Music Reviews



Circa Tapes: Adam & Eve

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Mar 15 2013
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Artist: Circa Tapes
Title: Adam & Eve
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Romance Moderne
Rated: *****
Adam Killing was a member of the Chicago band Kill Memory Crash (dunno if they are still active, since their latest release for Ghostly International has been released in 2008) and recently he started his own musical project under the Circa Tapes moniker. As far as I know, even if he has on his soundcloud page more than twenty tracks, "Adam & Eve" is his first release. Present also with the main track on the Romance Moderne vinyl compilation, Circa Tapes with "Adam & Eve" is offering to the lovers of electronic wave four convincing tracks which mix finely cold atmospheres, dry drum machine beats, cool bleeping synth sounds and some pounding bass guitar lines (like on the opening "Simple And White"). Vocals play hide and seek with the robotic sceneraio created sounding like an haunting ghost. Post punk atmospheres, new wave aesthetics and some dance intuitions (like on the closing "Enntenna") make of this release a good debut which you can check fully here http://romancemoderne.bandcamp.com/album/adam-eve
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Artist: Mergrim
Title: Intersect Landscape
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Moph (@)
Rated: *****
Sprouted from his acclaimed debut album "Invisible Landscape", Tokyo-based Takahisa Mitsumori aka Mergrim gives worldwide listeners the chance to know many interesting Japanese artists and musicians (mainly unknown on this side of the planet), who have been involved in the remix project "Intersect Landscape". All remixers managed to keep the miscellany of glistening crispness, daydreaming vibe and aerodynamic forces of the original sonic mold by means of wise chromatic variations without omitting their stylistical mark: I found particularly catching the sobbing glitches of swishes by m-koda on "Beautiful Corruption", the entrancing jazzy gliding of no.9 on "Soft'n Poetry", which could make you think about an imaginary crossbreed of some tracks by dZihan & Kamien ("Homebase", "Drophere") by Sakamoto or viceversa, remix of Arch by Go-qualia, whose title, "Chemistry of a dream and a spring breeze", is the proper description of what you're going to experience, the delicate piano expansions of moshimoss on "Senkyou" and Lycoriscoris on the melancholic "Ideal That Fade Out", miaou's remix of "Noir Noir", which could be associated by many Western tasteful listeners to an airy variation of Cornelius' music, saccharin folktronica resins of agraph on remix of "Dry Aesthetic", the chirping childish vocal interpretation of Cokiyu on her remix of "Step Of The Flakes", the frothy electronic tunes of Ametsub on "Shdwgrph *Grain", the sleepwalking casting of electronic honey by Geskia! on "Absentminded Drowsiness", the enthralling electronic-house flying over by Dj Sodeyama on his reinterpretation of "Beautiful Corruprion". The fact I quoted all of them at last could be indicative of their respective quality, so that it's really difficult to make a rank. The second cd of "Intersect Landscape" includes some live-tracks that Mergrim recorded during his tour in Japan and China, where his music got rocketed over the clouds by the precious collaboration of talented drummer Kazuya Matsumoto. If you like jazz-spotted glitch airy electronics, you'll find this listening experience really blissful!

Three Winters: The Atrocities EP

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Mar 11 2013
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Artist: Three Winters
Title: The Atrocities EP
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten
Rated: *****
While I'm waiting for the Blitzkried Baby answers to my interview, I received from Belaten this tape by Three Winters, band where Kim Solve (Blitzkrieg Baby/K100/Kim and Trine Design Studio) is involved along with Anders B (Babyflesh/Mind & Flesh) and Lars Fredrik Froislie (Wobbler/White Willow). This seven tracks tape is the band's debut and contains three songs from their forthcoming album plus four remixes. "Atrocities" opens the tape and is a mid tempo instrumental track based on synth pads, pulsing deep bass lines and catchy melodical leads. "At The Center Of Dystopia" is another mid tempo tune which recalls me in a way the John Carpenter soundtracks thanks to its epic atmospheres and melodies. "Aeon Surveillance" is a short instrumental which sounds like a "Atrocities" reprise. These sounds recall me nowadays projects like Umberto, Antony Maiovvi or Xander Harris thanks to the overall horror/thriller atmospheres. Talking about the remixes, we have "At The Centre Of Dystopia" remixed by Pseen (I liked their version which sounds minimal but energetic and inspired as takes only the melodical idea of the original tune making a different one) and "Atrocities" remixed by Aymeric Thomas (this one sounds like inspired by Bach thanks to the synth sounding like an harpsichord but it lost the cinematic atmosphere), Mister (this one sounds like an electronic 8bit version with guitars and metal percussions. Nice but something is missing) and Th. Tot (this version, as the first two, doesn't add that much to the original track, as melody and rhythms are quite similar. Only sounds have been changed). Remixed are nice, the original tracks are good... at this point, I'm curious to check the album when it will be out! A usual, you can check the tracks. Here's where http://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/the-atrocities-ep

