Music Reviews



VV.AA.: Return of the Permanent Wave

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 27 2004
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Return of the Permanent Wave
Format: CD
Label: Silver Plastic Records (@)
Rated: *****

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This compilation comes from the new label Silver Plastic Records who by the enclosed letter obviously have a sense of humor. They describe the release as, "Lazy day beats meet up with post-punk electronica in a fusion that can only be described as permanent wave". We have all heard of New Wave, later called Retro Wave. Of late the 'Wave' genre has been termed Synthpop to get away from the ties to it having only been the result of an era, the 80's of course. While Synthpop has taken the genre to new levels it has mostly been promoted by labels like A Different Drum. Now fans of the 'era sound' that is sometimes lacking in the more modernized version called Synthpop can capture that with Silver Plastic Records who bring into the genre what it is often lacking and we've only barely gotten in pop-culture by bands like No Doubt. It's like reliving the future! The first band, PsychoSomatic Breakdown, could easily be placed on the Hymen label while Burn Like Nero, which seems to be the label's feature band are very reminiscient of Joy Division meets Gary Numan on "Faded Away". They then trade out the male vocals for female on "Small Details". "Desperation" gets a little Devo in the intro then takes off into uncharted territory very rapidly with vocals that reflect an early Ian Astbury of The Cult with completely synthesizer backing. Only three tracks, two bands, and I'm hooked already! Let's jump around. Egg In Space get very Space Invaders on "Say Hello", while eH Factor focus on dancefloor beats and digitalia with smoothed over vocals on "This Desperation". Janosch Moldau's "Redeemer" gives pause to reflect while sneeking some, is this possible?, Wave-Trance on us. This track is followed by a twelve minute track by Lank called "Stress Relief Point" which is mostly-Ambient/Trance, unexpected for this project. However, they show another side to their works on the next track "012 (introvert)" with neurotically clicking beats and piano, something that sounds fitting for an Ant-Zen release; very Beefcake-like. The pace picks back up with onLoad's "Electrofish", bouncy 80's style synth and start-top vocals. The Signifying Monkey combines the elements of the entire project nicely with retro rhythms and crunchy noise fallout each measure. Vocally it reminds me of a more punk and guitar oriented Devo. Are we not men? We are The Signifying Monkey! Seems to be a connection there. Moving forward a bit we come to Bernie Lucas (aka the missing Kraftwerk memeber?). Both tracks begin with an electronic voice stating the name of the track. I must say one interesting and unique compilation. It should be interesting to see what this label turns out as it seems to be a bizarre culmination of A Different Drum, NintWave, Ant-Zen, and Hymen all in one monster, so far. I love it!! ...and it's only $10 at CDBaby!

Aalacho: Electro

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 27 2004
cover
Artist: Aalacho (@)
Title: Electro
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Seattle-based struggling solo musician/producer/writer Nathan Scott, a.k.a. Aalacho, comes from previous rock experiences in his hometown of Detroit but, except for occasional guitar arrangements here and there, he doesn't let much of that bleed through the eight tracks of his second album "Electro", to be (self-)released August 17th. "Electro" is an appropriate name to describe this half-hour short full length album and its content. Entirely recorded on Mac's Emagic Logic 6 Platinum, the seven tracks contained herein (among which there is a Felix da Houscat mix and a cover version of Beatles' "Ticket to Ride") sport a pretty funky and happy blend of indie-electronics with pop vocals, guitar arpeggios and licks and electroclash beats and some influences from the past surfacing at times. The album features some guest musicians from bands such as Tryst, The Davenports, Jasper the Cat, The Vacants and a bunch of indie vocalists. Let yourself be lifted off the ground, just as the cover might subliminaly be suggesting... ;-)

MINERVE: Breathing Avenue

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 18 2004
cover
Artist: MINERVE (@)
Title: Breathing Avenue
Format: CD
Label: Pandailectric (@)
Rated: *****

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Born as a Pandaimonium sublabel dedicated to electro music Pandailectric in the last year grew really fast and in about a year they released about eight CDs. Minerve is one of their bands and it is formed by two members of Paradise Of Fear: Daniel Wollatz and Mathias Thurk. BREATHING AVENUE contains eleven tracks full of pathos and melody which mix gothic atmospheres with electronic sounds and synthpop structures. Daniel's deep voice and the melancholic melodies match in a good way the structure created by Mathias and tracks like "Antimatter", "Falling", "Afraid of myself", "Merge" and "High pitched emotions" shows really well the core of the project with their upbeat tempo and the catchty melodies. The album isn't all based on the same formula as along the forementioned tracks you can find also "Interlude" and "Epilog", where the band slow down the rhtyms just to experimentig a little more with sounds and melodies. A good one for modern electropop lovers.

PANDIQUE: Weltenklang

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 17 2004
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Artist: PANDIQUE
Title: Weltenklang
Format: CD
Label: Pandailectric (@)
Rated: *****

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Newcomers of the German electro pop scene, Pandique are active since 2001 when they won a battle of the bands with their song "Light of justice" (third track of their debut album). WELTENKLANG is their first album which is ideally linked to bands like And One, Covenant, etc. Even if those are their references, Pandique developed a certain capacity into mixing different influences which go from distorted techno (like on "Corrosion" and on "Vom Leben") to synthpop (like on "Stummes wort") including also parts of ambient electronic (see the use of long synth pads on their songs). The songs have got always a certain danceable approach without being too commercial. Melodies and rhythm are the backbone of their music and WELTENKLANG is a good beginning.

I SYNTHESIST: Avalanche

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jun 15 2004
cover
Artist: I SYNTHESIST (@)
Title: Avalanche
Format: CD
Label: Satellite Symphonics
Rated: *****
Moving his sound between '80s icons like John Foxx (just listen to tracks like "The lost parade" or "Captain, my captain" and you'll have flashbacks coming from "The garden" era) and Gary Numan (don't tell me you haven't never listened to gems like "Telekon" or "The pleasure principle"), Chris Ianuzzi composed a really catchy album titled AVALANCHE. The eleven tracks are capable of catching your attention immediately and after few times you listen to them you'll find their melodies appealing and you'll find yourself willing to discover how's the following song. Even if I Synthesist is based on old sounds and influenced by music of the eighties you'll be surprised to find a well balanced project where old sounds and new intuitions (see some semi ambient/techno solutions on "Paralyzed") cohabit really well. There are no flaws into the album sound / tracks and each track has convinced me at the same way. Chris' composition is already mature and he knows how to use his skills and from the photos I see that he isn't a teenager, so he must have a certain musical background already. Even if Chris is a New Yorker the sound is really British and it doesn't sound like American synthpop bands and this helps the project having its own personality which the audience can recognize immediately. If you are an electro pop lover you should check this album and if you find it difficult to find because it has been released by Satellite Symphonics (Chris' personal label), then you can wait until mid July and you can get yours checking this website http://www.endless-records.de


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