Music Reviews

VV.AA.: The Aftermath

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 13 2013
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: The Aftermath
Format: CD
Label: IM:Ltd (@)
Distributor: Triple Vision
Rated: *****
The end of the world is not just nigh. It has already arrived and according to the surprisingly scouting Parisian dnb label IM:Ltd, the revealing signs are not related to some killer virus, uncontrollable porcine pathologies, crushing collisions or even the questionable likings of garment and the collection of dildos and dongs of Nicki Minaj (too tremendously unpredictable even for the most plausibly insightful doomsayers!), but they are rather to be found in the dangerous old-fashioned arsenal by Dr.Strangelove. This bizarre preface condones the excellent sonic prophylaxis of this collection of fine tunes, which are less booming and violent than it's suggested by the post-(or pre-)apocalyptic unreal (or maybe not so unreal...) fears its references spade and definitively more contemplative and somehow thought-up. The track which gives the name to the compilation by talented American dj Adrien Smadbeck aka Flaco and Portland-based producer Glen E.ston sets the mood by means of air raids of metallic ticks and vitriolic laser cutting of soldering guitars, carpet bombing of hard snares and clear-cut kicks, whose dust clouds rise together vocal samples and sequenced laments of baby phantoms, whose withering echoes is more clear in the following freezing track "Winteria" where Es.tereo and Marlyn seem to enhance their drum-machines with icicles to build their adventurous song. The following tracks seem to describe a series of inner journey which erect over this imaginary emotional setting with remarkable stylistical pinnacles, reached by means of a carousel of great tunes: the clicking sounds and sweet chimes which disengage heavenly transmissions on "Black On Ice" by Glen E.ston, the engaging blurs of hypnotic pinwheels on Silent Dust Remix of Es.tereo's "Have A Dream" and the game of light and shade by liquid sounds and descending tones over episodic electronic sizzles, stretched flutes and piano strokes on Hibea's "Butterfly" precedes the very first vocal track "All Inside Myself" by Ukranian producer Pavel Kuzmin aka Physical Illusion where the fluoroscopic and emotionally intense song by MC Flava ominously rises over desolate sonorities. The bewitching sonic spell keeps on the somehow melancholic chiming tune of Mortem's "Recall", whose slow pace sound emphasized by 56k modem typical tone, on the relaxing intertwining of sprawling pad-synths, crackling beats and fizzing samples of Atom's "Analog Books", on more vintage jungle-oriented whispering ghosts of Calculon's "Hold Back", before the final tip-top spurts of melodic energy on "We feeling what we doing" by Physical Illusion, whose bounce got emphasized by gloomy and hopeful words of Mc Kryptomedic, whose repetition of sentence "I had a dream, a new foundation" strikes an uplifting chord to the entire selection.

Takamovsky: In Streams

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 08 2013
Artist: Takamovsky (@)
Title: In Streams
Format: CD
Label: Etymtone (@)
Rated: *****
A whirligig of electronic sizzling sounds, fogged by the swish of electric current, placental warm bass rolls and a rising mellifluous pad, boots the first module of "The Central Speechscrambler" up, which introduces this excellent debut release by musician and author Juergen Berlakovich aka Takamovsky, who spotlights abyssal inhabitants and oddballs which often surface from the depths of data streams with their burden of concerns, vain ambitions, emotional baggages and outbursts, so that the three parts of the above-mentioned suite, influenced by William Burroughs's essay The Electronic Revolution (a notorious source for inspiration for many musicians, particularly of the industrial scene), where a robotic, but somehow pitched voice, articulates desultory speeches in order to represent the intimate senselessness and intentionally messy illogicality of everyday media news and the implementation of the cut-up technique to confusing news broadcasts and political speeches with the subtle intent of control over individuals. The charming sonic involucre of the speech from this imaginary anchorman emphasizes the circumstance that even absurdities could sound plausible when the form without content is attractive and even if you try to read between the lines, someone could get a glimpse of some revealed truth or partially censored truths behind encrypted sentences. For instance, the second part of "The Central Speechscrambler" says "The secret agency denial malitious potential messages. A modern matter. Srettsgatie taekn commicnu itaons. Cyberattacks. A dmeorn tamer. Tehl batet msvoe itno acrpybsece. Brcaytteas. The battle moves into cyberspace.". Over these streams, Juergen buoys contemporary manias, bizarre paranoias and last vacillating stronghold of individualism and cultural uniformity of social networks ("Paranoid King"), barking and rebarking dogs in the amazing song "Dogstar", inspired by Franz Kafka's "Investigations of a Dog" - I recommend to read it in order to check the particular role of music, the meaning of the "mysterious" appearance of seven dogs and the proper references in lyrics -, godforsaken djs, lovers belonging to digital age in the act of translation their computerized wet dreams into contemporary language (the queit guitar-driven song "Data d'Amour" seems to parody the technologically affected languages by echoing an essay on this matter by Timothy Leary: "Text my head and scan my face/Hack my thoughts, compile my grace/Zip them then and save them safe/Scroll my ears, debug my nose/Emulate my shoes and clothes/With little magic stick/[...] Shift my hips and microchips/Surf my butt and read my lips/Syntax error no undo") and all underwater saboteurs ("Dead Air") within a majestic blow-up whose implicitly malicious mockery amalgamates them like the fantasy of Hyeronimus Bosch could arguably do. Takamovsky's musical collage sounds equally kaleidoscopic and you'll easily perceive elements and reminiscences of jazz, dance music, electro-pop, abstract electronics, blues, field recordings, Radiohead, Tom Waits, Fennesz, Frank Zappa, Nikakoi, Royksopp which all got blended by Juergen's quick and dry wit.

