Music Reviews



Nouvelle Phenomene: Caresse

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 21 2013
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Artist: Nouvelle Phenomene (@)
Title: Caresse
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Other Voices Records
Rated: *****
Coming from Budapest, Hungary, Nouvelle Phenomene is a band formed by Santa Angela, Santa Fanni, Dziba Zsolt and Peter Buza. After self producing a CDr EP the last year, they are preparing their first album for Other Voices and this two track digital single is an appetizer of what is coming. Both the tracks, "Caresse" and "Glory Of Romance", are deeply rooted into the lushy electro wave sound of bands of the likes of Visage thanks to catchy melodies, overall dance attitude, sensual girls vocal performance, synth sounds and 4/4 powerful drum beats. Both the tracks catched my attention immediately and I think that their first album will be a real test for them. For the moment they won and you can check the proof here http://othervoicesrecords.bandcamp.com/album/vox-18-dd-caresse-glory-of-romance

Twins Natalia / Poeme Electronique: I Avoid Strangers / I Wouldn't Change Me For Anyone

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 21 2013
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Artist: Twins Natalia / Poeme Electronique
Title: I Avoid Strangers / I Wouldn't Change Me For Anyone
Format: 12"
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
Twins Natalia are back after their split 7" with Marsheaux with a new split. This time we have a two tracks 12" with Twins Natalia, with "I Avoid Strangers" and Poeme Electronique, with "I Wouldn't Change Me For Anyone". Always formed by Steve Lippert, Marc Schaffer (Anna Logue Records' boss) plus Sharon Abbott, Julie Ruler and Dave Hewson of Poeme Electronique, Twins Natalia are presenting a nine minutes 'special extended night version' of the track which is coming from their forthcoming debut album "The Destiny Room". "I Avoid Strangers" is a powerful retro electro pop upbeat dance floor killer based on bouncing bass lines, catchy lead solos and rich synth arpeggios. Dave's vocals recall a bit Human League and in the middle of the track you can find an intermezzo which could fit an 80s ebm tune. This song is a hit, no doubt about that! On the AA side, Poeme Electronique present their first track after 25 years. "I Wouldn't Change Me For Anyone" is a really good song about empty glamour lives and behind its upbeat rhythms it has a certain dose of darkness and mystery. Girls' voice are passionate and good as in the past and the track sound just like one of their classic hits. The release is presented in a deluxe package with posters and postcards ( Poeme Electronique's artwork is based on original paintings by German artist Peter K. Endres) and it's also available on digital download.

Mr. Kitty: Life

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 18 2013
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Artist: Mr. Kitty (@)
Title: Life
Format: CD
Label: Engraved Ritual (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
I have nothing against people loving cats. Actually I like cats too. But regarding Forrest Carney, the man (cat?) behind Mr. Kitty, I have the impression that he may tends to overtax his dedication if you check with his photo works in bio and web resources. I also do not see too many common things with cats related to his smooth, surprisingly catchy produced Synthpop/Electronica music generally, but however, what finally counts is his music itself. And here it starts with all further surprises surrounding this release. First to mention is the publishing label: Engraved Ritual is best known to be a full-scale resource releasing Harsh EBM / Hellectro music (just remember Bestias De Asalto or Say Just Words...) - this all new release by this Dallas-based Electronica-musician differs to anything you've discovered of this label so far. Second surprise is Mr. Kitty himself - although 'Life' stands for his fourth full-length already, I have to admit, that his music as well as his project is new and undiscovered so far to me. His further, previous releases are all available to the "Name your price"-procedure via his Bandcamp web resource - what a good chance to pick up nearly the complete discography of Mr. Kitty. But back to "Life" and its content. 15 tracks in all filled with a darker minded of form of Synthpop / New Wave music, which draws pretty much relations to classic, renowned music-projects like O.M.D., Heaven 17, Human League and of course the almighty influencing Depeche Mode for the Synthpop-related side of the project, but also The Cure or Joy Division as being the quells of the rather Post-Punk / New Wave-related outfit of Mr. Kitty. For a few critics surely another unnecessary reanimation of the 80s inspired nostalgia, but it needs to by said, that Forrest proves on all tracks his compositional skills and he services surely pretty well the needs of the elders of us. Of course his chosen sound outfit fits pretty much in this direction. Synthpop-/80s-nostalgic fans will be completely satisfied with such smooth tunes like the starter 'Insects', 'Heaven', or 'Scars'. Personally I enjoyed the darker sounding 'Sacrifice' and the usage of some well worked out vocoder effects on the vocals as being the best and most valuable point. Also the last track, 'Father' with its heart-felting content and the intention to provide a track with an alternative rhythm foundation has to be pointed out. This album brings back a lot of remembrances of the good old past and Mr. Kitty offers excellence to produce in this style. It is also an ideal soundtrack for the younger generation to pick up a glimpse of the colorful, artistical variety this era had to offer.

