Music Reviews



BEOGRAD: T.V.

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Feb 07 2012
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Artist: BEOGRAD
Title: T.V.
Format: 7"
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
In the 80s, you know, we were living in a different world and since we're used to how we live today, we kinda removed it. Visiting Eastern countries wasn't easy at all, but also there, despite the repression and a difficult political situation, there was a fervent musical scene. Near my country, Italy, there was Yugoslavia and it was kinda obscure to me. I only knew that Laibach and Borghesia were coming from that country but I didn't know much more. In the latest years, thanks to Matthias Weise of Dominance Electricity I had the chance to check some Eastern European electronic music and it would be amazing to reissue also that stuff. Marc at Anna Logue Records, succeeded into getting his hands on some recordings of an electronic band called Beograd. They were from Belgrade, Serbia and their line-up was: Dejan Stanisavljevic, Aleksandar Rodic, Ljubodrag Bubalo and Milan Bubalo. They recorded only a 7" and an album sung in their original language. On this 7" EP you can find the two tracks of their 1982 single "Tv" / "Sanjas Li U Boji?", "Mrak" (the best track of their 1983 album "Remek Depo") plus two demo version of "T.V." and "Mrak" which sound like recorded by ghosts because of the bad quality but which have a eerie atmosphere and a nice retro sound. Musically, Beograd, sounded like a dark version of Telex thanks also to the fact that back then they hadn't sequencers or midi. They had to play live bass lines and melodic parts and along with the Roland CR-78 drum machine, they were able to play something unique. Their songs are minimal but rich thanks to all the nice synth parts and rhythm changes. They knew how to pack a hit and the three original tracks just prove that. They also didn't have pop lyrics as they were critical about tv and also on the second track, which translated it's titled "Do You Dream In Colour?", they were covering the anxiousness of a generation. Great release! You can check some excerpts here http://soundcloud.com/annaloguerecords/anna-036.

VV.AA.: Danza Meccanica Italian Synth Wave VOL 2 1981​-​1987

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Feb 04 2012
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Danza Meccanica Italian Synth Wave VOL 2 1981​-​1987
Format: 12"
Label: Mannequin (@)
Rated: *****
Here we are after a couple of years to talk about a new compilation of the DANZA MECCANICA series with ten "new" tracks coming from the treasure box of 80s Italian synth wave. Mannequin dug hard to find the casket which contained bands that hardly had a vinyl release on their back. The album opens with Suicide Dada, a band coming from Pinerolo, 40Km from my city Torino. They officially released only a side of the double vinyl compilation released with VM #5 but they recorded a couple of demos. The version of "Acque" you can find here is coming from the first demo and if you love deep vocals, simmons pads, bouncy bass lines and atmospheric pads, this is for you. Madaski, their singer, put on his soundcloud page another Suicide Dada track titled "Not Satisfied", if you want to check out that one here's the link http://soundcloud.com/madaski-1. Der Blaue Reiter with "Through Glasses" are next with a track that sounds like Joy Division in love with synths. The bass line is typical of the new wave sound of those years and the dry drum machine sounds help painting a cold scenario. They later became State Of Art and they are back nowadays with a new album. I don't really know who Son Of Science were but "Way Of Life" is a nice upbeat tempo with male/female vocals, analog synth lines. The same goes for Waveform. I don't really know them and their "Creep" is a fast analog synth wave, almost punk song with female vocals, obsessive synth bass lines and essential melodies. Ruins were an artsy duo who a couple of years ago reissued some of their tracks on Minimal Wave. Here you can find "New Record", a track originally included into their 1983 tape "Side Roads" but here the version is a bit longer. They mixed funk, jazz, dance and wave in an experimental way. Side B opens with a different version of one of the most famous Jeunesse D'Ivoire tracks, "A Gift Of Tears". This "Silent Version" is a quasi instrumental version of that great wave gem where they changed a bit some melodic lines, removed the sax part and used Patrizia's vocals to underline some parts here and there and to sung the refrain. LASS Crime were active in mid/late 80s and they self released three tapes and they had another one titled "Electa" out on Energeia. "I'll Merry Go Round" is coming from their 1987 demo "Inanitas" and it's a nice electro/goth tune. Musumeci were an obscure combo coming from Torino. I knew them in the mid 80s and they gave me their demo containing six tracks. "Harry Batasuna" is an instrumental track which recalls me D.A.F. and Cabaret Voltaire and opened the B side of the demo. Years later I tried to contact Mauro Missaglia, the guy who played synths, but with no success, so they kinda slipped into oblivion. Deca with "First Frequency" is here with one of the few tracks he sung. As far as I know this is an unreleased track and it's a nice one which, influenced by Depeche Mode, mix synthpop with new wave. If you love Frozen Autumn, for sure you'll love this one. European Stage is another band I don't know at all. Their "Subterranean Wait" mix experimental cosmic sounds to synth coldness. You can check all the tracks here http://goo.gl/xg8RX. The release will be available from the next week on vinyl and digital download.
Feb 03 2012
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Artist: Absent One (@)
Title: Places
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Ionium Records (@)
Rated: *****
Second full-length album release of this Russian duo, which is actually a collaboration between the Russian Shadowplay Records and the German AF-Music label. Still remembering the good produced debut 'Blowback' (which is additionally available as a re-release via the AF / Ionium Records collaboration label) 'Places' sees some developments and a rather unexpected evolution in the sound of Absent One. First off, it does quite good to listen to a band concentrating to focus their skills on the content of their compositions. This album isn't meant to get consumed to enjoy a straight pattern-after-pattern row supported by a harsh Techno kick-drum performance ' here are real songs with an overview and important meaning behind. A quite critical view on a social- problem regarding the use of drugs combined with unemployment and hopelessness in young years. This album may reflects a doze of some auto-biographical content of these both Russian protagonists, but who knows? What disturbs is the fact, that this real-life content gets presented quite lame with the tendency to bore after a while. Now we'll get a good idea without any Cyber-Christ-Goth-bullshit, but the music construction itself comes out that toothless like my grandma ' it misses toughness, plus I remember to have heard a higher technically state-of-art already presented on the debut. The vocalist sings in that kind, how you would have expected it from a Russian, not completely accent-free and more classic-influenced, but luckily without any distortion regarding vocal-processing. This band needs definitely to work to reach more maturity, although by spreading salt on some open socio-wounds as being the main theme, they are on the right way.


