Music Reviews



Device: Pussy

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 22 2003
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Artist: Device
Title: Pussy
Format: CD EP
Label: RES FREq (@)
Another fine release by this new NYC outlet is represented by the first in a series of three CD EPs by Device, D'Vis. This first CD features three tracks that explore the more beat-focused side of ambient electronica, with edgy and resonant sounds, Aphex Twin-like dreamy waveforms, British lounge/techno type bass lines, hi hat patterns, samples of phone messages from ex girlfriends (oops, I guess I am not the only one who did that in a song ;-), layers of synth pads, melodic synth-pop keyboard lines and more rhtyhmical structures of different types. What I haven't mentioned in my other review of RES FREq material, is that we finally are in the presence of a label that has a fair pricing policy of their CDs. This one for example you can get for just 3 bucks, ain't that something?

VV.AA.: OM records presents "hOMe for the Holidays"

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 21 2003
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: OM records presents "hOMe for the Holidays"
Format: CD
Label: OM records (@)
Wow, this is a cool idea I have never seen before: an electronic music xmas holiday record! Yeah, that's the spirit! I can definitely get back into the holiday vibe with this one. OM records artists from all over the world have taken it upon themselves to re-work, remix, re-write festive originals in electronic, drum'n'bass, electro-funky versions. Kaskade open the CD with their d'n'b/lounge/chill out version of "Peace On Earth"; Rithma go down the funky route with "Psycho Jingle Funk"; Late Night Alumni's "Signs of the Morning" is all jazzy, loungy and lush; "Winter Wonderland" is left up to Sutro Heights who seek a balance between '50es pleasantville choirs and electronica and take the minimal rhodes/wurlitzer and female vocals duo to new "heights"; the amazing Kaskade also take up "Still Still Still" and make more exciting lounge music with hints to the original orchestrations and a jazz guitar solo; "Charlie Brown Cut Up" by Colossus experiments with an unlikely but interesting mixture of church quire with organ and hip hop scratches with breakbeats; J Boogie's "Under the Christmas Tree" breaks out Santa's signature laugh and the bells and puts them in a scratchy funky picture; The Pleasant Grove Minstrels' "What Child is This" is melodic lounge-pop with breakbeats and minimal instrumentation; King Kooba's classic "O' Christmas Tree" is funky and distracting, while hitting the theme on the keys here and there in a jazzy fashion; Members Only do "Christmas Eve" with an upright bass (finally!), beats, processed vocals, string arrangments and that nice little theme played on a belly-sounding instrument and on a horn; and last but not least Casey Nefcy's "Psyonics Night" layer synth pads with deep bass lines and quasi hip hop beats for I am not sure which classic original...This is a great record, a great idea and, even besides the theme, a lot of good music is contained within it, so I suggest you get out the eggnog and prepare the fireplace to really enjoy the festivities this year! I just have one question: why no "Jingle Bells"? ;-)

Rhythm and Sound: The Versions & w/ The Artists

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 21 2003
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Artist: Rhythm and Sound
Title: The Versions & w/ The Artists
Format: CD
Label: Asphodel (@)
This review is for two CDs, sold separately, but released simultaneously. "The Versions" is the instrumental version of "w/ the Artists", an 8 track dub/reggae/electronic music work of love by Berlin producers Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald, who have been working on the right balance between minimal technoid electronica and roots reggae for many years. Recorded in Berlin, New York and Jamaica, "w/ the Artists" features vocals by Cornell Campbell, Jennifer Lara, Paul St. Hilaire, Shalom, the Chosen Brothers, Jah Batta and Love Joy. Altough I would usually tend to prefer an instrumental version of a record like this I must say that the vocal record is not too bad. It actually flows smoothly and the sweet singing parts are pleasing to listen to.

Psychonauts: Songs for Creatures

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 21 2003
Artist: Psychonauts
Title: Songs for Creatures
Format: CD
Label: Gigolo (@)
Distributor: Caroline
After releasing remixes for David Holmes, Money Mark, Gina X, Saint Etienne, Pauul Weller and Liquid Liquid, among others, on Mo'Wax, the Psychonatus (Paul Mogg and Pablo Clements) have now been signed by Gigolo and have released their debut "Songs for Creatures", which is sort of a combination of funky electronic music, loungy disco and white r'n'b pop. The album transpires the fresh and euro-style night live of a city like London. Furthermore it is one of those albums where programmed music intertwines with live performances in a very warm and un-intellegible way, naturally and smoothly. Guest vocals by Sam Lynham from Output label artist Gramme, Domino label artist James Yorkstone from The Beta Band, Siobain Fahey, Ghost, React label artist Seb, Chancer and Jason Rowe. Available as digipack CD and double vinyl.

Al Haca Soundsystem: Inevitable

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 20 2003
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Artist: Al Haca Soundsystem (@)
Title: Inevitable
Format: CD
Label: Different Drummer (@)
Distributor: Caroline
My hat goes off to this release for originality and quality. And if I say that (considering I am not a huge fan of MCs/dancehall/reggae) you gotta trust me on this one! Following their 2001 Different Drum debut EP "Killa", german DJ collective Al Haca Soundsystem pulled off a beautiful release that elegantly and exquisitely blends the rough and edgy roots of dancehall/reggae/hip hop/dub with the smooth and sophisticated sonics of electronica, ambient, trip hop and even occasional glitchy/experimental/noise music. The guest MCs come from all over the world and include Sizzla, Mr. Dead, Ras MC T-Weed, Farda P, Mr. V, RQM, He-Man, so expect them to be all over the map, ranging from the original jamaican style (like Sizzla or He-Man) to the style you'd hear during a new york city underground drum'n'bass nights with Jojo Mayer/Nerve (like RQM) or the machine-gun-word-spitting style, or from the Brooklyn hip hop style (like Mr. Dead) to the hip classy Darryl Jennifer-sounding minimal and narrative MCing (like the ecelctic and outstanding Ras Mc T-Weed) or the Tricky-type spoken word style. The album feels a little long to me but it's worth listening to.


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