Music Reviews



Control.org: Degenerate

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 14 2011
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Artist: Control.org (@)
Title: Degenerate
Format: CD
Label: Control Freak Records (@)
Rated: *****
Well, it may has a lot to do with my own degeneration, that I nearly 'forgot' to put an ear on this release, which, to my surprise, arrived me several months before from a totally different part of the world, New Zealand. I somehow have them always counted to be US-based, especially when I think back on the both Control.org releases 'Radiation' and 'Manipulate', both out on the Albuquerque-based cult label DSBP. But maybe I am totally confusing some facts.
However, Control.org, C2 and all related projects behind the Control Freak label are celebrating their comeback with new and upcoming releases after a longer break. After listening this new Control.org-album multiple times, you may like to read, that this EBM/Electropop-music project hasn't generally changed its kind and sound outfit. 'Degenerate' is still inspired by crafty Electropop music out of the mid-90s, which allows classic EBM-like structures to take a free slot in the global concept. This album quite often varies in its style and ranges from smoother, more Synthpop-driven tracks to more classic EBM-related efforts. They seemingly put special attention on their bass-line programming skills, the title-track 'Degenerate', or 'Thought Control' let the head seesawing to the beat and vibration.
In between, and to me at quite unlucky chosen song-positions, they have included some instrumental, voice-sample-driven tunes ('Pending Hope', 'Greed Surplus'), which cannot defend the impression to have discovered filler stuff ' a bit more spectacular next time, please. The floating of this album gets completely interrupted, but luckily gets back on track with 'Degenerate' and/or 'Analogue Killer'. Finally a label-internal remix of the Powernoise-inspired side-project C2 end this album after 13 tracks.
Control.org albums offer always a remarkable amount of quality behind sound design and production. 'Degenerate' isn't an example, although it pauses at some moments.

ELIJAH COLLINS: J Funk

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 06 2011
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Artist: ELIJAH COLLINS
Title: J Funk
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
Elijah Collins is back with a cool two tracker on Mullet Records. The main tune is "J Funk", a powerful 80s funk tune with the great Mr 'Tee-J' Sutherland vocals. The song sound old school and inspired with piano stabs, blows inserts and multiple vocal tracks that reproduce the sound of the streets. "Holy Smoke" is the second track and is based on powerful 808 drum beats, slapped bass, jumping synth leads and soul vocals. It sounds passionate and inspired. Really nice single that it you feet won't ignore... it's impossible to avoid beating the rhythm or dancing around the room!

VV.AA.: The (Almost) Insanely Happy EP

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 03 2011
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: The (Almost) Insanely Happy EP
Format: 7"
Label: EE Tapes (@)
Rated: *****
Boss of the Insane Music label, member of many bands such as Cortex, Human Dance, Human Flesh, I Scream, Japanese Genius, Ornament & Crime Arkhestra, Pseudo Code, Sic, Subject, etc, Alain Neffe during all the 80s has been damn busy and EE Tapes is keeping on reissuing his music digging into the archives to bring us classic and unreleased tracks. THE ( ALMOST) INSANELY HAPPY EP is the second 7" EP compilation dedicated to Insane Music and it contains three tracks by Subject and three by Human Dance of which three are unreleased. Subject were in balance from pop intuitions, wave atmospheres and minimal approaches to sound where bass guitar, guitar and a rhythm box were the core of the sound which on the dreamy dramatic "L'ultima storia" sees Mirella Brunello joining Alain Neffe and Daniel Malempre to sing in Italian a lyric about a lost love. Human Dance were less wave and a bit more ironic. Their "Jethro, C'Est Trop !!" has a flute part recalling the Jethro Tull and "Magikal Hystery Sour (The Beatles Were Not So Bad, After All !!)" sounds like a minimal pop soundtrack with clean guitars, organ and drum machine in evidence. "The Desert Call" experiment a little with middle eastern atmospheres and reverbs. This is a nice EP available in 250 copies of which the first 85 are hand-numbered and have two extra photographs, from a series of nine.

