Music Reviews

µ-Ziq: Chewed Corners

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 26 2013
Artist: µ-Ziq
Title: Chewed Corners
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
I could try to explain the difference between that sort of appetizer of welcomed return of Mike Paradinas on self-signed production we introduced on this 'zine, "X-step", last May and this proper album on the basis of the cover artwork. Whereas "X-step" was nearby the shores of the stylistical fields he's exploring by means of other artists' contribution with refurbished declensions of electronic dance, the audible gusts of wind and the robotic sirens (or supposedly alluring finny synths) of the initial track "Taikon" could let you imagine Mike raised the anchor and hoisted the sails for an intriguing journey on an ocean of memories he rekindled by listening back some stuff by Aphex Twi, Orbital, Art of Noise, Japan, Rustie, Kuedo, Chicago Footwork (but I could surmise there could be some mnemonic acid-soaked reemergences of Moroder, Vangelis, Boards Of Canada, Jean-Michel Jarre, Alan Parsons Project or Tangerine Dream) while his inspiring sweetheart Lara-Rix Martin, who inspired Mike's recent Heterotic project, was outside their love nest and such a metaphor could be corroborated by the following "Christ Dust" where its glistening synths and the somewhat regal portamento could let you hail as a miracle while rendering an attempt by Mike of walking on the surface of water! Jokes aside, even if Mike's lonely domestic listening left some traces on many moments of "Chewed Corners", I cannot say it's a pot-pourri of soundbites and quotations: both its inner calm mood and the agnition with above-mentioned classics belong to an emphasis which is going to produce pure epic listening pleasure by triggering memories or swimming on the above-mentioned ocean within a stylistical diving gear, whose workmanship will be easily recognized Paradinas' lovers. Pinpointing highlights within this wonderful traversal is almost impossible. I could pick a bunch of personal favs at worst: the mammal synths of Houzz 10, the jaunty tech-house of "Weakling Paradinas", the daydreaming old-fashioned sonorities of "Mountain Island Boner" or "Melting" and the ethereal coziness of "Hug"... but I warmly recommend to hold your breath and peroxide your musical brains in the depths of this seemingly unruffled emotional sea.

no:carrier: Last Scene

 Posted by eskaton   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 25 2013
Artist: no:carrier (@)
Title: Last Scene
Format: CD EP
Label: Electric Heresy (@)
The website describes no:carrier's music as 'Transatlantic Electro Pop' because it consists of songwriter/producer Christian Wirsig in San Francisco and singer Cynthia Wechselberger in Germany. The press sheet describes it thus: 'The background stays dubious and no one knows exactly what the protagonists have lived through. 'Last Scene' commemorates past things that may better not have happened, but might have led to success.' Intriguing premise, but this is a limited edition maxi-single, which is always a bit of a risk. First off, the song has to be something you would want to listen to over and over again. Second, the artist really needs to tweak it enough to make it warrant 5 different versions. This didn't quite fit the bill for me in the second regard. The original is kind of a jazzy straightforward pop song, with lyrics like 'The last scene of a play that we shouldn't have staged.' Only the last two versions really pushed the envelope here - the EBT Remix by taking the original and making it more of a techno-rave track and 'Last Seen' by stripping a lot of the vocals out and using it more as gesture than as lyrics. The first three were just too similar for my tastes. The song does tell a story and within the context of the larger album it may fit quite well, but I'm not sure it warrants its own maxi single. I would say that this is mainly for fans who are completists. This album is limited to 99 copies and weighs in at around 18 minutes.

Martin Philip: Butler

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 23 2013
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Artist: Martin Philip (@)
Title: Butler
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I'm terribly late reviewing the newest Martin Philip release. I'm really sorry, but being a digital release and, for the first time, a free one, it kept being skipped after all the CDs I received (this is my policy: I can't review free releases, I'd be overwhelmed but since I reviewed other Martin's release I wanted to talk about this one, also). Anyway... "Butler" is a concept album where well crafted synthpop (perfect production and arrangements) meets an intriguing plot which talks about all the secrets, the expectations and the disillusion of a butler. Like on the previous Martin's album "Recumbent" also on "Butler" his guitar has a prominent place in the mix but as usual you'll find tons of melody and smooth atmospheres. Try to imagine that you're listening to a Pet Shop Boys album with no dance tunes and you'll have pretty much the idea of how this album sounds. In any case, here we don't have flaws: it's a very nice synthpop album, it has a intriguing story, it's for free and you can download wav files! Well done Steeves, you can say to Martin that you both reached your goal!

Secret Soviet Army: Brutal Poetic Wave EP

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 22 2013
Artist: Secret Soviet Army
Title: Brutal Poetic Wave EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Romance Moderne
Rated: *****
"Brutal Poetic Wave EP" is the first release for Nantes, France, based band Secret Soviet Army. Unfortunately I don't have any kind of info about them as also their webpage doesn't have any. The EP, released digitally by Romance Moderne, contains four tracks which show a band that is able to write creepy synth songs (check the opening "The Prince And The Prisoner", where a prince keeps locked into his castle some women, abusing them or "Deep Forest" where slowed down vocals are mixed to synth wobbles and obsessive synth lines), powerful minimal wave tunes ("Wastik" is based on dry drum beats and bass lines plus pads stabs and catchy lead lines) as well as catchy melodic hits like "Turn Your Body". They are preparing their first live but in the meantime check them here

Ruble Gang: Art For Real

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Aug 22 2013
Artist: Ruble Gang
Title: Art For Real
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Romance Moderne
Rated: *****
Ruble Gang is a band coming from Moscow, Russia and their only available track, before the release of this digital single for Romance Moderne, was "Building Communism" on the double tape compilation "Forward Rewind: The Future Echo Tapes" released the last year by Aufnahme Wiedergabe. That compilation was gathering some of the best subterranean electronic new wave bands, with names of the likes of Martial Canterel, Makina Girgir, Lebanon Hanover, Human Puppets, Linea Aspera, etc. Influenced by synthetic wave of the late 70's and early 80's, Ruble Gang on the single "Art For Real" present two tracks: the main title and "Silver Plane". The main tune is a 4/4 mid tempo with catchy synth lines and Russian lyrics. "Silver Plane" has a similar bass line melody but it's more influenced by post punk and vocals are more nervous. Both the songs make the flag of analog synthesis proudly flying high and can also be used on alternative dancefloors. You can check and purchase them here

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