Music Reviews



Dialis: Precatio

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 05 2009
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Artist: Dialis (@)
Title: Precatio
Format: CD
Rated: *****
When gothic began colliding with electronics, a lot of nice surprises came into light, but there's also another side of gothic bands and musicians which seems to prefer interweaves with ethnic and folk (sometimes forgotten) influences. It depends mostly from the setting even a goth musicians has (not only from the artistic viewpoint) grown... that's just one of the reason we think the contamination of naturally gothic musical bent (sometimes very close to Deine Lakaien's sound)with sonorities reminding some musical roots as well as some abandoned poetry of inner mountain regions of Irpinia (a rural area, tragically become famous for a devastating earthquake in the 80s that could be considered naturally gothic as well... ) proposed by the Italian band Dialis is not intended for gammers, standing as interesting musical stuff to be welcomed in the international Neo-Folk scene (even if it's indirectly suffering from the violent struggle between music labels, trying to tempt the listeners throughout over advertised deep-frozen records that you could overheat in a microwave oven in order to ear ... it's just the same stuff coming over and over again, folks!).

By walking on a wire between folklore and darkness, Dialis are able to lift those traditions in a sort of mystical dimension, tinged by a gloomy decadent roller coating: the euphonic voice of Franco Bottoni '“ which sometimes reminds some glorious crooners such as Nick Cave in tracks like Precatio and the lovely Close Ocean, with a guessed presence of a soprano saxophonist in the line up - and the melancholic piano of Giuseppe Di Lorenzo sounds like an uddered and dignified discharge for listeners' mind, the bluesy guitar grooves lying on pensive lyrics mirror some husky reflections on art (even if sometimes they seems to strand and hesitate on the same old matters... ) , but even if the richness in musical tones created by the contrast between the guitar and other instruments (in particular the piano... ) seems to give a certain tepidness to cold stones (someone could imagine them singing... ) I don't agree with Dialis when they refers to rock while introducing to the album (except of A Sweet Eclipse), whose features clearly emerges in the final act of this record, the de-fibred A Cliff Apart, a lovely track you'll easily put in your "Favorites" folder together with tracks such as the poetic glimpse of A Fragile Rebirth, the dialogue between violin and Franco's evocative voice in Abeyance or the frayed Labyrinth Of Senses, a track in which the tension inspiring the whole album looks definitively "unfastened". By the way, this record is really mature and full of ... maybe too mature for being a debut album... the main risk of such maturity is that listeners are going to expect more from their next stage... and we're still in suspense as well!
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Artist: JeFF (@)
Title: In and between
Format: CD
Label: Altsphere (@)
In the middle of the so-called "Blue banana" '“ a wide economical conurbation going from Lancashire to Milan area - there's a small village with a coke mine called Seremange, a place where carbon clouds and factories caused a mutation of the landscape by giving eyes to hills and trees (!), and in the middle of Seremange, there's JeFF's world, an almost unknown place depicted as full of madness, sadness and despair... Well, it's not a fairytale as you could imagine, but it's just a vivid way adopted by this Frenchman to describe its unpredictable style featuring a bizarre fusion of dark, gothic, industrial ores, aggregated by a metal seneschal and distributed according to punkey marketing principles (as Maurer Jeff manages its own label, Altsphere, and releases devotionally following the Do-It-Yourself way... printed cover art, mastered cdR copies...and obviously cheaper prices... if you want to have a copy of In and Between, you have to pay 3 dirty euros and maybe you'll get a discount on a glass of Belgian beer as well!!!), confirmed by some references even in the music style to Global Genocide Forget Heaven, a legendary Californian industrial music band which moved its first steps by producing '“ strictly on tapes - a plenty of demos . and gradually gaining respect by a lot of zines. Even if there're some recognizable influences by Nine Inch Nails as well as the most depraved French dark-industrial scene, Jeff's music is not easy to categorize for different reasons as he used to change musical idioms in the same track as well.

