Monday, May 17, 2021
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Music Reviews

Illumina: Chameleon

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Artist: Illumina (@)
Title: Chameleon
Format: CD
Label: Nightbreed (@)
Distributor: Plastic Head Music Distribution
Nightbreed records continue to appeal to an apparently huge following of electro-goth/darkwave. Illumina's record is not too far from the other releases on this label, in fact "Chameleon" is 11 tracks of melodic singing, electronic structures and darkwave feel. The m/f British duo sings about idols, images and feelings inspired by literature, history, mythology, art and technology. The sound is pretty old and the singing is not always perfectly in tune, but I am sure that me being so picky or maybe too technical and my personal taste for more modern sounding music streams will not represent an obstacle to all those English and European kids out there who love to go back in their minds while looking at the past through an electronic lens.


Phil Von & the Gnawa Musicians of Fes: L'autre Nuit

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Artist: Phil Von & the Gnawa Musicians of Fes (@)
Title: L'autre Nuit
Format: CD
Label: Lytch (@)
Distributor: Prikosnovenie
The ever creative Phil Von (Von Magnet) teams up with Morocco's Gnawa Musicians of Fes and layed down 8 tracks of ethno-ritual-trance at its best that reminds of the Atlas Project sound. To create ethno transe that ain't boring when you ain't in no trance is no easy task my friend, but that is where these guys succeed brilliantly, in fact this turns into an exciting trip into the far lands of Morocco, where street sounds, field recordings, traditional instruments and an overall southern/eastern vibe meet the occidental grooves of electronica, the deep groaning sounds of trance-inducing monk-like whisperings and stuff like that... A great stereo imaging work and an amazing beat structure helps "l'Autre Nuit" (on Prikosnovenie's ambient-ethnica sub-label Lytch) become a truly great experience. Tracks like "Transe Incolore" are beautiful and enchanting.
By looking at the booklet and in-lay card's pictures I can tell that it must be an outer-body experience to actually go to a concert of this group, as they seem to achieve a calm meditative set up with minimal but interesting lighting and with films projected on the walls behind them...


GOR: Ialdabaoth

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Artist: GOR (@)
Title: Ialdabaoth
Format: CD
Label: Iris (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
The new album by italian Ataraxia percussionist Francesco Banchini, aka Gor, comes out on Iris recordings (which is french Prikosnovenie's subdivision for medieval music) as the second part of two years ago's "Bellum Gnosticorum". Other magazine are raving about this as a mixture of Rosa Crux, Virgin Prunes and Dead Can Dance, and I think I would like to add that his mono-tone linear and deep singing reminds of Italy-based C.S.I.'s singer Ferretti or italian underground folk singer-songwriter Leonardo Palmisano, aka Vania. Lyrics are mainly italian or latin. Musically dark and sombre, dominated by martial drumming, huge percussions (obviously!), ethnic influences, tribal vibes, gregorian chants and grand medieval music, this devil-goth CD will appeal to the darkest of you out there, those who like the most evil and deep material, those who like medieval music and maybe even those whose cup of tea is Cold Meat Industries' stuff.
Also distributed by Lowlands (Belgium), Target (Germany), YTT and Monitor (Japan).


Monolith: Labyrinth

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Artist: Monolith
Title: Labyrinth
Format: CD
Label: Daft (@)
Absolute Body Control, The Klinik, Insekt, Sonar and Monolith are all projects either formed by or joined by Eric van Wonterghem, long time partner of Dirk "Dive" Ivens and mastering engineer of many Ant-Zen, Daft, Discordia and KK records. Four releases between 1997 and this one (released October 2001). Eric's impressive resume is as impressive and busy as his music, a machine-based, hard-beat-driven, trance-sucking, industrial techno experience that concert goers won't forget, especially when coupled with his self-made images flashing the crowd from the videoscreen. As an example of what this could sound like, think about it as a possibly less furious Dive playing in Detroit while thinking about the most acid Richard James tunes and humming a Jeff Mills. The harsh beatz and the throbbing pulse and the acid rave mood are the keys here.


The Young Gods: Second Nature

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Artist: The Young Gods (@)
Title: Second Nature
Format: CD
Label: IntoXygene (@)
Distributor: IntoXygene
It's been out for a while but I just bought it couple of days ago myself. I have been following them since their early days, as they were one of my favorite bands, we came from the same country, my estimated friend Roli was their producer for years and they got their great "Only Heaven" album done at my dear pal Lou Holtzman's East Side Sounds Studios in New York, where I have worked for a long time too: it's the latest Young Gods work of love, ladies and gentlemen, their first album that isn't actually produced by capable mastermind Mr. Mosimann. Universally recognizable singer Franz Treichler took over the entire production and made it into an all-Swiss project that introduces you to a changed version of the Young Gods, where the great in-the-pocket drumming and the mysterious and poetic multi-language minimal singing and the awesome sound manipulation and music programming remain the main focus but became the mean for an evolution that has reached a new stand point. The result is not bad at all. The sound is different from previous albums. It further developed into a more alienating experience, driven by harsher sounds, more industrial and less (traditional) electronic feel, and the overall sound has drifted to less rocky shores. I wouldn't wanna throw in names at random as the Young Gods really are one of the few bands that have been well able to preserve a very very own and truly unique sound, but I can't deny that comparisons such as Dive, Aphex Twin and Kraftwerk were occasionally suggested by a couple of tunes in my mind... I don't mean to throw you off though: definitely less noisy than Dirk Iven's bursts, only close to Richard James' more distorted experiments, and much more modern and powerful than the three older german dude's sound; this is something that you have to experience by yourself, in its entire and all new complexity and its overall renewed shape. The beauty of it all is probably in the contrast of Franz's harmonious poems (even more when they are in french), clashing with the rawness of some spiking sounds and the from-pulsating-to-hammering body of the compositions. The CD opens with "Lucidogen" and "Supersonic", maybe the most aggressive tunes (like in the old days of "Kissing the Sun" or "Skinflowers"), while the rest is changing more and more from what we used to know and is taking a new course. Maybe it is a transition, maybe it is a new stop, but it definitely is very interesting and sounds damn cool, so get your hands on a copy of "Second Nature" (minimal but awesome looking packaging, with no booklet and a front cover consisting of a colored transparent film) or look it up on the internet, where the three Swiss pioneers set up an awesome flash website where you can listen to some tracks and do other interesting explorations. Keep rocking the free sampling memory!!!