Music Reviews



LASSE MARHAUG: Carnival of Souls

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 10 2005
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Artist: LASSE MARHAUG
Title: Carnival of Souls
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Thisco
Rated: *****
"Carnival of Souls" is a 20-minute track culled from the soundtrack done for Tom Lohberg's short film "The Letter". I have no clue about the nature of that work, but the rather ghastly stills used by Marhaug in the layout, and the title he's chosen for the ep ("Carnival of Souls" being, if I'm not wrong, a cult ghost movie), suggest something creepy. The piece begins with almost total silence, then a bass-heavy drone starts to billow, until it eventually - around the 9th minute - bursts into the harsh noise Marhaug is very well known for. The second half of the work is a somewhat more disjointed series of fragments - disquieting field recordings, fast-paced noise cut ups and all-out feedback. Still quite nice, but I definitely like the drone+noise mix of the first half better. I'd be pretty curious to see how these sounds are mixed with the movie.

CONTROL-SYSTEM: Erkenntnis

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Aug 24 2005
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Artist: CONTROL-SYSTEM
Title: Erkenntnis
Format: CD
Label: ProNoize (@)
Distributor: Broken Silence
Rated: *****

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Under the moniker CONTROL-SYSTEM we have a three men output from the German ProNoize label producing – ah, you get it – rhythmic Powernoise. With the helping hand of Jan Lehmkämper of X-FUSION/NOISUF-X, who was responsible for the mastering of this release, we’ll get here 14 pieces of noise and distortion in all good as well as bad influences. The success formula is indeed still the same in comparison to the latest releases of this label. Also on almost every track on "Erkenntnis" is this unavoidable voice sample taken out of uncountable horror/splatter featured, mixed by almost 4/4 distorted and overdriven beats plus a strange amount of diverse noise infusions available. The difference to the already discovered label comrades like the mentioned NOISUF-X or XOTOX is the fact that CONTROL-SYSTEM integrate a wider noise influence in their production and the mostly hatred Tekkno-like bass kicks are reduced. If we consider to use the word "Powernoise" to this and the mentioned releases of the ProNoize label I come to the result that CONTROL-SYSTEM is maybe the most influenced act under this term. Here is some stuff available that would rip of the abused bodies of the Powernoise fans like "Against War" with haunting rhythm works like gun shots or their also featured little underground "hit" "Apollo 666". So this debut is mostly well-done if you enjoy a feast of a globally distorted and overdriven mix. Like on almost every release on this genre I would like to advise this band to evolve in a way of more structured production as well as a development in the compositions – simply to write "real" songs....
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Artist: REMAIN SILENT (@)
Title: Dislocation
Format: CD
Label: Axesscode (@)
Rated: *****
Okay, get-hard-be-strong Electro artists, keep your fingers away from your equipment and give your attention to this new and second release by this French project, because THIS stuff will teach you a lesson. This 76 minutes long conceptual release can be easily seen as a textbook about how to produce complex and innovative soundtrack music stylistically designed for a never released Science Fiction movie. This is the impression I had by listening through this album. Also a feast for the eyes is the excellent artwork which shows diverse industrial landscapes and machine impressions. Musically this album offers a wide range of diverse styles almost based on Dark Electro structures while integrating elements taken out of Industrial, Electronica, Ambient up to Powernoise. It is an instrumental album filled with uncountable FX samples, atmospheric layers and a depressive mood. The programming abilities are a next outstanding point, I have found here some references to FLA, SKINNY PUPPY or NUMB and it is not too far away from this handicap. Think about FLA’s track "Infra Red Combat" on the first half of this track and you maybe get an idea how this release will be. 12 tracks are here, and all have the name "Dislocation", no any other name. My favorites can be found with the tracks # 2, # 4 for the Dark Electro style with a light Powernoise touch, while # 7 and # 9 feature some guitars and break beats as well in this two overall very danceable efforts. This release is created as a whole floating unit, that means, the are no empty spaces in between the tracks. Please make sure to check this band out, it is a kind of demonstration and you won’t regret it. Get this sci-fi odyssey!!!

MERZBOW: Dust of Dreams

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Aug 18 2005
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Artist: MERZBOW
Title: Dust of Dreams
Format: CD
Label: Thisco
Rated: *****
My latest encounter with Merzbow was the quite surprising and -ahem- rocking "Sha-Mo 3000" on the Brazilian label Essence Music. "Dust of Dreams" is a more predictable laptop noise+beats release, but a pretty good listen nonetheless. Packed in the usual eye-catching dadaist collage by Akita himself, the cd starts with the digital cracklings of "1339", soon turning into a typical synth throb mangled by bursts of distortion. The lengthy (37+ minutes) title track is more harsh frequencies with a rhythmic background (which must be a looped ethnic percussion) - a basic structure, but giving a nice psychedelic effect. The samples eventually fades out giving way to a piercing high-end drill, then more loops and a ping-pong distortion overlap, with an intense crescendo. The second half of the track is a more frantic Merzbeat thing, with a theory of fast paced loops. And a fat beat (a "techno" one so to speak) is also present in "0716", which is the shortest and weakest track of the three. Being no Merzbow aficionado, I'm not able to compare this to the rest of his discography, though I suspect this is not one of his quintessential works. But the title track alone, in its pompous, almost baroque approach to harsh noise, makes this surely worth a ride.

NOISUF-X: Antipode

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Aug 17 2005
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Artist: NOISUF-X (@)
Title: Antipode
Format: CD
Label: ProNoize (@)
Distributor: Broken Silence
Rated: *****

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If you read this strange band name backwards, you get it that this is a side-project by Jan of X-FUSION, a good known German Electro/Industrial project. This NOISUF-X project was created to share the more Powernoise-influenced side of the main project. And so you get here 15 noisy tracks with distorted beats, never-ending monotony and some harsh structures. The main difference to other bands out of the Powernoise genre could be the fact that all this stuff is produced by somebody who has found his home in the Electro/Industrial genre. It could surely be that real Powernoise supporters would rate this release as too danceable Electro-minded. Indeed, Jan can not forget his influences here, so this release should also be able to please the fans of harder EBM/Electro/Industrial music. The whole stuff is of course reduced to a minimal composition effort, the destroying beats rule this scenario. Adding to this some more or less well chosen voice samples ("Die Tam-Tams klopfen nicht mehr", here available in three different versions) with the outstanding work "Happy Birthday", a track with funny voice samples which can also be discovered on the Alfa Matrix quadruple compilation "Endzeit Bunkertracks Act 1". I have found also some outstanding pieces which provide several effected rhythm patterns to avoid too much monotony, for example "Apocalypse", "Das Ende der Welt" or "Axion". This release walks on the thin line between harsh EBM and Powernoise, so if you like this sound you should give this a try.


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