Music Reviews



AND ONE: Bodypop

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (3041)
Sep 20 2006
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Artist: AND ONE (@)
Title: Bodypop
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
I still remember the day where I was looking for some EBM stuff pressed on good old vinyl at a big German department store, which normally doesn’t hold any music stuff like this. I then have found the first AND ONE 12" release "Metalhammer" and although that I hadn’t a possibility to listen to that stuff in advance, I took the risk and bought it. Well, those were the days back also of Machinery Records, which has left business already since a long time. AND ONE with Steve Naghavi remains – but has there too much changed musically through the years? Sure, the technical possibilities did grow and develop, but already after the first two listens to this new full length of one of Germany’s best known Synth-/Electro-Pop acts I’ve found so many compositional similarities with older stuff of this that it would be right to start this resume. Nobody has expected a dramatically change of style, kind or direction – AND ONE maybe tend to copy themselves – so does this make them authentic? A trademark for sure, this can be said with no doubt. And no – I don’t like to follow the advice to "invent" a new genre name, which could be easily come to mind to some bored promoters in face and with respect to this album title. I tend to say that the high Media Control chart positions of this album are a funny, but financially surely required side effect, because this album doesn’t give the impression that this would be planned somehow. It is the same charisma and mood known out of the late 80ties like more or less available on every AND ONE album, which leads the musically scenario, although that the teasing release of "So Klingt Liebe", available in three different MCD versions, would only need a VIVA/MTV-compatible video clip to storm some high and not expected single chart positions. Of course, here you got one of the best and clearest studio productions around and besides the already released both singles "So Kling Liebe" and "Military Fashion Show" it features some more Synthpop pearls like "Enjoy The Unknown" and "Love You To The End" – both surely possible tracks for a third Si-CD release. So this is the known AND ONE formula, mostly Synthpop with pending tempi, at times ballad-like arranged ("The Sound Of Believer") featuring Steve’s charismatic and clear voice. Nothing what would surprise – so it has to be!

THE PRESETS: Beams

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Sep 20 2006
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Artist: THE PRESETS
Title: Beams
Format: CD
Label: Gigolo Records (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****

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I don’t know what magic formula used Kim Moyes (Drums) and Julian Hamilton (vocals and keyboards) but their debut album is a blast! Already released in their homeland Australia by Modular Records, BEAMS bewitched DJ Hell who wanted immediately release the album also for Gigolo Records. It’s difficult to explain what is able to catch immediately your attention but if you pay attention to The Presets’ way of making songs it’s like picking up the best bands of modern punk funk scene (LCD Soundsystem to name one), blending it with catchy melodies a la Bloc Party, filtering them with dance arrangements and 80s flavour. After the opening "Steamworks" (a mid tempo electro funky warm-up song) you can find one of the best tracks of the album: "Are you the one?". This track is damn brilliant. Three minutes of dance electro punk (but you have also to check "Girl – you chew my mind up" if you want another breathtaking energetic electro punk track. Is like Iggy Pop with a synthesizer!) with real drum sounds and an upbeat tempo that exalt the catchy melodies. Julian is a great singer because his dramatic interpretation of the lyrics. The album contains two kind of songs: the upbeat dancefloor killing ones and the sinuous electro ballads (like "Girl and the sea", the following "Black background" good to dance to but also great to listen while you drive by night. There’s also space for two particular tracks: "Worms" (a little twisted and experimental but really interesting and nice) and "Beams" (a lounge symphonic slow track a little sixties and perfect for a goodbye). This record is just great! Watch out for The Presets touring with The Rapture...

CACOY : human is music

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 17 2006
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Artist: CACOY (@)
Title: human is music
Format: CD
Label: Rumarket (@)
Rated: *****
It should be an all star pop combo from Japan and sure I had no doubt this was coming from up there infact the collateral effect this' the jingle of a cartoon. Poppy and sappy?...I'd say no, undeniably less classy than Pizzicato Five and more electronic and squared than Cibo Matto this could also remind a sort of japanese pop meets something of Traband from Island if you remember them. Childish and dreamy as you expect it to be but well done and weird as only japanese music can sound to our western ears. For half of the track I've had an hard time telling thinking it was not cartoon music and not even the "bouble bouble" theme (for those who belong to the pre-playstation school). I know some people think it sound "dumb" music but somebody else like Taylor Deupree would not agree (that's why he also opened an all-japanese-pop oriented label) and that's a point for our beloved samurais. The influence are quite varied but the strongest impression you have after it's over is that's music based on childish melodies or nannies. Well done, easy listening but particular enough to be different from the most of the average band playing this kind of style.

