Music Reviews



TECHNOIR: Manifesto

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 06 2006
cover
Artist: TECHNOIR (@)
Title: Manifesto
Format: CD EP
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
A new signing for the Belgium-based label Alfa Matrix – where could be a more decent label to sign with, if you’re a female-leaded Synthpop/Electro/Industrial act? So is TECHNOIR, consisting of Julia Beyer (vocals) and Steffen Gehring, and this act is for sure one of the leaders in their genre, thanks to their past collaboration with the now defunct Bloodline label. Especially Julia Beyer we have lately well discovered on her guest vocalism contribution to the last ROTERSAND EP. With this "Manifesto" EP they come back after a longer break and they show their talent like they’ve never been really away. "Manifesto" is a decent and melodic Synthpop piece and this track here gets some great remix works done by peoples and acts not only based in the Electro/Industrial genre. We have here the House specialists DELOBBO who proves his great technically abilities plus also the German Synthpop institution of BEBORN BETON is well presented. Second main track of this EP is the track "Silence" featured with two remixes created by the Russian DJ RAM and the Hip-Hop producer RABAUKE. For the third track "Liar" we have scene-related remix contributions by Daniel Myer (haujobb.) and ROTERSAND. The eighth and last track is a new version of the track "Breathe" done by TECHNOIR themselves. I prefer somehow always the original works of the band, although the DELOBBO remix gets my vote for the best work here. But the originals give the best impression to the upcoming full length CD on which we can now eagerly waiting for. TECHNOIR have made a good teaser to start a new chapter of their successful journey so far.

VV.AA.: Accession Records Vol. 3

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 05 2006
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Accession Records Vol. 3
Format: CD
Label: Accession Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
Rated: *****
Their 10th year of existence this well known German label likes to celebrate with a new compilation presenting all active acts in their roster. It can and should make the people behind this label proud to resist all good and bad happenings in this shark-infiltrated indoor pool we call music business. Also the nice growing roster of quality bands should offer a satisfying look back – but also an optimistic look into the next 10 years. Packaged in a nice carton digi-pack and specially designed by userdx.de, this compilation features only new and still unreleased stuff. We might hear one or another track soon on upcoming single releases of the presented bands here, but this comp works well as being a teaser of things to come. The Slovenian act SILENCE (please check our new interview here...) has the honor to offer two instrumental pieces at the start and at the end of this comp. They completely surprised me with two tracks featuring mainly thick synth layers and some distorted rhythm patterns with a strong dedication to some GRIDLOCK works – a really new facet in their marvelous work I haven’t expected. One of the leading acts of this label, [:SITD:] presenting us a new and reworked "2K6" version of their track "Area 51" which combines danceable beats and an excellent synth play ala SUICIDE COMMANDO’s "Mortal Combat" intro sequence plus a remarkable melodic content. Their usually fine stuff and kind – always and ever listened again! Also the Hamburg-based newcomer FADERHEAD gives us a straight and danceable new piece called "Bassgod" in their usual style by reducing the bass lines to the minimal required effort, an excellent and crystal-clear mixing and the attacking voice of the singer – hefty mass motions on the floor guaranteed! DIARY OF DREAMS – well, Wave/Goth Rock was never my preference – offer a luckily electronic-driven and enjoyable piece with varied vocal insertions between smooth and melodic up to rough and energetic. PANZER AG, the solo project of Andy LaPlegua, also comes with a new piece called "Gateway". Why the fuck hasn’t he offered this track on his last full length "Your World Is Burning" instead of experimenting with some Country/Western inspired themes? This well done track would offer any better rating and is a proof of his talent. Comes then with "Make My Day" a new stomping Dark Electro track done by one of my label favs, PAINBASTARD. As usual hard, danceable and near to the required perfection to enter the hall of fame of the big players like :WUMPSCUT: and SUICIDE COMMANDO. There are also still some acts in the stable of Accession records which I haven’t discovered before. HUMAN DECAY is one of these acts offering a decent Futurepop piece. DIORAMA also show a danceable Electro piece which flows well with already discovered flow of this compilation. PSYCHE aka Darrin Huss is still alive, although this legend can surely soon go into pension. Not for the music of course, PSYCHE presenting with themselves with "Absolute" more alive then ever, also thanks to the still charismatic voice of Darrin. BELIEF comes next, also an act I haven’t discovered before, offering again a Futurepop-inspired piece near to the almighty ASSEMBLAGE 23 pattern. Tom Shear then comes next with a new track called "Decades" – although it is the typical A23 track heard often before, he simply shows his followers his reached and deserved status easily. Also for me personally and my relation to A23 it’s the 10th anniversary, because in 1996 I discovered him for the first time on a compilation of the US label Arts Industria. The Danish/German collaboration LIGHTS OF EUPHORIA also returns with a light Electro piece "Emptyness (Accession To Euphoria Mix)" until the latest discovered Norwegian act SPEKTRALIZED comes along with a new cut named "Strange Reactions". No strange reaction from my side, it’s the best Synth-/Futurepop here – somehow these Scandinavians have the better feeling for decent and working melody lines. Comes then to an end ANGELS OF VENICE with Wave-inspired "Primitive Kiss (Accession Version)" featuring some real violin strings, clear male vocals and a mood reminding me to some works of THE ESCAPE, finally then the already mentioned SILENCE, still string-leaded, but this time without the disruptive rhythms. So we have as the final result amore than satisfying compilation proving once again the excellent quality. I’m missing Tom Shear’s side-project NERVE FILTER a bit, but it has my understanding that A23 has priority. Lets also hope that a fine day cut.rate.box will make a comeback and join again this strong stable of Accession Records. Let’s start to discover the unknown territories of the next 10 years!


