Music Reviews



Erdenstern: Into The Dark

 Posted by Ivan Racheck (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 01 2007
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Artist: Erdenstern (@)
Title: Into The Dark
Format: CD
Rated: *****
After three very interesting releases, covering each a specific color and theme, it was about time Erdenstern explored the dark. When I heard speak about a 4th album of the band I was not all that thrilled to be honest. Small weaknesses on the other releases have been the lack of variation. Even though it has been but small holes in the otherwise magical armor, it made me not so thrilled.
Going into an album that way as a journalist is a good thing. What I hear on this new Erdenstern album is the without a doubt best Erdenstern album up to date. As the other releases have been very good this album put the band in the top of the food chain!
The pure darkness, variation, wonderful choirs, good horror mood, great chants, rituals and atmosphere is what make this album so alive. This even though it´s an album about death.
This time the melodies have taken a step back and instead made way for more experimentation and pure good old horror feel. Still with a freshness and high standard as Erdenstern is known for.
At times this wonderful album tend to be a little too much background music for my taste but as the band wants to do music for RPG games that is intentional and it works!
The artwork is high class but I did not like the pictures of the members. Nothing against them as persons at all but the photos and the way they were inserted is not so good. Comments on the back about being a small label and telling people to not "rouge or pirate".
What I really love with this album and band is the precision which they keep within a set out border! Sometimes with Erdensterns releases you think it is music to a film. They even work with themes or at least very similar melodies. That could be a bit too much but here it is done with more skill than before and with more care to details. I really enjoy listen to this album and if you like fantasy music you should check this one out. You should also (for the first time maybe) get a really good kick out of this album if you like dark ambient. A band such as Shinjuku Thief comes to mind.
Good work Erdenstern!

