Music Reviews

ZOÄT-AON: The Triplex Bestial

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 09 2007
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Artist: ZOÄT-AON
Title: The Triplex Bestial
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox
Rated: *****
Much like it happened with Aeoga, I found Zoät-Aon's debut, "Star Autopsy", a good but still immature album, only to be FLOORED by this second work, which is by far one of the highlights in the Aural Hypnox catalogue (and if you ask me, AH is one of the most underrated labels worldwide). First off, it comes in the best cover art and layout that AH has released to date, perfectly conveying the mysteryous, ritualistic nature of its music. Divided into 9 tracks, "The Triplex Bestial" represents the AH style at its best: brooding dark ambient merging cosmic vertigos and shamanic rituals, played with a variety of instruments including synths, percussion, bells, human skull drums, singing bowls, piano, natural field recordings... The result is a relentless, often bleak and frankly scary soundscape, surely led by an uncommon inspiration which puts to shame most of the dark ambient acts around nowadays.

Alfredo Notarloberti - Martina Mollo: Dark Tango Project

 Posted by Ferruccio Milanesi   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 05 2007
Artist: Alfredo Notarloberti - Martina Mollo (@)
Title: Dark Tango Project
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Alfredo Notarloberti is a sort of icon in Naples, Italy. He’s THE violin player: he worked with innumerable rock/classical/folk groups and orchestras; in particular he played with almost all the bands in Neapolitan dark/gothic area: during the Obscure Festival in May 2005, he’d been always on stage, for hours, while different bands where changing... . ASHRAM, ARGINE, CORDE OBLIQUE, LUPERCALIA, ANIMA IN FIAMME, just to name a few of his collaborations.
Now he’s back with a new bet, DARK TANGO PROJECT, a duo with the pianist Martina Mollo. All instrumental, the CD has the power of being always over the lines, mixing tango influences, classical music, minimal and reflective moments, reaching in "5 letras sobre Marianna y la melancholia" its most profound and intimate apex. "La primera era una mujer muerta" opens with an intense and dramatic crescendo. "Marilenatango" is another beautiful track, ardent and tormented, with a wonderful melody and a pressing piano, giving the impression of life running away, a unbelievable sense of oppression, that something will happen... it would be perfect for a thriller or suspense film. "Fernanda, historia de una fija" is another track I think perfect for a soundtrack, thoughtful and gloomy, while in "Dark Tango" drums and bass complete the arrangement; "Mon revè le 31 Mars", is a piano solo that closes the cd, perfectly suited for a rainy evening, where the piano takes a moment to show what has to say, without the presence of violin. Undoubtedly, a very good work that I hope will be released in future as a full length, another center from Edo Notsrloberti, here excellently joined by Martina Mollo.


 Posted by Ferruccio Milanesi   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 05 2007
Title: Regö Rejtem
Format: CD
Label: Equilibrium Music (@)
Rated: *****
This is the second album for the Hungarian band THE MOON AND THE NIGHTSPIRIT, after the debut album "Of Dreams Forgotten and Fables Untold", both released by Equilibrium Music. The title of this new work, "Regö Rejtem" means "I conjure with magic" and explains better than other words the dreamy atmosphere the band evokes. You’ll be moved from ordinary life to a fantastic world where elves and faeries live in obscure woods, far away from chaotic and industrial cities you’ll re-discovery the conjunction of the elements and the inner fusion between man and Mother Earth. In this research you’ll be taken by the hand not only by the sublime music and words, but also you’ll be helped by Agnes’ paintings included in the booklet, deeply linked to the music, visionary and poetic, creating a unique vision you’ll be involved into.
The duo Agnes Toth-Mihaly Szabo creates a mix where folk music express a point of passage among different traditions (medieval, celtic, something I could associate with tzigane or yiddish), giving a colourful and emotional result. The use of violin and percussion, together with harp and woodwinds creates the right background for the superb voice of Agnes. Not the usual monochord ethereal voice, but a lively one that’s able to go up and down, chanting both slow melodies and intense ones. Influences from great bands like DEAD CAN DANCE, ALGIZ (the title-track reminds me of this band unfortunately disappeared after the first album), sometimes even BLACKMORE’s NIGHT, but the Hungarian duo isn’t a clone of anyone, and shows its original vision of global art (poetry, painting and music) with pride. The album comes in DVD-size digipack, with a booklet including paintings and lyrics both in English and Hungarian, and I think is a must for all ethereal/medieval/ambient dark fans, and maybe a new discovery for other listeners tired of electronic or rock, willing to re-discover the real essence of life.

