Music Reviews



The Bodies Obtained: From the Top of My Tree

 Posted by eskaton   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Mar 12 2009
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Artist: The Bodies Obtained (@)
Title: From the Top of My Tree
Format: CD
Label: Finding You Attractive (@)
OK – here is a lesson to promoters. The press release compares the music to Brian Eno, The Residents and Fad Gadget and drops an allusion to Throbbing Gristle. I am a pretty big Residents fan and Throbbing Gristle is one of the top 20 bands that kicked the world’s ass in my opinion, so I was looking forward to this. However, it wasn’t quite what I expected. To paraphrase Senator Lloyd Bentsen, I know the Residents and Throbbing Gristle and you are no Residents or Throbbing Gristle. If you come looking for that, you will be sorely disappointed. So now we know what we don’t have; what do we have? I have to admit that I didn’t find it nearly as interesting as the press release makes it out to be. This isn’t really radio friendly, but adding a little bit of distortion to voice does not really make an experimental or an industrial album. I suppose that the closest comparison from the press release is the Residents, but without the kind of whimsical feel to it or the biting social commentary. (Plus, let’s face it – the music is almost secondary to the theatrics if you’ve ever seen a live Residents show.) The Bodies Obtained approach this feel in "I’m a Stranger" and "Skin Stuck to Bone." But if I had to come up with a better comparison for the press release writer, I would go with Legendary Pink Dots – somewhat accessible, but just a bit off, and a variety of musical styles on the album. This disc weighs in at around 38 minutes.

MISS KITTIN & THE HACKER: Two

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 09 2009
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Artist: MISS KITTIN & THE HACKER
Title: Two
Format: CD
Label: Nobody's Bizzness
Rated: *****
Eight years ago the first album by Miss Kittin & The Hacker represented an important chapter into the story of electro music. During the past years we had the chance to listen to the duo with some 12"s released by Gigolo Records and Hacker's own Goodlife but you know that a whole album could be a different thing. Well, at the end of the month, the 27th of March you'll be able to check what Caroline Hervé and Michael Amato prepared for you. First of all before putting the CD into the player you'll have to do a little zen practice. Empty your mind and prepare yourself to something new. If you loved the electro synth melodies of "First album" it's better for you if you like also a bit of techno, a sprinkle of acid and a nut of r'n'r because TWO contains them all. If the latest Miss Kittin solo album was a bit too over produced, this new album contains ten new songs (the eleventh is a short reprise of "1000 dreams") which sound obsessive, minimal but also melodic and energetic. If the opening "The womb" is a minimal techno bumping track with Miss Kittin giving her usual vocal performance, "1000 dreams" is a great electro tune with a cool melody that will catch your attention in no time. "PPPO" (which stands for "people, pleasure, power, objects) changes the atmosphere with its obsessive acid sounds. With "Party in my head" electro is in the house again with a cool song based on punching drums and synth pads. "Indulgence" is almost punk with its impetuosity while "Emotional interlude" is a dreamy pop electronic tune. "Suspicious minds" is a synthpop version of a Elvis Presley hit. "Electronic city" is an atmospheric sensual pop song that recalls me Pet Shop Boys. "Inutile éternité" plays with electro and techno and sounds mysterious and obsessive while "Ray ban" is still mysterious but a bit more electro. If you loved their first album but you also realized that Miss Kittin & The Hacker were something more than electro clash, this new album is definitely for you!

SOLVENT: Demonstration Tape (1997-2007)