SYNAPSCAPE: Now

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 01 2007
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Artist: SYNAPSCAPE
Title: Now
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Rated: *****
One of the veteran acts signed to world-wide renowned Ant-Zen label returns with its sixth full-length album (without counting their various collaborations in between...): SYNAPSCAPE, hailing out of Bielefeld, Germany. And what has started 12 years before, finds once again a remarkable and unique continuation. Tim Kniep and Phillip Münch have produced 13 remarkable tracks (okay, only 12 tracks although the art lists 13 tracks...) reflecting different influences, while still remaining their own authentic style. Already the opening instrumental tune "Hormona" takes influences out of Electronica and IDM-influences, while only offering a slight distorted outfit. The speed to offer the best possibilities for some dancefloor action is richly given with tracks like "Tale", "Relate", "Blades" and most of all "Bodies". Besides the heavily use of polyrhythmic distortion elements and strange manipulated synth texture, all of these pieces feature Tim Kniep’s alienated and distorted vocals – the fact that they like to integrate the factor "human" to their music makes them even more unique. This is welcomed and a side-kick to all related and mostly instrumental-producing Powernoise-acts offering repetitions. The track "Espionage" then deals with some Dark Ambient influences by using ominous and atonal synth textures, another remarkable piece. Although that SYNAPSCAPE have lost through their long career a bit of aggression of their early works, this release still holds a lot of hard cakes to bite. But besides all this, it still gives a lecture to acts producing the repetitive Harsh EBM formula featuring annoying voice-samples and a loop-based kind of work. Thumbs up once again for the prove that Powernoise can be diverse but also intelligent and attractive.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: WHW
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
Germany’s special mail order service and underground Powernoise-label SkullLine releases only a few month after "Document A" another compilation. This time they like to celebrate their 1st anniversary of the SkullLine label and for this event they’ve invited besides the complete own roster several acts musically based in the wide field between EBM, Powernoise, Minimal, Ambient, Martial Industrial and Neo-Folk. Of course and thanks to the rich amount of acts joining this compilation, this release comes out as a double-CD packaged in a huge DVD case. Also – as usual – it is limited to 200 hand-numbered copies, from which 64 exemplars will be released as a box-set including a T-shirt.
Giving CD1 a first spin, it is already conspicuous how diverse the musically playing field of this compilation will turn. SkullLine’s very own act TT provides an intro-track which comes unusual dark, while KALIBER 9 storming merciless in your brain with a hefty Powernoise tune, a remix of their track "Neurotoxin". Neo-Folk-inspired works musically supported by acoustic guitars you’ll get with the appearances of BERKANA ("Sehnsucht Nach Dem Frühling" – lyrics originally written by August H. Hoffmann, a well-known traditionally German text) or ROSE ROVINE E AMANTI. Rather sedating comes the Dark-Ambient tune of EINHEIT 731, while BLEIBURG surprises once again with an outlook to a coming new album, "Der Meldereiter" comes out as a straight rhythmic-oriented track featuring some amusing German voice samples. In between we have STANDGERICHT, another project new signed to SkullLine, offering Minimal textures with a slight noisy ingredient. Something new also from SHIFT 69, the track "Arbeit" features retro-EBM structures and sampled and vocoderized vocals – WELLE:ERDBALL can be named to be a quell of inspiration. The term "Noise" in a rhythmically form returns with the appearances of both ZYANKALI and TRITON 83, and with LIFE’S DECAY one of the international better known artists joins this comp. MANMACHINE, last but not least, ends this compilation with a rather dark Ambient-tune, also from this act a new release out on SkullLine is in the works.
CD2 got opened by MARK LANE offering a moody Dark Electro/Ambient-driven track entitled "Atomium". Other striking appearances have to be named with LADY MORPHIA ("Widerstand" – something between Goth and Neo-Folk, well-done male vocals and a orchestral-like musically building.), NEJET NOK ("Singen, Lachen, Töten", minimal retro-EBM structures with pitched vocals and German lyrics which cause a smile...) and SCHALLGEWALT ("Electrocabinette", a minimal but speedy rhythmic piece remixed by BLEIBURG). Also a positive point is the fact that especially the second CD of this set doesn’t forget to include some more or lesser known acts like MELEK-THA, HYBRIDS, CONTAGIOUS ORGASM or KENJI SIRATORI, all providing stuff in their representative styles.
Although the second CD out of this set may features the better-known names, the favorites can be mostly heard on CD1, at least to my personal preferences. SkullLine-chief Harald Jarosch has once again concentrated to collect a very diverse and wide-ranging music compilation, on which no appearance sounds like any other on here. Some surprises drifting in unexpected musically regions seems to become more and more a trademark of his work for the SkullLine label as well, so let’s listen and see what the coming months will bring until we’ve to celebrate the 2nd year anniversary.

Tracklist:

CD 1 :
01. TT – WHW (intro)
02. Kaliber 9 – Neurotoxin (RMX)
03. Berkana – Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling (Lyric of August H. Hoffmann)
04. Einheit 731 (S.T.A.B ELECTRONICS INC.) – Last Glint
05. Rose Rovine E Amanti – Noi Ritorneremo
06. Von Thronstahl – Returne your Revolt into Style (Boss / Lagerfeld Mix)
07. Standgericht – Total Discipline (V2)
08. Bleiburg – Der Meldereiter (RMX)
09. Shift69 – Arbeit
10. Heiliges Licht – Untitled (only for WHW)
11. Zyankali – Zyklon
12. Triton 83 – Insolent Ungodliness
13. Life’s Decay - Regimental
14. MDMA – Vengeance
15. Bonemachine – Rhythmus der Einsamkeit
16. Manmachine – We Love in Still

CD 2 :
01. Mark Lane – Atomium
02. Genocide Lolita – Haganah Whores
03. Lady Morphia – Widerstand (symphonic version)
04. Melek-tha – Complaint de la Terre Brulee
05. Nejet Nok – Singen, Lachen, Töten
06. Hybryds – Resistance
07. Von Liebenfels – Sailing Homeward
08. Zhark – Eisenzeit (C-64) Dedicated to Josef Maria Klumb/Von Thronstahl
09. Kenji Siratori – Rebirth
10. Exemtum – Tribute to Club Moral
11. Camisole – Recycle the Dead
12. Contagious Orgasm – The Fall
13. Iron Youth feat. The 120 Days – White Comfort (Re-2007)
14. Lonsai Maikov – Coup de Grace (demo)
15. Schallgewalt - Electrocabinette (RMX by Bleiburg)

