Music Reviews



Ashram: Shining Silver Skies

 Posted by Sir Logla   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 18 2006
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Artist: Ashram (@)
Title: Shining Silver Skies
Format: CD
Label: Equilibrium music (@)
Distributor: audioglobe
Rated: *****
Four years after their debut album, the Italian ensemble Ashram realise their second album, "Shining Silver Skies" for the fine label Equilibrium Music.Ashram have conquered a discreet fanbase around their delicate and Neo-Classical music style. The group’s singer has a beautiful crooning voice and sometime remind to Anthony and the Johnston, melodic piano and violin phrases confer some decadent atmospheres and deep emotions . Withthis album Ashram jump on the top list of this kind of music, Folk ballads perfect sound, great musicians. Impossible to lose!!

SKELETAL FAMILY: Sakura

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 15 2006
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Artist: SKELETAL FAMILY (@)
Title: Sakura
Format: CD
Label: Gepek
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
The first album of the Skeletal Family reincarnation opens up with the convincing dissonant melodies of "Faithless whore" (where sometimes the guitar melody recall me some Black Flag tunes). With this new album titled SAKURA the band found, after their disband, a new life with three original member a new drummer and a new vocalist (Claire, ex Smack Dolly). The twelve tracks pay their dues to post punk but the new Skeletal Family musically aren’t a direct emanation of the old band, as they fortunately present twelve new songs full of pathos and even if sometimes vocals don’t sound perfect, they are spontaneous into their urge to communicate. Into the track list there’s also space for two slow tracks, "Waiting" and the atmospheric "Alive again", which with its six minutes length gathers moments of tension with new wave romantic intuitions with piano, violin, and rock instruments. The album into its entirety sounds genuine and spontaneous and it doesn’t matter if sometimes it sounds raw. Overproduction isn’t what is in need here, we need passion, good tunes and sweat. Check also their version of Iggy Pop’s "Nightclubbing", it sounds like a demo divertissement but it is interesting and it sounds fresh, mixing the sax, the guitar distorted 70s solos and the drunk rock’n’roll piano. Check also "Delirium" , a track that goth lovers will dig dancing, following its Arabian melodies.

COUCH: Figur 5

 Posted by Marco Pustianaz   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 10 2006
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Artist: COUCH
Title: Figur 5
Format: CD
Label: Morr Music (@)
Distributor: Wide
Rated: *****

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On the CD cover the name of the band from Munich is spelt with wood models of the five letters C-O-U-C-H, lined up in three rows. The keyboards/drums/bass/guitar band couldn’t be better visually described. Couch design their music much the same way: it feels regular, colourful, yet also wooden, sharp-edged, as though it were constructed out of Lego blocks. "Figur 5" is instrumental post-rock, competently played, based on repetition and gradual accumulation. I am reminded of a sadder, more introspective version of math rock, but after the first four tracks or so Couch seem to lose their way and play round and round with just the bare bones of an idea. Instead of building up momentum, they get tangled in the web they have woven and the sense of impending danger is completely lost. The CD closes with "Läss nicht nach", a nice example of Couch "figur", an arabesque precisely carved with guitar and keyboards, and yet a track that does not leave a particular emotion. Maybe it’s the sense of urgency that has escaped this CD. All the more pity, since the opening track had promised a touch more energy and direction, which gets stifled after the first three tracks. Let us not give them up, but "Figur 5" is successful only in parts.

LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: Grey

 Posted by Marco Pustianaz   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 10 2006
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Artist: LACK OF KNOWLEDGE (@)
Title: Grey
Format: CD
Label: Southern
Distributor: Wide
Rated: *****

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Southern Records have reissued for the first time LoK’s "Grey" 4-track Ep (1983) and "Sirens are back" Lp (1984). More than 20 years have passed and LoK’s anarcho-post-punk may sound to some nostalgically dated, but it is also a timely reminder of a fiercely independent ethics and a desperately lucid commitment to the underground’s struggle against militarism, law and order values and the tyranny of economic oppression. LoK issued their handful of records for Crass Records and Corpus Christi Records and were one of the music underground voices against Thatcherite Britain. Their music is an impassionate mirror of those times, teeming with apocalyptic images, not just of nuclear weapons but of last-ditch stands, rebels and teenage proletariat. At the same time, their songs can still move, their melodies may not cover too wide a ground but they are insistent, sincere and creative, within the parameters of the genre. The basslines approach a Gang of Four style and LoK entirely deserve to be listened to even after such a long a time. Indeed, today’s political scenario was in a way foreseen by committed prophets of doom and rebellion such as LoK. Their imagery is always concrete, rooted in the material conditions of life in post-industrial Britain, which is the saving grace of most LoK’s lyrics. There’s cinematic poetry in scenes like this one, from "Another sunset": "Leaning over the balcony gazing at the illuminated seascape, now devoid of its once teeming life, you wonder why you decided to stay. Returning to the interior your cassette groans at its slow death, a dreadful parody of what was once music fills the room and your mind, reminding you of its former melody". The abstract language of apocalypse is always matched by references to individual choices, places and things, so that LoK speak to us as finally committed to humanness, despite everything. I confess that I am one of those who bought the original "Sirens are back" Lp at the time. I, too, am a child of those times, and of the times that have elapsed since. I am happy that LoK haven’t been entirely forgotten.

Edward Artemiev: Shadows of a Theater

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 08 2006
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Artist: Edward Artemiev
Title: Shadows of a Theater
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock (@)
Distributor: visit Electroshock website for a complete list of distributors
Rated: *****
Russian classical and electronic music composer Edward Artemiev, father of Electroshock records founder and electro-acustic music composer Artemiy Artemiev, went back full circle to the classical music of his upbringings and education at the Moscow Conservatoire. We don't usually review classical music, but because "Shadows of a Theater" comes from the capable hands and mind of somebody like Artemiev (who has had such a huge influence on the evolution of electronic music in Russia) and was released on Russia's leading electronic music label, we decided to make an exception. For lack of a better option, I had to throw it into the dark category, only because we don't have a classical music category. I am no expert in the field and it's hard for me to compare this to any of the great composers of the 18th and 19th centuries, but I can certainly say that within these 24 tracks you can hear the role that mittle-european influences played (french and eastern european for example). Lots of brass instruments and lots of string instruments, but basically the full spectrum of a symphony orchestra. Most of the music here has been composed and arranged for "Kabala and Hypocrites" ("Moliere") by Artemiev, who also threw in some other film music of his that matches the overall mood.


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