Music Reviews



BALLO DELLE CASTAGNE: 108

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 06 2010
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Artist: BALLO DELLE CASTAGNE
Title: 108
Format: 10"
Label: HR! SPQR (@)
Rated: *****
108 is an appetizer from the forthcoming first full length album "Kalachakra" and it contains two covers of songs coming from Italian 70s music: "Ansia/confessione" has been originally performed by Biglietto Per L'inferno (one of the most obscure progressive Italian rock bands) and "Paranoia", a song originally released by Franco Battiato in 1971 as B side of "La convenzione" 7". Both tracks are representing well the experimental period of Italian rock music as Battiato released on the same year his first album "Fetus" showing to Italian audience that music was changing (he has been one of the first musician to experiment with synthetic sounds and he created the prototype of Italian experimental/industrial music). Ballo Delle Castagne picked up these tracks as symbolism of change because also the label is changing. HauRuck! SPQR changes name and now is releasing records under the HR! SPQR moniker. There's no hard feeling toward HauRuck! sister label run by Albin Julius, they only needed to follow their own path. 108 has a deeper meaning because it has references in many cultures. 108 are the diabolical passions that a man has to front to became a Buddha. The diameter of the sun is almost 108 times the one of earth. The distance from earth and moon is almost 108 times the diameter of the latter one. Karate has 108 techniques. Buddhist rosary is divided into 108 parts... and so on. Musically the two tracks follow the musical style of the ones of debut MCD: psychedelic rock were the musicians let their experimental vein run loose.
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Artist: ACHENAR
Title: all will change
Format: CD
Label: Earthen
Rated: *****
"All will change"... and all has changed! Above all from the age in which black metal sounded like Dark Throne or Burzum. Achenar is one of those musicians who's pushed beyond the boundaries of the genre and reminded me a lot of the first time I happened to listen to Ulver, well at the time they surprised me with their post-black metal atmosphere mixed with electronic, nordic music, Pan Sonic, freak atmospheres and who knows what else. Achenar work is located somewhere at a different (and symphonic) latitude, but you can bet he's as weird as them. There's a great abundance of electronic sounds and keyboards-alike melodies but what surprised me most is how Duncan Hemingway has structured some electronic beat really close to Aphex that revived the "Come to daddy" era. The average atmosphere is quite scary but sometimes it changes from obscure to weird, it's quite difficult to categorize a release like that since it would be a bit reductive even if there's no doubt this cd will be more appealing for some open minded black metal, experimental listener since I doubt an electronic-idm ambient aficionado would dig it. The cd is really well produced and technically Achenar is far from being a new-jack: everything sounds damn equilibrated and meticulously produced/pondered after many and many listenings. I can't say every track or every solution intrigued me in the same way, but sometimes I happened to think this guy has some interesting ideas: give it a try.

IZAH : Finite Horizon/Crevice

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 27 2009
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Artist: IZAH (@)
Title: Finite Horizon/Crevice
Format: CD EP
Rated: *****
This two songs mcd offers a morsel of an interesting band evolving "doom-sludge" metal and bastardizing it with different influences, coming both from metal, modern hardcore, stoner, doom, post-rock and from other musical areas. Both the sound and the production are top notch and if you add they definitely know how to play you can easily imagine it just needs ideas or at least good taste to catch your attention and sure, they have it. Slow tempos that make me think to an emotional version of Esoteric writing songs with Steve Von Til and Wolfpack and adopting that soft melodic rifforama a la My Dying Bride and Anathema. Vocals are ok and they know how to sing without resulting cheesy or too epic, but take for granted when they have the soft parts and the melodic explosions they are dead epic and they make you feel they're composing their music on the top of a fiord (... even if they're from Holland). While the first of the two track has a quite common structure, the second has some more interesting solutions that makes you think these dutch guys without changing the face of the genre never lacked ideas to assemble a song. Every track has an average length of eleven minutes, don't worry, they never get borings since they have a smart use of arrangements and never indulge with breaks. Nice work and despite the sadness of their music future looks bright for this band, let's see what happen.

