Music Reviews



Sys2matik Ovrl0ad: s/t

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 03 2011
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Artist: Sys2matik Ovrl0ad (@)
Title: s/t
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Toil Records (@)
Distributor: iTunes
Rated: *****
Philly-based band Sys2matik Ovrl0ad is an Industrial, EBM, Electronic project started by singer and songwriter Michael Sky with John Ruszin, formerly of Carfax Abbey, heading up all the production on their self-titled debut album. Truth be told, I was never much a fan of Carfax Abbey; maybe it was the singer, maybe they sounded too much like Stabbing Westward to me, but I'm not holding that against Ruszin; he left the band in 2005 I believe. Anyway Sys2matik Ovrl0ad is something completely different- an electro-industrial EBM band with the emphasis on EBM.

A quote from their website states: "Many DJ's in the Industrial clubs have noted the music as being a new fresh sound". Well guys, I wouldn't exactly say that'¦are DJs nowadays too young to remember Leæther Strip, Wumpscut, X-Marks the Pedwalk, et al? Maybe it just seems fresh because old school EBM has morphed into something less basic over time. What Sys2matik Ovrl0ad is doing on this album is going 'back to the roots' with some of the most old school EBM I have heard in quite a long while. Eh, well, when done properly, that's not a bad thing. I'm happy to report that Sys2matik Ovrl0ad does it properly.

This is not harsh EBM (no screaming, scratchy, raspy vocals), and Michael Sky's voice is well-suited to the material, with just the right aura of menace. It also happens to be very well produced in my estimation. Almost every song has a killer beat and there is plenty of power behind the songs. (Whatever you do, don't watch those horrible live YouTube videos of the band shot at the Copacabana'¦the sound is atrocious and the camera work sucks too.) Most of the songs are catchy with plenty of hooks for a first outing, and the synth programming is on-target. In fact, just about any track on this album should fit comfortably in any dark dancefloor set.

The only problem is that it sounds very derivative. Then again, it's hard not to when you're doing old school EBM. There really isn't a track on the album that didn't remind me of something I've heard before. Thankfully there aren't really any dialogue/spoken word samples, a cliché of so many electro-industrial bands these days. Standout tracks in my estimation are 'Acid Rain,' 'Just Begun,' 'Lies,' and '722,' the last being slightly atypical and anthemic but could very well be the best track on the album.

For a debut album this is a pretty good one. Mr. Sky and company are taking the show on the road (at least in the Philadelphia/New York area) and that should make some noise because you can't get build much of fan base without touring. [Note to band: If you book a gig The Haunt in Ithaca, NY, I'd get off my lazy ass and come out and see ya.] Sys2matik Ovrl0ad would probably be a big hit at Wave-Gotik Treffen, but it's a long road to the Euro market, and I suppose they'll have to make a splash here first before they can jump in that pool.

THOMAS BARRANDON: Escape From Earth

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 02 2011
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Artist: THOMAS BARRANDON
Title: Escape From Earth
Format: CD
Label: Sauroid (@)
Rated: *****
True to the new French electro sound that has into its basket names like College (and generally all the Valerie Collective bands), Kavinsky and many more and that mixes the 70s electronic sound with 80s electro, Thomas Barrandon is a newcomer proudly presented to audience by Sauroid. Influenced by John Carpenter, Angelo Badalamenti, Goblin, Fabio Frizzi, Klaus Doldinger, Giorgio Moroder, Wendy Carlos, Justice and Daft Punk, Thomas wrote thirteen instrumental tracks that Sauroid is making available on digital download and on limited CD-r. ESCAPE FROM EARTH sounds like a sort of soundtrack to an imaginary sci-fi 80s movie: stop and go, warm pads, arpeggios, catchy melodies and hard drum beats are Thomas' weapons and he uses them to seduce the audience. Atmospheric mid tempos are alternated to fast electro rides with that distinctive synth distorted sound (check "The Last Race Between You And Me") and lead you through a breathtaking run to ESCAPE FROM EARTH...

R21 Vs. GROW: Broken Machines

 Posted by Evangelos   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 21 2011
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Artist: R21 Vs. GROW
Title: Broken Machines
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: CHP Recordings
Rated: *****
Released last June on Adam Wilson's (aka GROW) CHP Recordings, this 5-tracker brings together 2 extremely talented electro producers: Adam, who's also responsible for last year's critically acclaimed album "Calculating Immortality" (CHP 003), last January's tremendous single "We Are The Anunnaki" (CHP 005) and a series of dope remixes for various electro labels, and Dave Mott (aka R21 or DjR21), the "man-machine", an electronic producer who needs no introduction, having already under his belt a couple of nu electro classics ("Atomic Breakdown" on Devine Disorder Records and "Minimum" on Binalog Productions), a bunch of great singles and EPs on Swishcotheque, DDR and BP, contributions on compilations by Crobot Muzik and Shameless Toady, as well numerous remarkable remixes and dj megamixes.
"Broken Machines" is written, produced and mastered by Dave, while Adam wrote and sang the lyrics. It is a melancholic electro tune, driven by a typical R21 Kraftwerk-ish beat and built around an obsessive bassline and wonderful chords and pads. Adam's vocals fit perfectly in the mood of the track, taking Dave's music one step further. The result is a charming, captivating track of unique beauty which is flirting both with new wave and electro-pop, in any case a nice surprise by both the 2 artists who usually deliver strong electrofunk tunes. Could be a succesful Depeche Mode single (i just can't resist to imagine Gahan in Wilson's place-sorry Adam!lol)
Original version seems to me unsurpassed, though there's also a couple of interesting alternatives (the "vocoder mix" and the "commanGROW mix", the first one true to its title lets the vocoder do the job, while the latter is characterized by strong beats and "computer malfunction" effects). I could live without the club oriented, 4/4 "tech noir electrik mix", while the addition of the instrumental version is an obvious and welcomed choice.
Overall "Broken Machines" is a little gem, definitely in my list of 2011's top tunes! It is available at iTunes, Amazon, Napster, Juno and many other digital outlets, but i suggest you support CHP and buy via their Bandcamp (http://growchp.bandcamp.com/album/broken-machines)

