Music Reviews

A Spell Inside: Loginside

 Posted by Andre Wiegand   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 10 2009
Artist: A Spell Inside
Title: Loginside
Format: CD
Label: Dark Dimensions Labelgroup
Rated: *****
This album was scheduled to be released earlier than it actually was. The reason for the delay was a defect of the hard drive. The problem was overcome and the long awaited album was released just before the WGT festival opened its gates of darkness. The Neussian synthpop-electro unit showed vital signs with a new exciting album and there is just one thing for me to say: I’m excited. It is still a riddle for me why Michael Roeder and Peter Kirchmeyer do not count to the greatest artist of the darker scene.
The compositions range from genius over danceable to "cannot-get-enough-of-it". The 12-track album does not pall even after the 10th listening to it. There is something new to find out every time. The catchy melodies have a strong potential to "haunt" your mind for the whole day and lift your spirits.
A synthpop fan will totally dig "Your eyes","Secrets"and "Chase" due to dreamy melodies and the lyrics that invite you to ponder. The DJs in their turn have all the reasons to embrace "Keener", "Reveal", "Reality" or "Not enough" and "I will" thus those possess a high potential to cause some behind-shaking in the darker clubs of the planet. The only German song "Stärke 10" certainly belongs to the strongest numbers on the album as well. What really makes A Spell Inside an outstanding act is Michael’s vocal manner which is unmistakable from swarms of other electro artists. The whole release sounds more electronic and more sophisticated than their previous albums and "Someone (is waiting)" makes this point especially visible; I mean audible.

All in all the album has a good chance to gain popularity beyond the darker scene as well, due to lack of immature lyrics about cyborgs, demons under your bed and aliens that come after you to grab your ass, like we get to hear from numerous other acts. As far as I’m concerned, A Spell Inside has got to keep it this way and I’m grateful for this album.

3-1: 13 Horrible Remixes

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jun 18 2009
Artist: 3-1
Title: 13 Horrible Remixes
Format: CD
Label: Basserk (@)
Rated: *****
Released two years after their 12" "Take a picture", 13 HORRIBLE REMIXES is the first album by 3-1 and, strange for a first full length release, it contains twelve remixes of bands they like or they know (some of them are on the same label Basserk) plus a remix of their song "Take a picture". The track list is in balance from bands that have a sound similar to 3-1 (a sort of electro pop with punk attitude and use of distorted synth bass lines) to thing a little more techno or breakbeat (Nid & Sancy, Lilian Hak, Elecphonic or The Moi non plus). 3-1 did a good job by respecting the original tunes and at the same time personalizing them. Check how they changed Hotel's "Fool fool" by adding a cool distorted bass line to their flute/hammond based tune making it turn into a nice dance floor song. 13 HORRIBLE REMIXES is a good album to party with and also a good album to listen while driving, having the city lights as strobe lights. Here's the trackslist:
01. Nid & Sancy - My Rave remixed
02. Lilian Hak - What about it remixed
03. The Moi non plus - Hahaha remixed
04. Lucky Goat - Ooh yeah remixed
05. Fata el Moustache’ remixed
06. Hotel - Fool fool remixed
07. Detroit grand pubahs - Riot 66 remixed
08. three cheers for dirty feat. Blondin - Blonpeepee remixed
09. Krause - Outta yer mind remixed
10. Elle Bandita - New years eve remixed
11. Elecphonic - Freakin on a sneaka remixed
12. Transformer di Roboter - Ultramaximizer remixed
13. 3-1 - Take a picture remixed
Artist: Vision Talk (@)
Title: Dirty Italo Disco
Format: CD
Label: Space Sound Records (@)
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
This is a new side-project of both Swedish band-members of CHINESE THEATRE, Krister Petterson and Martina Ramstedt. They have added two additional members, the vocalist Richard Flow and the synth-player Stefan "Fellin" Olsson to share a mutual musically direction: VISION TALK represents the typical kind and sound outfit of the notorious Italo-Disco sound of the mid-80s, which brought act like Dan Harrow, Valerie Dore, Devine, Scotch and multiple others to unexpected success. Combined with the typical-Scandinavian-like talent to create the catchiest melodies Synthpop-music can offer, this album comes out like a time-machine to reanimate those golden days. Think additionally on bands like ALPHAVILLE, early-ERASURE, CAMOUFLAGE, BRONSKI BEAT and those alike for possible comparisons. Krister acts as the chief-programmer and some phrases he usually uses for CHINESE THEATRE can be discovered here too. The main difference are for sure the male vocals provided by Richard. Although Martina suits well for CHINESE THEATRE, she has to take a backseat at VISION TALK, Richard dominates the scenario. This music is rather dedicated to the elders of Electronica following that Italo-Disco/Spacesynth movement in the 80ies and has its highlights with the most catchy tunes like "Dina Tankar" or "Lacerta". 14 tracks to remind you that the Disco-Fox isn’t dead – true nostalgia pressed on a silver-circle to consume without hesitation!

