Music Reviews

SPRAY: I Am Gothic

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 03 2004
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Artist: SPRAY (@)
Title: I Am Gothic
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Ninthwave Records (@)
As anticipated on the Ninthwave website months ago, the "I Am Gothic Remix Project" as been released and it's a really interesting one. Along with four new Spray tunes it presents to the audience ten new bands that took the challenge of remixing the track starting from the files they downloaded directly from the label's website. Even if the CD is catalogued as a mini it has got a massive amount of music for a total of 76 minutes! Let's talk first about the band's tracks: their 2003 remix version of the main title takes form from the original version giving to it a techno revisitation. The techno influence doens't end with the first tune as "It's all in the drums" takes inspiration from New Order's "Blue Monday" (for the drum patterns and for some bass lines) just to make of it a pumping 80's techno tune. "He Came With The Frame" with the following "The Story Of My Life Is An FX Showreel" and "Whizz For Atoms" keep the dance approach alive but with synthpop melodies. As a general comment, the new tracks seem to be more driving and pumping and that's good... Now let's pass to the ten remixers. First comes the "Back To The Expanded Mono Mix" by The Electroluvs (an good basic eletro version) followed by the "FMU Club Mix" by FMU-Frederik Andersson (which bring us catchy techno ambient version). As third remixer we find Syntetik Fm which mix the original track with Bach giving to both a digital revisitation. Following is the "OccuMix" remix by Occupant (good remix that doesn't change that much the original touch of the track but at the same time Occupant makes of it his own creature), "Virtually Gothic" by the label mates Xero/G (a really weird version which makes of it a distorting vocoder festival with ambient backgrounds), "Don't Like Your Bands Mix" by Raindancer (I already listened to some of his stuff and I liked it just like this electro version), "Synomatic Mix" by Synomatik (excellent version with good sounds. It makes you wanna know more about this project), "Low Technicians Mix" by Technicians (the only version that gives to the tracks an ebm touch), "Absorb Mix" by Absorb Projects (really good techno remix with driving bass sounds). The last one is the "Trance-endental" remix version by Astromill which mix trance, synthpop and electro in a good way. Maybe a little long with its seven minutes and half lenght, but good. Wow, end of the review, at last... After all this, don't tell me you ain't going to give it a listen, ok? :)

GANYMEDE: Space And Time

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 18 2003
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Title: Space And Time
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Cohaagen (@)
SPACE AND TIME is the new release by Ganymede and it's their third album. This time the duo wanted to do things right by packing the CD with a bonus remix CD, wich include also two new tunes (the instrumental "Departure" and a real cool song titled "Messages"), the "Daylight" video and an 80's replica of a car racing game which has got their music as soundtrack. The new ten tracks have always got that certain Pet Shop Boys touch to my ears (because of the vocals) but Ganymede have always been a band of their own. The sound is always based on 80's synthesizers sound with bleeping effects and pop tunes. Songs seems to be more refined and even if SPACE AND TIME is a pop album it isn't as immediate as it could seems. Each time you listen to it, the songs grow inside your ear and little by little they become familiar until you'll find yourself singing them. Talking about the remixed songs, Fr/Action, Blow-Up (cool revisitation of "Hong Kong" with a driving distorted guitar which duel with synth sounds), Nukleon, Drug Of Choice, Raindancer, The Lost Gospels and Axoe did a good work by giving to the songs a dancey or a dark touch (like on the catchy version of "Maybe Forever" remixed by Drug Of Choice). Definitively this is a good album packed with cool stuff... something you can't miss.

The Mystic Underground: Mary's Dead

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 12 2003
Artist: The Mystic Underground (@)
Title: Mary's Dead
Format: CD EP
Label: Self Release (@)
This is a 4 song ep by New York synth-pop based The Mystic Underground, who I find one of a kind. As me being a electronic/gothic/darkwave artist, producer, music journalist, and dj, I find not too many good synth-pop bands I can indulge myself to listen to. The only bands I like are: Velvet Vimoz (also techno and trance), Neuroactive, Provision, Endora, The Echoing Green, Mesh, Spray, Xero-G, Joy Electric, Psyche, Little Tin Box and Thou Shalt Not. The Mystic Underground is added to my liking list because I admire them for not trying to be the next DEPECHE MODE or copy their sound like majority electro acts do or should I say trying so. This band has gotten my attention ever since their 2001 single ep release "The Wanderers". "Mary's Dead" is their new 2003 drop to the public. It's danceable and definitely for the clubs and college radio. A remix "Mary's Dead (Dj mix us in the mix)" that's 7 minutes long is also included. It have a dark twisted feel. My favorite line in the song is "And as the casket door shuts tight/a dark cloud rains over this town." The song is about a woman whose love been taken for granted and ended up being murdered by her estrange boyfriend. Sounds like something I hear on the news just about every week. Two other tracks on disc, "Town" and "I Remember Everything" have a nice beautiful piano melody are good to get into. The lyrics are strong and emotional. The singer, Vlad, sounds like Andy Bell from Erasure. The Mystic Underground sound is purely 100% ORIGINAL.

Fiction 8: Forever, Neverafter

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 12 2003
Artist: Fiction 8 (@)
Title: Forever, Neverafter
Format: CD
Label: Nilaihah records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis, A Different Drum, All Indies,,,, Isolation Tank, DSBP, Projekt, DarkLand, Unspoun Musicwerks, Storming the Mailorder (Canada), T.i.K. (Canada)

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Out on December 9th, Fiction 8's new full lenght 11 track CD "Forever, Neverafter", is a well balanced compromise between ebm-dance and synth-pop. The trio throws male and female vocal pop hooks into a melange of synth-electro with some darker and harsher parts here and there. I personally prefer the songs with the female vocals, because for some reaons they sound less corny and darker... There is also a violin helping out here and there. It's dark pop song with dancefloor-friendly beats for all of those of wanna dance to it but don't wanna give the melody and would rather do without the angry distorted ebm vocals.

Psyche: Babylon Deluxe

 Posted by KlingKlangBedlam   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 08 2003
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Artist: Psyche
Title: Babylon Deluxe
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact Records
Distributor: Artoffact Records
PSYCHE-"Babylon Deluxe"Recalling a interview I did with these guys a while back, I recalled they mentioned the theme for this then upcoming CD being based around modern day sexuality and it’s influence by the internet. Then listening to the CD, it’s pretty obvious though not entirely so on the surface, influenced by how people act once they are connected to the internet and it’s rather seedy underbelly. To think of it, it’s kind of brought back to mind how people act completely different once the allure of internet recognition comes about, sometimes in the guise of porn, sometimes in more subtle yet profound ways like how some people tend to get overly narcissistic (most are those people are obviously withdrawn who act like that) on places like Live Journal (not to insult the LJ users out there, of course, but you know these people). For the music, the music is tried and true Psyche, complete with their looming yet melodic dark synthpop patterns. Since the introduction of keyboardist Remi to the group a few years back, the sound has become more and more modern, adding up tempo dance beats and brilliant synth lines to the tune of Darrin Huss’ ala Soft Cell white boy soul’ vocals, which make for a very interesting clash of old and new influences. Some of my favorites from the CD are "X-Rated" (very Kraftwerkian on the chorus line), "Gods And Monsters" (a rather club friendly tune without getting all 4/4), and "Snow Garden" (the best track on the CD and some incredible sequencing). This is a great little Cd for those interested in the more intellectual side of electronic pop, as well the band in general is good for that effect. A brilliant mix of the old and new, both for Psyche and their influences as a whole. And one of the more innovative synthpop acts out there. Rating: 10.

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