Music Reviews



Torpedo Boyz: Headache Music

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Dec 08 2006
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Artist: Torpedo Boyz
Title: Headache Music
Format: CD
Label: Sounds from the Roof (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Rated: *****
Sounds From the Roof, the label run by the cool guys of Rooftop Promotions and Visions from the Roof licensing, is about to release (Feb 2007) a super groovy super cool all-live musicians dance record by the Berlin/Tokyo & Paris producers/DJs team Kentastic and Rollin Hard, who for the occasion have renamed themselves Torpedo Boyz. The funky grooves, the groovy bass lines, the fat beats, the funk guitars, the stabs, the flutes, the vibes and the vibes (that's not a type, if you catch my drift), make for your ideal soundtrack to movies like Ocean's Eleven/Twelve/Thirteen or Jackie Brown or stuff like that. Moving, huffing and puffing, getting down and dirty, dancefloor/movie music...
The 15 tracks of "Headache Music" feature a lot of collaborations (a 70 year old Bobby Hebb, composer of "Sunny", remixers Fort Knox Five and P.E.T. among others), foreign language vocals (Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese and French among English and possibly others) and interesting/funny lyrics. The album is definitely entertaining but it seems like it can't quite keep up with the momentum created by such strong opening tracks such as "Gimme A Bassline!", "Start Being Nicer" and "Are You Talking to Me???" (definitely the good stuff here!). Luckily the three ending bonus track pick it up back up.
As I mentioned the entire album is played live, which is unusual, admirable and awesome in my book (as electronically-inclined as I am, as I producer I still appreciate musicianship more than computers-only). Thanks to their affiliation with the label's sister licensing company, Torpedo Boyz have already made their way into a Northern European Cheerios TV commercial and a Puma fashion ad on MTV, and chances are we'll hear more placements in TV/film. Keep an ear out for this. Good music, good vibes, great musicianship, great production.

HOUSEMEISTER: Enlarge Your Dose

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Dec 05 2006
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Artist: HOUSEMEISTER (@)
Title: Enlarge Your Dose
Format: CD
Label: Boysnoize (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Housemeister is the project of a young fella coming from Berlin. He already released some stuff for BPitch Control but since he felt that his new tracks weren’t fitting that much the style of Allien’s label he decided to submit them to his friends at Boysnoize even if now he run his own label called Berlin Kraft. The first thing that got my attention was Housemeister attitude toward music and graphics as he seems to joke with every aspect of his creation. If the cover sees him flying between the city buildings the tracks are fresh techno tunes. While listening to the CD I picture him jumping around his gear with a playful joy while he decide to title his debut album ENLARGE YOUR DOSE. If the first tracks "Hello" and "Hello again" prepare the audience to the feast (the second track has a certain dark atmosphere with brass samples that seem to introduce a game at the Colosseum), "Forget your name" is finest dark techno with a minimal bass line and with no drum if not for a hit hat sound. Many tracks have a synthetic like female voice that make them sound particular and retro (like on the main track where on the simple minimal electro melody the voice suggest to enlarge the dose). "We need the retro" as well as the following "We need the kick" change the atmosphere and make you enter the dancehall with minimal distorted tunes. What sounds interesting about Housemeister’s music is the absolute sense of freedom that made his pass from semi experimental use of arrangements on the shortest tracks (like the closing "Das Rhodes und wir" where he uses a Rhodes distorted sound) to the kick asses crow shaking tunes passing through the ones with analogue bleeping sound ("Grand final" is one of them). The album closes with the sentence "The music is over, please restart your disc". I did it three times in a couple of days and I enjoyed it!

VV.AA: Elaste Vol.1 - Slow Motion Disco

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Dec 04 2006
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Artist: VV.AA
Title: Elaste Vol.1 - Slow Motion Disco
Format: CD
Label: Compost Records (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Rated: *****

