Music Reviews



VV.AA.: 2013 - 2003 = 10 Years of 4mg Records

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (8082)
Mar 16 2014
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 2013 - 2003 = 10 Years of 4mg Records
Format: Tape
Label: 4mg Records
Rated: *****
Coming from Slovakia and run by Imrich Vegh, member of Imiafan, 4mg Records is ten years that releases electronic music that sounds disturbing, catchy and a bit rooted in the 80s. To celebrate this event, few months ago, the label released a compilation tape titled "2013 - 2003 = 10 Years of 4mg Records". The tape opens with Kirdec and its "If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want To Be In Your Revolution (Dedicated To Emma Goldman)". The track already sets the quality level of the compilation which is high... If you love cold electronic sounds and bands like The Exaltics, this is for you (more info here http://www.syrphe.com/projects/cdrik/cdrik.html). Manasyt is here with "Mortal Transfer", an instrumental tune that mix atmospheric elements (the tiny bells sounds), distorted drums and melodic synth pads creating a cinematic effect. Imiafan with "Nocna Alchymia" bring a mid tempo based on a suspended atmosphere, cool analog synth sounds, tiny melodic inserts and detached vocals. Alien Skull Paint with "Buried" mix gothic atmospheres with a mid tempo electronic background. Medora Featuring Natalie Alva with "Unleash Your Dogs" close side A with a nice dancey tune based on a bass arpeggio, male/female vocals duets and a playful atmosphere. Monty Catsin is a pseudonym that anyone can use, so I don't know who really bring us "Modern Hero". Anyway, the track is a nice one that sounds like Devo without guitars. Boys Du Severe with "The Beat Of Neoism" are here with a retro electronic robotic joyful tune (think about an instrumental early O.M.D. track) and I don't really know when it has been recorded, because from the few informations I have about the band (taken from the Anna Logue compilation "Echoes From Our Past"), the band was active in early 80s and the recordings have been made my Monty Catsin. Since both neoism and Monty Catsin are both born under the same rules (collective shared pseudonyms and identities, pranks, paradoxes, plagiarism and fakes), I don't really know what is the right information about them. Anyway... Uj Latasmod Fuzio, the Gaspar Kornel's project is here with "Hasonmas" a track which mix early e.b.m. atmospheres and cold electronic a la Die Form. Lesbian Mouseclicks' "Life Is Precious" sounds dark, menacing and obsessive. It mixes a bit of techno elements (the rhythmic part in the middle of the song) and dark electronic sounds a la Clock DVA. The Trial are a Czech band formed in the late 80s that disbanded in 1993. Their song "Pull It Back" has been re-edited by Max One (sorry but I don't know him) and now it sounds like a mix of synthpop and 80s e.b.m. Makina Girgir close the compilation with "Derniers Mots", a cold track in balance from cinematic atmospheres and cold wave with its obsessive bass lines and fluctuating synth pads. Nice compilation that you can check here http://4mgrecords.bandcamp.com

