Music Reviews

Artist: Saltillo (@)
Title: Ganglion (re-issue)
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact (@)
Rated: *****
Rewording the title of the initial song of this nice act by Menton J.Matthews III's creature Saltillo "A Necessary End", the publishing decision by ArtOfFact's headquarters on Ganglion, which was issued in 2006, could be defined as a necessary re-issue. When it was issued some trip-hop and broken beats' amorous liking was already almost extinguished in the music market, which was waved by gothic velleities on whose regard many more or less known bands and producers were experiencing some flirting with lyrical and melodic nuances. The musical hybridization by this versatile musician, who recently launched a series of comics called Monocyte throughout IDW Publishing (it could be useful to have an idea of his imagination) under the moniker menton3, based on an intriguing braiding of dark-tinged melodies, intravascular trip-hop, intrauterinee downbeat, a balanced dosage of electronics and instruments (particularly his violin, but there're many sketches of cello and piano as well) and a compositional structure which could be associated both for its cinematic hooks and its general atmosphere to a possible soundtrack, could be placed inside an imaginary garrison on the borders between the above-mentioned souls of music.

There're many moments which couldn't be buried into oblivion: A Hair on the Head of John the Baptist, a pretty musicalization of the notorious first scene of the third act of Shakespeare's Hamlet; the most dnb-oriented track, A Simple Test, where Matthew plays a funny mix of programmed broken beats with a distorted lead guitar on the final step, close to some stuff by Snog and KMFDM, and didactic notes from a recorded malee voice, which can remind those educational record in the 60ies; the fractured rhythmical and melodic patterns of Backyard Pond, not so far from those electronically shaken eccentric hybrids by Funckarma, Funkstorung or Proem; the hypnotic "Remember Me?" - definitively my favorite one -, a superb concontion of banjo, violin, cello and drum machine, which dram a sort of balanced mantra; the mellow song Giving In, whereas an important role in the sound stage belongs to the wonderful voice by guest singer Sarah Matthews, whose somewhat imperfect inflections perfectly fit to the obscure whimsical atmosphere of the sound; songs like Praise and Blood and Milk where the influence by Portishead sound seems more remarkable; the infected ballad I'm On The Wrong Side, pierced by that feeling of renegade purity and corrupted beauty. Reinvigorated by remastering, Saltillo's Ganglion cannot be but electrically heartened.

VV.AA.: The (Almost) Insanely Happy EP

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 03 2011
image not
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: The (Almost) Insanely Happy EP
Format: 7"
Label: EE Tapes (@)
Rated: *****
Boss of the Insane Music label, member of many bands such as Cortex, Human Dance, Human Flesh, I Scream, Japanese Genius, Ornament & Crime Arkhestra, Pseudo Code, Sic, Subject, etc, Alain Neffe during all the 80s has been damn busy and EE Tapes is keeping on reissuing his music digging into the archives to bring us classic and unreleased tracks. THE ( ALMOST) INSANELY HAPPY EP is the second 7" EP compilation dedicated to Insane Music and it contains three tracks by Subject and three by Human Dance of which three are unreleased. Subject were in balance from pop intuitions, wave atmospheres and minimal approaches to sound where bass guitar, guitar and a rhythm box were the core of the sound which on the dreamy dramatic "L'ultima storia" sees Mirella Brunello joining Alain Neffe and Daniel Malempre to sing in Italian a lyric about a lost love. Human Dance were less wave and a bit more ironic. Their "Jethro, C'Est Trop !!" has a flute part recalling the Jethro Tull and "Magikal Hystery Sour (The Beatles Were Not So Bad, After All !!)" sounds like a minimal pop soundtrack with clean guitars, organ and drum machine in evidence. "The Desert Call" experiment a little with middle eastern atmospheres and reverbs. This is a nice EP available in 250 copies of which the first 85 are hand-numbered and have two extra photographs, from a series of nine.

The Rope: s/t

 Posted by S.A. Sebastian (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 26 2011
Artist: The Rope
Title: s/t
Format: CD EP
Label: Late Century Records (@)
Rated: *****
The Rope's bio says that they play 'an atmospheric, yet driving style of music influenced by some of the darker post-punk bands of the late 70s and early 80s,' and I'd say that is a pretty dead-on description of the music on this CD. The Rope's music could easily draw comparisons with many bands from that era, but lean more to the more popular Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, The Cult, and sometimes even Psychedelic Furs because of Jesse Hagon's vocals.

The Rope opens with 2 very strong, tom- and bass-driven tracks, 'Silence' and 'Water to Wine.' 'Silence' has some nice atmospheric guitar melodies that run throughout which sound like a cross between Billy Duffy and Peter Koppes. 'Water to Wine' is a more 'in your face' track with nice synth leads and a four-on-the-floor chorus with strong hooks and vocal melodies, too. Because of the first two tracks, I predict this CD will spend a lot of time in my car accompanying me on fast drives with the top down. 'Jericho' is another very strong, driving track, a la Sisters, but The Rope breaks up the momentum and brings the mood down, but not the tempo, with the ballad 'Marie' as track 3. The CD ends with a live version of the song 'Eyes,' which reminds me of 'Maryanne' by Sisters of Mercy as if sung by Richard Butler.

I am enjoying this micro-trend of newer bands like Bravery, She Wants Revenge, Hypernova and The Rope that sound like they were spawned from the early 80s English post-punk and death rock scene. This is a very strong first release by The Rope and look forward to hearing more new music

Omega Lithium: Kinetik

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 20 2011
Artist: Omega Lithium
Title: Kinetik
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact Records (@)
Rated: *****
Omega Lithium is a goth-metal croatian outfit, and this new record is, formally speaking, an exercise on the essential lines of this genre: good riffs, a danceable main line with hooklines.
"Colossus" opens the album with a solemn gothic intro ending in a classic metal riff until synth and vocal lines takes the scene. "Time of Change" is a well written track but revealing the influence of this band: a metal riff, a mid tempo and a quite seductive female vocal lines. The title-track reveal a quite cleaner musical direction with the use an almost new wave synth. This track mark the second half of the album that is more synth driven, "Salvation Refused" is a good balance of pop lines and power guitar while "I am God" uses also a male chorus to reveal the main influence of this band. "Cut Forget" is the most metal oriented track of this album with screamed vocals. "Pjesma" is a ballad that close the dance.
This is an album with nothing new to offer but brings some nice times hearing it.

Richard Coker: Taiga

 Posted by S.A. Sebastian (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (6592)
Sep 16 2011
Artist: Richard Coker (@)
Title: Taiga
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Taiga, by Richard Coker, is a solo, acoustic folk album featuring 12 songs recorded live by Richard in his studio. This is his first solo release after playing in various goth bands for the last 20 years. The vocal and guitar performances are well done and competently recorded. The songs have are no choruses or hooks to grab on to, and the songs end abruptly. The vocal melodies are very similar from song-to-song making it hard to distinguish one song from the next. In Richard's notes on the album he states that, 'the lyrics are heavily steeped in existentialism and French Symbolist poetry.' The album is dense with lyrics and there are lots of songs about the human condition. But the lyrics often seem very heavy-handed, preachy, sometimes silly and cliché. If you like folk music, or are a Ren-head you'll probably enjoy this, but overall Taiga is monotonous and hard to listen to.

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