Music Reviews

80s Stallone: HOTLINE

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 16 2012
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Artist: 80s Stallone (@)
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Distributor: bandcamp
Rated: *****
As it is often the case, whenever a music scene/movement gains popularity, there's always the 'danger', of it getting saturated, soon, with people jumping on the bandwagon or just repeating the same thing over and over. The dreamwave scene's popularity is rising rapidly, and for a music lover - like me - this marks the beginning of a search for originality, talent and 'character' in the music, that will put things in perspective.
Well, look no further. The first 80s Stallone 12 track album 'HOTLINE', has just been released and it is a milestone and a point of reference for the genre. 80s Stallone, is one of the elusive godfathers of the dreamwave scene, with his very own, unique and instantly recognizable sound, a blueprint for those who follow, having released 2 singles and 1 e.p., and having done some of the best remixes. If you have already heard his music, you know what i'm talking about. If not, now it is a very good time to start listening.
With 'HOTLINE', 80s Stallone, presents a 'whole' package, covering every base, offering sides of his music, never shown before. There is a of variety of styles and moods on the album, some are faster electro disco tracks, some moodier and slower, with the majority of the sounds, provided by his hardware synths and drum machines, spicing things up, with some added vocoded vocals. His addictive arpeggiated analogue basslines, combined with his natural talent for melody, his trademark synth chords and disco beat patterns put together, provide a magnificent sonic result, which is pure joy for the listener.
Expertly mixed and mastered with punchy beats, deep low end and crisp and clear synths, the overall sound is warm and transparent.
For me, 'HOTLINE', is the dreamwave album of the year, VERY highly recommended.

La Mort De L'Hippocampe: Cheminement De L'Extase

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 14 2012
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Artist: La Mort De L'Hippocampe
Title: Cheminement De L'Extase
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
Always co-produced by Enfant Terrible and Verbascripta, "Cheminement De L'Extase" is the second and last release by La Mort De L'Hippocampe. Recorded before "Symphonie Neuronale", this album has been released after that, following the wish of its creator Jerome Fontan, who passed by on June 2011. Best known for the electro project Porn.Darsteller, Jerome on this album created, as for the first one, two long suites which musically are different from what proposed on "Symphonie Neuronale". On the A side we have "Cheminement Surreel", which contains a mix of experimental, synth industrial and classical sounds (violin, piano, etc.) that function as a soundtrack to a metaphysic poem. In eighteen minutes, this track changes many times and it's a particular catchy one thanks to its atmosphere which passes from industrial synth noises to melancholic organ/violin duets in a natural way. On side B we have the main title which is mostly based on texts from Hildegard von Bingen read by Jerome and Isabelle Toro, who also collaborated on the first release. This suite is mostly based on old school industrial synth sound but mixed with medieval instruments like "vielle a roue" and the "bombarde bretonne". If you loved the first record you won't miss this one and you have to act fast, because it is already sold out at the label's shop but Verbascripta ( has still some left.

VV.AA.: Disco Pop Volume 2

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 13 2012
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Disco Pop Volume 2
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Pokorny Music Solutions - (80\'s Revolution Series)
Rated: *****
Well, i have listened to - and i own, quite a few 80s' compilations, and right from the start i have to say that the double CD: 'V.A. - Disco Pop Volume 2', (from the '80's Revolution Series'), is the best i've had the pleasure of listening to, in years! Mainly for three reasons.
First of all, all the tracks have been remastered (32 bit), and they sound fantastic! the sound is fuller, everything is crystal clear and they show off the warmth of the analogue recording process of the 80's! THAT fact alone, for me, is enough, to buy the album!
Secondly, choosing tracks for an '80s disco pop compilation' is not really an easy task, due to the plethora of brilliant hits of that decade. There must have been a lot of thought behind the song selection for the final tracklisting and it is obvious from the satisfying listening result from start to finish! The label managed to gather not only some of the biggest hits of the genre (from BROTHER BEYOND and JERMAINE STEWART to ERASURE and O.M.D, PEBBLES and HAZELL DEAN), but also some of the best 'songs', from a songwriting/composition point of you, as well. It's not just all 'No1's', and that is a choice that does make a difference. I believe the goal was to present the full spectrum of the genre's sound, and if that was the case, they surely succeeded!
The third reason, that makes this compilation special, is that all of the songs are presented here, in their original remixed form (like they used to do it, in the 80's) and many of them are rare and hard to find - even more so - remastered. Some of the remixes, have never before, appeared on CD!
This double CD, is a high quality production, form a 'technical', as well as, a 'musical' point of view. There is a lot of time, effort and evidently - love, behind this project, and the result is highly entertaining and highly recommended!

