Music Reviews



CULTURAL AMNESIA: This Is Not Your Shape

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (6856)
Feb 14 2012
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Artist: CULTURAL AMNESIA (@)
Title: This Is Not Your Shape
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Bleak
Rated: *****
I wrote about Cultural Amnesia a couple of years ago when Klang Galerie released the expanded version of "Enormous Savages". On that release we have been able to check some of their newest songs composed on the years 2000s. Now, thanks to the Bleak netlabel, we have the chance to have their new album available for free at different audio qualities, even as a CD image! You read it right! A full quality album for free! "This Is Not Your Shape" gathers songs recorded during the 2004-2009 period and since the first listening, you'll realize that they might have updated their sound but their approach to sound is still the same. They treat sounds and vocals like pieces of an imaginary collage where melodies and and experimental approach to musical production mix naturally. On tracks like "The Product Chunk Funk", "Gary's Problem" or "Product Chunk" you can also feel a sort of "sane insanity" which, don't ask me why, reminds me of Monty Python. Maybe it is because of the way of using the voice which sometimes sounds irreverent or maybe because of the how they look for original ways of treating rhythms or sounds. Check, for example, "Seasong (For Geoff Rushton)", a song composed in memory of their friend commonly known as John Balance: they mix synth distorted sounds, reverb guitar (which sometimes reminds me of some solutions used by Fripp), syncopated rhythms and dreamy like vocals (you can say that they were truly remembering him while singing). The album is closed by "Waiting From The End", a post apocalyptic tune with recitative vocals and that "Fripp" guitar again. Into the package you'll find also "Verbose Logging", a designed PDF booklet containing a selection of lyrics of songs recorded 1998-2009. This is a must download! Welcome back Cultural Amnesia!

VV.AA.: Zero State Media Upload 2011

 Posted by Borys Catelani   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (6833)
Feb 07 2012
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Zero State Media Upload 2011
Format: CD
Label: Zero State Media (@)
Rated: *****
I find not easy reviewing compilation, and usually it's because of compilations, not me. I think that compilations, unless vehiculating a specific project or background able to give a sense of unity to a bunch of different bands put together, become something not organic and easily boring, and you start skipping tracks one by one. Ok, that's might be not that bad, compilation are useful to get to know music, different projects, etc., but fact is that you skip tracks. And the only way to review the record would be writing down a pletora of single microreviews... boring. Zero State actually tries to give the whole compilation some organicity. "Zero State is a new futurist movement exploring the impact of accelerating technological growth on society [...]", "We want a new, healthy society - a new future - which embraces the compassionate use of technology [...]", "It is our ultimate goal to create a society in which involuntary suffering has been Abolished by the considered, compassionate application of technology [...]". As a background, I find it pretentious, metaphysical as well as naively optimistic, I have a completely different view about "technology", it doesn't put me in the best mood, and from mere titles and names I can't get the evidence of real criteria in putting all this music together, but I can always skip tracks. Actually I did it many times. As you would expect you find the good and the bad in this kind of compilations, so it's here. There's some interesting stuff, the highlights would be Prompter (up-tempo future pop, entertaining), Kommand + Kontrol (catchy modern ebm), Temp0rary (IDM related) and the nice electro-beats of Amon Zero and LXPK, then we have several variations on the "electronic music" theme, and some of the rest sometimes is even hardly definable electronic, a bit heterogeneous to keep the level of attention high. I would finally highlight Xykogen, probably the most original music on the compilation, worth checking out.
Feb 04 2012
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Danza Meccanica Italian Synth Wave VOL 2 1981​-​1987
Format: 12"
Label: Mannequin (@)
Rated: *****
Here we are after a couple of years to talk about a new compilation of the DANZA MECCANICA series with ten "new" tracks coming from the treasure box of 80s Italian synth wave. Mannequin dug hard to find the casket which contained bands that hardly had a vinyl release on their back. The album opens with Suicide Dada, a band coming from Pinerolo, 40Km from my city Torino. They officially released only a side of the double vinyl compilation released with VM #5 but they recorded a couple of demos. The version of "Acque" you can find here is coming from the first demo and if you love deep vocals, simmons pads, bouncy bass lines and atmospheric pads, this is for you. Madaski, their singer, put on his soundcloud page another Suicide Dada track titled "Not Satisfied", if you want to check out that one here's the link http://soundcloud.com/madaski-1. Der Blaue Reiter with "Through Glasses" are next with a track that sounds like Joy Division in love with synths. The bass line is typical of the new wave sound of those years and the dry drum machine sounds help painting a cold scenario. They later became State Of Art and they are back nowadays with a new album. I don't really know who Son Of Science were but "Way Of Life" is a nice upbeat tempo with male/female vocals, analog synth lines. The same goes for Waveform. I don't really know them and their "Creep" is a fast analog synth wave, almost punk song with female vocals, obsessive synth bass lines and essential melodies. Ruins were an artsy duo who a couple of years ago reissued some of their tracks on Minimal Wave. Here you can find "New Record", a track originally included into their 1983 tape "Side Roads" but here the version is a bit longer. They mixed funk, jazz, dance and wave in an experimental way. Side B opens with a different version of one of the most famous Jeunesse D'Ivoire tracks, "A Gift Of Tears". This "Silent Version" is a quasi instrumental version of that great wave gem where they changed a bit some melodic lines, removed the sax part and used Patrizia's vocals to underline some parts here and there and to sung the refrain. LASS Crime were active in mid/late 80s and they self released three tapes and they had another one titled "Electa" out on Energeia. "I'll Merry Go Round" is coming from their 1987 demo "Inanitas" and it's a nice electro/goth tune. Musumeci were an obscure combo coming from Torino. I knew them in the mid 80s and they gave me their demo containing six tracks. "Harry Batasuna" is an instrumental track which recalls me D.A.F. and Cabaret Voltaire and opened the B side of the demo. Years later I tried to contact Mauro Missaglia, the guy who played synths, but with no success, so they kinda slipped into oblivion. Deca with "First Frequency" is here with one of the few tracks he sung. As far as I know this is an unreleased track and it's a nice one which, influenced by Depeche Mode, mix synthpop with new wave. If you love Frozen Autumn, for sure you'll love this one. European Stage is another band I don't know at all. Their "Subterranean Wait" mix experimental cosmic sounds to synth coldness. You can check all the tracks here http://goo.gl/xg8RX. The release will be available from the next week on vinyl and digital download.
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Artist: Absent One (@)
Title: Places
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Ionium Records (@)
Rated: *****
Second full-length album release of this Russian duo, which is actually a collaboration between the Russian Shadowplay Records and the German AF-Music label. Still remembering the good produced debut 'Blowback' (which is additionally available as a re-release via the AF / Ionium Records collaboration label) 'Places' sees some developments and a rather unexpected evolution in the sound of Absent One. First off, it does quite good to listen to a band concentrating to focus their skills on the content of their compositions. This album isn't meant to get consumed to enjoy a straight pattern-after-pattern row supported by a harsh Techno kick-drum performance ' here are real songs with an overview and important meaning behind. A quite critical view on a social- problem regarding the use of drugs combined with unemployment and hopelessness in young years. This album may reflects a doze of some auto-biographical content of these both Russian protagonists, but who knows? What disturbs is the fact, that this real-life content gets presented quite lame with the tendency to bore after a while. Now we'll get a good idea without any Cyber-Christ-Goth-bullshit, but the music construction itself comes out that toothless like my grandma ' it misses toughness, plus I remember to have heard a higher technically state-of-art already presented on the debut. The vocalist sings in that kind, how you would have expected it from a Russian, not completely accent-free and more classic-influenced, but luckily without any distortion regarding vocal-processing. This band needs definitely to work to reach more maturity, although by spreading salt on some open socio-wounds as being the main theme, they are on the right way.


