A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z    *   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

* A *

back to top

Advanced Art - "Archive" - 2cd - by Maxymox 2015

advaen  Advanced Art are part of that European old-school élite appreciated for contributing to the growth of the contemporary alternative-electronic music. Today, deservedly, twenty years after the dissolution of this project, the band finally becomes legend. In the Advanced Art's biographical / discographical genesis is mentioned at first a remote, originary demo appearance as Abstract, epithet changed during some primordial live-shows into another one called Authorized Version. Advanced Art were founded in the October 1985 in Tampere, Finland, remaining officially productive until 1995 with the following line-up: Pasi "Jana" Janhunen ( vox / lyrics ) and Petya "Vince" Valasvaara ( machines / musics ) plus the live-member Petri "Pete" Huttunen ( machines ). The artistic activity of the musicians is not ceased with the extinction of their band: in fact, Jana and Vince, in addition with the percussionist P.W. they still continue to perform as Advanced Art in occasional live-concerts, satisfying always the fans through their ageless miscellany of songs, but also achieving excellent outcomes in more recent times by parallel projects such as the electro-industrial band Impakt! - formed in 2010 by Vince, P.W. and Sam - or in writing musics together with other representatives of the technological scene, as in the case of Jana with the Finnish electropop-act named Camp Electronique. However, historically, the Advanced Art, by their own admission, they have never distinguished themselves as true live-performers in the strict sense of this term, especially because of their singular, conscious choice to play rarely and only at not ordinary locations, mostly corresponding to abandoned, sparsely frequented and urbanely marginal places. This apparently counterproductive habit, it instead got an unexpected positive consequence: in fact, it has paradoxically helped to increase the charisma of the project, arousing more and more into the fans and into the opinion-makers the certainty of being in presence of a true "underground cult band", a royal effigy by now now assigned 'in omne tempus' to Advanced Art. Of great importance is also the alternation of live-musicians who accompanied in the past years the platform: is therefore appropriate and necessary to mention at first the name of Pete ( machine / live-percussions ), present since 1985 to 1990 and member of the Finnish electro / industrial / EBM bands Shade Factory and [Active] Media Disease. Auten, aka Otto A ( machines / live sound engineer ) was integrated into the project from 1987 to 1988, while Reeta ( machines / live-synth / second vox ) played with Advanced Art from 1989 to 1992. Factor, aka Jakko Tuohimaa ( machines / live percussions / additional-songwriter ) - the founder with Vesa Rainne and Ville Brusi of the synth-tecnopop band Neuroactive - cooperated from 1992 to 1993, as well as P.W. ( live percussions ) entered into the ensemble between 1993 and 1995, who concluded in this same year with Jana and Vince the long career of Advanced Art and, as described above, continuing play with them until today's live-sessions. The figure of the sound-engineer Meelis Niin had a big role in the composition and completion of musics created by the band's members, working with them between 1991 and 1995. The Advanced Art's style was characterized in the early periods by a strong synthpopish inclination, immediately transmuted in following times into more defined, mature experimental electronic formulations, consisting in darkly hissed vocalizations and sounds circumscribed into an electro / industrial / EBM range, denoting a strong, unmistakable personality. The project's discography was marked at the beginning by three self-produced demo-tapes released in limited edition: first of them was "Abstract" of 1987, containing three tracks created under the same Abstract pseudonym, followed always in 1987 by "Act Now Abstr Later", the second demo of thirteen songs distribuited in a very-limited quantity of thirty copies, anticipating the self-titled release "Advanced Art" of ten songs, printed and published in 1988 in limited edition of fifty exemplaires. Also in 1988 was the time of the 7" split-vinyl titled "Black Roses / No Answers No Solutions", fired by the Finnish label Darklands Records, consisting of two tracks by Advanced Art and other two by the Finnish goth-rock band Two Witches. In chronological order we find now the 7" split-Extended Play "From Nothing To Nothing / Steel" of 1989, also published by Darklands Records and, as the previous relaese, it includes two songs by Advanced Art and two by Two Witches. It followed in 1990 the 12" mini-album entitled "Clandestine - A Collection Of Seven Pop Songs By Advanced Art", a self-realization on cassette of seven tracks, succeed by the complementary tape-sampler of five tracks "Clandestine (Mis) Take Two" dated 1991. The next agreement of the band with the Finnish label Poko Rekords, which took place in the same 1991, generated the four-songs 12"-vinyl "Scar", before the other four ones of the Maxi-single "Time" dated 1992 and licensed again by Poko Rekords, the same home which in the year 1993 also published the next album "Product" of ten tracks. In the year 1994 it followed "Force", the full-length edited by Poko Rekords, subdivided in turn in three paragraphs for a total of nine songs. The split-compilation "Into The Darklands - Early Years 1987-1989" was published in 1995 by the German brand VUZ Records: in its tracklist Advanced Art alternated six songs with the six ones of the project Two Witches. There was a long, silent time frame of twenty years, during which the band mered to place their songs into various compilations, some of them of considerable entity, as "Crash: A Tribute To James Graham Ballard", published in 1993 for the Greek brand Elfish, "Elektrauma" of 1994 licensed by the German label Discordia, or also "We Control You - Control Records Label Sampler", promoted in 1998 by the label founded by Vince called Control Records. The current year 2015 was highlighted by two major celebrative events dedicated to Advanced Art: the first one, "Darkhive ( The Tape And Vinyl Years )" is a compilation fired from the Canadian label Artoffact Records, while the second one consists of this double super-anthology now reviewed by Vox Empirea, "Archive", published by the famous Italian label EK Product for commemorate the thirty years elapsed from the band's foundation. This titanic production select exclusively the best records from the Advanced Art's repertoire, with a potential of thirty-seven tracks intelligently allocated into two CD's: the first of them is "Forward" which contains seventeen tracks released between 1991 and 1998, while the second one is called "Backward" with its twenty paragraphs, including demos, remixes and rare-songs, inserted chronologically back in time into the title-track starting from 1995 to 1987. The first volume of the compilation opens with three episodes taken from the 12" "Scar", in order the ultra-danceable electro / EBM "From Nothing To Nothing", mechanically carved by dried uptempo drum-programming beats, vocalized with robotic coldness and backlit by shadowed keyboards, all followed by the rigorous midtempo drumming that animate the squared musicality of "Wake Up", an electro / EBM dancefloor in which the obscure Jana's chant meets the austere flows of synths and the seductive whispers of the second-vocalist Reeta, while into the subsequent "Tear Open These Scars" its disciplined drum-programming and the artificial melodies of keyboard finalize vigorous electro / EBM trajectories for techno-dancers, enhanced by schematic male vocals and by the female singing complements of Reeta. The next two tracks come from the Maxi-single "Time": the first of them, entitled "Some Time", is a dark electro / industrial / EBM built through hammering midtempo bpm's, harsh-low vocals and through shady counterpoints of synth, sounds anticipatory the following "Anthem 26", an entirely instrumental track, which sullen introduction amplifies its suggestive power, becoming a threatening, martial orchestration erected on the dark, symphonic minimalism of two keyboards. Five songs extracted from the album "Product" continue the tracklist, beginning from the Depeche Mode-oriented electro / synthpop procedures of "No Future", built by midtempo drum-programming scans in addition with cold automatic sequencing and with the inorganic emissions of keyboards, which combination supports the distant Jana's voice. "'Til I Beg For Mercy", the second of the five