Music Reviews



ELLEN ALLIEN & APPARAT: Orchestra Of Bubbles

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 28 2006
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Artist: ELLEN ALLIEN & APPARAT (@)
Title: Orchestra Of Bubbles
Format: CD
Label: Bpitch Control (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****

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A year has passed since the release of "Thrills" but Ellen Allien is always at work to find out new ways of experimenting with rhythms / sounds / emotions. This time she collaborated with Sascha Ring/Apparat (he also run the label Shitkatapult with T.Raumschmiere) to create ORCHESTRA OF BUBBLES, an album containing thirteen new tracks where the distinctive sound of the duo find a new expression. Apparat’s orchestrations of i.d.m. sounds and Ellen’s capability of creating a web rhythmical sounds match perfectly creating something that sounds new, fresh and deep. The album opens with "Turbo dreams", the single released on early April, that contains some of the principal elements present on the album: melody, rhythm and a certain sense of suspension given by the cyclic structure of the tracks. Some other surprises are ready to be unveiled already with the second track, because "Way out" (the single that will be released at the end of May) is a beautiful track that melodically recall me Marco Passarani’s "Criticize", with a delicate vocal line sung by Ellen herself. The following track "Retina" changes everything with an opening cello that duet with a bass line and some other layers (string orchestrations and several synth lines) that are added during its length. "Jet" is based on the same concept having a cyclic structure with brass sounds that duet with a pumping rhythm (I found amazing the effect of the guitar distortion that arrive suddenly creating a blast of a jet). Respect "Thrills", ORCHESTRA OF BUBBLES sounds more elaborated and generally with more melody (not melodic, because this isn't techno pop). The techno minimal experimentations dear to Ellen’s style are still present (see "Under" or "Metric") but Apparat presence worked really well and created tracks like "Edison" (where the glitch sounds create a delicate rain effect while a melancholic melody draw by a bass guitar lead you through its four minutes length) and "Leave me alone" (a track album where Apparat lightly sing on cut up violins while bass and drums sign the time of a broken heart). On the definitive version of the CD you can find two tracks that have been added just before the release of the album because the promo copy have been put on the p2p networks. Now you’ve the opportunity to find "Rotary" (a Detroit electro track really intriguing) and "Sleepless" (a beautiful song with Ellen’s vocals. I really dug the harp sound combined with the distorted synth). If you want some in depth info about the project check the website http://www.orchestra-of-bubbles.com.

VV.AA.: Hefty 10 Digest + Prefuse 73 Mixtape

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 26 2006
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Hefty 10 Digest + Prefuse 73 Mixtape
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Hefty (@)
Distributor: Wide
Rated: *****

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To celebrate the ten years anniversary of Hefty Records, here comes this double compilation HEFTY 10 DIGEST. It gathers sixteen tracks/bands on the first CD and a Prefuse 73’s mixtape on the second one. Here Sott Herren uses label's released and unreleased stuff mixing them in an hour long session. With the sixteen songs of the first CD you can check the different musical styles produced by the label: elegant electro (Savath + Savalas, Euphone and Samadha), jazzy minimal upbeat (Phil Ranelin), electro funk (Slicker), experimental pop (Bill Ding), minimal breakbeat (Telefon Tel Aviv, John Hughes, Beneath Autumn Sky and Retina.it) and alternative rock (Ilium). The PREFUSE 73 MIXTAPE is more interesting for me because the polished atmospheres typical of some bands are treated with sandpaper and the beat result the main thing. In this way the various bands like Mondii, Eliot Lipp, Slicker, Some Water and Sun, Scott Herren and John Hughes, Retina.it, to name few, are there to serve the supreme divinity: the rhythm. Don't get me wrong, there's still melody and everything on the final result, but Prefuse 73 did a good job giving to his set a sense and a direction I enjoyed.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Recreation-X Display Disobey V2
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Urbcom Music (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
Already active since 1996 (and so we also have to celebrate their 10th year anniversary, congrats...), this Anglo-Dutch label leaded by both J. Hookens of JERICO ONE and Dave Escott (AWAX) returns with a double full-length CD set presenting rarities and special mixes out of their label program. Lately they could also get a distribution deal with the German Nova Media, so now their work and power will be spread all over the European continent. A DCD indeed has a lot of space to fill, so no real wonder, that several acts are here present with more than one track. Several "guests" are included here, for example the Alfa Matrix recording artist NEBULA H, the well known harsh IDM artist SOMATIC RESPONSES, or the artists of the German Sonic-X label SKORBUT, ANTISTASIS and GLENN LOVE. Bands also co-operate here often for mutual projects, so also this is responsible for a wide musically diversity. The music itself presents all known formulas of modern electronic-based music, styles ranging from Electro, EBM, Industrial, Synth Pop, but also Breakcore, IDM or Trance elements. Favorites can be named with the only one and real EBM piece here, "In Zenith" done by SKORBUT, then the very well worked out experimental tracks by ALIEN SIX, a side-project by Geoff Pinckeny of the UK Synthpop legend THE NINE. Almost well and with a rich amount of diversity is featured by the works of J. Hookens’ own project JERICO ONE, with 6 (!!!) contributions on the top. There is a lot of nice stuff here to be checked out, please read also the very informative introducing words by Amanda Lear and the rich give track informations. A release to follow without hesitation and an impressive start for this label to reach a wider recognition.

