Music Reviews

Artist: Ital Tek (@)
Title: Control EP
Format: 12"
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
All those listeners who appreciated last year album "Nebula Dance" by phenomenal beat juggler Alan Myson aka Ital Tek will easily notice that in spite of the sonic filiation of this amazing tidbit with the above-mentioned album, it's really hasty to nonchalantly consider "Control" just as a kind of doppelganger or a recapitulartory revision of the above-mentioned album as Ital Tek more distinctly channeled active ingredients of his distinctive upgrade of Chicago-rooted juke sonorities on this new miscellanous stylish soup: for example, the whirling synth-driven arpeggio on "Challenger Deep", which opens B-side, could remind the one of "Pixel Haze", but Alan seems to highlight this element by reducing the percussive ones to a desiccated, toneless and almost lo-fi hit and chained snips and the melodic emblazonment to occasional inserts of bi-tonal chords, the short ambient-lke track "Doom/Dream" or the reverie of the interlude "Zero" could remind "Discontinuum" from "Nebula Dance", but without any trace of the micro-taps, which sound echoed on "Violet", another peak of this release where someone could have the impression of listening a possible remix of Art Of Noise's "Moments In Love " by Burial, or on the title-track itself, which unexpectedly evolves into something hanging between juke bumps and airy dubstep. "Control" cannot be considered a sterile proof of concept, but a set of eight further bodies of evidence which testifies Ital Tek's sonic fluency by coming to a point where he manages to infer new hands by shuffling the same cards and switching stylistical stitches.

System 56: System 56

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (7982)
Jan 02 2014
Artist: System 56
Title: System 56
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows
Rated: *****
Formed in the winter of 1981 near Cleveland, System 56, armed with a Teac 3340-S reel to reel tape recorder, started to work on their songs. Influenced by early Ultravox (the Foxx period), Cars, Simple Minds and so on, the band had four different line-ups and the only permanent members were Steve Simenic Guitar/vocals) and drummer Vince Scafiti. In early 1982 they released their first single "Metro-Metro b/w In the Old World', two songs that showed really well their style which was a mix of synth melodies backed by a driving bass/drums section and guitar riffs. Melody was also an important part of their music and they started to gather fans and soon after they started to play live. Unfortunately, at is at that point that the first split happened. The duo went to the studio and recorded the six tracks EP 'Beyond The Parade'. 'Brave New Toys', 'Through Other Eyes' or 'Hands Of A Stranger' didn't suffer from the split and they sound bright, melodic, powerful and inspired. A good mix of new wave, synth wave and that sort of proto punk characteristic of early Ultravox. For the next single 'Life On A Cool Curve b/w The Other Side Of Science', the duo was joined by Paul Teagle on synths and they had as guest, Phil Capone on sax. The first song had a synth arpeggio as main bass lines and synth pads to thicken the atmosphere. Steve's guitar riffs gave to the mix a certain rock wave atmosphere that on the B side was less present as 'The Other Side Of Science' is a atmospheric mid tempo with guitar sparse arpeggios and cool synth lines. A curiosity: this song has the same atmospheres of some that Type O Negative did but System 56, recorded it ten years before. The band, with a new line-up that integrated Tom Lash on bass guitar, released their last 12' in 1984. 'A Man Needs A Motor b/w Shapes Of Things' were the songs and the first on is a good post wave guitar driven song with dissonances and nice synth lines. From the same recording session we also have 'The Sounding', 'Your Car Is Waiting' and 'Next To X' but not on this compilation released by Synthetic Shadows as this has the same track list of the CD-r 'Retrospective: 1982-83' that the band self released in 2003 but those three songs are missing. Anyway, System 56 songs sound really nice and they grow with the listenings. As usual, you can check all of them at the label's Bandcamp page here

DECA: Modulectron

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (7980)
Dec 29 2013
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Artist: DECA
Title: Modulectron
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows (@)
Rated: *****
Deca is the moniker of Federico De Caroli, a guy coming from Liguria, Italy, who is active since the mid eighties with is musical project. Interested into electronic sounds and lover of the German and French music of the seventies, Federico decided to take a different approach on the matter thanks to his piano studies. He started to record his experiments with polyphonic synthesizers and in 1986 he released, for the Video Radio label, his first album "Alkaid", release inspired by a science fiction story he wrote. The following year "Synthetic Lips" followed and this one was mainly inspired by German space electronic music. Things changed in 1989 with the album " Claustrophobia": the atmosphere got darker and obsessive and musically it sounded like a new wave/industrial mix. With 1992's 'Premonizione Humana", he started to collaborate for the visual part with Gianni Bacino, whom took care also of the live side of this aspect. Musically, the atmosphere got more evocative thanks to the use of piano and strings along with the electronic sounds. On 1998, Old Europa Cafe released "Phantom", an experimental electronic album with melodic inserts that you can still easily find on Discogs (all the other releases are quite hard to find). On 2000 we have 'Electronauta', a compilation of unreleased tracks and on 2002, "Simbionte", an album that has been sold only through the website created for the occasion. These are the main releases Deca did, but there are many more on tapes. Now, let's talk about "Modulectron". This album issued by Synthetic Shadows, is a collection of tracks recorded during the 1984/1986 period using only a Roland Jx3p synthesizer, no other instrument involved, not even a drum machine. The twelve tracks of the album sound minimal, experimental and create an atmosphere of their own but most of the time, they sound quite obsessive and alienated. Based on multi layered recordings or on arpeggio/sequencer/filters variations they hypnotize the listener thanks to dissonances, noises and warm sounds which suddenly turn into a cold atmosphere. I enjoyed it and you can check the whole release following this link

