Music Reviews

BUNKER SOLDIER: The Debris Field

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Apr 18 2006
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Title: The Debris Field
Format: CD
Label: Neo Cultural Front Records

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From the blend of industrial, hip hop and new wave of the first Bunker Soldier 1996 release titled "Quite a dilemma", Tim moved to new wave / e.b.m. / industrial influences on his 1999 album "Innuendo". 2004 was the time of the "Triple threat" single where with the two electro industrial songs "Warlocked" and "Firewall" you can find a sign of Bunker Soldier opening to commercial music. "Flying" was a catching track that with its danceable structure was able to satisfy the radio audience and also the electro lovers that were also interested in commercial stuff. The new album THE DEBRIS FIELD moves a step ahead into the concept of blending really commercial songs (too much commercial for my taste) with electronic tunes influenced by 80s new wave (see bands like A Flock Of Seagulls or Psychedelic Furs). With the help of five different singers Tim packed ten songs of which nine new (the tenth is a version of "Flying – I want to go"). The opening "Darkness falls" recalled me the Psychedelic Furs while "Close the door" has something of U2 (the guitar style) and the following "When all is lost" has got something of Bryan Adams. Basically half songs of the track list have for a commercial approach (sometimes they are too rock for me) while the other half have still that electronic industrial new wave blend (see the track "Disappoint" or "Infection") that I have already appreciated. It is difficult to tell if this is a good album or not, because I really liked the tracks influenced by 80s and by electronic but I feel a little confused about the commercial rock ones. I'd give five stars to half of the album and I'd leave the other half without a judgement because it isn't really what we are dealing with usually.
P.s. There's also an instrumental version of the album available and it is titled "This void beyond measure"

PROVISION: The Consequence

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Apr 15 2006
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Artist: PROVISION (@)
Title: The Consequence
Format: CD
Label: Section 44 (@)
Rated: *****
THE CONSEQUENCE is the third Provision album and it sees the band changing its line-up slightly because Leslie Hyman isn’t in the band anymore. Now Provision are Breye 7x (founding member and singer), Jen Foxx and Carlos Covarrubias. The sound of the band hasn’t changed that much as far as I can hear it seems that there are less e.b.m. influences but their distinctive sound made of dancey electronic synthpop is still intact. The upbeat tempos or the catchy mid tempo tracks like "Attraction" shows a good song writing and use of melody (I always like to keep an eye on the sequencer melodies). The only thing didn’t thrill me about Provision is Breye's style of singing because is too linear and this risk to make the tracks sound alike. Probably changing singer would help a lot but there’s also the possibility that a different singer could loose the energy and the excitement that Breye have singing his tunes. THE CONSEQUENCE is the best band’s album to date and if you aren’t looking for the new Depeche Mode you for sure will appreciate tracks like "Perversion of conventional warfare" or "Behind your disguise".

