Music Reviews



Roppongi Inc. Project: Hard Times... No Future?

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 27 2008
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Artist: Roppongi Inc. Project (@)
Title: Hard Times... No Future?
Format: CD
Label: Q-Code Records (@)
Rated: *****
Already the third full-length album for this Moscow-based one-man-project consisting of DJ Negative. Sergey Losyakov is the protagonist behind all of this monikers and with this new album he offers his best and most matured work of his musically career so far. With "Hard Times... No Future?" he proves nice, that a DJ can do something more, than only to spin silver circles in a player – DJ Negative doesn’t offer any negativity. Musically he likes to walk on several paths – be it EBM, Dark Electro, Futurepop or smooth easy-listening Electronica. The only mutual thing is that all of his efforts are electronic-based, but at least he doesn’t like to get sorted into one-dimensional genre-cupboards. And though the rather straight and a bit harder EBM-minded tracks like "Don’t Be Proud", "Relax", "No Future", "Minimum Maximum (All Or Nothing)" and – best of some very good tunes – "Still Acid" receive my votes as being the best pieces, Sergey’s tracks can satisfy and entertain in all manners and styles. Some ominous voice samples right and well inserted can be heard on the intro tune "Fuck Up" or "Oasis (Cemetary)", while his light-hearted Electronica side receives its best moments on "Pop Muzik Never Die". As so-called bonus tracks you’ll get to heard two remix works. The first one on "230206" by SEVERIN24 concentrates completely to turn this album track into a pure analogue sound event. Second one is a remix on "Hard Times" of the Russian old-school EBM acts DBS – but the final result even ended in a completely new track, on which DBS added some broken German vocals, which caused a smile at me. A lot of different styles to discover and I would recommend to give this album some more spins – you’ll get rewarded with a quite good and entertaining piece of electronic music. In recent news ROPPONGI INC. PROJECT has been selected by DIVERJE to appear on their upcoming remix collection.

