Music Reviews

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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electro Arc Compilation Vol. 3
Format: CD
Label: Electro Arc (@)
Distributor: Nur Medien GmbH
Rated: *****
Third chapter of this Germany-based compilation series again compiled by Intrendent and ready to save a decent X-mas celebration. There’s one problem I’ve got with this comp, because it features my own music project with an appearance. I of course can’t review my own music efforts and it should be understandable if I leave a mantle of silence on it. However, it is also my "job" to write a review on this release and I hope that all of the featured artists have a sense of support for this. As usual for the "Electro-Arc" series, this third volume comes out musically quite diverse by discovering several styles and tendencies. It once again concentrates to collect only a few better known artists and several underground acts. The UK-based ATTRITION are sort of veterans and active since more than 20 years. Their track is a straight Tech-Dance piece accomplished with several voice samples. Also the Belgian-based project IC 434 aka Geert De Wilde is one of the better known and rather old-school EBM-like acts here. He offers with a Re-Take of the track "Ferghana" a first new audio sign of life, which will hopefully soon continue with a new full-length album. Oh, and Belgium has to be named here, because this compilation got compiled with the intention to collect the most appearances hailing out of this small European country – maybe to check and see, what the heirs of legends like FRONT 242, SIGNAL AOUT 42, NEON JUDGEMENT and others are capable to offer. I don’t know from where TRANSTECH are hailing, however, their track is another straight and danceable tune with some decent vocoder effects. DHARMATA 101 then stands for the international guests, because they are hailing out of the United States. Stylistically they’re sitting in between the chairs be offering a mixture out of Industrial, Electronica and Goth-elements. Their track "Outline (Of My Shadow)" is a quite good composition featuring a fair amount of acoustic guitars, Metal-guitar riffs and decent Electronic textures, while the natural sounding vocals need some more spins to earn acceptance. DEVOTED SYMBOLS then switch back to harder EBM a bit comparable with some up-to-date productions of SUICIDE COMMANDO. Also RECON are pretty much dedicated to EBM, but rather in a minimal style, while the vocals – as simple as the lyrics are – reminding hard on Claus Kruse of the German act PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE. It follows with HYBRIDS (Daft Records, ant-zen) another better known act by offering a live recording, which turns this comp into a more experimental field. The best appearance got provided by the German duo NORDSCHLACHT, which we had recently presented with the release of their highly recommended debut "Silence, Beauty And Cruelty" (Klangdynamik Records). "Facts" is multi-layered Dark Electro in perfect conditions, danceable, but still with the sense to offer opulent synth pads. Another good thing on this track – it isn’t available on their debut! SOLANACEAE TAU then offers a Goth-inspired work with mighty guitars and a female vocal performance, while BODY POLITICS offer a metallic live old-school EBM performance. Both last appearances on this comp got provided by the Belgian musician Peter Bonne with his both projects LINEAR MOVEMENTS and TWILIGHT RITUAL, which is again an excursion into some 80-like Italo-Pop/Wave-music culture. I may was expecting a more detailed presentation on some up and coming talents of the Belgian EBM-scene – in case there is one – where the fuck are IONIC VISION or DARKMEN for example? However, this compilation collects a lot of new talents and some older heroes as well, while the predecessor rather Dark Electro-inspired volume 2 of this series is still the favorite.

1. Attrition – The head of Gabriel (Pablo sonic terrorist mix)
2. Synaptic Defect – Devouring Hate (Electro d'Arc Mix)
3. IC 434 – Ferghana (Re-Take)
4. Transtech – Satellite
5. dharmata 101 – Outline (Of My Shadows)
6. Devoted Symbols – Hush
7. Recon – Rise of the dead
8. Hybryds – Babel (Live Paris)
9. Nostromo 7 – Longing
10. Nordschlacht – Facts
11. Solanaceae Tau – Riots lullaby
12. Body Politics – Lust (Live)
13. Linear Movement – To Another Soul
14. Twilight Ritual – Delay

I, Synthesist: Art Of Survival

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (4087)
Dec 29 2007
Artist: I, Synthesist (@)
Title: Art Of Survival
Format: CD
Distributor: A Different Drum
Rated: *****
Ah, another striking synth-pop record by I, Synthesist. This time the one man electronic act, Chris Ianuzzi, composed and mixed ambient and experimental tracks. Very handy with craftsmanship and scientific basis with science and technology. This New Yorker have the ability to combine both. A super genius this guy is. The title of the album is natural phenomenon and represents the whole conception of the record. Wonderfully a combination of 80's and modern synth-pop. So inspiring and interesting. This sophomore release has the potential to keep the the listener's ears open, even Chris voice fit perfectly right with the songs. I like the way he sings. Reminded me of Talking Heads frontman David Byrne. Whether he's singing in a sense of humor or seriousness form, I find his singing abstract, but unique. Synth melodies catchy, creating a dreamy and a mysterious atmosphere that will draw you in. The final track "The Overlook", which closes the album is a 20 minute ambient soundscape instrumental piece that will go great to a sci-fi movie or a science or space documentary. The "Art Of Survival" is surely another surefooted winner that glows with just enough charm and melodic magic and dancefloor beats to keep your feet tapping and dancing. I, Synthesist has achieved successfully producing an outstanding progressive electro record. Each song takes on its own personality with distinctive lyrics, which steadily varies in a different mood. Delightfully overwhelming and impressive!


