Music Reviews

Movement Ten: s/t

 Posted by eskaton   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 14 2013
Artist: Movement Ten (@)
Title: s/t
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
When I looked their website for more information, it seemed that this album had already been reviewed by ChainDLK. Not sure why we got another one, but I listened to it and wrote a review, so take it as a second opinion. Knowing that this is self-released, if they are willing to send out a disc it's the least I can do. The other reviewer was pretty happy with the album; I was a bit less impressed, partly because the style seemed all over the place. We kick off with 'Gravity,' which is pretty straightforward pop. It's catchy though, so this would be the first single if they were going for airplay ' it's a good one to lead with. 'BWK' changes it up a bit with some old school house and staccato vocal delivery. 'FTBIA' sounds like old Genesis ('Turn It On Again,' for those playing along at home), with a sort of stadium rock feel. 'Chase' gets a little more aggressive, but not really industrial. 'Monochrome' would be right at home on your local college indie rock station. 'Red Reel' sounds like old New Order. Then we drop 'Moon Palace' with a slow falsetto vocals ' not really a high point on the album. Generally, this is a pleasant listen, although I found it somewhat bland. Maybe I'm jaded and like my music with a bit of an edge. I do think that they have a shot at making it to the popular market though. Shadowless Man and The Sweet Chap have a real talent for writing catchy songs ' 'Gravity' and 'BWK' are excellent examples of this. I would not be surprised to hear their music on a television show in the near future, that is, once they have a more cohesive sound. This album weighs in at around 44 minutes.

Marrow Mandler: Escapist Grounds

 Posted by eskaton   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 13 2013
Artist: Marrow Mandler (@)
Title: Escapist Grounds
Format: Tape
Label: Bel├Ąten (@)
Rated: *****
The label calls this 'up-tempo, industrial synth punk' with 'heavy, arpeggiated analog synths, twitching drum machines and drug hazy lyrics' and explains that this is a 'celebration of escapism.' Not quite sure what the escapism part means, but musically this is pretty good synthpop. Imagine old school Depeche Mode with thick analogue synths stolen from Kraftwerk's tour bus and vocals reminiscent of a more raw Clan of Xymox or Depeche Mode if they were much more bitter. And my favorite part of old new wave synthpop was the dark vocals, which are present and accounted for here as we are treated to such lyrics as 'I will never be alive again.' The compositions are simple and very raw, but they work well. This was very enjoyable and took me back to the early 80s without sounding dated (which is impressive in itself). I only wish that this one came with the download code for the digital version like the other tapes from Beläten. Mine was blank ' hopefully this was only a glitch in mine. This album weighs in at 19 minutes.

Steve Hauschildt: S/H

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 11 2013
Artist: Steve Hauschildt (@)
Title: S/H
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Most listeners could have got in touch with the fine electronic arts of Emeralds member Steve Hauschildt by means of his delightful dedication to Greek Muses Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, and Polyhymnia, the Muse of Geometry (as well as the Muse of sacred poetry, hymns and meditation) on Kranky, which sounds like a finely mythological handhold under divine auspices to describe his intriguing style, where dances of electronic bleeping particles and enchanting geometries hover towards sidereal heights or flow into symphonic streams which often recall authentic legends of German Kosmische music, drone-ambient or even aquarian stuff. This huge anthology, which includes both previously unreleased stuff from his archives and some tracks such as "Passing Cars", "Critique Of The Beautiful", "Different Directions" and "Rapt for Liquid Minister", which appeared on Mike Pollard's Arbor, Chris Madak's Deception Island and expired Steve's label Gneiss Things, extensively displays the traits that this American electronic musician showed on the above-mentioned release, which seems to be reprised by cover artwork as well, a snapshot of a LED-based art installation by Erwin Ledl. It's going to cause auricular orgasms to lovers of synth-propelled cosmic riders such as Klaus Schultze or possible contemporary relay runners such as Boards Of Canada, Mark McGuire or Oneohtrix Point Never.

