Music Reviews

May 26 2011
image not
Title: La Via Del Latte
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible
Rated: *****
Issued for the first time in 1982 by Trumpett, LA VIA DEL LATTE was the first Doxa Sinistra tape and it will be the latest Trumpett reissue by Enfant Terrible. The Dutch label already released on vinyl 'Conveyer Belt', the second Doxa Sinistra tape and now you have the opportunity to check eighteen out of twenty one tracks of their first great release (the intro, the outro and "Maurizio's minestrone" are missing into this 300 copies run reissue). Mixing minimal melodic synth lines, guitar riffs, sparse drum machine beats and analog noises with an experimental/industrial attitude, the band succeeded into creating a personal landscape made of short instrumentals (the longest track is three minutes long) characterized by alienated atmospheres where the vocals are filtered and duet with percussive noises and bleeping monophonic keyboards. Alternating fast and tense tracks (check "Ruhrgebiet" or "Kuomintang`s Space Blues") to experimental atmospheric ones (like "Via Del Latte 2" or "Via Del Latte 4"), Doxa Sinistra sounding sinister like a nuclear alarm siren. Spreading their sonic pollution all around your place, the Dutch band will convince you that it's better to sleep with one eye opened...

Sonik Foundry: Parish of Redemption

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (6444)
May 23 2011
Artist: Sonik Foundry (@)
Title: Parish of Redemption
Format: CD
Label: Nilaihah Records (@)
Distributor: Nilaihah Records
Rated: *****
Formerly NJ now Maine based EBM band Sonik Foundry (not to be confused with Sonic Foundry, the media software company; remember Sound Forge and ACID?) came about in 2008, and 'Parish of Redemption' is their second full album release after 'Mechanized' in 2009. 'Parish of Redemption'? Sounds like a gospel album, eh? '¦NOT! No 'Hallelujahs,' 'Amens' or 'Amazing Grace' on this. What you get is fairly standard but solid EBM; competent dark dance music. The band is led by Nikademus, the male half of the band Bow Ever Down. His synth, rhythm and programming cohorts are Malic Acid and Tim Mizerak. Nik's (can I call you Nik? We're all buds in this dark music world to some degree, eh?) vocals are of the intelligible variety, as opposed to the harsh, distorted-to-death kind which is a plus in my book. They're melodic enough but with an edge of menace, so it doesn't spill into the synth-pop/future-pop realm. Somewhere I saw a reviewer saying Nik had a flat-sounding voice. I disagree. Actually, if you took Ozzie Osborn's pipes and mixed it with say, Gary Numan, it wouldn't be far off from what you get here. On the other hand, it's not a terribly powerful voice. Stronger vocals seem to be coming from Malic's occasional shouted/screamed vocal interjections on some tracks. It's an effective and useful contrast though.

As for the music, it is quite serviceable, though not particularly innovative, with above average synth programming. It's hard to be innovative in a genre with the stricture of parameters that EBM has, considering how long it's been around and how many bands have mined the field. You need a fair amount of doom & gloom lyrics, a strong 4-on-the-floor beat, apocalyptic sounding sequenced synth electronics, and heavy bass. As for sticking to this tried 'n true formula, Sonik Foundry do that very well. I can't pick a standout track on 'Parish of Redemption' because there is a great degree of homogeny running throughout most of the album. There ain't no huge hits, and there ain't no dreadful misses, and there wasn't anything that I didn't particularly care for. There is only one track that could be considered balladesque, and that's 'Destiny' where things are slowed down a bit. Reminds me of The Birthday Massacre (sans guitars and Chibi's femme vocals) melodically and in the synth arrangements. This is possibly the nicest change-up on the album. I bet if it was remixed in a duet with Chibi, it would perk up a few ears. If I had to come up with a direct comparison for the band as a whole on this album, I'd say it was the more aggressive aspects of a band like Assemblage 23, and the more thoughtful aspects of a band like Combichrist. (Now there's an analogy for you!)

Two big plusses for this band: No guitars and they do live shows. In fact, they've supported bands on tour such as Ego Likeness, Interface, Uberbyte, Terrorfakt, Unter Null, and of course, Bow Ever Down, and it looks like they'll be touring this summer in the East and Midwest. If you get a chance you should go see them. The album is worth checking out too, especially if you've had a lack of decent new EBM in your life.

Flint Glass, Polarlicht 4.1, Transistor: Zoran's equation

 Posted by Borys Catelani   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (6432)
May 17 2011
Artist: Flint Glass, Polarlicht 4.1, Transistor
Title: Zoran's equation
Format: CD
Label: Funkwelten (@)
Rated: *****
Three monickers for two artists, french Gwenn Tremorin and german Ronny Jaschinski, teaming up together for this rather interesting project. The more two artists are different the more harmonization is difficult, the risk of an oil and water (un)mix grows bigger, but this is not the case. Tremorin and Jaschinski have managed to bring in their own influences and sound, mixing them together, preserving their own identity and giving birth to something new and most definitely interesting. The first has a more industrial/ambient/noise background, you can hear him in the deep drones and noises, in the whole gloomy mood, Ah Cama Sotz! or even Haus Arafna fans might be delighted. On the other rhythmic side there's a pretty much rarefied kind of IDM patterns and sounds. The mix works perfectly along the common path of inspiration by french science fiction writer Renè Barjavel's novel "Le nuits de temps". Remarkable are also the paintings used for the graphic artwork provided by Denis Khokhrin ( Mission executed.

