Music Reviews



Toini: Electronic Biscuits

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 22 2002
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Artist: Toini
Title: Electronic Biscuits
Format: CD
Label: Mital-U (@)
Swiss female electronic artist Raffaela F. (previously with rock-wave band Micro Kids), aka Toini, is back with a remix cd following her full length album "Amble". "Electronic Busicuits" contains 6 remixes by skillful producer/remixer/Dj Marco Repetto. I don't remember whether he's swiss or italian (I might have met him once) but he is the guy behind the Axodya and Inzec labels, who also performs with Terra Cava Soundsystem and formerly with punk (and beyond) bands Glueams, Grauzone (check this out, it means "gray area"!), Eigernordwand, Suonatori. He's got records out on acid/techno/house/trance labels from all over the world, including Generator (US), Rephlex, T&B Vinyl (UK), Spacefrogs, Trigger, Superstition, Deli-Rium, Essex (Germany), Kromode and Minus Habens' sub-label Disturbance (Italy), El Buho (Switzerland) and of course his own two Swiss labels. He is also part of the Paris-based international TNC network (www.tnc.net), a new-media event label dedicated to digital culture & lifestyle who was also behind the worldwide internet/tv y2k Hacking Millennium Party... Anyway, after spinning at loooots of raves (I remember his name on many of bills from the time I lived in Switzerland), playing with bands, releasing and producing music, this talented musician had to do the remix thing and he sure did good. "Electronic Biscuits" is experimental electronic mixed with minimal techno and hi-pass filtered vocals in the style of Kirlian Camera's recent techno journeys (but less apocalyptic and claustrophobic) and with influences that range from the Detroit style and stuff like Jeff Mills to the more experimental, freaky, weird and wired things out there... Vocal loops and far-away hi-freq vocal parts, drum machine sounds and driving kicks, vocoder sounds, synthetic pads etc, it's all there, all you need is the lights and a heavy-duty amp! ;-) Unfortunately I don't have "Amble" here with me and I can't remember how it sounded, but I think this is totally different stuff, proof that a good remixer is able to give songs a whole new life by turning them into autonomous compositions, which is what I think should be the goal of every remix (not like some other producers who think they can just sync a 4/4 tekkno kick sample and the remix is well and done!).
PS For those of you who're into dadaism/situationism, I found out with great surprise and pleasure that Mital-U has some interesting information on their site about that.

DELPHIUM: DARKFLOOR EP

 Posted by Alex "The Butterman"   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 13 2002
Artist: DELPHIUM (@)
Title: DARKFLOOR EP
Format: 7"
Label: THE CEILING (@)
Distributor: THE CEILING + WRECK AGE
Although the one-maned project known as DELPHIUM is usually categorised in the dark-wave experimental slow industrial rhythm section, the "Darkfloor EP" (released by THE CEILING) represents a new turn in the band's already varied discography.

This EP features three seperate pieces, each with its own clour and flavour, if you will. "Green Lane With Delphium" features very oddly cut-up drum-n-bass / jungle beats, with some phat and freaky synth lines and sequences to add more rhythmic dynamic to the mix. Slightly too off the edge to be anywhere club friendly. The other two pieces ("Bleep 27" and "Kill.All.Scooter.Riders.") feature more weird cut-ups and keyboard manipulation, but the techno-influenced beats are somewhat more straightfoward in their delivery. Yet, even with a rather "simple" and repetitive drum track, the songs can't be played in normal discotheques unless the DJ wishes to clear the room of all house-music lovers.

In essence, this reviewer can't really think of any other category to put this little gem into, but I have faith that people into a different, more edgy techno D&B will find this release to their liking. I certainly did!

LYS: Roi-lune

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 28 2002
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Artist: LYS
Title: Roi-lune
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie/Lytch (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Lys is Prikosnovenie's producer Frédéric's creature, here issuing its first full-length work (after the Nang-Faa project) on the subdivision Lytch, devoted to electronic, trip-hop, ambient and ethnica. Fred takes care of voice, samples, percussions, composition and engineering, with a tribe of guest musicians including Von Magnet's Phil Von, GOR's Francesco Bianchini and Christian Wolz. I must say I was a bit skeptical when I read the "ethnic-trip-hop" definition on the press-sheet, but the cd is definitely a nice surprise. While it actually has an electronic component, the ethnic characteristic (Northern African and Arabian music mainly, I'd say) is prevalent, and it's played with evident passion and good taste. Think of the non-medieval Dead Can Dance, Lisa Gerrard, or Von Magnet – it's remarkable how the acoustic played parts perfectly merge with the programmed ones, and the latter don't sound like an alien element. A good record.

Laurent Brondel: Weld

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 24 2002
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Artist: Laurent Brondel
Title: Weld
Format: CD
Label: Tone Casualities (@)
Distributor: Proper Sales & Dist.
Here's some really cool shit for the intelligent dancing masses... Originally (and still) a talented Holdsworth-style guitar player, Laurent Brondel will now utilize, warp, meld and weld any available instrument to achieve the aural satisfaction he's after. He says he likes it dark and long and even though the songs rarely go over six minutes, working towards that hypnotic musical recurrence seems to be doing the trick. In this album his Dj skills mixed with a couple of occasional special guests on trumpets (Cuong Vu, whose last album Brondel has produced) and guitars (Fred Consavela), and with the addition of lots of sampling, splicing, (re-)arranging, improvisation etc, give it a nice urban feel but also sort of a global Chemical Bros vibe and sometimes the beautiful trip-hop even reminds you of Massive Attack or Portishead (listen to "21st Century Lounge" and its fire organ samples). When the beat gains speed though, he really dives into the drum 'n' bass territories but seems to be feeling right at home and not just visiting... The tracks are powerful and well programmed, they flow and glow like gems in a crowded dancefloor. Alternating really well done d'n'b with more atmospheric chill-out lounge stuff, the album is complete with so much you'll have your hands full for a while... I've gone through the 13 pieces several times and could discover some new things every time. Turned out to be and exciting listening experience. Personally I really like the album and I think he's got great skills and his break drum'n'bass material is extremely valid! Not everything's about breakbeats only! The sounds are truly nice and punching. The stuff's really dope and reminded me of the times when I was mixing that other super cool live d'n'b human-machine drummer that is Jojo Mayer and his Prohibited Beatz band, who I am mentioning because the most beat-intensive songs on this record are really close to what those NY guys were improvising during their legendary shows. I can't imagine what Jojo and Laurent wouldn't put on fire if they'd team up for a gig!
By the way, look out for three more records by this artist on Statra records.

RAS.AL.GHUL: Synmatic Layers

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 23 2002
Artist: RAS.AL.GHUL (@)
Title: Synmatic Layers
Format: CD
Label: This.Co (@)
This must be the fifth cd by the Lisbon duo, and the first one on their recently founded label Thisco. Ras.Al.Ghul are experienced veterans and you can feel that in the perfect balance of beats, programmings and samples of these 10 new tracks. New cinematic soundscapes perfectly merging ambient electronica, dub, drum'n'bass and trance/intelligent techno in mesmerizing compositions of crystalline beauty. If you can imagine Kraftwerk playing songs by African Head Charge by using modern digital equipment, you'll get close to the picture. Just listen to the opening track, with that blend of dub cadences and d'n'b counterpoints. On a sidenote, it seems that this cd is a bit lighter and more dynamic than the previous one, "Sonic Yonic". Great stuff, recommended as always.


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