Music Reviews



La Mort De L'Hippocampe: Cheminement De L'Extase

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 14 2012
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Artist: La Mort De L'Hippocampe
Title: Cheminement De L'Extase
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
Always co-produced by Enfant Terrible and Verbascripta, "Cheminement De L'Extase" is the second and last release by La Mort De L'Hippocampe. Recorded before "Symphonie Neuronale", this album has been released after that, following the wish of its creator Jerome Fontan, who passed by on June 2011. Best known for the electro project Porn.Darsteller, Jerome on this album created, as for the first one, two long suites which musically are different from what proposed on "Symphonie Neuronale". On the A side we have "Cheminement Surreel", which contains a mix of experimental, synth industrial and classical sounds (violin, piano, etc.) that function as a soundtrack to a metaphysic poem. In eighteen minutes, this track changes many times and it's a particular catchy one thanks to its atmosphere which passes from industrial synth noises to melancholic organ/violin duets in a natural way. On side B we have the main title which is mostly based on texts from Hildegard von Bingen read by Jerome and Isabelle Toro, who also collaborated on the first release. This suite is mostly based on old school industrial synth sound but mixed with medieval instruments like "vielle a roue" and the "bombarde bretonne". If you loved the first record you won't miss this one and you have to act fast, because it is already sold out at the label's shop but Verbascripta (www.verbascripta.net) has still some left.
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Artist: The Hollow Hearts
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
There's something for every Electronica enthusiast on this short-but-sweet offering from L.A. based The Hollow Hearts. Beginning with 'The Sea,' which begins with ambient field recordings of lapping waves, with crystalline synthesizer sequences fading in, so subtle as to be almost unnoticeable, until you are submerged in a psychotropic coral reef of wonder. It sounds like Drexciya's underwater fantasias, if they were remixed by Sylvain Chauveau.
'Belief' brings back '90s industrial existentialism to the dance floor, giving an unabashed nod to latter day NIN's, with its monochromatic deadpan rap. Its sexy, in the most dispassionate of ways, and it should sound great beneath the strobe lights. 'Forever,' a futuristic love poem with robotic vocals and churning dubstep LFO, could be three times as long, clocking in at a mere 1:46. 'Ashes' rounds finishes things, with its Twin-Peaks-By-Way-Of-Berlin distant longing. It sounds like a memory of romance, for people who grew up going to sweaty dungeon raves, rather than juke joints and speakeasys.

It seems like The Hollow Hearts are a little unsure of themselves, like they're afraid of taking up too much of yr time. This tiny morsel comes out to a scant 17 minutes. They should rest assured, they clearly know what they are doing. The mix is nearing perfection, with the drums, vocals, and synths appropriately levelled and spaced around the stereo spectrum. The Hollow Hearts is a lush and spacious affair. They have refined the strengths of 30 years of electronic music into something unique and personal. The Hollow Hearts manage to sound both classic and futuristic, simultaneously. Here's to hoping that this release will help usher in a new era of dancefloor romanticism. Their next release should be three times as long!

The Hollow Hearts can be had as a free download, and the classy flat-matte CD can be had for a scant 3 bucks. The sleek letterpressed logo and hand-written stationery that came with my reviewing package show a band that is invested in what they are doing, and they are practically giving it away. This humble and heartfelt music needs to be heard, equally at home in pounding techno clubs as driving down blacktop highways with the cruise control on. Highly recommended!

