Music Reviews

Melotron: Sternenstaub

 Posted by KlingKlangBedlam   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 10 2003
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Artist: Melotron
Title: Sternenstaub
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Take a little it of Depeche Mode, cross it over with latter period Evil’s Toy, and some (though not as many as in the past) And One-isms, and Melotron is the result. One of the more original and best modern Depeche Mode influenced groups to come out in a while, they have a very high energy sound that tends to walk the lines between EBM, synthpop, and electro, while being all and none at once. The vocals this time seem more charismatic than some of the past releases, trading in the monotone talk-singing for a more dynamic range and more experimentation with octaves. But overall this should be pretty familiar to the long time Melotron fans like me (Woohoo! Melotron without the stigma of import prices!!! First Das Ichm now this, bless you Metropolis! Haha) who’ve seen some of their past releases. This one does seem to have more of an emotional edge to it though, and the experimentation has been kicked up a bit..... I got the chance to see and meet them a few months ago here in Chicago, they put on a very energetic show that everyone in the audience says topped even the almighty Covenant. Trust me, there were a lot more American fans by the end of the night! The singer gets totally into the music, dancing and prancing around with a charisma I haven’t seen in a live show since Bella Morte or Porcupine Tree, and the energy grabs you no matter how far back in the audience you are. Plus the keyboardist I talked to is a very nice guy, quite humorous. In short, if you get a chance to see them live, give up the Depeche Mode tickets as your one synthpop show of the year and check these guys out, I guarantee you’ll end up leaving a fan, whether you like synthpop or not. Along with Pulcher Femina and the aforementioned And One, this is one of my favorite modern synthpop groups. It definitely has an energy that a lot of modern synthpop simply cannot touch or comprehend, as well as more complexity. Rating: 10.

VV.AA: Living On Video

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Sep 28 2003
Artist: VV.AA
Title: Living On Video
Format: DVD
Label: Cohaagen (@)

LIVING ON VIDEO is a real thrill as it's the first DVD of underground sythpop that's been ever produced and this is a fantastic news for all the fans of electronic music. The DVD presents twenty songs/bands with also different options for some of the tracks, such as: alternative sound track with band members comments or, in the case of Fr/action, you can see the video as a little indipendent short movie. Not all the videos are exciting but most of them are real entertaining, this is a list of the ones I appreciated most: Soviet, Freezepop (really cute their animation video of "Stakeout"), Nasa (astonishing their professional video of "Back To Square One"), Cosmicity (with a mix of 3d animation and live sequences of their hit "Technology"), NukleoN (again with a mix of 3d and video, Dan brings us "Homewrecker"), Ganymede, Neuroactive (3d animation seems to rule here... :), T.H.E.M. (the weirdest video of the lot opening with a sort "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" parody for their "Here We Go". The video has been released by the Laboratorio Diabolico just as for the Blow-Up. Laboratorio Diabolico is an Italian duo who moved to California and started to produce videos), Neuropa, Fr/action (with their fantastic indipendent movie version of "Vigilante" where a thief was unlucky enough to meet a professional criminal), Gary Flanagan (the most instimistic and romantic video of the dvd for his "Summertime"), Axoe and Blue Audio.[br]
In any case, here's the complete list:
1 Soviet - "Commute"*
2 Freezepop - "Stakeout"
3 Blow-Up - "Fly With Me"
4 Nasa - "Back to Square One"
5 Cosmicity - "Technology"*
6 ElectroSquad - "Envy"*
7 NukleoN - "Homewrecker"
8 Moulin Noir - "Maria Calling"
9 Ganymede - "Daylight"*
10 Neuroactive - "Space Divider"
11 T.H.E.M. - "Here We Go"
12 Neuropa - "Lifeline"
13 Fr/action - "Vigilante"*
14 B!Machine - "In Thrall"
15 Null Device - "The Sad Truth"
16 Gary Flanagan - "Summertime"*
17 Axoe - "Calling"
18 Blue Audio - "This Is the Way"
19 The Peoples - "Kaleidoscoping Eyes"
20 Brave New World - "Drug" (live)*[br]
I suggest you to look for this dvd: you won't be disappointed and you'll release that you're holding a piece of underground synth music history!

Echoes In the Dark: Bleu Days

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Sep 08 2003
Artist: Echoes In the Dark (@)
Title: Bleu Days
Format: Tape
Label: self-released
You gotta give this guy credit for how pro-active he is. Birmingham-based Donovan Tate writes about electronic music, gothic and some hip hop for B*live newsletter and LoMo Magazine and has now decided to produce some of his very own stuff together with his sister Demetra. Unfortunately the result is not as good as his intentions and his dedication to music. Besides a bad final mix that puts way too much weight on vocals and keeps the music in the background, the music is thin and lacks of personality. The rhythmical structures are minimal, almost absent, and the amateur sounds are those of who just discovered a synth and wants to use them all, no matter how good they are and how well they match. Unfortunately, as much as I try, unless I were to lie to our readers, I can't even tell you that he sings well (altough his sister definitely does a better job). The demo tape comes with a well printed color cover and features fifteen songs with explicit lyrics about love, passion, anti-abortion etc. Maybe it's because I am not into synthpop too much, maybe I didn't catch the true meaning and spirit if Echoes in the Dark, but I think it is imperative that, within the subjectiveness of a review, we as writers stay true to our readers.

Dynamic Masters: Decade

 Posted by KlingKlangBedlam   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 24 2003
Artist: Dynamic Masters
Title: Decade
Format: CD
Label: Intrapop
Distributor: Intrapop
First of all, not many bands out there stop to recognize fans and do autographs and such. But his band actually went out of their way to send me an autographed picture of the group, so I thank all of the members of the band for the kindness! Anywho, the band’s sound is your basic, tried and true synthpop along the lines of Donovan Tate’s work and in ways like Anything Box’s style of DIY synth work. The only weak spot I could find in the Cd was the male vocals. They have more than enough conviction, but he does need to work on the notes a little bit and gain a little more range in his voice. I think it will come around by the time the next CD comes out. Overall, if you’re into old school synthpop and none of the technofied synthpop that’s out there nowadays, then this may well be your pot of gold. Rating: 9.

VV.AA: Electricity 2

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 21 2003
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Artist: VV.AA
Title: Electricity 2
Format: CD
Label: Ninthwave Records (@)
I was kinda thrilled when I received the new Ninthwave compilation of the Electricity serie, you know, the opening track is a new Heaven 17's one which is coming from their new album "Before And After", which will be released by Ninthwave (it's a great thing Dave, indeed!). "Hands Up To Heaven" (this is the title of that track) is an upbeat dancey one with a funky guitar and a punching bass. The vocals are cool as usual and the whole track is a perfect radio single and I hope it will be one of the next hit single all around the globe! This second volume of Electricity comes with classic synthpop acts such as Moulin Noir, Cosmicity, Soviet along with a bunch of Ninthwave / Cohaagen bans like Fr/Action, Nukleon, Empire State Human, Spray, Macondo, Masq, Symbion Project, Xero G and also with Freezepop, Electro Squad, Exhibition, Passion Planet, Astromill, White Town and Turd Ferguson. The whole compilation is kinda balanced, bringing to synthpop fans classic electro pop and futuristic pop with some ambient influence (like on the Freezepop song remixed by Empire State Human, where the first part recalled me the first Orb stuff). If you think that only the Moulin Noir track has been released, you'll release the value of this CD which brings you the best of modern synthpop and to be honest, can you wait to listen to a new Heaven 17 song?

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