Music Reviews



VV.AA.: Electrofunk Resistance

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Nov 27 2012
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electrofunk Resistance
Format: CD
Label: Dominance Electricity
Rated: *****
After some months of silence Dominance Electricity, Germany's home of electro funk, is back with a new album compilation featuring twelve new tracks which will satisfy your wish of rhythm, vocoders and cool synth sounds. "Electrofunk Resistance" is the title of what will turn into your preferred compilation of this period. The album which is available into cd, digital and black or transparent blue double vinyl, has on the cover a nice sexy robot painted by a famous Japanese illustrator called Hajime Sorayama (drawing which is available on the blue vinyl set as deluxe poster) . The album starts with Principles Of Geometry's "Americhael", a track that starts with a 70s dance touch, just to turn into an electro dancefloor killer with stops and go. The track has also a bit of the modern electro French sound we already know very well. Datasette, from UK is next with a pleasant surprise: a cover of one of the dance floor hits of the early 80s... New Order's "Blue Monday". The UK combo did a great work with the track by mixing original synth parts with new upbeat beats, catchy vocoder vocals and a new electro bass line. Casio Social Club vs Xs Night are here with a track which isn't available on the digital format. "More Love" has all the characteristics of Justin's sound we already know, thanks to the releases he did for his own Mullet Records: 80s electro with boucy bass lines, smooth catchy vocals, nice synth pads and leads. Sygaire, member of Jazzanova, is here helped by Defcon and Capitol A for "The Latest", a song that recalled me Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's tracks. The Artificial Arm is here with a new track titled "Get Down (To The Sound) ". This is a nice electro tune based on few melodic parts which are well alternated by using different synth sounds with the add of sensual female vocals. Fendaheads are next with "Oxygen", a tune with funky guitar chords, bouncy bass lines and catchy vocals. Dynamik Bass System, with "Evolution", dispatch loads of 808 beats, vocoder vocals, hypnotic arpeggios and synth stabs as usual, delivering a cool song. Roko Dragonbreath from Netherland is next with a stunning track titled "Planet Europia". This song is a blast! It has all the cool electro elements: catchy melodies, robotic vocals, blasting drum beats and a chorus that will stick into your head! From Australia we have DJ Sing feat. Andre Kaman with "Let's Do It". The track is a nice electro tune with funk vocals, synth solos and cool melodies. It sounds pop and energetic. The last time I reviewed Diamondback Kid, was for their release on Binalog Productions. After that, they released two EPs on their own label. "Lost Souls" is a good mix of robotic syncopated sounds, mid 808 beats and cool melodic vocal inserts. A track that you'll want to listen to again soon after it's finished. From New Zealand we have Reggie Blount with "Shining Star". This song has a sensual touch thanks to whispered female vocals and to its nightly atmosphere. The down-sampled filtered/clean male vocals and the female one give a great . From the U.S. Biepang with "Neon Parallels" is in with a great tune which mix jazzy atmospheres and robotic craziness. Try to think about Dopplereffekt on drug while listening to Miles Davies. This was the closing track and Dominance Electricity did it again! They produced a great compilation full of cool sounds and songs. Support them!

Rumpistol/Red Baron: Floating

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Nov 25 2012
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Artist: Rumpistol/Red Baron (@)
Title: Floating
Format: CD
Label: Project Mooncircle (@)
Rated: *****
'Floating' is the collaborative project of Danish electronic artist Jens B. Christiansen (Rumpistol) and LA based vocalist Red Baron. It would be easy to characterize this as post-dubstep meets white soul, but it's really much more than that. In fact, 'Floating' is something completely different. Rumpistol's brand of electronica has always had a certain playfulness and sentimentality to it, and here it melds very well with Red Baron's soulful vocal style, but in much grander fashion. If anything, the music is more elaborate and filled with more sonic delight than ever before, definite ear candy. Gorgeous and unexpected arpeggios, inventive and complex rhythms and more sounds than you could ever catalogue flowing through the speakers take electronica to new heights. On the level of melding commercial pop with experimental electronica, it is a groundbreaking achievement. How much you like it though is going to depend on how much you care for Red Baron's vocals. At times he sounds Lennon-Bowie-esque, but sometimes with processing on the vox it sounds a bit boy-bandish. There is no doubt though that the melodies are compelling, although I prefer the voice untreated. At times it sounds like an acid-drenched tour-de-force up and down the pop radio dial, and nothing is ever exactly a straight-up song. 'Floating' is an intriguing piece of work, with a dreamlike quality unlike anything I've heard of late. Although there were some pieces I liked more than others, I found myself returning to re-listen to this CD more than others that were up for review in this batch. The production is stellar, and Rumpistol pulls out all the stops in its execution. 'Floating' obviously must grow on one over time, and I guarantee you haven't heard anything quite like this before, although elements will seem familiar. Maybe this is the future of pop music, but for now, it is still a theoretical work in progress, although perhaps light years ahead of its time.