SIGILLUM S: 23120

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 26 2007
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Artist: SIGILLUM S (@)
Title: 23120
Format: CD
Label: Verba Corrige
Rated: *****
After seven years from their latest release, Sigillum S (Eraldo Bernocchi, Paolo Bandera and Luca Digiorgio) are back to celebrate their twenty years of activity. The new album 23120 has been issued as CD and limited double vinyl and they differ because they have seven exclusive tracks each, for a total of 23 new tracks. At the moment I received only the CD edition, so I'm going to talk about that one. I know Sigillum S since day one and I must say that I appreciated a lot their early stuff and a bit less the "Malattia" saga, musically talking. With 23120 they are back with a sound that sum twenty years of musical experiences that the trio had with Sigillum S and also with many other projects (Eraldo collaborated with many dub/experimental music gods as well as Paolo gathered many recordings under the Sshe Retina Stimulants moniker where we can see him as noise manipulator or under the Komplet one). As far as I understood Paolo gathered tons of sound sources (noises, electronics, samples, etc.) and Eraldo recorded and engineered everything. Many other people helped them with audio contributions (Andrea Marutti, Zu, Xabier Iriondo, Mark Solotroff to name few) and some tracks see also guests on vocals, guitars, etc. The sixteen tracks of the CD edition amaze first of all because the sound production and because the "thick" ambience they are able to create. If you want me to be more specific, I can talk about 23120 as a great obscure ambient dub album with many industrial and experimental inserts. You can find tension on each track and if on the dub/industrial crossover of "Soil-Borne Bacterium Root To Insect Pets & Safe To Higher" it explodes (thanks to the distorted vocals of Della Volpe), on tracks like "Legacy Of Identity Politics (Kill, Kill, Kill)" (which reminds the sound of one of their old tapes "Bardo Thos-Ghrol) or "Adventurous Contemporary Tune" is something more subtle, more like a crawling sensation. Great sounds and great atmospheres are making of this album a really good come back for Sigillum S. Do yourself a favor and check it!
Sep 25 2007
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Artist: TIZIANO MILANI (@)
Title: Chamber music for screeching and artificial insects
Format: CD
Label: Setola di Maiale (@)
Rated: *****
Second full length for this artist some of you have probably heard since he’s been used as primary sound source for the recording of Claudio Parodi’s "Horizontal mover" on Extreme records. It’s surprising how some barely unknown artists can put out a cd so intense that blows away bigger productions or even the most famous names, but this’ just one of the many cases I’ve the chance to find recently. Milani’s works present a crepuscular blend of different influences well assorted in what in general can (or should I say "will") be classified as electronic music. My reticence in speaking about electronic music has to do with the fact you can hear many acoustic instruments floating here and there in the magmatic flux, but I still dunno what is played and what’s not: who cares anyhow?. Another weird side effect I’ve sensed is the nocturnal modern jazz/contemporary classic feel that imbues the whole exhibit, be it for the harmonic dissonances or for the soft elegant interventions he’s put parsimoniously during the assemblage of every fragment. The full-length is divided in seven tracks evolving around the same harmonical/musical idea alas the global listening is really homogeneous, despite the long duration it’s not a boring release, sure it’s a intense and heavy trip, but while requiring a lot of attention it keeps the evocative power unaffected from the first to the last second. How does it sounds like? Like a dronical, post jazzy, atmospherical cloud where you have some scattered instruments crossing the scenario very discretely, therefore far from those short rides you hear in the most recent electro acoustic releases. While you some concrete sounds make their guest appearance in some of the acts, many sounds are patiently lead in and out of to the scene thanks to an intelligent use of delays and reverbs and above all thanks to a clever superimposition of layers. Yes, this work is what we may consider a dronical, electronical layering of different things even thought as I’ve already said the result is quite coherent in its elegant crepuscular dress. I’ve had the impression this music could concretize what happened if only David Tibet would have been much more into jazz or contemporary classic music instead of being lost in psychedelia and folk, probably it has to do with the "scattered memories" feel created by the odd melodies plus the field-recordings/samples drowning in the dark pool. Enchanting, odd record here: give it a try.


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