Music Reviews

Pixel: Mantle

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 27 2013
Artist: Pixel (@)
Title: Mantle
Format: CD
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Rated: *****
In spite of the relatively limited array of sounds, mainly venomous puffs, electrical clips from ammeters or plugs, mainly muffled bass bumps, plucked steel tongues, obscure suctions, buzzing surges, surgical incisions, Danish electronic music composer Jon Egeskov aka Pixel dishes catchy dynamics out on "Mantle", his fourth release on Raster-Noton, where he tempers his rhythm-driven approach to a series of hyphenation/articulation of electrons with recurring shifts and skips. Most of tracks sound quite obscure and somehow stifling and the rare breaks are snap-shots when his threatening electro-mechanical entities seem to get some air before they keep on drooling fused silica, neodymium, tantalum and corrosive magma. It's quite interesting to follow the strategies that some aggregrates of buzzes seem to enact to ensnare the whole sonic sphere, particularly on some tracks such as "Ericson Sandstone", "Steel Tape", "Nesting Screen" or "Plump Bob". This is another proof that even perturbing industrial machinery can sound somehow funk.

Dj Rashad: Rollin EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 24 2013
Artist: Dj Rashad (@)
Title: Rollin EP
Format: 2 x 12"
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
After having received support from many artists and musicians of the fierce clique assembled by Kode9, the convincing Chicago-based juke and ghettostyle pusher and producer Rashad Harden aka Dj Rashad revel with beats and styles by means of this enhanced sonic cartridge on Hyperdub, which seems well-intentioned in enhancing its incisiveness within footwork scene, and Rashad is a possible mentor due to his remarkable ability in equalizing and fading past and future levers. He decided to ignite this knick-knack with "Rollin", a springy track where meaningful R&B pitched vocal samples jerk on ringing hi-hats and 808 kicks, which attractively tickles eardrums before the machine gun of amen break trails the listener towards a nice memorabilia of old UK jungle and hardcore sonorities on "Let It Go", a skipped heartbeat for all those ones who still remembers that fervent historical moment of British urban style before the track turns into a shimmering footwork assay. In spite of the fact Dj Manny and Dj Rashad have just 4 hands and 20 fingers, they play like a giant octopus with many tentacles and an imaginary passion for drum machines on "Drums Please", an amazing spray of snares, tom and other percussive fits on Detroit-techno-like minor organ palpitating chords, whereas the soul-oriented vein by Dj Spinn pulsates more on the following "Broken Hearted", which, even though partially effaces Rashad's weaponry on beat, manages to emphasize his versatility.

Break/Eastcolors: So True VIP/Watch Out (Enei Remix)

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 21 2013
Artist: Break/Eastcolors
Title: So True VIP/Watch Out (Enei Remix)
Format: 12"
Label: Symmetry Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
On this little kicking knick-knack, Symmetry Records serves the reshuffles of a couple of tracks, which got already released on the label-sampler "The Other Side" I already mentioned on the occasion of the chat with label-owner and composer Charlie Bierman aka Break. On side A, Break himself waxes the roaring engine of "Love So True" in order to make it more luscious by breading sonic golden plastic, tanned skin, elastic percussive slips and a relaxed bassline on original version without tampering with a certain tropical crispness, while talented Russian producer Aleksei Egorchenkov aka Enei nukes "Watch Out", the impressive debut track by Andrey Terekhov aka Eastcolors on Symmetry, by means of cutting extrusions, blown synth and crackling hats which mined the original pattern in an enjoyable manner. An alternative option for all those (many) djs who are massively playing original versions during their sets.

The Exaltics / Elec Pt.1: The Exaltics Meets Elec Pt.1

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 18 2013
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Artist: The Exaltics / Elec Pt.1
Title: The Exaltics Meets Elec Pt.1
Format: 12"
Label: Solar One Music
Rated: *****
After four months here we are again talking about a new volume of "The Exaltics Meets" series. This time on side B we have Elec Pt.1. Behind this moniker there's Andreas Gehm, a producer from Koln, Germany who produced since 2006 different releases for Bunker Records (five EPs), Panzerkreuz Records (two albums), Abstract Acid (an album and an EP), Snuff Trax and Abstract Acid. This isn't his first time on Solar One, as he already took part to the latest label's compilation "SOM5" with the track "It Feels So...". Since, as reported on The Exaltics interview I did some months ago, "The Exaltics Meets" is a serie where Robert Witschakowski produces tracks according to the genre of the guest musician, this time on side A we have two tracks ("The Midnight Connexion" and "Nichts Aber Auch Nichts") which are inspired by acid techno. As you may know, The Exaltics produces dark vibrating tracks which takes mix elements of techno, electro, ambient and acid and each time we have more or less of each one. The fist tune mix melodic ambient pads, 4/4 upbeat tempos and raving acid leads. The dark madness finds its top on "Nichts Aber Auch Nichts" thanks to grinding TBR303 lines and fast drum machine lines. Stops and go plus some pad enhance the dramatic moments. Side B opens with "Drei Chinesen Mit Dem Acidbass", a track where leads and bass lines follow the typical crazy acid arpeggios while drum machine patterns are built creating a sort of obsessive 4/4 beat where hi-hats, claps and ride sound like fighting. "The Player" sounds a bit darker but the style is quite similar to the previous track. Vocal inserts plus synth noises and tiny melodic lines help characterizing the tune making of it a nice hypnotic tune.

Seba: Identity

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 17 2013
Artist: Seba
Title: Identity
Format: CD
Label: Secret Operations (@)
Rated: *****
Inside the alchemical symbol of fire, the comic portrait of Sebastian Ahrenberg aka Seba depicts himself in a whirlpool of tentacles, diamonds, a cute girl biting apple and everyhting which could summarize a story, including feelings, passions, temptations, pains, fears, thoughts, victories, defeats and whatever seems to be the fuel whose combustive agent cannot be but drum'n'bass. Such a "humanization" of the genre is one of the most relevant aspect of the second labum by this appreciated Swedish producer, which shuffle his best cards for the highest stakes of dnb folowers by conjugating a wide arrays of styles and some hints from past champions: for instance, some of you could recall some intersections between dnb and alternative rock by Pendulum while listening the engaging "Too much too soon", where Jinder seems to sing about the emotive consequences of an impulsive passion, some "romanticized" tunes from Hospital while listening the masterpiece of liquid dnb "Nothing can replace", whose skilled singer could recall the style by Kirsty Hawkshaw (or maybe she is Kirsty Hawkshaw...!?!?!) with vocal nuances which could remember LTJ Bukem's Logical Progressions, some grimly computational pre-apocalyptic atmospheres and the devilish voice-over by Ed Rush & Optical's "Travel The Galaxy" on title-track "Identity", some pad-driven soft skidding by Omni Trio on the initial "Can't Describe" or even some elastic Detroit techno by Basic Channel or Bochum Welt on the unique stunning and somehow unexpected techno track of the album "Midas". In spite of possible remembrances, you cannot but notice the elegant touch by Seba and appreciate his astonishing versatility. There are really many master strokes. My personal favs are the above-mentioned "Nothing can replace", the majestic epic synaesthetical hooks of "Balance of Power" (not so different from some tunes by Upbeats), the perfect crossbreed between progressive techno and breakbeat of "Could this be love" and the heart-melting emotional intensity of the soulful song "Madness". This release by the owner of Secret Operations, which could be considered one of the proper dnb highlights of 2013, cannot but deserve 5 stars.

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