Music Reviews



Diaframma: Demos 1982 / Live 1983

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 21 2013
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Artist: Diaframma
Title: Demos 1982 / Live 1983
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows Records
Rated: *****
November 1982, on that year Diaframma released their first single for Italian Records and they were rehearsing for their first MLP that they released the year after for Firenze's main indipendent record label, Contempo. That time in studio they recorded the session and now, thanks to Synthetic Shadows Records, we are able to listen to those versions of their early songs. None of the nine songs are totally unreleased: "Xaviera Hollander", "Pop Art", "Effetto Notte" and "Altrove" have been originally released on the "Altrove" MLP, "Pioggia" and "Illusione Ottica" on their first 7", "Circuito Chiuso" on a 7" released along with the magazine Free on December 1982 and "In Una Finestra Nera" plus "Sdoppiamento", even if haven't been released on albums or singles, have been included on the compilation "Live And Unreleased". This demo session offers to the fans of early post punk and Diaframma the chance to check, in a better way, the primitive urge of expression the quartet had (don't forget that later Federico published "Neogrigio", a collection of his poetry) . Nicola Vannini, Federico Fiumani, Leandro and Gianni Cicchi play their instruments like in trance, sometimes they have some uncertainty but perfection isn't the aim of this release. You can listen to those tracks like you see a man naked to the bone: they are essential and true. There aren't double bass lines, choruses or else. The same goes for the second Diaframma record Synthetic Shadows Records released. This one contains two concerts the band did back in mid 1983 in Rimini and Bologna. Ten songs performed by the original line up and we have Nicola singing two songs he didn't recorded in studio as Miro Sassolini took his place and sung "Neogrigio" and "Specchi d'Acqua" on their first album "Siberia". The quality of the recording is really good, basically I think they've been recorded from the mixing desk. The closing track isn't from a concert, is titled "Federico's Dream" and it's a sort of arpeggio note for a possible track. Nice releases that aren't for fans only.

Arkane: Mesmeric Masquerade Seduction

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 01 2013
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Artist: Arkane (@)
Title: Mesmeric Masquerade Seduction
Format: CD
Label: Twilight Records
Rated: *****
Produced by Twilight Records and The Fossil Dungeon, "Mesmeric Masquerade Seduction" is the third Arkane album. Composed by seven movements, the new album is a concept based on Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" movie ritual scene. Arkane wanted to explore the ritualistic eroticism under the mysticism of the mask. As you can read doing a research on the net, on that scene there are numerous allusions to the CIA's Mk- Ultra mind control experiments (occurred during the 50s/60s period) and Monarch sex slave programming (there have been stories of dozens of men and women who claim to have been forced into sexual slavery for the wealthy and powerful by none other than our own Central Intelligence Agency, through an offshoot of the MK-ULTRA mind control program known as Project Monarch such as the Gary Condit's 'sex slaves' case). With this in mind, you'll approach the album ready to go with the flow of the female vocal trying to enchant you, the male recitative vocal (performed by Stephen Svanholm of Sibelian) naming the ritual like a mantra and the cyclic orchestral writing scores. No rhythms have been used on this album and I think that the reason is that Arkane wanted to enhance the hypnotic effect of the music. "Mesmeric Masquerade Seduction", "Mesmersed Seductrise", "Mesmerising Masquerade", "Masqueara Mesmerised", "Mesmerism Seductiva", "Mascarada Sedition" and "La Masquerada Mystique" will succeed into arouse your senses with their sound? Check the album cover and answer yourselves...

VV.AA.: Distant Noises

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 31 2013
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Distant Noises
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Other Voices Records
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
'Other Voices Records' is a Russia based, independent record label dedicated to releasing works by 'ambitious and creative artists from the past, present and future'.
So when I first played the 'Distant Noises - A Cold Wave Compendium' compilation, I knew it was going to be a special release. The compilation brings together fourteen artists from nine countries, offering a diverse, sound palette ranging from analogue synthpop to minimal darkwave, from post-punk 80s new wave, to pure electronic bliss.
What impressed me the most, while playing the album over and over again, is that it was really difficult for me to choose a song that i liked 'the most'. That is always an indication - to me at least - of exceptional high quality of the songs, especially when listening to a compilation with many different and, i would say, unusual sounds and styles. The songs share an underlying melancholy, and a retro quality, that makes them blend together beautifully, while the emotionally charged darker melodies and vocal deliveries make, listening to this compilation, a memorable experience.
Whenever i listen to compilation albums i always try to see that certain 'passion' for the music, that would make it stand out from the rest! It is evident here! From the carefully selected songs, and the expertly mastered sound to the black and white emblematic artwork.
It is a very highly recommended compilation and it is available for FREE on Bandcamp!

