Music Reviews



Lisfrank: Mask Rewind

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (7407)
Jan 22 2013
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Artist: Lisfrank (@)
Title: Mask Rewind
Format: CD
Label: Anna Logue Records
Rated: *****
We talked about Lisfrank different times on CHAIN D.L.K. about three years ago when Anna Logue Records did a compilation of released and unreleased tracks by Fulvio Guidarelli's musical outfit. Fabrizio Della Porta reviewed the 12" 7" compilation which now is out of print (you can find the review here http://www.chaindlk.com/reviews/?id=5633) and I interviewed Fulvio about his music and about those years (you can find it here http://www.chaindlk.com/interviews/Lisfrank). Few months ago, Anna Logue Records decided it was time to make "Mask Rewind" available again and printed an expanded CD version of that compilation. On this new release you can find all the classics and demos included into the vinyl version ("Man without limits", "It's life", "Violence in my mind" or "My Toy" just to name a few) plus four extra tracks previously unreleased: "S.W.M. (Obscure Version)", "Night Calling (First Mix Version)" and"Ombre". Unfortunately there are still missing two songs from the EP "Man Mask": "Night Calling" (even if here there's a demo version) and "I Still Believe In Love". About the new tracks, "Ombre" was included into the tape compilation "Area Condizionata" issued in 1983 and it's an experimental track made of synth hisses, filtered vocals and echoes; "Dead Girl" is a cold wave track based on basic filtered synth monophonic sounds, in front vocals and drums added on the final part; "S.W.M. (Obscure Version)" is a very minimal track where the experimental side of Lisfrank is shown as only vocals, synth windy noises and 4/4 drum machine tempos have been used. If you missed the first issue of this compilation or if own the vinyl and you'd like to get also the extra track, be sure to check this limited CD print of "Mask Rewind".

Movement Ten: Movement Ten

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (7395)
Jan 14 2013
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Artist: Movement Ten (@)
Title: Movement Ten
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
We have here the debut release of a British duo consisting of the music-producer Shadowless Man and vocalist The Sweet Chap. Why they feel the need to hide behind pseudonyms you ask? Well, I really don't know, also their web resources don't offer too much information. However, what counts is the music, and after consuming the self-titled debut of them, I really don't see a reason to hide anything. 'Movement Ten' is a self-produced and self-released 10-tracker, which provides some well-sounding and interesting arranged content to the Electropop-/New Wave-/Alternative-scene. 'Gravity', also released as being the first single out of this album, opens this album and they couldn't have chosen any better one. A catchy song progression with subtle insertions of Electronica- / acoustic-guitar elements and a pure, natural sounding male vocal performance in vein of 'James Blunt meets Synthpop' opens the hearts of the fainted listener. The ongoing tracks are sort of straighter produced: 'Machine Girl' surprises with a robotic sound-effect on the vocals, while 'BWK' celebrates straightness through its pummeling kick drum. One of the best tunes of this overall quite promising album is the Synth-/Futurepop-related 'FTBIA' with its melodic chorus, well-done vocals and its machinated beat-work. Not too much impressed with both following tunes, the marching samples of 'One Hundred Percent' are storming in until the slow Breakbeats starts to lead the scenario. I enjoyed those warm Kraftwerk-ish synthesizer-pads woven into an arpeggio-environment to rule the chorus. 'Monochrome' with its acoustic-guitar undertones is the next one and will represent the bands' third single release after 'Gravity' and 'BWK'. Last track worth a mention is the sugar-sweet album-closer 'Moon Palace', with beautiful male vocals provided in a higher Erasure-like register. Movement Ten are one of the most promising newcomers lately discovered of the British Independent-scene. This album proves a wide taste for musically diversity of the protagonists and leaves enough room for several, similar interesting sounding follow-up releases. Good work, keep it on!
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Artist: Traffic A.M.
Title: Left Behind Left Within
Format: 12"
Label: Seja Records (@)
Distributor: Seja Records
Rated: *****
Where the fuck have I heard about Traffic A.M. before? It isn't their debut because this Cologne-based duo has already released a CD signed to the German label Plastic Frog Records. The music of Michel Kissing and Stefan Gonser sounds like a long missed friend as they give a flying fuck on the recent efforts and inventions of the pseudo-Goth/Electro-kids. There is a huge amount of nostalgia and 80s-inpired mood integrated to their music, reviews of them often picked-up relations to The Cure and/or Joy Division. Here stands surely a fair amount of truth behind, but since we so-called music journalists are always searching for the right shelf to sort music-projects into, I was about to throw in additionally names like Poesie Noire and melodic-sounding Neon Judgement as possible quells of inspiration to the ring. To cut that short: Traffic A.M. play a sort of Electronica-driven Dark Wave music, which can find influences with already established projects, but it is far away of being a faceless try to copy. Signed to the Netherlands-based label Seja Records, this vinyl-only release (!!!) limited to 300 exemplars is a goody not to be missed. The attractive, mostly calm and Electropop-inspired synthesizer arrangements as well as the Wave-influenced guitar inserts got perfectly united with Stefan Gonser's natural and melodic sounding vocal performance. This duo knows the right registers to entertain: they avoid musically any hectic of the rushing times, although their lyrical content reflects pretty much socio-critical content. The Post-Industrial / Neo-Wave flame is alive and kicking with them, and even if they fall into the trap to get very close to already known EBM-related themes ('Subway Story (Repetition)'), they still proof to find an elegant way out of it. 8 tracks for you to consume pressed on high-quality vinyl and to me especially that warm, analogue sound of the needle of your record-player strengthens the overall good impression of this release. Traffic A.M. want their music to speak for itself - the music speaks wisely in this case, so hurry up and purchase this records - only 300 available exemplars are faster gone than you can think of...
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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.


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