Music Reviews



ARDITI: Standards Of Triumph

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 19 2007
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Artist: ARDITI (@)
Title: Standards Of Triumph
Format: CD
Label: Equilibrium Music (@)
Distributor: Augioglobe
Rated: *****
I know that this one has been released a while ago, but I had the opportunity to have a copy only now and I didn't want to skip the review. Anyway... As you may already know Arditi take their name from a branch of Italian army that were active during the first decades of the twentieth century famous for their efficiency and also appreciated by the Italian Futurist Movement. Nowadays, Arditi, is a duo formed by H. Möller and M. Björkman (active also with Puissance and Algaion). STANDARDS OF TRIUMPH is their fifth release (counting also the split with Thoroid) and it contains nine new epic militaristic suites. The Arditi's sound has the taste of rust and dust and is really evocative. Recorded with a low-fi approach, the album is really hypnotic and when the orchestration duet with distant choirs of unknown provenience you are like charmed. The few sung tracks increase the bitter taste created by the music by declaiming the death of the West. Read the lyrics of "The Sinking Ship". It says: "The world is a sinking ship / Sunk by the weight of six billion people / We were sentenced to this fate / By those who preached that they all / Are as good as you and I / That they all should decide our destination / Though none of them has found a meaningful / Direction for themselves / Now everything we loved will die / Unless we get another go at steering / So here we stand, / On the summit of the aft, / Hurling defiance / at those who are our misfortune". I know that it could sound like the same old Militaristic Neo-Classical soup, but try it and tell me how it tastes...

VESTIGIAL: Vestigial

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 19 2007
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Artist: VESTIGIAL (@)
Title: Vestigial
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Distributor: Tesco
Rated: *****
Dark ambient is a difficult genre. This could sound a stupid sentence because everyone with a computer and a decent sound card is able to growl into a mic and to sample some CDs, but in the same sentence you can find the naked truth, because if everyone could be good at making industrial or ambient music the difficult part is represented by giving a good ambience to the recording itself. Vestigial, fortunately for my ears, is really good at making sound his music involving and disturbing thanks to the good mixture of pads, reverbered vocals and treated noises. The four tracks of his first MCD remembered me something of Lustmord of the "Paradise disowned" period. The grinding sub-tones and the cyclic synth sounds form suites where the concept of the "sun that never sets" take form. Check Vestigial myspace page to check his sound at http://www.myspace.com/sunthatneversets.

MORIARTY: Equation Of Madness

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 19 2007
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Artist: MORIARTY (@)
Title: Equation Of Madness
Format: CD
Rated: *****
Moriarty is the collective project of John Cult, JeFF Boss, Bertand Barbier and Stan Adry, all involved in electronica / dark electro projects in France and Belgium. After their first CD "Synthetic feelings" they prepared their second full length by sharing ideas and recordings through the web. EQUATION OF MADNESS is the newest release of the combo and at a first listening I have to say that it is a real dark one. Most of the tracks are based on a dark ambient/experimental approach. At the end of the album I can't tell that I remember something of it, I feel almost disturbed and this is a good result anyway. Of the twelve tracks I preferred the dark suites based on synth sounds (like "Staring at yourself" or "Dark light") to the ones based on pure sound manipulation, because they were sounding more personal. For sure this is an album that needs more than a listening to be full appreciated and for sure along with that disturbing sensation you'll find something more.

CONCISE: Revive

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   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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Mar 16 2007
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Artist: CONCISE (@)
Title: Revive
Format: 3 x CD (triple CD)
Label: Wycombe Music (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
The Rostock/Germany-based label Wycombe Music returns with a new release, which comes as a special 3-CD digi-pack (or how they call it: CD-digifile-triplepack). It features three (you got it!!!) full-length releases by the acts CONCISE, FLAQUE and X_DYNAMICS, while the globally concentration lays on the male/female duo CONCISE. With Soulfood they could also get a new and better distributor, so that my hopes are high for some more attention. Three different CD’s featuring very different music, I prefer therefor to separate them here.

