Music Reviews



SATIN JACKETS: Everywhere I Go

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 29 2011
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Artist: SATIN JACKETS
Title: Everywhere I Go
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
EVERYWHERE I GO is the newest Satin Jackets single which is out now on Mullet Records. The track is a fresh funk wave song with dance attitude, deep bass lines, swinging guitar riffs, nice synth leads melodies and the great voice of Eric Cozier, here as guest. The EP contains three versions of the main tune: "Radio edit", "Original mix" (which is eight minutes long) and the "Instrumental version". It also contains an instrumental B-side titled "Don't Stop Looking", a song based on 4/4 hard beats, house synth pads breaks and funky guitar riffs. Nice one...
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Artist: Concise feat. Flaque (@)
Title: Ingénue
Format: CD
Label: Wycombe Music (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
Another goody I received several months before and which was well hidden under my huge heap of still-not-reviewed releases ' again, I am very sorry for these awful delays. This full-length album is sort of a surprise, as I was eagerly awaiting new stuff to listen from Flaque. This modern-IDM/Electronica-project has been quite too long in hiatus after the excellent debut 'Mindscapes' (also released by Wycombe Music...), which has been one out of three parts of the last Concise box-set release 'Revive'.
Also Concise, featuring the compelling vocal performance by the Austrian female singer Katrin Segert, stands for subtle Electronica music with demanding arrangements and abstract sound designs. Both projects, Flaque and Concise, have additionally collaborated in the past, not only with the 'Revice' ' CD box-set. The mutual course started somewhere in 2006, when Concise released their 'The Power Of Love'-MCD, which included a remix of Flaque of this remarkable Frankie Goes To Hollywood classic hit song.
Now both projects have united again, but there is a strictly separation of the track listing on this new album available. Concise, meanwhile grown to 4 official band members in its formation, are starting here with the first seven tracks providing us an attractive form of Synthpop-Electronica, which picks up here and there glimpses of different influences like House, Jazz and Experimental. The Electronica elements installed here draw intentionally relations to the kind, which can be discovered with the label comrade High Wycombe. That shouldn't wonder you, since the High Wycombe-mastermind Christian Grass is next to Katrin Segert the founding member of Concise and responsible for the Electronica components. Christian's sounds are as expected very mechanical, cold-sounding, but crystal-clear mixed and tasteful installed, so it is quite enjoyable to listen him creating and placing one or another yet unheard sound idea.
Katrin's warm-sounding vocals are of course out of any doubts or discussions; she offers the 'human' factor and provides the optimal contrast in the sound environment of Concise. Best track, because the most accessible, is 'Voyager', which follows a clear song structure and catchy elements to remain into the ear-channel of their audience already after the first listen.
Flaque invades the scenario starting track 8, 'Reflections', and the influence of Florian Ziller is recognizable from the very tone. Flaque's talent fits pretty much to those high prolific artists of the Tympanik Audio label, who are capable to produce compare IDM/Ambient/Electronica-music, such as Geomatic, Candle Nine, or the Swiss Stendeck. Opulent and moody synth-layers, experimental rhythms and subtle environmental/field recordings thrown into the mix are the trademarks of Florian's music. The layered programming of Florian then turns out to be the leading element of the 7 minutes clocking masterpiece 'Reflections', which turns out to be the purest audio entertainment. Florian continues to add his skilful arrangements on the following tracks, maybe a bit lesser accessible than on 'Reflections', but still intensely enough to amaze and satisfy the listener.
If it sounded initially like a contrast, to let these talented musicians unite their shills, works out to be a matured, quality Electronica album. I don't know, if it's allowed to ask for, but: when will they unite again to produce the follow-up album to 'Ingénue'?

