Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA
Title: Elaste Vol.1 - Slow Motion Disco
Format: CD
Label: Compost Records (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Rated: *****

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On late 70s / early 80s Italy was living an economical recession and also the social climax was tense. Red brigades, workers’ strikes and political changes were the common headlines of the newspapers (things seem didn’t change that much, huh?). Music was also changing radically with the born of punk and the death of big rock bands. Also dance music was affected by a wave of fresh air and styles were fading one into the other. If you check bands like The Giants, Rockets (with their major hits "Electric delight" or "Galactica") or "Dinasty" by Kiss you’ll realize that also rock music was fascinated by dance music of the likes of Diana Ross (is it a case if she had been Gene Simmons’ girlfriend for a while?), Barry White or Earth Wind & Fire. Dance halls where places where people were consuming their Saturday rite and Baia Degli Angeli in Rimini was Italy’s famous place. After its closing (due for drug reasons) DJ Daniele Baldelli decided to propose the same innovative sounds founding a new club: Cosmic. Here new genres born. Italodisco, Cosmic or Afrofunky were few of them and mixing Krautrock, Industrial or Funk wasn’t a problem at all. Nowadays DJ Mooner (member of Zombie Nation, Hart Of Noise, Zombocombo and owner of the Erkrankung label) decided to revive the genre by compiling an album of those records that defined the Cosmic way of spinning records. Tracks that had 80-105 BPM rhythms (for this reason the compilation is titled "Slow motion disco") and that blended synth spacey tunes, funky rhythms and rock melodies. The eleven tracks included have been released through the 1978/1984 period and along with well known 80’s bands such as Chris & Cosey (here included with "This is me" from their "Heartbeat" album) and Heaven 17 (you can find their "I’m you money" coming from their 12" released just before "Penthouse & Pavement") you can find The Rah Band (with their particular afro funky instrumental "Electric fling"), Clive Stevens & Brainchild ("Mistery mix – remix" is their track. This is really 80’s space rock also because searching with Google about Clive Stevens I read that he was fond on ufology), Love International ("Dance on the groove – and do the funk" is their funky hymn), Doctor’s Cat (here included a DJ Mooner edit of their "Crash", a tune sounding like a Chinese electro pop tune. Taken from their album "Gee Wiz", released by Discotto on 1984), Logic System (Hideki Matsutake, collaborator with Yellow Magic Orchestra, produced different albums with this moniker and "Clash – Chinjyu if sun" is his tribute to robotic space electronica), Memory Control One (M. Noe mix of their track "Basic", Beppe Loda created the track with Francesco Boscolo and he describe their style as Italo Synth), Peru (an electro instrumental electro easy listening tune titled "Oriental"), Eloy ("Horizons" is the track picked up for this German band of dancey progressive rock with female choruses like vocals) close the compilation a track by Chocolate Star titled "The pop", a sort of experimental funky tune with a bass and bottles as percussions. Even if I am an Italian guy, this compilation is a great discover and I suggest you to check out these great and sometimes particular tunes!

