Music Reviews



NEONMAN: Gift Of The Gab

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 02 2006
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Artist: NEONMAN
Title: Gift Of The Gab
Format: CD
Label: Pale Music (@)
Rated: *****
Lately dance music is taking inspiration from the most various musical scenes and the concept of dance music played with electronic instruments is fading fast. The target is to make the people move, no matter how. At this purpose mixing funk, punk and electro is not a problem. This is what Neonman do: music to dance to with thousands influences played with guitars, drums and keyboards. In this way the nine tracks of GIFT OF THE GAB sounds like a mixture of XTC, Clash and Gang Of Four with a pulsing rhythm. Listen to "One last breath" and it will seems to listen to Talking Heads playing with Grandmaster Flash. Each track have a dominance of one of the styles mentioned so you have to discover the tracks little by little because if "Bombs in the backdrop" sounds tense and funky, "Rude boy" is a punk reggae song a la Clash. GIFT OF THE GAB is a multifaceted album that will please all the punk wave kids that like also electro sounds. Check also the three remixes of "Buy now , pay later" by Shapemod (cool version with electro arrangement using original sounds along with electronics) and "Rich kids" remixed by Warren Suicide (he did a punkish techno version really good) and by The Scandals (they extended the track adding some punk/dub/techno moments).

Orbit Service: Songs of Eta Carinae

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 28 2006
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Artist: Orbit Service
Title: Songs of Eta Carinae
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Distributor: Massive Music
Rated: *****
Songs of Eta Carinae, Orbit Service's BLRR debut CD, is dark rock that reminds one of a slower, quieter and murkier V.A.S.T., but with more thoughtful and interesting lyrics containing deeper poetics. A minor drawback would be Randall Frazier's vocal deliveries and intonation, in need of improvement in some places; on the other hand, there is good chord phrasing, with lyrical tropes and piano lines in a sort of loungey, torch-song vein, and some songs ("Sparrows") have appropriately added distorted guitar gloom. "Asphyxia" has echoey, reggae-dub accordion recalling old Bauhaus and OMD treatments, while "Halos" is an unabashed homage to early-to-middle Pink Floyd. The big prize goes to production quality, and this CD is arguably best listened to on headphones -- or on a really good stereo for an extended make-out session. The title, by the way, is named after a star in the southern constellation Carina, "the Keel". Steady as she goes, boys, stay on course.

VV.AA.: Hefty 10 Digest + Prefuse 73 Mixtape

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 26 2006
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Hefty 10 Digest + Prefuse 73 Mixtape
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Hefty (@)
Distributor: Wide
Rated: *****

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To celebrate the ten years anniversary of Hefty Records, here comes this double compilation HEFTY 10 DIGEST. It gathers sixteen tracks/bands on the first CD and a Prefuse 73’s mixtape on the second one. Here Sott Herren uses label's released and unreleased stuff mixing them in an hour long session. With the sixteen songs of the first CD you can check the different musical styles produced by the label: elegant electro (Savath + Savalas, Euphone and Samadha), jazzy minimal upbeat (Phil Ranelin), electro funk (Slicker), experimental pop (Bill Ding), minimal breakbeat (Telefon Tel Aviv, John Hughes, Beneath Autumn Sky and Retina.it) and alternative rock (Ilium). The PREFUSE 73 MIXTAPE is more interesting for me because the polished atmospheres typical of some bands are treated with sandpaper and the beat result the main thing. In this way the various bands like Mondii, Eliot Lipp, Slicker, Some Water and Sun, Scott Herren and John Hughes, Retina.it, to name few, are there to serve the supreme divinity: the rhythm. Don't get me wrong, there's still melody and everything on the final result, but Prefuse 73 did a good job giving to his set a sense and a direction I enjoyed.

ACT NOIR: Automatisme Psychique

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 26 2006
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Artist: ACT NOIR (@)
Title: Automatisme Psychique
Format: CD
Label: My Kingdom Music (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****

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Born at the end of the 90s from the ashes of an electronic goth band called Alma Mater, Act Noir started to work at their sound soon after. The tuning of the new sound took different time and during the three years that Sergio lived in Denmark, he found Nicholas (the actual singer) which already was the singer of The Universals (a space rock band). From that moment with a defined line up the band started to work at their first songs. The work ended up into their first five tracks demo CD titled "Cosmo minimized". AUTOMATISME PSYCHIQUE has been released three years after their first MCD and it contains nine songs and two remixes (an electro e.b.m. version of "Unheimlich" and the Act Noir version of Monumentum’s "Distance". Track that already was included into "Metastasi"). Even if the songs have a structure with an opening and a sort or refrain, the band’s sound is based most on ambience that really on melody. The first six tracks create the effect of a sort of long ambient rock opera with songs that fade into the following ones. It’s like the band composed dark rock tunes just to dilate them adding, sometimes, upbeat moments (like on "This something") where the mellowness is suddenly interrupted. Try to imagine a dark rock version of Rain Tree Crow (do you remember the album that Japan did with that moniker?) with electronic inserts and you’ll pretty have a picture of Act Noir’s sound. Even if sometimes I lost the concentration during the listening because of the dreamy effect created, I have to admit that the band has a personal sound and charisma but in my opinion they work best on tracks like "Automatisme psychique" or "Swerved rooms" where they enrich their sound with good melody lines and some upbeat tempos.
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Artist: RONNIE SUNDIN
Title: the amateur hermetic
Format: CD
Label: Komplott
Rated: *****
Thinking to the cd of Hanna Hartman I've the itch to think Komplott could be labelled as "field recording gone odd and dark" without any doubt this fits really well with this new release. Ronnie Sundin concentrated it all in just one track: a structured and elaborated suite with several crescendo and diminuendo obtained mainly thru a good mixing skill and leaving lot’s of the original sound source intact. "The amateur hermetic" differently from what the title suggests paints the landscape black as the colour of its cover and if you won't get this impression from the very beginning with the second movement around the twentieth minute I'm sure the weird "coral effect made out of who knows what" will make you pray for the holy ghost. Right after the second crescendo the scene is crossed by a killer distorted bass sound that's left hanging enough to scare the shit out of your ears. Right when the climax is reached the distorted bass gradually leaves the crime scene for more white noise waves and to some quiet parts that recall the first the beginning of the cd till it all fade like the fog in the famous movie by John Carpenter. Without being a dark ambient release I'm sure many fans of the genre will dig this for the "lost in a forest" sensation.


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