extractions, energizes this electro / EBM / industrial making it extremely danceable, by solid midtempo drum-programming, authoritative vocals, linear sequenced fluctuations and by icy harmonies of synths, while into the subsequent electro / synthpop song "Scene One" the drum-machine fractionates geometrically disconnected midtempo impulses, creating the rhythmic support for atmospheric synths and for a sad singing, all this before the solid electro / EBM / synthpop of "Your Product", a very danceable track in which the conjuncture among midtempo flagellants breakdowns, metallized contrails of keyboard and malevolent vocals, create an enthralling set of rhythmic aggression and feelings of hostility. The frantic percussiveness of "No Answers No Solutions" bursts with all its electro / EBM vitality, punctuating this song by symmetrical uptempo beats, together with a perfect harmony between severe vocals and exciting keyboards. "Lies", the first of the next five songs included in the album "Force", is a whippy electro / EBM based substantially on thrusts midtempo drum-programming, cutting sections of voice and leaden synths, as well as the electro / EBm acoustics of "Force Majeure" are forged through stern chords of keyboard, slow metronomic drum programming and through rigid vocalizations. Consecutively, we can hear the inciting midtempo drum-metrics that move the subsequent "Flesh", an electro / industrial / EBM for dancefloors, where Jana amalgamates his chant with the percussive dynamism, crossing the vibrating waves of keyboard. Similarly, "Pretender (94 Mix)" is also a valid electro / industrial / EBM for techno-DJ's, thanks to the synergy between catchy uptempo drumming and synth-patterns on which the singer puts his inflexible voice. "Life Before Death (Mix 94)" offers electro / synthpop euphonies full of melancholy, furrowed by robotic downtempo beats, depressed vocals and by torpid keyboard notes. The last two tracks on the CD-1 "Forward" are acquired from the compilation "We Control You - Control Records Label Sampler": the first one, "Blind", shows a compositional, qualitative and sonic level more evolved than the prior creations of Advanced Art, all in this electro / EBM track made of 'very danceable' midtempo percussiveness and compelling keyboard solutions. "Free World", the final song, proposes a nervous electro / EBM, in which, during its refrain, the acrid voice of Jana intersects harmoniously the seductive chant of the additional-singer Veera, while the drum-programming draws logical midtempo rhythmics and the keyboards spread waves of pure melancholy. CD-2: in the second volume "Backward" we listen at first "I Am The Labyrinth (Remix)", extracted from the 1995's compilation "Plastic Sampler Vol.1", published by the Finnish label Plastic Passion: the stimulant midtempo drum-programming, the intransigence of pads and the grim voice of Jana wrap this electro / EBM track so danceable and aggressive, as well as the subsequent "Mainio Seuramies", included in the compilation "Toinen Käsittely", released in 1995 by the Finnish records-brand Hiljaiset Levyt, predisposes an experimental, psychotic, dark-electro / industrial / EBM theorem, enunciated by the combination between the Jana's singing, so unhealthily obsessive and cold, with the spectral filtered chorality erected by the additional-musician Yksi Ruusu: the result is an extraordinary sonic document to dance incessantly. The unreleased track "Some Time (94 Mix)" transmits darkness and mystery, through straight midtempo percussive maneuvers, nocturne synth extensions and through arcane vocalizations. The following two live-tracks were recorded at Tullikamari of Tampere in 1992: the first one, "Twisted", is an electro / EBM hypnotically rhythmed by midtempo drum-impulses over which Jana expands glacial strophes, as well as "Wake Up" replicates stupendously its exciting electro / EBM sonorities described already in the studio-version, adding to them all the charm of live arrangements. The two subsequent episodes are demo-tapes dating back to the year 1991 contained in the sampler "Clandestine (Mis) Take Two": here's then the electro / EBM / synthpopish "'Til I Beg For Mercy", thickly sequenced, driven by midtempo propulsions, sung by remote voice and transfixed by a fleeble keyboard filaments. It follows "This Blue Moment", nostalgically tormented, electronically obscure and danceable, elaborated by long phases of solemn keyboards and drumming downtempo, around which Jana and Reeta prolong their engrossed voices. "Kick" is a live track recorded in 1990 always at the Tullikamari of Tempere: its slim and fast electro / EBM framework is playied by uptempo impulses, hallucinated vocals and essential keyboard, in a whole of febrile sounds surprisingly similar in their instrumental / singing settings to those of Sigue Sigue Sputnik's repertoire. Another example of electronic sound archeology' is the next "Tear Open These Scars", a track included in the demo-tape "Clandestine" of 1990: it incarnates unadorned the vocal Jana's harmonies on a compact midtempo drum-programming and on fluids themes of synths. The following three tracks are instead live recordings that took place in 1989 at the Metal Party, Lönnström Warehouse of Rauma, Finland: we start with solid electro / synthpop / EBM musicality of "Veiling The Bass / Pretender", in which the midtempo beating and the captivating melodic keyboard run after merging them with upset vocals, all awaiting the entry of "Blind Faith", an electro / industrial track on which the martial, inflexible midtempo programmed rhythm is encompassed into a cloud of livid synth decorations and visionary vocals. The electro / EBM connotations of "N.V.A." are edified through dry uptempo grooves, rapid sequencing and impetuous vocal hyphenations, for an aggregation of sounds and words that gives to this song a disruptive, savage seizure nature. The next four tracks are publications released in 7" version: the first one is "Steel", an algid electro / synthpop cadenced by regular downtempo drum-programming, darkened by sinister compartments of keyboard and made further atmospheric by the phlegmatic Jana's vocalizations. The second episode is the 7" transposition of "From Nothing To Nothing", which nucleus differs from the opening-track on the CD-1 for a better sound quality and for a dissimilar but equally danceable percussive / vocal planning; the same consideration is repeatable also for this 7" format of "No Answers No Solutions", which rhythmic / vocal configuration, more organically strengthened than heard in the previous album-version, it enhances a greater agility and an high magnetism. The fourth 7" on the list is the wonderful "Black Roses, an electro / synthpop song technologically gloomy, symbolizing more than ever the ingenious talent of Advanced Art, all this by the elegiac vocals of Jana, placed into a claustrophobic, alienating context of midtempo drum-programming and keyboards. "A Young Girl's Diary", a danceable, unreleased electro / EBM track called "Rehearsal Demo 1988", is devised by concise uptempo drum-programming, bloodless synth melodies and by an apathetic chant. The next lugubrious electro /synthpop is a demo-track from 1987, "Graveyard", surrounded by greyness and desolation, pushed obscurely by slow drum-programming and by sombre constructs of voice and keyboard. The last two tracks are included in the demo-tape "Abstract": the first of them, "Hell In Paradise", exhales an electro / synthpop climax heavily dejected and shadowy, activating elementary downtempo drum-programming, skeletal synth harmonies and an arid chant, full of sepulchral replications. The closing chapter of the long tracklist is the demo version of "Life Before Death", structurally less complex but emotionally more intense than the '(94 Mix)' heard on the CD-1: its lyrics, overflowing with sorrow, they caress the dark and melancholy surface of keyboards, dancing sinuously on downtempo drum-machine. EK Product has realized a monumental, reasoned work, simply indispensable, in which the listener can retrace a crucial segment of the History of technological Music created by one of the more valid underground-bands from the 80's / 90's rearguard, which in two decades has been able to establish itself permanently and honorably in the alternative-electro panorama. "Archive" is a compendium of considerable stature, which summary of the most important discographical features of the Finnish project testifies exhaustively all the sagacity and the inspiration of Jana and Vince, two unforgettable explorers of the electronic front. Owning this double-compilation is categorically imperative for any true connoisseur and collector. The Advanced Art, after many years, hit and win. Once again.