Mike Ash/Fleck ESC: London Tokyo Connection EP

 Posted by Evangelos   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 18 2011
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Artist: Mike Ash/Fleck ESC
Title: London Tokyo Connection EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Devine Disorder Records
Rated: *****
It's hard to be objective when you have to review a release by one of your favourite artists who also happens to be a good friend. Let alone a case like this one, ie a split EP by two of the most talented electro producers of our time, frequent collaborators of the signer and really great guys, UK's Mike Ash and France's (or should i write Japan, as he's based in Tokyo) Franck Collin (aka Fleck E.S.C.)! But i'll try to let aside the echoes of Mike's killer EPs on Binalog Productions, Mars Frequency and his own (short-lived) ElectroCat Records, those of Franck's incredible albums on Ghost Technology and BP, as well my relationship with the fellaz, and write like an impartial reviewer... (ok, you are not convinced, but i can't do nothing more to change that-lol). Oh, dare i say too that Devine Disorder is one of the freshest labels around and that i looove their releases?(!)
Anyway, what we have here is a 4-tracker based on the clever idea of "we're both doing a track each and then remixing each other's track". So, Mike delivers "Mindstate Liberate", a strong obsessive dark electro/acid tune, driven by dope beats and focused on distorted vocals that repeat: "Mindstate/liberate/activate/evacuate/concentrate/eliminate/activate/assassinate", while Franck unleashes his genuine electronics to come up with the minimal vocoded electro "Symptoms Shaping", yet another eccentric Fleck track in which what happens in the background is simply... indescribable! On his remix of "Mindstate Liberate", Franck slows down the tempo and builds an imposing track over a Kraftwerk-ish beat, while Mike transforms "Symptoms Shaping" into a dancefloor monster, destined to rock hard every mutant club over the galaxy!
I can't choose... Really! This is a KILLER EP by two electro masters and it's stuck on my ipod since i received the promo! A must-have, it will be available at your favourite digital stores by Wednesday, September 28, so keep an eye on it ;) (previews here: http://soundcloud.com/devinedisorderrecords/ddr030-mike-ash-fleck-esc)

Electric Breathing: Sounds Of Psychosis

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 17 2011
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Artist: Electric Breathing (@)
Title: Sounds Of Psychosis
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Twisted Flesh Recordings (@)
Distributor: Amazon
Rated: *****
Another new coming German harsh EBM-project signed the Swedish Twisted Flesh Recordings label, Electric Breathing give a further addition out of the Hellectro army-camp to our attention. Consisting of Maik Grohs (Defcon-one) as being the one and only mastermind behind this project, I can attest him, that he is capable enough to satisfy all of your inner needs, if you look for a fast-paced, harsh and uncompromising sound-design for your next body-party. 'Sounds of Psychosis', already the 4th release after some own released demos of this project, is an action-driven 11-track digital-album in the typical and expected kind, but which leaves too seldom space to take a deep breath. Hard-hitting tracks like 'Killer Instinct' don't leave any wishes open for dancefloor-addicts, also the idea, to provide some drastic German lyrics in 'Zerfall' comes out pleasant. But generally this album lacks a bit of more maturity. Some tracks really appear to be rather inhibited, than being produced in a clear manner and it becomes a bit strenuous to listening this fast-paced Harsh-EBM onslaught at the full length. Maybe more tracks like 'Possession', which features more distinctive synth sweeps, would help out of this misery. With that in mind, it needs to be said, that all things around the production of this 11-track album are filled with professionalism. Fredrik Croona (Project Rotten, label-owner of Twisted Flesh Recording) acts as producer, while the notorious guys of the German Stahlblack Production are responsible for the mastering. Pixelbreed provides a stunning cover artwork, and this band project doesn't play hide and seek in their studio and storms from to time the stages. Good and useful stuff to let out inner aggressions, while still with enough space for musically development. Please note: this isn't a free download, it needs to be purchased by official downloading resources (Amazon, iTunes, and alike'¦).

In recent news we have to inform you, that Twisted Flesh Recordings as being the partner label for Electric Breathing, has seemingly closed its doors. The website is down, and this label acts in the future as being the home base for Project Rotten only.


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