Music Reviews

VV.AA.: Negative Impact v0.1

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 17 2006
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Negative Impact v0.1
Format: CD
Label: PfF Productions
Rated: *****
The actual impact of this compilation of bush-league Industrial bands, while not exactly "negative," more accurately strikes somewhere between "positive" and "ridiculous." Six of the ten artists on this 18-song sampler come from the Chicago area, all presumably under the Third Wave Collective umbrella, and are or were participants in the Chicago "Dark Gathering" events that this CD commemorates.

There are many plusses: track two, "ROSB" by N.U.T.E. rocks good and hard. Two cuts later, "Retinal Fetish" by Infinity Interrupt has a great, dream-like extended finish that includes creepy whispering and samples that recall Front Line Assembly's "Lethal Compound." A moment of nocturnal pastoral splendor erupts from track 11, CEOXiME's "One:15" -- which is exactly how long it lasts, sadly enough. Soon afterwards there follows a short, sharp, scathing attack on the Bush Administration by Things Outside the Skin ("American Way"), and a passably slick and slippery "World of Morphine" by the Off World Kick Murder Squad. Am22 turn in a sweet and slinky new-wave/old-rave flavored "Secrets," yet their bizarrely comical vocal deliveries on "Greed" and "Virus" only end up as laughable parodies of menace. BioCarbon13's vocals amount to a poor impression of Joy Division's Ian Curtis on "You Shook Me Cold" (no relation or resemblance to Bowie's "She Shook Me Cold"), and remain hilariously limp and unconvincing on the last track, "Shut Up." Jilt and GBX sound suspiciously like they have the same Rob Zombie-sounding singer, but their more rocking songs ("Release" and "Rocket") work well. However, Jilt's programming craftsmanship comes completely unglued in "Night-Blind."

Negative Impact v0.1 is, to say the least, not likely to be the pinnacle of your listening experience, but be advised -- it's got songs worth checking out (about half of these artists are on MySpace). Positive OR negative, the only guarantee is that there's no way to stay neutral upon hearing it.


 Posted by Marc Tater   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 16 2006
Artist: ESTRANGE (@)
Title: Interim
Format: CD
Label: Life Is Painful Records (@)
Distributor: Infrarot Mailorder
Rated: *****
It took 10 yeas in absence until Marcus Lilja could decide to start a comeback after his first album on the long-time out of business Swedish label October Records. Now he returns on the German label Life Is Painful Records and this release marks the 10th of this label, which also was a long time in hiatus. So with this background the listeners outside may expect a pure Synthpop album, which is so typical and often produced in Sweden. Well, it is Synthpop, but with edges and an organic attitude. Marcus proves his musical talents well by including guitars, piano and harmonica sounds next to the expected synth work in his songs – and he has played all these instruments by himself. I’m pretty astonished by this multi-talented musician, he has also some well thought lyrics to offer. It’s surely not the purest happiness he provides us here, some very depressive pieces obviously dealing with the pain of the loss of a beloved on a funeral ("Consolation Song") or the last seconds of a life ("Smoother" – let’s take another doze of morphine...) are not designed for the faint-hearted. To catch the completely scale this fine album has to offer takes some more rotations until some tracks like "Slide" or "Anything Else" prove their "singing-along-the-lines-attitude. Strange also that none of the tracks seems to start a hunt for some dancefloor compatiblity, with the few exceptions like the opener "Convictions" or "Down Here". With respect to the fact that this album has taken 10 years of getting produced, it seems to me like a review or a confession of some past and personal things which happened in Marcus’ life. This album deserves respect and attention although I’m not sure if the Synthpop fans will accept this mostly sad effort, which tries hard to break with some conventions. For me it’s musically and lyrically one of the finest albums out in 2006!!!