Sep 13 2006
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Artist: VV.AA
Title: Some Tunes
Format: CD
Label: Basserk (@)
Rated: *****
Basserk is a new label heading from Neatherland and SOME TUNES is their second release which shows the aims and sounds of the label’s roster. The CD opens with a convincing electro distorted tune by Mignon ("Death race") remixed by Patric Catani and if there was a good way to start, this was a really good one. Aux Raus is next with "This is how this works" a breathtaking electro punk anthem that gathers electro sounds, a distorted guitar and a cool melody for a 130 bmp track (or something like that). Genjini is next with "Das funkistador", a nice electro funky lo-fi track that will make you move your asses. 3-1 already released a 12" for Basswerk titled "Dont’t destroy" and here they present a new track, "Gold" a nice track with a certain English flavour (I hear a little bit of latest Chumbawamba atmospheres). Kook Feat. Roxxy Bione already had a release on Pale Music and on this compilation present "Nobody knows" a convincing electro dancey tune. Elle Bandita along with the Scandals (the band of the Pale Music chief that here remix Junesex) and Melomanics play a cool kind of punk with dance attitude while the Dutch Drillem with "Bug" blend western (yes, I mean the movies) atmospheres with crazy electro dance extravaganza. Now it’s the turn of Transformer Di Roboter. I loved so much their cover E.P. that I was curious to check an original tune and I must admit that they didn’t disappoint my expectation as with "Hi-end" I found the elements that made me love their sound (that lo-fi casio syth sounds here enriched with a distorted bass line and several other cool keyboard sounds) into a song that has a perfect melody and which is impossible not to dance to. Sneakthief present here "Les yeux fermes", a nice track of their electro funky style but this time the track is based on guitars/bass guitars sound with a sampled French voice. Nobody Beats The Drum is one of the different Dutch bands on this CD (in total we can count eight out of fourteen) and their "Turn up the box" is an electro dancey tune that sometimes remembered me the latest Daft Punk. Dumbvox and Lucky Goat are the last ones. The first one with "Guardian" present a mixture of electro and e.b.m. and the latter with "No worries" is here with a nice electro reggae tune. At this point I imagine you’ll have understood that this compilation is worth the purchase and you have just to visit www.basserk.com to order your copy!

Celeste Noir: Dark Dancer

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Sep 09 2006
Artist: Celeste Noir (@)
Title: Dark Dancer
Format: CD EP
Rated: *****
German synth-pop/horrorpop trio Celeste Noir is back with another club killer cd. This time it's a 7 song ep. "Dark Dancer" is not only on the lines of Depeche Mode, but also on the lines of New Order. Carsten, the band's singer is still at his very best with baritone vocals and the lyrics are seriously on the drama side with a sense of humour. Don't take them for granted, don't underestimate them because of their synthy bouncy sound. Celeste Noir always challenge themselves by making a perfect record that's different from their previous releases. Each song provides a catchy intro within 15-20 seconds that will get the listener undivided attention and worthy to pay close attention to. Like Depeche Mode and New Order, their music is punctuated by style and technique with perfection. The band is complete in control of their own music and production. They have that aggression to be cold and bitchy, but also with a lot of love to give and spread. They can take one simple idea, twists it, turns it, and inflates it to epic proportions combining repetition with a sense of the unexpected.. The German trio doesn't have to impress or show off. They deliver the best club/dance record. And this one is brilliant up to date.Tracklistings:1. Dark Dancer (Original)2. I Won't Cry3. Black Dog (2006)4. The Music of the Heart5. No Place For You6. The One I Left Behind (New Version)7. Still Alive8. Dark Dancer (12 Inch Mix)9. Dark Dancer (C-D-R Mix)


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