Music Reviews



EX-RENTAL: Unpopular Pop

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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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
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Dec 06 2007
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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...

ISIS SIGNUM: Communication

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 03 2007
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Artist: ISIS SIGNUM (@)
Title: Communication
Format: CD EP
Label: Advanced Synergy (@)
Distributor: A Different Drum
Rated: *****
Second pre-release for ISIS SIGNUM a.k.a. DJ Helder before the upcoming full-length album "Electrosensual". "Communication" is another danceable club-oriented track taken out of this album and it features Kindel, maybe better known with her music project, the female-driven US-based act LIQUEFACTION (has released 2 full-length albums on DSBP). As usual, Helder takes care on all production terms including the lyrics, his chosen guest vocalists only offer their voice. For this EP he has again invited some talented acts to provide different reinterpretations of his original version. Best known act can be named with the French act PEOPLE THEATRE, lately often active with some conspicuous remix works mainly based into the Synth-/Futurepop genre, providing a straight, rather near to EBM-related remix work. KOPLIK is a name I haven’t discovered so far, they’re hailing out of Puerto Rico and offer the opening remix for "Communication". Best remix work got provided by the UK-based act FAKE FUR transforming the "Communication" original into a rather 80ies-inspired Synthpop-work. Their remix also features a tasteful FX manipulation on Kindel’s vocals and includes it better than any other version here into the mix. Another UK-based act is featured with HIDDEN, who like to push a bit the speed of the original by turning it to the best danceable Futurepop-oriented track here. With "Superficial" Helder has included an exclusive b-side, plus you’ll get a remix of TECNOMAN SF on the track "Liberty", which features vocals by Jennifer Parkin (AYRIA). And as usual (seems to become a trademark...), Helder has produced a video clip on "Communication", which is attached to the end of this EP. Good stuff mostly provided by names out of the scene, which still have to wait for some international response.

Blutengel: Labyrinth

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 03 2007
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Artist: Blutengel (@)
Title: Labyrinth
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
And once again a new full-length album for Germany’s scene-leader when it comes on romantic Electro/Wave/Pop-music. At least also the still growing success of BLUTENGEL has meanwhile brought up a lot of copy-cats, but at least nothing matches the original. For Chris Pohl this project reflects rather more the electronic-driven sound compared to the Goth-Rock-infiltrated TERMINAL CHOICE – and BLUTENGEL gets more successfully than ever before. On "Labyrinth" BLUTENGEL still offering their known formula by offering classic compositions with catchy melodies, Futurepop-like easy-to-consume arrangements and the clear vocal performance by Chris and his two female counterparts, Constanze Rudert and Ulrike Goldmann. Why slapping that cow before it stops to give milk? Of course, the sound quality is top-notch and crystal-clear, so are the vocals and several tracks offer a great singing-along-the-chorus-attitude ("Dreamland", "Shame") – but stop! Before I start complaining that nothing changes this sultry program, the track "Body Move" differs the most from the usually BLUTENGEL-recordings. Quite harder bass lines and a manipulated vocal performance by Chris give this track the required mood to figure out the desire of the lyrics. Not a high-end layered composition of an Electro/EBM-track, but a difference to interrupt a bit the mood of the BLUTENGEL empire. At least and as a conclusion, BLUTENGEL can surely impress the 14-years-young Goth-newbies the most with their rather simple-minded song structures and arrangements, while others may accept this album as the right soundtrack to recover after a broken relation at a dark autumn day. Nothing to spectacular, simply a new BLUTENGEL-album. In latest news, this album could climb on some high positions in the German album sale charts, congrats.


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