Music Reviews



FINAL SELECTION: Heading For Graceland

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 05 2004
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Artist: FINAL SELECTION (@)
Title: Heading For Graceland
Format: CD
Label: Black Flames (@)
Rated: *****

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Heading from Germany, Final Selection is a duo which is active since 1992. In these years they produced different tapes and an album "Antihero". This new E.P. "Heading for graceland" gathers five new tunes ("Fade into you" is a cover of a Mazzy Star's song) and six remixes of two of the new tracks and of three tracks coming from "Antihero". All this thanks to D.s.o.t.m., Asian Faction (really powerful and cool their e.b.m. version of "I never wanted more", E.s.r., Z Procheck (their kinda jazzy industrial version of "Tears" is really functional and fresh), Rector Scanner and Nam Nam Bulu. Having new songs and remixes, the band ideally divided the work in two parts: "Daydreams" and "Nightshades". The new tunes show the band at the top of their personal mix of melancholic future pop, e.b.m. and ambient which sometimes show also light Cure influences. Get ready for their next album...
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Artist: LEX DECIMATE (@)
Title: Seas of Endless
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Silencer Records (@)
Rated: *****
The common analogy of man fused with machine, metal and flesh, is best realized metaphorically through the artistic creations we bring. Lex Decimate (The destruction of all law) is a project that aptly pays tribute to this philosophy as it is the history of it's creation and the story through which it lives on. Lee Duis is a man with music in his veins and whose life was once shattered through loss and pain. Resurrected, he became his own salvation under the incarnation of Lex Decimate. Musically this project vears wherever the creative imagination of Lee brings it and does not set limits on genre, style, tempo, structure, or anything else. Lex Decimate sways dreamlike between varying degrees of intensity; ambient, dark, rhythmic. It's difficult to cram into a box of 'name' when someone is this heartfelt with thier art. Will have strong appeal to those into dark synthpop, darkwave, gothic, EBM, and industrial with experimental electronic elements. You will even find this project breaking it's bounds on tracks like "Light the Way" which seems more related to Ant-Zen and Hymen label sounds than anything typical of the Darkwave/EBM. Lex Decimate is definitely a unique fusion of a wide variety of elements. Like thier label Silencer Records they are definitely intending to push boundaries and test limits while bringing something unique to the underground music 'scene'. In their words; "We are ready to caputre your fears and emotions. Let go and find yourself in a place where there is no 'law'. Find your inner peace through resistance."

SKEAK-THIEF / POLYGAMY BOYS: Skeak-Thief Vs Polygamy Boys

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 15 2004
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Artist: SKEAK-THIEF / POLYGAMY BOYS (@)
Title: Skeak-Thief Vs Polygamy Boys
Format: CD
Label: Gingerbread House Records (@)
Rated: *****
Sneak-Thief and Polygamy Boys are two projects which involve Michel Morin (on the first one there's Lindsay - J helping him on vocals and flute while on the second one there's involved Stephan Busche who also released stuff as Dj Gitano and Fancyman) and for this reason this live album SNEAK-THIEF vs POLYGAMY BOYS is something different from the usual dj set or live show. First of all Michael doesn't use vinyl or laptops as his show is totally based on synths and samples. Second: the album presents to the audience sixteen tracks of both the projects as they would be a long mix. This is a strong point because the tracks sound all pumping and interesting but at the same time it's also a weak point as Michel had to use the same bpm on each passage between the tracks and having twelve instrumental tracks out of sixteen make the album sound too homogenous. Most of the tracks are dancey instrumental tunes inspired by '70 funk and '80s Italian disco music (few names I remember are: Hi-Fi Bros, Cube, Den Arrow, Gazebo and Gary Low) and this thing keep the project fresh and energic anyway. This is a good record / performance but I preferred the Polygamy Boys' 12" I received along with this live CD, for instance (soon I'll review it). Check the band's website to get more infos and to download each track of the previous releases.

VV.AA.: Return of the Permanent Wave

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 27 2004
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Return of the Permanent Wave
Format: CD
Label: Silver Plastic Records (@)
Rated: *****

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This compilation comes from the new label Silver Plastic Records who by the enclosed letter obviously have a sense of humor. They describe the release as, "Lazy day beats meet up with post-punk electronica in a fusion that can only be described as permanent wave". We have all heard of New Wave, later called Retro Wave. Of late the 'Wave' genre has been termed Synthpop to get away from the ties to it having only been the result of an era, the 80's of course. While Synthpop has taken the genre to new levels it has mostly been promoted by labels like A Different Drum. Now fans of the 'era sound' that is sometimes lacking in the more modernized version called Synthpop can capture that with Silver Plastic Records who bring into the genre what it is often lacking and we've only barely gotten in pop-culture by bands like No Doubt. It's like reliving the future! The first band, PsychoSomatic Breakdown, could easily be placed on the Hymen label while Burn Like Nero, which seems to be the label's feature band are very reminiscient of Joy Division meets Gary Numan on "Faded Away". They then trade out the male vocals for female on "Small Details". "Desperation" gets a little Devo in the intro then takes off into uncharted territory very rapidly with vocals that reflect an early Ian Astbury of The Cult with completely synthesizer backing. Only three tracks, two bands, and I'm hooked already! Let's jump around. Egg In Space get very Space Invaders on "Say Hello", while eH Factor focus on dancefloor beats and digitalia with smoothed over vocals on "This Desperation". Janosch Moldau's "Redeemer" gives pause to reflect while sneeking some, is this possible?, Wave-Trance on us. This track is followed by a twelve minute track by Lank called "Stress Relief Point" which is mostly-Ambient/Trance, unexpected for this project. However, they show another side to their works on the next track "012 (introvert)" with neurotically clicking beats and piano, something that sounds fitting for an Ant-Zen release; very Beefcake-like. The pace picks back up with onLoad's "Electrofish", bouncy 80's style synth and start-top vocals. The Signifying Monkey combines the elements of the entire project nicely with retro rhythms and crunchy noise fallout each measure. Vocally it reminds me of a more punk and guitar oriented Devo. Are we not men? We are The Signifying Monkey! Seems to be a connection there. Moving forward a bit we come to Bernie Lucas (aka the missing Kraftwerk memeber?). Both tracks begin with an electronic voice stating the name of the track. I must say one interesting and unique compilation. It should be interesting to see what this label turns out as it seems to be a bizarre culmination of A Different Drum, NintWave, Ant-Zen, and Hymen all in one monster, so far. I love it!! ...and it's only $10 at CDBaby!

Aalacho: Electro

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 27 2004
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Artist: Aalacho (@)
Title: Electro
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Seattle-based struggling solo musician/producer/writer Nathan Scott, a.k.a. Aalacho, comes from previous rock experiences in his hometown of Detroit but, except for occasional guitar arrangements here and there, he doesn't let much of that bleed through the eight tracks of his second album "Electro", to be (self-)released August 17th. "Electro" is an appropriate name to describe this half-hour short full length album and its content. Entirely recorded on Mac's Emagic Logic 6 Platinum, the seven tracks contained herein (among which there is a Felix da Houscat mix and a cover version of Beatles' "Ticket to Ride") sport a pretty funky and happy blend of indie-electronics with pop vocals, guitar arpeggios and licks and electroclash beats and some influences from the past surfacing at times. The album features some guest musicians from bands such as Tryst, The Davenports, Jasper the Cat, The Vacants and a bunch of indie vocalists. Let yourself be lifted off the ground, just as the cover might subliminaly be suggesting... ;-)


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