Music Reviews

One For Jude: Bonheur Dynamique

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 22 2009
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Artist: One For Jude (@)
Title: Bonheur Dynamique
Format: CD
Some colleagues of the music press experienced some troubles in attempts of labelling the Parisian band One for Jude's style, maybe �cause it's not so important the percentage of dream- folk, cold wave, French pop, indie rock, electronic or psychedelic scraped together in their musical formula: it's a matter that record owners are going to successfully afford indeed! What counts is the fact that the band made up of Billy Amzal (voice, guitar and producer), Yonathan Ebguy (voice and guitar) and Benoit Sellam (bass and keyboards) manages to interpret in a sufficiently convincing way the lyrics they use to play. After 5 release, 2 LPs, some concerts (they also shared live stages with renowned musicians such as Clan Of Xymox, Yann Tiersen and In My Rosary) as well as some spotted presences in different compilations (the most remarkable among them is maybe the one tribute to Sol Invictus by the neo-folk label connected to the nu folk fan-zine Cynnfeird), One for Jude celebrates their 10th birthday with a new album, Bonheur Dynamique, showing a more mature approach to the composition and melody building as well as some slices of interesting psychotic narrations on the presumable dynamics of happiness. Piano fillings, chiming electronics, lightly distorted guitars and moaning atmospheres cross over the nine tracks of this album.

They alternate French and (French-stressed) English in their wordy hood trying to sneak in listener's good graces with fanciful melodies and smokeproof rocky postludes and we have to remark that even the foolishly ill-treated voice of the singer (sometimes rushing, sometimes growling, sometimes snatching looks like a Gardenale-treatment's young boy, moaning for having dramatically awaken by a work-team of noisy bricklayers invading his quiet space!!!) could have a sense if you analyze the sometimes hermetic lyrics (the reverie of the nice character depicted by the song The Rational Dreamer?!?!?), often diverting towards bizarre intimate cameos (what an astonishing assertion standing behind phrases and quotes such as the one you could hear at the end of the title-track: "En peintre du destin il dessine à l'exil des courbes de les reves"!!!) and pert attitude (exhibited in some songs such as Une fois '“ "Allow me to insist/I could have killed or loved/Or forgotten all the world/For a penny of that love" '“ or John Is Dead '“ "Hey you, won't you be my lil cocoon/And my dreams and my dearest moon?"). And well, they show great compositional skills '“ nicely refined tracks such as Bonheur Des Hommes, the lovely A Toi Qui Passes (you'll easily produce reveries while listening to the "ritournelle" featuring a crystalline guitar arpeggio... ) or the crafty Reine Du Passe '“ here and there and that's enough to justify their decennial existence. Snappishly snaky and exquisitely doomy!

Dupont: New Dawn

 Posted by Andre Wiegand   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 20 2009
Artist: Dupont
Title: New Dawn
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Progress Productions
Distributor: Nova Media GmbH
Rated: *****
This Swedish duo (originally starting as a trio in 1999) has already made sure people in the electro scene talk about them. Though starting as an Old-School EBM act the band developed its sound gradually into the more danceable and contemporary sounding direction. The years of musical activity, i.e. the experience in making music is visible/audible on "New Dawn". This EP/single is a follow up to a recently released full-length album "Entering The Ice Age". It features a two remixes by Oscar Holter and Titan.
"New Dawn" is a very club compatible number: may remind of The Eternal Afflict. A real dancefloor-filler whith a catchy melody, good clean male vocals, some suspense and a reasonable load of energy. Those into Funker Vogt and Hocico are likely to find it too cheesy. I hope the line "Waking in a rest room" is not of an autobiographical nature. However the song is not about the ills of drugs or alcohol consumption but a new start, as the title implies. It is a healthy idea to start things a new, especially if ones current life is not satisfactory. It takes courage and initiative, but usually it pays off or enriches one’s experience at least. Perhaps "New Dawn" could become a soundtrack for some people who feel a need to start a new.

