Music Reviews



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.

VV.AA.: A Tribute To Dead Or Alive

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (1997)
Jun 20 2005
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: A Tribute To Dead Or Alive
Format: CD
Label: Section 44 (@)
Rated: *****
If I think about the Dead Or Alive, a couple of things immediately came to mind: their distinctive icon, Pete Burns and their hit album "Youthquake". Similar to the Fixx tribute project, Empire State Human produced, always for Section 44, the Dead Or Alive tribute. Even if the band is still active, they produced only five album and they knew the international success mainly for the "You spin me round (like a record)" single and for the "Youthquake" album. In my opinion the main difficulty of covering D.O.A. songs is the fact that every listener would for sure paragon the vocals of the various bands with the peculiar one of Pete Burns. Another thing to count is that D.O.A. were already an electronic combo, so the arrangements must be well personalised to pass the audience's judgement. Well, after listening to the compilation a couple of times, I can tell that all the band passed the exam and some with something more than a good impression! I was really impressed by the version of Astromill (their "Isn't it a pity" is a catchy pop/new wave version and it sounds really fresh), Giallo, The Dignity of Labour, Electroluvs, Baxendale (their "Come home with me baby" is a killer. It seems a remixed version of their own track...), Ganymede (their "Lover come back to me" seems more a Kraftwerk/Telex cover), Empire State Human, Spray (which had the difficult mission of covering "You spin me round -like a record" and it sounds pretty similar to the original version, being also more pumped and fast) and Royal Visionaries which make "Stop kicking my heart around" play like an early Human League song. The tracklist has been selected picking up tracks coming mainly from the second half of the 80's band period (from the albums "Youthquake", "Mad bad and dangerous to know" and "Nude"). Another album you shouldn't miss! P.s. Visit www.doatribute.com for more infos and audio clips.

The CIRCLESOUTH: Remind nothing

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (1992)
Jun 18 2005
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Artist: The CIRCLESOUTH (@)
Title: Remind nothing
Format: CD
Label: Disaster by choice (@)
Rated: *****
Together with Port Royal and Giardini di Mirò, The Circlesouth can be considered one of the most interesting and promising electronic-pop combos coming from the "land of pizza". Electronic (or should I write indie-tronic?!) pop in full effect and when pop sounds like "Remind nothing" you can bet it's worth of a listening for sure. While having the same mogweyesque "crescendo" in a lot of songs, differently form Port Royal, The Circlesouth work much more on a "traditional song structure", I don't think I'm the first one who writes sometimes they sound a bit like a colder version of Radiohead minus their original emphasis. Some of the songs are incredibly catchy (December in Kamtchatka, La coleur) but honestly I preferred these tracks where the rock elements of the band tend to disappear (I can't understand what happened, Best wishes). Tip of hat to these guys since they've been able to write songs without being a complete clone of this or that band. The sound is good even if I'm sure with a thicker production the next record will give much more evidence to their characteristics, above all to the electronics. Listen carefully to "Remind nothing" above all if you can dig the electronic restyling of indie-rock.

FAQ: Is Pornography Art?

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (1983)
Jun 14 2005
Artist: FAQ
Title: Is Pornography Art?
Format: CD
Label: Synthetic Product Records (@)
I'm going to be frankly honest about this cd I review on after listening to FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) new fourth release "Is Pornography Art?". This Swiss band teamed up with porn star Jenna Jameson. They got permission to used her pictures from her website for their cd cover. I find the band's music too simplistic for me to get into. They are known to be progressive electronic pop. I am a fan of synth/electronic pop, but I'm not that deep into it like I used to. Alot of bands now days are using the same samples, which turns me off. A couple of tracks by FAQ sounds too techno-ish for my taste that can be played at a rave club/party. The only tracks I like is "Minor", "Home (Revisited Mix)", "We Come In Pieces", which feature Stephan Groth from Apoptygma Berzerk as guest vocalist, and "Heartbreaker" that feature samples/interview of Jenna Jameson taken from the dvd "Hell on Wheels". There's another track that's dedicated to the porn queen called "How To Make Love Like", which is based on her best selling biography "How To Make Love Like A Pornstar." However, I think the whole album is to her totally. I'm not feeling the band, but it's very interesting how they manage to hook up with a porn star for their music project.

TAMMY: Amor De Computadora

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (1971)
Jun 08 2005
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Artist: TAMMY
Title: Amor De Computadora
Format: CD EP
Label: Sonic 360 (@)
Rated: *****
Tammy's AMOR DE COMPUTADORA is a re-release of a E.P. released back in 2000 by the Independiente label. Tammy is the alter ego of Juan Auistín Nesta, an Argentinian producer/musician who worked also with Dj Hell. At the moment he's working with fellow Argentinian 'Gurtz'. The E.P. (which as each Sonic 360 release is only available for download at Napster/ITunes) contains five instrumental tracks (only "Lunares" contains few lines of vocoder) which ideally take inspiration from everything that can take place between Kraftwerk and New Order. The bleeping sounds paint a dark icey picture while the melody has got feelings of melancholy (see the marimba on the opening title track). The E.P. isn't of an immediate enjoyment because the tracks haven't got a "main part/refrain" structure but it slowly makes its space through your daily listenings. Light minimal electronic meet melodic tunes and their blending create five tracks to discover.


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