Evanton: Evanton

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Nov 10 2012
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Artist: Evanton (@)
Title: Evanton
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Binalog Productions (@)
Distributor: Juno
Rated: *****
EVANTON, is a brand new italo disco duo, that have just unleashed their majestic debut album: 'EVANTON', to the unsuspecting ears of the electronic music lovers, the world over.
The two members of the group Evan and Anton are both artists/producers each with their own 'sound' (Evan as 'Binalog Frequency' and Anton as 'Alta Toscana), one coming from an electrofunk background and the other from an italo disco background. Therefore, a combination of the two, could only result in something special.
I like to call their sound 'advanced italo', because, as it is evident throughout the album, they stay faithfully true to the early 80s italo/hi-nrg roots, they manage to take that sound a huge step ahead by very skillfully adding a heavy dose of electro and funky elements within the arrangements, with an explosive result, making their sound unique, instantly recognizable, and highly addictive!
All the tracks, though perfectly mixed and mastered, maintain an almost 'raw' quality, with little further production tricks/fx and that is a wise and conscious choice. This way their sound stands out, highlighting all the right elements making them almost irresistible. Huge basslines, sparkling chord stabs and new italo beats are the 'EVANTON' trademarks, and they will - surely - win you over! FRESH!

A New Life: Phase Two

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 10 2012
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Artist: A New Life (@)
Title: Phase Two
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Romance Moderne (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
The mastermind and driving force behind the 'NOISEBRIGADE' music project, is the same man, who has embarked on a new stronger and ambitious synth trip, creating the 'A NEW LIFE" project, making a new beginning, inspired by important and life-changing events in his life.
Having already released an E.P. he presents his brand new two-track single, titled 'PHASE TWO'.
The first song, "In These Troubled Times I Won't Dig My Own Grave", is an intense, yet emotional journey, with strong and memorable lead lines and melodic elements, that manages to stay true to the early 80s synth/new wave melancholy while advancing forward lyrically and musically. The analogue synths take centre stage showcasing the artist's talent for melody and arrangement.
His almost haunting vocal delivery is enhancing the dark vibe of the song even further, taking the song to another level.
The second song of the single, "End Of A Barrel", is an equally strong track, with analogue beats, catchy arpeggios and analogue synth 'details'.
The vocals remain dark and haunting, with an infectious chorus, that compliments the expertly executed synth-work of the song.
This two-track single, is a brilliant showcase of 'A New Life's new, dark, melancholic exploration of sounds and lyric themes, that combined with the complex arrangements of the songs and the immaculate production, will leave you wanting more! A high quality release from every aspect.

The Birthday Massacre: Hide and Seek

 Posted by Cristina Zuazua (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 31 2012
Artist: The Birthday Massacre
Title: Hide and Seek
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Rated: *****
Lovely, mournful and altogether haunting, Hide and Seek will not disappoint those familiar with The Birthday Massacre, or those getting introduced to the longstanding Canadian synthrock band. Woven through the band's latest album are the themes of abandonment and isolation, and those topics never sounded so appealing. Despite some difficulties during the recording process, including lead singer Chibi having polyps in her vocal cords (just the sound of which made me wince), each track sounds completely natural in both vocals and instrumentals.

Each track on the new album has its own personality, but 'In this Moment' is especially telling in way it talks about the fleeting nature of time and perception, with a melodic, aching chorus that repeats, 'In this moment/We pretend we're all that matters/We're endless/Do you think this is forever?" The tone set by the symbiosis of the vocals and instruments ache with a childlike wonder and adult sense of longing.

All in all, I look forward to seeing some of these tracks live - the dark, artsy stage presence that is The Birthday Massacre's trademark should parallel the sound of their new album well.


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