Music Reviews



VV.AA.: Der Wanderzirkus

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 21 2010
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Der Wanderzirkus
Format: 12"
Label: 3000 Records (@)
Distributor: Kompakt
Rated: *****
Some grandma still reminds those times those multicolored marches when the sound of a calliope tunes or fast tempo galops together with shouting clowns, smiling kinkers and rubbermen announcing the coming of a circus in town. Now times have changed and even if someone could argue that a lot of contemporary clowns wear silk ties, elegant suites, leather carrying cases and expensive Rolex chattering about financial crisis or social matters, some Berliner folks spreading frenzy techno tunes understood their touring throughout clubs could be logically associated to a moving circus (literal translation for the German expression Der Wanderzirkus) and so decided to reprise that fabulous and freaky world to try a fitted comparison to this compilation supported by Laurent Garnier, Gabriel Ananda, Funk-Werkstatt and Kombinat100, being all gorgeous entities for techno-addicts. Promoted by the guys from 3000* Records, this digital release (always on 12”) is intended to show the most prominent catchers framing the show, introduced by a refined remix by Monollo Bass of the stomping techno track Am Utkieck from Schauffer & Zovki, being my personal favorite one for some nostalgic samples of babies playing nearby the seaside and that melancholic touch added to the tech-house typical groove by the sound of a synth harmonica,an emotionally warming welcome before Seiltanzer (literally “the tightrope acrobat”), a dubby euphoric party banger with some flamboyant sound trickeries that are going the delight all the fans of some notorious techno labels such as Resopal.

The freakiest side of the show has been given by Dreher & Smart’s Affenzirkus, proposing a sticky engine of wood blocks and clappy rhythmical set, paused by a nice descending melody spottily reprised by a sort of little rascal’s whistling, while the deepest track under the chapiteu is the powerful Manege Frei by Neutron, a perfect sample of German tech-house with elegant dubby glossy sound and a catching 4/4 with slight percussive variations. This is just the first of a series of releases whose second part including tracks by Carsten Rauch, The Glitz, Funkwerkstatt and Schaufler & Zovsky, has already been announced. Hey Rube! All out and over!!!

Vienna Skye: I Come From Other Worlds

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 14 2010
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Artist: Vienna Skye (@)
Title: I Come From Other Worlds
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Audio Assembly Productions (@)
Imagine Aqua’s Barbie Girl had been kidnapped by an alien troop arrived nearby the Planet Earth after having been attracted by magnetic frequencies launched outside troposphere by 808 State and Orbital during the flaming years of the primordial forms of acid techno... you don’t need to be graduated in Earth Sciences or Physics to know there’s a certain time delay in the universe and so understanding that as when we see the sky, it’s like admiring a photo of its past aspect, it could be the same for people coming from other worlds. Well, that baby singer annoying humans with obsessive toy-like lyrics could have been surgically operated on vocal chords after a lobotomy before having been kicked back to the recording studio of the video director, music producer and – dulcis in fundo – owner of the record label Audio Assembly Productions –MBJ after the lovely semblance of Vienna Skye in order to sing throughout modified teeny voice to the humans she’s no more so terrestrial!

Vienna Skye, born from the ashes of some successful dance acts of 90s (Ish, Velvet Vimoz), makes this fearful declaration to the scientific and musical community yawning on Earth with so childish and hypnotic modulations that the 80s synth-pop/trance tunes MBJ puts out from old drawers could sound as a time travel back to the ages you danced on first housey tunes while eating ice-creams in the waiting queue for some hitting merry-go-rounds!

This debut single includes the title track and two versions of Why Can’t I Fly So High (maybe because she still didn’t reached the right age according to martian laws for a driving patent!!!), the second one being my favorite one as well as related videoclips with some nice examples of computer generated filtering. Before saying it’s just the result of an alien abduction or an interesting attempt to reduce puffiness shadowing old techno-addicts’ eyes, it’s better to wait for a full length album. Better take care!

