Music Reviews

SIDRA: A swampadelic blessing of downtown SF, the official bootleg

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 10 2006
Artist: SIDRA
Title: A swampadelic blessing of downtown SF, the official bootleg
Format: CD
Label: Afe (@)
Rated: *****
While rumours are that Sigillum S are going to put out some new material, P. NG5361 Bandanera (Sshe Retina Stimulants, Komplet) is out with a new project and with a new mate, guitarist Tiberio Longoni. Sidra is really different from every previous project of Bandera, but nobody will be astonished by the fact the style is not that far from other melodic projects with a post-industrial background like those in which Eraldo Bernocchi was involved. Do I mean that's Bernocchi influenced music? No way! I just signify there's a "trait d'union" that joins some melodical/musical solutions you you’ll find here with some you could find in the releases of Teardo, Phyler Coleman and Bernocchi, but at last it’s true that "nobody comes from nowhere". Be it I love this kind of style or that "file rouge" I was talking about, I'm really into this release, I'm sure there's people who can whine about the fact it's not "trendy", but it's not even "old fashioned" in the strict sense of the word, I think Sidra's debut has its own identity. Late night music, weird but yet suggestive loops on which the skeleton of the majority of the songs takes shape. Sometimes it sounds like a less melodical and instrumental version of Phyler minus the drum and bass influence, sometimes a melancholic guitar loop moves on a 4/4 hip hop rhythm. Loop based electronic music with a big human feel, "old fashioned" but in a really interesting way, listen to "Heat reversal via volume exchange" and "Windows from shattered stairs (nude)". Honestly that's one of my favourite releases of the new Afe lot.

VV.AA.: Electronic Revolutions @ Movement 2004, Detroit

 Posted by eskaton   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jun 06 2006
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electronic Revolutions @ Movement 2004, Detroit
Format: CD
Label: Alley Records (@)
I could not find anything about this album on the label website, which seems to be a CD duplication and recording house. The website that produced this festival,, has been down for at least a week or two for server migration. Overall, this compilation is not bad, but there is nothing on here that I would consider essential. There were only three bands that I recognized before getting this disc, so a lot of new artists here. Unfortunately, many do not seem to have a distinct voice and sound virtually indistinguishable. So let’s move on to the specific tracks. Entluften opens the compilation with decent techno with synth new wave feel and Backspace continues the dance-friendly music with lush synth and a heavy beat that reminds me of old school industrial dance music (in a good way). Chiasm creates a weird dissonance between growling and ethereal female vocals that was not really my thing, but interesting. Some beats mixed with atmosphere but not quite as dance friendly as the previous tracks. Life Toward Twilight lays down some heavy, slow, metallic tribal sounding drumming mixed with noisy atmosphere. I don’t know what the dancers were thinking when this happened, but I like it. I reviewed their disc in this batch of reviews and it was really good (it’s free for download, so the price is right). Delien is the first of several on this disc that graduated from the Venetian Snares school of spastic noisy beats. They do this style very well. Iszoloscope delivers the expected Ant-Zen style noisy beats, but with a heavy synth undercurrent. A little more old-school techno than I expected. He builds layer upon layer until it sounds like 4 songs going at once. Di_sect lays down some complex beats with some slowed down voices, but overall, this track just didn’t really stand out. Xanopticon provides more music from the Venetian Snares school of spastic beats. Not bad, but a bit thinit sounds more like a drum machine that is dying than a track. A bit too minimal for my tastes. Blaerg layers spastic beats over a flowing heavily processed acoustic guitar that would be at home on a Durutti Column album. Oddly peaceful and disconcerting at the same time. I liked it. Syne_lapse_variate is also a bit thin, but the beats are interesting. Not quite as spastic, but has some other elements weaving throughout that keep it from getting boring. OK, but not too engaging. Phallus Uber Alles provides one of the tracks that stood out. A nice groove with samples of a woman talking about being the future homemakers of America that shifts to heavy social commentary. The beat remains consistent – rather than the music shifting, it is the samples. Larvae’s track was also a bit too stripped down for my tastes, more like the foundation of a track than the track itself. Sound Extraction X lays down a nice groove with old school sounding beats but it went on too long. It sounds like a warm up track for a band rehearsal or a connecting track between two stronger tracks on an album. Necroplastic offers a short minimalist track with some light beats and a piano line. EclecticLiquid’s track is muddy, noisy, and distorted. It’s glitchy, like a techno track that has been completely overloaded, but it doesn’t really seem to fit on this compilation. Ghoulie ends the disc with an odd combination of bass line, cheesy casio synth, drum machine, and rapping. Not really my thing. Overall, this compilation is OK, but nothing on this disc makes me want to park it in the CD player for a long period of time. I’m sure that for those who were at the festival, it would be a good souvenir.

