Music Reviews

The Men Who Knew Too Much: The Oppenheim E​.​P. (Vol 1)

 Posted by Evangelos   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Apr 24 2012
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Artist: The Men Who Knew Too Much
Title: The Oppenheim E​.​P. (Vol 1)
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Diamondback Recordings (@)
Distributor: Diamondback Recordings Bandcamp
Rated: *****
"The Oppenheim E.P. (Vol.1)" is the debut release by Norwegian duo The Men Who Knew Too Much. It kicks off with "The Crossing", an ethereal electro instrumental, charming and menacing at the same time (and this controversy is what makes it special and very enjoyable!). Title track ("Oppenheim"), on the other hand, slows down the tempo and delivers some tough beats combined with dark, mysterious pads and an almost eccentric (but really fit) rap towards the end of the track. Ace! Release is concluded by the instrumental version of this funk "monster", an obvious (and welcomed) addition.
Strongly recommended EP, by a cooler than cool label: Diamondback Recordings. Available now at every fine digital store (but, as always, you should grab your copy via DBR's Bandcamp, to fully support my friend DBK who works sooo hard to bring us THA FUNK!)

Object: Mechanisms of Faith

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Apr 18 2012
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Artist: Object (@)
Title: Mechanisms of Faith
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Electro Aggression Records / COP International (@)
Distributor: COP International / DDT
Rated: *****
Fourth official album of this German one-man project now released by Electro Aggression Records, so this label continues the fruitful cooperation with COP International after the spectacular 'Old School Electrology' quadruple-box-set-'beast'. Both, label and artist, have already collaborated with the release of the last Object-album 'The Ethane Asylum', which has been out in 2008 under the wings of the Denver-based Vendetta-Records label. This new album release leads the listener once again into the mysterious world of a quality Dark Electronica music-experience. The teachers of Andreas Malik come easily and quick to mind while spinning this nice looking DCD album over and over again: Mentallo & The Fixer, 'Too Dark Park'-like Puppy and affiliates have had their impact on Andreas. This won't surprise his experienced listeners as they could never-ever imagine, that Andreas would fall into a conflict to change anything drastically. This very special, layered form of Dark Electro music has always been Andreas' kind to express him artistically, any change would rather confuse. So you'll get the expected doze of a monumental produced Dark Electro album, on which Andreas' tricky synthesizer-programming skills receive the full amount of attention.
Where to start and where to end this review? That was a constant question with me, when it comes to name highlights out of this album. It is just too simple to name the opener 'Mescaline Crisis' as being the ultimate tune available here, as this one adds successfully vocals and lyrics of Martin Sane of Fix8:Sed8 - so yes, of course, this tune is awesome with its diverse rhythm programs. I personally have found preferences in the beautiful arranged title track as being one of the tunes in an ongoing row, on which Andreas could integrate the most successful his opulent, melodic synthesizer arrangements, treated with a constant produced kick-and-snare work and his mostly fx-manipulated vocals. By picking out further pearls of this generally epic sounding album, I tend to name 'Soul Seeking (feat. Sascha Lemon of LPF12)' and the 'Album Version' of his compilation-appearance for the German Electro Arc label ("Electro Arc Compilation Vol 2"), 'Empires in Peril', as being tracks worth to include on this highlight-list. To integrate a bit variation, Andreas has also decided to add some instrumental tunes, which can be discovered with nearly every fourth track. While 'Dream Collector' isn't to me a savior, I fall on my knees and praise the Lord for 'Distant Memories" and 'Density of Fear', as these both are masterpieces and give a lesson to any Electronic musician who is trying to produce thrilling, futuristic sounding instrumental tunes. More than 76 minutes of brilliant produced Electro/Industrial-music in this special Puppy-an style finally find an end after 15 tracks, but you still get the impression, that you have forgotten some valuable content hidden in between the tracks. Good to know and to hear, that this album offers enough treasures worth to discover also after the 20th + spinning. Which of the latter productions you can serious remember offers such a quality?
