Music Reviews



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Artist: Lingua Fungi (@)
Title: Melankhton
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
When I read some notes about "Melankhton" according to which this album is "a sound interpretation of particular illness narratives and a study in experimental anthropology..." reflecting "the shifting states of the turbulent minds visited by 'Melankhton'", I thought that Melankthon was a sort of seraphic or alternatively devilish transfiguration of Philipp Melanchthon, the notorious German reformer, who has been regarded as the intellectual pulsating vein of Lutheranism, and judging by some aspects there could be some connection. Melanchton is widely known as the inventor of the term "psychology", but it seems that Jakko Padatsu, the mind behing Lingua Fungi, meant to use that term as a synonym of "soul seeking", whereas the five entrancing tracks of this record sound like an almost instinctive attempt of eliciting symphaty for mental sufferers , negative acception of soul seekers, by means of intensely evocative sonorities: the noise of a crackling pire on the opening "Wavy Guests" is the beginning and the end of a cycle where the reversed bells and the unexpected shamanic percussions seems to mirror the procession of phantasmagoric transient visions, which got rekindled over the quiet storms, the phoenix-like yells, the guitar-driven tribal dance and the obsessive pit-a-pat on "Departure", the hypnotical coalescence of cavernous waves, organic textures and alien melodies on the title-track "Melankhton", the dreamlike ballad of "Detached" as well as on the decisive last stage of this sort of sonic rite "Soma Dissolution", which sounds like adream withina dream. Another great act got added to Aural Hypnox catalogue, which released a deluxe box set (just 49 copies) including the already limited (449 copies) regular CD edition, two unique cyanotype prints and a silk-screen printed wooden panel which got housed inside a handmande cloth bag.

Halo Manash: Se Its En

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 04 2014
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Artist: Halo Manash (@)
Title: Se Its En
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Previously marked by the almost unknown underground label Blue Sector, "Se Its En" (2003) is the first emanation by Halo Manash - even if it was formerly started as a solo unnamed project by Anti Haapapuro in 1998 -, which follows the recent re-release of "Caickuwi Cauwas Walkeus", another miliar stone of their sonic research within an almost metaphysical, rather than just stylistical, field that they preferred to label as "elemental noise" instead of just dark or ritual ambient and the reason of such a seemingly snobbish differentiation was clear since that record. Besides cryptic overstretched sounds they squeezed from bowed instruments and analogue synth, the electrical shock that seems to resound in each of the seven minutes lasting seven tracks could let you imagine they are playing with a mysterious device which can open dimensional doors that got overstepped otherworldly entities who took possession of their voices and their instruments and such a figment of imagination coherently fits their intent of "bridging the worlds of being and non-being" and "journeying to the depths and heights", accordign to their own words. The most entrancing moments of the album are the ones when they inflame their mysterious rites by means of tribal percussions in particular in the central stages of their protocol such as "I Lure Rot", "Devourer" or "Ulterior", but I suggest a continuous listening from the initial "Solar Horn" to the final "Lunar Horn" as it were a proper rite in order to experience a more immersive listening. Another ecstatic lulu for the lovers of the genre which got added to the Stellar Mansion series.

Arktau Eos: Scorpion Milk

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 30 2014
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Artist: Arktau Eos (@)
Title: Scorpion Milk
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Finnish label Aural Hypnox disinters one of the most interesting spellbinding in the field of dark titual music, the first release together with "Mirrorion" from the underground cult act Arktau Eos by Antti Haapapuro and Antti Litmanen, who came back to the source after a couple of albums on Svart Records. All those listeners who have experienced some transmissions by these nordic entities should expect more similarities with many moments of "Ai Ma Ra", the double CD album which preceded their temporary migration to Svart, even if both the length of "Scorpion Milk", which lasts almost 50 minutes, and the skeletal structure of its sound, which could be woefully labelled as minimalist by some reviewers, massively emphasizes the esoteric entrancing exploration they fed by means of slow dull thuds and the sinister ultra-low echo, chirping bells and obscure litany which sounds like the rendering of a pending metamorphosis by an alternation of ghostly wheezes and murmured liturgies. Even if this release from Helixes Collective is the thing that gets closer than other releases to what many people tend to label as dark-ambient, it's really difficult to find other acts whose sound is likewise compelling and intrinsically arcane.

Factory Acts: Thirst

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 03 2014
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Artist: Factory Acts (@)
Title: Thirst
Format: CD EP
Label: AnalogueTrash Records (@)
Distributor: Trashdigital / Bandcamp
Rated: *****
This new 4-track EP-release by the Manchester-based Electronica-label AnalogueTrash continues with the label policy to sign on unusual, but artistically remarkable music-projects with an edgy mind. The female/male duo Factory Acts out of Salford surely counts to this rule and provides us their label debut. Both band members, Susan O'Shea (vocals, synths) and Matt Davies (bass, beat-work) provide us their colourful mutation out of sinister Dark Electro arrangements with the euphoric inventions of the Post-Punk influenced New Wave culture. 'They exist at the edge of the analogue-digital divide, sometimes dreaming, always dancing', so a well-fitting phrase taken out of their info-sheet. So this isn't at all the usual growling Puppy-an Dark Electro you're maybe familiar with, it is more an exploration of darker, analogue synthesizer sounds, which transport the nostalgic mood of the early 80s. Susan O'Shea's vocal performance stands for an extra remarkable point in the music of Factory Arts. She doesn't provide that faceless, Pop-dolly-like Mainstream-format suitable for the MTV- / Viva-youth, but rather surprises with an emotional, at times haunting performance. The mood of the depending track matters a lot and since the music of Factory Arts is more alternatively oriented, it shouldn't surprise that Susan's timbre turns out differently. The signing on Factory Acts and as far as this only 4 tracks allow a valid judgement is a courageous one for AnalogueTrash Records, because this project can not be sorted into one single category. So maybe diversity is their game-winning attitude? It's a promising and a good 4-track-starter EP, but let's wait and see what they can do for our entertainment with a hopefully soon to be released full-length album.

Vaniish: Memory Work

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 30 2014
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Artist: Vaniish (@)
Title: Memory Work
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
Memories of dark, new wave and Uk post-punk scenes have not totally vanished in the musical epiphany by evergreen (or I'd rather say everdark) Keven Tecon (former drummer of Wax Idols, The Soft Moon and Veil Veil Vanish), who grouped some fellows of his previous bands (Nick Ott on drums, Adam Beck, second guitarist and keyboard player, and Amy Rosenoff on bass) together for this new interesting project that came after the death of Keven's mother, as Vaniish could be approximately placed in a sort of stylistical interzone in between Sad Lovers and Giants, Bauhaus and Savages even if there some moments when other bands could come to mind (particularly Killing Joke, who could be reminded by the refrain of the title-track "Memory Work", whose words - "Nothing to remember/Nothing to regret/Lights becoming faces/waiting to forget" - get easily impressed upon listener's memory, or Young Gods, whose sound came to my mind on the turbulently paranoid "Observatory Time"), whereas lyrics evoke a consciousness which could be more collective than you could expect as if Vaniish managed to demonstrate that the sonorities they reprised and the emotional realm that belong to Keven, all things considered, could stick modernity. The moments of the album when Vaniish get closer to synth-wave such as "Succession" or "Kaleidoscoped" as well as the closing French song "La foi au fil de l'eau" are the best ones according to my ear response, but fans of both dark and new wave could be hooked by other tracks by this San Francisco-based band.


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