Music Reviews


 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 01 2006
Artist: DISHARMONY (@)
Title: Frames
Format: CD
Label: Aliens Production (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
This well-known Slovakian duo returns with their already 4th full-length release, and finally they officially release this new album under their very own Aliens Production label. This isn’t a new studio album, it moreover contains previously unreleased and never-heard-before stuff back to their early "Moonflower" era. It is a kind of collection to close the very first chapter in the evolution of this band through the years. But don’t call these tracks "b-sides" or such other negative word, that wouldn’t be fair and it wouldn’t reflect the offered quality here, which still is able to satisfy the highest expectations. DISHARMONY of course go on here with their fine worked out, slowly, creepy, with Ambient-textures infiltrated subtle kind of Dark Electro/Industrial music. They’re near – very near – to that sound and style which acts like MORTAL CONSTRAINT and/or the earlier KLINIK (Ivens/Verhaegen) have provided us – and which is nowadays sorely missed! But some tracks here really should surprise you, because here are some examples that this duo is also able to produce danceable tunes, just check "Blind" or "Masonic" here. Some remix works of tracks being originally available on their last full-length CD "Collapse" (out on Monopolrecords, are provided here as well, done by the Aliens label comrades GAPING CHASM, ANHEDONIA, as well as the French act FLINT GLASS. They all offer good worked out remix works – but can never hit the well done original version, which still is one of the finest pieces of DISHARMONY at all! Still unsolved is the secret, why there are especially in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic so many acts providing this special kind of Dark Electro/Industrial/Ambient-influenced kind of music. DISHARMONY, ANHEDONIA, or the also now released SAMHAIN – they all are more less dedicated to this special sound. Still so dark, still rich layered and arranged – and luckily without using any cliches, this release is again a must-have, if you like to check out a quality alternative to your usual Electro/Industrial listening. Note: like all releases out on this fine Slovakian label, also this piece here is limited to 550 exemplars and comes packaged in a DVD box. Get it!

VV.AA.: Fabriksampler 1

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 29 2006
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Fabriksampler 1
Format: CD
Label: pharmafabrik (@)
Rated: *****
This is the cdr sampler of this new mysterious Pharmafabrik label. The music captured here ranges from Seed's Steinklang inspired industrial to Glaxprism's IDM pastiche with some weird highlights like Richard Dunlap's quirky sonic extravaganza. From the first look at the artwork the drug factor is always evident and maybe the only point in common of the artists in this way too eclectic sampler (sorry but I don't appreciate bands, labels or in this case compilations covering so many different styles). Anyway some of those artits have a lot of potential and I'm looking forward to hear further progressions.