DAYBEHAVIOR: Silent Dawn

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 19 2011
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Artist: DAYBEHAVIOR (@)
Title: Silent Dawn
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
SILENT DAWN is the newest Daybehavior digital single which works as an appetizer to their third album titled "Follow that car!", which will be released soon. The single contains the excellent original version of "Silent dawn", a mid tempo synthpop song with a bit of melancholy and seductive elements where powerful synth pads coupled to epic leads melodies create a great background for Paulinda's vocals. The first mix is by Parallox and they turned the song into an upbeat dancey synth tune with house intuitions. Paramaterial on their version enhanced the dramatic atmospheres thanks to strings and piano, then they added nice 4/4 drum beats and bass arpeggios. People Theatre mix sounds retro and catchy with bass arpeggios, piano arrangements, synth strings and upbeat tempos. It's the fourth time I listen to this release in a row and I'm not tired of it yet. A sure hit!

!distain: on|off

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 10 2011
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Artist: !distain (@)
Title: on|off
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Another plunge with hyper-technological brand new fiber-coated bathing suite from Echozone recording label is the one given by !distain into the 80ies synth-pop swimming pool, where they have an invigorating swim wearing some gaudy plastic life buoys and glitzy trunks. Such a dip could be relaxing for some glib attitude, but it's everything but stupid or just nostalgic. Their nimbleness in juggling with synth sounds and statuesque rhythms comes from a long experience - they recently issued an anthology embracing the period between 1992 and 2010 through which they climbed some German Alternative Charts windy peaks! - and I argue they have a considerable retinue not only for their "nostalgic" hooks but also for the topicality of the themes they afford or ironically quote in the songs. The title itself, On|Off, refers to the irreconcilability of opposites as there's a pipe detaching those two different states, neither an hyphen or a stroke, almost suggesting we're not imbued in some Eastern culture where yin and yang appear complimentary. Here it's different: there's light or dark, love or hate, peace or war, left or right,life or death, true or false, on or off. No space for fading tones, even if sometimes they look like mixed together when the barriers between virtual and real (maybe some primes could bee more fitted!) as suggested by lyrics of Why (Bootlicking Hypocrites) - a song speaking about some female careerism saying "You smile in my face/but I can see through it/you tell me you care/but I know it's not true/you think you're so smart/but I see you act up" is not just a modern paranoia... - or Values Of Trust - where the approach sounds more socio|pathological - ! Songs like Monokultur (notwithstanding stereophony!) or even a seemingly innocent love song such as Together (my favorite song with Mein Weg, the "dialogic" What do you want from me? featuring Tess Fries on vocals and Second Coming - linger on it as it's not just blind anti-christianity -) constantly reflect such a dichotomy through the usage of a simple musical language which is going to leave some trace on listeners. Nice album.

Northern Kind: Euphonic / Dreams

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 08 2011
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Artist: Northern Kind (@)
Title: Euphonic / Dreams
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Distributor: iTunes
Rated: *****
Guess I've never been that fast to write a review lately, phhh. But for this time, it is 'only' a 2-track release, which I received thankfully as a numbered promotional disc directly from the band. The day before yesterday, 6th of June, British Synthpop-duo NORTHERN KIND has released its new single 'Euphonic / Dreams', which will be available on iTunes and shortly after on Spotify for downloading. Two new and official tracks from this brilliant duo since their fine worked-out album 'Wired:', which has been released in April 2009. Matt Culpin's (programming) and Sarah Heeley's (vocals) new tunes are following generally the known path, with which they could reach a high scale of attention of international Synthpop listeners. Matt's magical skills in synthesizer and sequencer programming follow the biggest icons in this genre, someone like Vince Clarke (Erasure, Yazoo) could be his instructor. Also Sarah's abilities behind the micro with her compelling vocal performances are a perfect addition to Matt's efforts and offer the right warmth and depth to the relative mechanical Synthpop-music. 'Euphonic' is a highly danceable and optimistic produced Electropop-track, which offers interesting variations of the drum pattern programming. 'Dreams' isn't at all filling stuff, slows a bit down the tempo and mood, but has similar catchy song structures like 'Euphonic'. Both tracks are highly recommendable works and excellent appetizers to the hopefully soon to be released third album of this talented duo. Previews of both tracks can be checked at their Soundcloud website. A must-download 2-tracker, get it!


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