MONOLITH: Talisman

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jun 01 2006
Artist: MONOLITH (@)
Title: Talisman
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
There’s no need to introduce Eric van Wonteghem to the interested audience of Electro/Industrial music for sure, maybe I should mention that he is more active than ever before? Also with his main and classic EBM project INSEKT he just released a new CD at NTP/Dependent besides this already sixth studio album of his solo effort MONOLITH. With this project Eric always tested the audience with his more experimental side of music, mostly the music of MONOLITH is based in the genres between IDM, Electronica, Tribal up to some real Powernoise efforts. So also this new CD features a lot of stuff to break out through some genre boundaries. You’ll get a full dose of never heard before sounds, complex rhythm programmings and strange structures generally. It is definitively a piece taken from the intelligent side of music, although I miss maybe a bit a "composition" and the human touch behind this music integrated through some vocals. Some repeating voice samples in between do never replace a vocalist, so the music of this release has to speak for itself. Eric’s musically activity lately with harder acts like SONAR is best transmitted here through tracks like "Indigo" or the title track "Machinebreak", and I definitively prefer this side of him. The global album is well done and good produced, like usual, what has ever left Eric’s very own Prodam studio. Please note that also from this release – like on almost all Alfa Matrix releases – there’s existing a special packed set with a bonus disc in limited edition of 666 pieces for the die-hard fans.


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 01 2006
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Title: Oneiric
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****

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Coming from Ireland, Boxcutter present his album titled ONEIRIC, a double 12"/CD (the CD has four bonus tracks) released by Mike Paradinas’ Planet Mu. Barry Lynn has chosen the right title for his album, because ONEIRIC is a blend of dub, i.d.m. and ambient where the reverb is the main effect used. The effect created is similar to certain isolationist records (some of the latest Scorn releases) but with the rhythmic attitude of break beat. Each track has a different flavour (for example see the jazzy "Mossy", the grime bass of the opening "Tauhid" or of "Hyloz" and the 60s soul r’n’b attitude of "Bad you do") and Boxcutter is able to switch through different genres with easiness giving to his first album a good balance for an hour of ambient danceable cuts where the bass is always pumping and the tension is always at the top!

VV.AA: Oxia - Picture Of Now

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 29 2006
Artist: VV.AA (@)
Title: Oxia - Picture Of Now
Format: CD
Label: Scandium Records (@)
Rated: *****
Even if Oxia released only one album "24 heures" back in 2004 (nine years after his first E.P. released for his own Ozone records) for the label that he founded along with The Hacker and Alexandre Reynaud he’s active since early 90s as dj. Olivier Raymond has always been fond on techno and now we’ve the opportunity to check his nowadays flavour about dance music. Scandium Records, after giving the opportunity to Delon & Delcan to compile the fist issue of the PICTURE OF NOW series, asked to Oxia to give life to his personal playlist. He took seventeen tracks of the purest acid techno without using this chance as a way of promoting his label (there are only a couple of tracks coming from Goodlife releases: Bastien Grine’s "The missing note" and The Hacker feat Mount Sims’ "Traces – Oxia remix") and created a strong mixed compilation to party with where the drum and the bass rule. The labels covered are: Tic Tac Toe, Systematic Recordings, Playhouse, Traffic Signs, Tsuba Records, Hundehauss Records, Get Physical Music, Bpitch Control, Cocoon Recordings to name few. Most of the tracks aren’t remixed versions and you can find: Trentemoller, Marc Romboy Vs Stephan Bodzin, Goldfish & Der Dulz, C-Rock Pres. Dubstar, Rex The Dog, Williams, Kiki, Väth Vs Rother, Zen-Kei, Gui Boratto, D'julz, Hugg & Pepp, Bastien Grine, Fairmont and The Hacker Feat Mount Sims. If rhythm is your thing and you don’t mind that much about melody and catchy vocals this compilation is for you.

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