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Feb 20 2009
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Artist: SOLVENT
Title: Demonstration Tape (1997-2007)
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Ghostly International
Rated: *****
Active since 1997, Solvent is the personal musical project of Jason Amm (he's also one half of the founders of the now defunct Suction Records label). DEMONSTRATION TAPE (1997-2007) is a double compilation of rare (you can find seven tracks from the now deleted "Solvently one listens" and "Solvent"), unreleased (we have three new tunes recorded in 2007 titled "In light", "Creepy crawler" and "Sample and hold") and released songs (we have three tracks from "Solvent city", the album released on Morr music back in 2001, four from "Apples and synthesizers" and four from "Elevators and oscillators", released in 2004 and 2005 by Ghostly International). On this twenty three songs track list we have the chance to get acquainted to Solvent music. Jason uses always analog synthetic sounds and his style span from the mysterious dark electronica of "Creepy crawler", to the robot upbeats of the following "Think like us" but passing through particular semi i.d.m. atmospheres of "Googly eyes" and "My blue car", the light synthpop melodies of "For you" or "Quite life" and the particular fragile suspended in time structures of instrumentals such like "An introduction to ghosts (extended)", "Flexidisc", "Black turtleneck" or "Some assembly required". Most of the time Jason's songs sound a bit melancholic and make me think about a robot with a soul. This double compilation contains also four bonus remixes. We have Adult giving a creepy treatment to "Flexidisc", "Alter Ego" pumping up "Think like us" thanks to a bit of distorted bass and new drum sounds. The Mitang Audio remix of "My radio" turn it into a nice electro dancey tune and the Jdsy mix of "For you" is a mix of i.d.m. rhythms and synthpop melodies. If you always wanted to check Solvent's music, this is the perfect beginning... but hurry the release is limited to 700 copies and I'm really late reviewing it!

COLD PHOENIX: Your Eyes Are My Eyes

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Feb 16 2009
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Artist: COLD PHOENIX
Title: Your Eyes Are My Eyes
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Airplane
Distributor: Mannequin Mailorder
Rated: *****
Born in Bologna, Italy, Cold Phoenix story didn't last too long. Formed by four 19 years old kids, the band recorded only a 12" EP, did few gigs and did a participation on a national television show just to disappear two years after. This MCD produced by Airplane and distributed exclusively by Mannequin Mailorder gathers the four tracks of the MLP YOUR EYES ARE MY EYES and offers to the fans of darkwave/post punk music two bonus songs titled "Stop just for a moment" and "The greatness of love". The opening "Stonehenge" is a classic dark wave tune with a bit of melancholy while the following "Sensation" adds some mystery to the classic post punk formula. "La fleur du destin" is the tune I prefer most because the synth and the drum machine create a great atmosphere that make of this tune a must for the minimal wave lovers. With "Binding me to dream" we're back on the dark wave ground with a mid tempo with piano and bass guitar and guitar gently duetting. "Stop just for a moment" mix tribal drums with synth lines bass guitar and clean guitar riffs. "The greatness of love" reminded me a little The Cure but if you think that all the tracks have been recorded in 1985 this influence is almost inevitable. The phoenix risen from its ashes but mind you, this edition is limited to only 500 copies. Check all the songs on the band's myspace page.

Pulse State: With a Single Step

 Posted by Krzysztof Kramarz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Feb 09 2009
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Artist: Pulse State
Title: With a Single Step
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Rated: *****
What strikes me most in case of Pulse State is the approach to an audience. As Mike Phipps, the man behind the project says, 'the album is being offered at no charge as a way of saying "thank you" to the fans who have patiently waited for so long'. Sounds awesome, doesn't it?
The review could be ended in this point, as everyone can check the album themselves with no risk, but I'd like to make it clear that this is a very good release. The fact that it's free doesn't mean that it wouldn't be worth paying for. Undoubtedly it would be worth purchasing, as Pulse State seems to be as good as VNV Nation, Code 64 and other appreciated bands. The production is impeccable - it's definitely not low-end product or economy-class journey. Pulse State flies high, among the most notable futurepop bands. Sometimes it sounds like the bands I've already mentioned, sometimes it's close to Assemblage 23, Solitary Experiments and even Seabound. However, such similarities are not always an advantage, as you're rather unlikely to immediately recognise these songs clearly as Pulse State work if you hear it in a club. On the other hand, if you agree that in this genre there isn't much room for innovations, you'll certainly like this release as Pulse State definitely isn't a copycat.

'With a Single Step' consists both of emotional songs (January Love, Reconciliation) and potential club hits (Innocence, Watching Over). It doesn't make the album inconsistent though. Neither the fact that it was recorded in a long period of time does. These 9 tracks make a well-thought entity which would be attractive enough as a traditional release, and as a web release it is absolutely a must for fans of futurepop.


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