back to top

Agent Side Grinder - "Alkimia" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

agenten  Agent Side Grinder is an electro-ensemble from Stockholm, founded in 2005 and consisting of five members: Kristoffer Grip (vox), Johan Lange (synths / drum programming), Henrik Sunbring (synths / drum programming), Peter Fristedt (sampler / tape loops / modular suitcase / synths) and Thobias Eidevald (bass). Summing up the complete discography of the band, we initially find "Untitled", the debut 7" single of two industrial / minimal-electro tracks published in 2007 in limited-edition vinyl format by the Dutch label Enfant Terrible, which was followed in 2008 the homonymous album "Agent Side Grinder" of nine industrial / minimal-electronic songs and published again by Enfant Terrible. The next release was "The Transatlantinc Tape Project", a full-length of seven episodes around industrial / experimental style, fired in 2009 on cassette by the Swedish brand Hästen & Korset and then on vinyl version by Enfant Terrible. In the same year 2009 it was released for the same label "Irish Recording Tape", an album with eight new wave / industrial / minimal-electro tracks, followed at first by the self-produced tape "Industrial Beauty" dated 2010, containing six new wave / industrial live-songs - republished in 2011 in a double-album by the French home Manic Depression - and subsequently by the split-tape album "Live In Switzerland" promoted, again in 2011, by the Swedish label Klangarkivet, in which tracklist Agent Side Grinder participated with three songs, along with the four ones from the New York electro / experimental project called Suicide. "Hardware" is the title of the eight tracks album published in 2012 by the Swedish label Energy Rekords, whose review is available in the Vox Empirea's webpages of the same year: the tracklist of this full-length, globally circumscribable into a synth-pop / minimal-electro contest, it was extrapolated "Wolf Hour", a two-songs promo-single released with the cooperation of the famous Swedish synth-wave / electro musician Henric De La Cour, published by labels Klangarkivet / Headstomp Productions and containing a remix by Red Idiot, aka Emanuel Lundgren, the founder of the indie pop-rock Swedish band called I'm From Barcelona. To the previous realizations they followed, in the same 2012, the seven synth-pop / minimal-electro tracks of the cassette-album "Live Targets" published by the label Klangarkivet, which distributed also in 2013 "SFTWR", an anthology of fifteen chapters remixed by important names from the Scandinavian electronic underground scene as Red Idiot, MF/MB/, Jacques C, Container 90, Fold, Styx Tyger, Dödens Lammungar, Mighty Thor, Du Pacque, Th. Tot, Rude 66, Sunbringer, Blackstrap, Crash Course In Science e Jasper TX. The split self-produced EP titled "Live In Brussels 2012-12-08" was recorded on C-40 cassette and published in 2013: its title-track enumerates four new wave / synthpop songs belonging to Agents Side Grinder plus six ones played by the German raincoat-pop band Unhappybirthday. Of particular interest is the 12" EP "This Is Us" published in 2014 by Progress Productions, an important label geographically located in Göteborg: in fact, three of its four tracks bear the signature of the Swedish electro / synthpop projects Kite and Red Idiot, in addition to that one from Daniel Myer, the ingenious mastermind of the German electro-act Haujobb. The limited edition 'single-sided vinyl' "Go (Bring It) Back" is the 12" inch fired in 2014 by the Stockholm based label Kollaps Records: its tracklist is essentially composed of two electro / industrial / EBM songs, one of which is realized with the participation of the Belgian electro-artist Dirk Ivens. The current year 2015 mentions three different publications from the band: the precious 12" with four darkwave / industrial / rhythmic-noise / synthpop songs titled "Rip Me", issued in limited / numbered / remastered / special-edition version from the Spanish Oráculo Records, the same label to it was entrusted the vinyl-box split release "Plastical Jewels" in which they are integrated four tracks by Agent Side Grinder, four by the Catalan synthpop / minimal-electro / darkwave / EBM duo named Synths Versus Me, four by the Canadian producer / musician James Anderson - aka the electro / darkwave / modern-classical / EBM solo-project Expect Delays - and four other by the Californian minimal-electronic / slimewave / death-trance one-man act Identity Theft. It concludes the official list of the publications issued in 2015 "Alkimia", the album now handled by Vox Empirea. However, they finally remain unknown the years of publication of two self-releases: "Live In Paris 2009-10-02", a remastered limited-edition cassette of five new wave / industrial tracks, and "Two Nights With ASG", an album that includes thirteen new wave / industrial songs divided in two acts respectively defined 'Broder Tuck' and 'Sugarbar'. The new album "Alkimia" flaunts with a extreme determination a renewed 80's retro cold-electrowave / synthpop / post-punk / industrial musicality strongly influenced by the sounds of the more darker and introspective Depeche Mode, presenting a style both disconnected from the initial formulations old-school EBM and from the minimal-electronic experimentations undertaken in the past, all as a manifestation of the incessant, creative ferment of Agent Side Grinder, of their stylistic mutability, of the costant research for the 'perfect sound' and of the resourcefulness that have always characterized this brilliant band now consolidated in the alternative electro scene, so loved by a large number of international fans, thanks also to the full success from significant live-sessions, as well as to the aforementioned artistic collaborations realized alongside excellences as Suicide, Cold Cave, Dirk Ivens, Kite and Henric De La Cour. The full-length, still fired by the extraordinary label Progress Productions, represents the ultimate expression of the versatility and of the talent of Agent Side Grinder, whom pour all their experience in eight structurally impeccable tracks, executed with rare intensity and 80's atmospheres that will capture entirely the listener, finally leading the band towards a decisive success. The first event of the tracklist is "Into The Wild", superbly voiced by the deep Kristoffer's intonations filled of bitterness, harmoniously combined with the post-punk / synthpop nuances created through bass rotations, by midtempo drm-programming and by cold keyboard emissions. In "New Dance" they prevail electropop / new-wave formulations generated through reminiscences openly early-Depeche Mode, in which they rhythmically take shape precise midtempo drumming mechanisms synchronized with the dense programming beats and with austere deportment of singing, all decorated by the typical electronic details of the legendary band of reference. Of indescribable beauty, the subsequent "Giants Fall" is pure, inebriating melody, for a danceable synthpop / wave from which they extend harmoniously emotional vortices and the ardent desire that these notes will last till eternity, all thanks to terse, simple and very 80's vocal melodies culminating in a formidably effective refrain, surrounded by the schematic midtempo bpm's of drum-programming accompanied by pulsing bass and by the amenity of synths. "Void (The Winning Hand)" prefers to its turn melancholic darkwave / post-punk / industrial solutions, circumscribing the sound into a circular, slow, dilated, rhythmical geometrism, dotted by heavy guitar counterpoints, by the spectral flows of keyboard and by the nocturne Kristoffer's vocal inflections, in an obscure crescendo of pads, electronic darkness and depressed romance. The perpetuation of 'Depeche Mode minded' trajectories is more alive than ever in the next "For The Young", a synthpop / new wave track in which the nostalgic vocal accents follow exactly those unmistakable ones of Dave Gahan, thus completing the sonic emulation through the classic 80's synthetic arrangements of the band from Basildon that are particularly distinguishable, as well as in the chant exposition, in the midtempo interlocking of drum-programming like clockwork devices and in the melodious refractions of keyboard, directly connected with deep bass-guitar arpeggios. Now the percussiveness electronically ignites becoming "Hexagon", an electropop / new wave very suitable for dancefloors, built by vigorous uptempo monorhythmic sections of drum-programming, by rational vocals, stroboscopic effects and by gloomy synth luminescences. "This Is Us", a song taken from the eponymous EP and viewable even in video format, it patrols post-punk / waving horizons, declaiming a well modulated, disillusioned chant, pierced by rough bass intermittences, by midtempo drum-machine allocations and by shiny keyboard pigmentations. "Last Rites" closes the title-track spreading twilight darkwave / industrial / dark-electro sonorities, through the severe vocal inflections of Kristoffer alternated with those ones equally disciplined of the additional singer Nicole Sabouné - a rising protagonist from the Swedish dark-pop panorama - in a rigorous succession of downtempo scans and keyboard orchestrations. Brave, valiant release, fiercely inspired by two different sonic cultures: the first one generically called "after-punk", through which the musics acquire their subtle decadence, together with the electro concepts, synonymous of melody and technological advancement. The moderation with which the Swedish quintet doses the 'physical' instrumentality attenuates the asperity and tensions of the 'post-punk sound', as well as the overwhelming electronic maneuvers, masterfully planned, they give the tracks a refined complexity, in addition to a pleasant vintage climax. This full-lenght can also be interpreted as the middle way between an explicit tribute to immortality of Depeche Mode and a personalized, modernized interpretation of the 'auteur synthpop'. The Kristoffer's vocalism touches the sublime, elevating the lyrics to a triumph of harmony and introversion, joining them at the same time with the artificial intelligence of machines, with the arithmetic sequence of drumming and with the electricity of bass-lines. The band doesn't belong to the usual epigones-revisionists of synthpop / post-punk: it could be considerable instead among the projects that, better than many others, are able to reinvent these genres in an authentic, concrete and personalized way, showing an evident uniqueness. "Alkimia" is a stratospheric, unmissable realization: in this album the supremacy of Agent Side Grinder is more stronger than ever.

