Music Reviews



LUCA FORMENTINI: Tacet

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 02 2007
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Artist: LUCA FORMENTINI (@)
Title: Tacet
Format: CD
Label: Extreme (@)
Rated: *****
After Australians, Americans and Japanese, Italians are doing their best to increase their ethnic weight between the ranks of Extreme records and Luca Formentini follows Claudio Parodi, by the way even if both those country fellows can be ideally filed under "drone" music, the nature and the final result of the two works are quite far one from each other". Formentini has an candid old school ambient/visionary approach that I’m sure many of you (me included) will appreciate. While remembering you "old school" doesn’t imply always: "surpassed", Formentini’s refined effort will kill those who loved the most inspired Eno, David Torn (minus some of his old fashioned fusion reminiscences), the most sober Laswell and many beautiful documentary soundtracks you may have (or have not) heard once in your life. I’m tented to say this could be a sophisticated atmospherical release with a ECM, Axiom cut (no, it’s nit dub). Don’t worry, I know for many of you ECM (and Axiom) has become just a synonym for "chic music for pretentious bourgeois intellectual wonnabes", but I’ve to admit myself they still put out interesting records every now and then. For what it’s worth Luca has some celebrities featured on this cd: Markus Stokhausen (son of such a father but great musician himself!), Sylvian’s own Steve Jensen that surely have enriched what already was an intense release just to name the most famous. By some means I wish I’ve been able to express this guitar driven songs are in some way close to "classic ambient" but scout’s honour: if that’s the so called classicism is more than welcome! The fact is Formentini has simply exploited a pre-existing "language" but he manages to be both lyrically evocative and touchy thar makes the difference. "Tacet" is warm and has the undoubtful quality to make you feel relaxed both when the mood of the track is sad and when we have something close to the softest/diluted evolution of Miles Davis (Nordic jazz anybody?). While many of his contemporaries fall while looking for the coolest sound, Formentini is more absorbed in the search for interiority and you can hear it. I know I may sound dumb for writing this but after many listening I couldn’t but think how Wenders’ "Until the end of the world" wouldn’t have been such a bore with a soundtrack like that. Nothing can better describe "Tacet" but relaxing.


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!


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