DYM: The swarm

 Posted by Borys Catelani   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (6431)
May 17 2011
Artist: DYM
Title: The swarm
Format: CD
Label: Noitekk (@)
Rated: *****
Death to Your Modern hail from Toronto, Canada. This is their second release on Noitekk after 'Invilid' in 2008. It can be considered as an EP since it consists of only 6 tracks, but due to 10 remixes added the final length is ok for a double vinyl Lp. The cover is not the best piece of art around, probably all the efforts have been put into music and powerful production, a surely remarkable aspect of this release. DYM definitely try to make their sound a bit different from the average harsh EBM acts, mixing the usual harsh vocals and synth arpeggios with electro-industrial sounds, more 'symphonic' darkened parts and breakcore influences. 'For Catherine' is an instrumental track showing this will of 'experimentation'. 'Right to fail' is a dancefloor breaker hit that perfectly fulfill its aim. 'Swarm' has a very nice old EBM bass line. Despite those attempts it's not a record that will be remembered for its originality, a slight step forward for sure but also a loss of energy when trying to be different. The whole remixes first album follows, since I have not listened to the original I cannot say what's better and what's not, though I enjoyed the driving 'Touch' remix by C-Lekktor

Past the Mark: Hakhel Tribulation

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (6428)
May 16 2011
Artist: Past the Mark (@)
Title: Hakhel Tribulation
Format: CD
Label: Nu-Jazz (@)
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
Many who frequent this site undoubtedly know the name Marc Urselli, so it is an honor to get to review his new CD. Just before Marc was leaving for a trip abroad that he let me know he had a 'surprise' in the packet of CDs he was sending me for review. Having no idea what that was, I hoped it might be tickets to cover Wave Gotik Treffen, but'¦no such luck. So obviously this CD is the surprise, and it is indeed surprising.

First, a little background may be in order. Marc Urselli is a three-time Grammy Award winning engineer, producer, mixer, composer and sound designer, and co-founder of Chain D. L. K.. If you go to his website ( you will find a resume that includes work with a boatload of big-name artists, among them- John Zorn, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Sting, Joss Stone, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards'¦need I go on?

I know less about Bologna, Italy based guitarist and co-creator Vincenzo Pastano, but I understand he's a highly rated in-demand guitarist in Italy, currently playing with Italian pop star Luca Carboni, as well as his own band, Pulp Dogs, among other projects. So, Marc is in New York, Vince is in Italy, how's that gonna work out? Well, it took seven years to write enough material for this collaborative instrumental album, while they were busy with their own projects. Not only that, but they were never actually in the same studio together; this album was created via transferring files over the Internet, but you'd never know it to hear it.

My impression is that Vince supplied the guitar and Marc did most everything else, but there is a LOT of guitar on the album, so Pastano's contribution is a major driving force in the music. Now here's the caveat ' 'Hakhel Tribulation' is not Goth, Industrial, Synth Pop, Ambient, or Experimental. Calling it Electronica would be a stretch, although there are elements of electronica, break-beat and world music. Nu-Jazz Jazz Rock would be a better description, but since Chain D. L. K. doesn't have a category for that, it's going to end up in the Electronica category, for lack of a better place to put it.

As for the performance, the playing and production is top-notch. Considering the talent involved, how could it be anything other? Metaphorically, the album could be described as a cruise down the jazz-rock highway in a convertible, with side excursions of veering off into the musical hinterlands in an ATV. 'Hakhel Tribulation' is a pastiche of so many genres and influences that it's really hard to pin down. Stylistically, Pastano's guitar work is like a multiple personality disorder- at any given time shades of Allan Holdsworth, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, Kitaro, Larry Carlton, Jeff Beck, Pat Metheny, Duane Eddy, Al Di Meola, Steve Vai, and numerous others emerge. Urselli's rhythm programming and backing tracks provide a superb sonic environment for Pastano's energetic and varied guitar style.

High points are the opening track, 'Oz on the Moon,' with its driving frenetic rhythm, and Holdsworth-meets-Kitaro guitar over a lengthy answering machine message I still haven't deciphered. Also- 'Tablasity,' where Marc makes good use of his tabla samples over a strong backbeat and spookier synth sounds and violin among other things, while Vince breaks out the Western twang guitar, which morphs into something much jazzier. (Who did the bass on this track? It's really good.) 'Big Red City Apple Souls' is another fave with some great guitar work (again in the vein of Holdsworth, with some other Beck, Vai, and I don't know what all else) and Urselli's rhythm on this one is slick too. It has a gritty down-'n-dirty urban vibe. This is one cool track. Love it! 'Tortellini Blues' is another burner with absolutely wild guitar and electronics, then shifts mood into something much softer before it heads back into the hinterlands. I'd love to hear a live version of this one. There is a lot going on here, an awful lot, ranging from absolute chaos to beautiful orchestration. Amazing!

Yet, there were a few things that didn't thrill me- one track -'Raggedy Beet Salad' with a reggae breakdown and southern-fried guitar licks I didn't care for at all. Other tracks had elements I felt did not serve the composition well - the heavy disco-beat throughout much of 'South Drowning Boot,' yet with stellar guitar work; the Pink Floyd space-sonics and voice samples on 'Dawn Moon Glow' invading a tender guitar lullaby. I suppose these are minor quibbles compared to the majority of the content.

If there is one thing Past the Mark might be guilty of, it's too much stylistic variety, although some may view this as a big plus. But if the goal was really to present a wide stylistic variety, I would have liked to have heard a real industrial stomper, and a super jazz-fusion number, replete with some unusual timing changes. I know Pastano and Urselli are capable of that, but here they've chosen to not to get too far afield of the mainstream. Whether this will ultimately work for or against them remains to be seen. In the right market with proper promotion this album ought to do pretty well.

Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha