Music Reviews

Empire State Human: Futura

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Apr 27 2014
Artist: Empire State Human
Title: Futura
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: House Of Analogue
Rated: *****
Inspired, touching and cinematic... This is the best way to describe the new Empire State Human album "Futura". Released eight months after their previous album Soul Of The Machine, "Futura" is the newest band's effort and this time Aidan and Lar decided to take a challenge and to write an instrumental album. During their career they already wrote instrumental tracks but they composed "Futura" with a different spirit, because writing an album which could be seen as an imaginary soundtrack it's different than dropping few instrumentals here and there. The duo composed the album paying homage, as they say, to Sci-Fi soundtracks, art installation music, film scores, ambient and electronic layered bleep music, that the band has loved all their musical lives. The ten tracks of the album mix a sort liquid atmosphere to melodic moments and synth effects. We pass from the hard beats of the opening "Into Futura" to the digital ambient sampled vocals based "Wire Tired", passing from the robotic rhythms of "Drop Inside A Beat". Futura sounds like Empire State Human never sounded and, as Aidan Casserly states: "Working purely on music that was never intended to have a voice on it, really helped us throw away the perceptions of who we are as a band, to not only ourselves but also to how others see us too. Very refreshing experience. It was also a brilliant learning curve and a great journey to make so soon after the last album". While digging these tracks, prepare yourselves to the next band's album "The Dark", coming anytime soon. You can check the tracks at the label's Soundcloud page.

Huminoida: Intoxicating Spring

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Apr 27 2014
Artist: Huminoida
Title: Intoxicating Spring
Format: 10"
Label: Out Of Range Records (@)
Rated: *****
After last year's "Mystic Summer EP", Huminoida a.k.a. Kimmo Karjalainen, is releasing a new 10"+CDr for his own Out Of Range Records. The new release brings us seven tracks: "The New Springs", "Aerial Demons" and "Half Light" are great new tracks where Kimmo is offering us strong synth wave sounds with a dark twist, "Electrocute" is a version of a song that Kimmo wrote with J.Kotkanen from the Finnish electropop band NYX which will be included on their first album, "Ruptures" and "Even Shorter Springs" are two two minutes short bridges that carry us to "Aerial Demons" and "Half Light". "Intoxicating Spring", this is the title of the new EP, convinced me at the first listening because it sounds direct and powerful. The opening "The New Springs" has an epic opening on the riff which is explored further on ""Even Shorter Springs", where thanks to orchestral synth sounds, Kimmo shows its dramatic side. "Ruptures" is experimental and trembling and prepare the listener to the "doomsday synth semi-metal with delightfully bleak lyrics", as Kimmo describe it, of "Aerial Demons", a dark synth wave tune with a furious riff. "Electrocute" is a catchy song which is sounding a bit 90s e.b.m. but with the use of 80s synth sounds. "Half Light" is a tune that musically I can describe as "arioso" thanks to the synth arrangement of sounds that interact by coming and going. The CDr contains the remix of "1000 Light Years", a track coming from "Whiter Album", remixed by J.Kotkanen. He gave to it a 90s e.b.m. dance treatment but he didn't change its soul. You can check and purchase the release here

Tri-State: Light the kHAOS within

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Apr 26 2014
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Artist: Tri-State (@)
Title: Light the kHAOS within
Format: CD
Label: self-released in collaboration with Electro Aggression Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
A comeback of a German trio as well as the kick-off for Electro Aggression Records to start a spring offensive - here comes out a new, powerful and mystic device to conquer more and more the hearts and minds of the international-based EBM-/Dark Electro-audience! To make that clear: 'Light the kHAOS within' is kind of a self-released album by the band; E.A.R. collaborates and helps out with contacts, distribution, promotional efforts and such. So if Tri-State can be counted to be a real E.A.R.-signing artist lies in the eye of the beholder.
But no matter how the things have turned out internally, because what finally counts lays now in front of me in a well-designed black-colored digi-pack. I have to admit that the debut 'Synopsis' of this Eastern German project released more than 10 years before has been an episode I've never discovered. So I was quite unfamiliar with the works of this band-project as well as with their relevant data out of their biography.
They can look back on their highly praised debut released in 2000 by Pandaimonium and later licensed to the Russian Irond label. A breathtaking live performance at the 11th WGT in Leipzig brought them highly attention and their future seemed to be bright. German press has compared them in a row of prominent German idols like Placebo Effect, yelworC, Putrefy Factor 7, Kalte Farben, and/or Abscess. All promising names and of course comparisons, on which one can be proud of. But it all went down the drain because in 2002 they stopped all activities related to their musically career. Too bad, so they had to start with a slightly changing of the band formation from scratch again. As it often happens with the latest E.A.R. discoveries, also Tri-State had their slot on the old school Electro/Industrial-bible, the legendary 'Old School Electrology Vol.1' (4-CD box-set). Adding to this a promising contribution to the Sonic Seducer 'Battle of the Bands' contest in 2012 has increased the hopes for a possible comeback to take form.
But no matter how their career has taken course, because their presently provided music is a perfect soundtrack to delve into deepest, Dark-Electro-based scenarios, which will leave you highly impressed! What they call 'Symphonic Dark Electro' isn't their form to install orchestral Neo-Classic elements, but it is their vision of layered Dark Electro which often results in a comparable, bombastic manner! Of course the always influential Puppy-an factor celebrated in every second note takes a huge sponsorship to their sound outfit, also the vocals and its kind of processing could win any 'Let's-sing-like-Ogre'-contest. But it still matters a lot, if one decides simply to copy, or if one decides to rebuild structures and to install own ideas and modify the whole melange to form something with authenticity.
As this comeback has taken a long time in between, plus also the fact that the making of this album has lasted 5 years, you can be assured, that you won't get to hear the first bloody steps of a greenhorn switching on a synthesizer for the first time. 'Light the kHAOS within' is an epic, complex produced Dark Electro-masterpiece hardly to discover these days. The opener "rE-spawned" is kind of a revamped track originally released on their above mentioned debut and this one already set a quality standard. Nevertheless I have found the most promising pearls with the rather Downtempo-like, but extremely cold-melodic pieces like "ranDOM FAILures PreferRED" and/or "belle EpoQUE". These tracks are standing eye to eye with classics like "Worlock", "Testure", "Blood In Face" or "Slashed Open". A track like "geneLAW" also proves their ability to write sentimental, heart-touching lyrics (here: the horrific experience of a stillborn child).
As I am sure that almost all press colleagues have written highly praising reviews before, I too come to the conclusion, that this thrilling arranged Dark-Electro-album is a true masterpiece from the first to the last note. It is for sure another proof for E.A.R. to sign with the best horses of up-to-date artists based in this special music style. Get this awesome piece of Electro music as this is a must-have item!