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Artist: Thirteenth Exile (@)
Title: Into Nothing
Format: CD
Label: Prototyp/Memento Materia (@)
Distributor: Industrial Music
Rated: *****
Another Swedish Industrial-Metal band-project, from which I thought, it has been gone for good after only one release. The well recognized debut release 'Assorted Chaos and Broken Machinery' has seen the light of a release 6 years before, but in our rushing lifetime days filled with the consumption of thousands of other releases, one gets nearly forgotten. So H. Svegsjö, the one and only responsible protagonist behind Thirteenth Exile, starts nearly from scratch. Signed again under Prototyp, the sub-label of the legendary Memeto Materia-label, he presents us a raw, harsh pounding assault, which integrates deepest Dark Electronica with assaulting metal-guitar riffs, united through a powerful kick-and-snare rhythm-work. 'Into Nothing' is no stuff for the faint-hearted people, it is a drastic and ominous outfit, which offers a bombastic attitude. Not at all comparable to that childish Hellectro-bawling, this is real dramatic and angst-driven music filled with at times brutal lyrics. The good point is: it sounds authentic. This whole pain-driven sound-scenario gets additionally supported by the overall black cover artwork with that scythe in front of the cloudy horizon. If it needs to search for comparisons, I'd take harder :Wumpscut:, (check out 'A Perfect World'!!!) Little Sap Dungeon and Portishead ('Wandering Star' is a cover to tribute the idols'...) to throw them into the soup-tureen. The thick and frightening atmosphere of this album needs to be pointed out as being the most impressive ability - several tracks are slowing down the speed ('My Legacy', 'Into Nothing') and offer so much more than a wild dancefloor-action. Congratulations to all responsible participants to release one of the most intense produced albums of the last half year. Let's keep the fingers crossed, that we don't need to wait another 5 + years until Mr. Svegsjö decides again to start a comeback.



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