Music Reviews



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Artist: Industriegebeit (@)
Title: Wer Schoen Sein Will Muss Sterben
Format: CD
Label: Koerperschall Records/Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Almost in conjuction with the issue of last Ellipse's album I've recently smuggled in Chain DLK's server, this second rise under Industriegebiet moniker by the mind behind Korperschall Records corroborates my good opinion on Massimo's hyperkinetic creativity. Its stomping steps, the asphyxiating pumping in the groove of distorted drum machines' snarls, synth trumpets, sinister industrial noises, phat beats and other stylistical elements could lead to an easy association of other notorious acts of industrial dance such as Combichrist, Eisenfunk or Nachtmahr, but Industriegebeit's sound often hitches other sonic wagons such as hard techno, breakbeat and goa without disdaining the addition of funky breaks and psychedelic digressions insomuch as projects such as Eat Static (maybe because of braking noise and toytronic sounds in Erniedrigung recalled tracks like "Crash & Burn") and many other "ravenmeister" of that scene. Moreover he joins to the interesting musical flow which tries to vehiculate social exposure, current affairs related to the devastating bequests of the dying beast of capitalism and most morbid misapplication of liberalism by the humorous usage of samples. The title itself, "Wer schoen sein will muss sterben" (whoever wants to be beautiful has to die), might refer to the distinctive feature of some contemporary culture systems, where every aesthetic and even ethical say-so must go through a burial ceremony. This album is rich of sonic firebombs for dancehalls, being my favorite ones "Traum, der nie zu Ende geht", "Gott hat Urlab", "Herzblut" (it really seems Massimo made a sonic and rhythmical translation of recordings taken from interventricular or coronary arteries of a giant!) and "Auf den Tisch hauen". It's possible some devotional Kraftwerk fans - I refer to that kind of fan who thinks a musical track could be sacred that cannot be transfigured - can turn up their nose at that cover of Die Roboter, but its presence doesn't jar with the rest of the album.
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Artist: Ellipse (@)
Title: Verlorene Zeit
Format: CD
Label: Koerperschall Records/Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
In spite of such a title - "Verlorene Zeit" means "wasted time" and refers to the concept this release revolves around -, lending an ear (or two) to Maximilian Wall aka Massimo's third album with his moniker Ellipse is not a waste of time. Maybe his ideas will not appear so bright or groundbreaking to experienced listeners, but I'm pretty sure some stylistical hooks and a certain indie aftertaste are going to please many young listeners, who are approaching to different genres and looking for both entartaining dynamics and lyrics of significance, so that it seems that Massimo blazes an eliptic trail around EBM, darkwave and techno in order to seed it with good guitar phrasing, various instrumental parts (there are many tracks with catching "orchestral" melodic hooks) and well-chosen female back vocals (Serathina on the mic), which succeeds in polishing the peculiar brutality of this kind of musical stuff without appearing too convoluted. Any insert isn't obstructive so that any song goes straight to the ears and body of the listener, which will be enchanted by the balance Ellipse's sound manages to hold between technology and a vague sense of classical beauty combined with a strong hook to the surrounding reality (maybe overcrowded by other kind of hooks, which steals our precious time, which could be devoted to the research of this balance, as songs like Fakeland, an occasion for Massimo to introduce a new voice of the scene, the one by Pete, whose project Pain Lavel should be launched soon, seems to suggest). I enjoyed tracks where he let pulse a dark-folk vein more ("Grenzwert", "Zeitmaschine", "Herzwalzer"), but there are many highlights such as "Wir schaun uns dumm", "Ich weiss nicht mehr wer ich bin", "Bleib bei mir" (the one entirely sung by Serathina) or "Geldsucht" which are ready to inspire wild dances and climb dedicated charts.

Impurfekt: Savior

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (6948)
Mar 25 2012
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Artist: Impurfekt (@)
Title: Savior
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Impurfekt is the dark electronic music project of Aaron Russell, from somewhere in the U.S. (Seattle, or thereabouts, I think). Some of Impurfekt's influences are Velvet Acid Christ, In Strict Confidence, Massive Attack, Enigma, FSOL, Michael Kamen and Akira Yamaoka. Some of those influences can be heard in the music to a degree, but is always the way an artist chooses to incorporate these influences into the music that gives it a unique identity, for better or worse. We all hope for the better, but sometimes it doesn't always work out that way.

I see that Impurfekt has had several other releases going back to 2008 prior to this one, but I haven't heard them, so all I can conclude is that Russell isn't a 'newbie'. On 'Savior' Impurfekt presents a dichotomy of dystopian electro-industrial and moody trip-hopped ethereal dream pop. There is much more of the former than the latter, which is really too bad as this project's strength seems to lie in the opposite direction. This is due to a great extent to the dreamy vocals of Karra Russell (sister, I believe) and that Aaron gets everything right on the songs that feature her. But more on that later.

Aaron's strengths in Impurfekt lie in his use of quasi-classical elements (strings, orchestration), ambient elements and synthwork while his weaknesses are his vocals the lack of punch, power and inventivness in the percussion and drums, and sophmoric song lyrics. I'm impressed with Impurfekt's richness of sound and use of dark, brooding ambiences though. From the opening piano chord of 'Ashes' I had high hopes and the foreboding dark ambience that followed seemed to promise something truly chilling. The rapidly sawing basso ostinato strings promised even more'¦then the drums came in. Sounded like a drum machine'¦too bad. Aaaron's vocals are of the hoarsely whispered variety, common enough in electro-industrial music. Even VAC's Bryan Erikson doesn't have the greatest set of pipes, but somehow through processing power (and sheer malevolence) he manages to make it work. Aaron does use electronic processing on his voice but it still lacks the power needed to sell the song. Part of the problem is that his melodic ambitions seem to fall short of his vocal capabilities. This is evident on tracks such as 'The Brave One' and 'Stillborn' both laments which should be emotionally wrenching but just come across as rather wimpy. Vocally, he's much better on 'God Is The Devil' where the only lyrics are 'God is the devil'¦your god is evil'. This track is very much in the VAC vein in the synth department, although the percussive track lacks power. Maybe some of it is due to the mix, but I don't think Russell puts as much oomph into the rhythm programming as he does to the instrumental programming and orchestration. One case where the vocal processing is just too much is on 'Cyborg' where the vocoder is set to and not stun and nothing can be distinguished lyrically through the effect. To me that seems to take away from anything the song was trying to say.