HYPE: Desperately Yours

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Apr 09 2006
Artist: HYPE
Title: Desperately Yours
Format: CD
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Border Music
Rated: *****
The Swedish label grows constantly and surprises the listeners with a well sought-out quality and surprising releases done by almost unknown newcomer acts. Also HYPE is a new act hailing from Swedish scene, but we surely cannot talk at all about greenhorns. Behind this project stands among others Robert Enforsen for the lead vocals and this guy made himself a good name in the Nineties with his band ELEGANT MACHINERY. And this explanation should already help you to find out his new musically field – no surprise – you’ll get Synthpop, mainly inspired from its kind and mood out the Pop/Wave era of the 80ies. The used technology of course is a new one but what counts is the mood. So this is definitively the stuff which makes the dreams of a glorious return of the past Energy/October days become somehow reality. On the danceable side we have own compositions which hit the target like "Modern Impact" or "Your Kind", while my personal favorite "Live And Learn" comes with astonishing played Synth lines and a finer melodic part. And for one track I see dancefloor actions by all genre friends, no matter if it will include Synthpop-, Batcave-, Minimal- or Electro-freaks, I’m talking on the cover version of the TRANS-X classic "Living On Video". Finally a cover not composed originally by DEPECHE MODE, that’s nice. Although regarding the fact that HYPE do not really surprise with something to be called "new", I am convinced with their efforts here. A must for Synthpop genre fans!
Title: The Psychedelic Avengers and the Decterian Blood Empire
Format: CD
Label: Fuenfundvierzig (@)
Rated: *****
Hello, you psycho-freak! Try to be straight and clear for a second and read carefully cause here we've something good for your next extra-sensorial experiences. The crew of this spaceship presented this double cd not as a compilation, but much more as a collaboration that joined different musicians or freaks heads coming from different countries like Japan, Greece, Sweden, UK, USA, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Finland therefore we may say that's an international freak allegiance. The release is very varied so much that if you don't read the linear notes coming with the press sheet it all looks like a compilation. One track is quite different from the other even if it's true there’s a psychedelic sensation that permeates the general image painted on the canvas, the cut of the whole project is probably uniformed so to empower the impression it has been manufactured by the same hand. For stupid it may sound to use categorization to separate the different tracks we have ambiental-space-drones, psych-rock-songs, psych-pop-tunes/ballads and psych-electronic-fragments on both of the cds. This double work is rich of echoes and I'm not just referring to space-echoes or echo pedals (that you have to take for granted in some of the tracks), but also about the fact there’s an abundance of influences coming from the Seventies. To say it all the music is deeply influenced by artists like Can, Amon Dull, Faust, This Heat, Popol Vuh, Kraftwerk, Sun Ra (one of the song has his "space is the place" sentence haunting the refrain) Pink Floyd and only god knows what else. "Your attention please!!"... Have you noticed that all of that great musicians I've just mentioned were or have been into the whole idea of space trips or have been considered "avant-garde" during their hey-days. Ok, sorry for the small digression, but I think it could help you to see this delirious project with the right eye, actually the whole idea/mixture has a strange taste if drunk as a whole cocktail. Obviously some tracks have much more appeal than the others, following my personal taste I've had the best trips while experiencing the psych-rock/psych-pop tunes like "As darkness spreads its evil wings", "A little gravitron tells its tale" or "The last space station". The second cd is a bit more rock oriented and homogeneous but absolutely complementary to the first one. Usually when dealing with revivalism I don't go mad for innovative ideas or anything like that, but sometimes this space crew has been really blessed by good taste. Recommended to those into psychedelic music or into the "Seventies", but worth of a check for anybody else into weird projects/records.

RF: View of distant towns

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 08 2006
Artist: RF (@)
Title: View of distant towns
Format: CD
Label: Plop
Rated: *****
Top class electronic poppiness manufactured by Plop records and hi-profile cd as you could have expected it to be. Right with the coming of spring here we go with a relaxing sun bath in a pool of melody, the word is "pop", yes, Ryan Francesconi revitalizes the refinement of "easy listening". Consider RF could break the hearts of those into Stereolab, Mogway, Giardini di Mirò or Notwist but with the usual good amount of electronics that's the trademark of the artists on this japanese label. Differently from the rest of the releases I've heard on Plop, Francesconi’s sound is much more "normal instruments" oriented (that's probably where it gets close to many "post rockers" like those I've mentioned: bass, guitars, male and female vocals painting it all ethereal, trumpet, effects and a lovely use of tremolos. Soft without being neither pathetic nor boring like many others selling their soul and their creativity just to sella couple of records more. Sometimes I had the impression I was listening Belle and Sebastian ("The boy with the arab strap" era) filtered and remixed and that's ok with me. The fact all is "dreamy" and ethereal has to do with the light drumming he programmed, I mean being electronic it's obvious it all gets also rhythmical but he does it in a really elegant and "mimetic" (?) way. In the beginning there was 4AD and now their nephews, even if RF is not so ethereal and new wave like many of the artist on that cult label. Approved by my girlfriend.

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