Music Reviews



DECA: Modulectron

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 29 2013
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Artist: DECA
Title: Modulectron
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows (@)
Rated: *****
Deca is the moniker of Federico De Caroli, a guy coming from Liguria, Italy, who is active since the mid eighties with is musical project. Interested into electronic sounds and lover of the German and French music of the seventies, Federico decided to take a different approach on the matter thanks to his piano studies. He started to record his experiments with polyphonic synthesizers and in 1986 he released, for the Video Radio label, his first album "Alkaid", release inspired by a science fiction story he wrote. The following year "Synthetic Lips" followed and this one was mainly inspired by German space electronic music. Things changed in 1989 with the album " Claustrophobia": the atmosphere got darker and obsessive and musically it sounded like a new wave/industrial mix. With 1992's 'Premonizione Humana", he started to collaborate for the visual part with Gianni Bacino, whom took care also of the live side of this aspect. Musically, the atmosphere got more evocative thanks to the use of piano and strings along with the electronic sounds. On 1998, Old Europa Cafe released "Phantom", an experimental electronic album with melodic inserts that you can still easily find on Discogs (all the other releases are quite hard to find). On 2000 we have 'Electronauta', a compilation of unreleased tracks and on 2002, "Simbionte", an album that has been sold only through the website created for the occasion. These are the main releases Deca did, but there are many more on tapes. Now, let's talk about "Modulectron". This album issued by Synthetic Shadows, is a collection of tracks recorded during the 1984/1986 period using only a Roland Jx3p synthesizer, no other instrument involved, not even a drum machine. The twelve tracks of the album sound minimal, experimental and create an atmosphere of their own but most of the time, they sound quite obsessive and alienated. Based on multi layered recordings or on arpeggio/sequencer/filters variations they hypnotize the listener thanks to dissonances, noises and warm sounds which suddenly turn into a cold atmosphere. I enjoyed it and you can check the whole release following this link http://syntheticshadows.bandcamp.com/album/deca-modulectron-ss11

Das Muster: Durchleuchtung

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Dec 27 2013
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Artist: Das Muster
Title: Durchleuchtung
Format: CD
Label: Solar One Music
Rated: *****
'Durchleuchtung' is the newest album by Das Muster which has been released recently by Solar One Music. Available in a limited run of 99 copies, the album has three different layouts available, all three comes in a metal box. This is the first proper physical release for the Marcus Mumm project and it contains twelve new instrumental tracks which will convince you in no time if you are lovers of bands of the likes of all the Gerald Donald's projects. Marcus created kinda short cold robotic soundtracks where analog synth sounds paint different kind of imaginary scenarios. Mine are: the psychological ones of 'Testobjekt' ('Test Object'), 'Verhaltensmuster' ('Patterns Of Behavior'), 'Observation' and 'Irritation', the social ones of 'Drahtzieher' ('Masterminds'), 'Das Hochste Gut' ('The Supreme Good') and 'Resistenz' ('Resistance') and the lab experiments ones of 'Schnittstelle' ('Interface') and 'Auswirkungen' ('Effects'). Musically, we have the top notch eletro techno with paced rhythms, warm pads, bleeping sounds, dissonances and distortions. You can check the sound excerpts here www.soundcloud.com/solar_one_music/das-muster-durchleuchtung
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Artist: Movement Ten (@)
Title: Build Them And They Will Come
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Second full-length album for this British Alternative/Electronica-duo released only 10 months after their promising self-titled debut. Movement Ten surely like to keep alive in the eyes and ears of their fans instead to restart from scratch again. But although both of these releases have been out in between a short time period, there are significant differences between them. This new album starts with an energizing track entitled 'Get Down' in which the minimal arranged bass-line and rhythm section receives some Brit-Pop-like support through some roaring guitar riffs. A good kick-off. 'Black And White Living' then switches to a complete Electronica-based sound-design. It could be a well-done Synthpop tune, but somehow it misses musically a bit the target. Mostly because the synth-arrangements are too minimal produced and could need a bit more inspiration. Next is 'Halo' and the band has already announced this one to be a possible candidate for a single release. 'Halo' has a straight and danceable structure and reminds with its strong early 80ies affiliation on some British Post-Punk and New Wave-pioneers like Joy Division or Wire. But asides of this I tend to say, that 'Ghost Road' could be a better alternative, since it turns out to be the softer, but easier recognizable tune. If the monotonous drum-patterns could bring in a bit more brilliance, this track would be ideally working for airplay. Another favorite is 'Behind Me' with its hypnotic synthesizer-play and some oriental-sounding insertions - maybe one of the tracks which offers the most maturity of this productive duo. 'Never' then returns to the straighter side of this duo and adds quality guitar riffs to the monotonous bass-lines. It has some similarities on the starter 'Get Down', although the starter sounds more refreshing. With a try to test some Techno/Trance playgrounds through some 303-like bass-line sequences and typical TR808/909 rhythm patterns Movement Ten return on the all-Electronica sound-outfit - sorry, but this one sounds helpless and a bit too much off-topic for them. Since the last two tracks do not add any more valuable content to report of, this album leaves me a bit unsatisfied. 'Build Them And They Will Come' sounds surely darker oriented than expected, but it actually misses a bit of the pioneering impact of the debut. The vocals are still sounding well in the mix and deliver all needed emotion, but musically the tracks of this new album are too one-dimensional and leave too seldom already discovered paths. It even strengthens this globally unpleasant impression thanks to the fact that the ultimate 'smash hit', which could have been easily discovered on the debut ('Gravity' / 'FTBIA') is a miss here. Where has their ease and cheerfulness gone? Movement Ten can deliver better.

