Music Reviews



COVENANT: Skyshaper

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 23 2006
cover
Artist: COVENANT
Title: Skyshaper
Format: CD
Label: Synthetic Symphony/Metropolis
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****

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We at the Chain D.L.K. are proud and thankfully to get the possibility to review this release much earlier until it will be released officially. Of course, the release of the already 6th full-length CD of this Swedish Electro act will be a dominant theme in all scene-related print and press media and the official release is currently set to the 6th of March for Germany and a bit later for Europe. I don’t have an official release date for North America, but I ma sure that this piece also again available through Metropolis-Records right in time. 10 new tracks here and it starts with now released first single release "Ritual Noise", a danceable and linear Futurepop piece with some cool vocoder effects on the vocals for the refrain; it sounds a bit KRAFTWERKian. The track "Happy Man" is rather slow and the synth lines reminding me on some old C64-based sounds and the overall mood turns back into the good old Eighties. Another favorite for a next single release could be the track "The Men", another remarkable track in a typical COVENANT-style which convinces through melodic vocals. Both, "Sweet And Salty" and "Greater Than The Sun", then prove, that the band does not fall in any conformity to offer only mainstream stuff for high chart positions. The bass lines on both are sounding more dirty than before, also the vocals spread a darker mood. Comes then maybe one of the best tracks which COVENANT have ever written: 20 Hz. A strong melody, clear vocals, danceable and still with the special note of some experimentation which only COVENANT can produce – the worth of recognition is rich given with this track. Comes finally the slow and depressive last track "The World Is Growing Loud" with some outstanding synth layers. The best result out of this new CD is the fact, that COVENANT still remain COVENANT. They avoid it to use guitars for example to get a wider mainstream-influenced audience. Fans of the band will dig this plus they’ll add a remarkable new chapter of their successful story.

Nouvelle Culture: Fading Pictures

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 21 2006
Artist: Nouvelle Culture (@)
Title: Fading Pictures
Format: CD
Label: Le Cabaret Electronique
Distributor: Intrapop
Rated: *****
French band Nouvelle Culture deliver a powerful brand of synth-pop dance music that have retro 80's and today's 21st Century sound. A fantastic beautiful synth melodies and vocals work. Their debut "Fading Pictures" is a serious invincible music that is full of fun, energy, and ethereal style. The vocal chemistry between Jacky and Ladybionic is exquisite and crystal clear in French and English. This album contains two discs; 15 tracks on the first disc and 16 remixes on the second. It have been in rotation heavily in my cd players (stereo, portable, and boombox) and I just can't stop listen to it. An emotional strong dramatic theme describes this brilliant superb release is GLAMOUR, GLITTER, MUSIC, FASHION, LOVE, SEX, PAIN, DESIRE, SEDUCTION, and PASSION. A beauty of elegance and emotion that sets the standard of its interesting lyrical tapestry. All 15 tracks sum up the feel of the album. Favorites include "Turn Me On", "Desire Mistress", "La Fille", "Shadows (Holy Love Long Mix)", "Mathilde (Etre Enfin Aimee)", "I Dream", and "Heaven".

As for the 2nd cd that contains remixes, my favorites are "Heaven (Remix by Millimetric)", "I Dream (Jesus Rock The Beat Mix by Code Machine)", "La Fille (Madchen Remix by Equatronic)", "Heaven (Reworked Dynamic Master vs Marysa (10ve10m)", "a beautiful track with female vocal sung in French combined with vocoder, "Shadows (Epic Club Mix by People Theatre)", "Mannequin (Remix by Chinese Theatre)", a track that's on the line of Kraftwerk "Man Machine" era using vocoder, "Steel City (Glasgow's Remix by Hoboken)", a lovely dance track with guitar melody, even a visual feel of imagination depicting Metropolis, "The Perfect Way (Italo Remix by Project Alpha Style)", an outstanding heavy club disco track, "Mathilde (Twisted Nerve RE-Cut by ELLEcTRIKa)" and "Mathilde (Mister Karpe Remix by Foretaste)".

This double album shows alot of promise for further creative of synth-pop music. Certainly my best favorite.