VV.AA.: Mollono.Bass Remix - Collection

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 05 2013
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Mollono.Bass Remix - Collection
Format: CD
Label: 3000° (@)
Distributor: Kompakt Distribution
Rated: *****
Hi-hats that resemble clippers or knitting needles, highly stressed and somewhat dry bass drums, crunchy claps, pot-bellied gabbling synth-brasses and other percussive tricks, mainly ensued from tech-house engines, and above all arrangements based on nice insertions of classical music, whistles or other traditional instruments are the main features of remix art German dj and producer Ronny Mollenhauer aka Mollono.Bass (Acker Records), which tries to balance off-beat rhythimcal patterns without breaking chemical bonds of sustaining melodies of original tracks, which are barely enhanced by means of electronic blurs if at all, so that the pursuit of the so-called "danceability" doesn't adulterate melodic frameworks. To be honest, some remixes don't really meet my tastes, but I think it could be related by the circumstance that this is a collection which embraces many different declensions and stylistical crops. For some mysterious reasons, the imprint of Mollono.Bass worth is more appreciable when he processes some glamouresque vocal (sometimes added by Mollono.Bass himself) and "antiqued" tracks: his remixes of Douglas Greed's "Shiva" (Delhia de France on mic), Wolfgang Lohr's "Sunbelt Regret" (featuring Miss NatNat), "Ici" by Pupkulies & Rebecca, Peng Peng's "Here We Go Again" are some of the most remarkable highlights of this collection. He shows a palatable complementarity with ethnic-oriented stuff as you can immediately notice on remixes of Moneky Safari's "Sirens" or "Dole & Kom's "Quetschkommode", but the most striking stylistical adherence has been reached on the make-up of a couple of tracks by Be Svendsen - "On the hill" and "The Elephants Cage" -, where he managed to temper his popping grooves by squeezing their inner cinematic and kinematic viscosity.

Julian & Der Fux: Michwald Kapitel Eins

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 04 2013
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Artist: Julian & Der Fux
Title: Michwald Kapitel Eins
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Jruza Records
Rated: *****
Released by J.Hruza Records, Julian Hruza's own label, "Mischwald Kapitel Eins" is the newest release by the Wien duo Julian & Der Fux. Containing twelve tracks, the release isn't properly their first album, because it contains remixes of the four tracks they released on the two singles out the last year: "Speckbrot" plus "Der Letzte Tanz" on "Speckbrot" and "Altes Ego" and "Axt & Beil" on "Altes Ego". The original tunes were sounding like a sort of electro dance with dreamy atmospheres with spoken word parts and jazzy, funk, house intuitions. For the remixes the duo picked up the best of the Austrian dance scene: Valesta, Burnin Tears, Ken Hayakawa, Denis Yashin, Smacs & Patrick Kong, Komaton, Moodlab, Austrop0p, Bentron, Ken Hayakawa, Jakobin & Domino and B. Fleischmann. All the remixers succeeded into giving new life to the original tracks adding energetic rhythm layers and new synth sounds. Now most of them lose the dreamy atmosphere but that sort of overall melancholy is still present and this creates an interesting effect along with the new bouncy dance attitude. Take for example Burnin Tears remix of "Altes Ego": it still sounds suspended and mysterious but they added that spicy rhythmic touch along with nice arpeggios that really helps. I also noticed that all the remixers kept the song structure and they didn't go for the usual sounds mishmash which after a while is a bit annoying. If you'd like to go for the vinyl, sorry to tell you that it's a four track EP containing "Altes Ego (Burnin Tears Remix)", "Speckbrot (Ken Hayakawa Remix)", "Axt & Beil (Denis Yashin Remix)" and "Speckbrot (Smacs & Patrick Kong Remix)".

Pixel: Mantle

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 27 2013
Artist: Pixel (@)
Title: Mantle
Format: CD
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Rated: *****
In spite of the relatively limited array of sounds, mainly venomous puffs, electrical clips from ammeters or plugs, mainly muffled bass bumps, plucked steel tongues, obscure suctions, buzzing surges, surgical incisions, Danish electronic music composer Jon Egeskov aka Pixel dishes catchy dynamics out on "Mantle", his fourth release on Raster-Noton, where he tempers his rhythm-driven approach to a series of hyphenation/articulation of electrons with recurring shifts and skips. Most of tracks sound quite obscure and somehow stifling and the rare breaks are snap-shots when his threatening electro-mechanical entities seem to get some air before they keep on drooling fused silica, neodymium, tantalum and corrosive magma. It's quite interesting to follow the strategies that some aggregrates of buzzes seem to enact to ensnare the whole sonic sphere, particularly on some tracks such as "Ericson Sandstone", "Steel Tape", "Nesting Screen" or "Plump Bob". This is another proof that even perturbing industrial machinery can sound somehow funk.

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