Music Reviews

DIGITAL GEIST: The Zero Engine

 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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Nov 22 2006
Title: The Zero Engine
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
With a first look only on the cover art you may expect a kind of Techno/Trance-based music effort, and indeed – these elements can be discovered here besides some others. This is the debut full-length CD of Alex K and Newt, who are hiding behind this moniker and they offer as an interesting mixture of the above mentioned styles combined with some IDM/Electronica influences, Futurepop and a slight excursion into Electro-Clash music. So you’ll get a fine and detailed arranged album which will easily push your body to the dancefloors. With the track "Someone Like Me" they also have a piece on board which features real male vocals (though well manipulated with some vocoder effects...) and a real compositional background. Several "spoken word" inputs done by Krista Dragomer can be heard on 4 different tracks. This release also attracts attention because it has several collaborations and remix works available. With FRONT 242 working on "Someone Like Me" they could indeed win one of the biggest players internationally, also the Danish act NEOTEK has a good name in the Electro/EBM/Industrial scene. But it should be mentioned that both their remix works don’t push the sound of DIGITAL GEIST any nearer to EBM or Electro/Industrial music – they swim with the stream. Favorites next to "Someone Like Me" can be named with "Earworm (No Light Guides Us)" (what a fine synth layer work!) and the dry Techno-styled "Keep The Faith (featuring Christian K. of DHARMA LAB)". There’s a lot of talent and real effort behind this album and if you dig some of the above mentioned styles, you would be surprised by the diversity this release has to offer.

DDAMAGE: Shimmy Shimmy Blade

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Nov 16 2006
Title: Shimmy Shimmy Blade
Format: CD
Label: Tsunami Addiction (@)
Rated: *****
Ddamage is the project of two French brothers, Jean-Baptiste and Frederic Hanak from Paris. SHIMMY SHIMMY BLADE is their fourth full length and it is the first for Tsubami addiction (their previous two have been released by Planet Mu). The sixteen tracks of this new album feature on vocals a lot of people: MF Doom, Tes, Existereo, Bigg Jus, Mike Ladd, Dose One, Orko Elohiem, Crunc Tesla, Sin, TTC, Stacs of Stamina. All their guests are part of the independent hip hop scene and this, mixed with their particular blend of grime and electro, make sound this album like a particular one, a CD that you can’t file under a specific genre (even if electronic danceable distortions could be a good way of explaining it). The analogue sounds are mixed with samples, bleeps and 4/4 syncopated rhythms and the hip hop influence is given mainly by the vocals because if you concentrate your attention to the music you’ll discover electro distorted tracks with a dance attitude and thousands of influences that goes from techno to electro with a little bit of experimentations in the middle (try the instrumental ones like "Punkture", "Inter rock" or "Pull the plug").


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Nov 13 2006
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Title: Hospitality
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****

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HOSPITALITY is the latest Venetian Snares release and it contains six new tracks where Aaron Funk redefine his latest breakcore i.d.m. orchestral sound that he presented with "Rossz Csillag Alatt Született". If you were used to his breathtaking digital cavalcades, this time Aaron decided to surprise his audience using also moments where sonic disintegration is kinda under control. Take for example the first couple of minutes of the opening "Frictional Nevada" where he build an ambient melodic orchestration (which is soon after joined by the usual crazy rhythmical section) and see how he deals the rhythm and the new melodic lines on the following minutes. If on "Rossz Csillag Alatt Született" he preferred orchestral sounds on HOSPITALITY you’ll find a lot of organ sounds along with strings (like on "Shoot myself" where he creates a good melancholic moment). I don’t know what do you think about the new Venetian Snares style but I like it because melodies and rhythmic complex structures get along really well and this new MCD is a good work that will make people, that were afraid or unused to this kind of sounds, appreciate Aaron’s work as they will find great amounts of involving atmospheres.

Chris Liebing / Speedy J: Collabs 3000

 Posted by eskaton   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 30 2006
Artist: Chris Liebing / Speedy J (@)
Title: Collabs 3000
Format: CD
Label: Novamute (@)
Rated: *****
It’s been quite a while since I’ve kept up with the techno scene. It’s changed a bit since I saw Orbital in concert 10 years ago. You’ve probably heard of these two, so you should know what to expect. If you haven’t, suffice it to say that these are two of the more high profile DJ/producers in the techno scene and have been for quite some time. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this disc is how stripped down it is. There is a lot of atmosphere on this disc and there is a lot of noise. After listening to it a few times, I have grown to really enjoy it. It starts off a bit noisy with "Lego," but becomes more dance friendly as we move into "Modish Ride." Triflon is distorted house beats with what sounds like distorted samples. Kind of fun in a cheesy sort of way. "Tunox" marks a shift in the disc and stands as one of the best tracks on the disc. Layers of distorted beats with layers of noise beneath. This is stuff that could be at home on the Ant-Zen label. People who like rhythmic noise should take note. As the disc progresses, the tracks become progressively more complex. Weighing in at 12:02, "Assault" is the longest track on the disc. It is also one that doesn’t fit with the others as well. The beats remain, but it is considerably more subdued than previous tracks. In a way, the track acts like the cool down period after what has just been an intense barrage of sound. This is far more atmospheric than the other tracks with a lot of depth and texture. I would have preferred this to be the closing track, but the last track, "Trikco Live" demonstrates what the it would sound like in the club. A lot more organ / synth than in the rest of the album and not quite as harsh, but still satisfying. Overall, if you like your techno more on the harsh side, this would be a good disc to pick up. One surprising aspect of this disc is how accessible it is. My wife, whose tastes tend toward the mundane and 80 brit pop liked this disc. I generally listen to noise and dark ambient and liked it. Pretty much everyone I’ve played it for has enjoyed it to some degree. This alone speaks well for the quality of the material.

ARPANET: Inertial Frame

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 28 2006
Artist: ARPANET (@)
Title: Inertial Frame
Format: CD
Label: Record Makers (@)
Rated: *****
Arpanet is back and I'm glad to have some new sounds from Drexcyia / Dopplereffekt laboratories. After the 2002 Record Makers release titled "Wireless internet" and after the last year "Quantum transposition" (released for Rephlex), Arpanet is back on Record Makers with a beautiful album. This time Gerald abandoned the sidereal voyages of the previous album to get back to the laboratory to try a new formula of gathering rhythm and sounds. If the previous one was sounding a little too ambient, INERTIAL FRAME takes inspiration from the experiences gathered with Dopplereffekt and the result are fourteen beautiful tracks based on minimal melodies, robotic rhythms (many parts are arpeggios) and vocals. Yes! You read it right! This time Arpanet created also some songs with vocals and all (check "Zero volume", "Twin paradox", "Event horizon" or "Gravitational lense", to name few). The album is just perfect and on the tracks you'll find traces of Detroit techno, ambient and Kraftwerk. Usually when I review I listen to the music and I start writing some ideas, well, this time I had difficulties writing while listening, because I got totally caught by the atmosphere of the instrumental tracks and by the melodies that were looping into my head. You know, when you start to follow a cyclic melody and you catch another one to follow, it's difficult to focus on words. I'm satisfied!

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