Music Reviews

iNsCissorS: The Circus of Ichneumons

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 19 2014
Artist: iNsCissorS
Title: The Circus of Ichneumons
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from this band is a concept album about 'the life cycle of Ichneumons' described, according to the linear notes, as a way to 'satirize the pestilence of man over nature and its similarities with the parasitic insect'. The most remarkable quality of this release lies in his compactness in the musical development that makes this album sounds as a long unique track.
The piano line of 'Prelude ('¦To Incubation)' introduces the lister as in a classic silent movie while the album is developed, as a theatre play, in five act and three interludes. While the tracks more distant to the others like 'Î¥ÎΡÎΣ (Hubris)', in italian, catch the first attentions, the musical lines that forms the album, that is almost instrumental, divided in almost gothic one as the synthesized string, often in pizzicato, and more ambient oriented ones based on quiet drones forms an almost narrative form that reminds the OST of a fantasy movie. The quality of the musical writing is constant until the initial piano notes returns varied upon a sad string line to end this release with ''¦ ?'.
In times where the music consumption is based upon the model of download, click and delete of a single song a concept album of about 70 minutes without any yielding upon a pop tune or the search of a single reminds of greater times. An essential release.
Artist: Gaap Kvlt
Title: Void
Format: CD
Label: Monotype (@)
Rated: *****
The man/woman behind Gaap Kvlt curtains managed to keep his/her identity conceiled for the moment as no one knows anything about him/her except, I surmise, Polish label Monotype which released his/her first complete album. As I am adverse to the cult of personality by nature, I cannot but praise such a choice, even if it could be consistent with the mysterious halo of the sound and the whole evoked atmosphere you're going to explore: the quotation of the Golem on the opening highly hypnotical track "Birth of Golem", who became famous for the notorious novel by Meyrink, but above all a style which melts dark ambient, cinematic industrial-like poltergeists, field recordings which seems to come from obscure recesses of some haunted building, abstract electronics whose low frequencies which gradually entwine and smother the sonic sphere (particularly on tracks like "Inquieude", "Poix" or "Far") and sinister knocks could be described as a possible crossbreed between Flint Glass, Emptyset and Vidna Obmana even if some occasional lacquering of Arabian sonorities (mainly percussions on tracks like "Ritual" or "Peganum Harmala") could resemble some stuff from Muslimgauze. Some moments of the album certainly render a sense of vague and suffocating emptiness, but a title like "Void" clashes against the thickening coagulations of visionary sonic injections and the fascinating polarization between icy sounds and the scorching heat which emanates from this fascinating release. Mind the Gaap...I said...mind the Gaap!

