Music Reviews



ZIMOUN: Drums

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Nov 06 2004
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Artist: ZIMOUN
Title: Drums
Format: CD
Label: Leerraum (@)
Rated: *****
Zimoun is a young Swiss artist active in the visual field (photos, sculptures, etc.) and the musical one, with both rhythmic electronica and experimental/droning compositions, live improv and installations. As the title suggests, his debut cdr on his label Leerraum belongs to the former field, with hypnotic, dark minimal techno. All tracks are built around a simple, yet effective structure: a looped beat and really subdued, ghostly ambiences. Zimoun's ability lies in making this formula work throughout, as the same ingredients can easily turn into crap (and often do). I was reminded of EAR's collaboration with Thomas Koener, plus a bit of Brinkmann and Berlin-style techno. I'm definitely not a sucker for beats, but these are just the way I like them: minimal and obscure.

SHITMAT: Full English Breakfest

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 29 2004
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Artist: SHITMAT (@)
Title: Full English Breakfest
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Eccentric, sometimes violent and totally crazy. This are the main characteristics of Shitmat's FULL ENGLISH BREAKFEST. The tracks have been released as five EPs between July and August and then printed on CD but if you buy the vinyl you will end up with 7 more tracks than the 14 of the CD. The extra 7 are available digitally on www.bleep.com, the Warp's website for downloading digital music. The tracks mix frenetically everything you can ever listen on radio and TV (Aerosmith riffs, soul music, metal, tv excerpts, etc) with breakbeat attitude and raggamuffin vocals. It's like to put everything into a blender and then put your ear near it. Sometimes, for my tastes, the tracks sound too fast (each few seconds there's a new loop added) but this is Shitmat's stlyle: fast and hard. Atmosphere changes radically from track to track and rhythms rule them all. I liked tracks like "Haile selassie rules o.k." which had also melodic inserts opposed to the frenetic side. Not exactly my cup of tea, but Shitmat's capability of keeping everything in control is remarkable.

MARK ONE: One Way

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 27 2004
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Artist: MARK ONE
Title: One Way
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
I'm sorta new to grime music definition. I checked the web and I found a page on Reflex records (label which is deeply linked to Mark One) and this is what I found: "In the 80's, maybe it was House, Techno and Electro. In the 90's it was UK-G, Drum and Bass, Breaks or whatever. Now there are so many terms for it that the journalists can’t pidgeon-hole it any more". Personally I never invented a new definition/genre as I try to stick on the bands I know without inventing nothing new but I understand them as magazines want to discover always the next big thing just to dump it two month after. Anyway, to my ears Mark One's ONE WAY is a good mixture of hip hop, techno and drum'n'bass and he succeeds into producing eleven tracks of pumping rhythms, where the experimental side of the whole thing isn't less important respect the lyrics (as far as I know into hip hop, lyrics are half of the track). If you are used to listen to MTV, please forget the attitude of those millionaires who are only interested into chicks and fights: Mark One (here helped out by Virus Syndicate) is genuine and brings you tons of bass frequencies, melody and energy. Dig this one!

JULIAN FANE: Special Forces

 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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Sep 15 2004
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Artist: JULIAN FANE
Title: Special Forces
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Julian Fane is a young guy but he isn't an inexperienced musician. He could be young but he balanced the apparent lack of experiences, which common people would think a young guy could have, with creativity. SPECIAL FORCES is his first album and it contains so many moods and musical ambiences that you'll be surprised. Julian blends atmospheres a la Robert Wyatt (on "Safety man" and "Freezing in haunted water") with classical moments (see his piano arrangements) and i.d.m. extravaganza (see the deconstructed structure of many background sounds as well as some rhythmic solutions on tracks like "Book repository" and "In space"). Tracks like "Book repository" will capture you with their hypnotic ambientations and will convice you that there should be something magic going on in Canada. SPECIAL FORCES is an album to discover little by little and you'll find something special also in its sad atmospheres. In this case sad hasn't got a self destructive meaning but it's mostly introspective and this album is really packed of feelings. Not that bad for a 21 year guy, don't you think?

mindFIELD: Singularity

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 29 2004
Artist: mindFIELD (@)
Title: Singularity
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
This Boston based electronic project is run by Gabriel Shaw. Shaw, who is known as a prolific keyboardist, has collaborated with such well known projects as Fear Factory and Killing Joke. He has toured live with Chemlab on their 2005 tour and has been hired by Apple Macintosh to perform at thier computer shows as well as touring as the drummer for MonoChrome. When he tours live he takes fellow keyboardists Regan Miller and Stacia Tucker. Heavily influenced by early 80's bands as well as projects like Orbital Gabriel combines the emotionally driven sounds of the early Wave bands with well structured loops and bass lines to create a sound all his own. Singularity was recorded entirely at home on his PC, a mode many modern electronic independent musicians are taking these days as the album ends up in MP3 format eventually anyway. Singularity tends to be dark and melodic, music that is good for lounging or the dancefloor. Evidently mindFIELD has seen some earlier success when MP3.com was alive and hopefully this release will help to revive Shaw's recognition to the public audiences. There are many nearly ambient backing elements to support the dance rhythms and smooth vocals which comprise this release which I find a welcome compliment as I prefer music that is versatile to different moods and environments, something this definitely fulfills in a skillful and artful manner at that. Gabriel's eclectic tastes and love of music definitely show through fluently within this release. The album follows a rather consistent trend until you come to track six titled "1:1.618" which was initially released as free download from the band's website which features a bit more of a drum-n-bass beel to it with heavily vocoded vocals. This and track nine "An Antiphon Cure" are the most obvious standouts on the disc but not because they are better, just much faster. It's rather difficult to choose any tracks on this release as 'better' than others as they are all unique in their own ways and all beautiful in others.


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