Music Reviews



INNER VISION LABORATORY: Insane Reality

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 22 2007
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Artist: INNER VISION LABORATORY
Title: Insane Reality
Format: CD
Label: Rage In Eden Records (@)
Rated: *****
After releasing two albums and a mini for Far From Showbiz and Kaos Ex Machina net-labels, I.V.Lab has produced his first CD album for Rage In Eden Records and it is a good one. Containing nine tracks INSANE REALITY it's a good sonic exploration of the themes described into the band's presentation: "It's a cynical story about man, ideals, egoism, sick competition and destroying power of society. Reflection about passing by, daily routine and lost beauty". The music created could be filed under industrial ambient soundtrack because it is amazing to notice how deep is the sensation of space and time you have while you listen to these tracks. The only vocals used are coming mainly from samples (movies, I think) and this increase that effect furthermore. At the beginning of this review I named the term "industrial", well, if you notice how rhythms are created, with that alternation of distorted or saturated drum sounds and samples, industrial is the best way to describe the rhythmic section used. I must also underline how well the sounds and rhythms have been chosen as the production sounds really crisp and it is able to make the listener experience I.V.Lab's vision at the best.

Natural Frequencies: Ornamental Journey

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 20 2007
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Artist: Natural Frequencies
Title: Ornamental Journey
Format: CD
Label: Ozella Music (@)
Rated: *****

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A single listening to Ornamental Journey gives the initial impression of yet one more tedious Nature/Space/Synth CD (at first seeing "New Age" pop up in the Genres category for this release in iTunes almost made me throw up a little inside my mouth), but in truth there is a lot more than meets the ear -- way more.

This masterwork, by Germany-based composer/producer and DJ Andreas Leifeld, is the mellowest of mellow listens, yet it somehow counters that with deft composition, nicely recorded acoustic textures, and appropriate, subtle programming. Leifeld manages to strike such a nearly impossible balance between minimal repetition and complex depth that it takes many listenings to pick up all the clues. Most of the pieces' titles take on an exotic, vaguely third-world "nature" theme, which unfortunately gives the tracks a false impression of innocuousness. Track two, the eight-minute-long "Snake," has the first hint of profound stillness that can settle over you and open up all your senses and personal remembrances, if you let it. On track four, "Hurikea," there is a recitation in Japanese by a low, droning female voice, which, because there is no accompanying translation, gives one a strong whiff of ethnic tourism. (This is entirely forgivable, however, since this is not musical colonialism on the egregious level of, say, a Paul Simon or a David Byrne.) In a similar sense, "Desert" blends chimy percussion, saxophone and synth artfully with only a hint of stereotype. "Mouse & Elephant" aims at weaving a beast fable through surreal accoustic guitar strums, and "Muted City" paints a sad urban landscape with some Chick Corea-esque piano for taste.

On the whole Ornamental Journey is a very "composerish" work, and a lot of mid-twentieth-century Classical Minimalism has gone into the chord changes and song structures, so this is by no means mere knob-twaddling fluff, easy as it is to listen to. That said, it pretty much skirts the soundtrack realm, but what a damn fine movie this would be to watch.

Ashtech: Walking Target

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 20 2007
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Artist: Ashtech (@)
Title: Walking Target
Format: CD
Label: Interchill (@)
Rated: *****
"Walking Target" is the new album by artist Ashtech and producer Gaudi, two UK transplants originally from Italy who have made the UK their home and their sound. The Ashtech sound is a fluid electro-dub melange of deep bass lines, long reverbs, funk guitars, reggae beats and Jamaican MCing that screams London all throughout. 13 tracks of trance-inducing, upper-body-swinging, chill-party-going deep dub where occasional MC's lines will wake your ass up from your hazy dream of strobe lights and dark dancefloors to keep it bouncy and keep up the motion. You can hear influences of Nick Manasseh, Jeremy The Equalizer, Prodigy, Bill Laswell, Surya, Almamegretta (whom he collaborates with steadily). Labels such as On-U Sound, Asphodel, Different Drummer, Select Cuts, Echo Beach would have been perfect for this release, but Interchill was quick at securing Ashtech to their roster. This album is the real deal. It certainly doesn't sound like two Italians making music (at first I didn't even know they were from Italy and I would have put my money on London for sure). If they are on a quest to evolve into an authentic London imprint, then they are certainly there.

AETHERE: The Long & Dark Tea - Time of the Soul

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 20 2007
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Artist: AETHERE (@)
Title: The Long & Dark Tea - Time of the Soul
Format: CD
Label: Rage In Eden Records (@)
Rated: *****
Here we are, with the second release by War Office Propaganda after their name switch into Rage In Eden (they already used that name for their distribution/shop). The name changed but the catalog number is always under the WOP moniker. Anyway... Aethere is the musical project created by a guy called Emanuele Ratti, who's coming from Milan/Italy. He already released a couple of limited CD-Rs and a promo CD distributed by War Office but this newest one is his first proper distributed and promoted album. Before writing this review I read some of Emanuele's websites content and I became aware of his nihilistic/depressed/suicidal attitude. Lately (also because of Marco Corbelli's suicide) I'm always sorry when I see this kind of attitude into people and even more when it is a young guy. Aethere attitude don't interfere into the creation of a good album and on the six movements of "The Long & Dark Tea - Time of the Soul" the particular blend of '70s electronic mixed with dark ambient with a pinch of doom (see the vocals on track 4 and 5). The atmosphere created is always tense and Emanuele is good at creating a convincing alternation of calm moments which blast into a dark electronic mayhem made of sibilant synth sounds, reverbered percussions and growling vocals. Doom atmospheres are converted into electronic cosmic movements with industrial elements.

OTX: A World In Red

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 19 2007
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Artist: OTX (@)
Title: A World In Red
Format: CD
Label: Funkwelten (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Funkwelten isn't a really active label, their past release was last year's Oil 10 album. Fortunately their releases are really good and I've been surprised by the sound and by the cinematic ambience created by their latest two releases. OTX, like Oil 10, is a project of a French guy (his name sounds so Italian as Stefano Piredda sounds coming from Sardinia, so I'm assuming he's French) which had at his active two other albums and an activity as graphic designer. Anyway, A WORLD IN RED contains 12 tracks and 2 remixes which will nail you to your chair because of their intensity. Being influenced by ambient and by techno, Stefano created tracks rich of sounds, rhythms and energy, where drums don't simply sound, but blast! On "Cyber murder" you can find his collaboration with Kenji Siratori (yes, again!) which duet with the apparent calmness of the choirs and guitars. When rhythm section starts, the track turns into a sort of new wave dreamy one with some industrial ambient inserts. If you love classic electronic music but you are also into techno and e.b.m. don't be afraid into checking this one. Great sounds and upbeat rhythms are waiting for you. Just loose yourself and follow the flow of sound...


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