But this positive madness doesn't stop after this first CD - the second one has to be praised too. Under the working title 'Old School Conspiracy' it initially looks, that you'll get your usual remix contribution bonus-CD. The main content holds remixes, right, but the featured names are promising something special. Someone out there who can remember Robotiko Rejekto, a German cult-EBM-duo releasing on Technodrome/Zyx Records in the late 80s? They are back again, reanimated and vital with a hard stomping remix on 'Blood Patch', a track which has been originally released on Andreas' second album 'The Reflecting Skin'. Also the duo of Controlled Fusion returns with a remix on the second part of 'Blood Patch'. As for further remixes, which are taken from the original new album, you'll get a breathtaking remix on the instrumental tune 'Density of Fear' by the French genius Brain Leisure. 'Mescaline Crisis', the cooperation with Martin Sane (Fix8:Sed8), gets some revamped versions by Sleepwalk (fantastic layered and tastefully arranged - who has given the Ruch-brothers a Vitamin C-pill after the departure of O. Spring?), Germany's Second Disease and the US-newcomer C. Lewis, a.k.a. Red + Test (when comes out an official album, gentlemen?). Additional works can be discovered by amGod, One Eye Wanders, Jihad ('Morphine Desire'), as well as Pyrolline and Abscess, who have buried out another goody out of the Object archives, 'Existence on Trial', originally released of the predecessor 'The Ethane Asylum'.
And - reward, reward - you'll get two additional bonus demo tracks with 'Static Motion' and 'End of Line'. A quite fair, better said, good quality content and an ideal second CD to dive deep into the musical dimension of Object
While I highly recommend you, to purchase this awesome looking DCD set with its tasteful icy landscape well packaged in a digi-pack, I generally need to bring to your attention, to consume this album with enough free time. The richly included details and fx-gimmicks hidden in Andreas' arrangements are part of this album production well worth to discover - to listen to this album in a rush will offer you only a glimpse, but not the complete content. So take your time and explore this epic and monumental Dark Electro release.
Apr 18 2012
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Artist: Inure (@)
Title: This is the Life
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Industrial Music
Rated: *****
A new release of this talented US Industrial-music project, which is meant to present us an appetizer to an upcoming full-length album. After nearly 6 years without any new audio sign of life, the release of 'This Is The Life' also points out the step from Alfa Matrix to Metropolis Records. There are also changes in the band-formation, Adam Moore is the last 'survivor' of the original line-up, plus he could add Adam Vex (Imperative Reaction) for some guitar action. Imperative Reaction is the headword; also Ted Phelps is involved as being the producer for Inure. Especially the musically abandonment of Sam P (Ex-Pulse Legion) may stands the most for a musically different course compared to the last album 'Subversive', although this teaser EP doesn't offer too much details to finally rate on the new Inure-sound. 'This is The Life' is a straight produced track in a typical US-like Industrial-music environment, which suits well to perform some dancefloor-action with a solid kick and snare-work, pounding synth-bass lines and an angry, while not fx-processed vocal performance of Mr. Moore. What you can expect on this 7-track EP is the normal doze of remix contributions asides the original track. Vogel, Aesthetic Perfection, White Qube, and ' how surprising - Imperative Reaction have put their fingers onto the knobs of their equipment to produce alternative versions of the title track. The result is satisfying for A. P. and I. R., while they cannot match with the original. 16 Volt have remixed 'Le Petit Mort' with a nice Breakbeat-like rhythm construction, quite interesting to listen to after the ongoing straightness of the title track and its remixes. Also the Spanish project Terrolokaust has received a slot through a remix of the track 'This Death' ' here you'll find a bit more of the Coldwave-like guitar inserts. All in all a consumable EP, while I'm sure that the coming album will give a more detailed introduction into the new musically direction of Inure.