DISC-1 [ DISPLAY ]

001: NEBULA-H FEAT PANGEA - andalusion +
002: JERICO ONE & AWAX - dcoy *
003: BIODRONE- c02 *
004: INTERCITY3 - windows [ club mix ] *
005: AWAX - statica [remix] *
006: ALIEN SIX - c sqared [edit] *
007: JERICO ONE> flashing light *
008: GLENN LOVE & T.H.INDUSTRY- iceland
009: KINHO- terminal *
010: ALIEN SIX & JERICO ONE>- stratastate
011: BIONIK PHUNK- supersonic +
012: INTERCITY3 city at night *
013: SEROTONIN- funkwall *
014: DEATHSTAR- mybodydrifting *
015: AWAX- lines *
016: JERICO ONE>- extol *

DISC-2 [DISOBEY]

001: AWAX- ion protocol *
002: DJ****- breakthrough *
003: ANTICRACY- uso derog [edit] *
004: SUDDEN INFANT- angelic agony
005: SOMATIC RESPONSES - omnivox [edit] *
006: SKORBUT- InZenith
007: DJ****- abberration *
008: JERICO ONE>- ulackra *
009: ANTISTASIS- TraumZeit
010: BIODRONE- pusher *
011: JERICO ONE>- bodyshock *
012: DJ****-metrophage plan B *
013: KYOSUKE TOKANAGA- extreamviolation
014: AWAX- know enmies *
015: BIODRONE- distrangled *
016: UNIFORM- day 6 in the season of mistakes *
017: BLACKPEPPER-thOughts

* Exclusive unreleased mixes or edited previously unavailable mixes / compositions
+ White label only or Dvd / promo-video transmissions

BORIS HAUF: Clark

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 30 2006
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Artist: BORIS HAUF (@)
Title: Clark
Format: CD
Label: Sijis (@)
Rated: *****
Minimal and elegant electronic music for Boris Hauf, nothing more that that, everything is quasi essential during the listening. The sound choice is accurate and the mastering done by Todd Carter in Chicago pushes everything at the right place. I think if poor Satie is still wandering up there teaching somebody the discipline of "un-expressivity": down here Boris Hauf shows the lesson has been learnt by heart. This music is a skinny blend between danceable beats and "wide-range" electronics, I think if I'll say idm the most of you may visualize something melodically oriented but that's not the case. As I was saying "clark" is not melodic at all and sails much more in a pool where soft noises, bleeps and beats are the water. If you give a check to Hauf's discography you'll discover he's a "restless child" but if sound quality and song assembling in electronic music does still make sense...all of this hyperactivity brought "ability". "Le chien" is probably the only pure fragment of minimal techno kicking inside this record but somehow the whole "portrait is evolved around this same figurative thought", you will have an hard time finding dance clubs where you can move your feet to songs like "ken doll in the wind" or "she was a state trooper". Lately I got the idea many electronic musician are fusing more and more that genre with post-industrial moods (c’mon, the succes of Pan Sonic disclosed a whole world of possibilities), maybe that's the wrong impression but with weird "objects" like Hauf it’s hard to believe that’s the wrong one.

THE FLUX COMPLEX: Lost Illusions

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 23 2006
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Artist: THE FLUX COMPLEX
Title: Lost Illusions
Format: CD
Label: Trinity Records
Rated: *****
The Flux Complex is a duo featuring Karsten Hamre, better known for his various projects in the dark ambient/industrial field, like Arcane Art, Dense Vision Shrine and Penitent; but here, along with Ioan B'rladeanu, he explores quite different paths, namely trip hop, electronic dub and techno. "Terra Mater" opens the disc with repetitive slow-motion pulses, while "Lux Aeterna" and "Mind Over Matter" add some catchy melodic patterns, and "Camera Obscura" pushes harder on the rhythmic side. "From Time to Time" is a liquid jazzy piece, complete with real drums and double bass, and possibly makes for the most interesting track of the album. Three tracks are then remixed by Defraktor, which is one more alias of Hamre's, but his versions don't seem to add much to the originals... they were ok, they remain ok. As a whole, this is a honest album of smokey late-night music, not very original nor groundbreaking,but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.


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