back to top

A.I. Zero - "Reality Design" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

aizen  A significant and original novelty is currently represented by the German A.I. Zero, a side-project founded in 2013 by Maikko Advance (machines) - keyboardist / visual-maker of the Germanic EBM / industrial / electro band Human Decay, as well as creator of the dark-electronics / IDM / EBM solo-act called Mind Area - together with the cooperation given by the enigmatic musician Flesh Wire (vox / machines). The style that distinguishes this platform is an amalgam of hyper-technological frequencies defined uncompromisingly by the same duo as a misunderstood conjunction between 'cyberpop' and 'cyberpunk': this particular musicality is the result of the combination of dark-electro voice / synths emissions, along with '80's electronics' potentiations and with the introduction of EBM sounds and arrangements, often rhythmed by sophisticated downtempo / midtempo IDM and dubstep beats of drum-programming. The modulations played by A.I. Zero artificially evoke futuristic sensations pervaded and tormented by oppressive darkness, the which, despite the coldness of high-tech sound, they don't deprive the structures of their emotional contents, humanizing the atmospheres balancing them in a perfect, constant but not aseptic whole made of synthetic 'Skylab' formulations and 'earthly' expressiveness, all thanks to instrumental schemes technologically evolved within which they resonate the Flesh monologues, perpetually shady, tonally low, externalised with gloom and introspection, as if an avant-garde poet would analyze his same soul, extrapolating it from a deep sub-dimension for illustrate vocally us its essence through an harsh, guttural dialogue. The discography concerning A.I. Zero currently mentions the five-track EP entitled "Obsolete Cyborg", published in January 2014 for the Argentine HunterNetlabel, which anticipated this debut-album "Reality Design" now analyzed by Vox Empirea, published at the end of the same year 2014 by the magnificent Russian label ScentAir: the release contains in total fifteen songs, including three tracks extracted from the previous Extended Play. Even more in detail, into the sonic creations designed by the power-duo can be distinguished certain affinities with the elegant, scientific electro experimentation and with the dark-electronic suggestions of the Germans Haujobb and Mind.In.A.Box, directly related to the 80's industrial tactics of the Canadians Skinny Puppy, and also, in some specific moments, to the visionary ethereal-industrial / electronic executions ingegnate by the English duo John Fryer / Graham Lewis through their old project called He Said; all these features are already active in the first album's track, "Follow", a dark-electro / experimental-electronics / IDM driven by minimal downtempo drum-programming, which, articulating robotically the rhythm, it place the beats in an hypnotic context of granular, sensual vocals crossed by perturbing harmonies of synths and by cosmic emanations. "Matter Over Mind" shows a futuristic dark-electro melodism of keyboards and vocals acidly whispered, in a succession of electronic codifications inside which they replicate mechanically slow scans of drum-sequencing, micro IDM scores and the euphonic counterpoints sung by guest-vocalist Casee. The next "In The Future" is a concatenation of dark-electro and dubstep elements, released using dried percussive midtempo asymmetries surrounded by the baritone, angry and corrosive vocalizations with which Flesh attacks a mass of sounds electronically geometric, composed of keyboard's essentiality and synthetic punctuations. Now the rhythm-machine beats regular midtempo fractures, the vocals are always hoarse, arcane, surrounded by cold extensions of synths, while further on the programming calculates a discontinuous trajectory IDM that embellishes the astral sounds of "Mein Gewinn". The subsequent "Passage 1" is an instrumental interlude composed exclusively of long, atmospheric pads, crossing noises and electronic currents, as well as in the subsequent and very danceable "Actually", the dark-techno futurepop climax is marked by linear, impure midtempo drum-programming on which the harsh voice of Flesh corrodes prolonged keyboard luminescences, connecting later it with metallic Android-vox, while as in the homonymous and alienating "Reality Design", the drum sequencing outlines industrial-midtempo deadlifts that they crashing rhythmically, with inflexible rigor, against musing spoken-word and against an opaque, rarefied dark-electro musicality, built by subterranean, mono-irradiations of keyboard's noise and by reverberated sections of electric-guitar played by guest Nico Sedlic. The more dynamic "Ruin My Garden" is a dark-techno / electronics track energized by a symmetrical uptempo drumming that gives to the song a great danceability, further corroborated by exciting vocals and by abrasive synth particles. "Passage 2" is a generator of microscopic sequenced fluctuations under which they extend noises and oxidized evanescences, all this before the next "Catharsis", a skeletal dark-electronic / IDM / industrial accomplished using the glassy, monochromatic, hard Flesh words and a glacial downtempo percussive automatism as device to give movement and rhythm to the acid whirlwinds of synths and to a prolonged, strident electric-guitar filament audible under the background. More sinuous, the melodic forms of "Stupid Reality" are enhanced by the leaden, refined lyricism of Flesh, by the softness of pads and by the harmonious touches of synth, all in a dark-electropop / alternative / electro-rock fractionated by downtempo intermittences downtempo and electrically finished the guest-guitarist A. Khaldy. Stupendously technological, "Enough" is a monument of elegance, of charm and modernism, this is thanks to an high class dark-electro / electropop / IDM into which they join rhythmic midtempo codes processed with algebraic precision by drum-programming, by luminescent keyboard effervescences and by a seductive chant, hissed bitterly by the vocalist between aluminium-colored effects and sequenced fluorescences. "Passage 3" is a murky and solemn dilation of pads and micro-noised fragments, while the following "Saves Me" enchants the listening by its sensual and ultra-experimental electronic / IDM harmonies, consisting in lightweight keyboard suspensions, pale ionospheres of futuristic sounds, an episodic dubstep tridimensionality and rough vocals. The hysterical screams shouted by the guest Miriam alter the dark-electronics placidity of the final "Mirim", in a psychotic, dissonant agglomerated in which obsessive pads and midtempo subdivisions are violently torn by the singer's schizophrenia. The two performer of this albums manipulate the sounds with great sagacity, transmuting it into an exclusive alternation of tracks prospectively impeccable, executed through heterogeneous electronic configurations, discontinuous percussiveness and through a charming vocal drawing up that the listener will perceive as as a recall magnetically dark, polarizing. "Reality Design" is especially looking for a songwriting of strong emotionality, placed inside sonic hybridizations technologically entrancing that converge towards an autonomous style, played beyond the limits of conformism. The keyboards propagate silvery metal, the voice of Flesh intoxicates the space by its depth and its transversal harmonies, while an uninterrupted flow of cybernetic substance inundates every single moment of release. Music qualitatively superior, dedicated to true connoisseurs of this genre: find this record wherever you are. A.I. Three, A.I. Two, A.I. One, A.I Zero. Contact!