Somatic Responses: Digital Darkness

 Posted by Marc Tater   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 27 2008
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Artist: Somatic Responses (@)
Title: Digital Darkness
Format: CD
Label: Hymen Records (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Another act with a quite good name finally returns on the train of the Hymen label, SOMATIC RESPONSES, the dual project of the brothers John and Paul Healy. They’ve been always thrown into that Experimental/IDM-related music genre, so there wasn’t any real reason to change this. They still produce heavy and unusual beat constructions, experimental filter, effect manipulations and a globally ruling nervousness recognizable in nearly every track. Fans of layered synth pads or at least a little melodic input will be heavily disappointed with this new 77 minutes long album. Though they are picking up some traditionally ideas like the use of a TB-303 as being a main bass line synth, the problem with this release belongs on the overwhelming use of difficult to check and dance to rhythm section. Breakbeat, Clicks’n’Dub and a doze of rough distortion destroy almost everything what could place something in like a mood. Two rather Down-Tempo like tunes with "Stranded" and "Neu" have to be picked out as a proof, that the brothers Healy have a sense for the right mixture. But generally only 2 convincing tracks out of 15 of a hammering ice-desert isn’t a fair amount.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Advanced Electronics Vol. 6
Format: 2 x CD + DVD
Label: Synthetic Symphony (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
A premiere for this successful compilation series, the 6th issue comes out with 2 audio CD’s and a DVD part which features clips of some of the represented artist. Nothing has changed regarding the concept of this comp series though, this DCD set got once again compiled by the guys and gals of the well-known Hardbeat Promotion agency. Also nearly without any surprises are the names of the featured bands on here. This comp tries to spin a connection between diverse electronic-driven music styles in between Electro/Industrial, Techno and Alternative. So you shouldn’t wonder too much if you can check out some tunes of among others like SCOOTER (!!!), ZEROMANCER, IAMX or NITZER EBB. The problem with this label info sheet belongs on the fact, that they like to rate acts like DISKONNEKTED, CRYO, AMNISTIA, PAINBASTARD or PROCEDD as being newcomers. Well, those acts are still a "small number" when it comes to start comparisons to the above mentioned mega-selling acts, but at least also they can’t be called "underground" or "newbies". Real new and inexperienced acts however don’t get any real chances in the play-lists of the DAC-voting DJ’s. The acts presented on here can count to get backed up by a financially strong label, which is able to pay for advertisements in the big German print-magazines like Zillo, Sonic Seduce, Orkus of Gothic. You as being the listener and possible purchaser of this compilation set should have this in mind. But not too much negativity here, since some good pearls can be found. PATENBRIGADE WOLFF, recently quite active with a new album, have to be named for their awesome and surprising harsh remix of "Demokratischer Sektor". Also worth a mention is – as usual – the Austrian duo of MIND.IN.A.BOX with their Short Storm Mix of "What Used To Be" – not new, not exclusive – but a great example how to combine traditional Futurepop with upper-class synth play. GRENDEL is another winner with the X-FUSION Remix on "Hate This", as this was expected. Though I couldn’t find myself too much comfortable with TECHNOIR, the remix of MESH on their "Dying Star" is a valuable addition and a fine example for experienced Synth-/Futurepop programming abilities. Those are the outstanding pieces on CD 1, while CD 2 has lesser interesting content to offer. PROCEED like it "Laut", that’s quite okay and will satisfy the fiends of traditional NEP-releases. Both XOTOX and NOISUF-X representing the spearhead of the ProNoize label and both do fine here, too. Nothing surprising new from acts like HOCICO, HEIMATAERDE or PAINBASTARD, which we haven’t heard multiple times before, but all of them are still fair enough in their style. As usual I print the track list of this compilation inclusive the track list of the DVD, which isn’t unfortunately part of the content of this promotional edition. As you see, here are a lot of favorites presenting mostly rare recordings or unreleased stuff. But if you’re seriously watch out for something new, then this compilation is maybe the wrong addition on your "must-purchase-this" – list.

Tracklist:

CD 1
01) Nitzer Ebb: Payroll (John 0 Mix) 03:10 *
02) Zeromancer: Doppelganger I Love You (RMX) 05:32 *
03) Vive La Fete: Mais 03:05
04) IAMX: Nightlife (Single Mix) 05:00 *
05) Massiv In Mensch feat. Mind.In.A.Box: Supermassive Gravity 04:34 *
06) Faderhead: Electrosluts Extraordinaire (Preview Mix) 04:10 *
07) Scooter: Lass Uns Tanzen (Radio Edit) 03:44
08) Spetsnaz: Nothing But Black 04:05
09) Disconnekted: Prayer (Northborn Mix-Edit) 04:15 *
10) Patenbrigade Wolff: Demokratischer Sektor (Club Mix) 03:59 *
11) Mind.In.A.Box: What Used To Be (Short Storm) 04:31 *
12) Cryo: My Wall (Edit) 04:27
13) The Retrosic: Unleash Hell (Deeper Into Hell 2008) 05:15 *
14) Grendel: Hate This (X-Fusion Remix) 03:59 *
15) Amnistia: Self-Defence (Steel-Alloyed Edit) 04:59
16) Technoir: Dying Star (Mesh Remix) 05:21 *
17) Ladytron: Weekend (James Iha Mix) 03:58 *
18) Solar Fake: The Shield (Remix) 04:16 *

