Music Reviews



ARGINE: Le Luci di Hessdalen

 Posted by Ferruccio Milanesi   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 25 2004
cover
Artist: ARGINE (@)
Title: Le Luci di Hessdalen
Format: CD
Label: ARK Records (@)
Distributor: MASTERPIECE Distribution
Rated: *****
New work for the Italian band ARGINE, the third full length for a band that released a year ago the anthology "Rifrazioni" to commemorate ten years of activity. A new album that is a turning-point, forgetting the limits of an apocalyptic-folk scene that is too tight for Argine, looking back at the post-punk and new wave origins and at the same time looking ahead, to new form of alternative rock. A very good work, marked by the usual melodic taste the band showed in former albums, the great care of arrangements, even if this time the songs are simpler, with a more direct attitude and a punk anger and energy.The tracklist includes new songs and other going back to the first period of the band, to the first demo "I Colori del Silenzio", dated 1996. So "I Nostri Occhi" and "Spina Nel Fianco", historical songs, are now revisited emphasizing the new wave spirit with filtered voices and a darker feeling. "Lamento Funebre" is the older version of the first album’s titletrack "Mundana Humana Instrumentalis", with lyrics by P.B. Shelley, now more dark-rock oriented. In all the album Corrado Videtta’s voice shows a melodic attitude unexplored in previous works, with something that in "Le Luci di Hessdalen" and in "Punti Invisibili" reminds me of CSI’s frontman Giovanni Lindo Ferretti.Acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums and percussions, enriched by the great violin lines of Edo Notarloberti (playing as guest on most of dark/folk/neoclassic/rock Neapolitan bands’ albums) and the sweet voice of Cecilia Videtta, alternating the classical soprano tone and a softer and "pop" attitude, make "Radjodramma", "Lucente Anima" and "In Silenzio" songs on the edge between an emotional and thoughtful music (lyrics are always one of the strongest features of the band) and a commercial tendency. "Girotondo" is a song that makes me suffer, for it’s a sweeping and rhythmical punk song, very melodic and with a great commercial potential but it’s totally destroyed by a terrible mixing (while the other songs aren’t bad mixed): you’ll hear only a padded bass overwhelming drums and voices, and above the chorus female voice is totally impossible to understand. This song is great and deserves much more.To conclude, a new album that is new born: towards the recovery of its past, the band has found its path, mixing new-wave, post-punk, alternative rock, poetic feelings and commercial attitude and it’s now ready to exit the niche to meet a greater public.

NICK GREY AND THE RANDOM ORCHESTRA: Regal Daylight

 Posted by Ferruccio Milanesi   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 24 2004
cover
Artist: NICK GREY AND THE RANDOM ORCHESTRA (@)
Title: Regal Daylight
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Sensitive Records (@)
Rated: *****

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NICK GREY AND THE RANDOM ORCHESTRA is a total surprise for me. Every listening adds something to a vision of higher Art, where everything has its role in creating a refined but passionate fusion of poetry and music. Different influences and a conflicting use of classic instruments and electric guitars and drums show a complete personal capacity of making new what is ancient and at the same time to make ancient what is new. Consider a sweet and sad piano (a really sad piano, giving you the sense that everything’s lost), a soft electronic drum, a distorted guitar wringing your heart, and a deep voice whispering or singing with an emotional strength that reminds me of AND ALSO THE TREES’ singer Simon Huw Jones. Add a trumpet and a clarinet giving particular and unexpected influences, a violin and congas and you’ll get this fusion of neoclassic music, avant-garde, electronic beats, Debussy, Current 93 (considering their wonderful "Soft Black Star") and Dead Can Dance (in particular for some parts involving ethnic drums).
"The Zealot", just to mention one of the songs, is simply beautiful, a sort of a lullaby in a dusty empty room. "Look Like Moses" alternates a trip hop soft atmosphere, with a nostalgic kletzmer fleeling clarinet, a sort of Yiddish vocal melody (I don’t know why but I feel strongly so... ), the powerful voice of the tenor Vasile Moldoveanu, a trumpet giving the sense of a world fading away. "November Fadeline" is a must for people loving ASHRAM, UNTO ASHES. "Hiding in Seaweed" shows the fascinating voice of Jasmine Pinkerton on a congas rhythm, a medieval lament in a Moroccan harem. "Parachute drops" with a Hammond, glockenspiel notes falling like drops, gives the feeling of a wait, of something growing that will happen.
I think this is not an easy listening album, not Californian beach party. It’s full of cultural and poetic suggestions, every time shows a different side you’ve not noticed. But it’s not an esoteric piece of art: you’ll love it more and more because it’s full of sweet, heart-touching melodies, it will entrap you and you’ll listen three times without stopping.