SEABOUND: Double-Crosser

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (3238)
Dec 04 2006
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Artist: SEABOUND (@)
Title: Double-Crosser
Format: CD
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Before I received the new full-length album of one of Germany’s Synth-/Futurepop-based leaders I could already read some first comments complaining that the new SEABOUND stuff wouldn’t be catchy and danceable enough in comparison to previous works of this act. Now, after listening several times to this new album, I must say, that the overall concept behind this album may doesn’t allow to sing about "sunshine-and-cutie-chicks" and to produce stuff which melodic content can grab attention. Professor of psychology, Frank M. Spinath here dissects lyrically in several parts his vision of betrayal and deception of the human mind – for me obviously, that all the "fun" is left out. Like on almost all works I’ve discovered so far from him, I really think, that his knowledge or wisdom he extracts with his music goes deeper, than what he may can read or has learned from his textbooks. If it depends on a simple autumn depression ("October Song", damned – an extendet version of this fine tune is required!!!) or up to breeding hate ("Traitor") doesn’t play a role – his efforts here seem to be a cure for him, also from personal experiences. Therefore it fits that the music produced by Martin Vorbrodt mostly doesn’t follow already known paths, I would qualify this new output being a subtle mixture between Synth-/Futurepop with Dark Electro, while not sliding into crude EBM attitudes. The arrangements are – as usual – fine and detailed worked out, some pieces really offer a spacey feeling thanks to rich included layer sounds ("Sapphire"). I agree with the included info sheet that with this release the acceptance and the success of SEABOUND internationally will grow - also the fact that Eskil Simonsson of the Swedish act COVENANT has produced two tracks is another proof of this. This is one of the fine Dependent releases, which made this label that sought-after - not too commercial-oriented and with the right sense for quality and rich art. Go out, and try hard to get the limited DCD edition featuring extra remix works by COVENANT, ROTERSAND and O. Wollschläger.

Onetwo: Instead

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (3236)
Dec 04 2006
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Artist: Onetwo (@)
Title: Instead
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Rough Trade Distribution
Rated: *****
This review covers a coming debut full-length release out in February 2K7. Behind ONETWO are hiding two well-known musicians, which can look back on a successful as well as pioneering work back to the 80ties with their represented projects. While it isn’t clear, who’s ONE and who’s TWO, we have on the main vocals Claudia Brücken, the female main voice of the German Bombast-Synthpop combo PROPAGANDA ("Dr. Mabuse", P-Machinery"). The music machinery of ONETWO is leaded by Paul Humphreys, one half of the legendary ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK, short OMD ("Maid Of Orleans", "So In Love"), whose mutual way with his partner Andrew McClusky ended in 1988 with the release of their last single "Dreaming" and a "Best of OMD" collection. McClusky later has released alone under the OMD moniker only one more album "Sugar Tax" in 1991. The question was and is: where have you been, Paul? Claudia meanwhile has tried to re-animate PROPAGANDA, but without success. She also has done some guest vocal appearances (ACT) and did record a solo album. So you might expect to get a combination of both outstanding talents presented musically and lyrically. Indeed, but this album offers more than this, both are working already for some time on mutual stuff and their long-time experience can be heard in every track, verse, chorus, part and note. This is high-quality Synthpop/Electropop, which should appeal all fans of the genre. Pleasing detailed arrangements unite with Claudia’s marvelous vocal performances ranging between energetic ("Have A Cigar") and sweet emotionally ("Heaven", which other title could this dreamy piece get???). Not to forget Paul, who's doing a fine job on front of the micro at "I Don’t Blame You", which proves that he can offer more than only some background vocals. A strong favorite for a possible SiCD co-release has to be named with "Cloud 9", which is by the way co-written by a totally unknown artist/composer named Martin L. Gore (DEPECHE MODE), who also has contributed the acoustic guitar sounds to this Synthpop pearl. One other piece "Kein Anschluß", the only one featuring German lyrics, reminds strong on some KRAFTWERK tunes ("Showroom Dummies") in the kind of arrangement. There are for sure several other pearls worth to check out, the divided opening track "The Theory Of Everything" or my personal favorite "A Vision In The Sky" which ends this outstanding release. A lot of productions out of this genre have to look on this as reference – maybe THE release of the coming year for the Synth/Electro-Pop genre!!!