Psykkle: Mother Monoxide

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Dec 23 2013
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Artist: Psykkle (@)
Title: Mother Monoxide
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Another review I should have written months before, but also another release which picked me by the nuts! Psykkle, so far for me a relative unknown force in the world-wide scene, although they already released a first album entitled 'Rock Bottom Paradise', consists of Evan Collingwood (sounds, machines, production) and his prominent main vocalist Gerry Hawkins of Cryogenic Echelon. 'Mother Monoxide' is their second album and represents a full-scale 16-track Dark Electro-release which offers some surprising style variations thrown into the mix. The globally Dark-Electro sound-outfit receives successfully support by Dub-Step, Trip-Hop and IDM styles mostly concentrated to take impact on the rhythm section. It is the overall very Cyberpunk- and Sci-Fi related attitude making this album a special gem. If you look out for an album with non-stop violent dancefloor-compatible Harsh EBM assaults, then you'll go wrong with this one. The few tunes totally suitable for the floors of darkest clubs around can be counted with one hand (examples: 'Nanonet', 'Breathing In'). Also their already discovered track 'City of Nodes', which has been revamped previously by several foreign remix contributors (Revenant Cult for instance'¦), rather follows the globally tone of this album. 'Mother Monoxide' lives and celebrates its cinematic outfit as it would be a matter of course. Also Gerry's well inserted harsh and nightmarish-sounding vocal performance, which has been mostly manipulated by multiple vocoder-effects, offers a perfect symbiosis to the layered and richly textured Dark Electro sound-design. Good stuff, not to underestimate!

Alteranima: Stereograms

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 09 2013
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Artist: Alteranima
Title: Stereograms
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Raumklang Music (@)
Rated: *****
After an appearance on "Silent Reflections", the debut release by German musician Kai Christian Hahnewald's side-project Talvekoidik, where she dropped some piano lines into a couple of tracks, and a number of collaborations, classical trained but electronics-struck Italian dj, musician and graphic designer Elda Di Matteo starts her personal project Alteranima up by means of a very good album whose title sets a spot-on reference to those seemingly confused images based on stereopsis for binocular vision, known as stereograms or SIRDS, which offer the possibility to experience the perception of depth on bimensional drawing by changing the focal point, which sometimes required the crossing of eyes and some frustration to those observers who didn't manage to see anything. The connection with that technique is quite clear while listening her music, which covers a wide range of emotional states by inoculating piano melodies, bleeping crumbs or puffed pad-synths into cleverly fractured electronic rhythms, which somewhow renders the above-mentioned drawings where evocative soundscapes seem to got extruded from overlapping grids of electronic pinpricks, excoriated metallic thuds and laminar cuts. In order to have a rough idea of what you're going to listen, you can imagine a crossbreed between Gridlock, Proem or Beefcake sonic architectures and some progressive ambient-trance acts such as Aes Dana, Carbon Based Lifeform or Hol Baumann where Elda embellished a winsome electronic syntax by means of sonic propellants and tempered tunes, which often sound like tickling clouds by electromechanical tentacles. I particularly enjoyed tracks like "Open Wide", Expanding Mind", "Pixelechoes" or "Lucid Dream", where the second reagent got highlighted. The release includes a couple of remixes of "Expanding Mind" - while Stendeck seems to have dehydrated rhythmical pattern by cushioned hits, Autoclav1.1 shrines inner melody of the original version towards empyrean pinnacles and extracts an unexpected cosmic-rock ride -, the heady sequence of inoculated precise cuts and vitreous blistering by Rob Lioy aka Access To Arasaka on his remix of "Inner Silence" and the magnetic blurring of "Lucid Dream" by Talvekoidik.


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