Music Reviews

Frits Wentink: Two Bar House Music & Chord Stuff Vol. 3

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 13 2018
Artist: Frits Wentink
Title: Two Bar House Music & Chord Stuff Vol. 3
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Wolf Music Recordings
The conclusion of Frits Wentink’s trilogy of EP’s under the extremely reviewer-friendly name of “Two Bar House Music & Chord Stuff” is a pack of four classic-style house tracks circa 125bpm, with light stepping beats and claps and lovely melodic synth work, FX and little vocal snippets- never a full vocal- wandering confidently and warmly over the top.

Numbered rather than named, each track does have its own character. “Theme 9” is bright and quite energetic, with some nice sharp-cut cymbal work. “Theme 10” is more stripped back, focussing on a bouncy little synth bassline and some rather cheesy, cheap-sounding (but strangely not in a bad way) organ keys. “Theme 11” has a touch of the funk and a bit of a Lenny D vibe, before “Theme 12” loops back to “Theme 9”’s vibe but less vocal, with shades of Todd Edwards.

A really nice bundle of feel-good house stuff that does exactly what it says on the packaging.

PRO424: Before Immunity

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 10 2018
Artist: PRO424 (@)
Title: Before Immunity
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Lamour Records (@)
Rated: *****
PRO424 is Stockholm (Sweden) based artist and producer Maximilian Karlander who also happens to be a bioengineer. 'Before Immunity' is PRO424's followup to the 2015 'Immune' album which is actually a prequel, as evidenced by the title. This is techno to be sure, but of a richly melodic sort of techno. My first impression of it was "prog-rock goes ambient," but that really doesn't tell you much of anything, except perhaps that it's quite busy (many sequenced notes) and that it has an ambient-esque flavor. In a sense, this is one long piece consisting of five parts - The Human Condition, Improvements, Time Will Tell, The Happiest Days of Their Lives, Life Finds a Way. There is some nodding reference to Richie Hawtin and Tangerine Dream with seemingly endless synth arpeggio repetition, but I'm sure you could come up with a dozen other artists this may remind you of as well. The music is highly rhythmic but not necessarily beat-focused, although that does come into play. The whole album has a certain blending flow to it, and a somewhat psychedelic hypnotic effect (bordering on trance) that most should find fairly pleasing. We don't seem to get enough of this kind of music released on vinyl nowadays, so obviously that would be the preferred format. Good for sunny day spacing, or the walk of life.

Maschine Brennt: Frisq EP

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 10 2018
Artist: Maschine Brennt
Title: Frisq EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Ukonx Recordings
Rated: *****
Joacim Thenander is a veteran of the electro scene. In the late ‘80s he was a member of industrial synth band Systema The Affliction and then on early 90's he was a member of the duo Cultivated Bimbo, band that did several albums for Energy Records. At the same time, Maschine Brennt born but during the 90s only few tracks have been written, because Joacim was busy with other more commercial projects. Starting from 2014, Joacim rebooted Maschine Brennt by releasing since now, five digital releases and a CD album for Razgrom Music. The latest release is a digital EP released by Ukonx Recordingsand titled "Frisq". Containing three new tracks and one remix of the main one mad by Deemphasis, project of the label boss Stéphane Bastien. By listening to the tracks it doesn't take much time to understand that Joacim loves Kraftwerk and sometimes by using certain melodic progressions, is like he's paying his personal tribute to history. Saying this it doesn't mean that his music is uninspired, because since the opening main title, he's able to catch immediately the attention, thanks to booming drums, catchy melodies, great synth sounds, etc. This guys for sure knows how to make dance his fans and he's using all the things he learned in all these years of experience in the field. Also "Shoewq" and "V.A.B." are a winner, because the complex rhythm layers which mix electro, i.d.m. and a bit of techno is able to make you focus on this without the use of catchy melodies or refrains. Only few sounds along with the rhythms layers are enough to define a melody to follow. This ins't an easy task when you have to deal with decades of electronic music but I'm pleased that at the end of the EP I want to listen to it again! The EP is closed by the Deemphasis Remix of "Frisq". For this version, Stéphane simplified a bit the rhythm section and created an ambient background as counterpart of the robotic elements. It sounds cool by sounding different and this is also a good result for a remix! Check it here

2methyl: Etched

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 20 2018
Artist: 2methyl (@)
Title: Etched
Format: CD + Download
Label: Agnost1k Records (@)
Rated: *****
Once again delving into the pile Mr. Urselli couldn't get to with 2methyl's 'Etched' released on the Agnost1k label in June 2017. 2methyl is French music producer Nicolas Druoton whose first full album release was 'Layer 8' on the Ad Noiseam label in 2015. 2methyl has had his fingers in numerous remix pies over the years so he certainly knows his way around the gear. 2methyl's style is a mix of of dark d'n'b, IDM, moody industrialism, dubstep, and noir downtempo. (Think of a gloomy and sinister Amon Tobin.) 2methy's music on 'Etched' largely relies on creative percussion/rhythm programming with twisted futuristic synths and atmospheres woven between the beats. Some of those beats are supplied by drummer Youle. For the most part 'Etched' is quite sci-fi sounding without resorting to overdone cliches. It's also not very predictable, and the multilayering 2methyl employs adds a sense of depth often lacking in primarily instrumental albums of this type. When I say primarily instrumental, I have to mention one track- "Cross" with vocals from the L.A. noise rap group Moodie Black's Kdeath. I just don't like rap, and this track is not going to change my mind about it. Rather than dwell on that though, I will say that 'Etched' is one helluva delicious album that tears through a variety apocalyptic moods and scenes, often wild and chaotic but never completely jumping off the cliff. Now here's the rub- 2methyl and Agnost1k have decided to release the CD in a limited (50 copies) edition in a handcrafted box. That's going to set you back some $$ though at 28 Euros or more. For the budget-minded, the digital download price of 11E is a bit more affordable.

Guilt: Guilt

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 19 2018
Artist: Guilt
Title: Guilt
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Medical Records
Oliver Chapoy and Nathaniel Young, working together as Guilt, have put together a self-titled EP of fairly dark instrumental techno with elements of industrial relentless and just a slightest shades of elements taken from the underbelly of synthwave.

Lead track “We Thought We Were”, with its processed vocals as fills, is at times reminiscent of Josh Wink on an angry day. Both “Cult Leader Of My Youth” and “Demiurge” carry on in a similar vein, thicker kicks underpinning mesmeric, gradually twisting short synth patterns that are at times slightly Underworld-esque, at other points relentless like the first CNSNNT release, decorated with occasional spoken-word noises for added texture.

The Løt.te Deception mix of the lead track doesn’t fall far from the tree, with a slight increase in staccato urgency and a more pneumatic percussion but staying firmly in the centre of the same ballpark.

It’s a purposeful techno 12” which rolls well but doesn’t harbour any real surprises or highlights.

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