* D *

back to top

DK5600 - "Distanza Katrias 5600" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

dken  Power-duo of experimentalists, founded in 2013 by the union between the Trieste-based Paolo Bono (synthesizers / samplers / effects / sequencing / mixing) and the Roman ARS A.V.I. (vox / lyrics / elaboration sounds / noises / samples). Both artists are individually also the holders of the following solo-acts from the Italian underground technological music scene: Paolo is the experimental-electronics CircumLiver - biographically treated by Vox Empirea in 2011 in the review of the album "Hybrid" - as well as Rosanna aka ARS A.V.I. - known also with the monogram called 'Ro-So matix' - is an eclectic multi-instrumentalist / singer gravitating not only in the electronic / noise / industrial genres, but in the post-punk and alternative-wave too. Their new project's named DK5600 and the title of the debut-album "Distanza Katrias 5600", cryptically chosen by the two protagonists, are inspired by technical-industrial / space-fiction elements: both expressions in turn take their own meanings from the dualism that characterizes two opposed origins: the first one, marked 'DK 5600', purely technical, is an acronym used by ENEL, the Italian National Electricity Department, for indicating the current disbursement in medium voltage phase, while the second one, 'Distanza Katrias 5600', explicitly sci-fi, describes instead the distance of 5600 light years elapsing between the imaginary planet Katrias and Earth. In particular, the extra-planetary notion assumes a role of fundamental importance in the songs played by this duo: in fact, every chapter from the DK5600's repertoire performs musically the highly cerebral nature of their sound-concept, in which they converge Human knowledge principles, futurism, simultaneously to supernatural and mystical references. The project's creativity relies entirely to a dogma, or the existence of a direct and intergalactic communication between Humanity and the inhabitants of Katrias, aimed to the establishment of a deep, advanced technological-religious relationship between these two worlds, all through a functional network of micro-electrical connections originating by the terrestrial electric implants, by optical wiring, by computer systems, by electronic devices and, more minimally, by the human voice. The lyric's drawing up and the instrumental plannings they find their exact collocation into the currently utopian interpretation - but in its own way so philosophically ingenious - of a contact with aliens, through technology, through mental resources and through spirituality today in possession by Men: this hope turned into sounds through the two protagonist's imagination and inventiveness, each of them fascinated by this uncertain possibility. The artistical agreement between CircumLiver and ARS A.V.I. started supposedly around the year 2009, at first through their participation to interesting compilations, including the "Ambientbook (Dark Edition) Vol. 1" anthology fired in 2013 by the namesake Greek Ambientbook platform, a collaboration then consolidated into the univocal DK5600 project, author of this beautiful and representative discographical product entitled "Distanza Katrias 5600", debut-album of 2015 published by the Bugs Crawling Out Of People - a Toronto-based label founded by the mastemind Squid, one of the most illustrious pioneers from the Canadian industrial scene - and entirely created employing hardware equipments, with the only exception for the signal processors, generated by both hardware and digital systems. The sound by DK5600, absolutely inedit and not circumscribable at all in any determinate style, incorporating the atmospheric and prolonged immobility of weird-ambient, intercalated with futuristic industrial-electronics counterpoints, while the texts, always sung as 'spoken words', coldly, slowly and obsessively articulated by the remote tones of ARS A.V.I. transfigured by vocoder, play a very important task within the musical structures, citing mechanically technical and scientific details with the same vocal automatism of an android. The album consists of twelve songs officially, virtually connected and complementary to the other five bonus-tracks, all them very interesting, available only on the web as downloading format, respectively entitled "Testo In Fase Beta", "Seconda Giornata Su Katrias", "Pan Demonio", "Katrias Attacks" e "Katrias Outro". The full-length begins by the ghostly dark-ambient evanescences of the opener "Katrias Intro", so darkly menacing, enigmatic, in which pads they reverberate an abyssal keyboard and the fragments of an annihilated brightness. "Prima Giornata Su Katrias" propagates cosmic-ambient sounds, perennially overshadowed in its substrate by a low, colorless synthetic extension, around which they rotate equally icily the vocal sections of ARS A.V.I. transmuted by machines into metallic echoing and micro-particles. The time is crystallized, the space is contracted in a never-ending expansion: it's what happens in "Masse Outsiders", an experimental weird-ambient / industrial-electronics suggestively interpreted through essential synth duplications like fluorescence in the Space, intersected by artificial punctuations and by the slowed singer's phrasing, sung by altered, phlegmatic voice, as during a robotic dictation inside a game of mirrors. ""ATmospheres EXplosibles" is the idiom likely audible during an interconnection with the entities of Katrias: it's spread by a weird-ambient register switched for communicative purposes into a dark transmission of alien frequencies, a particularity highlighted especially in the vocal inflections, now corresponding to distorted, atonic, over-processed words, cadenced with unnatural coldness and sluggishness, as they belonged to an extraterrestrial creature extraordinarily more evolved than Man, all interspersed with electronic noises and wrapped by lucid, monochromatic coverage of ambient keyboards. "Suolo Anisotropo" is a weird-ambient / industrial generated through straight sequenced lines, which oscillations, audible as continuous undergrounded vibrations, they overshadow a voice electronically altered, coldly inquiring, analyzer, spelled with hypnotic fixity in a vasness of metal-organic echoes. Solemnity, gloominess, mysteriousness, are the perceptions noticeable in the next "Volo Retto Da Katrias", built through dense flurries of synth devoid of every conceivable melody, designed as dark, aeriform, increasing ambient flows, supporting a rarefied, vacuous, musically oxidized singing, from the core of which they rise at times vertical, desperate vocals. "Rete Di Terra" outlines a weird-ambient matrix focused again on the spoken metallicity of ARS A.V.I. whose words, only a cold consecution of electrotechnical informations, are systematically shared with telegraphic precision and exasperated slowness, further accentuating the aura of futuristic surrealism already discernible in the basic synth orchestration. "Nanotec" is a black weird-ambient / industrial fully crossed by radioactive masses, by sideral interferences and discontinuous scans comparable to the movement of a futuristic device, sounds uniformly distributed on the geometric, inhuman keystrokes of the text, anticipatory of those ones recited with distant, musing tonality in the subsequent "Essere Estensibile Dinamico", a sort of visionary 'weird-ambient poem' developed by a long, single, low chord sprinkled of electronic effects, on which the singer aligns neatly and slowly its polarizing illustration of text. Similarly, the incorporeal torpor emanated by "Tensione Di Contatto" is a downtempo endless phase of redundant intermittences combined with a synthetic vocality like that of a replicant, in a concatenation of artificiality and dark metronomie, which pulses, progressively widened into the universal darkness, they reach the Katrias radio-receiver installations. More fascinatingly ethereal, "Riflessione Attiva" contemplates ambient trajectories based on luminescent pads, evoking feelings of beatitude and of dreamlike spatiality, interposed to the magnetic voice sector. The final song of the tracklist is "Bugs Crawling Out Of Katrias", configured through an uninterrupted, rippling frequency comparable to the buzz generated by powerful alien engines; fluctuating deaf manipulations belonging to retro-engineering from other Worlds and cyclical shocks of industrial-noises are the sonic design of this weird-ambient / electronics. Avantgarders, as well as daring explorers of the more advanced sound dimension, DK5600 are musically, spiritually and immeasurably projected forward in time; the predominant executive originality of this Italian project and the themes treated, they not allow nor specific collocations within the genres and the subgenres today known, nor direct correspondences with other similar artists. Modulations and texts harmonically complex, similar to broadcasted metric scannings, decipherable only if the listener will perceive them as innovative forms of astral communication, focused on the synergistic interplay between the electric / binary / vocal languages. "Distanza Katrias 5600" is a great album, capable to exercise its own, subjugating will; it is both a rational calculation and a conceivable tool of interaction with superior cultures, thought by Man observing scientific experiments, however conditioned by melting, hidden desire to finally get a tangible denial of his loneliness around the immensity of Creation. Planet Earth is calling: Katrias responds.

