Music Reviews



Synthetic Dream Foundation: Tendrils of Pretty

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 03 2006
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Artist: Synthetic Dream Foundation (@)
Title: Tendrils of Pretty
Format: CD
Label: Mythical Records (@)
Rated: *****
I was really expecting to like this artist. I had high hopes. The CD cover art is intriguing, I like the name "Synthetic Dream Foundation", and even the opening track, "Auf Dem See" seemed to hold promise. Sort of a techno-drive beat with pulsing trance-synth and exotic female vocals. Basically just a diva-dervish thing with not a lot of frills, progressions or changes, but it had a certain jene se qua. Things soon began to slide downward from there. The follow-up track, "Amongst the Trolls" has a lot of intricate synthwork in it but just didn’t seem to go anywhere; it just went on for too long. "Assiki: Divine Messenger " brings back the exotic fem vocalist with even a more driving beat but still never rises above so-so Goa. "Regeneration of the Damned" begins sparse and beatless, with chordal synthwork that seems to have a melodic theme in mind, goes on too long without much interesting happening, then switches gears in a burbling stew of sound that introduces a beat and eventually just sinks below the tide in some old-school synth voices. "Trapeze" combines some light piano with a fragile Kate Bush-like vocal, half-sung, half whispered. This would have been much more effective if it had followed a track with a lot of intensity that came to swelling climax, but there was none of that here. The smooth transition to the next track, "Eidolon" which begins with a light choir of female voices works very well. With the exception of the predominate use of vocal choir," Eidolon" is fairly old-school sounding. Reminded me of Tangerine Dream. Not necessarily a bad thing, just done so many times before. And it ended before it really even took off. "Ophelia’s Mechanical Wings" perked things up a bit giving "Tendrils of Pretty" some redemption and an improved dancabilty score. I think SDF needed to bring in those exotic female vocals again for this one, perhaps with lyrics and melody that could hold your attention. All in all, not a bad track, just not as spectacular as it could have been. "Puzzlebox" began with those harsh whispered vocals that reminded me of Shikee of Android Lust, but then became totally intelligible and melodic. Surprise! There are hints of Delerium in here, but only hints. Final track "How Love Remembered Lavender" isn’t much of a departure from what came before and suffers from the same syndrome of not really going anywhere. I think SDF has potential, if they can develop thematically and melodically. The synthwork/ programming is spot-on, they just have to do more than make trancey tracks. Their next release could be right on target.

Leaf : Made Into Self

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 03 2006
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Artist: Leaf
Title: Made Into Self
Format: CD
Label: Suspicious Records (@)
Rated: *****
Leaf is Steve Wick (or just WICK, as he seems to prefer to be called) from Dallas Texas, and members of Biogliphic, 32nd Kalpa, Blunt Force, and other area producers, a melding of dirty hip hop rhythm, crystalline melodies, insane sampling, and smooth organic instrumentation. Or so the website info states. Influences admittedly are abstract trip hop/ hip-hop artists like DJ Shadow, DJ Spooky, DJ Signify, Subtle and Tricky. Although Leaf flirts with the dark side, the music never really gets in deep. The problem is that most of the compositions seem to lack development. It’s as if they could have really been something if the ideas were a little more expanded. Still, there are a number of strange motifs and atmospheres that make for good uneasy listening. One track, "Prism" had male and (mostly) female vocals that had a bluesy Portishead feel. That track could have gone on a little longer. Perhaps the best track on this CD is "Even Holy Things Die". The female vocals here aren’t dissimilar to Heather’s from Tapping the Vein, although I think Leaf may have had Mezzanine-era Massive Attack in mind. It ends with a rather long sample from some movie I’ve never seen, so I can’t identify it, but there are a number of spoken word/dialogue samples peppered throughout the tracks. Some of them work okay, some don’t. Even though "Made Into Self" is an uneven effort, it still might be worth checking out. You can sample most all the tracks off the Suspicious Records website, which is a pretty cool thing. That way, you don’t have to take my word for it. I’d be interested in hearing future releases from this artist. I feel like they have the potential to do some amazing stuff.

JUNIOR BOYS: So This Is Goodbye

 Posted by Kaf Mardel   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 01 2006
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Artist: JUNIOR BOYS (@)
Title: So This Is Goodbye
Format: CD
Label: Domino Records
Rated: *****

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Records like this really thrill those listeners who are into electro stuff. No ebm attitudes, no nostalgic synth pop clones but a fresh wave of modern music. Since the very first note of Double Shadow, analogue sounds surround you, machine boxes make you feel like a human robot. The approach is somehow minimal but at the same time full of nice arrangements as well. First time is simply a masterpiece! It has got a breathtaking change of tune, an elegant clarinet and a good use of the voice. Soft arpeggiators are often in pole position (they sometimes remind me of Water Lily by Sputnika) with tiny pads behind... Dreamy danceable music for sophisticated ears.

