Music Reviews



Queensway: East West

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 19 2016
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Artist: Queensway
Title: East West
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Syncopix Records (@)
Rated: *****
A clip for a track, which came out on Blu Mar Ten Music three or four years ago, looking like a sort of advertisement for cheap garment, accessories or costume jewellery, persuaded me to ignore the stuff by the Ukrainian producer Nikolay Shvets aka Queensway and the circumstance that his new album came out on the self-named label by Syncopix, the moniker of Roland Boghdan - another producer who seems too obsessively focused on jingles than tunes - almost persuaded to do the same for his recent outputs. I decided to set aside some reservations about music makers, who sold their talent to marketing, and pressed play to listen to its recent album "East West". I have to admit this guy is a really talented producer and even if some tracks keep on sounding so loungy that the above-described first impression got somehow validated - I could mention "A'l Cappuccino", which could perfectly work as a musical background in a beauty center for fashionistas, or "Generation", which makes me imagine a finger food course unmeaningful (but nonsensically chic) meal -, Queensway's skills in forging soulfully lukewarm moments, particularly those ones when he seems to reprise 90ies chill dub or electronic downbeat of the following decade such as "The Untitled", "Airsand" or the title-track "East West" as well as something up-tempo like "To The Stars" or "Cym", manage to mitigate and tone down my opinion on excessively stereotyped sonic casting.

VV.AA.: The Re:Birth EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 15 2016
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: The Re:Birth EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Utopia Music (@)
Rated: *****
The cover artwork of this release could look like a party favor for St.Valentine's Day, but in spite of love for music is something for noble-hearted people, it's just the image that Utopia Music used for a compilation of four tracks. The label has partially got out of our radar, as its activity got partially frozen by the plenty of collaborations of his boss Mako for other labels. Moreover, it seems Mako decided to save plastic and money in order to increase the digital releases in their pot, but quality of bass-driven sonorities stays the same: the first two tracks explore some interesting depths of mid-tempo DNB, but while "87", the track by which David 'Hydro' Pearson, Samy 'War' Ponsar and Mateo 'Mateba' Zanibelli begin the dive, sounds more anxious, Paul 'Coerce' Webb comes adrift less stormy waters on the almost relaxing track "Merkava", which gets closer to chill-dub stylistic territories. Israeli producer increases the level PLK on the amazing computational hyper-stepped movement of "Dreamware", whose digital smooths got rippled by roaring low frequencies and nice echoes - it could resemble some stuff by Photek -, and paves the way for the almost unrecognizable ReDub by label boss of Sunchase's "Nathnennia", whose underwater-like delays and daydreaming dilutions are suitable for romance between humans and sea horses...

Kode9: Nothing

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Feb 12 2016
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Artist: Kode9
Title: Nothing
Format: CD
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
In spite of its title, the first solo album by Steve Goodman aka Kode9, the man behind the curtains of the excellent Hyperdub, is not really a devotional act to nihilism. Many musicians and sound artists prefer to refer to their recording studio as proper laboratories, as the connection between science and sound is closer than someone could guess and the work on sound parameters could look like the one of a scientist which test different conditions for an experiment; Kode 9 seems to build a sonic bridge between his sonic science and quantum mechanics, but you don't need to know quantum field theory or other matters to appreciate Kode9's output, even if I could say as an occasional reader of that branch of literature where more or less notorious theoretical physicist try to make the matter easier for common people, "Nothing" could enhance any peak over some interesting scientific ridges: the opening "Zero Point Energy", which got ignited by colliding metallic electrons before a sort of black hole (simply a distorted bass) swallows the track, as well as many other sticky sonic grids like the perfectly cut "Holo" - a really impressive output that he made by modified female vocals, synth sound, sub-bass pulsations and astonishing percussive elements -, the gorgeous "Zero Work" - a sort of strange artifact from some unknown planet in between future dubstep and footwork -, the trap-like computational chains of "Notel" and "Vacuum Packed", the rhythmical beat-driven rolling of "Respirator" where a human breathe sounds like overlapping the radar picture of cosmic breathe, the funny ping-pong of samples on "Casimir Effect" or the masterfully remake of "9 Samurai" (together with Spaceape), one of the best moment of his first steps that he renamed as "9 Drones" immediately launch listeners into this sort of augmented hyperreality, where the joy of discovery and the concern of human mind in front of the Infinite coexist. Likewise catchy, the memory of his friend and partner-in-art Spaceape, who died after a prolonged battle against cancer in 2014, is another strong feeder of this great album: he seems to live again on the track "Third Ear Transmission" in the shape of an immortal digital entity which managed to find a broadcasting channel from the afterlife dimension that he already knows, as well as in the enchanting "Void", a tune which was originally made for the vocalist, and the final "Nothing Lasts Forever", whose whimsical electric overture got pulverized by the 9 minutes of silence that follow...