* E *

back to top

Empire In Dust - "A Place To Rest" - by Maxymox 2015

empien  Originally founded in the year 2000 in Cologne by Manuel M. ( vox / production / songwriting) and Alina H. ( live-Keyboard / vox ), the project Empire In Dust subsequently in 2003 dislocated its base in Berlin, recruiting a third component, Lars ( live-bass ). The long process of technical improvement and of band's promotion was made possible by series of constructive live-sessions held at Festivals and clubs, together with perpetual, resolute efforts directed towards the obtaining of a modern and original sound that would express sentiments, harmony, aesthetics, neoclassical references and a mannered significance, details already deducible by the bombastic name 'Empire In Dust'. The music conceived by this band, perfected and spread over the years through successful live-sessions held at Festivals and clubs, is identifiable in a particular style in which the preponderant prevalence of transversal indie-electropop combinations often integrates techno-oriented elements, plus EBM / psychedelic-trance recalls, dark-electro and industrial curvatures, generationg with all them polychromatic executions sometimes characterized by a simple, captivating dancefloor melodism, or by atmospheric modulations scented of solemnity, that predispose the listener to a profound reflection. From the biographical Empire In Dust's archives it is important to remark their participation at the three different limited-edition volumes of the double compilations "State Of The Heart - Ultimate Sounds of VIP Nation" published in 2005, 2008 and 2012 by the homonymous label VIP Nation, in which tracklists the electro-act introduced the songs "Meaningless", an hit remixed by the duo electro / industrial German Analogue Brain, "First Fall (State Version)" and "Retrospective" (State Version)". The band's discography is anyway in its initial phase, being currently consisting only by two releases: the firts of them is the Maxi self-produced promo-single "Meaningless", dated 2010, among which its nine tracks they stand two nice same-titled remixes, the above mentioned one by Analogue Brain and a second one realized as 'State Of Black Remix', reworked by the German electro solo-project called Folic Acid. The present "A Place To Rest", now reviewed by Vox Empirea, is officially the Empire In Dust's debut-album: published in 2015 by the Berlin label Phonector and constituted by eleven episodes, this full-length is played with refinement, propagating electronic suggestions and passionate vocalizations. The work is conceptually inspired by the desire to find ourself within our own spiritually or within earthly dimensions, an intimate, unique space in which we can meditate, finding moments of peace and searching the true, great meanings of all things, all by the power of our thoughts and by our inner exploration. "Always Blue", the first chapter of the title-track, shows in its lyrics the analytical, sensible and introspective soul of Manuel, whose vocal extensions, tonally deep and clear, are harmonized with the compact midtempo drum-programming percussiveness and with the seductive flows of Keyboard, in a dynamic electropop song in which they interact rhythm, synthetic melodies and fantastic daydreams. "Cut" is a dark-technopop energized by uptempo drum-programming bpm's, illuminated by shining keyboards and sung by Manuel initially through low-whispered euphonies, subsequently transformed in the refrain into baritone emissions full of noble elegance. The symmetrical subsonic bass-lines replicates midtempo beats, inserting them perfectly in an ultra-danceable electropopish formula planned by fascinating pads, pulsing intermittent drum-programming and by the epic, powerful Manuel's chant, intersected in its refrain by the suave Alina's voice: it's what happens in the next, wonderful "Bliss & Starvation". The disciplined and almost militaristic drumming which supports "Downtime", it adapts to the severe and vaguely dark chant of Manuel, contrasting with the cloudless vocal textures propagated by Alina, all in an electropop scented of romance, punctuated by rolling drum-beats and midtempo percussions systematically divided by the sequencer, on which they spread minimal keyboard symphonies and melancholic touches of synth-piano. The next "Libria", magnificently announced and concluded by the orchestral sections by Ludwig Van Beethoven, obscures the sound, overheating it by a frenetic, austere and 'very clubby' dark-electro / psychedelic trance / industrial scheme, made by danceable uptempo drum-programming scans, orderly sequenced diagrams, turbid keyboard and by the rigid, obscure chant of Manuel, embellished by the sporadic insertions of Alina, whose voice recites the poetic verses written by the Irish writer / dramatist William Butler Yeats. The instrumentality of "Against Reality" is inspired by the musics of the theme entitled "Alpha 5" by the German new-age musician Christian Buehner: this song flaunts an intelligent, classy electropop, thanks above all to the elegant vocalist's calligraphism, whose solid and intelligible timbres, decorate with sophistication the midtempo drum-programming automatism and the melodious keyboard constructs, among which Alina pronounces her phrasing with grace and feminine delicacy. "Silent World" is a vigorous electropop / industrial flecked of classicism, able to conquer instantly the listener reawakening into him the sense of dance, all by midtempo drumming, charming keyboard counterpoints and by regal vocal accents. From the following "The Glade" they rise decadent electropop melodies, punctuated by essential midtempo drum-programming, irradiated by the circular motion of sequencer, by the suffused, melancholy Alina's voice and by the rarefied Manuel's whispers, while the delicate notes of piano add to the whole more nostalgic feelings. We continue with the next "Washed Away", a short and entirely instrumental theme, based on relaxing pad extensions and on the sensual Alina's sighs, all perturbed by a background of heavy rain and thunders, which effect gives to this creation a suggestively autumn mood. Conversely, the electropopish architectures of the subsequent "Your Light" enliven the rhythm, transmitting radiosity and and an hint of lightheartedness, through lively midtempo cadences, shining keyboard choreographies and through harmonious vocals that Manuel exhibits with less darkened inflections. The last chapter of the tracklist is "Retrospective", an 80's minded cabaret-electropop wrapped by spherical keyboard fluorescences, propelled by midtempo e-drum beats and adorned by the emphatic, dramatic vocals of the singer. Far away from the usual stereotypes, the music of the Empire In Dust possesses the conditions to be considered 'eclectically functional', hybrid and communicative, aggregating it a multitude of emblematic factors, the same ones that make all tracks of this full-length different from each other and characterized by a pleasant singularity. This project will be greatly appreciated by those who not only seek in electronic sounds the immediacy and the danceability, but also the wisdom and a genuine, effective distinction. "A Place To Rest" offers a wide view of stylistic contexts, ranging with innate easiness from the most rousing dance-techno to elegiac intensely emotional performances, including electropop songs full of melody and exquisitely cultured texts. The artificial sound in one of its endless and more expressive interpretations.