Versailles: Sacrifice

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 03 2011
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Artist: Versailles (@)
Title: Sacrifice
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Nearly all-girl band Versailles (not to be confused with other bands named Versailles, of which there are a few) from Los Angeles consists of Dianna St. Hilaire- Vocals, Keytar, Programming; Stephanie Rose- Bass; Marie Ilene- Drums, with Shaun Richards on Guitar. From the nice color photo they sent with the one-sheet, these gals look like your typical goth-clubbers and the music on 'Sacrifice' doesn't deny that. It wasn't always that way for Versailles; from the sound of their previous albums, singer Dianna was labeled a "Gothic Tori Amos" and that's not far off the mark, as both 'Believe' and 'Broken Dolls' sound much more commercial and somewhat more polished than 'Sacrifice'. (There is good deal more piano on those albums too.) They've toured the U.S. with Ego Likeness, Voltaire, New Model Army, Bella Morte, etc., and maybe they'll be coming to a goth club near you someday soon.

What Versailles have done on their 4-track EP 'Sacrifice' is step back in time to the 90's (maybe even the 80's) with a more retro gothy synthpop sound. Gee'¦this sounds familiar'¦maybe a bit too familiar'¦in fact, this sounds a lot like'¦THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE, a female-fronted retro synth-poppy band from Toronto. But it's Birthday Massacre light. (Those folks can get loud and heavy more often than not.) While Dianna is no Chibi she still has a very pleasing melodic voice. The synth and bass are pretty minimal, and the drums, well, that sounds like a drum machine to me, and that's pretty minimal too. Guitar is consistent with early 90's goth.

While the songs are convincing on 'Sacrifice' I don't really hear any big hits. 'Take My Life' is probably the closest to what the Birthday Massacre have done (in concept if not execution), but my favorite off the EP was 'Game'. The song seemed to epitomize the sound of an era to me in its disaffected way. I could even imagine it on some indie film soundtrack. I'm a bit ambivalent about the production on 'Sacrifice'; on one hand it is very retro-sounding, but on the other, quite bass-heavy and seems to be lacking in power and dynamics. Still, at 6 bucks, if you're a sucker for gothy (mostly) female synthpop bands as I am, it's not a bad purchase. On future endeavors, I'd like to hear Versailles put a little more oomph and drama into their sound and write a hit song or two. (They're undoubtedly capable of it.) It's worth a trip to their website just to check out their photos (corset, ripped stockings, buckled platform boots, OH MY!). I think it's harder for bands from L.A. to make it than anywhere else as there is just so much competition there. Persevere, ladies, persevere!

THOMAS BARRANDON: Escape From Earth

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 02 2011
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Artist: THOMAS BARRANDON
Title: Escape From Earth
Format: CD
Label: Sauroid (@)
Rated: *****
True to the new French electro sound that has into its basket names like College (and generally all the Valerie Collective bands), Kavinsky and many more and that mixes the 70s electronic sound with 80s electro, Thomas Barrandon is a newcomer proudly presented to audience by Sauroid. Influenced by John Carpenter, Angelo Badalamenti, Goblin, Fabio Frizzi, Klaus Doldinger, Giorgio Moroder, Wendy Carlos, Justice and Daft Punk, Thomas wrote thirteen instrumental tracks that Sauroid is making available on digital download and on limited CD-r. ESCAPE FROM EARTH sounds like a sort of soundtrack to an imaginary sci-fi 80s movie: stop and go, warm pads, arpeggios, catchy melodies and hard drum beats are Thomas' weapons and he uses them to seduce the audience. Atmospheric mid tempos are alternated to fast electro rides with that distinctive synth distorted sound (check "The Last Race Between You And Me") and lead you through a breathtaking run to ESCAPE FROM EARTH...


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