DISMANTLED: Thanks For Everything

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (3231)
Dec 01 2006
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Artist: DISMANTLED
Title: Thanks For Everything
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
I should admit that this review stands a bit under the influence of a thread readable at the well-known Side-Line online forum, at which the artist and starter of this thread, Gary Zon himself, has asked the forum members to vote for him at an online resource – only to test, if there’s still enough recognition and acceptance for his DISMANTLED project. Lately he has built up a more commercial-oriented side-project called AERODRONE, and the first reactions of the audience seem to be quite good. At first I do not understand why this thread hadn’t got banned from the first posting on to the so-called "Plug Section" of this forum – because it is nothing else than a shameless self-plugging infiltrated with the sarcasm Gary Zon likes to spread with his last full-length CD "Standard Issue". Hard to believe that a well-known and highly anticipated act like DISMANTLED needs to ask for some votes. The Electro/Industrial scene and/or the music business generally isn’t responsible to save and warm someone’s ass. Out there are a lot of working – hard working – people leading a label with names like Dependent and Metropolis. These fine people have offered their attention and trust and have worked hard and a lot for DISMANTLED through the years. A lot of not-lesser talented acts out there would be proud and deserve the deals with which Mr. Zon likes to play his sarcastic games. Gary, try to remember why you got picked up and signed – right, it was that harder and darker sample-driven Electro/Industrial style. Labels like Dependent have seen and heard your talent, but to work with an artist to bring him out with a promising response needs at least three full-length albums in a nearly comparable style. Nothing against musically development - but what have you done album per album? Drastically changes now into pure, danceable, ordinary Futurepop – well, that isn’t what people and what your labels could expect. And so we come to the term of this review, these 5 tracks provided on this SiCD, another part of the DCI, the Dependent Club Invasion Vol. 3. "Thanks For Everything" is a second single release taken out of the third DISMANTLED album "Standard Issue". It is one of the better songs and thanks to the still happened success this album could earn, this release somehow makes sense. So here’s a new Club Version done by Krischan of ROTERSAND, which fills a bit the originally sparse included instrumentals – nice and effective work, as usual. Comes then a new Alternate Version created by Gary Zon himself – in comparison to the work of ROTERSAND it sounds like a – lets say it, first demo version. Two new tracks are created, on which "Spin" gets my vote for the best work here. Note, this is originally an AERODRONE track, but receives a special "Aerodrone to Dismantled Remix" with some cool vocoder effects on the vocals. At least we got another remix done by the US act CESIUM 137 offering some cool breakbeats asides the original. Globally this new output can’t leave the gray area of deep averages – compared to earlier DISMANTLED works including the mentioned debut and also "Post-Nuclear" it sounds quite unimpressed. If there’s really a small doze of seriousness behind that SL forum thread, Gary, you should indeed think to stop or to take a longer break for DISMANTLED. To fill the field with third-class Futurepop can’t be the target a talented man likes to reach. Think about passion and dedication – and let commercial-oriented aspects out for AERODRONE.

FLUX: Electric Woman + Protected

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (3226)
Nov 30 2006
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Artist: FLUX
Title: Electric Woman + Protected
Format: CD EP
Label: Na-no (@)
Rated: *****
I received a couple of CD from a new Finland label called Nano. Both the singles are from Flux but they seem produced by two different bands. The first single is ELECTRIC WOMAN: the main song is a tune that reminds me of the latest Karl Bartos tracks and the Tuohimaa and Markis L. remixes add to it a certain electro dance flavor without changing it too much. They added some rhythms plus some syth lines just to enhance the catchy factor. The original "Lo Fi" version is twice longer respect the video edit version (and on the extra section of the CD you can find also the video) but the sound doesn’t differs that much from the short one. Closes the E.P. an instrumental track, "Pulsar – tseburex special", a nice track that seems coming from a Japanese space base. The second single is PROTECTED: it contains only two songs ("Protected" and "No more than alive") plus a remix of the main track. On this single Flux changed totally and thanks to a new female singer (on "Electric woman" we had a robotic male vocal) we have a couple of sophisticated electropop dancey tunes really convincing. The lovers of early Client for sure will dig "No more than alive" with its analogue sounds (something similar to the first Depeche album) and the sensual female vocals. I don’t know nothing about the band but I liked these songs. Keep an eye on them...


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