Friday, August 7, 2020
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Music Reviews

Artist: DELPHIUM (@)
Format: 7"
Label: THE CEILING (@)
Although the one-maned project known as DELPHIUM is usually categorised in the dark-wave experimental slow industrial rhythm section, the "Darkfloor EP" (released by THE CEILING) represents a new turn in the band's already varied discography.

This EP features three seperate pieces, each with its own clour and flavour, if you will. "Green Lane With Delphium" features very oddly cut-up drum-n-bass / jungle beats, with some phat and freaky synth lines and sequences to add more rhythmic dynamic to the mix. Slightly too off the edge to be anywhere club friendly. The other two pieces ("Bleep 27" and "Kill.All.Scooter.Riders.") feature more weird cut-ups and keyboard manipulation, but the techno-influenced beats are somewhat more straightfoward in their delivery. Yet, even with a rather "simple" and repetitive drum track, the songs can't be played in normal discotheques unless the DJ wishes to clear the room of all house-music lovers.

In essence, this reviewer can't really think of any other category to put this little gem into, but I have faith that people into a different, more edgy techno D&B will find this release to their liking. I certainly did!

LYS: Roi-lune

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Artist: LYS
Title: Roi-lune
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie/Lytch (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Lys is Prikosnovenie's producer Frédéric's creature, here issuing its first full-length work (after the Nang-Faa project) on the subdivision Lytch, devoted to electronic, trip-hop, ambient and ethnica. Fred takes care of voice, samples, percussions, composition and engineering, with a tribe of guest musicians including Von Magnet's Phil Von, GOR's Francesco Bianchini and Christian Wolz. I must say I was a bit skeptical when I read the "ethnic-trip-hop" definition on the press-sheet, but the cd is definitely a nice surprise. While it actually has an electronic component, the ethnic characteristic (Northern African and Arabian music mainly, I'd say) is prevalent, and it's played with evident passion and good taste. Think of the non-medieval Dead Can Dance, Lisa Gerrard, or Von Magnet – it's remarkable how the acoustic played parts perfectly merge with the programmed ones, and the latter don't sound like an alien element. A good record.

Artist: Laurent Brondel
Title: Weld
Format: CD
Label: Tone Casualities (@)
Distributor: Proper Sales & Dist.
Here's some really cool shit for the intelligent dancing masses... Originally (and still) a talented Holdsworth-style guitar player, Laurent Brondel will now utilize, warp, meld and weld any available instrument to achieve the aural satisfaction he's after. He says he likes it dark and long and even though the songs rarely go over six minutes, working towards that hypnotic musical recurrence seems to be doing the trick. In this album his Dj skills mixed with a couple of occasional special guests on trumpets (Cuong Vu, whose last album Brondel has produced) and guitars (Fred Consavela), and with the addition of lots of sampling, splicing, (re-)arranging, improvisation etc, give it a nice urban feel but also sort of a global Chemical Bros vibe and sometimes the beautiful trip-hop even reminds you of Massive Attack or Portishead (listen to "21st Century Lounge" and its fire organ samples). When the beat gains speed though, he really dives into the drum 'n' bass territories but seems to be feeling right at home and not just visiting... The tracks are powerful and well programmed, they flow and glow like gems in a crowded dancefloor. Alternating really well done d'n'b with more atmospheric chill-out lounge stuff, the album is complete with so much you'll have your hands full for a while... I've gone through the 13 pieces several times and could discover some new things every time. Turned out to be and exciting listening experience. Personally I really like the album and I think he's got great skills and his break drum'n'bass material is extremely valid! Not everything's about breakbeats only! The sounds are truly nice and punching. The stuff's really dope and reminded me of the times when I was mixing that other super cool live d'n'b human-machine drummer that is Jojo Mayer and his Prohibited Beatz band, who I am mentioning because the most beat-intensive songs on this record are really close to what those NY guys were improvising during their legendary shows. I can't imagine what Jojo and Laurent wouldn't put on fire if they'd team up for a gig!
By the way, look out for three more records by this artist on Statra records.

Artist: RAS.AL.GHUL (@)
Title: Synmatic Layers
Format: CD
Label: This.Co (@)
This must be the fifth cd by the Lisbon duo, and the first one on their recently founded label Thisco. Ras.Al.Ghul are experienced veterans and you can feel that in the perfect balance of beats, programmings and samples of these 10 new tracks. New cinematic soundscapes perfectly merging ambient electronica, dub, drum'n'bass and trance/intelligent techno in mesmerizing compositions of crystalline beauty. If you can imagine Kraftwerk playing songs by African Head Charge by using modern digital equipment, you'll get close to the picture. Just listen to the opening track, with that blend of dub cadences and d'n'b counterpoints. On a sidenote, it seems that this cd is a bit lighter and more dynamic than the previous one, "Sonic Yonic". Great stuff, recommended as always.

Geistform: Uno

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Artist: Geistform (@)
Title: Uno
Format: CD
Label: Daft (@)
Distributor: Tristol
From Rubi, Spain, near Barcelona, Rafael Martinez Espinosa aka Geistform has been producing electronic sounds since 1998. He uses the MS-20 samples as his main source and couples them with radio frequency signals and other questionable data. All this together gives life to a quite interesting and noisy form of experimental techno that has been compared to Esplendor Geometrico and Panasonic whose strongest points are the wide spectrum going from the deep droning 10-20Hz sub harmonics to the hi pitch 10-15kHz digital data. Such a wide headroom and full range of frequencies addressing your body creates truly good sounding and well produced album suitable both for intense home listening and for more alternative dance floors. This is "Uno", his debut album, and he's already impressive, we'll see where this goes, looks like a very promising direction so far.


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