The Danse Society: Scarey Tales

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 27 2013
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Artist: The Danse Society (@)
Title: Scarey Tales
Format: CD
Label: Society Records
Rated: *****
"Scarey Tales" is the second album of the reborn The Danse Society that, after their "Change Of Skin" happened one year and half ago, bring to the fans five new tracks plus a cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". The new album's concept is focused on classic scary tales and if you think that many of them were transposed into movies, why not taking inspiration from classic tales like "Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde", "Alice In Wonderland", "The Raven", etc. for an album? Think about Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" that has been shot in the 1935 by Lew Landers and by Corman in 1963, "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde" (this one had so many transposition in 1908, 1920, 1931, 1941, etc) and think about the atmosphere they were able to create. The Danse Society with "Message In The Wind", "White Rabbit", "The Scarecrow", "The Tale", "The Wof" and "Jekyll & Hyde" are able to make you enter a world made of mystery and darkness. They do it mixing their elements with sorcerers' ability: in thirty-seven minutes of music Maetheyiah, Pauk Nash, David Whitaker, Martin Roberts and Paul Gilmartin are defining their new sound even more compared to "Change Of Skin" and it's made of epic synth orchestrations, powerful drumming/bass lines and guitar melodic arpeggios that time to time tun into power chords. Last but not least we have Maeth's voice, that has a central role into their music. Tracks like the opening "Message In The Wind" or "The Tale" are powerful and sensual and I'm sorry to point it out like for "Change Of Skin", Maeth is the new Siouxie. Her voice is powerful, melodic, vibrant and expressive and even if I loved their 80s songs, I love also their new sound. Wrapped in a book which contains a rhyme poem and lots of fabulous illustrations by the best artists around, "Scarey Tales" is available at £ 7.00 (plus postage and packing) at the band's website.
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Artist: RMEDL | K11 (@)
Title: Chthonian Music
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
This striking conceptual album and the related sound installation, based on the sound spacialization system I.M.E.A.S.Y. and performed in an ancient Etruscan hypogeum in the archeological park of Cecina, a little town close to Leghorn (Italy), during the spring solstice within the programmatic-conceptual event "Metasound ' Independent Curatorial Experiences in Contemporary Art: from the object up to the event: sound art, multimedia and practice of the art of listening", was initially limited to 50 private copies. Three years later, Cold Spring decided to reissue it in order to avoid the this remarkable sonic artefact could sink into the oblivion of the underworld the involved artists ideally climbed down. The Roman consul Albino Cecina, which gave the name to the above-mentioned town, ordered the construction of a villa, whose ruins can still be visited. The cavity of its cistern and its mysteric tunnels became the perfect location for Chtonian Music project by Italian philosopher, composer and sound artist Pietro Riparbelli aka K11 and Sandro Gronchi, head of Radical Matters, who involved an impressive number of sound artists and musicians from different but somewhat contiguous stylistical ground (Philippe Petit, Seth Cluett, Gianluca Becuzzi, Francisco Lopez, Aderlating, Andrea Marutti, Burial Hex, Christina Kubisch, Deadwood, Francesco Brasini, L'Acephale, Luciano Maggiore, Massimo Bartolini, Nordvargr, Utarm, Y.E.R.M.O) emphasized the sacral function of that ancient place with a sonic performance which sounds like a contemporary devotional rite to the Goddess Demeter/Persephone, the queen of hell and bride of Plouton/Hades and the symbolic representation of "the awakening of the soul and its cyclical path of death and transfiguration" behind her myth, who inspired the religion of the Mysteries, imported by the Etruscans in Italy. After the initial "Mvndvs", where Francismo Lopez immediately catches listener's attention by rendering natural amplified sounds on deep ultra-low frequencies by Seth Cluett and unexpected distorted rumbles which lacerates the apparent stillness like heavy thunders, the five following parts of "Katabasis" sonically describes the descent in the underworld by means of remarkable performative peaks such as the mindblowing raving ascension of Part II with the catchy vocals by L'Acephale and the heady drones by Utarm, the entrancing piano by Burial Hex on the magmatic fog by Andrea Marutti and Pietro Riparbelli in the third part ("Epopteia"), named after the final initiation rite in the Eleusinian Mysteries, the dusky electrical excitement of the first part, the grazing guitars by Francesco Brasini on the immersive virtual underworld moulded by Becuzzi and Bartolini on the narcotic organ and unearthly shouts by Riparbelli, the metallic rolling balls and the resounding crack on the ground which ushers listeners to the end of the obscure journey in the fifth part, before the final representation of "Nuktelia", a sort of supreme demonaltry when wizards with snkes twisted on their arms, moved at flickering light of torches in long orgiastic processions. Due to the high number of guests, under the stylistical viewpoint, "Chthonian Music" harvest from a wide range of styles: dark ambient, doom metal, dark-folk, field recordings, art rock, drone, classical music, musique concrete, ritual ambient flocked to celebrate the mysteries.


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