01 SILENCE | Present, Unexistent
02 [:SITD:] | AREA 51 [2K6]
03 FADERHEAD | Bassgod
04 DIARY OF DREAMS | leb-los!
05 PANZER AG | Gateway
06 PAINBASTARD | Make my day
07 HUMAN DECAY | Grievance again
08 DIORAMA | The pulse of life
09 PSYCHE | Absolute
10 BELIEF | Changer
11 ASSEMBLAGE 23 | Decades
12 LIGHTS OF EUPHORIA | Emptyness (Accession to Euphoria Mix)
13 SPEKTRALIZED | Strange Reactions
14 ANGELS OF VENICE | Primitive Kiss
15 SILENCE | Veronika - End Score

WELLE:ERDBALL: Chaos Total

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 01 2006
cover
Artist: WELLE:ERDBALL
Title: Chaos Total
Format: CD
Label: Synthetic Symphony (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
WELLE:ERDBALL – for some enjoyment, for others grief. I was mostly parted with their works inspired by a strong dedication between C64 sounds, German lyrics and a strong influence out of the Eighties and the NDW times. Oldest KRAFTWERK or TANGARINE DREAM also have had some musically influence on the band and there’s for sure to say that their kind is somehow unique. With "Chaos Total" they offer here a new full length CD featuring 20 tracks, a playing of more than 70 minutes and so the whole space a CD can offer. Here are to find some real pearls like the melodious track ""Pouppée de Cire" featuring the French female one-hit-wonder France Gall on the vocals. Both dancefloor hits are also available here named "Nur tote Frauen sind schön" and more especially "Alpha-Tier (C=64)", which is a hardcoristic EBM piece at its best! Check also out the funny "Das Souvenir" where WELLE:ERDBALL move back on their time journey into the earlier tries of electronic-based music to the good old 60ties. WELLE:ERDBALL somehow play with all time eras of electronic music, but rather from the first beginnings than to the newest high-end plug-in synthesizers. Music, message and kind transmit well the feeling of the young 80ties with almost facets of Pop/Wave music up to minimal old-school EBM. For some greenhorns they may offer a nice retro view of some past days, the elders against to this see their glorious days alive.

MASSIV IN MENSCH: Klang Der Unsterblichkeit

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 01 2006
cover
Artist: MASSIV IN MENSCH (@)
Title: Klang Der Unsterblichkeit
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Artoffact (@)
Rated: *****
I should admit that this "release" is a digital-only download item available on iTunes or related. But the label Artoffact from Canada made themselves the effort to send it out as a promotional copy, so there’s no real reason, not to review it. As usual, you have to take a MASSIV IN MENSCH release with a sense of humor. This 6-track EP is a teaser to the upcoming full length CD "Clubber Lang" of this German act, also out soon on Artoffact. And of course – like expected – this release features almost straight produced stuff somewhere between EBM and Futurepop with both lyrics in German and English to storm the dancefloors of the clubs. But it’s doubtful if this "sound of immortality" deserves its name – if so, I wanna die immediately! It’s a dance track available in two versions, yes, but reduced to the message itself and so not a compositional highlight. The second version, a remix work done by THE PROMISE, concentrates a bit more on the music part which is a wise decision. We have then a cover of the female German Pop music icon Sandra and her big media Control hit "Around My Heart", which I would review funny but irrelevant. Same I would say about the featured live version on another classic hit "You’re The Greatest Lover." These both pieces would work well at a drunken beach party. Finally there two more tracks, which can satisfy, a Re-Edit of the track "Morsch" and a B-side named "Secret Side", which features some well done tempo changes. To poke fun on scene to which this act of course counts is not always the fine kind and does not always earn respect. MASSIV IN MENSCH will for sure go on in their style, so lets look forward to the upcoming boxer story of "Clubber Lang".

CAMOUFLAGE: Relocated

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (2900)
Jul 23 2006
cover
Artist: CAMOUFLAGE (@)
Title: Relocated
Format: CD
Label: Synthetic Symphony (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
The name of this German Synthpop trio will always stay in a common line with their most recognized single hit like "The Great Commandment" or "Love Is A Shield". These are classics taken out of the 80ies, still alive and still often on airplay. Their biggest success indeed they could earn later on with better sales of their full length releases and sold-out concerts and tours. Also on "Relocated" this fine trio, luckily still consisting in their old formation of Heiko Maile, Marcus Meyn and Oliver Kreyssig, proves from the first to the last tone that they have nothing unlearnt. I would rather tend to say they moved towards to a highest possible status of quality regarding all important stages of production. The best point on this: it is still Synthpop in its classic form and meaning, there are only a few pieces tending into an Alternative/Rock/Pop outcome like "Confusion" or "Something Wrong" here. May also "We Are Lovers" and my favorite for the next SiCD release after the already announced "Motif Sky", "Passing By" can be easily filled into this, but to me personally these both tracks prove, that CAMOUFLAGE haven’t stopped to listen to the Basildon boys of DEPECHE MODE after "Violator". As I said, "Motif Sky" has received the vote to be released as a teaser in advance of this album – and I’m not sure if this was the right decision. I have found several more impressive tracks which also would do well as a teaser. Check back tracks the ballad-desque and slow "Real Thing", the real Synthpop pearl "The Pleasure Remains" or the long last piece "How Do You Feel?" featuring a special Gospel choir in the back. Well, you see already on this review, that there’s much more to discover on this 13 tracks here. For every Synthpop supporter a real must-have piece, CAMOUFLAGE are back and stronger than ever before!


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