Friday, August 7, 2020
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VV.A.A.: Square Matrix 001

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Artist: VV.A.A.
Title: Square Matrix 001
Format: CD
Label: Alfa-Matrix


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Alfa-Matrix offers a 4 in 1 concept of 4 CD singles on one full-length disc. Strictly limited to 2000 copies this release features singles by Aïboforcen, Epsilon Minus, Plastic Noise Experience, and Hungry Lucy from the Alfa-Matrix catalogue. While this is a unique format it seems to be an excellent way for a label to introduce their artists to new listeners and give something unique to fans outside the standard compilation album format and get more people to buy the singles, possibly. Aïboforcen stategically position themselves in the new generation of EBM fans with a combination of energetic rhythms and melodic female vocals. Here we have the "Testing New Waters" single, four tracks one of which features a mix by ArtOfFact Records' Headscan. Recommended tracks would be "Give Me These Wings" which features a bit of male vocal too and the Headscan mix which adds a bit or a darker feel with some trance elements to the song. Epsilon Minus, based in Canada, start with "Through" in which the vocals are very smooth and match the EBM-Trance/Synthpop based music texture perfectly. The "Freedom" mix by Angels & Agony has a bit of the latter band's musical elements and a slight lean toward minimalist synthpop. In all honesty the vocals are bit weak only in the first portion of the track but as the music builds to more of club-based rhythm the vocals are much stronger as is the track overall. That however is my only criticism for Epsilon Minus as Jenn's vocals kick on most tracks as she has a great voice with enough power and sensuality for this type of music format. This is extremely evident with the next track which is mixed by Massiv In Mensch, another ArtOfFact Records artist that rocks this genre. Lastly, we have the album mix of "Through" which is a bit quicker paced, an excellent song. Next on the list is Plastic Noise Experience who begins with "Clean Head", a track with lots of Noise elements but with a pulsing dance beat and harsh whispery vocals. A bit more hard-edge and dark than the previous artists Plastic Noise Experience show another side of Alfa-Matrix. PNE is Claus Kruse whose compositions are more of an EBM-Industrial format. Alfa-Matrix describes him as, "harsh vocals and a very distorted type of sounds with virulent vibrating melodies", which is right on target. This single also includes remixes of the same track by Pzycho Bitch and Implant. The Implant mix is a bit cleaner and more of an aggro flavor while the Pzycho Bitch mix takes us in the exact opposite direction with a slower pace and more of a Power Noise rock-n-rhythm. The other track by PNE is Mechanical Beatz which reminds me of old SPK with the female vocals similar to the more operatic stuff by Die Form. Lastly, is Hungry Lucy, a sort of trip-hop gothic EBM in which Christa's vocals are very smooth and harmonious and the beats throb with a rhythm you can't help but move to. I love that 'twisty' electronic sound in the first track "Her Song". One of these days I'm gonna figure out how that's done (War-n?). War-n does some amazing synth work on this project that utilizes many genre elements to help create a totally unique sound in my book. Everything from Techno, Euro-pop, Synthpop, Industrial, Gothic, EBM, Trip-Hop, and of course a host of other club styles meld together smoothly in this interesting project. Haunting and danceable at the same time - love it! "Fearful" features mixes by Aïboforcen (my fave mix on this one) and Implant. The song "Storm" drops us back into more of trip-hop feel likened to Portishead with vocals as smooth as Tori Amos and music with a dark/ethereal dance beat. Alf-Matrix brings some great new and original works to light in this first of the Sqaure Matrix series!

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