Sabre: Yoga - Alix Perez remixes

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Feb 11 2016
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Artist: Sabre
Title: Yoga - Alix Perez remixes
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Plasma Audio
Rated: *****
One of the first beating of wings by Melbourne-based label Plasma Audio was "Yoga", a track by which DJ Gove Kidao aka Sabre combined sinister catchy sonorities and bouncing wonky beats; the label recently decided to reprise it and include that tune in a release, which includes a couple of remixes of a young wizard of drum 'n' bass scene, the Noth-London-based Belgian DJ and producer Alix Depauw aka Alix Perez, who already collaborated with Sabre on some beat-driven sonic patterns. Both his Club mix and his Warped mix features a higher ratio of inertia as the elements of the original version sound more burdened with distortion, an aspect which got slightly mitigated by wider echo and reverberation as well as by some funny collisions of "bumps" against "swishes" on the first one, which I mostly prefer for shrewdly inoculated embellishments.

Starving Insect: The Great Nothing

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Feb 08 2016
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Artist: Starving Insect (@)
Title: The Great Nothing
Format: CD
Label: Dark. Descent. (@)
Rated: *****
You can guess a certain skill in approaching somehow old-fashioned sonorities of Stockholm-based producer Alexander Kassberg, the guy behind Starving Insect's torn curtains, since the opening "Overhead Without Any Fuss, The Stars Were Going Out", whose fuss lies on a typically thumping bass tone that was extensively used by gabber-techno makers in the glorious age of pink elephants, which rises together after getting down the shaft of claustrophobic industrial sonic entities in the first part of the track, where a menacing voice states that "all life is a waste of time" sets the slightly disquieting emotional ground. The knocking dry beats got intersected by the rubberlike "gabberesque" ones, squeaking chains, weak claps and morbid blowbacks on the following "Breeding The Threnodies", the first collaborative track with Robin "Omnicide" Alander as well as one of the most recently recorded by the insect, which keeps on digging mazes into previously fertile grounds on the more dark/EBM oriented "Sleep Is Death", over the agonizing roars of distorted bass of "There Are No Doors", the slaughtered bass-pumped procession of "IDDQD" - "something different" or "nothing at all" according to the sampled voices that Alexender inserted in the track -, the quasi-epic sinisterly fetid breezes of "Dormant Storm" - the atmosphere of a forthcoming tragedy got nicely emphasized by an alerting shout, warning of a coming storm - and the snarling hits of "Visions of the Blind Dead", which features an ill gothic dulcimer melody over the same old mincing of sharp hammers. The second collaborative track with Omnicide, which ends this release, titled "Allt Dor", is maybe the one where the above-described pre-apocalyptical poisonous fumes got their better shape, whose combination of dark nuances and wisely decelerated hardcore techno steps could let you imagine a rave-party for zombies (or maybe for a growing part of our plagued societies, which seems to be haunted by starving insects...?). The author suggests to play it loud...consider his suggestion!


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