Jul 17 2013
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Artist: Niton Cage
Title: Cage
Format: 12"
Label: Seja Records (@)
Rated: *****
A new release for the stubborn Netherlands-based Seja Records, again strictly limited to 300 exemplars and pressed on golden old vinyl only. Yes, here is another must-have release which brings back the warm-sounding analogue touch in times of digital coldness. I had the German duo Traffic AM a while back with a remarkable debut for Seja Records and this Niton Decay-project somehow consists of the same musicians. Officially labelled as being Traffic AM's vocalist Stefan Gonzer's solo effort, his partner in crime, Michael Kissing, has produced this first 7-track album. By checking the first tracks on the A-side of this release I somehow thought on a musically darker sounding Alter Ego-project to Traffic AM, especially after the ominous, sample-driven introduction tune 'Strange And Silent'. Also 'Don't Mind' and 'Deny The Decay' aren't hymns to celebrate a kids' birthday on a sunny afternoon, but clever sounding Downtempo-like Dark Electronica tracks with a constant Wave influence inspired by the golden 80s. The b-side then brings generally in more pace and a bit more of their New Wave influence, it could be said, the 3 tracks are coming very near to the cleaner produced Traffic AM project. 'Cage' is another well produced effort by these German protagonists. The fact, that this release comes again out on good old vinyl just helps to integrate the analogue warmth so evident for this style of music and it sounds much more 'alive' and edgy than the usual plastic Pop chart music effort.

Null White: The Birth (Special Edition)

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jul 15 2013
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Artist: Null White (@)
Title: The Birth (Special Edition)
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Aside from demos, this appears to be the initial release from U.K. (Stockton-on-Tees) industrial dance/synthpop outfit Null White. The main man behind the project is Lee Brown (softsynths, programming) and on 'The Birth' he mostly handles it all, except for vocals. This is a project that doesn't seem to have many vocals (except for dialogue samples), which is too bad because it really needs them. There are a couple of guest vocalists though on a few tracks ' Ruby Razer (formerly with a band called The Cage), and Scott 'Deathboy' Lamb who some of you may be familiar with. I don't think Deathboy has been up to much else lately and I think he only sings on one or two tracks ('Hellraiser,' cover of the Suicide Commando song, I'm pretty sure, and 'Mobius 3' + the Shadow System remix of the same, I think), credible job at that. Ruby sings on 3 tracks (4 if you count the 'Underground Revolution' remix) and in my opinion, she raises the bar on what would otherwise be another average dark-electro project. (Lee, you gotta get her to join the band; good for recording, good for live ' trust me on this.)

Most of what I'm hearing here straddles the fence between EMB and synthpop; nothing fancy, 4-on-the floor in the beat dept., fairly standard synth sounds, and simple melodies. Maybe too simple for the tracks without vocals. The thing is, today, anyone with decent computer softsynth, sequencing and recording programs, and a rudimentary skillset of beat and melody can crank this stuff out like nobody's business. It's all in the variation that makes it special. For most, the variation is in the vocal department, especially in an EBM/synthpop genre combo. There are other ways to do it purely instrumentally, but that gets complicated. Since Lee already has a very good singer in Ruby, why not make the best of a sure thing? The tracks she sings on 'Underground Revolution,' 'Purge,' and 'Burn' (cover of The Cure song by the same name) are the best on the album; very catchy and most memorable, especially on 'Underground Revolution'. Ruby's voice is well-suited to the material too; fits right in.

Besides the stompers (most of the tracks) there is one rather nice beatless, reflective instrumental track ' 'Endgame,' which displays the softer side of Null White. For a first outing, this isn't a bad CD, but it could have been better, and if Ruby teams up with Lee on a more permanent basis, I think Null White could be a band to watch, and of course, listen to.


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