Let's move on to the tracks I really liked. 'Shadow' is an excellent moody downtempo ballad with a nice repeating guitar (sound) line, a moving bassline and spacey string ambience. It's Karra's vocal that makes this track work wonderfully though. She appears again on 'The Day The Earth Stood Still,' another downtempo track with angelic synth voices, piano, lazy ambience and excellent orchestration. Karra's wispy voice drifts through the clouds of the music like an angel. This is what I wanted to hear more of.

As I see it, Aaron has a choice with Impurfekt; figure out a way to improve his vocals and pump up the rhythm if he wants to stay in the electro-industrial milieu, or scotch that side of the project in favor of going the downtempo route with Karra. I see from the website that Impurfekt has an instrumental EP out called 'In Loving Memory' which I previewed a little of, finding it quite different from 'Savior'. It's somewhat minimal but rather interesting. Reminds me of Eno's 'Music For Films' series. On the website Aaron hints at his involvement in a new project fronted by Karra, and this could be something to definitely look forward to. As for Impurfekt's 'Savior', it is definitely imperfect, but worth a listen (you can check it out on Impurfekt's website) for Aaron's instrumental abilities and Karra's voice. Aaron's artwork for the 'Savior' CD is rather nice too, with an appropriately bleak post apocalyptic cityscape.

Lakobeil: Strange Encounter

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (6939)
Mar 19 2012
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Artist: Lakobeil (@)
Title: Strange Encounter
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Self-titled introduction, which portrays this strange character ("juggling with a carving knife/while on his bald head a tiny penguin slept/from his grinning mouth/he spewed out a great black spider/like a scream right into my face"...according to some b-side psychologists who try to interpret dream, a penguin represents disorientation, contradictions or ambiguity, while spiders are normally associated with paranoia, illusions or boring relations but I don't want to take a stab at this kind of "science" for fortune tellers...!) the author met in his dream, could be a little bit misleading for the grim aspect evoked by Andi Sexgang (a legendary voice of the primordial Batcave scene with his Sex Gang Children) of such an encounter, but I can ensure listeners that Lakobeil are not the umpteenth dogsitters of Cerberus, even though I cannot say their lyrics are totally lacking hints about religious stuff (maybe the most self-evident of the album, whose "sacrality" sounds highlighted by a church organ, alternated with electropunk outcrops, is "Sebastiane", supposedly referring to Saint Sebastian's martyrdom. After the above-mentioned intro, Lakobeil, who are not newcomers at all - besides being member of In My Rosary (as well as part of the darkwave band Griffin's Fall, a collaboration between IMR and Martin von Arndt), Dirk Lakomy has been producer of Derriere Le Miroir, while Tobias Birkenbeil is the main head behind German EBM band D.N.S. and has a remarkable experience as composer of movie scores -, exhibit a good paraphernalia of sonic cartridges, whose spinal cord is supplied with synth-pop and electronic new-wave blood, which sometimes containes traces of clashing dance ("Amygdala"), EBM's square waves and regular patterns ("0815" - a song who sounds like a self-ironic act of intellectual honesty -, "Contemplation" and many other ones), punkey syncopations ("Push it to the MAX"), instant electro-pop glues (such as "Sleeper" and "That's All" - my favorite song - with backing vocals by Stella B.). Lakobeil are aware they've not issued something revolutionary, but I'm pretty sure they know their sound is somewhat winsome.

[de:ad:cibel]: Self-fulfilling Prophecy

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (6916)
Mar 10 2012
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Artist: [de:ad:cibel] (@)
Title: Self-fulfilling Prophecy
Format: CD EP
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
In spite of the decision of self-made promotion - people who knows music market dynamics knows quite well such a decision could be risky for the loss of press coverage, normally easier when bands or musicians commit themselves to the appreciated experience of many promotional agencies or departments inside better organized labels -, this EP by [de:ad:cibel] manages to gain some visibility due to the seducing combination of harder industrial danceand electronic body music mechanics lubricated with meaningful lyrics and sonic slices drawn by other stylistical torrents in flood or dragged out from their creek beds (I'm pretty sure their sound is going to be appreciated by many techno, neourofunk or grime followers beyond lovers of DAF, Hocico or Gridlok's styles), so that the relevant number of supports Daniel Galda's project managed to magnetize after the issue of Klondike on Echozone are going to be delighted by Self-fulfilling Prophecy (...and maybe many listeners will recognize themselves in the restless mutation into a drum and bass machine, which appears to be a sort of self-fulfilling damnation and philosophy as well!). I particularly appreciated the original version for its immediate catch on joints due to its quick drying cement on bass-driven stepping, but the release includes some good remixes, which tendentially highlights some aspects of the original song, being my favorite one N'Angst remix for the vocal treatment made on Galda's singing (supposedly a sort of reprise of those "million voices" mentioned in the lyrics) and Notstandskomitee's Bassmachine Mix, fiddling with overcompress distorted bass convulsions and schizoid electronic buzzes. "Self-fulfilling Prophecy" is already climbing some dedicated charts. We known it deserves these ascents.


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