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Artist: Attrition (@)
Title: Wrapped in the guise of my friend
Format: CD
Label: Two Gods (@)
Rated: *****
After the appreciated project consisting of the re-releasing of some of their most important (and less considered) past work-outs, Martin Bowes adds this candied cherry onto the Attrition cake he cooked throughout the reassuring mark of his label Two Gods by releasing an high-quality collection of cover versions, made by a plenty of talented band and musicians of its own entourage, which is going to enjoy Attrition's fans pavilions and Martin's musical nodding in approval (by his own admission!) stands as the best good quality proof for them! And for us as well... Seventeen new levers and renowned musicians of the gothic , neo-folk , dark wave and electro-goth scene have been called to arms, they've been asked to choose a track (and justify their choice... you'll find an exhaustive explanation of it in the leaflet of this release) and their enthusiastic reply has resulted in an astonishing collection of 17 cover versions, the best body of evidence about the fact they've come to surface again after a lot of music collectors and critics complained about the hidden identity of this revolutionary band, able to create a sort of chamber-techno-pop by departing from an unedited crossover of EBM and synth-pop danceable tunes, the industrial experiments by Throbbing Gristle and a powerful narrative poetry between decadence, social creepy realism and dark atmospheres.


There're a lot of musical pearls in the long tracklist '“ my favorite ones are the two reinterpretations of A Girl Called harmony, the foggy electronic reprise of Favourite Things by the Lovercraft-inspired project Nyarlathotep, the evocative one of A great Design by Fluxu§yndrom, the breathtaking reinterpretation of Fate Is Smiling by Patricia Wake '“ I've almost developed an addiction to it!!! -, as well as the gentle sinister touch Remora added to Fusillade!!! '“ and you'lll easily enjoy taking notes about your fav ones. We imagine Martin Bowes'll keep on nodding in approval while listening and you'll be surely induced to imitate its body code, folks (and saddened gravy stone angels!)... naturally wrapped in the guise of his golden friends (a quote-into-the-quote!!!)... Highly recommended!
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Artist: Little Sap Dungeon / Perception Cleanse Perception (@)
Title: :SPLIT:
Format: 4 x CD (quadruple CD boxset)
Label: Backscatter / Dungeon-Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
This is finally that sort of a release, where a simple reviewer feels to get rewarded. The "job" of being a reviewer has become more and more annoying, the mass of freely available stuff, which "needs" to get reviewed grows day by day, if these web-communities like MySpace, Twitter and alike will move towards to be the one and only tool to promote music. Also the bigger labels out of the international Electro/Industrial-scene have to look on their costs for promotion activities, and most of them have switched press promotion completely to download servers. Music itself looses its value and the most paradox thing of this scene is, that labels are strengthen this bad development with these new kind of promotion. Who’s digging here his own grave?
Coming back to this release, because this one differs. It differs completely to anything, what you’ve ever hold physically in your hands. These both SLC-based projects have taken a flashlight and searched in their archives to present their dearest friends and supporters a unique collection of goodies, before some of them start to collect dust. 5 years in the making it has taken until all audio and visual material was sorted, polished and for the most part remastered to get pressed on at least 3 CD’s and 1 DVD. Besides those classic recordings, this box-set also includes new stuff of at least PCP, which offers some remarkable surprises. This all got packaged in an aluminum case, which itself got "saved" with a chain and a padlock. The inserted sleeves, the booklet and the CD’s itself are an awesome work of art, everything got styled in beautiful black, the look of this whole box-set and content is a feast for the eyes and will leave you breathless. So let’s have a look into the details of the CD/DVD content.

Disc 1 - LSD – "Sickness Beneath Transparent Beauty" (re-issue):
Yes, this is the sought-after third official LSD-album originally released in 2001. Since this one has been for a long time out-of-print, a re-release available in this box-set makes sense. "Sickness Beneath Transparent Beauty" has been LSD’s "jump" into that Dark/Splatter Electro genre, a high PUPPYan influence as being the grandfathers of this special genre is recognizable track by track. This album is by far lesser harsh than the follow-up album "Silent Entities", it rather concentrates to build these typical angst-driven mood by using genre-related sample work and ominous sounding synth pads. Tracks like "Resyncell", "In The Forever" or "Stained Confessions" could be still a valuable reference to bands like OBJECT, NORDSCHLACHT or FIX8:SED8, since these projects are servicing this genre more or less. Some of the latter tracks like "Lovesick Syndrome" or "31 Flavors" also include some hefty guitar riffs and push the speed to a maximum. Last but not least, you’ll get a bonus track, which isn’t available on the original recording entitled "Till Death Do Us Part", which is another angry tune with attacking guitar riffs and heavily distorted vocals.

