Music Reviews


 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (2068)
Jul 18 2005
Title: Meridian
Format: CD
Label: Black Flames Records, e-noxe (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
The already third release of this German synth pop duo on the Polish label Black Flames proves persistence and loyalty. With a look on this and the overall reactions on every release this talented duo earns, FINAL SELECTION could easily named to be the outstanding act on this label. At first I want to praise the excellent artwork consisting of a four page folded digipack with an extra included inlay full of melancholic impressions besides the music done by Michael Schubert. There’s existing a special website,, on which you have a look behind the great ideas and realm of this release. Musically FINAL SELECTION prove again that they are one of the best – if not THE BEST – Synthpop acts of our lifetime. Tracks are ranging from slow and contemplative songs like "Coming Home" (features a pretty female vocal duet with Diana Röppnack), "Jupiter’s Child" (could be also found on their last EP "Heading for Graceland"), "Thieves of my Soul" (very gloomy bass line sequence combined with marvelous atmospheric synth layers) or the very sad final track "Styx" (featuring vinyl-like scratches in an endless repetition...) up to more danceable Electro-Pop songs like "Lava" or "Daybreak" which could impress not only Synth Pop fans. In all 16 tracks with almost 70 minutes of finest Synth Pop/Electronica combined with real song compositions and excellent vocal performances should be reason enough to check this out. Although I do not too often listen to this style of Electronic music, I must admit that this release totally satisfied me. A marvelous album to suspend away... and also my wife likes it!


 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (2055)
Jul 12 2005
Artist: MASTERMIND (@)
Title: Power
Format: CD
Label: Monopolrecords (@)
Distributor: SX Distribution
Rated: *****
Entitled to play modern Electro/Futurepop this side-project of Czech Republic’s finest artist DEPRESSIVE DISORDER offers here its official debut CD. But I am really not sure if too much Futurepop supporters will dig this piece, because mostly the used sounds are a bit away from that style. Not that this is a flaw but I fear that a lot of the tracks are too rough structured or they are sounding too experimental. On the other side some of the tracks like "No Place" are musically really pearls, but could do better with some progression on the vocals. On some tracks MASTERMIND do not hit the target in this point, more over when tracks like "Playboys and Girls" leave some doubts about the lyrical content. I personally prefer the more darker and Electro-minded tracks, to name here with "Technical Process" or "Phobia", second features some excellent played break beats to the straight rhythm. Also the vocals on both tracks show more diversity and are not the main lead "instrument". So nothing is really bad here and MASTERMIND offer a good quality debut. Finally I am not sure if their style will earn too much attention. Give it a few rotations, this stuff needs to grow on you.

Neo Cortex: Thought Process

 Posted by Gary Flanagan   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (2047)
Jul 06 2005
Artist: Neo Cortex
Title: Thought Process
Format: CD
"My Three Pound Universe" is a great opener. It features some of Steve's best singing to date. This is slightly minor, and kind of sounds like an electronic version of REM. I was immediately taken in. When Steve sings "Prolific is the term because of our energy", I completely believe him. These cats are wildly prolific, and with this work, they show a great deal of progress.There is indeed real growth on this. The guys are pushing themselves in new directions with song structure and production. "Through the Microscope" is cleverly executed. There's lots of signature neo Cortex sounds- buzzy synth sequences, tight beats and unusual lyrics. "Fond of Blondes?" is a quirky, fun track very much in keeping with the Neo Cortex ilk. This kind of reminded me of something Sparks would sing. "Occasional Human" is a nicely experimental offering. This disc shows plenty of growth for the band. Well done.

Images In Vogue: Collection Version Two: Chronology

 Posted by Gary Flanagan   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (2046)
Jul 06 2005
Artist: Images In Vogue
Title: Collection Version Two: Chronology
Format: CD
Label: Carlos Monte Records
This is the much anticipated follow-up to Images in Vogue's first "greatest hits" collection which came out in the mid 90s. I was always a huge fan of this great Canadian synthpop band, so when I heard about this second disc, I was very happy. And the great thing about this collection is that it is not simply a rehash of the previous disc. The only track that gets repeated is "Lust For Love", and seeing as where this was probably their greatest hit (and a damn good song, also), I can understand why it got included again.The songs on here sound awesome. The opener "Travel", a previously unreleased track, is a great slice of vintage synthpop. It sounds so clean and crisp, as if it was recorded yesterday. The work of this band could easily be put on par with their contemporaries like Kraftwerk, Japan and The Human League. "Quiet Room" is a good track also, and finally, after all these years, we are treated to "For Germans" on CD. Sounds incredible! All the big hits like "Call It Love" and "Save It" are on here too, plus some other great, overlooked B-sides like "Masks". This was a very intelligent band that wrote great pop tunes AND wasn't afraid to take risks in the studio. A wonderful collection.

OPERANT: Encoded

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (2038)
Jul 04 2005
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Artist: OPERANT (@)
Title: Encoded
Format: CD
Label: Conditioned Response
Rated: *****

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ENCODED is the debut album of Operant, a project headed by Greg Bolyard and Tim Gale. The duo already collaborated in the past and this is quite evident when you listen to the album: the tracks are well balanced and the songwriting denotes professionality. The fourteen tracks sound quite gloomy and this is the general ambience of the whole album. Operant can't be filed under one only genre because their music contains bites of synthpop, ambient and e.b.m. Generally we could talk about modern electro pop. If you want a direct paragon, I could name the Depeche Mode of Exciter but on ENCODED the synthpop side is more evident. After a pop start with the opening "Future Life", "Watching the universe spin", "New" and "Contact comfort" the album continue with the dreamy arrangements of "Perimeter", "Understanding heaven" and "More than sexual" just to turn back to pop arrangements with "Someday never comes", "Post 3 AM" and "Chance of a lifetime". ENCODED isn't immediately catchy because sometimes the dreamy side of Operant's music seems to take a hold, at a first listening, but starting with the second listening other things come to light and little by little the band's sound shows all its personaltiy.

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