CONCISE – Revive
Consisting of Katrin Segert (vocals) and Christian Graß (music, also active with the act HIGH WYCOMBE), this duo returns after their last year’s release "The Power Of Love", an EP featuring a cover version of the classic ballad originally composed by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It should be mentioned that this EP in comparison to this new full-length release could only give a limited insight to the sound and ideas behind this project, the EP was therefor a bit too much influenced by the different guest artists which have created remix works. It’s definitively Synthpop music, yes, but with several influences taken out of IDM, Trip-Hop or Dn’B music. CONCISE manages hard to avoid any repetitive 80ies influences, it is rather concentrating to sound modern and to show different interpretations of Synthpop music. Not all song structures remain into the 4/4-on-the-floor formula, several times the tracks are unforeseeable arranged and break out of known convention. This stuff is intelligent arranged and needs some attention to pick up the whole content. It should be also mentioned that the music construction at times causes a kind of nervousness. It is hardly thinkable that the music would come to a smooth result, if there wouldn’t be the sedative vocal performance by Katrin Segert, which sorts the whole musically output a bit. This duo also received additional help by Lars Sembach, who provides here and there some acoustic Side Stick performances. Favorites I would like to name with "Innocent E-walk" for its rather "floating-along-known-paths" attitude, "Done", which features the completely range of Katrin’s vocal performance, and "Ojibway". Globally a different kind – I tend to say experimental kind of Synthpop music rather seldom heard before.

FLAQUE – Mindscapes
The name FLAQUE I’ve heard before only from CONCISE’s previously released "The Power Of Love" EP, on which this one-man act has provided a remix for this well-known track. This project consists of Florian Ziller and it is musically rather based into Ambient and Electronica music. He combines surreal and cold synth layers with environmental noises (for instance a thunderstorm on "Flares, or a driving train on the piano-driven "Stonehill"), experimental drum patterns and different digital sound manipulation. FLAQUE have found a niche with their unique sound and remind me strong to the latest works of the sorely missed US act GRIDLOCK, experimental tunes of haujobb. and/or OIL 10 come to mind, too. Take the opener "Alive" for instance; cold but somehow melodic synth layers, some background noises and minimal-experimental beats give a clever and unique opening track. "Acoma" features to me the best all mentioned attitudes in the sound landscapes of FLAQUE, while the definitively highlight has to be named with "Deceive" featuring the smooth vocals of Katrin Segert. Outstanding, I hope for several more cooperation efforts between CONCISE and FLAQUE. This act leaves an impressive kind of work and I could name several tracks more, but it all gives the best result if you’ll take some time, use a good pair of headphones and consume this album in one flow. Amazing, a release on its own instead of being hidden behind the omnipotent CONCISE CD would be well deserved!

X_DYNAMICS – Regular Loader Routine
My euphoria after checking out the FLAQUE album got a bit slowed down with the audio results of the one-man act X_DYNAMICS. This project plays a kind of instrumental Electronica, mostly straight and rhythmically arranged, taking several inspiration out of related music styles like Techno, Trance, or Trip-Hop. Definitively not EBM-inspired, some pieces remind me on works of Bill Leeb’s side-projects INTERMIX and/or later NOISE UNIT, also the BLC Productions recording act S.E.M.I; can be named as a reference. It’s a bit hard to categorize the complete influences of this artist, so no surprise that you’ll get some foreign instruments like a saxophone woven into this electronic music ("Jammin Denim"). Note also the cooperative track "Insensate Rmx", originally composed by CONCISE, on which Katrin Segert’s vocals got restranged with some vocoder effects. The used sounds and the kind of arrangements are on top and up-to-date, while I tend to rate it as a sonorous background music. A fine and detailed worked-out Electronica music which mixes several genres.

If you’re looking for a special release, which manages to break out through your usual Synthpop/Ambient/Electronica listening, you’ll need to pick up this item. Thumbs up also for the idea with the digi-package, the discreet art featuring showroom dummies, and for the addition of two extra and promising acts. Three CD’s on sale for a price of one should help you a lot to give some new and quality stuff a try.

THE GASMAN: Love Collection

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 16 2007
cover
Artist: THE GASMAN
Title: Love Collection
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Personal project of Christopher Reeves, The Gasman delivers a new album titled LOVE COLLECTION. It is strange to think about a break-beat love collection but The Gasman on tracks like "Vigor", the following "Cubicle", "Parts" or the closing "Flounce 2" is capable of creating a smooth blend of styles that sound relaxing but having a good amount of energy at the same time. The tracks spans from semi ambient rhythmical compositions to tracks that are more schizophrenic thanks to the different rhythmical cut-ups and thanks also to Christopher’s way of creating electronic instrumental tense tiny suites. In this way we have a sort of good mixture of ambient and i.d.m. with some break-beat influence. Does this have something to do with love? If we think about love as a mixture of feelings and emotions, then... maybe.


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