Needle Factory: Goetia

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 10 2012
Artist: Needle Factory (@)
Title: Goetia
Format: CD
Label: Unrepresented Music (@)
Rated: *****
After their 6-track debut release 'Jubilee' through D-Trash Records earlier this year, Manchester-based Electro/Industrial-duo Needle Factory returns with this all new 10-track album. Established by Freddy Morgendorffer and Johna Curtis in late 2011, this duo has caused some attraction through some intense live performances, so that the British Independent label Unrepresented Music couldn't resist to offer them a deal. 'Goetia' is the result of this collaboration and it is without any exaggeration a colorful, musically diverse sounding exploration between genre boundaries. This duo integrates Post-Punk Industrial influences of the old icons of Throbbing Gristle or Cabaret Voltaire to their up-to-date sound-adaptation by blending between styles like EBM, Witchhouse, and TBM/IDM. The opening track 'Blind' with its distorted, lo-fi synth-arrangement is a good example, how they are capable to unite the rawness of Noise with calm, cold-melodic synthesizer-drops. Fx-manipulation on female vocals has become a stylistically hype at latest with Erica Dunham / Unter Null and Needle Factory are swimming often on this wave, as this track proves too. 'Die For Joy' and their pre-released, freely available teaser track 'Needles, Pins & Razor Blades' are standing for solid, club-oriented food, which will surely impress the dancefloor-junkies. The musically more striking tracks are starting with 'Drug Laws', as this track offers surprisingly a typical old-school EBM-like bassline programming. Their sense for calm melodies returns with a vengeance on 'Kiss The Blade', a ballad-esque, ominous, but beautiful sounding Dark Electro pearl. If it seriously needed any proof that Johna's voice sounds more effective without multiple fx-manipulations, you've found it herewith. Also 'Innocence' sounds really 'innocent' and rather inspired by melodic Electropop styles instead to evoke the noisy ingredients. 'The Falling' deserves a mention too with its crafty and attractive bassline programming. The title track, an eerie Downtempo-influenced tune with raw, experimental-minded drum patterns concludes this refreshing album. Needle Factory for sure haven't invented an own, authentic sound-style, but their attitude and their courage to break with conventions deserves respect. It at least results in a quite good and diverse sounding Electronica-album, which deserves support and attention. Good work, keep it on!

Bertrand Loreau: Journey Through The Past

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 09 2012
Artist: Bertrand Loreau
Title: Journey Through The Past
Format: CD
Label: Spheric Music (@)
Rated: *****
Coming from Nantes, Bertrand Loreau's recording career started in the early 80s when he purchased his first synthesizer: the Polymoog. Thanks to that and to his newest keyboard, the Korg MS20, he started to experiment with sounds and soon after he formed with some friends a group called Krill. Since then Bertrand never stopped creating music and at the beginning of the 90s he got in contact with the label Musea and started to release albums for them. On 1992 Musea released the first Bertrand solo album "Priere". Since then he released for Musea Parallèle and Dreaming labels nine albums where he mixed progressive, new-age, classical and experimental music taking inspiration from Klaus Schulze and Vangelis. The album I'm about to review is titled "Journey Through The Past" and has been printed by Spheric Music, the label run by Lambert Ringlage. This isn't exactly a new album by Bertrand Loreau, it is a selection of tracks recorded on the 1982-1988 period. At that time Bertrand composed many tracks influenced by the Berlin synth scene of the 70s. On these tracks you'll hear echoes of Hoening, Froese as well bits of Schulze, without forgetting the influences of the French school of Jarre and Vangelis. Bertrand picked up nine tracks which span from calm suites with celestial atmospheres (like "Meeting You" or "Welcome In The Show") to long mesmerizing suites made of sidereal sounds and nice melodies (check the two parts of "Le Ciel Est Jaune D'un Liquide Inconnu" and "Dx Seven Age") passing through great upbeat tracks made of several arpeggios (like on "Moog On The Moon" and "L'arpege A Tord"). The album is very long and to get into it at the best I suggest you to listen to the tracks separately different times.

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