Music Reviews



((PRESSURES)) / Roladex: Split 7"

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 18 2014
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Artist: ((PRESSURES)) / Roladex
Title: Split 7"
Format: 7"
Label: Medical Records (@)
Rated: *****
Produced by Medical Records and Disko Obscura Records this new 7" is a double A Side single which has on one side ((PRESSURES)) and on the other Roladex. Coming from New Orleans ((PRESSURES)) have an LP out on Disko Obscura entitled 'Casting Shadows'. Their track "The Voices" is a good tune of electronic synth wave with fast paced rhythms and vocoder filtered vocals. Simplicity is the way to go but there's a good mix of analog synth sounds that make of it a nice one. Roladex, after their first album 'Anthems For the Micro-Age', always on Medical Records, sound a bit more melancholic because of how they use the girl/boy vocals but also their track 'Glass Statuette' sound catchy thanks to pop hooks and nice arpeggios. Of this track a vhs lo-fi style video has been produced and I think it will be soon available on Youtube. The 7" is pressed on high quality transparent yellow vinyl and will be available on September.

Iko: '83

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 18 2014
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Artist: Iko
Title: '83
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records (@)
Rated: *****
After being bootlegged several times in the past years, first on CDR and then on LP, the first and only album of Canadian's band Iko is about to be reissued officially by Medical Records. "83" has been released officially by the label Manhattan - Formula back in 1982 and had eight electronic tracks in balance from post punk and pop. Songs like "Communication Off" or "Jungle City" (available on this reissue for the first time) contained elements of post punk roughness (check the vocals and the noise effects) as well as a robotic approach to sounds and rhythms. Other tunes like the French sung "Gonadotropic Synthesis" or "Elevator" show synthpop influences of bands of the likes of Telex thanks to that particular melodic catchy tunes mixed to dry synth sounds and upbeat tempos. This reissue contains the aforementioned unreleased track"Jungle City" on the vinyl version and the digital version, which can be purchased separately, has four bonus tracks (these tracks can be downloaded using the coupon available in the LP): "Military Service", "Surrender To The Dream", "Army Service" (song that isn't available on the bootlegs) and a live instrumental version of "Surrender To The Dream" (which sounds more experimental compared to the studio version). "Surrender To The Dream" offer a view of how would have turned Iko's sound, because they sound a bit more wave with lushy atmospheres with slapped bass lines and few guitar inserts. Mastered and equalised from the original master analog tapes, "83" is available on high-quality 180gram heavyweight half and half yellow and black vinyl and has also a bonus insert with interview and retrospective by Dave Segal. This reissue will be available on late September 2014.
Aug 09 2014
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Artist: Control (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Maybe the clocks in Fairfield, Iowa, are ticking differently to any other thinkable place in States, but c'mon guys, wasn't it possible to find any other more original band-name than a simple 'Control', which is already in use by some other Electronica music-projects? Although 'different' is a good paraphrase which could be often used when it comes to talk on the content this self-titled debut album. Control is a three-man outfit consisting of Joseph Mayfield (vocals), Joey Del Re (guitars, programming) and Dominic Rabalais (synths, programming). Being pretty much inspired by the Synthpop-driven Pop- / New Wave -music culture of the 80s (darkest Depeche Mode, Ultravox, New Order, The Cure to name the idols'¦), they create a post-modern sound-outfit filled additionally with their own area-based cultural background. And so this 13-track album swims in inspiration and into stylistically diversity which surprises here and there. The listing of additional, mostly unusual instruments in their Electronica music outfit is a long one (for example mandolin in 'Tonight' / saxophone on 'Condemned To Feel' and 'Corpse') and absolutely proofs their diversity. A lot of different moods and impressions mostly provided through the at times quite sarcastic lyrics have been tested and at least installed. Lyricist/vocalist Joseph Mayfield offers a lot of blood and sweat with his timbre and the lyrical content dealing of one's inner pain to keep control over the musically course both his band-mates manage to produce. The 'Personal Jesus'-like guitar-riff of 'Hardwired' gets soon vanished by the bubbling synth bass-lines and a catchy chorus-passage, which a kid is able to sing along. 'Corpse', a track which has been specially supported with a video clip-production, impresses with its scratching bass-line sequences and the upbeat tempo. In between 'Tonight' slows down the speed and offers nearly romantic lyrics dealing with endless yearning. 'No One Knows' is another favorite worth to check out because of its quite accessible composition full of Pop-aesthetics. 'Condemned To Feel' and especially Joseph's emotional kind to sing on this track brings back reminiscences of the better DM-days and he could win the imaginary 'let's-sing-like-Gahan' song contest. The row of highlights could be continued as all of these featured 13 tracks are sort of favorites and have their very own preferences. No doubt, this Iowa-based Control music-project has already found an ideal niche to play with Wave-/Pop music-accessibility, while they never fall the same time into redundancy or mediocrity. That's nice entertainment which deserves the few more spins until the whole meaning behind takes effect.