CD 2

01) Diary Of Dreams: The Plague (Version N4-4) 04:47
02) Destroid: Friend Or Foe (The Betrayal) 04:00
03) Feedback Machinery feat. Mortiis: Tainted 03:56 *
04) Trisomie 21: Now (Leæther Strip Version) 06:02 *
05) N.W.R.: Punkstar 04:15 *
06) Umbra Et Imago: Glaubst Du (Remix) 07:03 *
07) Der Tante Renate: Psychobot 03:51
08) Modcom: One Zero (FM Mix) 06:29 *
09) XP8: Dreamt Of Blue (Mindless Faith Remix) 04:23 *
10) Painbastard: Alive 06:07 *
11) Proceed: Laut 03:30
12) Santa Hates You: Sugar And Spice 05:59
13) Xotox: Ewig 03:55 *
14) Noisuf-X: Hit Me Hard (As Hard As You Can-Mix) 04:23 *
15) Hocico: About A Dead (Killed By Proceed) 03:14
16) Heimataerde: Vater (Person Non Grata Version) 04:58 *

*exclusive or rare Song / Mix

DVD:
Faderhead: Girly Show
[SITD]: Plastination City
Diffuzion: Wired tunes
Arya: My Device
Metallspürhunde: Was hat dich bloss so ruiniert
Scooter: Lass uns tanzen
IAMX: Spit It Out
Purwien mit Wit: Alle Fehler
Ladytron: Sugar
Mesh: It Scares Me (live)
Covenant: The Man (live)
Skinny Puppy: Haze
Retrosic: Maneater (live)
Leather Strip: Dirty little secret
Funker Vogt: Thanatophobia (live)
Zeromancer: Doppelgänger I Love You
Neikka RPM: Umbra Sub Noctem

VV.AA.: Drumpoems Verse 1

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
 Edit (4379)
May 13 2008
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Drumpoems Verse 1
Format: CD
Label: Drumpoet Community (@)
Rated: *****
Drumpoet Community is a Switzerland label/community which collaborate with Compost Records to release their stuff. Their latest release is a label compilation titled DRUMPOEMS VERSE 1. It contains twelve tracks which have been previously unreleased or re-edited specially for this release. We have tracks by Foster (here with the original mix and the Quarion remix of "Quiet before the storm", a intriguing cinematic Detroit techno track with the peculiarity of having no drum), Manuel Tur & Dplay ("Rest your senses" is a lush house tune), Soultourist (here with the Dixon Edit of "Turn loose" and "Coming soon" providing us with two hypnotic house/soul tracks), Kawabata ("Movin on" is soulish and house while "Kadena" is more hypnotic with a certain lounge touch and a little bit of techno here and there), Sascha Dive (we have an obsessive and at the same time lushy Samuel Davis Deep4Life mix of "Deep"), Quarion ("Karasu" is a minimal house track which has a nifty tune and a driving 4/4 rhythm), Thabo ("Take root" is a cinematic techno house track with violins and a fat bass line) and The Lost Men ("Head:Unhurt" is a cool techno/hosue tune with a certain dark melody/touch. This one is a sure dance floor filler!). On this compilation lovers of smooth sounds as well lovers of techno house could be satisfied. Check some at http://www.myspace.com/drumpoet.

CRYSTAL CASTLES: Crystal Castles

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
 Edit (4367)
May 03 2008
cover
Artist: CRYSTAL CASTLES
Title: Crystal Castles
Format: CD
Label: Last Gang (@)
Rated: *****
Named after She-Ra's home (do you remember He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe?) Crystal Castles are a male/female duo which are already named as the next big thing. Their self titled debut album contains sixteen tracks in balance from digital punk and dark lo-fi electro. Their use of retro gaming sounds (old Nintendo games and similar) is giving a fresh touch to their melodic but also difficult style. Based on loops and digital cut-ups and helped out by torn vocals of Alice Glass Crystal Castles previously did great tunes such as the singles "Courtship dating" and "Crimewave" (noted as Crystal Castles Vs. Health). The second time I listened to the album I thought about their music as "shoegazer digital distortion": mixing the "I don't care" attitude with great melodic taste (see "Vanished" which is able to become an instant hit), the album contains great electro songs, digital punk distorted ones, "autistic" instrumentals and much more. If I understand something of music, their inspiration won't be gone after the first album. The next big thing is now...


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