Music Reviews



Aug 09 2007
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Artist: The Club of Rome (@)
Title: Full Fathom Five
Format: CD EP
Rated: *****
Amazing 6-track cdr-ep by Atlanta's Club Of Rome, a band whose music could be described as a lo-fi mayhem halfaway between Nervous Gender's hysterical synth punk and the more fucked up side of Black Dice. "Sunday Gospel" is the first one on the ep and reveals all their twisted sense of humour, it is a real gospel recited with a distorted and emphatic voice. "Let's Go USA" is a depraved rock'n'roll rant washed in meth and alcohol, and resembles early Chrome (!!) with floating tapestries made by cheaply distorted electronics. My favourite here is "The Ballad of Phil Spector" that seems a perfect 00s update to Suicide's lesson. That being said, you just have to look at the pictures on their myspace (http://www.myspace.com/theclubofrome) to know that COR are the perfect people to hang out with. And hey! They share the name with one of the many alter-egos of Asmus Tietchens'... but I doubt they bother.

Kluster Cold: The First Halagenous Lights

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 02 2007
Artist: Kluster Cold
Title: The First Halagenous Lights
Format: CD
Rated: *****

This album is taken whole and over flows with 80's music idea; the tone, structure and melodic progression. An instrumental synth-pop with a movie soundtrack twist. So outstanding with some impulse tunes. Italian Kluster Cold draws out a full substantial sound that injects emotions and pinned with the early likes of OMD and Gary Numan and a few other synthesizers pioneers, but KC stands alone in the 21st century from the other new synth-pop artists. The music ful-fills the role of a competent electronic artist that makes unpredictable and dynamic range compositions, tidy modulation, oscillators and synths cliches so forth. The track "Requiem" gives off a ghostly haunting funeral feel. "Existence" and "Minimal Season" resembles the very early of OMD. The suspense thriller tracks "In His Whimper Rain" and "Telephone Murder" shows off a dramatic crafting power delivering punctual art. "The First Halogenous Lights" album nurtures competent, honesty, and pretentious with uniqueness.

HARALD BOSH: Die Sonne Scheint Für Alle Umsonst

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 31 2007
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Artist: HARALD BOSH
Title: Die Sonne Scheint Für Alle Umsonst
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Dercho Music (@)
There are more and more people in the international Electro/Goth/Industrial scene sharing the opinion, that nowadays every act can be successful if even the right and effective promotion stands behind it. Labels have lost in times of an unbreakable technically development a bit of their meaning thanks to the rise of communities like Myspace etc. I don’t know if Harald has already a Myspace account to present his music efforts, but nevertheless the promotional efforts of his label, the German mail order service Dercho Music seem to work fine so far. After the three-track SiCD with the same title, they like to release this first full-length album packed in a beautiful digi-pack, together with a special bonus-DVD featuring all album tracks in live versions (where’s the audience, by the way???) plus several other goodies and "situations" – to name it friendly, if you’re interested in Harald’s trips to Munich airport or Stuttgart’s inner city, Harald in the studio doing nonsense, Harald drives home in an ICE train, Harald pulls faces, etc. – what a waste of money! What I’ve already expected after the SiCD has finally happened – several online resources, web and printed magazines haven’t left any good comment on Harald and his efforts – obviously he and his kind to sing and perform has left a lot controversy. Some so-called journalists even missed the target and have fallen into rants up to insults – well, this is nothing more than a sad proof, that the so-called "open-for-everyone" Electro/Goth/Industrial scene isn’t at all that open-minded as we all may have hoped for. Black or white ideology in limited dimensions only following the hypes has at least invaded this part of the music scene too, although – and I admit it honesty – Harald’s efforts are a special sort, which are in the first instance difficult to describe, in the second instance hard to accept in all terms of his production. Even if it comes to accept his German/Russian accent (he’s born in Omsk, Siberia) providing an opera-like vocal performance, some first doubts on the seriousness behind this production are coming in. The German lyrics often turn into nonsense as well (I was about to name "Sucht" as being an outstanding track musically and lyrically – until the final verse leads the scenario: "Küss mich bitte ich bin Dein Frosch"...). If intentional or not, he acts a bit like a comedian – I would tend to call him the parrot under the Electro/Goth musicians. The music itself, done by DWR 2009 and A. Krull (ATROCITY), is fair enough produced in that case that you don’t expect anything innovative. For this review I like to avoid it, if this music and the product "Harald Bosh" is any "good" or "bad" – check the website, listen to some files and judge for yourself.

