Music Reviews



Xiu: Possession

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Apr 03 2013
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Artist: Xiu
Title: Possession
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten
Rated: *****
Oksana Rodionova started dealing with music when she was living in Estonia and at young age she started playing piano and singing in choruses. Now she lives in Milan, Italy and in the last years she collaborated on vocals with Nicolas Estany, Newclear Waves and lately with Frederick Barbe's Cold Colors (their four tracks tape "Loneliness" will be released soon by Vocoder Tapes). "Possession" is her second release, if we don't count the demo CDr "Dancing Voodoo", released four months after her self titled tape for Aufnahme + Wiedergabe. The new twenty six minutes tape released by Belaten contains six new tracks where Oksana shows her love for analog synth sounds: inside the cover we read that she used the Juno-60, the SH-101, the SP-404SX, the TR-808, the Poly-800, the Microkorg (which isn't really analog), the Electribe M, the Soundmaster SR-88 and the Boss DR-110. Musically she creates minimal synth songs where bass line arpeggios are mixed to dreamy pads and leads. Ideally try to imagine the darkwave sound of 80s French/Belgian bands transposed to an electronic sound palette. She tends to mix vocals and sounds creating a dreamy atmosphere that sometimes turns obsessive (like on "Au Noir"). Lyrics aren't that intelligible, they sound like brushes on her sound canvas and if you like old 4AD sound and modern minimal wave, I think you might dig Xiu. Anyway, you can check the release here http://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/possession-ep

Elastik: Instrumental E.P.

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Apr 01 2013
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Artist: Elastik (@)
Title: Instrumental E.P.
Format: CD
Label: Koma
Rated: *****
Two years after their latest album "Critik", Elastik, are back with a new EP that gathers six instrumental tracks of which three are coming from their previous albums. The tracks are titled only with numbers and maybe the reason is because they are able to "talk" by their own. Beautifully crafted and performed, they could fit perfectly a movie. Mixing industrial sounds, catchy melodies, tense atmospheres Thomas Prigent succeeded into giving to the EP a sort of theme which is more at an unconscious level than else. Orchestrations, sounds alternation (noises, samples, guitars), effects and samples are used at the best to create a sort of suspended world. Also silence is used well just like the sounds are: on different tracks rhythms and sounds stop just to underline a score change and this is of great effect when you are floating into a mysterious atmosphere. Great release!
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Artist: The Exaltics / Elec Pt.1
Title: The Exaltics Meets Elec Pt.1
Format: 12"
Label: Solar One Music
Rated: *****
After four months here we are again talking about a new volume of "The Exaltics Meets" series. This time on side B we have Elec Pt.1. Behind this moniker there's Andreas Gehm, a producer from Koln, Germany who produced since 2006 different releases for Bunker Records (five EPs), Panzerkreuz Records (two albums), Abstract Acid (an album and an EP), Snuff Trax and Abstract Acid. This isn't his first time on Solar One, as he already took part to the latest label's compilation "SOM5" with the track "It Feels So...". Since, as reported on The Exaltics interview I did some months ago, "The Exaltics Meets" is a serie where Robert Witschakowski produces tracks according to the genre of the guest musician, this time on side A we have two tracks ("The Midnight Connexion" and "Nichts Aber Auch Nichts") which are inspired by acid techno. As you may know, The Exaltics produces dark vibrating tracks which takes mix elements of techno, electro, ambient and acid and each time we have more or less of each one. The fist tune mix melodic ambient pads, 4/4 upbeat tempos and raving acid leads. The dark madness finds its top on "Nichts Aber Auch Nichts" thanks to grinding TBR303 lines and fast drum machine lines. Stops and go plus some pad enhance the dramatic moments. Side B opens with "Drei Chinesen Mit Dem Acidbass", a track where leads and bass lines follow the typical crazy acid arpeggios while drum machine patterns are built creating a sort of obsessive 4/4 beat where hi-hats, claps and ride sound like fighting. "The Player" sounds a bit darker but the style is quite similar to the previous track. Vocal inserts plus synth noises and tiny melodic lines help characterizing the tune making of it a nice hypnotic tune.

The Exaltics: Muted World

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Feb 18 2013
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Artist: The Exaltics
Title: Muted World
Format: 12"
Label: Trust
Rated: *****
Robert Witschakowski has always been really active and also 2013 has started in a good way as The Exaltics already released a split 12" EP and this new "Muted World" EP which has been released by Austrian label Trust. Available as 12" and digital download, "Muted World" blends electro, a bit of acid (like on "Second Phases"), ambient electronica and Detroit techno. As usual the tracks offer hard beat complex rhythmic textures, tense atmospheres and almost a maniacal cure into the arrangement procedure. "Muted World" offers four new instrumentals "Every Beginning Has An End", "Second Phases", "Muted World" and "Broken" plus a remix of "Second Phases" by bristol's Kamikaze Space Programme, the new experimental techno project of veteran drum'n'bass producer Chris Jarman a.k.a. Raiden. On this version, Chris kept the main melodic structure and added distortion here and there, but mainly to rhythmic elements, just to give more boost to the whole track. As usual, for The Exaltics, wait for a quality release!

Bassazynthz: Strictly Approach

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Feb 10 2013
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Artist: Bassazynthz (@)
Title: Strictly Approach
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Battery Park Studio
Distributor: Juno
Rated: *****
The first thought that came to my mind after i played the new 'Strictly Approach' e.p. by mr Ronny Kuenniger aka BASSAZYNTHZ, is that this man is passionate about his music (and a very skilled producer). After playing it again, many times over, and listening carefully, i was starting to discover little details with each listen and to me, that always is an indication of that passion.
In this five track e.p. released on the 'Battery Park Studio' label, Bassazynthz, embarks on a multidimensional electro journey, that covers all bases.
Of course there is the much needed sonic edge, to move things forward, the very contemporary and modern production approach, that ensures that the end result is gratifying, but he does not stop there. In most of the tracks, there are little 'injections' of retro elements that enrich his compositions giving a very stable platform for him to evolve and release his melodic vibes that add this multilayered feeling/emotion, to the otherwise sometimes cold and robotic - by definition - genre of electro.
All the tracks are very carefully structured, with great attention to detail, and the overall production is flawless. There are haunting pads, driving beats, great vocoder action, and lead synth hooks, thunderous basslines and intriguing arrangements that guarantee repeated listens and ultimately a very happy music buyer!
The 'Strictly Approach' e.p. is out now, on digital form, but watch out for the vinyl release soon!


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