Music Reviews

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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?

STELLAMARA: The Golden Thread

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 01 2009
Title: The Golden Thread
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie
Rated: *****
THE GOLDEN THREAD is the newest and third album for Stellamara. Released after four years from their previous album "The Seven Valleys" the new CD sees Stellamara detaching a bit from their previous Dead Can Dance like style to develop an intriguing set made of nine new tracks which take inspiration from ethnic music coming from Turkey, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia. The band used traditional songs' music and lyrics (or only one of the two) of the countries I mentioned and created a charming album developed on the concept of the thread that Ariadne gave to Theseus, assisting him in his heroic journey into and out of the Minotaur's labyrinth. As the band explains: "The golden thread is a symbol of the inspiration, intuition, and guiding light that graces us throughout our lives. It is that which we follow, knowing that it will, in some mysterious way, guide us on our true paths in life. As we travel through literal and figurative labyrinths in our lives, the golden thread may easily go unnoticed, yet when it is recognized and followed, we may find that this archetypal strand of gold connects us to our true selves, to our beloveds, and to that which we discover to be home". Take a deep breath and follow the beautiful voice of Sonja Drakulich leading you through mysterious Eastern melodies.

CAPACOCHA: Sacrifice For Party

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 29 2009
Title: Sacrifice For Party
Format: CD
Label: Basserk
Rated: *****
SACRIFICE FOR PARTY is the debut album of Capacocha. Coming from Holland, Capacocha is a one man band who describes its style as "electro rock n rolla outta controlla". To be honest this album offers something more of mere rock'n'roll or electro: the first thing that is popping out while listening to the album is that its nine tracks are high energetic distorted up-tempos where Capacocha blends in many influences. If "To make you fell better" sounds like Franz Ferdinand with a boost, the opening "Monster" is an electro punk anthem, "Follow me" recalls me LCD Soundsystem, "Neoconjerkative" starts with a bit of techno just to steer to electro punk with bouncing bass lines, "Shake it" is the sum of garage punk, punk blues (remember the Oblivians or other bands that were making records for Crypt during the 90s?) and a bit of funk. We have the best mix of genres in "Leave me" where 70s disco synth lines meet dissonant punk funk guitars: try to imagine a mix of Gang Of Four and LCD Soundsystem with dueting synth leads. The album won't let you down for a second and if aren't afraid of a bit of sane craziness mixed with punk, electro and more, Capacocha is the one to try.
Artist: Musterion (@)
Title: The Wondrous Journey Through the Catacombs of Life
Format: CD
Label: Horus CyclicDaemon
Rated: *****
Swedish-born composer Simon Kölle has been touted as one of the most significant Scandinavian musicians of his generation and genre. Mostly known for his work with Za Frûmi but he also did a fantastic solo album under the name Musterion. That was 2005 and the album titled "The Black Lodge". Now Simon is back with his second album with Musterion.

The first thing to praise with this album is the outstanding artwork laid out as great work of art on a multi panel Digipack. The artwork is truly clever and honestly I cannot think about any artist in the genre of dark ambient that released an album as beautiful as this.

The story, which is laid out in a deep and impressive booklet, is wonderful and reminds me of masters such as Devil Doll, Pink Floyd, David Lynch and Lovecraft. The music is so unique and cinematic I nominate it to be the best dark ambient album this year for sure. From the opening moments of the first piece "Elevator Down" it becomes evident that Musterion possesses a special demeanor via his ferocious line of attack, spiced with verve and a robust tone. Coupled with fluent lines and a few technical nods to the psychedelic years of the 60s, the artist snags your
attention, and sails through these largely, original pieces with equal doses of fire and grace!
Only great poetry can describe the music on "The Wondrous Journey through the Catacombs of Life" and Horus CyclicDaemon, the Czech label, has outdone themselves with this diamond release.

There is a slight Eastern European accent to the underlying rhythms and their instrumentation but also hints and pieces of the puzzle that breath art music as much as dark ambient.

The most remarkable aspect of the album is its ability to tell the story with the help of the music, text and art. The album takes you on the wondrous journey with masterful precision, embodying the heart-wrenching emotions and memories of the man we inhabit while listening. He makes a discovery and finally a downfall with strange circus themes and marvelous sound elements never restrained. In terms of the actual music, not much is different from Musterion's previous album, though a significant role is given to the violin and to the very fact that specific keys offers dual representation of both the innocence of the main character and the dark setting of the catacombs, lending a music-box style to the album that accentuates the bedtime storytelling ambience. The Piano is important but not as much as with the "The Black Lodge".

When I listen to a song like "The Dollmaker" I get so into the music I get back from a trip when it ends. I cannot even describe half of everything what is happening but I feel a lot. First I thought that maybe some songs would be overly stuffed with great ideas but not really creating a red thread. Oh, I was so wrong. The thread is there and the songs are not stuffed with other than greatness.

I love this album.

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

 Posted by Andre Wiegand   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (5444)
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!

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