Mr.Vast: Grievous Bodily Charm

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 10 2013
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Artist: Mr.Vast (@)
Title: Grievous Bodily Charm
Format: 12"
Label: Spezialmaterial (@)
Rated: *****
The apparent absence of complementarities between the jumble of shuffled styles of this funnily boozy record cannot really be considered a shortcoming or a bulge of kitsch pop mannerism, an inappropriate association that the hubris of some silly reviewers (there're still a lot of this kind of dummy sample around) could foster as the inebriated sarcasm, half-serious self-irony and the amused and somewhat poisoned persiflage by Mr.Vast, alter ego of Henry Sargeant, frontman of electronic band Wevie Stonder (!), cannot be but protean and nimble like a quick-change artist dealing with a time bomb. Funk, soul, country, dubstep, house, junk, hip-hop as well as a lopsided romanthicism, outburst of shoegazing rage, pastoral lyricism, theatrical makeups, likeable straightforwardness, healthy nonsense, quotidian surrealism and motley coxcombs don't dry out on Mr.Vast's palette, so that he alternatively clucks with funk and toy sounds ("In Terms of Ease and Speed"), laser surgery and hip-hop chops ("Buttercyde"), scorched spicy slapped rock ("The Rug"), occasional everyday (but not ordinary) life idylls (the funny "Bliss" about domestic bliss!), wired "exotic" atonement ("Atlantis"), stylistical adaptations which could make you chortle ("Teflon Country" or the amazing opener of B-side "Process of Illumination", which unhinges a sort of gospel by means of house and tropical cliches in order to describe the ascension of a discotheque-addicted and a possible religious ravishing on the following erotically ironic "First Class"), licentious mock-heroic vignettes such as on the sidesplitting electro-pumping "Family values" or the hilarious lanky metal "Henry the 8th" (an eloquent parody of an historical character and certain stylistical machismo!), unexpected suave summery chilling soul on flip-flops ("Elemental"), imaginary street parades of cows and romedaries ("Ecstatic Caravan"). The digital version includes a couple of remixes (an harsher one of "Buttercyde" and a funny Spanish farce, more than a remix, of "Ecstatic Caravan"), the electronic raspberry trash-disco of "Sticky" and the grief-stricken (in a manner of speaking) final "Where I'm From"! Keep you feet up in the air!

Grupo Q: Back Up

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Mar 06 2013
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Artist: Grupo Q
Title: Back Up
Format: 12"
Label: Atemporal Records
Rated: *****
The story of Grupo Q (the original name was Q but the record label added Grupo as a sign of distinction), is deeply linked to the story of Fernando Carmona. It started in 1974 when he, his brother Jesus, Carlos Nieto and Juan Falero, formed Khorus, a progressive rock band which lasted three years and recorded only a demo that have been reissued in 2011 by the label Arabiand Rock. In 1979, Fernando and Jesus decided to leave and to form a duo called Bola. They where the first band in Spain to use "new technologies" as analog sequencers and drum machines along with keyboards, guitars and vocals. They lasted for three years and did their first gig at the Teatro Lope de Vega in Seville on September the 24th of the same year and then Jerez and several provinces of Andalusia and Madrid followed. The duo disbanded the year after and Fernando with Alberto Guerra, Mario Canovas and Francisco Canovas formed Grupo Q. Active during the 1982-1986 period, Grupo Q recorded a 7" for Ariola ("La Nueva Generacion" b/w "Cuenta Atras") as a band and when Ariola tried to force them to have a female singer for their first LP they disbanded. A couple of years later Panoleta Records released four tracks recorded by Fernando alone (the tracks on this one were "Cine De Miedo", "Nada Nos Parara", "Dejame Ahora Dormir" and "Muneca Cibernetica"). Grupo Q sound was based on analog gear such as Roland Jupiter 4, Yamaha CS-20M, Korg X-911, Roland SH-2, Roland TR-808, Roland CSQ-600, Solina String Ensemble, Ibanez Digital Delay AD-190 and maybe for this reason, sometimes you can hear echoes of O.M.D. on some tracks. Thanks to Atemporal Records we are able to check the band's sound with twelve unreleased demo tracks. On these ones we can enjoy the peculiar techno pop style of the band where nice analogue bleeps and sounds paint joyful fresh atmospheres. For the people who's not keen about early 80s, these sounds could seem thin and kinda fragile but I assure you that the songs are melodically strong and catchy. Sometimes we also have ska uptempo rhythms, like on "Contra La Bisa" or on the particular mix of dark experimental electronic atmospheres and clean guitar of "Conexion Con XT-72". Also, check the only English sung song "Houses Of Glass" and you'll experience a time travel at the time when the radio was airing O.M.D.'s "Electricity", Depeche Mode's "New Life", Thomas Leer's "Contradictions" and Robert Rental's "Double Heart". Too bad we weren't aware of Grupo Q back then!


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