Music Reviews



NORTHERN KIND: 53 N

 Posted by Marc Tater   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 28 2007
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Artist: NORTHERN KIND (@)
Title: 53 N
Format: CD
Label: Electrotease
Rated: *****
NOTHERN KIND is a new female/male-leaded Synthpop-duo hailing from England. With "53° N" Sarah Heeley and Matt Culpin like to present their self-produced debut, which is – lets say it in advance – one of the best of the Synth-/Electropop genre since a long time. Musically somehow related with the Swedish act CHINESE THEATRE or the US-based REGENERATOR, the synth textures and arrangements which Matt likes to create out of his machinery are always tasteful and clean produced. Here and there he may offers a slight retro-early-90ies feeling, but he knows about the magic of Sarah’s intelligent lyrics and her smooth voice. As usual for a Synthpop production, everything stands and falls with the quality of the vocals and the song-writing – and here are the winning points for NOTHERN KIND compared with many other related acts. The compositions and the arrangements are rather more the result of experienced musicians instead of being the debut release of some greenhorns having realized that voltage can offer more than turning on the light in the refrigerator. Highlight: "Home", a real smasher, catchy as hell, with a singing-along-guarantee after only one spin. Lets hope for them that they will find a professional distributor in this hard times with vanishing CD sales, which especially hurts self-producing newcomer acts. The responsible people behind labels like Section 44, A Different Drum and/or Ninthwave Records should pay attention and pick them up.

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Artist: THE WORLD DOMINATION
Title: Heat
Format: CD
Label: 1st Decade Records (@)
Distributor: SPV
That’s an arrogant term for a band name, the two guys behind THE WORLD DOMINATION seem to be pretty much convinced about their upcoming internationally success. I guess there can’t be doubts on this, since the promotion machinery seems to work fine so far. This German duo plays a sort of Alternative/Electro-Glam-Rock music and therefore only a very few elements in their music are fitting with our magazine preferences. Definitely too much Mainstream-oriented, their efforts here may work with a mass-compatible video clip for the ringtone-infected youth. Not at all my glass of beer, and I’m unable to find any better entrance to their tunes musically in someway comparable to NOTHERN LITE, but not in the same quality league. Well, no rating out of the reasons that this is a foreign genre for me.

