Music Reviews



Chroma: Intermission/Knock Knock

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jun 01 2013
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Artist: Chroma (@)
Title: Intermission/Knock Knock
Format: 12"
Label: C.I.A. Records (@)
Rated: *****
After the prolific Newscastle-based dnb producers James Smith aka Phobia, Kevin bell aka Sato and Ben Duncan aka Tyrone singly dropped sonic bombs on the catalogues of many eminent labels such as Renegade Hardware, Critical, Symmetry, Ingredients and Med School, they joined their forces on Chroma, a project lauched on Klute's Commercial Suicide, Ram's new label Program and Phobia own Coded imprint by means of very good rollers such as "Always Be", "Acetate" and "So Alone", and have announced a new sonic assault on different labels. This release on the renowned C.I.A. perfectly adheres to the uncompromising sonic policy of Total Science's label: they don't show to be thrifty with bursts of speed on "Intermission", which spits fire by means of a pressurized old-school jungle groove, a foaming sub-bass tone and a sound which seems to come from a marble rolling on a metallic surface and furious tribal fills. The suffocating pressure of "Intermission" has been tempered on the flipside track, "Knock Knock", by the gliding of a sample, which preserves the above-mentioned jungle roasting together with the female vocal sample they inserted and got alternated with hard-hitting moments over a sustained flow of jerking drum rolls.

Aoki Takamasa: RV8

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 31 2013
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Artist: Aoki Takamasa (@)
Title: RV8
Format: CD
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Rated: *****
RV8 could be mistaken for the abbreviation of some glossy and efficient engine, but it just refers to the eight rhythm variations that the talented Osaka-based producer Aoki Takamasa, who already delighted Raster Noton's followers by a similar glitch and rhythmic noise oriented release for the unum series in 2009, built with the complicity of Yoshihori Sunahara, who mastered them in a masterly manner. While listening to Aoki's amazing intense moulding on breaks and the engaging way he pixelates, hones or fulminates loops, listeners could imagine him in the act of grapping with levers, buttons, switches, squirt guns, die grinders, welders, belt sanders and other bizarre gizmos. The high appeal which fibrillating vibes and calibrated extrusions of rhythmical patterns by means of vivid samples, vocal snippets, bumping core drills, pleasingly elasticated synthetic tunes could share with dancefloors could even let you imagine Aoki's activity has more similarities with the one by a puppeteer of robotic marionettes that he inspirits by his own playful crossbreeding of grounds of mechanical loops or electric field with stylistical contraptions from downbeat, house, r'n'b and breakbeat. In spite of the substantial homogeneity, each amalgamation bursts with intriguing fast-moving dynamics: percussive elements such as claps, patters, chimes, bops and clackings gleefully wag around listeners by evoking perpetual motions even on the most chilling (particularly the third and the eighth ones) or the most "technoid" variations and its inner batch processing (as suggested by Kohei Terazono's words to describe this release: "beat clap chop pierce thrust polish warp twist burst squeeze expand cut stick overlap shift bend grate paralyze detach stack slip envelope coalesce vibrate shine dim radiate slice weave converge embrace unravel stiffen tremble elapse sink leap float dance drift swell resonate overflow") never sounds tedious or excessively droning. Check it out!

