Music Reviews

Sasha: FundacionNYC

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 19 2005
Artist: Sasha
Title: FundacionNYC
Format: CD
Label: Global Underground
Rated: *****
This is the mix CD behind superstar DJ Sasha's bi-coastal U.S. jaunt this summer, featuring his new all-digital custom mixer, the Maven. Sasha's own design, the Maven stores his tracks all ready for playback, at which point he cuts, loops, splices and drops partial elements from each one into the live mix in real time howsoever he chooses--so as to create a uniquely and spontaneously remixed track, each and every time. Assuming the device was used in this recording (the presskit's language was awfully slippery about it), Sasha indeed turns in some eerie and interesting treatments to his chosen tracks.

And what an eclectic clutch of tracks it is: what starts out at a rather sleepy pace (mellow electro- and deep-house cuts by Adam Johnson, Swayzak, Beanfield) gives way to so-called "forgotten classics" such as an electro-reworking of Depeche Mode's "Behind the Wheel." Then a strange and wonderful thing happens. The CD's lively electro-housey midsection segues into a 6/8 time signature--at the most crucial point in a DJ's set when he most needs to keep his listeners on the dancefloor. Because, right around the corner from the bumpin' house, we're suddenly loping along to Freaky Chakra's "Blacklight Fantasy," sitting (as it were) zen-like on a giant day-glo mushroom. Unbelievable! Did Sasha's tough New York City crowd actually go for that? Let's hope so, because in my book, this plus the last two tracks, Goldfrapp's pounding, pretty-hateful "Strict Machine" and M83's oddly menacing "Don't Save Us From the Flames" make an unbeatable closing triad. Anyone who saw him spin this year, please tell me how his gig was. (Yeah, yeah, granted, I have no excuse for missing it when I had the chance.)
Title: Dislocation
Format: CD
Label: Axesscode (@)
Rated: *****
Okay, get-hard-be-strong Electro artists, keep your fingers away from your equipment and give your attention to this new and second release by this French project, because THIS stuff will teach you a lesson. This 76 minutes long conceptual release can be easily seen as a textbook about how to produce complex and innovative soundtrack music stylistically designed for a never released Science Fiction movie. This is the impression I had by listening through this album. Also a feast for the eyes is the excellent artwork which shows diverse industrial landscapes and machine impressions. Musically this album offers a wide range of diverse styles almost based on Dark Electro structures while integrating elements taken out of Industrial, Electronica, Ambient up to Powernoise. It is an instrumental album filled with uncountable FX samples, atmospheric layers and a depressive mood. The programming abilities are a next outstanding point, I have found here some references to FLA, SKINNY PUPPY or NUMB and it is not too far away from this handicap. Think about FLA’s track "Infra Red Combat" on the first half of this track and you maybe get an idea how this release will be. 12 tracks are here, and all have the name "Dislocation", no any other name. My favorites can be found with the tracks # 2, # 4 for the Dark Electro style with a light Powernoise touch, while # 7 and # 9 feature some guitars and break beats as well in this two overall very danceable efforts. This release is created as a whole floating unit, that means, the are no empty spaces in between the tracks. Please make sure to check this band out, it is a kind of demonstration and you won’t regret it. Get this sci-fi odyssey!!!

MIKROBEN KRIEG/SCIENCIA/SHHH...: Give me ambiguity or give me something else

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 18 2005
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Title: Give me ambiguity or give me something else
Format: CD
Label: Thisco (@)
Rated: *****
First off, since this' not the first release on Thisco I happen to review, let me tell I think this label is doing a really god job (and that's not just my opinion), the quality of their releases is often good and I'm into that idea of the 3-way split series, they assembled a god number of interesting cds. This time it's not extremely experimental electronic music but it's bread for those who have been "electronic-aficionados" for a long time. The first one of the lot is Mikroben Krieg, you know it has to go deep starting from the skeletal titles, and you won't be disappointed, above all the tracks in the middle of this split cd (consider the artists have n alternate-random order inside the tracklist). Rhythmically this artist make me think of the coldest beat created by Photek (not that super-structured) but it has also that rhythmical skill of many releases on Planet Mu, the melodies are obscure and have that north european feeling, good. Shhh... has a strong rhytmhical framework as Mikroben, but the beat is more eighty-fashioned, the songs are less "into your guts" if compared to the previous musician and the atmosphere is that of some old anthems on Warp: imagine the darkest L.F.O. tracks, maybe a bit of the early Black Dog and U-ziq, his remix of Sciencia's "At the gate" is boombastic. Sciencia still works a lot on the beat and is not that far from that Warp influence you hear in Shhh... even if it's even more into the best works of Warp's golden age. I found there's something of the early Autechre (Anvil Vapre-era) even if Sciencia is not that "ambiental" and less fragmented than the english godfathers. Danceable electronic music with a "late at night-rave" feeling.

SOILED: Happy land

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 17 2005
Artist: SOILED (@)
Title: Happy land
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Rated: *****
Electronic music with an aftertaste of minimal techno. Soiled has been defined underground techno punk, some driving rhythms building a bridge under grey meloides, this ep could be a soft version (but not that softer) of the releases put out by Mick Harris' Possible label (for those of you who have a good memory). Industrial techno?..not really, but the clouded sensation is pretty similar. Teessides Marcus a.k.a. Soiled has a minimal lo-fi approach to his tunes but it doesn't mean this record is poor under the production profile, it just mean this guy probably loves the naivity of early techno. Many of the sound used probably are analog or at least he probably used some virtual synth cause that's the impression you get. I think "Happyland" is an ironic title, there's no doubt the most of the tracks are far from being happy and the front cover adds an odd atmosphere, but the music is not even claustrofobic techno or post-industrial dance. Clean production and at times some melodies are really well done. Something reminded me of the early M.A.R.R.S. or S-Express but this not really acid house.
Aug 12 2005
Artist: Christopher Kah
Title: A Wonderful Darkworld
Format: CD
Label: Axesscode (@)
Rated: *****
French label Axesscode presents a debut CD release by the solo electronic musician Christopher Kah. It is a release which is a bit difficult to categorize. It is all electronic-based of course, building up a mixture by taking elements out of Dark Electro, Techno and Electronica with here and there some experimental undertones. While the Synth layers and string sounds are almost infiltrated with a dark Electro mood, the sequences and beats provide a Techno background. Some vocals of Mr. Kah are featured as well, mostly very sparse and re-stranged with some KRAFTWERKian robot-like effects. Favorites I have found with the steady "Camille ist Tot", "Sextronic Bacteria’s" or the title track, while others like "Intumeti K" suffer from repetition and a too long playing time of over 9 minutes. Christopher Kah made a decent album here which is to my taste more designed to listen at home. Club visitors could be disturbed by the way back too experimental beats and the globally dark flair the release has to offer. Good stuff here for people who like to explore something different with an edge, and surely not designed for some pseudo-aggressive rivetheads. Well, it is a wonderful dark world, isn’t it?

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