Music Reviews



SD6: Between Noise And Transmission

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 10 2007
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Artist: SD6 (@)
Title: Between Noise And Transmission
Format: CD
Label: 23 DB (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
A new release for Tom Shear’s 23DB label – well, I’m a bit surprised by this. I rather thought he would release acts near his friendship (LOST SIGNAL) or projects in which he's involved in like his fine and underrated NERVE.FILTER project. But by listening to the offered quality which the originally Portland-based SD6 is capable to bring on, I can totally understand him that he couldn’t resist to give this talented act a home. SD6 is a two female/one male-project consisting of Brendan Jerwa, Jessica Blackshear and Nicole Edmonds and has been built up already in 2002. Being the survivors of the ADSR-recording artist OMNIBOX, Brendan and Jessica could pick up Nicole with a move to Seattle and so enter new inspiration. Thanks to the fact that Brendan could break-through as a comic book author, this debut release has taken its time. Tom Shear was chosen to do the production and mastering of this release, which offers for a debut an amazing routine placed into all components like arrangements, sounds and lyrical content. Of course, it is musically based on Synth-, Future- or Electropop, very much influenced of Tom’s ASSEMBLAGE 23 project, or COVENANT, or SEABOUND – but I guess any other style would be surprising, wouldn’t it? Brandon’s well suited vocals are coming clear and understandable through the mix, also conspicuous is the kind of their rhythm and drum pattern programming featuring several Breakbeat or D’n’B influences ("Fallen" or the amazing final track "Free") – a strong preference for them against to some comparable European acts. Danceable tunes like "Believe" or "Timestream" should animate the dancefloor-junkies to some action, while the highlight can be named in the sentimental "The World Divide", one of the best pieces ever written and arranged in this genre!!! Not to forget the only one track featuring female-leaded vocals "Untruth", another fine example of the transformation ability this band can offer. Congrats to both, band and Tom, for a release which would be a jewel in the stable of every label around. With more upcoming releases in this quality, 23DB will grow to be the elite label this genre has to offer.

TECHNOIR: Deliberately Fragile

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 08 2007
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Artist: TECHNOIR (@)
Title: Deliberately Fragile
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
The German male/female duo of TECHNOIR, presents us here their new full-length CD after their appetizing EP release "Manifesto", which got released in August 2006. Like you may expected, they play a catchy sort of Synthpop/Electronic dance music. While this EP scored enormous and could enter the German Alternative Charts thanks to the included club hits "Manifesto", "Silence" or "Liar", the expectations in between have been grown. TECHNOIR globally manage hard to satisfy this expectations and offer a quality release mostly driven by Julia’s melodious vocals well integrated in Steffen’s constant good synth play. With the track "Dying Star" they’ve also created a piece which can follow the way "Manifesto" has taken. Also included are some rather ballad-like arranged and heart-felting tracks like "Near You", a mysterious piece thanks to some ominous placed synth layers like "Darkest Days" and with the instrumental work "Beatitudes" Steffen’s abilities as a musician are asked for. Catchy and melodic Synthpop – yes - but Pop music, which can drive them near to some major chart positions – I guess rather no! Like with many releases this genre has to offer, it doesn’t really wonder that this album has found open ears at the Alfa-Matrix headquarter. Music along the expected line...

MIND:STATE: bbbc2x

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 02 2007
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Artist: MIND:STATE (@)
Title: bbbc2x
Format: CD EP
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
First EP release for this Swedish newcomer signed to the Belgium Alfa-Matrix label group. MIND:STATE is the solo project of Per Holmström and he provides us his version of danceable Electro/Industrial music – as expected after some compilation appearances – pretty much along the same formula which made acts like ASSEMBLAGE 23 that big and appreciated. Also in the kind how Per provides his good sounding male vocals here allows for sure to take those comparisons. Recorded and produced under the magically hands of Len Lemeire (IMPLANT), 4 new tracks are featured on this EP, and the most catchiest track "Close Your Eyes" gets my vote for being the best tune here. Also 4 remix works are featured here, which don’t leave you unimpressed. Great to see and hear the US cult act CUT.RATE.BOX back in front of the scene offering here the finest remix works on the track "Black Angel". Thumbs up also for both works of STATE OF THE UNION and IMPLANT, while the remix of AURAL VAMPIRE moves far away from the original. This one provides minimal 303-like bass lines – interesting work, but it tends to burden the melodic content of the original. Catchy arranged lighter Electro music for sure without any loss of quality, but Per has to take the reproach not to work out a sound which the audience hasn’t discovered before. An own signature and authentic style is still missed, also after this four tracks. Nevertheless it’s a good appetizer for the first full-length album "Decayed, Rebuilt" which doesn’t shrink the expectations.

CLIENT: Lights Go Out

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 02 2007
cover
Artist: CLIENT
Title: Lights Go Out
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
The signing of the relatively known female-leaded act CLIENT to the German Out Of Line label is for sure a strike of a genius. Without doubt, after the not expected success with AND ONE here comes the next smash hit guaranty and it shouldn’t wonder the scene any longer that some structures of the Out Of Line labels tend to work and act like a Major label. Time will tell, if they really can reach this status, but with some fine Pop art releases like this CLIENT SiCD featuring the title track and the fantastic b-side "Northern Soul" in their original versions, I lately don’t have any doubts on this. Much more dedicated to storm the international sales Charts like the mentioned AND ONE, plus the produced video to satisfy the all-time MTV/VIVA youth generation. No longer worries from my side that the given further three remix works can’t follow in any way and kind the quality of the bands’ own compositions (very courageous to let the old-school EBM duo SPETSNAZ providing a remix on this Pop/Alternative tune...).German Media Control Charts, here we go now, good luck for this exposure!

ASTARIEL: Let's Kill Fame

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 27 2006
Artist: ASTARIEL (@)
Title: Let's Kill Fame
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Rated: *****
Astariel is the personal musical project of A. Taylor. He sent me this CDr and I don't know if its already commercially available. I doubt this has been released by a label, because the sound is a bit rough even if functional. Anyway... Astariel plays something between electro wave influenced by Bowie, Marc Almond and The Associates. He's quite good and his tunes are catchy melancholic minimal electro pop/rock songs. With a little bit of production he will find a wide audience. You can check his three tunes on his myspace page at www.myspace.com/astariel.


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