Music Reviews

VV.AA: Black Snow - the compl etely different Xmas com pilation

 Posted by Andre Wiegand   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 22 2009
Artist: VV.AA
Title: Black Snow - the compl etely different Xmas com pilation
Format: CD
Label: Black Rain Rec.
Distributor: D: Nova MD GmbH A: Rebeat Music Vertrieb S: Non Stop Music Records
Hiya (that’s how people greet each other in Scotland). It is Xmas time! It goes for the goths too. I don’t know whether any of you expected a gothic/electro compilation from Black Rain Records for Xmas or not, but it is out there. But it is not just another random compilation of songs thrown together from already released albums. No! This one is special.
Almost all bands covered songs from the 40s and 50s. I guess the only exception from these decades is "Hava Nagila" (let’s rejoice) covered by Hioctan. The original was written way before the 40s. I tend to interpret the presence of a traditional Jewish song on a Xmas compilation as a social statement celebrating the contemporary European cultural diversity. Besides, Jesus was Jewish and Xmas is his alleged birthday. So the Christians say.
Feindflug don’t sound that intense and militaristic as we know them, but rather atmospheric and mid-tempo danceable. No lyrics on this one.
"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" by Dandelion Wine is sheer entertainment. I enjoyed every tact.
Novalis Deux offer another Hebrew title "Halleluja" (let’s praise?). A classic Xmas song people know not only in Christian countries. Great lyrics and Novalis Deux’s performance bears no signs hinting that this song too much for the band’s talents. Truly well done!
DyM’s "Little Drummer Boy" sounds like a disturbed radio transmission from a 50s heavy industry factory.
Jabberwock offer a number of extraordinary ideas what to do on a Xmas party.
What would be Xmas without cinnamon? Killed by Candy celebrate this spice in the lyrical, eh... "Cinnamon". Cookies and a cozy fire place. Awwww.
This Vale of Tears has a military, rhythmic touch for "Frozen Zone". Those guitar riffs will keep you listening, let me assure you.
Oil10 contributes a retro-oriented version of "Christmas Machine". Panic Lift sound like they are surely on Santa’s naughty list with their "Hourglasses". Very goth-danceable and yet evil sounding. Plane to Pia play a German classic Xmas song "Tousend Sterne sind ein Dom" in a very festive and truly Christmas-like manner with an electro touch to it. You could listen to it with kids without scaring them away.
Tyske Ludder made a mini medley of "Fairytale Of New York" and "Fairytale Of The North" with some criticizing lines like "Fuck your Christmas".
The Pussybats with Meli (Livid Halcyon) close the album with "A Wish". Kind of sad. May remind you of things that happened to you and touched you emotionally and make you think of what you could do to make the world a little better. It is not just about wishing, but also about doing.
A very very good and unusual Xmas compilation. I’m not going to wish you happy Christmas, Chanuka or Yule; this winter time should not be about dividing, but about uniting people, hence simply happy holidays!

Attrition: The Hidden Agenda

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 18 2009
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Artist: Attrition (@)
Title: The Hidden Agenda
Format: CD
Label: Two Gods (@)
Rated: *****
The reissue of Attrition's vast discography keep on being issued by Two Gods and that's the time of one of the most interesting ring of their long chain of releases. Previously released on the glorious Hyperium in 1993, The Hidden Agenda is maybe the album of maturity, the first one completely assembled in the Cage, Martin Bowes' personal recording hyper-technological studio where he begun working as remixer and producer, which could be considered as a sort of bridge between the past (oriented to industrial and dark styles) and the future (whose imprinting is definitively gothic-oriented) of Attrition's sound , which begun to appear more orchestral and based on a guessed balance between voice sharpening (Julia Waller's consolidated collaboration and her ethereal whispering voice heavily influenced this peculiar direction taken by Bowes' exquisite project as well as the tenebrous and narrative one by Martin) and electronic layering of cold sounds. From those four walls, which Bowes symbolically baptized with fire naming it The Cage, a lot of innovative sounds came to the scene.

