past To Past". The album born from a collaboration Bertrand had with Olivier Briand and the Spheric Music's boss Lambert Ringlade. The album, as Bertrand explains into the booklet, born taking old sounds coming from very old tape and mixing them with new sequences. The aim was to create a sound and an atmosphere that was true to his early 80's releases using pure analogue sounds. As he wrote, maybe this is the last time he'd play long sequenced tracks and just to make you think about how this three track album could sound, think that it is dedicated to Edgar Froese, who died early this year. The album opens with "Past Never Dies" a 38' long track! Based on synth sequences it starts with a classic mix of fast paced synth rhythmic sequences and spacey sounds just to turn into a calm sidereal atmosphere with slow synth sequences and tiny melodies that are leading the listener through the different soundscapes after 15'. The following tracks "Journey Remains The Same" and "Flying Stones Over The Seas" are a little shorter (11' each) and give to the listener more sequences and space atmospheres packed into a meditative atmospheric tune for the fist one and a little more dark track with flute inserts and classic space synth sounds the second. If you are into cosmic krautrock with this release you can't go wrong!
Jun 24 2015
Artist: DK5600
Title: Distanza Katrias 5600
Format: CD
Label: Bugs Crawling Out Of People
Rated: *****
DK5600 is an electronic, ambient, experimental duo coming from Italy and formed by Ro So-matix (already active with ARS A.V.I.) and CircumLiver (a.k.a. Paolo Bono, active as Circum Liver and Triplomaltose). They just released for Bugs Crawling Out Of People their first album "Distanza Katrias 5600". Based on the concept that they recorded a sort of diary from planet Katrias which is 5600 light years far from earth, the album is divided into twelve tracks, plus five that are only available into the digital edition, that made me feel like I synched a transmission from outer space where the speech was disturbed by sidereal noises and cosmic frequencies. The recitative filtered and treated Rosanna's vocals, which aren't always intelligible, are mixed with ambient noises and drones created by Paolo. Only on track seven, "Rete Di Terra", we have a background melody which is giving to it a dramatic touch but most of the rest is sounding really glacial and isolationist. Only the vocals reading lyrics like it was a broken robot looking for help are the only "human" touch to the whole album. From track nine, "Essere Estensibile Dinamico", ten, "Tensione Di Contatto" and on we have an sort of traditional electronic approach to sounds with long synth sweeps and pads (on the first one) and nice dramatic touch with noise blasts on the latter one. I have to admit that the first half of the album was quite hard to listen to, because it was really cold and minimal but the other tracks are succeeding into giving a good atmosphere and a more structured approach to sound which helped me enjoying it.
Give it a try, here

Public Domain Resource: Six Years

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jun 23 2015
Artist: Public Domain Resource
Title: Six Years
Format: CD
Label: Space Age Records
Rated: *****
Born in 2012 as a solo project of an Italian guy called Pietro Oliveri, Public Domain Resource saw Ugo Crescini joining in 2013 as a singer and signed soon after for Space Race Records. On the same year the duo produced their first album "Dead Surface". That CD contained twelve tracks and three remixes and its music was a blend of synthpop and 90s e.b.m. with a bit of dance attitude. Two years passed and the duo is now ready to release a new album, always for Space Race Records. "Six Years" is a concept album about WWII, a unusual theme for bands that play this musical genre, I must say. Containing fourteen new trakcs, the album is focused on the feelings of the people who lived that tragedy: for example the lyrics of "Warm Frost" tells the story of someone recalling how he lost his mother, "Sad, So Sad - Tibbets War" has something to do with Paul Tibbets, who was a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force and is best known for piloting the aircraft to drop the first atomic bomb in the history of warfare and I don't think that a title like "Our Widows" needs further explanations as like remembered on the inner cover, on those six years, seventy one million people lost their lives. Musically, we pass from melodic e.b.m. to e.b.m. industrial with filtered vocals where synth arpeggios and rhythms are the main elements where catchy sounds enrich the formula. The opening "White Cloud" and "Das Boot" are mid tempos with hard beats while tracks like "Cold Lightning" and "Kill Rolf, Kill" are ideal for the hard dancefloor. Listening to these tracks I tought of Public Domain Resource as a sort of Evil's Toy meets Front 242 and if you are fan of these bands, you would be interested into checking them!

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