* F *

back to top

Factice Factory - "The White Days" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

facten  François Ducarn (vox / keyboards), Théotime Lefebvre (bass / electric guitar) and Fabrice Lefebvre (electric guitar / keyboard / post-production) are since 2013 the line-up of Factice Factory, locating its bases in the French town of Liévin and in that Swiss of Geneva. As they're stylistically followers of the oldschool 80'cold-wave / minimal-wave / post-punk, the protagonists define their band as a project in constant evolving and therefore free from rhetorical cataloging, most likely a sort of perpetual, experimental 'work in progress' inspired not only by the traditional subgenres taken from the early-new wave, but also by the respective musical trends inherent in each one of the three members. In fact, Fabrice Lefebvre, along with Gerard Chambellant and Jeanne Lefebvre, is from seventeen years a component of Rajna, a world-music / modern-classical / ethereal-folk band; Théotime Lefebvre is instead an alchemist whose passion is mixing together different sounds ranging from ambient to the synthetic extensions of dronescapes, highlighting positively himselves in the noisy-rock / post-rock scene by his solo-act called Thermafrost, while François Ducarn is a great admirer of the post-punk, of the photographic art and rock. The musicality of the band is a pale, cold and often obscure sonic creature, composed by an essential instrumentality combined with brief vocalizations rigidly segmented, from which they rise conceptually introspective, melancholic lyrics, characterized by a destabilizing state of alienation, however, narrated with calculated emotional detachment. This "The White Days", today reviewed by Vox Empirea, is the band's debut-album within which they're contained nine splendid tracks: licensed in 2014 in three different formats by as many labels, the full-length is released on CD by the French brand Manic Depression Records, on vinyl limited-edition in a hundred copies by the German Holy Hour Records and on cassette, in the few number of one hundred copies too, by the Belgian home Wool And Tapes. Among the various credits accrued by Factice Factory, we can mention the publication occurred in 2014 of the one-track file titled "Lodged", created in collaboration with Ann Kriistal - with Toxic Razor she's component of the Greek minimal-synth duo called Paradox Obscur - in addition to the completion of two other songs formulated in synergy with the American artist Lissette Schoenly - with Jacob Schoenly they're the holders of the dark minimal-synth duo Spatial Relation - included in the second Factice Factory's album called "Nada", which date of publication has not yet officially announced. Aside from live performances held at major international radio stations, important is the participation of the band to the anthology "Wavecore Compilation Volume 3", published in 2014 by the Parisian label Anywave Records. Describing now the full structure of the album "The White Days", it integrates texts sung in French, English and German, among which they emerge episodically some 'world-oriented' phonemes, as well as the rhythmic movement of the nine songs, electronically generated by drum-programming, it mainly settles on spectral downtempo / midtempo waving geometries, rarely dynamized by faster percussive metrics. The 'white' pigment appointed in the title of the release, acts instead as an indirect evocative subject, recalling it the Death worship venerated by some Asian populations, symbolizing in the same time the limpid, pristine purity of the soul, vividly perceivable during a deep, absolute, meditative exploration inside the recesses of human consciousness, contemplating also the landscape abstractions as the white soil of Moon, or that coolly vitreous of the sky in Winter. The tracklist proposes initially "Collide", a cold / minimal wave supported by midtempo drum programming pulsations and vocalized by a schematic, depressed chant, alternated with echoes that seem to be reflected in a distorting mirror, all this accompanied by electrical innervations of post-punker guitars, by repeated bass punctuations and by soft keyboard sections. Equally cold and estranging, the waving configuration of the next "Glow" is originated through concise midtempo beats on which François and the additional vocalist Jeanne Lefebvre pronounce decadent, gray coloured strophes, backlit in their development by dense trails of guitars, encircled by bloodless flows of keyboards and scanned by pulsing bass. "Wie Raben" is a whippy, minimal and ultra-danceable electro / post-punk / cold-wave chapter radiated by Neue Deutsche Welle reminiscences, built through uptempo drum-programming percussiveness and crossed by tense guitars and flashes of synth, while the singer spreads rhythmically rigid compartments of disciplined voice, replicated in their central phases by the guest Jeanne Lefebvre. The gloomy solemnity which hanging over "Cold", a cover of the eternal Cure's masterpiece, has been formulated by Factice Factory emulating the original song by a regular, grievous, oppressive midtempo-drumming, obscurely supported by keyboard and by intermittent bass-lines, in a whole of darkness and magnificence further embellished by the icy intonations uttered by François and, in the end, from that of Jeanne. Slow cold-wave / trip-hop sequences and a penetrating aura of mystery, form the core of the following "Hour Glass", psychedelic, mesmerizing, dark, shaped through skeletal downtempo drum-machine beats, guitar evanescences and desolately reflective vocals. "Somnolence" creates an homogeneous mass of cold-wave and dark-synthpop, in which the leaden atmospheres of keyboard, the impassive voice of François, the minimal midtempo cycles calculated by the rhythm-machine, the futuristic markings of sequencer, the open and electric sounds of guitars plus the squared modulations of bass-lines, erect a particularly suggestive track. "Kaugummi", a song also available on video, opts for a militaristic cold-wave / Neue Deutsche Welle sung in German language, through faded words and vocal tones that enhance the sense of inner emptiness, of bitterness, all neatly subdivided by a gaunt midtempo drum-machine, decorated by the fascinating intensity emitted by synth and by the beautiful guitars, under which they oscillate linear bass allocations, until the next "Wortschatz", a shady, neurotic post-punk / cold wave electronically punctuated by minimal uptempo drum-programming, on which François places martially glacial splits of voice spelled in German that they merge with the abrasive electric guitar and with the murky menace of keyboard. The torpid vaporosity of pads, the metallized pizzicato's reverberations of guitar and the concise voice that represent the introduction of "Lazward", the last song, they develop into a slow, endlessly nostalgic post-rock / wave, performed by downtempo drumming, by fervent, harmonic riff of electric guitar, ascending bass chords, romantic keyboard and a by sad lyrics, caressed by a certain melancholic decline. Release of monochromatic sound, totally devoid of superstructures, "The White Days" pours out oceans of cold, distant melodies, in which every emphasis is systematically repressed, words and harmonies exposed with great self-control and precision, as if the most ardent sentiments, the unhappiness, the tormented passions, get right in the succinctness their real reason to exist, the thousand words appropriate to expressing the tumult of feelings that shake desperately within spirit, prisoners of authoritarian inner forces, yet not so irremediably suffocated by not make perceive to the listener's unconscious all the vibrant sensibility. Factice Factory is a project in the possession of aptitudes beyond the average, potentially able to go towards prestigious goals in the alternative music scene scene, this is thanks to the extraordinary resources so widely manifested in their first, unforgettable album. The French-Swiss band is only waiting to prove to the audience its grandeur, offering them a waver repertoire of excellent quality that deserves to be fully discovered and appreciated. Test you immediately this very interesting ensemble of visionaries: their talent will attract you by all its magnetism, transmuting your days into the diaphanous gelidity of white color.

* H *

back to top

Halo Effect - "Life Is Perfect" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