It seems he sometimes tries to give voice (funny the way JeFF play a multitrack to juxtapose vocal layers giving the illusion there are two or more singers, even if this effect combined with Monsieur Jeff's French stress '“ easy to listen if your ears are quite trained in recognizing different ways of pronunciation of English language... ) to emotions such as despair, "death-in-life-and-life-in-death" and angriness till the point they rise turning into wall of sounds... .from gloomy piano melodies to furious rages of distorted guitar, from atmospheric lo-fi synthetic organs to depressed vocal emulsions, from funeral marches to dancing beats... style changes are really unpredictable and sudden... In and Between is just apparently illogic, but it's not in our opinion and even Jeff's unconventional way of singing alternative spoken words makes sense. Some highlights amidst this 12-track CDR are An active creation '“ it makes me think about an imaginary mad scientist's laboratory -, the metallic experiments (even on voice) of the terrificly depressed Years Ago (the nostalgia evoked by the title itself is not so casual... ), the frenzy hebephrenia of Serialfucker's beat patterns, Dead Star (a track which could be subtitled "the dark side of a rock/pop star"!) and the oppressive Tell me why. I've found it very funny some 8bit sequences such as in DWDY and Whiksey Talks (I couldn't imagine a bottle of Jack uses to put a potato in the mouth when speaking... !). By the way (In and Between), it seems there's no hope. Be aware and prepare to lick Jeff's despair!

Lyrics (totally crazy...!) available on the website.

Having Thin Moonshine: Having Thin Moonshine

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 01 2009
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Artist: Having Thin Moonshine (@)
Title: Having Thin Moonshine
Format: CD
Label: Ark Records (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
When I listened to some excerpts of their previous demos, I wondered why any label didn't make any proposal to this gothic/folk Italian band from Venice before and we're almost sure that the small independent Italian label Ark '“ which already got engaged with renowned gothic bands such as Ataraxia, Violet Tears, Corde Oblique and Argine '“ has decided to bet on their skill and and their interesting musical formula and arguably planned great things after feeling the same surprise. If you consider that there are not so many innovative projects and band from the gothic slops, we can reasonably suppose that those blood-tinged pale hands printed on the cover artwork of this "serious" debut album by Having Thin Moonshine are going to draw whirling mantras and disentangling imaginary ropes in the darkness under favorable winds. One of the "secret recipe" of their music formula could be singled out in the indisputable reciprocal understanding and "synchronicity" between the guitarist Pietro Baldan and the bassist Dario Belardinelli, well supported by the drummer Jacopo Campi.

Another one could be easily recognized in the genuine essentiality of their sound, which seems to avoid any kind of bombastic frills, giving a remarkable role to the voice of the skilled vocalist (and songwriter... ) Ally: she gives a lot of bodies of evidence of their ability in interpreting emotional lyrics, even if maybe we have to admit that her voice is still too much unripe and seductive for certain forms of provocative sung poetry... even if she's really good in singing some ravishing lyrics (it seems she got possessed by an undefined devil when interpreting Salomè '“ a song inspired by the notorious literary character, finely depicted by Oscar Wilde '“ , the nice Point Of View or Giblets Of Sorrow, we couldn't say she �s already comparable to renowned female singers such as Patti Smith or Allison Shaw... but we could reasonably expect she's going to improve and extend her vocal "drama" skills little by little! She has also shown her convincing personality as a musician as well, even when she interprets Jingle (just a sort of funny divertssment in order to relieve the heavy and sometimes obsessive atmospheres of a gothic record... ). This debut album is so persuading and well-crafted that we cannot do anything but wishing them a luminous musical pattern even outside the sometimes stingy Italian boundaries! Good luck, folks!