öhm: s/t

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (8060)
Mar 02 2014
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Artist: öhm (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact Records (@)
Rated: *****
öhm is the project of Chris Peterson, who had worked with bands like Front Line Assembly, and Craig Joseph Huxtable and they craft that sort of electro-industrial sound that is as aggressive as danceable. Instead of proper EBM, this seems more pop oriented as the beats, even when fast, are not so martial and features more curated vocal lines and the synth is not forced to double the rhythmic structure.
So 'When Robots Fuck' opens this release showing the mastery of the producers: noises and melody collides with the underlying beats as a structural cage and the filtered vocals construct an almost pleasant mood. The rest of the album oscillates between more pop oriented tunes as 'Car Crash', 'Apparition' and 'Detroit', a dark-oriented track where the synth and beats create an evocative texture, and more dance one like 'Divinity' or '4am'. An atmospheric track like 'Aurora' reveals the desire to construct a musical journey rather than a non-stop throttle based on beats so it's not strange than, after aggressive track like 'Brute', 'My Kingdom' closes this release with his ambient-oriented soundscape.
This album would't probably end in any end of the year playlist but will stand more on the stereo as it will please fans of synth pop, EBM and electro and it's enjoyable and well produced. It's really worth a listen.
Mar 01 2014
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Artist: Blitzkrieg Baby
Title: Kids' World
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten (@)
Rated: *****
One year after their debut album on Neuropa, Blitzkrieg Baby are back with a new release titled "Kids' World" on Belaten. It contains four new tracks, a new edit of "Children In Uniform" (coming from "Porcus Norvegicus") and four tracks that have previously been released on compilations ("Half Pig Half Man", "Broken Child", "Incinerator Symphony No. I" and "Your Happy Place"). Kim Solve, Anders B., Bjeima and Mr. B. on "Kids' World" put on the plate all their hate toward this world's contradictions and miseries thanks to "Kids' World", "Loop", "The Swine Supremacy" and "Those They Could Not Fuck, They Killed". The opening track is a blasting industrial atmospherics tune (almost symphonic) with 4/4 beats, choruses, rhythmic noise loops and a powerful declaiming voice. "Loop" seems to be recorded in the gutters with its mix of low frequencies metallic reverbering noises, drones and filtered vocals that towards the end turns into a tribal war hymn. With "The Swine Supremacy", the atmosphere gets darker and rhythms and vocals are the main elements. "Those They Could Not Fuck, They Killed" is an atmospheric industrial tune based on hissing synth sounds and pounding beats. The new version of "Children In Uniform" has a new mix which enhance its power and the bass melodic lines. If you loved the first album, you won't miss this one where Blitzkrieg Baby give their vision of industrial with electronic pop and neo-classical influences. You can check it here http://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/kids-world-ep
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Artist: iVardensphere (@)
Title: The Methuselah Tree
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
After some appetizers on Metropolis from this interesting Canadian "fusionist" band, the announced new album by iVardensphere got finally released by Dave Heckman's label and it doesn't let high expectations down. Named after the Great Basin bristlecone pine tree, the second longest living tree in the world, whose exact location in a grove on the White Mountains of Eastern California nearby Los Angeles has been kept secret in order to safeguard it, "The Methuselah Tree" seems to expound and unroll the theme of natural grandeur and silent majesty clashing with human misery and self-destructive attitude. Such an "environmentalist" declension of eschatology, where the knotty pine and its branches which looks like arms of a prayer striving compassion could subtend a silent teaching to mankind (the sombre voice of Jamie Blacker sings on the final lines ofthe title-track, a collaborative song with Mlada Fronta, "I See A Future So Bleak With Only Dead Leaves/And A Hundred Broken Dreams"), exudes a kind of somewhat fatalist awareness, which is quite common in the scene, but the way they musically transmute this concept is really good: they tempered their porous style, which melts tribal pulses and industrial sonorities, by means of epic and eerie moods and cinematic insertions so that iVardensphere rolls along synaesthetic lanes and arouses mightily visionary suggestions which could surmise a possible crossbreed between Juno Reactor and Two Steps From Hell. Besides some unconvincing tracks such as the song "Society Of Dogs", whose meaningful lyrics and good sonic doornails got somehow neautralised by a predictable song structure with hackneyed arabesque insertions, which makes quite predictable other tracks such as "Observing Bartok (Stamping Dance)" or "Snakecharmer" as well, the stylistical miscellany of this release set many memorable moments aside: even if some tracks ("Eclipse", "Bloodline", "Narada") could sound perfect for action moments of a possible new chapter of Assassin's Creed, I prefer these unchained tracks to other moments of the album due to the devastating energy and the brute force they can emit, but the listener won't fully enter into the spirit of the record without the astonishingly epic introduction on "Mother Of Crows" which features a masterful interpretation by Twilla MacLeod, who also enhances the evocative power of "A Black Sun On The Horizon (Invocation)" or the gothic medley "Second Sleep".

Grand Mal X: Life

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (8038)
Feb 11 2014
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Artist: Grand Mal X
Title: Life
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten (@)
Rated: *****
I have very few informations about Grand Mal X. I only know that two guys called Karl Rydby and Mattias Ivarsson are involved but I don't know if there's a manifesto of intentions or if they have previously played in other bands. The thing I know for sure is that they released a tape titled "Stealth Minds" on Black Horizons at the end of 2013 and that now I have in my hands their new tape "Life" which has been released by the Swedish tape label Belaten. The only thing that the presentation points out about the release is that if while you're listening to its six tracks you have the feeling that their aim is to raise a certain dark feeling and magic(k)al atmosphere dear to bands like Coil, you ain't that far from the truth. The release opens with "Units", a track in balance from ambient and electronica. Something in balance from later Anti Group and Demdike Stare. "Tricks Of A Trade" is more based on analog drum rhythms and sounds and this is definitely recalling me the Coil of the early period. "Late Night Call" and "The Crossing " are a little more static as they play around one arpeggio but they have nice sounds/vocals variations inserts. "Four Chambers" is the most cinematic of the lot and creates a nice tense ambience. "A Sudden Portal" closes the release playing around a nice melody and exotica rhythms adding cool synth analog sounds. You can check the whole release here http://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/life-ep


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