You could easily recognize its refined hits on some UK projects and bands coming later (Vomito Negro, Full Dynamic Range and even Bourbonese Qualk) in the perfectly razor-cut percussive sounds of The Silent Mind, whose lyrics seem to forerun a certain techno-pagan nihilism which was going to inspire a lot of artists today, or in the orchestral deviations on the industrial-infected declinations of The Cage and The Mercy Machine. An important transitional album and a precious dowel not to be missed if you want to better appreciate Attrition's great artistic mosaic rich in nuances. Other highlights of this re-release are the trance-inducing A Wing and a Prayer, the re-visitation of The Next Day and the creepy repreise of the introductive Lip Sync.

Kneel to the Mercy Machine!


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 17 2009
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Title: Tongue Tangled Hair
Format: CD
Label: Tartaruga Records (@)
Rated: *****
TONGUE TANGLED HAIR is the second Bleeding Heart Narrative full length album and for this one Olivier Barret (sometimes helped by other seven people who played violin, cello, saxophone, drums and guitar here and there) mixed the cards a little bit if you paragon this album with his first one. If "All that was missing we never had in the world" was tense and dark, TONGUE TANGLED HAIR is a multifaceted album where you find all the distinctive elements of the previous one (strings, piano, guitars and the atmosphere that was switching from the relaxed melancholy of "Blueskywards" - only available on the Cold Spring reissue - to the throbbing wall of sound of the opening "Bhn") plus an expanded song attitude (many of the twelve tracks have vocals and melody) that will please all the post rock lovers. If part of the tension is gone, the gloominess and the thick sound effect is still there. Strings build a kind of droney sound (only on "Tilted the wall" we have a sort of chamber quartet with pizzicato cellos and all) while piano and vocals paint a tormented melancholic picture. Personally I prefer tension but I have to admit that also TONGUE TANGLED HAIR is capable to build a great atmosphere. You can download "Colours Turn Colours" mp3 from Tartaruga Records website.
Artist: Jennifer Choi (@)
Title: Violectrica (Music for Violin and Electronics)
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

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Jennifer Choi is one of the most active and talented violinists in both New York's classical and downtown music scene. Her style is adventurous and grounded at the same time and her knowledge and understanding of the music and of the instrument position her as one of the leading virtuoso violinists on the scene, but also as one of the most open minded and daring players out there. She has played in countless places and on numerous records by improvised and classical music composers and luminaries such as Susie Ibarra, John Zorn (check her out in Zorn's latest master[card-]piece "Femina") and many others... Her latest work is a solo CD featuring interpretations of pieces by Alexandra Gardener, Randall Woolf, Padma Newsome, Susie Ibarra, Annie Gosfield and Ikue Mori, who also appears on the record as a guest and with whom Jennifer recorded three improvisations. As you might except from the sub-title, there is plenty of electronics (from ambient textures, to industrial-ish sounds, from soundscapes and layers to glitches and buzzes, from field-type background noises to sampled material). Her eclectic playing complements such eccentricity with passion and innovation, moving well beyond the standard bowing and the pizzicatos and experimenting with a whole new slew of sounds and noises that the instrument is capable of generating when in her hands. Highly recommended to those who want to hear some masterfully executed solo violin pieces but who aren't afraid to find out that there might be more than just violin after all.


 Posted by Mariano Equizzi (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 16 2009
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Format: CD
Distributor: MASTERPIECE
Rated: *****
Slovenian music project, electronic rock, with a great pressure, ready for MOVIES sound tracks. They aren't only electronic is easy to hear a lot of acid sounds especially in the cover of "It's no good"...something Placebo-like but less friendly and definitely more hungry. NONM is a band that does want to like simply, their aim is to create some sound scape non properly rock-Indie based they have a world made of electronics vibes, straight drums and acid voice. In a word they are SPECIAL and not so common as they appears in a first sight, they are walking in a space they have already focused, very well focused. Gender Changer is a manifesto of this approach to stay in the rules but making out a sort of alteration of them. Best track DIGITAL CRY, that makes me aware that's true: Not everything is made in China and this Slovenian band is telling to us acidly.

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