Kite: IV

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Feb 03 2012
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Artist: Kite
Title: IV
Format: 12" vinyl + CD
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Broken Silence
Rated: *****
This Swedish Electropop-duo follows again their own tradition: year by year they are releasing an EP consisting of 4 - 5 tracks and mostly available on CD and 12' vinyl formats. I'm not that sure, if Christan Berg and Nicklas Stenemo always know what they are doing musically, well, sometimes that can be seen with doubts. However, to me they are one of the most original sounding duos, which this music genre has to offer. With an obvious dedication to the Pop/Wave-era of the 80s, they are producing Synth-/Electropop music, which isn't that sugar-sweet and easy-to-consumable one would expect. There is additionally featured a sense to produce also uncomfortable sounds and bizarre song structures, which gets even more strengthened through their charismatic vocal performance. Sometimes they seem to be driven by insanity thanks to their unorthodox kind to produce music and to perform their vocals, but they still create a mood to let you again and again giving them some rotations - until the Kite-virus gets you! 'IV' offers to me their best tracks so far, especially the more catchy tunes like 'Step Forward' and 'Stand Back' are pure masterpieces. More is required ' when comes out number 'V'?

CHORDASHIAN: Don't Wait Up

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Feb 01 2012
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Artist: CHORDASHIAN
Title: Don't Wait Up
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
Formed by Brooklyn native Felix Feygin, Michael Banks and several friends, Chordashian just released their EP DON'T WAIT UP on Mullet Records. The digital EP contains three original tracks plus three remixes of the same tracks reworked by Downtown Party Network, Slow Hands and Sportloto. The first track of the lot is the "Don't Wait Up", has Michael Inge on lead vocals and he's perfect to give to the track the right funky soul touch that it needs as the band prepared for him a mix of synth arpeggios, bouncy bass lines, funky guitar riffs and spacey synth stabs. The following track is "Sea Crest", an instrumental tune characterized by analog synth pads, syncopated bass lines and funky guitar riffs. The instruments come and making it sounds like it was a nice remix and in this way they give to the track dynamic and space. The last original track is "The Jam", a sensual mid tempo with a nice synth work that prepare the field for guitar solos and piano chords. It would be nice used into a Miami Vice episode for its atmosphere. About the remixes, Downtown Party Network gave a touch of disco flavor to "Don't Wait Up" with 4/4 drum machine rhythms using handclaps and everything needed to make of it a party track. Slow Hands remixed "Sea Crest" making it turn into a atmospheric analog synth mid tempo keeping the guitar riffts and adding nice synth solos. Sportloto reworked "The Jam", which now sounds faster and a bit more disco.


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