Music Reviews

Artist: Books on Tape
Title: The Business End
Format: CD
Label: Grey Day Productions
Mix only a tad of new wave, a dose of electronic beat-driven music (from Meat Beat Manifesto to mid-tempo dance to electro-industrial), throw in lots of computery electronic music, a huge dollop of defiant quirk, and some of the attitude of Mister Rogers mixed with, you know, those big pointed eyebrows bad people have in movies sometimes and you've got Books on Tape and their new CD "The Business End". Anyway, other than the sheer style of personality that's going to come out at you from song to song, all you can really expect from this music - which maybe could be considered experimental electro-industrial - is ... well ... maybe nothing else. You need to have a fetish for music that is strange but still technically traditional music - not over the edge experimental - to fully appreciate what's afoot here. But suffice it to say, Books on Tape are interesting manipulators of electronic music and worth peering at cautiously from around the corner ... just kidding ... check 'em out.
Artist: Piney Gir
Title: Piakahokahoo
Format: CD
Label: Grey Day Productions
Piney Gir's music on "Piakahokahoo" is a bit startling, to say the least. Mostly synth driven and quirkily perky, Piney Gir's songs blend moody, grrl-goth sensibilities and minimalist electro sensibilities ... along with whatever other influences happen along ... to create some awfully unique and surprisingly catchy melancholic meditations. On top of Piney Gir's ability to blend naive perk with subtley bitter observations is her ability to surprise with, for example, a remake - Piney Gir style - of "My Generation" and, get this, a country song - again, Piney Gir flavor all the way - called "Greetings, Salutations, Goodbye". To attempt any further to try and properly describe the original songcraft of Piney Gir's surprising talent would be futile. So take my word for it. No, don't do that. Go see for yourself. And bring an open mind.

FORETASTE: Discordance

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (1510)
Sep 07 2004
Artist: FORETASTE (@)
Title: Discordance
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Foretaste is a new electro pop band coming from France and composed by two guys(Sylvie and Pierre) who met on the net. Being fond on the 80's sound the duo decided to start from that point just to create their own style. DECADANCE is their first release and it brings to the attention of the listener four tracks: "Discordance (Radio edit)", "Victim's heart", "For your own good" and "Re-love (Apologies mix)". If you know me I don't like lyrical female vocals and fortunately Sylvie's style is personal enough to be catchy and far away from the style of her pretentious "colleagues". The tracks blend new wave, synthpop and electro pop focusing mostly on different melodical layers and on upbeat tempo. "For your own good" instead is a electronic ballad with good moments. Judging the band from these songs I can say that we have got a new band to keep an eye onto and soon we'll be able to listen and judge them a little better as their first album "Beautiful creatures" is on the way!


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (1500)
Aug 31 2004
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Title: Soliloquy
Format: CD
Label: Sonic Mainline (@)
Rated: *****
Stochastic Theory is the personal project of Chuck Spencer, who has been a premiere Midwest electro/industrial/synth DJ for over half a decade. Feeling the urge to express his own musical taste and his own feelings, he started to compose his own music in the fall of 2001. SOLILOQUY is the first Chuck's album and musically the eleven tracks (the last four are remixes of tracks here already present in their original version. The remixers are: Epsilon Minus, Null Device, Blind Faith / Envy and Echo Virus) are a blending of synthpop and electro e.b.m. If you want me to do a comparison I could name Icon Of Coil (for some melodies and for the e.b.m. side) and for the synthpop / new wave side I could hazard a mixture of Dead Or Alive (see tracks like "Blurry lines") and Ultravox (see the introspective "Demons"). Fortunately in this case influences are just influences and SOLILOQUY isn't a copy of the forementioned bands. Even if at a first listening the sound of the first four tracks wasn't that original, luckily the songs from that point on, show a certain personality and the CD changes little by little catching the attention and becoming a good album full of energy and pathos.
Artist: mindFIELD (@)
Title: Singularity
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
This Boston based electronic project is run by Gabriel Shaw. Shaw, who is known as a prolific keyboardist, has collaborated with such well known projects as Fear Factory and Killing Joke. He has toured live with Chemlab on their 2005 tour and has been hired by Apple Macintosh to perform at thier computer shows as well as touring as the drummer for MonoChrome. When he tours live he takes fellow keyboardists Regan Miller and Stacia Tucker. Heavily influenced by early 80's bands as well as projects like Orbital Gabriel combines the emotionally driven sounds of the early Wave bands with well structured loops and bass lines to create a sound all his own. Singularity was recorded entirely at home on his PC, a mode many modern electronic independent musicians are taking these days as the album ends up in MP3 format eventually anyway. Singularity tends to be dark and melodic, music that is good for lounging or the dancefloor. Evidently mindFIELD has seen some earlier success when was alive and hopefully this release will help to revive Shaw's recognition to the public audiences. There are many nearly ambient backing elements to support the dance rhythms and smooth vocals which comprise this release which I find a welcome compliment as I prefer music that is versatile to different moods and environments, something this definitely fulfills in a skillful and artful manner at that. Gabriel's eclectic tastes and love of music definitely show through fluently within this release. The album follows a rather consistent trend until you come to track six titled "1:1.618" which was initially released as free download from the band's website which features a bit more of a drum-n-bass beel to it with heavily vocoded vocals. This and track nine "An Antiphon Cure" are the most obvious standouts on the disc but not because they are better, just much faster. It's rather difficult to choose any tracks on this release as 'better' than others as they are all unique in their own ways and all beautiful in others.

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