Stern*: Digital Bless

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 13 2010
cover
Artist: Stern*
Title: Digital Bless
Format: CD
Label: Leonizer Records
Distributor: Juno Digital
Another glittering flower in the multicolored techno German garden is going to be added by Stern* aka Julien Imperatrice, one of the stoutest dj and producer whose artistical path has been historiated by an appreciated album entitled Difunkstruction (what a great title for a nice workout featuring a fistic feast of rock and hip hop samples), a plenty of remixes for artists such as NASA, Omnikrom, Major Lazer, MIA and Phoenix (as well as Michael Jackson’s Thriller) – some of whom have been playlisted by the legendary Ninja Tune! – and a playful techno-opera workshop side by side with some Canadian jazz musicians and the singers of the Opera of Montreal, sprinkling some brand new fuzzy techno clouds rich in exhilarating gases which are going to induce in you both wild laughing and wild dancing! Inspired by the sound of glorious acts of Electro such as Mr.Oizo, Designer Drugz, Crookers and above all Para-one, Stern* partially unhinge the formula according which an electro album should be necessarily a bunch of tones in a storm of techno raving beats, especially when he puts different styles (including tango and gipsy musical scents )in its stylistic cage, whose bars have a solid electro structure based on a modified synth-brass 3-tonal sequence and hardened by an almost perfect sound design and crackling beat patterns. The Ouverture is an opener that could surely delight German techno lovers, in particular those pavilions which appreciated stimulations by recent trance minimal techno storms propelled by djs such as Adam Beyer, Booka Shade or Sven Vath, an opener ending with tranquilizing sounds before the stomping Cracker, a track during which this devilish sorcerer make spells on the pitch with fast (and furious) alterations alternating dazzling accelerations with abrupt brakings and the funny technoid tango of Tango Loco during which you could imagine a couple of tango dancers dramatically fighting against a unextinguishable fire under their heels! You’ll found funny and venomous the way Julien built the title track, a sort of didactical approach to the rhythm, which will disclose to you the meaning (... and the means!) of the concept "Digital Bless", folks! A genetically modified trumpet slopes on alien-like moans before the distorted beats sounds like roaring barks on the thunderous Feverz, while some Balkan samples and a jumped stepping mark the attempt of "technoing" an imaginary band of manouches, the gipsy jazzers, reminding the funny and obsessive melodic sequences of Django Reinhardt! Some good screwing trance samples rekindle the arising tonal ascension in On The Edge, whereas Water Bombs features cheering samples reminding the noise you’ll hear while rubbing some water-filled balloons, simulating an imaginary battle that is going to drench your clothes. Don’t worry as the dried samples in 8Ball the following will let you wring the wash out through an hypnotic rotating movement, propelled by some snare-like cuts on a perfect sequenced drumming. The next track, Give Me The Bass, is maybe the most stereotypical of the whole album and even the remix doesn’t seem add anything to the stirred beats of the original version. The sound mincing keeps on sound on the robust electro-techno of Dawn with the Dawn, a funny shattering that reminded to us the centrifugation of DFA samples Dj Hell could make during one of his set! The final track, The Last Equinox, is maybe the less suffocating track of the album with its synthetic airy sequence of geometrical "vintagesque" sounds and reverberating claps, enjoying the final swelling! A good stylistic proof showing that Stern* has maybe reached the apogee of his expressive possibilities. Be blessed!
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Artist: DEISON, KK NULL (@)
Title: into
Format: CD
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
I'm sure many of you have already both the musicians but for those lucky (or unlucky) readers under thirty, we must remember that Cristiano Deison beside being involved directly with Final Muzik and after having put out a good amount of interesting releases during his solo career, has also been a member of those Meathead where one of his band mates was mighty Mauro Theo Teardo. KK Null for those who don't know him is one of the three Zenigeva heroes: noise masters, industrial rockers and famous for having records out on Neurot, Alternative Tentacles and with Steve Albini. This is a freak power work, you can get it right from the cover, I was sure it would have been an interesting collaboration but it really blew me away. I'm sure many of you could have expected both of them would have gone along with the peculiarities of each other. If you add their characteristics are quite complementary you can imagine the result could have been easily guessed, infact if the japanese musician was more oriented toward cold electronic sounds, the italian was more drone oriented. This collaborative recording gave us a dense blend of music that instead of following the noise route like everyone else is doing drifts voluntarily toward electronic music. Cold electronic music, sure, but at the same time really expressive, I'm tented to mention Panasonic above all for their audio profile and not exactly for the music they play, heavy and dense electronic shapes that you usually expect on labels like Touch. An high profile release, listen carefully to the production and to the recording where every frequency doesn't cross the scene with leaving a sign. Every track is meant with the clear idea to put out something that sounds differently if compared to the plethora of releases overwhelming the experimental musical scene. This all happens without becoming one of those self-indulging work searching for "originality" at every cost, every song has its own identity both individually that as a whole. The title track itself is the epitome of this cd, but the sharp sounds, the digital layers and the crepuscular drones leave room to some quasi melodic solutions there to alleviate the listening difficulties. A real orgy of good taste that moves linearly in suspension between the finnish forests and the twilight zone and at the same time able to be "warm": amazing release!.

The Synthetic Dream Foundation: Mechanical Serpent

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 07 2010
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Artist: The Synthetic Dream Foundation (@)
Title: Mechanical Serpent
Format: CD
Label: Mythical Records (@)
Rated: *****
If there has been a name causing so much attention with a few remix contributions as well as with compilation appearances, then this fits with THE SYNTHETIC DREAM FOUNDATION. Worldwide renowned compilation series like BLC’s "Interbreeding", Alfa Matrix’ "Endzeit Bunkertracks" or Dependent’s "Septic" have all seen tracks of this project or at least a remix work. Mastermind behind TSDF is Brett Branning, who started his musically activities in the year 2003. Based in Tampa, FL, he can look back on two previous releases, all brought out under the label Mythical Records. The music of TSDF can be called as colorful mutation out of diverse styles of Electronica music. You will discover slightly distorted drum patterns and dramatic synth arrangements resulting in a state-of-art Dark Electro sound. Additionally elements out of genres like Neo Classic, Ambient and IDM can be recognized too and got implemented to provide a tasteful worked-out sound environment. Brett seems to be familiar in diverse styles and has picked out the finest ingredients out of them. For the lead vocals on this new album he has hired four different female vocalists, which offer their talent somewhere between a smooth Heavenly Voices-like to a raw and energetic performance. Not a worse idea, since the mostly smooth female vocals are standing in the opposite of the layered synth-arrangements – not to forget the diverse and often slightly distorted rhythm section, which at least offers the biggest contrast. As to pick up a favorite, the German sung "Auf dem See (Serpentine Mix)" convinces, although I don’t think, that the female singer Summer Bowman has any knowledge about the German pronunciation. To sing after a phonetic transcription doesn’t result in the best possible performance. As for a harder tune, the last one "A Silvered Freeze" with raw vocals seemingly by Brett himself gets a "thumbs up", when it comes to satisfy the needs of the dancefloor-addicts. Also the layered and nearly FLA-reminding instrumental tune "On Whom The Dreadful Claw" offers a striking listen experience, the best consumed under a good pair of headphones. While I think, there’s no need to be a trained musician, Brett is able to prove, that a degree in music composition can be quite helpful – to reach massive better and worldwide ranging attention can be only a question of time and patience, since the talent behind TSDF is tremendous.


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