Music Reviews



Dandelion Wine: All Becompassed By Stars

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jul 28 2010
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Artist: Dandelion Wine (@)
Title: All Becompassed By Stars
Format: CD
Label: Ars Musica Diffundere/Black Rain (@)
Rated: *****
It seems the Australian band Dandelion Wine in the intent to modernize their sound (and in order to do it, they've chosen to get out of Australian exterminate boundaries and wisely move to Berlin where they organized a recording studio in a small apartment in Kreuzberg, surrounded by snow and ice during the last severe German winter) managed to translate ancient emotions into a simple but up-to-date musical language. Attaining to the most voluptuous side of electronic music as well as to the beatitude of ethnic (mainly sprayed with Middle Eastern and Arabic heady scents'¦) elements reminding me of Sufi tradition, Dandelion Wine sinters eastern and western themes and music , ethereal sounds and cranked electric guitar lines, unconventional acoustic instruments (whose impressively furnished stores include nice freaky rarities such as medieval lutes, dulcimer, sansula ' an instrument similar to the African marimbula - or the bell cittern ' a medieval 12-string sort of mandolin -) and contemporary machines (mainly recognizable analogue synths and big beating drum machines!) but above all gravitational pressures opposing soul raisings.

The swaying melodies and the subtle ethnic percussions of the title-track All Becompassed By Stars is going to set the stage by wrapping the listener in the emotive field you could perceive when staying in the middle of a desert surrounded by star-light spotted sky, whereas the electronic tentacles and the bizarre intertwining between a tribal percussion set and a march-like movement introducing Gravity ' a superbly mixed track! - seem to broke that dreamy flight by giving voice to somewhat mysterious gravitational pulls inspiring the moaning-like way of singing by Naomi Handerson and the roaring guitars by Nicholas Albanis! A snake-charming guitar riff reminding to me some guitar sample I heard in Juno Reactor's Shango introduces the intriguing mixture of eastern suggestions and electronic pop song's catch in Shards and it's nice the moment it turns into a sort of framework for the prog slides emerging up to the dust just before the song reaches its peak through an enjoyable pressing rhythm. The snake-charmer put temporarily away the guitar in order to play a flute to start the flaming electronic belly dance of Nowhere ' one of the catchiest track in my opinion! -, while Sidereal and Early Warning Sign ' an entrancing mournful ballad, perfectly interpreted by Naomi (which lacks of a certain dramatic grip in other passages of the record'¦) on a Spanish guitar melodic web, exploding in an energetic but plain goth-rock song structure, which stands as the better crafted track of the whole album ' could be considered as the highest emotional peaks (nearby those stars becompassing everything!) of this album even if both of them are quite plain and lack of woolly sound treatments. Dandelion Wine's rustic, but kind-hearted medieval vein strongly pulses in the sweet tapping of Orbit, a track introducing the last part of the part featuring a less intrusive presence of electronic buzzing devices, followed by the bittersweet lulling ballad of XVII containing the hypnotic sound of what seems a glockenspiel.

In Seven Times As Bright the twinkling voice of the stars weaves a crystalline and glassy melodic garland over the spectral vocal moaning by Naomi and the mystical breathe pervading the closing track, Seven Times As Bright, being the most abstract of this interesting release. It's quite difficult to give an exact definition of Dandelion Wine's style and even these Australian sorcerers usually make fun of a similar attempt by describing it as medieval trip-hop, but it's quite easy to recommend some listening to it even if they lack of the intellectual fervour distinguishing similar bands such as Dead Can Dance or Ataraxia and Naomi has not the same mystical eagerness of singers such as Natacha Atlas!

Mt. Sims: Revaluation

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jul 24 2010
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Artist: Mt. Sims
Title: Revaluation
Format: 12"
Label: Punch Records (@)
Rated: *****
If I'm not wrong this is the first remix release that Punch Records ever released and I think that this is another sign of the change that Tairy started with the CD compilation released back in 2008. Taken from the latest Mt. Sims album released always on Punch Records, the original version "Fragile breaks fragile" opens the A side of this limited to 300 copies colored 12" and it serves as reference point for whom didn't purchase the album, to understand what kind of de-construction did the remixers. Christopher Kah, starts immediately reducing to the bone the same song focusing on few analog synth sounds and on obsessive rhythms. Magas, who released recently "Violent arp" for PUnch, picked up "Fall back" and gave to it the "Violent arp" treatment keeping guitars and vocals from the original tune and substituting bass lines and drum sounds with dirty distorted synthetic ones. Side B opens with the first out of three versions of "Unwound". Adriano Canzian created a great electro/techno blast with distortions and hard beats. Crossover dilated the atmosphere creating a mid tempo menace made of stops and go, reverb... almost a dub electro version. Equitant close the EP with their "Die geistermaschine remix" of the song, they kept the original structure (they only slowed it down) and gave to it a seducing electro flavor. This is another fine release by Punch Records!