Control: s/t

 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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Aug 09 2014
Artist: Control (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Maybe the clocks in Fairfield, Iowa, are ticking differently to any other thinkable place in States, but c'mon guys, wasn't it possible to find any other more original band-name than a simple 'Control', which is already in use by some other Electronica music-projects? Although 'different' is a good paraphrase which could be often used when it comes to talk on the content this self-titled debut album. Control is a three-man outfit consisting of Joseph Mayfield (vocals), Joey Del Re (guitars, programming) and Dominic Rabalais (synths, programming). Being pretty much inspired by the Synthpop-driven Pop- / New Wave -music culture of the 80s (darkest Depeche Mode, Ultravox, New Order, The Cure to name the idols'¦), they create a post-modern sound-outfit filled additionally with their own area-based cultural background. And so this 13-track album swims in inspiration and into stylistically diversity which surprises here and there. The listing of additional, mostly unusual instruments in their Electronica music outfit is a long one (for example mandolin in 'Tonight' / saxophone on 'Condemned To Feel' and 'Corpse') and absolutely proofs their diversity. A lot of different moods and impressions mostly provided through the at times quite sarcastic lyrics have been tested and at least installed. Lyricist/vocalist Joseph Mayfield offers a lot of blood and sweat with his timbre and the lyrical content dealing of one's inner pain to keep control over the musically course both his band-mates manage to produce. The 'Personal Jesus'-like guitar-riff of 'Hardwired' gets soon vanished by the bubbling synth bass-lines and a catchy chorus-passage, which a kid is able to sing along. 'Corpse', a track which has been specially supported with a video clip-production, impresses with its scratching bass-line sequences and the upbeat tempo. In between 'Tonight' slows down the speed and offers nearly romantic lyrics dealing with endless yearning. 'No One Knows' is another favorite worth to check out because of its quite accessible composition full of Pop-aesthetics. 'Condemned To Feel' and especially Joseph's emotional kind to sing on this track brings back reminiscences of the better DM-days and he could win the imaginary 'let's-sing-like-Gahan' song contest. The row of highlights could be continued as all of these featured 13 tracks are sort of favorites and have their very own preferences. No doubt, this Iowa-based Control music-project has already found an ideal niche to play with Wave-/Pop music-accessibility, while they never fall the same time into redundancy or mediocrity. That's nice entertainment which deserves the few more spins until the whole meaning behind takes effect.
Jun 18 2014
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: A Visual And Auditory Reminder Of The Beauty Of Life
Format: 12"
Label: Seja Records (@)
Distributor: Seja Mailorder
Rated: *****
Netherlands-based and still very stubborn operating label Seja Records brings out the next hit for friends and listeners of Minimal, Synthpop, New Wave, and EBM. This new compilation again pressed in limited editions on vinyl (first 100 copies in red, 233 copies in black vinyl) offers 11 tunes pretty much woven into above mentioned styles. Side A starts with one of their greatest pearls in their holster, the Swedish Dark Electro-duo Fatal Casualties. The story of their establishing 28 years before in their bio amused me a while, because I couldn't figure out, why a band-project should need such a long time to come out with a first release ('Pariah' EP in early 2013). Although their end of last year released follow-up EP 'Somewhere in The Middle', which had prominent remix contributions by Daniel B. (of Front 242) or Beate Bartel (of Liasons Dangereuses) on board, couldn't impress me that much, they here return to their dark and sinister mood. Thumbs up also for Niton Cage presenting an exclusive remix of 'Generate Electricity' with haunting vocals integrated like samples and the wobbling bass-line sequence. Well, and that elegant early-80s-like Synthpop tune 'Let There Be Neon' proofs again, that quite often these years have had more innovation and originality than the current days. What a great track. Click Click is another legend I don't need to introduce since they lately have come back in action. Their vocalist Adrian Smith here contributes his magical timbre to ImiAFan's Minimal Electronica tune 'Try One'. Finally Kompleta like to invite us in 'Das Haus', but'¦, well, I prefer not to follow. Netherlands-based Mrs. Sophya with her beautiful voice opens the second side of this vinyl-only release with her mutation between New Wave / Minimal Electronica called 'Mechanical Butterflies'. I also dig the nice vocoder-vocals and Chiptune-like Electropop of another Netherlands-based legend of the golden era, Das Ding. Germany's Mängelexemplar give a Minimal/Synthpop tune dealing pretty much with an up-to-date phenomenon entitled 'Internetdemenz'. As expected, also Traffic A.M. with the still brilliant-sounding male vocals and their unreleased track 'Babylon' impresses s lot. The track list speaks for itself and if you find any preference for the mentioned music styles, this well-compiled vinyl-compilation needs to find a slot in your collection! Let's look forward and keep the fingers crossed for a bright future of this hard-working label. They know pretty well which switches they need to switch to bring some decent listening experiences especially designed for the elder and veteran listeners in these music styles.

Track listing:
A1 Fatal Casualties - Porta Breath (Remake)
A2 Niton Decay - Generate Electricity
A3 Poeme Electronique - Let There Be Neon
A4 ImiAFan & Adrian Smith - Try One
A5 Kompleta - Das Haus

B1 Sophya - Mechanical Butterflies
B2 Das Ding - Kafka Blues
B3 Mängelexemplar - Internetdemenz
B4 Selofan - Nafthalini
B5 Traffic A.M. - Babylon
B6 Chambre Froide - Les Machine

The Silent: Volume 1: Wake

 Posted by Edward Trethowan   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 06 2014
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Artist: The Silent (@)
Title: Volume 1: Wake
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Bastion Records
For this release, Edinburgh residents Connor Doherty and Stewart McLachlan (together otherwise known as Shudder) adopt the moniker 'The Silent' and endeavour over twenty-four hours to write and produce music from scratch. The fruits of this sleepless session are the three compositions on Volume 1: Wake. Sound sources are nearly exclusively acoustic rather than generated electronically: voice, instruments and diverse household objects make up the bulk of the material, although plenty of manipulation goes on. Together, the pieces seem to offer a rough corresponding narrative of the whole process as it unfolded: the EP begins with a fully fledged, lyrical song and follows up, as the effects of sleeplessness develop, with a pair of simpler experiments.

The song ('Wake') is a melodramatic number led by slow, textural piano. The vocals are mixed low, making their originator sound distant and a bit lost. As it trudges through a pair of crescendos, the tone is distinctly uneasy. Finishing on a gloomy piano motif, the song is followed by 'Glisten', which consists of scarcely more than a quiet, distorted beat and intermittent, piercing chimes. It's great though; the harsh metallic resonance and harmonics are very satisfying and slightly sinister, like a meditative environment turned abrasive. Finally, 'Howl' revisits the style of the first track, incorporating similarly clattering rhythms and use of piano. Guitar is more prominent and vocals provide wordless background texture.

The EP is impressive for something produced in a single extended session, though the limitations of these circumstances are readily apparent and there isn't a great deal we haven't heard elsewhere. One gets the feeling these pieces could have been improved over a longer period, but this is an issue already anticipated and dismissed as unimportant by the EP's underlying concept. While the band claim on their release page to have "suffered from the sleep deprivation aspect of it" in the later stages, for me the latter two tracks are more successful than 'Wake'. In particular, the simplicity of 'Glisten' works in its favour; narratively it resembles an interlude, but really holds its own as an atmospheric, redolent moment. It'll certainly be worth hearing what the duo comes up with on the second volume.

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