THE GARLAND CULT: Protect Yourself From Hollywood

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 19 2007
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Artist: THE GARLAND CULT (@)
Title: Protect Yourself From Hollywood
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: NinthWave Records (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Quite interesting to recognize is the fact, that regarding this music project our very own magazine is one of the best informed resources. Maurizio Pustianaz, our honorable Italian Chain D.L.K.-God, has conducted through the years interviews and reviews regarding this and the main project EMPIRE STATE HUMAN. Even better to read is the fact that an interview with Aidan Casserly of THE GARLAND CULT done early 2006 offers already a lot of info regarding this album here, which I hold now by chance in my hands. Plus, to make all the praising hymns complete, Aidan himself has contributed to our magazine with some proofreading procedures.
Therefore I should admit in advance that I haven’t discovered stuff about this project as well as of EMPIRE STATE HUMAN before. As I mentioned before, THE GARLAND CULT is an EMPIRE STATE HUMAN side-project founded by the both ESH members Aidan Casserly and Lar Kiernan. This release also marks the return of the US-based Ninthwave label back on top of the international Synth-/Futurepop scene, and several more upcoming releases of this label shall prove this as well.
Coming to the facts, the first shock causes the conspicuous pink cover art and the use of some "veteran"-like letters, which remind me rather on some early-70ies "Saturday Night Fever" disco influences than on modern sounding Synthpop music. Okay, the music itself provides a well-balanced mixture out of Pop art, Synthpop and Electronica, while some retro-like influences can’t be discussed away. "Wonderland"-like ERASURE meets BRONSKI BEAT meats AUTO AUTO, well, something like this may works for a comparison. This product rises and falls – as so many Synthpop-productions - with the quality of the well tuned timbre of Aidan Casserly, who offers his vocals a register higher than a linear-A23-octave. At times dangerously near to Mr. Andy Bell ("Style"), but hey – with that sweet timbre it is required to sing at its best! That’s real talent – no doubt! The track "All Good Things" – available in two different versions – opens this CD and this piece marks to me already the highlight. Catchy as hell with a "singing-along-the-refrain"-attitude and some synth bass lines which work successfully against the melodic content – a real smasher!
"Impossible" then turns more into a dancefloor-compatible Futurepop track, while I’m not to much fond of the cover version on the 80ies classic track "Self Control", the slower provided original still offers a more thrilling mood to me. Another favorite to me is the carefree sounding "Pity Party", which slows down the tempo and sounds generally a bit darker. THE GARLAND CULT have chosen five different producers to help them out with the recordings on this album – surely not a proof for cohesion.
Their main producer is QUBIC and this reminds me to mention, that this is a DCD – on the second CD, entitled "QUBIC Goes To Hollywood" you’ll get 5 revamped tracks ("Impossible", "Style", "Monomania", "All Good Things" and "Self Control", which offer more food for the lazy DJ’s. All of this 5 tracks got remixed and drilled to satisfy your inner need for some dancefloor action – in that case if the "normal" recordings of the band aren’t straight enough to your taste. What’s to add? Well, this Dublin-based duo offers the right disc to fulfil all Synthpop-related expectations and this so-called side-project can easily reach the same success and request like the main project.

Next Life: Electric Violence

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 11 2007
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Artist: Next Life
Title: Electric Violence
Format: CD
Label: Cock Rock Disco (@)
Rated: *****

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Not unlike predecessors Ec8or or Atari Teenage Riot, Next Life's 14-track opus of short, aggressive keyboard-crunch attacks represents a combinaton of the ultimate of artiness in Electronica plus all the mayhem of the video gaming realm. The songs from this young Oslo-based duo (Hai Nguyen Dinh and Tormod Christensen), spare and stripped down as Scandinavian furniture, are all starkly minimal keyboard instrumentals hitting out in every sonic direction, accompanied by Metal guitar. In fact, their record company's website description of them as "Gameboy Deathmetal" is probably the most apt. Sounds that imitate cheap chirping telephones (track 10, "Circle and Star") or a screechy old dial-up modem (track 13, "The Way Out") make it clear that these boys enjoy making monsters out of junk tech. Meter and rhythm change-ups in these mainly 2-1/2-minutes-or-less compositions move fast enough to make you nauseous, but nevertheless most have a (dare I say it) jazzy or symphonic melodic quality, with progressions you can follow. Pure, frenetic speed is set off by a couple of twin slow tracks of twinkly synth bells, "Under Water" and "Storm" (tracks 5 and 12), recalling "Star 6 & 7,8,9" from the first Orb album -- a possible nod to Ambient influence. The CD comes with a short series of live concert video clips, a nice little bonus. Their puerile brashness borders on dischord, but Next Life are earnestly not trying to be unlistenable; they have immense future potential and there is complexity and method to the madness. In this case, you can take their enthusiasm at face value and come out ahead.


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