Music Reviews



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 MP3.com 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.

REPLICANT: Face Control E.P.

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 26 2004
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Artist: REPLICANT
Title: Face Control E.P.
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Beautycase Records (@)
Rated: *****
Absolutely fabulous! Hey, I'm talking about the Replicant single and not about the English sitcom, ok? :) It was an awesome surprise to listen to "Self control", the first single of the Italian singer Raf and later brought to international succes by Laura Branigan, being covered and sung by no one less than Marc Almond! The version is fantastic, it keeps the original melody turning the song into a driving dance tune. Also the original version was dancey and good, but Replicant created some stop and go, he added more melodic tunes really catchy and speeded the rhythm a little bit. "Fur" is a version of a Marc song (originally a B side of the "Glorious" single) revisited by Replicant and with the guitar lines played by the other author of the song: Neal X (member of Sigue Sigue Sputnik). The third and last song, "Too damn beautiful", is written by Replicant and sees Marc Almond on vocals, Neal X on guitar and Linda Duggan on back vocals and it is a really good track which mix rock, dance attitude and the distinctive Marc Almond style in only one song. Don't miss this release even if you aren't a Marc Almond fan and follow the next Replicant releases as well, because Kinky Roland is focusing the project on collaborations with '80s icons and this sounds gorgeous! A real surprise... P.s. The FACE CONTROL E.P. will be released on MCD early October, while the vinyl will be pressed on September.

THE MOST: The Most E.P.

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 25 2004
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Artist: THE MOST (@)
Title: The Most E.P.
Format: 12"
Label: Beautycase Records (@)
Rated: *****
Coming from their first album "Nude sampler", "Make up" and "Driven" are two beautiful tracks and maybe they are the less electroclash sounding tunes of the lot. "Make up" is a version of the Vanity 6 track, originally written by Prince and Tommie Sunshine (Dust Traxx and producer of the latest DJ Hell and Felix Da Housecat releases) was so impressed by The Most's version that he wanted to remix it. He gave to it some boost and he underlined the hypnotic side of the track by keeping only the basic melodies and adding some catchy samples. Enough to say that his and the band versions are equally intriguing and you can find them here both! "Driving" is another hypnotic dance track based on a cyclic bass line and is perfect for the alternative dancefloors. Good record for Beauticase Records and for the duo formed by Princess Julia (which is also the resident dj at The Cock) and Luke Howard.

THE DIGNITY OF LABOUR: XRV

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 18 2004
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Artist: THE DIGNITY OF LABOUR (@)
Title: XRV
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: A Different Drum (@)
Rated: *****
After self releasing two full lenght albums, The Dignity Of Labour successfully found a proper contract by signing to A Different Drum and releasing this eight track E.P. The new MCD gathers two new tracks "Xrv" and "Oxygen" (no, it isn't a Jean Michel Jarre cover), coming from the next homonymous release. The four remixes of the first track are made by Nevarakka, Eric Lymon, the band itself and Scott MacLean. The other track is "Vinyl Bliss" and you can find two covers of it: one remixed by the band and the other by Color Theory (Brian Hazard took care also of the additional mixing and to the mastering). This has been the first time I was listening to Kirk Taylor's Dignity Of Labour and since the first time I liked the tracks and the style and I was quite surprised that any comparison band's name wasn't popping out in my mind: there aren't evident signs of Depeche Mode or Yazoo even if '80s electro pop and new wave are clearly an influence. Maybe the fact that Kirk started to play this genre in the '80s, first with a proper band called Prophet and then as The Dignity Of Labour, is the answer and since then Kirk developed his own style. From what I listened on this MCD, I think that the next album will be a surprise, so write yourself a note and don't miss it...

MARK LANE: Creepy Weepy

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 05 2004
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Artist: MARK LANE
Title: Creepy Weepy
Format: CD
Label: Metawave Classix (@)
Rated: *****
It's the first time I listen to Mark Lane's music and I've got to say that I'm pleasant surprised. Even if he was active in early eighties I never had the occasion of trying his music and this is strange, because his tunes sometimes remember me of early John Foxx stuff (see the vocal use and the melodies on "Creepy a la weepy"). I know that I should give you more references but listening to CREEPY WEEPY I realize that even if you can hear here and there echoes of Residents (because of the oblique approach Mark has with melodies and sounds) and early Thomas Leer, Mark has got his own style. Also listening to his version of Gary Numan's "Praying to the aliens" his personal music made of few synthetic sounds and his voice which sounds as he's an alien in a foreign land make it sound like the song isn't a cover. The album as the old vinyl records lasts only thirty seven minutes but the listener has got all the time he needs to appreciate this particular musician who's able of experimenting with melodies keeping the song structure personal and fresh.


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