Olivier Briand / Bertrand Loreau: Interferences

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 30 2013
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Artist: Olivier Briand / Bertrand Loreau
Title: Interferences
Format: CD
Label: Spheric Music (@)
Rated: *****
The last year Spheric Music released a selection of Loreau's 80s tracks titled 'Journey Through The Past' (check my old review to know more about him), this year 'Nostalgic Steps' and now we have a new album that Bernard Loreau composed with Olivier Briand. Their friendship started in Nantes, back in 1985, because of their passion for synthesizers, Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. During the eighties and the nineties they often played in the same electronic music festivals and also organized concerts and musical events. In 1995 they started an association of electronic music fans called 'Patch Work Music' and produced a compilation album titled simply 'PWM' that compiled tracks by few of the best French musicians passionate about the Berlin sound. They started to release their solo albums in 1993 and collaborated ever since. Now some informations about their album 'Interférences'. Lasting about an hour, it's divided into seven movements characterized by spacey pads, synth arpeggios and lead solos (which sometimes sound like melodic improvisations). We pass from romantic/dreamy atmospheres (like the first or the third movement), to cold scenarios of the second movement (the one I prefer), where dilated sequences are alternated to hisses and noises creating a sort of melodic and experimental mix. The fourth movement, just like the third, has a mid tempo drum machine rhythm and has lead solos, arpeggios and space pads and its atmosphere recalls the Berlin sound of the early 80s. The sixth movement it's more 70s sounding and it's also influenced by the synth French school of that decade. The last tracks is a fifteen minutes monster which starts as a ambient track with fields recordings (here produced with synths, I suppose): After a while a couple of relaxing melodies are added. After few minutes, a delayed arpeggio revive the atmosphere and little by little, pads and leads join, making the track's sound grow. After twelve minutes, there a change of atmosphere and the track turns into a dark slow one which little by little 'dies' creating a very good effect. Nice.

VV.AA.: Electroconvulsive Therapy Vol 1

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Nov 24 2013
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electroconvulsive Therapy Vol 1
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records
Rated: *****
'Electroconvulsive Therapy Vol 1' is the first compilation released by Medical Records and it's the second album they does in association with the Crispy Nugget blog. The record gathers five early 80s singles, complete of both the sides plus two tracks coming from rare compilations: 'Panic In Your Mind' by N.A. Pop 2000 (UK) and 'Maske' by Berliner Strasse (Yugoslavia). The bands we have here are: The Electronic Circus (Featuring Chris Payne, who also performed synth work on Gary Numan's 'Pleasure Principle'), Psychic Youth, Aaah'¦!, Claude Arto from Mathematiques Modernes and Shazam. The Electronic Circus plays a particular kind of synth pop with the use of piano and dramatic atmospheres (check the B-side 'La Chorale' which is an instrumental piano/synth track) and sometimes recall me Poeme Electronique. Psychic Youth, from Boston, released only this single in 1982 and their mixture of pop female voice and upbeat synth analog sounds are really convincing. B-side 'Step In Time' has a male vocal and it recalls early Depeche Mode. UK's Aaah'¦! with 'Slip Away' are here with two synth wave songs which sound really strong and melodic. A real gem from the past. 'Duty Calls' is a bit more synth pop but nonetheless is a good one, also. Shazam's single released in UK in the 1983 brings 'Let's Get Together' and 'Memories'. The first track has a synth melody that recalls me The Cure's 'The Walk' but it has quite a different sound which is in balance from synth pop and new wave. Arto's 7' has been released in 1981 on Celluloid (France) and side A's 'Kwai Systeme' it's an experimental version of 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' theme. A bit weird but really interesting. Also side B 'Betty Boop' is particular track, really experimental and recalls the early Mute releases (see The Normal). The two songs coming from compilations are N.A. Pop 2000's 'Panic In Your Mind' (coming from 1981 'A Warped Sense Of Human' LP compilation) which is a wave song with nice melodies and strong synth and bass sounds. Berliner Strasse's 'Maske' was coming from a 1983 LP compilation titled 'Ventilator 202 Demo Top 10' and it's a nice song, not really strong about melodies and sound but it's a good document. Anyway'¦ This is another great Medical Records release and you can check it here:

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