Mana ERG: The Blind Watchmaker

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 17 2004
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Artist: Mana ERG (@)
Title: The Blind Watchmaker
Format: CD
Label: Glyptique (division of A.P.D.R.A.M.A./Organic) (@)
Rated: *****
Mana ERG's brand new "The Blind Watchmaker" (out June 15th, on a sub-division of one of France's best electronic music outlets) is the fifth release by Bruno De Angelis (after three tapes in the ninetees and the mini CD "Borderliners", 2002). Although the name is most definitely italian, I believe he lives in the UK, from where he has been producing music for this new release with illustrious guests and collaborators, including: Russian Electroshock records label-owner and electro-acoustic musician Artemiy Artemiev; German ex-Kluster pioneering ambient/techno artist Dieter Moebius; Musica Secreta and The Tallis Scholars renaissance music ensemble soprano singer Deborah Roberts; ex-Scorn & ex-Lull member and Metamorphic Journeyman magazine publisher Antony Burnham, a.k.a. Antonym; didgeridoo player and Oltre il Suono webzine creator Nihm; and Attrition's mastermind Martin Bowes, who mastered this record. So now that we know that there's definitely lots of brain behind all of this, let's deal with what really counts: the music of Mana ERG is hard to describe and hard to file; it covers many grounds and finds its strenght in rare qualities such as dynamism and eclecticism. "The Blind Watchmaker"'s multifaceted production extends from electronic to dark, in a journey that encompasses so many genres and influences that it's hard to even keep track of your own mood and state of mind as you are violently pulled through its smooth soundscapes. The overall sort of "noir" approach brings that nice ill and sinister halo to the table, and you'll definitely recognize influences of early NIN (in particular think of Reznor doing his nasty and dirty slow pieces with piano or guitar loops, much rather than him screaming away over walls of distortion) when the atmospheres get cloudy and slow or when Bruno's collaborators Joe Erber (piano/guitar) and Tiberio (guitar) add their touch to the ill-lighten suites. The addition of d'n'b breaks and other sophisticated rhythmical figures might remind you of Apell, some older Eno productions and definitely some late Clock DVA. Young Gods-type sonorities are ready to take off on the wings of buttered IDM loops that wouldn't look out of place in some Boards of Canada/Autechre or other Warp artist's album (probably thanks to the aid of DJ/producer Lee Stacey). Brusaschetto/Mudcake-like gentle noise-making gives the album that rough edge, and even though most corners are rounded off, you'll always feel the scratchy surface underneath the hovering layers of sounds. Of course Bowes' presence is not a coincidence, as Mana ERG definitely looks up to the sound of Attrition or of similar bands such as Die Form. Bastard, Legendary Pink Dots, Visions of Excess, Kapotte Muziek, Ivan Iusco/Nightmare Lodge are some of the other bands that populated my mind while going through these tracks... Utlimately the electronic texturing of the record really shows great attitude and consciousness and builds intense statements and ballsy presence on minimalist structures that convey great sense of musicianship. It's such a diverse recording you'll have to listen to it many many times to even get a grasp of its complexity, which is great considering how basic the instrumental approach is. I have been listening to this for a few days now and if I didn't have to move on to the next batch in the pile, I'd probably keep going to appreciate all of the shadows and shades of its wide palette and array of sonics. Great record.

THE DAWN VISITORS: Hybridize

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 17 2004
cover
Artist: THE DAWN VISITORS (@)
Title: Hybridize
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Coming from Belgium The Dawn Visitors arrived with HYBRIDIZE to their fifth release. The four tracks of this MCD are incredibly convincing and listening to The Dawn Visitors is like having a link between the past (Roxane's voice sometimes remembered me Siouxsie Sioux) and the future (the band's music contains elements of '80s goth rock but being well integrated in nowadays electronic sound). "Don't say we don't mind", "Space Shift", "U-415" and "Be Perfect" (which is a sort of hit single for my tastes) are catchy without being too danceable or fashion. Even if they use electronic gear their music has nothing to do with modern electronic bands you can find into the alternative charts and this is a good thing because they aren't chained to a genre which could affect their creativity.

Bella Morte: As The Reasons Die

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 15 2004
cover
Artist: Bella Morte (@)
Title: As The Reasons Die
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Rated: *****

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Formed in 1996 and picked up by Metropolis Records in 2002, Bella Morte hails from Charlottesville, VA and have gained the attention of many fans worldwide. Upon first listen most are initially impressed with their overall style and approach to what some call darkwave or gothic. However, Bella Morte's approach is unique enough that they do not truly fit into that catagory though most of their fans would likely currently be found in the 'goth scene'. Their music combines guitar driven rock with ballad-like structures, heavy synth overtones, and melancholy lyrics. They have been called "gothic", "punk", "synthpop", "metal", and "darkwave". Oddly, they are not really any of these specifically but aptly combine elements of each into a fluid medium. with the vocal improvements shown on this album they have definitely taken a huge leap forward from where they were with the previous release. The last album had me musically but vocally was lacking a bit to 'tone' and 'experience'. This release is much more professional sounding and vocally reminds me slightly of the band Seven 13 (aka Coven 13) and would be an excellent addition to the individual's collection which contain their works who are looking for a more updated musical sound and structure. Bella Morte combines metal guitars, piano, darkwave synth structures and anthem/ballad-like vocals into a nice mesh. If they didn't live up to your standards last time give them a listen this time. There is much improvement!


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