The Crystalline Effect: Identity

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 15 2009
Artist: The Crystalline Effect (@)
Title: Identity
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
Australia’s Electropop-duo THE CRYSTALLINE EFFECT hasn’t surely any identically problems, although some of the musically influences this duo likes to integrate in their tracks, remains to be filled with diversity. It’s the rich musically horizon represented by especially Pete Crane, which draws on this album with black ink in huge letters by balancing between music styles like Synth-/Futurepop, EBM, Industrial or Trip-Hop. And some Downtempo-tunes only based on some sedating synthesizer sounds, a charismatic vocal performance by the female band member Elenor Rayner as well as slowed-down Breakbeat rhythm-patterns ("One Time In Life"), can be discovered too. TCE aren’t that sort of an "often-heard-often-forgotten" act full of linearity and foreseeable sounds. But they aren’t also a typically floor-filling act relying on the ability to produce that "one-hit-wonder". A fine example can already discovered with the opener "Blue Sea", which starts with a single piano introduction and Elenor’s aesthetic vocals, until the beat joins the scenario to push the audience toward to some floor-movement. As for another highlight I tend to name with "Life Has Failed You", with its staccato-like kick and snare-programming and the included interruptions to strengthen one or another part of the music arrangement. Three additional remix works by Lee Bulig (ex-STARK), ENDIF and especially IMPACT PULSE are offering at least diverse sounding and for the most part straight and dancefloor-compatible reinterpretations, which may help some lazy DJ’s by the decision to play TCE tunes in the club – the original tracks of this album aren’t that suitable for this. A quite interesting Electropop-album, which earns its praising by the refreshing kind to experiment with diverse styles and rhythm programmings.

VV.AA.: Keep The Fire Burning

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 15 2009
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Keep The Fire Burning
Format: CD
Label: Equinoxe (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Once upon a time there was a little small house in the middle of the Black Forest with a little group of fairies casting gothic-tinged spells, some years later a necromancer noticed the music spread out by this little creatures’ ensemble was a good and safe thing and so he decided to pronounce a magical formula to turn into a wonderful and luminescent castle... It’s not just a silly fable to let your puppets deeply sleep, but it could be a transposition of the story behind the astonishing Equinoxe Records, a label which moved his very first steps in the summer of 1998 in order to provide an independent release platform to the legendary German Gothic Rock band The House Of Usher by avoiding the subjections and compromises of the usual market mechanisms. Nowadays Equinoxe is one of the most interesting reality of the music market but in spite of a 10 years-long activity and more than one hundred releases (and notwithstanding the leaving of two of the four founders, who decided to move on to other endevours) the enthusiasm which inspired their action is almost unchanged and it seems to be the same of the beginning. The tireless publishing effort of this German label let us discover a plenty of interesting bands coming from those music grounds... but the story (or the fable?) of Equinoxe keep on surprising with two remarkable highlights i.e. an agreement in 2003 with the professional distributor ALIVE and the almost concomitant decision to create an electro sub-label, e-noxe, digging into the rich electronic music soil – that’s why this 10-versary sampler is also a celebration of the 5-years birthday of e-noxe!-. As it happens in almost every respectable fable, it should be a frightening ghost, a pustule covered angry ogre, a ravenous wolf or any other monster-like character playing an antagonist role in the set: as everyone knows, the music industry has deeply changed with the advent of internet and file-sharing, one of the greatest threat to many labels – especially the smallest ones -, reducing the possibilities of surviving in an highly competitive market, featuring an excess of supply never experienced before. But this "new order" resulted in a sort of new challenge for Equinoxe masterminds and that’s why the brave efforts mainly focused on any possible attempts to improve the quality of the releases without neglecting the roots behind any bizarre form of stylistic "revisionism". So we could say that this 16-track sampler combining exquisite pieces of both catalogues (the Equinoxe and e-noxe ones!) – with a lot of special tracks by bands which filled the roster from the very first day such as House Of Usher and interesting newcomers such as Psyche and Silvery... - has a particular meaning for the men behind the label curtains! Not only a gift and a sort of thanksgiving to all supporters of the label all over the world, but also an invite to breathe on the 15 candlesticks to join to the bacchanalia! But please don’t forget to... keep the fire burning, folks!!!

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