Lysergene: Critical Mass

 Posted by eskaton   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Apr 10 2012
Artist: Lysergene
Title: Critical Mass
Format: CD
Label: Aesthetic Death (@)
Rated: *****
Lysergene is the project of Gordon Bicknell, who is the guitarist for Esoteric. Aesthetic Death's website was not coming up and I only had a press sheet for Sector 37 in the same package, so the only thing I had to go on was his myspace page. He describes the album a consisting of 'electronic darkwave/EBM and heavy guitar drones with ethereal undertones.' With influences including Skinny Puppy, Download, Throbbing Gristle, Velvet Acid Christ, Mother Destruction, Nine inch nails, Gary Numan, etc., this makes sense. The music is pretty much what you would expect with the aforementioned, although with a nod to Mother Destruction/Sixth Comm, I expected a bit more experimental vibe (we get this later on in the disc, though). There are some tracks that break out of the EBM mold though, like 'The Groke,' which is a noisy atmosphere of crushing oppression. This is not noise in the Merzbow sense, but just noisy. I wondered if this was a nod to 'The Choke' by Skinny Puppy, but if it is, it is so deconstructed as to be unrecognizable as such. This trend continues through the end of the album. Overall this was pretty decent stuff, although some of the EBM started to get a bit repetitive. Perhaps part of this is because the songs are generally pretty long, with about half of them over 9 minutes. This album weighs in at around 74 minutes.
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Artist: ESMA (Eugenio Squarcia) (@)
Title: the Lost Atoms
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: La cantina appena sotto la vita (@)
Distributor: BandCamp website
Rated: *****
ESMA is Eugenio Squarcia, a young Italian musician of less than thirty years, who lives and works in the city of Ferrara. Despite his young age he has behind him a vast work of sonic production. More than 20 self-produced disks which many are digitally availables into his bandcamp's website online store.

This last work by ESMA, titled "the Lost Atoms", however is also the first of his records to have a physical form, as it is printed and distributed by a new Italian independent label with a real strange name: "la cantina appena sotto la vita" (in english: "the winery just below the waist"). A new label that looks carefully at various kind of borderline productions. The same label, for example, has produced the debut work of another interesting Italian group, the "Margaret Lee", who despite being far away from the electronic sounds with his record the "Ballad of Beelzebub" is just outside the schematism of many rockbands, not only italians.

This album follows, after only a month, another equally interesting work by ESMA. A mini concept album called "The Archive - Soundscape from the exhibition" that is also the soundtrack composed for an installation whit artworks of the visual artist Marie Josee Cornello. The previous work of ESMA, which I highly recommend, is a good example of best synthetic atmospheres for a dark ambient of minimal electronic, that certainly would not mind at Brian Eno's fans. Among them there is surely also our ESMA because, as he says, Eno is one of its main figures of inspiration and education into the way to a personal search for a new electronic sound.

If the previous album is the dark and concise side of ESMA, this work "the lost atoms" is perhaps its most practical, conceptual and cultured component. 13 tracks with a frequent presence of abstract piano melodies who appears, sometimes, really suffered. That in some places they also underline a poignant and growing to emphasize a crescendo for a construction of an ambient tissue, rhythmic and poetic. Many songs, as we see clearly that the presentation of his work gives us ESMA, which suggest a conceptual influence arising from the literary works of William Butler Yeats. Some tracks like "No place for love and dream at all" or "the Shell" are filled with a rarefied and esoteric mystical influence that becomes the instrument of a simple sound, a sound born dark and deep but able to assume a new form of sonic beauty for his death and rebirth. So you would expect to see sprout the down from behind the "obscured clouds". clouds obscured by the darkness of night, a new dawn full of gold. A Dawn of gold rises, from behind the clouds obscured by the darkness of the night.

Into one of best tracks of this work, the mellow "Xibalba", also the title become a prelude for an explicit reference to the poetic vision of an ajar door on the afterlife underworld. The same vision narrated by the myths of the Popol Vuh. In other passages, such as the beautiful "White Road" or "Approaching the pneumatic void" we find instead musical glitch sounds and new forms of sonic minimalism able to regain possession of the noise and the sound. The young son ESMA, in most passages of his electronic songs like these, we instinctively returns the weight of an idea. Perhaps the same idea that our founding fathers, as John Cage or Steve Reich, had around the breathing sound of music.

The ESMA's music is, for this reason, electronic music for the mind, which borders on research and experimentation that most cultured. But it is also the music of sound more alive within us all, that vibrates to the rhythm of the heart and breathing. A music to listen on headphones, at high volume, while it's raining outside.
A music to let us listen, rapt, the last void spaces of this time in which we live. A time walking, with us and beside us, "obscured by clouds" above a weeping piano

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