Music Reviews



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Artist: Voide (@)
Title: Electric Jungle
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
After the teaser freebie 'Agents and Radios', the Swedish Electronica-producer David Almgren releases his all new studio album. With 'Electric Jungle', David continues to explore his vision to produce attractive, spacey, futuristic-sounding Synthesizer-Electronica music, which is still authentic enough to avoid a dangerous approach to any Pop-related meaninglessness. After a dark sounding introduction, the title track comes up and features all of David's talent discovered through previous 4 album releases. Also again involved is his female partner behind the microphone, Mrs. M. Craven, and she does her best to provide a smooth and warm sounding vocal performance to oppose with David's cold and mechanic Electronica efforts. Both, Craven and Almgren, have teamed up a while back and know each others talent well. Wouldn't be there such a huge distance between Sweden and Australia, they could have been united for a real band project. Also 'Haunted House' works excellent with both talents included and it isn't at all that 'haunting' as the title may suggests. This track can be counted asides the hit smashing tune 'I Am There' and the already known, earlier released 'Side By Side' to be the most important tracks available on this album. In between we have again David's own instrumental compositions. 'Green Solitude' impresses with its nearly Lounge-/Late-Night-Electronica inspired instrumentation, while 'For Savannah' could work well as being the title-melody of a sports TV-broadcast format. 'Electric Jungle' consumed as a whole album doesn't leave any wishes of the listener unfulfilled, in case that Synth-/Futurepop-inspired Electronica music with a Spacesynth-undertone counts to your preferences. Unfortunately this album ends abruptly after only 37 minutes, which is definitely a bit too short. 2 - 3 more tracks available on this well designed album (art/photos by Are Eidet, www.areeidet.com) wouldn't hurt any of the listeners, because none of the featured 12 tracks sounds unattractive or provides boredom. Christmas we've just survived, but I still have wishes: more stuff and a lesser short pause for the next album, Mr. Almgren!
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Artist: ∆AIMON (@)
Title: Flatliner - expanded
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact (@)
Rated: *****
California-based duo 'AIMON has been considered as one of the most interesting emerging band from the fertile witch-house in reason since their first releases: foggy synth-pads, slow and solemn marches, mantra-like songs, occult mists and plasmatic and creepy atmospheres get blended together by means of a remarkable knowledge of recording studio techniques, whose result is so cinematic that you could imagine them while gathering around their hot cauldrons in the act of employing mysterious witchcrafts. Canadian label Artoffact sensed what many listeners suddenly perceived the stylistical ductility of their sound after listening the previous release on Bay-Area appreciated label Tundra Dubs, whose crossbreed could be considered a sort of vampiresque half-cast creature in the liminal region between dark industrial and witch-house, so that it summoned some artists from both those scenes in order to highlight their sonic findings by detaching their coalesced "souls". Their placement in the tracklist roughly seems to be based on a rising level of sophistication by different guest around their cauldron: it could sound paradoxical, but most interesting remixes come from industrial front, whose advantage could be explained by the fact they could exhibit an affine, but distinct stylistical territory, whereas witch-house bands had to preserve their own declension of the same language. I particularly enjoyed remixes of "Black Cross" by Dead When I Found Her (I'm pretty sure it's going to delight many dancehalls), cinematic and grave remixes of "Choke" by Chrysalide (a complementarity which was clear since 'AIMON remix of "I Do Not Divert Eyes") and "Flatliner" by Haujobb (one of the remix I liked most), while on the witch-house front, amazing Unison remix of "Current", "Flatliner" blending by Encephalon and the deconstruction of "Emptiness" by Textbeak have that extra oomph.