THYX: Super Vision

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 06 2014
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Artist: THYX (@)
Title: Super Vision
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Since the Austrian Electro-/Industrial magicians of Mind.In.A.Box are quite bonded thematically to the ongoing story-board of the main protagonist Black and his adventures in the Dreamweb (story written by A. Gruber, www.agruber.com), it may has become a bit boring for the mastermind behind, Stefan Poiss So this MIAB side-project has come to life and has been named after a song written by Poiss about 15 years ago. This song and its name have a deeper meaning for Poiss, because this name stands for a synonym of a specific kind of soundscape he has once discovered. So now he hunts after this soundscape under THYX and tries hard to re-create what he once discovered. 'Super Vision' is already the third album on this hunt in a very short time-line. Of course, Poiss cannot at all wear off all of the sound ingredients which have made MIAB that famous and highly recognized. Also under THYX he produces his well-known formula with a futuristic sound-design, with bombastic synthesizer layers and also the often with MIAB discovered vocoderized vocals. So THYX is more than a valuable copy to MIAB and you can be assured to get another high-quality release out of the Austrian sound-stable. Musically Poiss services a wide playing-field and entertains with genre-bending changes. 'Robots Don't Lie' is a decent sci-fi storyboard with wobbling synthesizer-leads and a straight beat-work. Another great tune to satisfy the dancefloor-junkies in the dark clubs can be discovered with 'Forgotten', while the charming pop harmonies of 'Our Only Home' have to be mentioned too in the highlight-listing of this overall marvellous album. 'Für Immer' combines different vocal performances into a darker than usual sound design. This list of highlights can be continued endlessly while it only proofs that Strfan Poiss still enjoys his being in creating unique soundscapes for the after-world. If you've been impressed with MIAB before you will also love THYX. 'Super Vision' is a top-notch Electronica album and another lecture for all the poor wannabes out there providing keyboard-music with factory preset-sounds.

Kline Coma Xero: s/t

 Posted by Emanuele Ratti (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 31 2014
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Artist: Kline Coma Xero (@)
Title: s/t
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Medical Records
Rated: *****
Kline Coma Xero is the solo project of Tony Williams, who is member of the IDM project DRIL. This is a debut (self-titled) album produced by Medical Records, and it comes in a LP format. The project is influenced by very early industrial music, a certain kind of EBM and minimal synth/wave. One can clearly distinguish markers that date back to artists such as Front 242, Cabaret Voltaire, early Depeche Mode and Club Moral. Lyrical contents are inspired by Ballard. As music composition and instrumentation are concerned, Kline Come Xero has a peculiar philosophy. Tony Williams employs only analog synths, hardware drum-machines and hardware sequencers. Tony Williams explicitly doesn't follow the trend of contemporary electronics music that is based (especially in amateur projects) on computers, virtual synth and digital instruments in general. The quality of sounds is amazing. Tony Williams wisely manages all the knobs of his synths and he is particularly skillful in arranging layers of sounds. He is most of the time able to build a hierarchy of sounds in which all the important parts can be clearly distinguished: bass lines, leads, pads. Voices are mostly monotones but they are equalized according to the specific 'sound environment'. For instance in the first track Left Behind the voice plays a pivotal role and it is put into the foreground, whereas in Silent Call the voice is wisely lost into a layer of reverb, following the whole trend of the song. While some songs are minimal, others are more elaborated without being 'baroque'. An example is Mannequins, which hosts an interesting and complex melody. The best song of the album is by no means Darkroom in which all the layers are organized professionally. The only flaws of the album are the instrumental songs (quite useless and meaningless to tell the truth) and the rhythmic sections that sometimes (see Rewind and Photo Falling) are a little bit boring and not properly tailored to the songs. Despite these negative aspects, the debut album of Kline Come Xero is overall pretty good. I'm sure that the project has a shining future.


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