Dead Guitars: Flags

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 30 2009
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Artist: Dead Guitars (@)
Title: Flags
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
One of most relevant surprise carried by a gust whirling from the evergreen alternative grounds is without any doubt the one by these waving Flags, proudly waven by Dead Guitars, a collaborative project whose bandilleros have already walked over the decuman gates of the walls surrounding those fields: almost 7 years have elapsed since Pete Brough, one of the founder of German band Twelve Drummers Drumming , and Ralf Aussem, the man behind the curtain of the successful band Sun, decided to share their musical experiences and knowledge with vocalist Carlo van Putten (from The Convent), giving birth to Dead Guitars (sorry for the pun!), which signed the highly appreciated Airplanes, an album which let them gain the prominent role as a support band for the widespread European tour of The Mission, with whom Dead Guitars began a prolific collaboration as three members of The Mission have collaborated and performed on DG's new album, Wayne Hussey in Isolation (one of the most catchy track of the whole album as well as a potential reply to Fool's Garden's rejection of isolation!), Mark Gemini Thwaite in the lovely and heartbreaking freedom chant Pristine and Richie Vernon on the melancholic Blue (whose recognizable electronic drums are going to be replaced by real drums on live stage... ) . The way this skilled foundation develops sound is really impressive and their renowned creative wit seems to strike an attitude if compared to Airplanes: guitar arrangements are maniacally cared while drums and the evocative vocals by Carlo van Putten and his astonishing jauntiness are sometimes the elements making the real difference. It's almost impossible to tell which track is better than others. They shows an unbelievable skill in diversifying their masks passing from up to mid-tempo, showing a terrificly unconstrained style, covering a range of emotional setting whose wideness a psychologist could diagnose just on the most serious case of cyclothymia ranging from the rage of Pristine and Miss America, the romanthicism-tinged On A Trip To Elsewhere, moody pieces like Lazy Moon (with an amazing distorted piano tones and a sort of weeping motif...), Silver Cross River (my personally favorite one... I was almost totally ravished and absorbed by this entrancing track...) and Raise Your Flags, the purity of style of the wise Slowdown and the heavenly choral Watercolours featuring the wonderful voices of a group of Dutch students attending G2a... You should listen to this album as a sort of spiritual experience to better appreciate it...

Immediate, emotional, powerfully melancholic... Maybe one of the most balanced mix of gothic, wave, progressive and melancholic moods we've heard among recent releases... Dead Guitars will surely play the chords of your soul. It's a must-have if you love to refresh your ears with cool breeze of psychedelically epic stuff! I definitively hope to see them perform somewhere!

Division Kent: Gravity

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 30 2009
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Artist: Division Kent (@)
Title: Gravity
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Even if the Swiss '“ from Zurich... - band (actually a duo made up of the enchanting femme fatal sometimes turning-into-a-lolita Andrea B '“ you could wonder on the powerful of her voice to sound like an erotic scratch on your skin.. if you like scratches as well! -and the skilled Sky Antinori) classifies itself as an electro band, it's easy to notice some echoes in the visceral structure of their songs from the windy territories of Trip Hop, Nu Wave and the crowded ones of Rock and Pop. Their chamaleontic style covers a wide range of styles in Gravity, their second full-length after their debut-album, Monsterproof, issued three years ago, even it's quite easy to imagine which musical idols Division Kent devotionally adore: for instance you'll recognize some Depeche Mode influences in tracks such as No Kryptonite (... well this album it's about Gravity, the attractive force of big masses on smallest ones and even Superman's not exempt from this force, folks!) , Gravity (how many references buzzing in my head! ... the melodic similarities between these song and The Secret by the Italian electro-cinematic project Gone, inspired by Hitchcock's plot, let me think about the idea of gravity as a metaphor of death in the movie Vertigo... but this track let go to the surface other listening such as Cranes or the Dutch band The Gathering of the How to measure a planet?-era), In The Headlights or Salty (a track which seems to be an hip-hop grime-like blow-piping on some excerpts of Violator... both for the sound treatment and for the song structures while a bizarre disco face is showed in tracks such as Offshore (could you imagine a Suicide Girlie version of Kylie Minogue?), a glamouresque French electro stress in the funny L'Heure Bleue (you could imagine something like a bloody punching round between Fischerspooner, Visage and Royksopp to have an idea of what're going to listen up... ).

The conclusive The Year Of Magical Thinking sounds like a further body of evidence of their affection for David Gahan & C., even if we cannot say Division Kent is a DM clone and the fact that they're a source of inspiration could be easily demonstrated in the 13 remixes collection attached to the regular album in which a plenty of musicians from different angles of the planet (as well as from remarkably different musical perspectives... ) enjoyed discovering and adding different dimensions, which could be appreciated both by clubbers and by listeners close to sound experiments. My favs among them the Booka Shaded "Joe And Will Ask? Remix" of gravity, the punchy boombap Justin Faust remix of Salty, the sun-drenched house tunes of Dunwich Remix of She's Going Places, the 80ies underwater glam Shook Remix of L'Heure Bleue and the tickling of After Midnight one of Pat The Pan Am Pilot. Paraphrasing some of the sleeve-notes of the booklet ("Waiting on a sign/Louder than words/So Likely/To trigger corrosion"), we wait for a sign better showing their musical personality without any recognizable influence. Stop listening for a while Depeche Mode and then throw the door-key of studios, folks!


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