VV.AA.: Theme Of Electro Empire

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Apr 23 2014
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Theme Of Electro Empire
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Electro Empire
Rated: *****
From Matthias Weise a.k.a. one of the Dominance Electricity crew and Sbassship I received the news of the creation of a new label called Electro Empire. If you love electro music in all its exceptions, probably you already know the forum and you already know all the story. For all the other people, well, it was the year 2003 and the forum made a contest where producers were asked to send their own theme concerning Electro Empire. Out of 37 entries from all over the planet, four winning productions were picked by a team of judges to be released on vinyl on the German label Electrecord. The original winners were Gab.Gato from Italy (The Villains Inc., Dominance Electricity), Finland's Laite (X0X Records) and Split DJ from Spain (Microciudad Recordings, Beathazard) and from Denmark DJ Wildthing . Now, eleven years after, it was time to reissue those tracks to launch the new label and for the occasion the guys decided to put four bonus tracks: Finnish duo Polytron (Kostamus Records), England's Paul Blackford (Militant Science, Twilight 76), The Metric Brothers aka Dr. Skunkenstein and Neil Stevens from the UK plus DJ D.S.K. out of China (Second To None, Electrolab Records) and once again DJ Wildthing with the second part of "Lesson Electro Empire". The first three entries presents three tracks of finest modern electro music with 80s influences, hard beats and spacey atmospheres, DJ Wildthing goes to the roots and with the two parts of "Lesson Electro Empire" presents a great mix of early 80s electro hip hop with scratches, vocal samples, synth stabs and vocoder filtered vocals. Polytron, instead, is here with a dark electro punching tune with catchy melodies and vocoder filtered vocals. Paul Blackford presents a quite minimal track with upbeat tempo, obsessive bass lines and little synth inserts. Last but not least, we have The Metric Brothers with "Flight To Electro Empire", a cool instrumental track that at the beginning recalls me Egyptian Lover just to continue with syncopated rhythms, spacey inserts, epic synth pads and a final with scratches and early rap atmospheres. Really nice release that you can check and purchase here

Nahtaivel: Pon Farr

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Apr 15 2014
Artist: Nahtaivel (@)
Title: Pon Farr
Format: CD
Label: Wave Records (@)
Rated: *****
Scary dude from Brazil Fernando Vicente basically IS Nahtaivel, and 'Pon Farr' appears to be Nahtaivel's fourth album, the earliest going back to 2002. It's a dark electro-industrial kind of thing, not far removed from the likes of Suicide Commando, Combichrist, Diverje, etc., but possibly with a little more diversity. Speaking of Diverje, Tommy T Rapisardi guests on vocals for the opening track, 'Hate', and also bonus track 'Murder in My Eyes' which is more of less a remix of 'Hate'. Rapisardi is also responsible for the lyrics on these. If you're a Diverje fan you have a good idea what you're in for. 'Pon Farr' is has its fair share of dark dancefloor stompers, well done with squinky and muscular sequenced synths, four-on-the-floor beats, and processed to the hilt vocals, often employing vocoder. Some of the things I really like about this album include the spooky theremin synth sound used on 'The Invention of Lying' and 'Be Productive'; the extra added percussive sounds in 'The Wildflower/The Fly'; the atypical and somewhat progressive 'The Short Story of Asami ' The Gravure Idol'; and the even more atypical instrumental 'Christie's Dream' with anthemic synth horns. You'll also find the obligatory movie dialogue samples interspersed throughout, but mercifully they are not overused and fit the music. The physical CD also contains 3 bonus tracks ' two remixes of 'The Invention of Lying', one Old School, and the other Club Mix with guest spoken vocals by Apostle Niwt of Pecadores. I don't think this song needed two remixes, but'¦whatever. Over all, it's a pretty good effort with interesting interplay in the synth sounds/programming. Nahtaivel has a new album coming out in May ('Epicus Doomicus Electronicus') which promises to be very different from this release, available on digital only, due to budgetary constraints. I'd pick up the physical 'Pon Farr' CD if I were you; the last of a dying breed, and also you get the extra tracks.

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