VV.AA.: Post Alcoholic Body Syndrome 2

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 16 2007
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Post Alcoholic Body Syndrome 2
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
PABS 2 is the long-awaited sophomore release of this compilation series released by the Hungarian-based Advoxya Records label. No doubt, there has happened a lot in the meantime between the first chapter out at the fall of 2K5 and this new one. Several new and promising acts have joined this label, so with this 15 featured appearances here you’ll get an exclusive look on the current label roster. The best thing on this compilation is the fact, that all participated artists are offering exclusive and previously unreleased stuff, be it new compositions, unreleased versions, or remix works. As usual this compilation offers also a look of some new signed talents and additions to the Advoxya stable – you can be assured that it holds some surprises. It is for example easily to recognize that Advoxya has given it up to concentrate primary all efforts on artists hailing out of Eastern Europe – though they are still present, several additions out of Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Germany or Sweden for instance are proving the international arrangement to which this label has developed through the past months.
So the things are starting Dark Electro-minded with the debut track of DENERGIZED, a new Russian act hailing out of Königsberg. Sounds and kind programming are rather awaking remembrances to some early :WUMPSCUT:-recordings, instead to be victimized by the current hypes. The same can be said on THE-PULSAR (check their interview somewhere else here) providing with "Treasure" a fine worked-out teaser of their next release. Why the hell do I get reminded on some 242-tunes out of the "Tyranny/F... Up Evil"-days by listening this track? The scenario then changes with the Swedish act TWZ, from we could proudly review all of their self-released albums in the past (again: check this site and search for them...). The new track "Redemption" of this trio (they’ve added a female member...) kicks as hell and features heavily distorted male vocals – but their special, almost orchestral-sounding kind to program the bass lines has reserved them their very own and unique niche in the world-wide Electro/Industrial scene. They’ve got a signature – there aren’t out too many acts which can claim this.
Brazils DEAD JUMP a.k.a. Alex Ramos is another newbie signed to Advoxya and with him this comp switches completely over to the notorious troops of the Hellektro camp. Alex provides a remix on his track "Life" created by the Argentinean musician FSJC (ex-SUICIDE SOLUTION), which can be heard originally from his last sold-out studio album. Argentina is also the home country for the next act, DRAINED SCORN – for sure the most unknown artist here. Their track "Reptile Brain" is a breathtaking, speedy Harsh EBM-tune featuring an out-of-the-grave-like vocal performance. Follows then the Russian female/male duo WAVEFALL (also presented somewhere here with an interview) with a new track "Childish Story (From Age 18 Remix)" surprisingly lesser Hellektro-like compared to their last years’ debut "Huge Frustration". The vocals of Slava are sounding beastly with an almost "rocking" attitude – and did I hear some slight guitar riffs here?
Time again to fulfil a stylistically change, this comp turns now into the regime of the old-school EBM-like tunes. The SEVERE ILLUSION side-project INSTANS offers an alternative version of one of their most anticipated tracks so far, "Hard Work (Harder Version)" – the meaning of the word "blunt" gets some new importance to describe minimal old-school EBM comparable to early and slow POUPPEE FABRIKK or LESCURE 13 – this version of this originally "fun" track fits well with those patterns. No comment or rating on SYNAPTIC DEFECT, since it is my own project – only the mention of the fact that this remix is a more danceable alternative version to the soon to be released original. Czech republic’s IMMUNOLOGY are present with a remix created by their countrymen of MULPHIA – this results in a fine and well done electronic-minded dancefloor tune, but it isn’t too much representative for the usual, a bit Electro-Metal-Crossover-like style of this act.
IMPACT PULSE then like to give a lecture in the contest "how-to-program-a-kicking-bass-line" by offering an unreleased remix of their track "Tears Of Confusion" – skillful arrangements, excellent textures, hi-energetic and danceable Electro music - regarding their once again provided talent, they should take and rule the international scene by storm! Follows then MULPHIA and the again recognition, that their debut release "The Dark Sides" on Advoxya was a kind of collection of earlier material. "My World Is Over" seems to be newer, therefore a million times more refreshing than before, good work. Comes then Hungary’s SCHYZZO.COM, for sure the most underrated act signed to Advoxya. Already their debut "Interfear’s Network" has featured an unexpected diversity – but the few new tracks including this appearance make it even more difficult to sort them in. "Dom 24-7" convinces with a straight and clear rhythm/percussion work and almost Electro-Clash-inspired synth textures – the curiosity on their next release grows.
Follows the minimal arranged alternative version of SEVERE ILLUSION’s "I Wish I Was Dead V. 1.1", which can be originally heard on their recently released new EP. As usual, some slight distorted elements fill in some "dirt" to this EBM track – a trademark for this Swedish duo. With the last both appearances, the Australian act THE CRYSTALLINE EFFECT and Hungary’s NOTHING NADA, this comp reflects now the Future-/Electropop division of Advoxya. THE CRYSTALLINE EFFECT provides an unexpected straight and danceable remix of their track "Jagged", while NOTHING NADA comes out in their own style, though it is a remix work on the track "One, Two, Free" by an artist named V.E.N.
It’s a bit problematic to fall into superlatives, especially regarding the fact that my own work is featured here on this fine compilation as well. But besides all this, it is a fine done release which got intelligent compiled and collected. The Advoxya roster grows and the shown talent of all acts here should appeal all listeners of genres between Synth-/Futurepop to old-school and Dark Electro up to Harsh EBM – a must-have release for the rivetheads! Check also out the Advoxya shop website, www.advoxya-shop.com for additional merchandise articles to accomplish this compilation, there will be soon T-shirts in black and white available.

