Music Reviews



[1] KILO OF BLACK BONDAGE : Fear the windows

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 26 2005
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Artist: [1] KILO OF BLACK BONDAGE
Title: Fear the windows
Format: CD
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
This french band has been a nice surprise above all considering there's something that has driven my thoughts back to some years ago. [1] kilo of black bondage is indeniably near to some old projects involving Mick Harris, Eraldo Bernocchi or Laswell and for who's writing (read: me!) it already means "tip of hat" to the french guys. I can assume a good know it all will complain not everything in which the three artists mentioned have been involved was groundbreaking, but hell knows how deep and ass kicking have been some of the records featured by these three musicians I've mentioned. What reminds so much of Bernocchi and Harris? Above all the atmosphere: it's dark but not depressed, just mystical...shady to say it all. There's a dark mood, but there's rhythm in the hip hop/dub/ambient/rock/jazz "splinters driven in the body" of this cd. The front cover of this elegant jewel box shows the shadow of a man with a hat on his head, don't ask me why, but it reminded me of William Burroughs, not so far from that shadow in the cover of Sonic Youth's "N.Y. city ghosts and flowers". Uncle Bill would have loved a record like this, it's the result of a cut and paste process enriched by elements played with drums, guitars, vocals, bass, trumpet and many other things. "Fear the windows" also reminds me of some of the Sub Rosa's releases at their best. Are you dazed and confused enough? Ok, I'll add that the vocals have a baritone deepness similar to Ira Cohen that will cross your stomach/guts like you're getting screwed like a can. Cut up, good ideas and experience: this could be a know how in the making of a good record and [1] kilo of black bondage probably have learnt the lesson.

Superchumbo: Wowie Zowie

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 21 2005
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Artist: Superchumbo
Title: Wowie Zowie
Format: CD
Label: Twisted Records
Distributor: Beatport
Rated: *****
The most frustrating thing about dance music is that most of it becomes dated or overplayed within a couple of years, or sooner. Not only that, but the music in question may be in some sort of niche subgenre that perhaps even your close friends don't listen or dance to. When you actually care enough to wonder where all those hours and hours of dance tracks and influences wind up over the years, you certainly don't count on the Club crowd to care along with you. But I have a hard time imagining a release such as Wowie Zowie dating badly, if at all, and I can't imagine anyone *not* caring, once this is listened to.

As far as vocal House goes, this hard electro offering of Superchumbo's hits the spot. High-octane all the way through, WZ is extremely versatile in both the dancefloor and pop departments. Superchumbo, t/n Tom Stephan, is of American persuasion based in London (at the moment the world's most cosmopolitan city), and his international sensibility shows through really well. He treats his work with the best of all possible House influences, and all of his guest vocalists' performances shine through accordingly.

Keep in mind that these tracks are all original Superchumbo. Three had already been prior Billboard chart-toppers in the U.S.: "Irresistible", "This Beat Is," and the title track. Some of them are run together as "mixes", not blended but simply butted against one another, with tempos changing cleanly. This makes the CD both listenable as a continuous party mix, yet still useful for a working DJ situation. Listen for Samantha Fox orgasmically cooing on "Sugar", some salty language from Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys on "Tranquilizer", and Bashiyra on "U Know I Love It". My personal favorite, "Everything U", features Stephan's own vocals. A few tracks may appeal more to the gay side of the spectrum than the straight ("Bring It", "Filthy Dirty"); believe me when I say there is more than enough love to go around for everybody. Like I said earlier, Wowie Zowie should keep its lustre for quite a while.

Andy Caldwell: Late Night With Andy Caldwell

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 16 2005
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Artist: Andy Caldwell
Title: Late Night With Andy Caldwell
Format: CD
Label: Swank Recordings
Rated: *****
This is a highly competent selection and mix of funky and soulful vocal house, worthy of a more upbeat Cafe del Mar. "Brand New Day," Caldwell's own opener featuring Gina Rene on vocals, sets the tone of the mix with a keynote style--Brazilian flavor with acoustic guitar. Recent tracks from Holmes, Mylo, Jaswho?, S.U.M.O. and Liquid People are featured, as well as another Caldwell track, "The Waiting Game" (Ronan's Deep Moody remix). According to the CD's own liner notes, this is first (or one of the first) in a series of "Late Night With" mixes, each starring a featured DJ. The intent is to present a "transcendent set of house grooves...without the snare rolls, melodramatic anthems [or] big room drama." I suppose that's a noble aim, if one ignores the fact that big rooms are largely how House and all the other dance genres got started in the first place. Nevertheless the tracks, as well as the mix, are top-notch and not overlong. This disc is most at home being played at your pool party, whereupon you put the DJ system on autopilot so you can go get a drink and mingle (as I can attest firsthand).

LITTL SHYNING MAN: Hart Of The Wud

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 15 2005
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Artist: LITTL SHYNING MAN
Title: Hart Of The Wud
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Sonic 360 (@)
Rated: *****
Extremely expressive and creative Littl Shyning Man's debut mini CD is an inspired moment of music. The six tracks of the CD move through folk elements well mixed with electro experimentalism and rhythmic paths. Chris Haworth created HART OF THE WUD taking inspiration from Russel Hoban's futuristic folk tale "Riddely Walker". Thirty minutes are enough for being hypnotized by the ever evolving movements of Littl Shyning Man. Most of the sounds born from guitar treatments and are enriched with hip hop rhythms, loops, jazzy solutions and much more. If you are interested in gloomy atmospheres and creative ways of making music, you could be interested in checking HART OF THE WUD. The EP is available online only as every Sonic 360 release.

DJKEYONE: bio.turn.mek device

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 14 2005
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Artist: DJKEYONE
Title: bio.turn.mek device
Format: CD
Label: Green (@)
Rated: *****
This italian label is probably best known as one of the pillars italian hard core music during the nineties. Djkeyone comes from another planet and we'll use the label "dj culture" if it still make any sense. That's not such a weird surprise since the history of "hip hop" and the "Dj culture" in Italy passed also through the squats and from the same alternative culture of the late 80s/early 90s that nourished the punk movement. The real "aficionados" of Green records probably know Giulio (the label master) has always loved some of the early hip hop (one of the first release of the label was a demo by the hip hop duo Sacco e Vanzetti) and we can say this release is not that far from these cartesian coordinates. To get deeper into the real essence of this cd don't think of any b-boy thing with "rapping" overwhelming every single second of music, Djkeyone belongs to that breakbeat, dj background that has been the cradle of Dj Shadow, Dj Krush, Mo Wax or Cold Cut's Ninja Tune label. A pulsing rhythm and a squared beat follows the tradition, between the samples I've also heard Dj Gruff's "Questione di stile" (god bless that guy) that shows this turntablist is into the old school thing and sometimes that's plain evident in the shape of the cuts. Dj Shadow and Dj Krush could have mystified your ideas since this record is absolutely far from sounding "chillout" or even "jazzy", here you got stoned dark melodies and 4/4 beats where the dj shows his scratching-talent. People into this style of music should get it above all those who can appreciate the technical side of it all.


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