Acid Washed: House Of Melancholy

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 30 2013
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Artist: Acid Washed
Title: House Of Melancholy
Format: CD
Label: Record Makers
Rated: *****
Three years ago Acid Washed, the French duo formed by Andrew Claristidge and Richard d'Alpert released their self titled debut for Record Makers and instantly had their first two opening tracks off that album echoing into the dance floors. "General Motors, Detroit, America" and "Snake" were mixing electro to house and early 80s dance music (the title track is a retro blast) in a fresh and energetic way and just loved their way of creating catchy melodies with a good taste for warm synth sounds. Now the wait is over and Acid Washed are delivering always through Record Markers their new album "House Of Melancholy". The new ten tracks mix house, electro, late 70s early 80s electronic influences of the likes of Philip Glass, Vangelis, John Carpenter and much more. The opening track "Heartbeat Makes" is solemn like an electronic version of "Also Spratch Zarathustra" and it's followed by an instant electropop hit "Fire N' Rain" sung by Blaq Shampu. The first time I listened to it I thought about a mix of 80s pop (like a George Michael dance hit) and 90s seducing techno house. It has it all: sensuality, melody and a catchy refrain! "Golem's Dance" is a particular track: it's based on a nice piano upbeat melody coupled by 808 drum beats, synth pads and it has a certain cinematic atmosphere. "Prince Acid" starts with a 4/4 beats and a cool dark atmosphere and plays around nice melodies and arpeggios alternating in crescendo moments. "For Your Eyes Only" is another instrumental track which reminds me of 80s synth soundtracks. "Gasoline" is a melancholic synth ballad with a deep male voice. "Hello Universe" reminds me of Air for its soft atmosphere and it's a beautiful electro tune with the female voice of "Miss Kittin". "Celestial Choirs Of Barbes" is an atmospheric instrumental mid tempo with pads and nice acid intuitions (bass lines and some rhythms). "Nautilus" is a spacey tune inspired by 90s house and techno with 70s synth melodic solos. The main track closes the album and it's the one I found less immediate as at first sounds like a patchwork of dance, jazz piano chords with classic orchestral intuitions. Anyway, I enjoyed "House Of Melancholy" and thanks to Joakim at the production board, Yan Wagner, Miss Kittin and Ahmad Larnes on vocals, the comrades Hypnolove, Turzi or La Mverte playing around with keyboards and stuff, Andrew Claristidge and Richard d'Alpert may be happy about the final result. The album will be out on June the 3rd in France and then on July in Uk and rest of the world.

µ-Ziq: Xtep

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 27 2013
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Artist: µ-Ziq
Title: Xtep
Format: 12"
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
The frontiline of a legendary generation of producers and musicians who stuffed the IDM slider by many nice and sometimes genial different intuitions is living a moment of upswing over the course of last twelve months, when there has been the resurface from the depths of more or less prolonged silence of notorious artists such Squarepusher ("Ufabulum & Enstrobia"), Autechre ("Exai"), Daft Punk ("Random Access Memories") and more recently Boards Of Canada, whose awaited new album "Tomorrow's Harvest" is upcoming on 10th June; the resurgence of Mike Paradinas' mu-ziq, which deeply influenced British techno scene, is undoubtedly one of the most popular relishes. Even if the nice cover artwork suggests that the oceans Mike dived are full of some bizarre colorants, I could surmise those dissolved pollutants must have some heady active principles and mutagens: there are many clasps to old musical troves on this appetizer, but I have the hunch that many of the above-mentioned musicians sipped from the same spring due to the fact that a certain fondness for 70ies-like pad-synth and some cosmic disco from 80ies has been featured, but together with old-fashioned sonorities, Mike seems to rediscover and evoke juvenile dream state and I could conjecture that the recent musical offspring with his wife Lara Rix-Martin could have foster such a rejuvenation. The dreamy daintiness of a piano which resembles some fluffy 70ies pop melodies, the uplifting arpeggiated funk on a freshet of splashing drums on the initial "XT" plunge into listener's eardrum, before he pour bucketfuls of proto-dance music by means of the lovely "Ritm"n and the gentle raid of cosmic-disco most valiant knights' sonorities on the plumly nostalgic "Pulsar". On the impressive "Monj2", Mister Paradinas let some percussive metallic spheres from his oldest synths collide and float into a vintage cloud of delighting pads, whereas the more clouded 2step of the final "New Bimple" focuses on that limbic haziness which those who loved his mu-zak could easily discern. Really mouthwatering stuff!

Martsman: Shrank/NYCD

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 23 2013
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Artist: Martsman (@)
Title: Shrank/NYCD
Format: 12"
Label: Pushing Red (@)
Rated: *****
New full-blooded streams of fused silica on Heath Looney's label Pushing Red comes from proficient German producer Martin Heinze aka Martsman, who cajoles bass music lovers with a couple of brilliant tracks by this cookie. The amazing "Shrank" falls into the temptation of a sort of sophistication of 90ies garage-step which spreads over a shaped synth-pad before the percussive pillar begins to grind on subtle sounds and and dry up, while on the flipside the initial thin flurry on a mechanical bombard on "NYCD" evolves into a poisonous headbanging techstep, where Martin injects suctioned square waves, spongy basslines and delayed squeak from a rudimentary theremin and radio bleeps. Another sonic gem from this surprising label where a listening needle is going to get threaded.


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