1. Denergized "After Tomorrow".
2. The-Pulsar "Treasure".
3. T.W.Z. "Redemption".
4. Dead Jump "Life" (flamethrower mix by FSJC).
5. Drained Scorn "Reptile Brain".
6. Wavefall "Childish Story" (from age 18 remix).
7. Instans "Hard Work" (harder version).
8. Synaptic Defect "Global Genocide" (life and death rmx).
9. Immunology "King Of Demon" (kill all djs mix by Mulphia).
10. Impact Pulse "Tears of Confusion" (rapture module mix).
11. Mulphia "My World Is Over".
12. Schyzzo.Com "Dom 24-7".
13. Severe Illusion "I wish I was dead" v.1.1.
14. The Crystalline Effect "Jagged Edges" (advoxya remix).
15. Nothing Nada "One, two, free" (nightwalker remix by v.e.n.).

VV.AA.: Klangdynamische Bewegung Vol. 1

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 11 2007
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Klangdynamische Bewegung Vol. 1
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Klangdynamik Records (@)
Distributor: Mono-Culture
Rated: *****
A new label in sight for the German Electro/Industrial scene and we like to welcome the Augsburg-based Klangdynamik Records. For the start of all business activities this label has decided to release a compilation featuring 17 tracks which is strictly limited to 444 exemplars – and it comes unique in kind and package I must say. While opening the jewel case I noticed to my surprise that there’s included a hidden second 3" CD featuring 5 more appearances – congrats to this idea! The first tracks of the main full-length CD are musically dedicated to the Dark Electro/Industrial genre. FIX8:SED8 a.k.a. Sane is for sure the BEST unsigned artist out of Germany and he offers here a re-mastered version of "Minotaurus", a dark and layered piece taken from the self-released debut "Humanophobia" – intensive, mystic, creepy and maybe a bit PUPPYan-influenced – but a crown for every compilation world-wide!
NORDSCHLACHT is another German duo which fits musically well to the just mentioned FIX8:SED8 or OBJECT – another fine and layered Dark Electro piece of an uprising act, from which I hopefully soon get more to hear! WYNARDTAGE is for sure one of the better known acts from this compilation and could especially reach in the last year some euphoric reactions. Thumbs up to offer an unreleased remix done by LA MAGRA of "The Sin", originally available on the last album "Evil Mind", although this version shares a bit too much the SC-shuffle. Whenever WYNARDTAGE is available on a compilation, the second project ACYLUM, consisting of Pedro Engel (music) and Kai Arnold (Lyrics/vocals) isn’t far away – so it is here, although I was hoping to get also from this project an unreleased work, "Your Pain" got often featured elsewhere.
Since this label is based in Augsburg, it also takes care on some artists out of their local area – DISCONTINUED PROCESS and ELECTROJUDAS offer instrumental works, while L’IMAGE in cooperation with NILS VAN GOGH pushes the musically field of this comp into the Synth- and Futurepop-genre. The Accession Records-recording artists HUMAN DECAY can as usually convince with some fine worked out textures and a rich complexity in their arrangements, the nice refrain of the track "Anti-Fate" featuring the female singer Isabella makes this track grow to one of the outstanding appearances here. HUMAN DECAY are also featured on the mentioned second 3" CD. ChristianIV E.MachinA offers a danceable Electro track, while DIE PERLEN offer a retro-inspired sound with some rusty bass lines and a female voice performance. Also HERTZINFARKT and the for sure known act NO COMMENT offer female vocals and danceable pieces, but nothing which can be called thrilling. FILE NOT FOUND, also a better known name, stands for sound design heavily inspired of some early 80ies sounds and the cold romantic touch out of those days, and "Mathematics" isn’t an exception.
Finest Synthpop with some catchy synth layers reminding on some of the oldest DeVISION works you’ll get from dAVOS, a trio which is recently signed to Hungry Moon Records. With the Bavarian-based COLLAPSE PROJECT leaded by Klaus Hörmann, the label Klangdynamik likes to present its first signed artist. Musically operating in the wide field of Dark Electro/Industrial music, Klaus offers with his track "World Of Lies" a straight, but still layered track from his upcoming debut "Your Own Way" – convincing, an act to follow! SHARON NEXT, remixed here by Per Anders Kurenbach/PREVETION OF DISHARMONY then searches for some musically relations to acts like PRIDE AND FALL or VNV NATION – satisfying for the moment, but nothing groundbreaking. Last piece here seems to be a classic recording from 2K2 by a project named SADISM UNBOUND which turns musically into a slow and creepy tune.
But not to forget to listen to the five tracks on the additional 3" CD. As above mentioned, HUMAN DECAY have received another free slot and are offering a non-lesser attractive piece of work featuring Jennifer Parkin of AYRIA providing the guest vocals. Also the French citizen ChristianIV E.MachinA got featured here with a second veteran EBM track, while the further three acts are rounding up the support of the local scene. ELEKTRIK MINDS are offering a danceable EBM tune with some robot-like vocals – and somehow this all reminds not only me on KRAFTWERK. NEON COIL are rather more based into the field of Minimal EBM, maybe also thanks to the fact, that this to me unknown project only uses hardware equipment. The highly appreciated SkullLine-recording artist SHIFT 69 offers again a convincing appearance with a veteran-EBM bass line and vocoderized vocals, this time in a collaboration with FILE NOT FOUND.
76 minutes with a quite satisfying and diverse content luckily and mostly without any hints on some Hellektro tunes – well, this compilation is a fine showcase for the featured artists here and a musically extremely valuable collection for the label. Let’s hope the best, that the listeners will pay the needed attention. The first right decision with the signing of the solo project COLLAPSE PROJECT shows to me to the right direction – good luck and keep it on!