TECHNO SQUIRRELS: Om Mani

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 28 2006
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Artist: TECHNO SQUIRRELS (@)
Title: Om Mani
Format: CD EP
Label: Rave Police (@)
Rated: *****
After releasing the last year their debut E.P. Lisa and Ryan continued working on their music developing it in a sort of trance pop techno. The new single OM MANI contains two new tracks "Om mani" and "My shrimplike beat". The first one, as indicated by the title (coming from the mantra "Om mani padme hum"), insert obviously Indian sitar sounds and a trance rhythm. Lisa vocal is like a gently loop that repeat the mantra constantly (adding some verses here and there). Also the melody follow the same scheme and the repetition of two of three patterns meet the sitar sounds that come and go. The second track is more influenced by trance and acid house and it sounds less pop. Here Lisa vocals are surrounded by layers of synths and ambient pads and the upbeat rhythm make of it a track more dancefloor oriented. The remaining three tracks are remixes of the main title. Rene Patrique version is more techno house oriented, he removed most of the vocals concentrating the attention of the main melody and on the pumping rhymth. Mount Oliphant worked more on the techno front adding also ethnic sounds making a particular version excessive but also with some delicate sounds (acoustic guitars, sitars, etc). The last version is the Robert Jax vs. Techno Squirrel version and it removes all the ethnic references but the voice, focusing the sound on a pure house techno sound really functional. As for the first single the Techno Squirrels prove themselves good at making pop dance tunes that work well also on clubs. If German style is too aggressive for you and you love remixed versions of Madonna's songs, try this one.

DAVE SHOKH: Pure Shokholate - Kiddaz.fm sereis

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 28 2006
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Artist: DAVE SHOKH (@)
Title: Pure Shokholate - Kiddaz.fm sereis
Format: CD
Label: Kiddaz Fm (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****

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Born in 1983 Dave Shokh soon started to remix his favourite tunes he recorded out from his radio. This simple process, he enjoyed so much, convinced him to pursue his dreams and in 1997 he performed in front of a crowd of 4000 people. In 2001 he meets Ron Flatter from Halle, then owner of the booking agency "Hi-Fi Bookings". Ron is so excited by Dave’s music that he gets him his biggest booking to date right away. It is here that he meets DJ Emerson and Holgi Star, artists from the label Kiddaz.fm Berlin. After a short time the label made his sign a deal for his first album "Shokh’n’roll". Things started to work so fast that he begun to tour nation wide and also on foreign countries like Japan. In 2005 he started his own label Dipolter, as well as his role of co-producer for DJ Karotte’s album "The One And Only". PURE SHOKHKOLATE is his latest releases for Kiddaz Fm mix series. On that one you can find Dave mixing fifteen tracks of the purest techno around. The CD starts with Dinka Dinka mix of Ash Cawlin’s "The plastic feet" and passes from my favourite track of the lot Zombie Nation’s "Money", arriving to Monika Kruse Vs Dave Shokh’s "Wann war gestern". Most of the tracks are based on rhythm and PURE SCHOKHOLATE could be equal to purest techno. It could be useful for you to have a tracklist just to help you out checking your preferred arstits. Anyway be aware that the compilation is well balanced and if you are a techno lover and you want something to party with, this could be a good one.

01 Ash Cawlin "The Plastic Feet" (Shokh & Rohr Rmx) – Echnoton Records Berlin
02 Karotte "Go To Bed" (Dave Shokh Rmx) – Kosmo Records
03 Matthias Tanzmann "Bulldozer" – Moonharbour Recordings
04 Zombie Nation "Money" - Ukw Records
05 Gabriel Ananda "Miracel Whop" - Platzhirsch Schallplatten
06 Dj Slip "Every Time It Takes A While" Brocksieper Rmx - Sub Static Records
07 Nasty & Tresher "Black Sourcery" - Electrix Records
08 Literon "Beat Dis" - Fortek Organization
10 Thomas Schumacher "Red Purple" - Spiel-Zeug Schallplatten Gmbh
11 Triple R "Six Sick Torros" - Traum Schallplatten
12 Heckmann & Kauffelt "Kookabura" - Trope Recordings/ Afultd. Germany
13 Harry Axt "Tag Der Befreiung" - Grandpetrol Recordings
14 Holger Flinsch "Average" Tony Rohr Rmx - Rotary Cocktail Recordings
15 Monika Kruse Vs Dave Shokh "Wann War Gestern?" - Electric Avenue Recordings 2006


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