1. Art Of Survival
2. Telepathy
3. Don't Belong
4. Time Machine
5. Anthems
6. Moon Song
7. Paradise
8. Blue Jets
9. Pieces
10. Waterfall
11. The Overlook

EX-RENTAL: Unpopular Pop

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (4080)
Dec 17 2007
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Artist: EX-RENTAL (@)
Title: Unpopular Pop
Format: CD
Rated: *****
Do you remember Ex-Rental? I interviewed them back in 2001 or so and since then they released only few tracks on compilations or Sean did several remixes for The Human League, Bis and Blow-Up as well helping out RIchard X compiling The Future (that was the early name of the Human League) retrospective compilation. After so many years Sean finally decided to release the album which gathers songs wrote and recorded during the 1994/2007 period. The album as well the remixes E.P. are free downloadable from the band's website so all of you have the opportunity to check out twelve songs which are pop to the bone. Despite the low-fi attitude (thanks to the tracks composed on an old Atari computer) tracks like "Too much attention" or "D I S C O boy" show really well the glamorous side of the project thanks to dancey rhythms and choirs with easy listening tunes. Their electro pop side is well represented by oldest tracks like "Feeling Ex-Rental" or "Sophie's audition". You can also enjoy covers of Kinks' "All the day and all the night" (with a punky bleepy sound treatement) and Human League's "The black hit of space". Instead "Your dad doesn't like me" is a semi electro punk tune fast and immediate. The four remixes reprocess "And sometimes" (by Bis), "Sophie's audition" (by Soundhog), "Too much attention" (thanks to Blow-Up) and "Nightclub people" (an alternate take of it). You should definitely check out this release, it doesn't matter if it is free. This helps but this isn't the main point, it would be worth it anyway. Let's pop...

Spirited Machine: As We Count The Days

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (4073)
Dec 06 2007
Artist: Spirited Machine (@)
Title: As We Count The Days
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Spirited Machine is the solo project of the Iowa-based Electro/Industrial-musician Andrew Johnson. Starting a music career full of hopes, this 9-tracker As We Count The Days" is the self-produced debut release for him. Andrew simply considers his music as being "Electro" – that surely fits, but a dedication to some Futurepop/Synthpop-artists in sound and arrangements can be added. This album is a relatively sedating procedure, danceable and skillfully arranged, without any pseudo-aggressive attitudes to fall into harder EBM-minded textures. Regarding the fact that Andrew has avoided for this release to pick up a microphone and to add a vocal performance, his multiple and detailed worked out sequencing lines are appreciated. Surely nice and consumable stuff for the hook-line-addicts, but I nevertheless do recommend to add vocals. If Andrew doesn’t feel comfortable to do this on his own, the hiring of a capable vocalist seems to be required, especially if it comes to hunt for some more international exposure. The title track gets the vote for being the best worked out track, while "Resonance (Instrumental Mix)" (Huh??? So the original features vocals???) can be named as being the straightest piece. Quite interesting and entertaining first work, lets hope for a continuation.
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Artist: ISIS SIGNUM (@)
Title: Electrosensual
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Advanced Synergy (@)
Distributor: A Different Drum
Rated: *****
So finally here comes the new ISIS SIGNUM full-length album packed in a special paper box and strictly limited. Besides the album it features an additional CD-EP dedicated to the track "Destroy The Wall" well hidden in here. Talking at first on the full-length album, Helder continues to produce danceable Electro-Clash tunes in a rather static and cold mood and he once again likes to pick up female guest vocalists. SARA NOXX, KINDEL of LIQUEFACTION (both already available on the both predecessor EP "Heartbreaker" and "Communication") and TYING TIFFANY are sharing the microphone to offer their abilities to fulfill Helder’s tracks with the right human factor. Besides the fact that Helder seems to have a favor to use only analogue hardware equipment, it is conspicuous that the music generally doesn’t concentrate to storm through the ears in your brain. A calm and remarkable melodic content which would point out the tracks is a bit missed. But maybe this is intentional and shall explain his musically difference to all Futurepop-/Electro-Clash acts out there? Helder works as a DJ and is internationally renowned, he therefore should know which elements in his music work at best to entertain the masses or to fill the floors. The nearly old-school EBM-like "Not Defined", available in two versions, is a favorite, "Destroy The Wall", the into German translated "Herzensbrecher" have to be named too. 12 tracks at all on this album, plus you’ll get a video clip on "Destroy The Wall".
The additional inserted CD-EP of "Destroy The Wall" is comparable with the content of both predecessor EP’s "Heartbreaker" and "Communication". 9 tracks at all on this item which features some new interpretations by internationally renowned names like Daniel Myer (haujobb., DESTROID), the German Black-Rain-recording artist SUPREME COURT or STRAFBOMBER. This EP is a fine additions for the die-hard fans for sure, while I tend to rate the last EP "Communication" to be the better alternative. Anyhow, with this nice package, which features additional info sheets, flyers and goodies all around, DJ Helder has created to himself a kind of monument. The signals out of the clubs world-wide made it possible and Helder grows from release to release. Check out a rather calm-minded electronic music output hailing out of Mexico asides the known HOCICO/AMDUSCIA-formula...

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