Music Reviews



MARTIN PHILIP: Recumbent

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 26 2011
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Artist: MARTIN PHILIP (@)
Title: Recumbent
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Released recently, RECUMBENT is the newest album by Martin Philip and it brings to the attention of synthpop lovers, ten new tracks where you can find the distinctive Martin's smooth vocals (which recalls me of Pet Shop Boys as the last time), nice pop melodies/atmospheres, mid tempo rhythms and clever lyrics where he put his heart on his hands facing the audience. The main difference from "Fraudulent" is that he decided to sweep the dust from his Gretsch Electromatic electric guitar and to use it on these recordings. Composed during the last cold winter, the album finds Martin giving his vision of modern world taking inspiration from things like the lack of freedom (surveillance cameras are everywhere and "My dear illicit" is about that), girls living into a squalid student bedsit ("The opposite girl"), the responsibility of possession ("Carry no cargo") or about the vast contrast between how the world was as he grew up in the 70's compared to what it is today (the opening " Recumbent but never content"). Compared to the previous album I found RECUMBENT more reflective. Maybe, as Martin reported on his website, the fact to find homeless people under his apartment stairway trying to find a shelter, made him think about a lot of things and this album is the result of all this.

CHROMAGAIN: Any Colour We Liked

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 26 2011
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Artist: CHROMAGAIN
Title: Any Colour We Liked
Format: CD
Label: Anna Logue Records / Mannequin (@)
Distributor: Mannequin
Rated: *****
Chromagain formed at the end of 1982, just before one of the most successful independent concert held in Turin during the early 80s. The concert was "Rock contro il nucleare" and it has been held at the Architecture Faculty's courtyard for two days and it gathered many of the independent city bands: Franti, Blind Alley and I think also Monuments, among others. Chromagain's early line-up included Sivio Ferrero (keyboards and drum machine), Luca Pastore (bass, guitar, keyboards) and Riccardo Acuto (vocals). Acuto left after recording some demo tracks and after him, Dana (singer who later formed the Synthetic Sun), joined with Maurizio Gallero (keyboards). Dana left and formed, with Sivio Ferrero, Casino Des Images, a project that is still active. Davide Bassino (vocals) joined and with that line-up they recorded "Ethnicbox", a track for a vinyl compilation titled "Tracce" released by Shirak Records in 1984. The year after, they recorded for Supporti Fonografici their only MLP titled "Any colour you like". That release had five tracks which showed a multifaceted band, capable of playing new wave tunes with a dance attitude like the opening "Satisfied" and "Spot" (also Monuments opted for the choice of being influenced by dance music for their MLP "Age"), atmospheric synth ballads (like "Killing dome"), melancholic dark mid tempos influenced by the Joy Division of "Decades" and pure new wave synth pop songs like the closing "Season of steel". Recorded at the Monuments' studio TKS, "Any colour you like" gathered recognition around the Italian country but Chromagain decided to stop their experience just like many bands did during the mid eighties: disco music was the hype back then and maybe Supporti Fonografici (which was a label linked to the records shop of the same name) wasn't strong enough to face the change. Chromagain during the last twenty five years have been remembered here in Turin and I think that many people while growing up, recalled themselves dancing to the melodies of "Spot". Anyway, after all these years, thanks to Anna Logue Records and to Mannequin, you have the opportunity to have a close look to Chromagain's music thanks to the five tracks of their MLP plus nine other tracks (on the vinyl they are only three) coming from compilations and early demos (many with Riccardo Acuto on vocals). I'd like to point out the quality that their demo recordings already had: they were a bit rough but they showed a great taste into the creation of the atmospheres and into the sound mix. I'd like also to tell you that Chromagain weren't only music, they also had a visual side thanks to Luca Pastore, who was already active with his Lego Video studio. He worked at a video and made the artistic cover of the MLP, for example. He already started to work on other bands' videos back then (you can check on YouTube his videos for Blind Alley and Deafear) and he continued to do so producing many Subsonica videos (a really well known band here in Italy). Music wise he played bass guitar with Fluxus (they were a noise rock band with four albums on their back) and nowadays you can check his audio/visual project Sulle Uova on YouTube and his new band Maciunas. Also Silvio Ferrero played with different bands such as Loschi Dezi and later Munciausen Generescion and he also opened a recording studio called Bunker Studio.

Pixel Hero: s/t

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 22 2011
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Artist: Pixel Hero
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Sturm (@)
Rated: *****
Latvia's PIXEL HERO isn't a graphic-designer, but an Electro/Industrial-music producing one-man-project founded by Wormboy. Signed to the Sturm label group and community, I was quite curious, how this album would sound. Let's say, that PIXEL HERO is strictly dedicated to all forms of Electronica music based in the early 80ies, at times where Atari computer have been in use to create some raw noises and play some early video-games. Some titles out of the track list are proving this dedication, like 'Alien Caverns', 'Asteroid Deathmatch', or 'Nebular Car Dump' for example. Be it early EBM, Minimal, or at least rhythmically Powernoise music, I was also astonished, how raw some of these tracks are coming out: 'Orbital Bombing', as being the opener., spits out all of that pseudo-aggression, which can be found quite often in the roster of this fine Latvian label-collective. The more exceptional tunes can be named with those, which leave a bit the monotonous minimal path, 'Squad '99' is such an example, which offers some nice hooks and cool Hi-Q percussion inserts. If you have found some satisfaction with projects like SYSTEM (Progess Productions), NEON COIL (Klangdynamik), or the last MIND.IN.A.BOX-recordings, then you should be informed, that PIXEL HERO is the more drastically outfit in a relative comparable kind music/sound programming. So let's hope, that this story doesn't end abruptly after the twelfth track aptly entitled 'End Boss / Death of The Pixel Hero'...

MINERVE: Please

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 16 2011
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Artist: MINERVE
Title: Please
Format: CD
Label: Echozone
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
The first time I reviewed Minerve was with the release of their debut album "Breathing Avenue", issued by Pandailectric in 2004 and I already put in evidence the qualities of what back then were a duo formed by Daniel Wollatz and Mathias Thurk. Now six years have passed and they are a four members band which have recently released their fourth album PLEASE on Echozone. The new album brings to the lovers of electropop twelve new tracks that span from upbeat ballads (like "Life is an illusion", "Read im my memories", "Please"), melancholic ones (the following "You don't know me" or "Save me"), dancey synthpop tunes with e.b.m. influences ("Hold me tight", "Every day", "Don't ask me why", "Phoenix", "Forbidden love" or "Under my skin") and a bit of new wave ("Down to the ground". Influenced by Depeche Mode, And One, Mesh, Minerve with PLEASE released a solid album full of catchy melodies and good vibes.

SOLILA: Three Thirds

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 13 2011
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Artist: SOLILA
Title: Three Thirds
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
Electronic music producer from Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, Valeriy Monov has been the former member of DJ/producer duo project Tonika Provocation, alongside Michael Belikhin (aka Michael Khimick). Valeriy has been signed to Mullet Records with his Solila monicker and he didn't lost time and prepared this THREE THIRDS EP. Opening with "Debauche", Solila is showing to the listeners their intentions to make them sweat on the funkadelic dance floor thanks to this instrumental electronic dance tune. Also the second track "The space bar" doesn't make no prisoners and decides to kill everyone thanks to 4/4 hard beats, funky bass lines and catchy synth brass solos. "Till the light comes" is a declaration of intents and thanks to bouncing guitar riffs, synth leads solos, piano chords and syncopated drum rhythms is a blend of 70s/80s dance music elements. Try it if you ain't afraid to lose too much fat while dancing...


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