Tracklist:

01. fïx8:sëd8 - Minotaurus
02. Nordschlacht - Collapsing Centuries
03. Wynardtage - The Sin (La Magra Remix) *
04. Discontinued Process - Covert *
05. Acylum - Your Pain
06. Elektrojudas - Cosmos *
07. Niels van Gogh feat. L'image - My Own Religion (Single Version)
08. Human Decay feat. Isabella - Anti-Fate *
09. ChristianIV E.MachinA - le temps qui passe *
10. Die Perlen - Who Is To Blame?
11. Hertzinfarkt - Wir trauen uns was *
12. NoComment - Secrets *
13. File Not Found - Mathematics *
14. dAVOS - Illuminate (Version) *
15. Collapse Project - World Of Lies *
16. Sharon Next - Death Bow (Remixed by Prevetion Of Disharmony) *
17. Sadism Unbound - sc_03-874 *

3inch Bonus CDr
[only First Edition - limited to 222 copies]

01. Human Decay feat. Jennifer Parkin - Disbelieve (V01D Remix) *
02. Elektrik Minds - Lichtkraft *
03. ChristianIV E.MachinA - Car Crash *
04. Shift 69 - Audio Measurement (File Not Found Vox Edit) *
05. NeonCoil - Machine (Short) *

* previously unrelesead

Black Heaven: Kunstwerk

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (3841)
Aug 11 2007
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Artist: Black Heaven (@)
Title: Kunstwerk
Format: CD
Label: Scanner / Dark Dimensions (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
This is a new release by this German one-man project, which has been active and brought out some releases before through the German label Trisol. Now signed and published by Scanner of the Dark Dimensions label group, BLACK HEAVEN is leaded by Martin Schindler and with this album he likes to present us his very own view on Electro/Industrial music. The lyrics are completely in German and deal with a lot social-critically things, politics, globalism and, and, and. My deepest bow that at least somebody is able to address the things which have to be said in German without falling into embarrassment. This "Kunstwerk" (work of art) is lyrically one of the strongest releases in years. Musically Martin likes to present a subtle kind of Synth- and Futurepop, on some tunes pending near to Electro/Industrial, but the music generally doesn’t live from some fantastic-sounding effects – it seems he knows well about the weave of his lyrics. Of course his voice sounds clear, natural and undistorted, however else you would be able to understand the rich lyrics when he’d insist to yell through some distortion effects? I tend to compare his voice in a same register to Tom Shear of A23, also musically there can be surely found some relations to the world-wide known Accession/Metropolis-recording artist. Although – and that’s a good point as well – the music isn’t afraid to integrate here and there some acoustic elements like guitar ("Schwarzes Loch", "Zentrum") or piano sounds ("Zweite Sonne"). Also a must: check out the marvelous ballad "Dieser Weg" - definitely the highlight here! 14 tracks are available here on "Schindler’s list" (ha-ha), composed and arranged under the moniker "Kunstwerk" - Martin couldn’t find any better name for this work, applause!


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