Mesh: Only Better

 Posted by Andre Wiegand   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 16 2009
Artist: Mesh
Title: Only Better
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dependent
Distributor: AL!VE
Rated: *****
Three years passed since We Collide", the last album by Mesh was released. It’s the time for the duo to be back with a new output. "Only Better" is a single from the forthcoming album to be released this month (Oct. 2009). Just like the new long player, the single revolves around topics like relationships that have already passed its best days and have no real emotional basis anymore and are being lead further for the wrong reasons such as angst of being alone, uncertain future, a habit. Some listeners older than 11 may be familiar with the themes outlined.
Melodically electronic and very touching is how we know and like Mesh; this is still there. In his lyrics the author really exposes himself and reaches the listener with that very personal attitude. On "Only Better" the beats are very danceable, same as in the past, while the text is not "danceable" at all. This combination results in a seemingly grotesque effect.
Except for the title song there is another song from the new album featured on the single : "Shattered Glass" and three remixes for "Only Better" (Club mix, Alien 6 mix und one by KLOQ that seems to be more intense that the original version).
Mark is still one of the best singers of this genre. Very emotional like always.
If the single had a purpose to raise interest for the new album, it has certainly served it.
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Title: Irish Recording Tape / The Transatlantic Tape Project
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
IRISH RECORDING TAPE is the first of the two Agent Side Grinder albums that Enfant Terrible will release the next month. How come that they prepared stuff to fit two albums? The fact is that one of the members of the band had to left for a year and half (he went to the U.S.) and their studio engineer substituted him, becoming one permanent member then. They did different live gigs and had a bass player joining them. With this new line-up they recorded eight new tracks which sound more melodic respect the ones of their first album but without losing that distinctive hypnotic approach they already had. Agent Side Grinder mixed post punk bass lines with early industrial electronic attitude and 80's synth electronic melodies (check the catchy "Life in advance"). IRISH RECORDING TAPE sounds like Joy Division meet Cabaret Voltaire at a late 70's Human League concert. THE TRANSATLANTIC TAPE PROJECT is the third album by Agent Side Grinder and as I told, it will be released along with IRISH RECORDING TAPE. It contains tracks recorded by mail by the band member that was in the U.S. and the rest of the band in Sweden. It contains seven tracks which sound a bit more experimental respect the ones you find on IRISH RECORDING TAPE. They are based on repetitions of synth patterns with vocals and drums. Sounding now obsessive and then atmospheric (like on "586-713") these tracks are perfect as soundtrack (check the effect of the spoken word along with the synth bleep extravaganza on "005-200"). A thing that I have appreciated on THE TRANSATLANTIC TAPE PROJECT is how the band used melody: it's always present, sometimes is dissonant and sometimes it sustains a creepy moment made of synth hisses and guitar percussive sounds ("008-199"). These two album are really different but are both good and show really well how Agent Side Grinder have been able to "grow" since the release of their debut album.

SYNTAKS: Ylajali

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 06 2009
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Title: Ylajali
Format: CD
Label: Ghostly Int.
Distributor: K7
Rated: *****
Once Syntaks was the solo project of Jakob Skøtt but everything changed when he started to collaborate with Anna Cecilia adding her vocals to a track on his 2006 album "Awakes". After that experience he decided to grow Syntaks to a duo and then started to work on this album YLAJALI. Ylajali is a woman's name that is coming from "Hunger", a novel that the Norwegian author Knut Hamsun wrote in 1888 when he stayed by the inner City lakes in capitol of Denmark and few yards by where this album have been recorded. To talk about this album I was thinking to divide the musical experience from the emotional one (because in this case they could be different) but then since both of them are deeply linked I thought, what the hell, let's talk about whatever it come to my mind. The fact is that this music is almost "impalpable", it produces sounds but it's like a morbid flow of waves. Do you remember the early 4AD records where guitar arpeggios were hidden between tons of flanger and reverbs? Well, this is the same case. Jakob built a thick wall of sound using many layers that fluctuate and that are lead by Anna Cecilia's chants. No words have been used on most of them (only the closing Dark night" seems to have lyrics), her singing is like the sea nymphs that are attempting to seduce sailors. Most of the sounds used on YLAJALI come from filtered guitar, synths and electronic drums but they sound as a whole soft cotton ball. Hypnotizing and fluffy these slow tunes will revive your passion for old shoegazer music and if you were a fan of later Cocteu Twins you should check this one.

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