Miracle: Mercury

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 29 2013
Artist: Miracle (@)
Title: Mercury
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
It's not the first time I diagnose that there's love-in-the-air syndrome within esteemed Paradinas' label as Miracle could be considered the outcome of an artistic and musical love by American electronic composer Steve Moore and British multi-instumentalist Daniel O'Sullivan, which blossomed during a tour of respective bands: O'Sullivan used to be the leading voice and the "electronic" recipe of Guapo, whose excellent recent release "History Of The Visitation" on Cuneiform, the first which followed the departure of Daniel, has some trace of his visitation yet, while the skittish Steve Moore was touring with Anthony "Majeure" Paterra as a leg of Zombi. After their meeting, they kept on flirting on Internet by which they exchanged ideas and files and forged the tracks of this good album by adding arrangments and enhancements, which preceded the definitive studio recording, which can be reasonably considered a proper upgrade of 80ies synth-pop rather than a calque in spite of the more or less recognizable similarities and influences. A sort of exegesis of the title "Mercury" could be the pretext to show some features of Miracle's debut album: "Mercury" could be a reference to the smallest planet of Solar System as well as the closest to our star, whose proximity eminently conditions its magnetic shield and its visibility from our planet or to the notoriously Greek messenger of Gods due to his winged footwear and helmet. Both interpretations could be related to some features of their synth-driven sound, whose divine halo is unavoidably magnetic and seems to be derived by a lofty perception and a certain detahcment from human recurring dynamics, but I can guess the above-mentioned possible interpretations could refer to the audio equipment, or at least to a part of it, which paved they way for the lovely cosmic route they offer to the listeners, as I'm pretty sure Steve Moore could have used a Prophet 5 or maybe a Prophet 600 to notch the long sonic chains of each song - and phophets are commonly considered a messenger of gods just like Mercury... - and the lyrics of the title-track seem to run on such an ambivalence. Many reviewers insisted on the similarities between the sound of Miracle and the one by Depeche Mode, which can maybe be reminded by some tracks of the first part of the album - the initial "Good Love", "Neverending Arc 1" or "Falling Into The Night"- even if they could be remind more stuff by former Depeche Mode-collaborator Bomb Da Bass at most, but the strongest influences I can perceive are the ones by some cosmic knights of late 70ies and 80ies, italo-house or some scorer of horror and sci-fi movies such as Claudio Simonetti due to some resemblances on the synth-organ attacks, but I can ultimately say that the sterling and upright way Miracle pop astronauts up is somehow original and so intriguing that many listeners will wish for a follow-up of "Mercury".
Artist: Annie Hall (@)
Title: Random Paraphilia
Format: 12"
Label: Detroit Underground
Distributor: Complete
Rated: *****
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV, the notorious classification of mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, which can be considered the sacred book of psychology, psychopatology and psychiatry, described paraphilia as the experience of intense sexual arousal to atypical objects. You can expect somewhat manic or morbid sonorities from an album which quotes paraphilias in the title as well as related matters to name its tracks, but Madrid-born, but Detroit-based, dj and producer Annie Hall, partner of Detroit Undergroud multidisciplinary arts collective boss Kero, manages to evoke a sort of poetic abstract related to this supposedly mental disorder by means of mellow edulcorations of electronic-hop lumps of fractured rhythmical patterns and compressed percussions, which could resemble some stuff by Funkstorung on the initial "DSM-5" or "Bandit 28930", a track which features Shadow Huntaz on mic - Annie's style is somehow analogous to Shadow Huntaz's excellent output "Dark Matter" -, some lovey-dovery sprains of abstract and glitch-IDM sonorities by producers like Metamatics or Solvent on the planed excrescences of "Foihtreiu", the delicious contrasts of "Symphora", where electromechanical evulliences reaches their pinnacle and got smoothed by liquid synth pokes and entranced vocals by Annie herself, and the sweet strictures of "Sada Abe", which sounds like the romantic sonic portrait of the notorious Japanese assassin, who strangled his lover Kichizo Ishida before cutting off his privates, which she held inside her handbag. Annie's sonorities cannot but stimulate Richard Devine's flair, who put before high-compression treatment "Bandit 28930", the most cacophonous episode of the release, as well as the panache for acidulous processing by Valence "MusSck" Drakes, who gripped and unraveled "DSM-5", while Gerard E.R.P. Hanson marvelously highlights the elegiacally melodic segments of "Sada Abe" on his surprising remix.

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