Disc 2 – LSD – "Repressed Memory Therapy" (DVD):
Maybe to collect and to cut the content of this DVD has been the biggest expenditure of work to fulfill this box-set. This DVD is based on some live recordings made during the "Silent Entities" CD release-party, which happened in 2004. This stuff got collected and sorted in with a relatively new done in-depth interview, which has been conducted and edited by the Backscatter leader, friend and musician XoN (BOUNDLESS). You’ll get detailed info about the band members favorite genres and musically preferences, details of the origins of some LSD releases, opinions to the ongoing file stealing piracy, and several other gimmicks right and mostly with humor included by the both protagonists, Alan E. Wilson and Kevin J. Cazier. The inserted live performance gives you a hint, how this happening has been. Alan and Kevin have been joined by Chris Alvarado from the music project TWILLIGHT TRANSMISSIONS as being additional stage musician. The live footage offers too several photo and video inserts to set the audience into the right mood. Quite interesting stuff and a knowledge base for all who like to know more about the what, when, where and why around this project.

Disc 3: PCP – "Black Labyrinth Wonderland"
The third part of this box-set then includes the all new album from Kevin’s solo project PERCEPTION CLEANSE PERCEPTION. All of you, who’ve listened to his last, very diverse sounding album "Cross-Cutting in Cold Frames" will be surprised by this new one. At least I am surprised. "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" sets an end with those white-man-raps-like-Enimen-assaults, also sampled guitar riffs wildly interpreted in the tracks seem to be a relict of the past. "Black Light Labyrinth" rather impresses with the sense to create haunting soundscapes and real industrial ambiences. The rhythm work of these new tracks don’t the center position, it is rather an addition to the whole sound foundation. The title tracks stalks in mid-tempo and features deep dark synth bass sounds, ominous vocals, various FX sample quells and impresses with its oppressive mood. The next tune "Dionysus (Work Of The Devil)" picks up the rather slow tempo and adds more and more haunting pad and sweep sounds to the whole foundation. It’s a haunting, dark instrumental tune mainly driven through the repetitive voice sample ("The Work Of The Devil"). "Drop" finally breaks out of the discovered path so far with a harsher and more distorted percussion work, while the speed of this track remains rather slow, but hypnotic. Not to forget, that Kevin has placed an unlisted 7th track. It is a comparable ominous sounding tune, which picks up the dark atmosphere of the tracks before and convinces again with the uncountable amount of strange voice samples and spooky ingredients thrown in.
This whole album wonders me a bit - can it be, that "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" got produced under the unspoken certainty in mind, that Kevin’s partner in LSD, Alan E. Wilson, wouldn’t find the needed free time to continue under that mutual project? The chosen samples, the haunting pads, effects, parts of the slightly distorted percussion work, this all can be related on the latter works of LSD – maybe not completely and in a similar consequence, but "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" draws too much comparable elements, that this hasn’t happened by chance or out of a special mood of Kevin. However, thumbs up for one of the most remarkable works Kevin has produced in years. A must-have release dedicated to all Dark Electro fans!

Disc 4 – LSD & PCP – Remixes and rare tracks
Last, but not least, you’ll get the fourth CD which collects new remix contributions by friends and international artists (THE PAIN MACHINERY), as well as some rare recording or early works of both projects. Acts like BOUNDLESS (contributed a remix on LSD’s "Night Fall’s Prey") and LEXINCRYPT (featured with a remix on "Never Ever Land") of course don’t have to be missed here, since the fine people behind this projects have been friends since years. THE PAIN MACHINERY has received the order to work on PCB’s "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" – musically quite difficult, but Anders Karlsson could successfully include his own creativity by the usage of distorted percussion elements, which finally adds a quite different mood to the original. I personally enjoyed also the remake of that old LSD classic track "The Bishop’s Daughter V.2 (Daddy’s Woodshed Remix)", which sounds a bit like LSD on Acid (uuhmmm..). However, this remixed and compiled stuff stands a bit in the shadow of that glorious PCB stuff published under the third disc – this fourth disc is rather dedicated to the die-hard fans to catch up some alternatives or rarities.

Well, what kind of rating can be given for this huge release with its unique art and packaging? Be assured, that you won’t be able to pick-up such an outstanding kind of art anytime soon again. The dedication behind the creation of this box-set is extra-ordinary and can’t be quoted in numbers. At least, this is physical and graspable hard stuff – no anonymous mp3 file placed in an undiscovered area of your hard-drive. May to possess this extravagant kind of work will let some of you think out there, until you push once again the easy-going "download" button once again?



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