Music Reviews



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Artist: John Chantler (@)
Title: Even Clean Hands Damage The Work
Format: 12"
Label: Room40 (@)
Rated: *****
Fans of vintage modular synthesizers will immediately recognize the "voice" of the two rare glorious models that John Chantler, the London magnetic pole of Australian label Room40, squeezed on this release: he had the possibility to play on Buchla 200 and its grandson, Serge modular, that EMS Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm keeps and makes available to composers and sound artists and collected a pile of sequences and sounds that he revised over a couple of years in order to avoid that his stuff could be too closer to mere work outs on modular synths. The opening ultra low frequencies and the electric rifts of the first part of "November" and the erosive sequences whose noisy wavelets of the second part are closer to many electronic grafts into prog-rock elongations from the 70ies precede the atomized clipped fluctuations and the atmospheric textures of "Dismantled Cabaret" in the first group of tracks, while the second block includes "Wollmar Organ", where John punctured an organ-like sound from the Wave Multiplier module by rising voltages, zipped frequencies and tubular sounds, and the amazing fluid dynamics of "The Knight Firth", where gobbling sonic bits keeps on burbling before their gradual stagnating.

Neonsol: Citadel

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 03 2014
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Artist: Neonsol (@)
Title: Citadel
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: AnalogueTrash Records (@)
Distributor: Trashdigital / Bandcamp
Rated: *****
With the help of members of the DK-Gang of Terror, UK's AnalogueTrash Records will be able to conquer the world! Neonsol is a newcomer-project consisting of both Denmark-based members Nina and Jesper Io and the third, Canada-based and quite prominent contributor, Frederic Scarfone (Memmaker, Iszoloscope, Norad). Originally established by Nina and Jesper in 2009 as a duo, Frederic joined in 2012 to complete their line-up. As a trio they played live at the Cyberworld XX album release-party in Copenhagen (October 2012) and also at the Braincorp's 8 Year Anniversary event (April 2013) together with Nachtmahr, ESA and Skyla Vertex. Musically Neonsol presents us Electro-/Futurepop music which can be counted to represent the state-of-art regarding sound-design, programming and production. All of you who are familiar with Frederic's efforts surely know about the high and very polished production standard of his work, although his other projects present quite different music styles. 'Citadel' is a 2-track single-release to a Bandcamp 'name-your-price' downloading procedure. It works well as a mouth-watering appetizer for the upcoming album 'Ecliptic', to be released soon via AnalogueTrash. It's a quite danceable Futurepop-tune with Jean-Luc de Meyer-like male vocals to lead the verses; while Nina's compelling voice rules the catchy chorus. This track here also receives a remix treatment by Claus Larsen / Leaether Strip. Original track and the remix give you a perfect example of the production differences of nowadays standard compared to Larsen's rather 90s-inspired sound design. Both versions have remarkable advantages and both deserve applause. It shouldn't wonder if we see and hear much more of this interesting project in the future and I personally think they are able to reach global meaning to the scene. It's a hard and work-intense way to reach world conquest, but talent always scores.

Vieon: Starfighter

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 03 2014
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Artist: Vieon
Title: Starfighter
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: AnalogueTrash Records (@)
Distributor: Trashdigital / Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Another new signing to the Manchester-based AnalogueTrash Records is this Electronica music-project of Matt Wild. Also Vieon takes its inspiration out of the works of pioneers like Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream and always explores the depth of the spacey, analogue synthesizer sound-era of the mid-70s to the mid-80s. Matt Wild's music-sound represents for a huge amount the ideas of Spacesynth-music in combination of influences of movie-soundtrack-works. Musically it would fit well with the works of labels like Space Sound Records, without falling into their Italo-Disco related section. Aside of this Vieon's music does not only offer spacey retro-nostalgia. Matt also understands it to entertain with catchy hook-lines and a rich arsenal of rhythm-/ percussion sounds. 'Starfighter' is an ideal introduction to Matt's work and could be a soundtrack-score of your next virtual game-hero in a space adventure. This 2-track teaser, which is available to a 'name-your-price' routine via Bandcamp, warms up the listener with the tracks 'Starfighter' and a special single-edit of 'Sonic Highway' for the up and coming full-length album 'The Sound Of The Future'. A great teaser of a highly talented artist, don't miss this EP as well as the album!
Oct 03 2014
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Artist: Factory Acts (@)
Title: Thirst
Format: CD EP
Label: AnalogueTrash Records (@)
Distributor: Trashdigital / Bandcamp
Rated: *****
This new 4-track EP-release by the Manchester-based Electronica-label AnalogueTrash continues with the label policy to sign on unusual, but artistically remarkable music-projects with an edgy mind. The female/male duo Factory Acts out of Salford surely counts to this rule and provides us their label debut. Both band members, Susan O'Shea (vocals, synths) and Matt Davies (bass, beat-work) provide us their colourful mutation out of sinister Dark Electro arrangements with the euphoric inventions of the Post-Punk influenced New Wave culture. 'They exist at the edge of the analogue-digital divide, sometimes dreaming, always dancing', so a well-fitting phrase taken out of their info-sheet. So this isn't at all the usual growling Puppy-an Dark Electro you're maybe familiar with, it is more an exploration of darker, analogue synthesizer sounds, which transport the nostalgic mood of the early 80s. Susan O'Shea's vocal performance stands for an extra remarkable point in the music of Factory Arts. She doesn't provide that faceless, Pop-dolly-like Mainstream-format suitable for the MTV- / Viva-youth, but rather surprises with an emotional, at times haunting performance. The mood of the depending track matters a lot and since the music of Factory Arts is more alternatively oriented, it shouldn't surprise that Susan's timbre turns out differently. The signing on Factory Acts and as far as this only 4 tracks allow a valid judgement is a courageous one for AnalogueTrash Records, because this project can not be sorted into one single category. So maybe diversity is their game-winning attitude? It's a promising and a good 4-track-starter EP, but let's wait and see what they can do for our entertainment with a hopefully soon to be released full-length album.

Empire State Human: The Dark

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Sep 18 2014
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Artist: Empire State Human
Title: The Dark
Format: Tape
Label: Werkstatt Recordings
Rated: *****
"The Dark" is the newest Empire State Human album and it's their second one in 2014. Coming after "Futura", "The Dark", is a total different affair compared to its predecessor and not only because the first one was an instrumental one. As the title states, the latter sounds darker for the atmospheres and the melodies, both. I like a lot this new version of ESH's sound as it enhances the contrast between Aidan high pitch vocals and the synth lines. Synth melodies now are more direct, always with a rich arrangement, but direct and they paint a sort of menacing atmosphere overall the whole album tracklist. Released by Werkstatt Recordings, label based in Rhodes/Greece founded in 2009 with bands such as Protector 101, Arc Neon, Jowie Schulner, Beatbox Machinery, Kubinski and Droid Sector Decay on their roster, the album has two guests: Attrition's Martin Bowes on "The digital world" (which thanks to his deep vocals, sounds like a sort of synth ambient version of Clock DVA with orchestrations and melancholic melodies) and Tracey Bishop for the 'Drifting' and 'Funhouse' lyrics. We have tunes like "Monochrome" which are kinda mid tempo dance ones as well as "Black Knight Rising" is. "Come Lie With Me" and "Cut Glass", instead, are have a sort of in your face attitude effect. The album has just been released on Bandcamp and Juno by Werkstatt Recordings, which will also include a limited CD-r release run. ESH will handle the digital release. You have to check it and you can do it here http://synthesizer.bandcamp.com/album/167-empire-state-human-the-dark


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