The Exaltics / Koova: Combined EP V3.0

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 12 2012
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Artist: The Exaltics / Koova
Title: Combined EP V3.0
Format: 12"
Label: Abstract Forms (@)
Rated: *****
In only five years of activity The Exaltics have so many releases that has gained on the field the title of veteran of the electro scene. Only this year Robert Witschakowski released four EPs, of which some shared with well know acts of the genre (see the one with Gosub and another with Morphology). This release I'm gonna to talk about is a split with Koova, released by the label Abstract Forms. Side A has three new tracks by The Exaltics and it's opened by the short introduction "Cold Lights", a track which with its heartbeat like beat and deep bass pads sets the atmosphere of the whole side ...and for Robert, it is always as dark as possible. "With The Light Out" mix dark electro atmospheres with the characteristic techno TB-303 bass lines and upbeat rhythms, creating in this way a catchy effect. "The Last Resort" closes the side with a granular synth sound which mixed with spacey pads, syncopated bass drum beats and a bass sound similar to a contrabass. The whole creates a tense atmosphere which make the listener want for more. Koova is the project of the UK producer Gavin Pykerman and this is his sixth release, the third on vinyl. His side is opened by "Shift Register", a track which is based on echoed leads and simil metal beats. "Rtfm" is a mix of bouncy synth leads, robotic 808 rhythms and nice looping melodies. "Flux Tube" sounds neurotic and cold and it's a great track that reminds me some old Gosub stuff thanks to its analog dry electro sound. "Combined EP V3.0" is a great EP and it's a must for every electro addicted.
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Artist: Needle Factory (@)
Title: Goetia
Format: CD
Label: Unrepresented Music (@)
Rated: *****
After their 6-track debut release 'Jubilee' through D-Trash Records earlier this year, Manchester-based Electro/Industrial-duo Needle Factory returns with this all new 10-track album. Established by Freddy Morgendorffer and Johna Curtis in late 2011, this duo has caused some attraction through some intense live performances, so that the British Independent label Unrepresented Music couldn't resist to offer them a deal. 'Goetia' is the result of this collaboration and it is without any exaggeration a colorful, musically diverse sounding exploration between genre boundaries. This duo integrates Post-Punk Industrial influences of the old icons of Throbbing Gristle or Cabaret Voltaire to their up-to-date sound-adaptation by blending between styles like EBM, Witchhouse, and TBM/IDM. The opening track 'Blind' with its distorted, lo-fi synth-arrangement is a good example, how they are capable to unite the rawness of Noise with calm, cold-melodic synthesizer-drops. Fx-manipulation on female vocals has become a stylistically hype at latest with Erica Dunham / Unter Null and Needle Factory are swimming often on this wave, as this track proves too. 'Die For Joy' and their pre-released, freely available teaser track 'Needles, Pins & Razor Blades' are standing for solid, club-oriented food, which will surely impress the dancefloor-junkies. The musically more striking tracks are starting with 'Drug Laws', as this track offers surprisingly a typical old-school EBM-like bassline programming. Their sense for calm melodies returns with a vengeance on 'Kiss The Blade', a ballad-esque, ominous, but beautiful sounding Dark Electro pearl. If it seriously needed any proof that Johna's voice sounds more effective without multiple fx-manipulations, you've found it herewith. Also 'Innocence' sounds really 'innocent' and rather inspired by melodic Electropop styles instead to evoke the noisy ingredients. 'The Falling' deserves a mention too with its crafty and attractive bassline programming. The title track, an eerie Downtempo-influenced tune with raw, experimental-minded drum patterns concludes this refreshing album. Needle Factory for sure haven't invented an own, authentic sound-style, but their attitude and their courage to break with conventions deserves respect. It at least results in a quite good and diverse sounding Electronica-album, which deserves support and attention. Good work, keep it on!

X-NAVI:ET: Brain Overloaded

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 07 2012
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Artist: X-NAVI:ET
Title: Brain Overloaded
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This album from Rafal Iwanski is a collection of track, according to the linear notes, related with a question about human brain that is if this is an era which brain is stating to be overloaded. This is an electroacoustic album made with tone generators, filters and synthesizers with, in my opinion, nothing to justify the claim of the linear notes except the absence, not unusual in this genre, of computer, the main actor of current information overload.
"It is you brain?" is a short and static intro to the album, based on a sort of sinewaves loop. "Artificial landscape" is, instead, based on small noises above a quiet menacing drone that slowly evolve. "Contra-stasis" is a slowly moving track where filtered tones create a quiet evocative tension continuing in the next track "minute by minute, second by second" more oriented in the development of small tones above continuous tones. "Total overproduction" is based on single tone slightly evolving, using a beat and a menacing line of synth revealing the influence of old industrial act and is, perhaps, the best track of this release. "Reversed space for no one" is a static soundscape until a beat and some noises gives colors to the track. "Reset digital demon" close this release with a journey into noise as evocative as disconnected to rest of the album.
Musically speaking this is not a bad album as is well played and constructed, however the absence of a fil-rouge gives the impression that the linear notes were written just to justify the release. However, without reading the notes, this is a record worthing a listen.


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