Bozzwell: Bits & Pieces

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jul 23 2010
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Artist: Bozzwell
Title: Bits & Pieces
Format: CD
Label: Firm Records
Rated: *****
Vocalist of the The All Seeing I in the 90s and then member of Hiem with Nick "Nico" Eastwood, David Boswell is back with his first album as Bozzwell. The album contains ten tracks in balance from minimal techno and dance. The opening tracks is "Voodoo", a haunting 4/4 techno which mixes bouncing bass lines and minimal synth lines. If you think that it is distinctive for the album, well... you're partially wrong, because already with "Marilena's eyes" Bozzwell shows to its audience its electro side thanks to syncopated rhythms, catchy bass lines and passionate vocals. This mix of minimal techno and electro is the trademark of BITS & PIECES and I like it a lot as vocals and melodies freshen up the obsessive atmospheres of the hypnotic synth sounds creating something new. A bit of piano here and there, hard beats, light distortions will make you enjoy this release make you wanting for more! Available from September the 13th.

High Tone: Out Back

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jul 22 2010
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Artist: High Tone
Title: Out Back
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Jarring Effects
Rated: *****
After four albums and twelve years of existence High Tone are releasing one of the most various and inspired albums of the dub genre. The French combo with the double CD OUT BACK release sixteen new tracks that will please lovers of throbbing sounds as well open minded reggae enthusiasts. "Dub Axiom" and "No Border" are the titles of the two CDs which compose OUT BACK: the first one contains upbeat tracks that know how to spread bass waves into the air of your room while the second incarnate the experimental and cinematic side of the band thanks to a lesser use of electronics and to the use of acoustic instruments. If "Dub Axiom" starts with a blast thanks to the bass distortions of "Spank" and "Dirty urban beat", "No Border" starts with "Bastard", a track that mix bass distortions to clean reverbered / acoustic guitars and ambient electronic arrangements. High Tone are able to blend the classic reggae dub sound of Lee Scratch Perry to modern influences (Scorn, Portished, etc) creating a fresh powerful formula that wins with the hands down. Rich melodic / rhythmic textures will make you feel dizzy while your feet won't stop dancing.

VV.AA.: Elaste vol.3 compiled by Dompteur Mooner

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jul 12 2010
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Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Elaste vol.3 compiled by Dompteur Mooner
Format: CD
Label: Compost Records (@)
Rated: *****
Entrusted to the wise course of Dompteur Mooner, the third volume of the appreciated compilation Elaste is going to be something more than a stylish relic for nostalgic people, missing shoulder padded jackets, pailettes, sprayed hairdoes or preferably Kano tunes propelling rushing disco-nights in some brimful club of the roaring 80ies and most of the golden illusions embellishing the crawling canvas of the yuppie generation. This Munich-based producer ' he's been part of Florian Senfter's crossover project Zombie Nation, whose smash remixed hit Kerkraft 400 landed in highest peaks of dance charts all over the world-, dj and label manager (he founded both Erkrangung durch Musique, a label mainly exploring left-field, electronic, techno and experimental pop, vintage and nu, and Love In C-Minor, a countdown label which is going to be stopped after 10 releases, founded together with his wife Pollyester), whose tastes have been fatally influenced by Italo-disco B-sides, cassettes containing mysterious samples of electro, acid, rock, krautrock and punk-funk as well as by the wild Club Le Bomb days ' being the last mentioned act a sort of anti-techno-wildstyle club, hosted with some of his art-academy friends nearby a forsaken hydroelectric power plant in Munich downtown - is neither a dummy nor a newcomer ' you should book a flight to Munich as well as an entrance ticket for the famous Club Die Registratur to have an indisputable evidence of the elegant plus he's able to add to Munich's nightlife, but listening to Dompteur's selection for Elaste could be enough! -.

Among the 14 tracks, re-found in different old-mix cassettes from the early 80ise, mainly the ones recorded by Beppe Loda and Daniele Baldelli, he's managed to find many lost love letters, being my favorites the emblematic trash-disco of Maccaroni Radio (what an eloquent name for an italo-disco track!), Moebius' Urth ' a funny example of the primordial stage of cosmic disco -, the afro-coated beat of Jamaica Running by The Pool, the bizarre dub mix of Toto's Africa by Key Of Dreams ' taken from an issue by the legendary Baby Records -, the stunning uberpop by Riccardo Cioni & D.J.F.T. , the Depeche Mode-sound shadows on Conrad & Gregor Schnitzler's The Shark Eats Ice and Dompteur Mooner's of Neon Man by Phantom Band. Very good and somewhat inspirational relic, even if more fitted to those nostalgic djs and dancers still weeping for those light-ball illuminated nightclubs and its glittering galaxy'¦


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