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On late 70s / early 80s Italy was living an economical recession and also the social climax was tense. Red brigades, workers’ strikes and political changes were the common headlines of the newspapers (things seem didn’t change that much, huh?). Music was also changing radically with the born of punk and the death of big rock bands. Also dance music was affected by a wave of fresh air and styles were fading one into the other. If you check bands like The Giants, Rockets (with their major hits "Electric delight" or "Galactica") or "Dinasty" by Kiss you’ll realize that also rock music was fascinated by dance music of the likes of Diana Ross (is it a case if she had been Gene Simmons’ girlfriend for a while?), Barry White or Earth Wind & Fire. Dance halls where places where people were consuming their Saturday rite and Baia Degli Angeli in Rimini was Italy’s famous place. After its closing (due for drug reasons) DJ Daniele Baldelli decided to propose the same innovative sounds founding a new club: Cosmic. Here new genres born. Italodisco, Cosmic or Afrofunky were few of them and mixing Krautrock, Industrial or Funk wasn’t a problem at all. Nowadays DJ Mooner (member of Zombie Nation, Hart Of Noise, Zombocombo and owner of the Erkrankung label) decided to revive the genre by compiling an album of those records that defined the Cosmic way of spinning records. Tracks that had 80-105 BPM rhythms (for this reason the compilation is titled "Slow motion disco") and that blended synth spacey tunes, funky rhythms and rock melodies. The eleven tracks included have been released through the 1978/1984 period and along with well known 80’s bands such as Chris & Cosey (here included with "This is me" from their "Heartbeat" album) and Heaven 17 (you can find their "I’m you money" coming from their 12" released just before "Penthouse & Pavement") you can find The Rah Band (with their particular afro funky instrumental "Electric fling"), Clive Stevens & Brainchild ("Mistery mix – remix" is their track. This is really 80’s space rock also because searching with Google about Clive Stevens I read that he was fond on ufology), Love International ("Dance on the groove – and do the funk" is their funky hymn), Doctor’s Cat (here included a DJ Mooner edit of their "Crash", a tune sounding like a Chinese electro pop tune. Taken from their album "Gee Wiz", released by Discotto on 1984), Logic System (Hideki Matsutake, collaborator with Yellow Magic Orchestra, produced different albums with this moniker and "Clash – Chinjyu if sun" is his tribute to robotic space electronica), Memory Control One (M. Noe mix of their track "Basic", Beppe Loda created the track with Francesco Boscolo and he describe their style as Italo Synth), Peru (an electro instrumental electro easy listening tune titled "Oriental"), Eloy ("Horizons" is the track picked up for this German band of dancey progressive rock with female choruses like vocals) close the compilation a track by Chocolate Star titled "The pop", a sort of experimental funky tune with a bass and bottles as percussions. Even if I am an Italian guy, this compilation is a great discover and I suggest you to check out these great and sometimes particular tunes!

HOLDEN: The Idiots Are Winning

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Dec 01 2006
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Artist: HOLDEN
Title: The Idiots Are Winning
Format: CD
Label: Border Community Recordings
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****

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James Holden started his musical activity back in 1999 when he was at college when during the summer holidays, thanks to a £500 computer with Buzz installed (Buzz is an advanced version of Fast Tracker, one of the first sequencer program that can also use samples), he produced his first track that later made him recognized as one of the best producer in England. Since then James worked hard remixing and playing his own stuff. He also founded his own label called Border Community for which he now released his full length album THE IDIOTS ARE WINNING. The ten tracks of the CD are full of good ideas as well as humour, because along with tracks titled "Idiot" or "Idiot clapsolo" there’s also one with two minutes of silence titled "Intentionally left blank". Musically we could divide the album in two main currents: minimal techno with light catchy melodies and minimal techno with sound experiments based on rhythms. On both James Holden is good at creating interesting sound sculptures that when are enriched by soft melodies are really surprising (like on the opening "Lump" or "10101").

SHIFT 69: Language Error

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 25 2006
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Artist: SHIFT 69 (@)
Title: Language Error
Format: CD
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
Another new release of the German based special mail order service SkullLine, and of course also this piece is limited to only 69 (+ 31 pieces hidden in a special box...) exemplars. It features the musically efforts of Arne J. Schmid, who runs also the Industrial/Powernoise act DEFINE and the Electro/Industrial project NEURONALES NETZWERK. SHIFT 69 differs and provides us electronic music which takes its influences out of styles Techno/Trance, Minimal and Electronica, but with a more experimental touch. Some works of TANGERINE DREAM, KRAFTWERK or the recently on the Swedish label Progress Productions released act SYSTEM come to mind, some remembrances on the 80ies as well, and it fits, that on several tracks the included vocals have received some vocoder effects. The try to fill in something special instead of following already known paths can be heard on almost all tracks, but pieces like "Super Sonic Dance Song" can be called strange with the use of a detuned Country Music guitar riff being the lead instrument here. The title track is available in two different versions and features some KRAFTWERKian rhythm patterns – this element can also be discovered at a track like "The Document". Some other favorites have to named with "The Finder" (a nice almost poppy arranged piece with changing male vocals between natural and vocoderized...) and "Light Commander" (forward-leading danceable track, well done vocals and instrumentals). SkullLine presents a fine output which tries at no time to be the harshest and roughest distorted kind of music at all – it is more an entertaining Electronica album with various facets. Hurry up (note: it’s limited!!!) and purchase it.


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