NOYCE™: Coma

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 16 2006
Artist: NOYCE™ (@)
Title: Coma
Format: CD
Label: In-D Records (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Only after the first listening I went to my CD collection to have a look and a listen of their past works. Why the fuck wasn’t I impressed with their last EP "White Hypnotized Noise" at all? What has changed in this almost 7 years, that this German act is now able to write and produce a top-notch Synth-/Futurepop-inspired full-length album? It may has something to do with musically maturity and experience through the years, because "Coma" stands for one of the releases this genre has to offer. Diversity and a good taste in the arrangements are well included on all tracks here, catchy and danceable Futurepop pieces like "Karmacoma" or "Headland" are presented in a united kind with ballad-like themes ("Wachcoma") or darker pieces like "Year 03". Especially the included orchestral-like string sounds to the end of this track can add a bombastic feeling. The lyrics are presented in both English and German language (the content of "Mensch" hits the content of the famous German Pop/Rock star H. Grönemeyer!!!) without providing banal verses, also the globally theme on the not only clinical meant coma of humanity is well chosen. NOYCE hit the nail with this modern and up-to-date produced album and should be soon get heard in all alternative and relevant clubs. It also works well at your home entertainment, so congrats to the new label In-D Records. I think they couldn’t start with a better release like this!

EMPLOSIA: Emplosia

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 11 2006
Artist: EMPLOSIA (@)
Title: Emplosia
Format: CD
Label: Q-Code Records (@)
Rated: *****
I don’t want to be offensive because I like Emplosia, but listening to a Russian female duo that plays electro pop it made me think about T.A.T.U. There’s nothing wrong about this but fortunately Emplosia aren’t sell out and their music is far more darker respect the one of the two fake lesbians. Anyway... Darja and Julia formed Emplosia back in 2000 and since then they only participated to several compilations as their self named album is their debut work. Since the first track "Tocka" the sound of the duo shows the right attitude by presenting cool melodies, a certain dancey upbeat rhythm plus an electro e.b.m. sound with synthpop attitude. The 13 tracks of the album (you can find also two good extra remixes of "Mhe Bbl" reworked by Babymax and by Inner Conflict) denote a good taste about melody a good production and the right balance between accessibility and quality. Do you remember Depeche Mode’s songs like "My secret garden" or "Leave in silence"? That perfect way of producing melodic songs with a certain dark attitude is present into Emplosia music and this is stunning! I only hope they will get the exposure they deserve!

SoovaNeer: In The Master's Hands

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 08 2006
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Artist: SoovaNeer (@)
Title: In The Master's Hands
Format: CD
Label: KingdomCAME
Rated: *****
SoovaNeer (aka Erika Simmons) is a proactive multi-talented beautiful black woman who is an entrepreneur who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. This Birmingham, Alabama native is the creator and producer of her own urban reality weekly television show & entertainment company called "KingdomCame", written two religious books, and directed recording artists music videos, including her own. Her debut cd release "In The Master's Hands" comes across between secular r&b and contemporary christian r&b with heavy synthesizers and a drum machine fully used with the sound of an 80's feel. SoovaNeer offers an excellent product for the older crowd who grew up listening to good music from the 80's. Her songs indeed is about empowerment; one's need to take control of his/her life to avoid any negative situations that will lead to the state of sadness & depression. The songs on disc touches different subjects what everyone face in their everyday life; from troubled relationships, betrayals in friendships, being weak by falling in love, and cornered by the society that harrass and ridicule us. The first track "Mommy Don't Wanna Play" talks about a guy who's a player and be scheming and trying to hit on a woman with his lies and boring lame lines. The next track "That's What You Git" is a catchy song that will play in your head over and over and over again with a sense of humour about a woman dissing a guy she used to go with and he begs her back, but still gets decline. Other favorites includes the self-titled "In The Master's Hands", a contemporary christian r&b with a funk feel". The single "Good Stuff" is another catchy track with only a retro 80's beat while SoovaNeer showing off her deep feminine octave vocals. The second single "Love Chose Me" have that beautiful Anita Baker emotional feeling; and the third single "Danger" is a powerful club r&b pop music fitting for the black and white audience. SoovaNeer have a strong deep beautiful sensuous voice reminiscent of Anita Baker, Grace Jones, Tina Turner, Nina Simone, Chaka Kahn, Toni Braxton, Lisa Fischer, Gladys Knight, and the late great Phyllis Hyman who committed suicide back in 1995. A spell binding release with beauty, emotion, and passion, and direct without cutting corners. If you like r&b from the 80's, this is a must have. SoovaNeer brings back that old school electronic synth flava and lyrics with real meaning.

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