Uphill Racer: Nautious EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (7350)
Dec 12 2012
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Artist: Uphill Racer (@)
Title: Nautious EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: M = Maximal (@)
Rated: *****
This appetizer of forthcoming album (it should be titled "Golden Anchor") by Oliver Lichtl aka Uphill Racer, following the excellent collaborative release which should be titled "How It Feels To Find There's More", is one of the most welcome return into my headphones. He keeps on dry his sound up, a choice which can more easily soak the listener into his saccharine melodies. His style has nothing to share with minimalism as it seems to highlight its immediacy and blissful naturalness. The soothing indulgence of the initial "Nautious" got emphasized by a sort of imitation of the backwash of the sea by a few of resounding entities as well as by some guessed effects which turn his Fender guitar into a shrieking gull or a singing whale, while he delicately rises bpm on the following "Happy Xoxo", an 8 bit-like electro pop song which smells of glazed teen love affairs. The final "Waiting For Your Mistake" could vaguely remind an "unrocked" reprise of Alex Gopher's "Brain Leech" due to the singing style and the gripping melody by Uphill Racer. If you appreciate his particular declension of "organic" pop, this musica trinket cannot but be mouthwatering.

Inter-Connection: Life

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 11 2012
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Artist: Inter-Connection
Title: Life
Format: CD
Label: A Different Drum
Rated: *****
"Life" is the third album by Inter-Connection and it's their second one to be released on the A Different Drum's VIP series. As for the other releases of this series, three hundred copies have been printed, two hundred sent to the subscribers plus one hundred have been delivered to the band. Inter-Connection are formed by three members who live in three different countries and whom write their music sharing sounds and ideas through the net. Revital Ben Hemo, vocals, is from Acco/Israel, Giuseppe Calandrini, vocals and lyrics, is from Rome/Italy and Rene' Tebbe, composer, producer, synths, is from Hannover/Germany. I read on their Facebook page that they already have finished their fourth album "Strange World" and that they are looking for a label, but let's focus on "Life" now... The album contains twelve tracks and one remix (to tell the truth I dunno if they sent me some extra tracks as the rear album cover on their website has eleven tracks on it) and it's in balance from catchy synth-pop with dance influences, electronic melancholic ballads and cool dark electro pop tunes. The album opens with one catchy one sung by Revital, titled "Synthetic Love". This one, along with "Tie Me Up" (one of the dancey ones), "Traveling" and "How Do You Feel" for me are the highlights of the album but there are also tracks like "Nightmare" (an electro ebm/synth pop monster made out of hard beats and bouncy bass lines), "Red Lights" (a nice synthpop song in balance from 80s and 90s) or "Gone Bad" (an electro dance anthem sounding so Swedish 90s synthpop) which will satisfy your synthpop needs.

FORMA: OFF/ON

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 08 2012
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Artist: FORMA (@)
Title: OFF/ON
Format: CD
Label: Spectrum Spools/Mego (@)
Rated: *****
That lava flow on the cover artwork of the second release by this Brooklyn-based trio of young cosmic couriers, made up of Mark Dwinell, Sophie Lam and George Bennett, didn't make me thought about geophysics, volcanology, hot gullies, after my eardrums got pleasefully stimulated by OFF/ON, their second release which follows the critically acclaimed self-named debut. Although their sound could be easily associated to some eruptions or outcrops from buried electronic music styles, their sound could be associated to another lava-related iconic object, the legendary decorative lamp, produced by Mathmos and developed by Edward-Craven Walker, as its blobs of coloured wax could be considered as one of the most representative emblem of retrofuturism (!), the concrete simulacrum of some relic, which could be linked to a somewhat kitsch and fetish idea of future in the teeth of its belonging to the past, whose symbolic meaning never fades, just like an aged record you enjoyed or a chocolate candy with oxidized surface which still tastes delicious! After such a premise, looking through their equipment - Moog Prodigy, Roland SH-1000, Yamaha CS-15, Korg Lambda, DSI Mopho, Roland TR-707 and TR-606. Oberheim SEM, Akai AX73, Roland RS-09 (the relatively cheapest device to play Jarre's "Oxygene"...) and more - could let you surmise they retraced the glorious pathway of some legendary knights such as the above-mentioned Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream or Vangelis and by their own admission, they deconstructed the Motorik, a slang term coined by some older colleagues to describe the typical 4/4 ostinato rhythm by many krautrockers such as Neu! or Kraftwerk, but it's clear since the initial "OFF" dynamics behind their majestic cosmic rides, twisted sequences and flowing arpeggiations are not a simple homage to those sonorities, but often show an impressive homogeneity, an attention to detail and computational splashes, which sound like fitted to a refurbished enthusiasm for an upcoming space age, for a primordial return to synth-music source or maybe for a conscious and sage return to innocence!


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