VV.AA.: Hyperreality

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 04 2007
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Hyperreality
Format: CD
Label: Aliens Production (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
The Slovakian Dark Electro/Industrial label Aliens Production surprises their listeners with a new compilation which collects besides some international guests several more or lesser known acts out of their area or out of their neighbor state, the Czech Republic. Packaged this time in a beautiful metal case almost in size of a CD and of course strictly limited to 550 exemplars, it therefore lacks a bit of more info on the acts. That this label stands generally for music styles asides the current hypes at least needs to explained once again – mostly the signed acts to this label like DISHARMONY, SAMHAIN or ANHEDONIA are standing for a mysterious, creepy but very complex arranged Dark Electro music, which often integrates elements out of Ambient, IDM and/or Ritual Industrial music – rhythmically Powernoise efforts or classically EBM tunes are rather seldom integrated, if we point out GAPING CHASM for instance. So also this "Hyperreality" presents the who-is-who of their label as ell as out of both countries, Czech Republic and Slovakia, but also a lot of unrecognized and promising stuff, which will come up soon. Like on several other compilation, I like to pick out the most remarkable pieces. TERMINAL STATE, also a band providing the Slovakian Dark Electro formula and like DISHARMONY with a German past by releasing a debut CD on Broken Seal, is a band on which the return is eagerly awaited. This new track "Behind The Enemy" offers some vocoderized vocals combined with a rather PUPPYan bass line programming and some gloomy synth layers - well done, let’s hope that they can soon release their new full-length CD. ANHEDONIA are providing once again a new and typically arranged track – the spirit of the unfortunately defunct US act GRIDLOCK somehow continues in the musically output of this Czech act. That the Australian duo and member of the Crash Frequency collective EMPTY would enter this comp is rather surprising – the explanation follows, because the Slovakian duo of DISHARMONY has done a remix on the track "Alone". Both German acts XABEC and MNEMONIC have created remix works on each other which both appear here. Especially the Re-Programmed Remix by MNEMONIC on XABEC’s track "Open State" can convince with some melodious orchestral-like string sounds, decent synth textures, and... uuhmm a real trumpet? Really? Well – who cares, it sounds great. Also GAPING CHASM returns here surprising – the use of some guitar riffs and the cleaner than ever before provided vocals are rather unexpected – it seems a bit that Ergo manages heavily to create some new directions for this project. The DISHARMONY side-project OXYD surprises with a rather straight produced track offering an interesting IDM-inspired rhythm programming. LAST INFLUENCE OF BRAIN – yeah, they’re on returning and should be ready to come out with a new full-length album signed to the US-based label EAR/Vendetta-Music – another highly anticipated name offer maybe asides TERMINAL STATE the only real Dark Electro tune featuring distorted vocals, rotating bass lines and some extra-ordinary rhythm patterns. ANIMA MUNDI is another project of GAPING CHASM and Ergo likes to point out with this project the difference between both – "No More Heroes" is rather dark and sample-driven, also the obvious "church choirs" for which this project is known for are included. Also the MNEMONIC appearance, remixed by XABEC as mentioned above, can totally convince with its slightly distorted rhythm patterns meet sedating cold melodic synth layers. DISHARMONY and ANHEDONIA have collaborated for their track "May God Be With You", which is musically and rhythmically rather inspired by the new, a bit more IDM-inspired DISHARMONY works on their current full-length release "Malignant Shields" – soon more about this. German cult act POLYGON aka Ingo Lindmeier (MORTAL CONSTRAINT) also appears with a depressive Dark Electro/Ambient-inspired piece "Memorandum" with German lyrics dealing with a tough theme like the loss of an own child. Last but not least the Swiss act STENDECK providing us a dark and melodic outro piece. This compilation – as expected – is rather designed to get consumed under a good pair of headphones. Only a very few pieces can animate some people for some rhythmically movements – and somehow this is a trademark of the fine Aliens Production label. Isn’t it much appreciated to hear some stuff asides the trendy hypes of your usual Electro/Industrial listening? It is, thumbs up for this well done compilation.

1. OTX meets KENJI SIRATORI – Industrial Boy
2. TERMINAL STATE – Behind The Enemy
3. ANHEDONIA – Logical Closure
4. EMPTY – Alone (DISHARMONY Remix)
5. ENCLIPSE – Count 666
6. TABOR RADOSTI – Ho Basileus tú Kosmú
7. XABEC – Open State (Re-programmed RMX by MNEMONIC)
8. GAPING CHASM – Running Fight
9. FLINT GLASS – At Twaki
10. OXYD – Suspiria
12. ANIMA MUNDI – No More Heroes
13. MNEMONIC – Political Absurdity (8-bit Remix by XABEC)
14. DISHARMONY meets ANHEDONIA – May God Be With You
15. POLYGON – Memorandum
16. STENDECK – The Thin Light Between The Trees

Anka: Cocoon Time

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 04 2007
Artist: Anka
Title: Cocoon Time
Format: CD
Label: I-Rain (@)
Rated: *****
Anka Wolbert is known best to be the co-founder and songwriter for the new wave goth band Clan of Xymox. Like her counterpart bandmate and friend, Pieter Nooten, she left Xymox for music differences also. Now signed on new label I-Rain along with Pieter who helped her by co-producing her debut release. Anka's voice still sound so beautiful, despite her disappearing from the music scene. Her cd is an exceptional with collection of unique and impressive tracks that's indie pop with electronic and guitar dynamic layers, which can be played on mainstream radio stations. A variety of emotions that is sung in a mood setting moment. To listen to the cd will be perfect by sitting by the sea all alone or just go to the park and watch the sky by gazing and thinking. Favorite tracks are "A Storm", "Already In Me", the trip-hop "Seven Slow Hours", the ambient "Crystal Clear", "Elusive" is a beautiful haunting instrumental track with the sound of a melancholic piano, "Dark Dreamer" is a slow reggae composition and "Don't Weigh Me Down" is an hypnotic masterpiece. Anka's songwriting skills has proven to be the best even since the Xymox-era of what she had display.

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