Delicate Noise: Diversion

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 26 2006
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Artist: Delicate Noise
Title: Diversion
Format: CD
Label: Lens records (@)
Rated: *****
Chicago-based painter and actor Mark Andrushko, a.k.a. Delicate Noise, surprised everybody with a debut full length album that shows exceptional talent and maturity, for somebody that has never made any music before. Although he won't call himself a musician, the liberty to express thoughts and feelings within the comfort zone of a controlled environment such as music creation, seems to propel and instigate just the right nerves and instincts in the mind of this self-proclaimed private man. If it was foreseeable that his music would be intimate and a tad obscure, it wasn't easy to predict that it would sound this good. Blurring the line between the reverberated and dubbed out Massive Attack inspired alienated trip-hop electronica and the melancholy and melody of Depeche Mode's synth-pop, Delicate Noise wobbles from track to track with the pace of an artist who can (make you) appreciate space and subtlety. Less is more, and Mark understood that about sounds and layers. Maybe more so than about track count. I do think that if contained (read: "EP") these efforts would have been even more distinctive and remarkable, but since it is more about relaxing and enjoying the atmospheric anxiety and the enigmatic urban flavor of these tracks, I guess you can just roll with the flow, as ethereal as the flow is...
Artist: Hansel
Title: Lorentzian Lineshaper
Format: CD
Label: D-Trash records (@)
Rated: *****
As I embark on the difficult task of attempting to review the latest CD by the Boston-based duo Hansel, I embrace my fate: I'll get flamed no matter what! The duo obviously have some serious gripe with the media who attempt to pigeonhole them into one boxed description or the promoters who try to file them under one category. So if I get the description somewhat right or accurate according to the fellow writers and reviewers, which of course could be argued is fairly relative anyway, I'll probably get shit from the band; and if I tell you that Hansel is a rock band (which is how they describe themselves to avoid any confusion) then I'll definitely get shit from the readers (since anybody that heard this record knows that Hansel doesn't share anything more than attitude and occasional distorted guitars with what you usually refer to as rock). Hansel is a little stressed out by the situation that came into being, and you can tell from their press release and some lyrics or samples in their record. So I could comply with their desire to not be labeled, hence doing a disservice to my readers and possibly getting a few very curious readers to go and actually listen to the music online to make up their own mind (but then they'll probably illegally download the album and then the band AND the label will hate me anyway) or I can just fuck all of that political correctness bullshit and mess with my destiny by giving a shot at trying to describe a band that's actually hard to describe or file under just one category or genre in the first place. Ultimately, I don't give a shit about getting shit, so what I'll do is I won't make any comparisons and I'll just try go give you a rough idea of what they sound like.First of all, if you are familiar with D-Trash records, think of Hansel as your non-typical D-Trash band. They implement elements of electronic music, industrial music, rhythm-noise, breakcore, glitch, rock, hop hop and what not (shall we say experimental electro-glitch-core crossover? or just e-ndustrial noise-core rock hop? just messing with you...). No matter what, it is going to be hard to give you an accurate picture of Hansel because they jump back and forth from any of the above to any other one of the above genres. This said, certain things that are actually facts could help you pin point (sort of) where Hansel stands: although they are not committed to them, they do use computers and electronics; most rhythmical/percussive material as well as most vocals are distorted; their sounds are sparse and simple at the source, but highly tweaked and saturated in complex ways; their sonic attack is minimal but aggressive and raw; they are genuine and spontaneous; they are very eclectic and across the board. If that doesn't get you any further you'll really have to go to the label's website and find out for yourself.In the meantime we want to tell the band that Chain D.L.K. loves them no matter what and we don't give a flying fuck about what the other media says about them (I haven't read a single other review of their music to try and find aid or inspiration or to try and align my views with those of others - why would I anyway?), nor do we have any expectations from them or anybody else, for that matter. I agree with Hansel that artists should just make music and let nothing other than their own creativity mold the music they write. That said, sometimes shit sucks, sometimes shit rocks, it's all subjective in the end anyway, and so are reviews (so bands shouldn't really give a damn about what people say anyway).This said I wanna hear that triple Dolly Parton cover album now!PS I don't think I ever filed any review I wrote in as many categories at the same time!
Nov 25 2006
Artist: SAEMSKIN (@)
Title: A Smile For Murder
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, here comes a 7-track release done by Josh M. Conley, who stands behind SAEMSKIN. I have to say in advance that this release needed some more attention than a usually Electro/Industrial release, because the content isn’t that easy to pick up. It is a very dark and depressive album which takes its influences out of Ambient, dark Electronica up to Ritual Industrial tunes. So everything here is mostly anxious and creepy stuff, also the inserted percussion sets aren’t taken from up-to-date productions, they moreover provide that ritualistic impression, an almost mediaeval feeling. Deep and ominous synth layers are the leading instruments, several at times strange sounding voice samples provide an audio onslaught on which some "easy-listening" trained ears could have habitual problems. The sparse provided vocals behave like a reporter and comment some things - what counts is the music. It’s a quite interesting mixture, but it requires your fully attention. It’s hard to start some comparisons, the latest release of SAMHAIN without that creepy Electro/EBM feeling far away fits somehow. Check this out and be a bit open-minded, it’s an impressive experience under a good pair of headphones. Available to purchase at CDBaby.

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