BELONG: October language

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 15 2006
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Artist: BELONG
Title: October language
Format: CD
Label: Carpark (@)
Rated: *****
His name is Turk Dietrich, he collaborated with Telefon Tel Aviv and with Nine Inch Nail (he remixed "the frail"), therefore I think that's enough to have your attention, isn't it?!. Can you imagine a post-Kranky sound mixed with a big imprint of My Bloody Valentine? C'mon it's not so hard and I think they go pretty well together. Warm pastiches imbued in distortion, but here comes the main shoegaze factor: the music sounds like it's coming from far away. Fading images of fields in a sun bath?! But for it may be contradictory these fields look in the middle of a winter dawn. If you're into quiet droning and soft psychedelia probably Belong "has it!" (whatever it is). Melancholic music for a daydream, can you picture the traffic of a big town moving in slow motion?. Dietrich is without any doubt refined and even while molding the structure of these apparently shapeless tracks, he never stretches everything too much. The shoegaze comparison describes vividly the lowest common denominator of the majority of the tracks. Sometimes I've had the impression I was listening to the droned/electronic reincarnation of Swervedriver (that to me it's enough to justify the order of this cd). Sweet like a sugar cane and diluted like plankton into the depth of the sea: indie-rockers and electronic-elitists it's time to sacrifice your money pigs.

STEREO TOTAL: Discotheque

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 13 2006
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Artist: STEREO TOTAL (@)
Title: Discotheque
Format: CD
Label: Disko B (@)
Rated: *****

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DISCOTHEQUE isn't really a new Stereo Total album but it is a treasure box for the people that love their attitude and the dance tunes. This new release contains some new versions of tracks released on their previous album "Do the bambi" ("Babystrich" and "Europa Neurotisch") plus a gorgeous selection of rare songs from side-projects (Motor Mark and Jacno) and remixes: the Echokrank (a crazy Berliner transvestite) reworked version of "Everybody in the Discotheque (I hate)" originally released by Motor Mark, the reggae-song "Bad news from the stars" from Brezel Göring last solo-record with Barom One, released on Gagarin Records and on CD here for the first time. On the CD version, there are also all the thracks of the "Erste Mal" EP and the "Do the Bambi" remixes, originally only available in limited vinyl pressings always on Disko B records. All this for one hour and sixteen songs that will make you move at the rhythm of the German techno pop of the Stereo Total. Try to imagine Serge Gainsbourg tracks in an electro sauce with sensual rhythms and catchy sounds and prepare yourself to dance. A treasure for your ears...

VV.AA.: 4X4 Vol.2

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 04 2006
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 4X4 Vol.2
Format: CD
Label: Section 44 (@)
Rated: *****
4X4 is a CD that gathers four tracks of four different bands and it is a great opportunity to catch new sounds and new bands. This second volume brings to our attention the San Diego band MODyssey, Endanger, Rhythmic Symphony and Provision. This is the first time that MODyssey's and Rhythmic Symphony's songs have been released, so you can check them out on CD, here exclusively. MODyssey are formed by two brothers which are in love with the original '80s synthesizers sound (they collect them). Their songs sound like a mix of Erasure and Cosmicity and they are preparing their first full lenght album which will contain the first three songs you can find here. Endanger already record their material for Nilaihah Records (they already recorded 5 albums) and their electro pop reflect the nowadays German scene with catch melodies and dancefloor arrangements. Three out of four tracks are coming from their 2004 album "Addicted to the masses". I don't know where "Spark" (that is sounding more English respect the others) is coming from. Rhythmic Symphony is the personal project of Justin Kesselring and these four songs are the first official release of the band. He's style of synthpop is mostly based on ballads but with hard dose of rhythm. His voice helps a lot into the characterization of his music which sounds personal, mild energetic and highly dreamy. Provision is the latest band of the lot and their four tracks are all coming from the bonus CD of their "Visualize" album and they are all remixes. The tracks sound more dark respect the other bands but I think that this is due thank to the remixers (CRTL, D.j. Dissent, Rename and Provision themselves). In any case their sound is influenced by the European electro pop of the '80s and I liked them a lot.


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