haloen  The Roman formation Halo Effect, by far among the most quotable and promising ones of the international electronic scene, it officially proclaimed as operating band since 2001 with the following line-up: John Andrew Peverieri (vox / lyrics / musics), Alessandro Polinori (second vox / keys / lyrics / musics), Federico Rosi (keys / musics) and Marco Cattani (keys / guitar / musics). The sound system of this project extrapolates, interpreting them through a scheme impeccably executed, the different and sometimes experimental modulations arising from the stylistic trends of the band's members, with a marked predominance of synthpopish trajectories combined with the best theorems of Electronic Body Music, with mechanical industrial procedures and the suggestive obscurity of darkwave. The functional synergy between these factors determines the melodic paths so immediately capturing, hyper-danceable, always engaging and highly energizing, that since the foundation of the team they have conquered a large audience of admirers. Particularly active and dragging on the live front, Halo Effect also shared a congruous number of gig-sessions with renowned representatives of the European electro scene, as Melotron, Covenant, De/Vision, Cruxshadows, Bloody, Dead & Sexy, Ionic Vision, Greenhaus, Krisma and Steve Naghavi from And One, confirming definitively them as band of excellence through a long and successful series of remixes processed by artists well anchored on the independent technological universe of music. Halo Effect's discography deserves a detailed understanding and a worthy illustration, this in virtue of the high standard that has consistently and systematically distinguished each release, in addition to the indisputable prestige of the all participants who have cooperated in the drawing up of the many remixes contained in tracklists. Then, listing the full record production created by the the ensemble, initially we mention "Past Continuous", a first self-released test of four-tracks dating back to 2003, followed in 2005 by the six digital-self-produced songs of "Days Of Silence", among which it stands as bonus track a cover of the famous "Photographic" by Depeche Mode, a band at which synthpop metrics are often inspired the compositions of Halo Effect. "Rome Effect" of 2006 is instead a digital-release of eight synthpop songs recorded live in the Italian Capital, in which they are contained songs written by Halo Effect neatly alternated with Depeche Mode covers. "Schwarz", digital self-released Extended Play published in the year 2006, consists of seven tracks, while "New Romantic Industry" is in fact the debut album licensed in 2008 by the Belarusian label Haze, which title-track of fourteen songs included is a bonus song, the beautiful cover of "Join In The Chant" of Nitzer Ebb. The year 2009 was characterized by four digital-remixed singles distributed by the German label Ionium Records, parent-label of Afmusic: the first of them, "It Was Nothing", is a nine tracks release remixed by the electro projects A Spell Inside, Ecstatic Mood, People Theatre, Revolution, Luca Urbani, Zero AD Dave Luxton, Blank and DJ Marimba. They followed the nine-remixed tracks of "Days Of Violence", reinvented by the projects Flatline, Skoyz, Lujhboia, Vortexsoundtech, The Crystal Apes, Azazel Haunted, TheHeadcase, The Violent Vocations and DJ Runken, anticipating the seven songs of "Their G.O.D.", remixed by the bands Guerrilla, The Eternal Afflict, Vondage, Global Citizen, A.D.A.C. 8286, Noorglo and DJ Energumeno. As many seven remixed songs are included in "Hammer The Gear", re-played by Celtic Tribes, Spektralized, Divider, FabrikC, Naukilot, DeadTronic and Controlled Collapse, which was followed in 2010, again for Ionium Records, the six remixes of "Life Goes On", reworked by Octolab, Human Decay, Supreme Court, Mind.Area, Batch ID and Led Manville. In the same year 2010 it was the turn of the second full-length, "The Fourth Zone", self-release of twelve tracks, which digital versions were fired by Ionium Records, all until the partnership of Halo Effect with the Italian label EK Product occurred in 2012, by which it was published the excellent, futuristic fourteen tracks album entitled "Recoding", produced / mixed by the Sweden artist Mika Rossi, leader of the electro / EBM band Autodafeh and of the synthpop / electro project Endless Shame. Continuing the investigation into the the record archive of Halo Effect we find other two beautiful, consecutive digital-compilations, both widespread in 2014 by EK Product and, analogously to previous titles, entirely remixed by great electro-exponents whom is necessary to mention their names: the first release is entitled "Code Mixing - recoding Remix Album CD 1", containing fourteen sonic reconstructions forged by Dominatrix, Angstfabrikk, Acretongue, Darkmen, Future Trail, AD:Key, Chemical Waves, Oldschool Union, Dupont, Foretaste, Hypnoskull [de:ad:Cibel], Lights Of Euphoria and Chainreactor, followed by the next "Code Mixing - Recoding Remix Album CD 2", fifteen acts remixed by the same Halo Effect plus other projets as People Theatre, Massiv In Mensch, Bodystyler, Nydhog, Vanguard, Synapsyche, Social Ambitions, Niko K, Angstfabrikk, Technomancer, Readjust, Dym, Darkmen and Ira-k Organisation. "Life Is Perfect", now reviewed by Vox Empirea, is instead the new, great album of 2015, this time released by Space Race Records, parent-label of EK Product: inside it they shine sixteen creations mixed in studio by Rob Early, front man of the American electro / IDM / synthpop band called Retrogramme, who is also an important part of the production of this record. The full-length, magnificently structured in all its forms, summarizes now more than ever all the strengths accrued and highlighted over the years by Halo Effect: technological, futuristic acoustics, studied and applied with professionalism, musics electronically and dynamically exciting, with 'very danceable' rhythms and seductive harmonies that always reach their goal, all expressed by very intonate vocals, timbrically unexceptionable, united with catchy keyboards sounds and with clear sequenced geometries. It's a shining example the opener "The Game Of Life", a powerfully danceable electro / synthpop track, built through pulsing midtempo bass-lines symmetrically joined with the vigor of chant, all made even more stimulant by streams of programming and by rational synths embellishments. "Alone" features irresistibly danceable electro / synthpop solutions, polarizing the listening by vaguely dark vocals sung by melodic firmness, emphatically surrounded by hard drumming, which algebraic midtempo beats are distributed on the replications of machines and on the synth connexions. The subsequent "My Mistakes" externalizes all its "dancefloor hit" potential: solid midtempo percussiveness designed with absolute rigor, vox extensions which denoting a perceptible specularity with those belonging to Sascha Mario Klein - aka Neuroticfish - together with a futuristic melodism of keyboards and programming, they confer to this electro / synthpop song the role of big tracklist's protagonist. "White Flag" gives space to the modern romance, slowing the bpm's scans and propagating harmonious flows of voice and synth from which they transpire notes full of introspection and melancholy, immeasurably intensified during the the refrain. Completely opposite in its nature, the following "The Killer In Me" underlines in its colored midtempo programmed counterpoints a lot of synthpopish analogies typically And One-oriented, expanding and modeling their disciplined progressions inside a concentration of compelling vocals and keyboard iridescences. "Hardcore" is a vibrant, mighty 'clubby' synthpop / EBM, formulated through the resolute uptempo compactness of drum-programming and through the dark, lascivious tonal curvature of vocals on which they swirl granular synth fluorescences. The album continues with the post-Depeche Mode similitudes of the following and glorious "Defeated", a track that chains the listening with its danceable retro-synthpop melodies, which reach immeasurable parameters of attractiveness, all through metronomic, red-blooded midtempo drum-programming, wrapped with shady pads and embellished by a deep chant, so nostalgically darkened. "The Secret I Know" crosses electro / EBM / synthpop coordinates, by the midtempo systematic propulsions of drum-machine and by single-minded vocals, around which spatial, liquid keyboards generate harmonious, advanced sound trails. "Teddy Boy" is an uptempo, pounding and rhythmically danceable electro / EBM track, made ardent by inflexible vocal sections to which they follow feminine sexy-loops that flood of sensuality the final phases of this song. Hypnotically electronic, the wonderful "Among The Flowers" conjugates the subjugating midtempo chillness of drum-programming to a very effective, authoritative voice configuration, all in this dark-synthpop atmospherically kinetic, danceable, rhythmed by resonant impulses and backlighted by icy keyboard projections. "Again" dominates unopposed the whole tracklist, by sonorities pervaded by melodic Depeche Mode's architectures, which, with disarming quickness, exert a magnetic appeal on the listener, this thanks to a squared percussive midtempo drum-programming which beats, shaping rhythmically with the beautiful vocal / keyboards harmonies, they pave a danceable synthpop for which it's impossible to find suitable superlatives for adequately describe its beauty, its power of attraction. We continue with "You'll Never Catch Me", a track which exciting synchronies of midtempo drumming, of charming voice and keys, they paint an electro / synthpop sheet music that denoting one more time specific affinity with the Depeche Mode sound, especially during the electric guitar arpeggio and during some fundamental singer's intonations. The luxuriant uptempo percussions of "Dancing Lights" holds this dancefloors-minded electro / EBM song, erected through pneumatic sequences of drum-programming and through darkly reverberated vocals, in a vortex of rhythm and artificial frequencies that spur the rhythmical body movement. It's the time of the next "Skyline", an electro / synthpop chapter melodiously technologic and sophisticated, which algid percussive core robotically scans midtempo beats subdivisions, reflecting the moonshine sounds of keyboards and chant, all this before the electro-romantic notes belonging to "Wintery Fall", a song that reveals soon all its dazzling synthpopish grace, by a wise use of vocals, from whose strophes they widen consonances that enchain the listener, together with danceable, thumping midtempo drum-programming lines and with harmonious keyboard's emissions. "Made Of Flowers", the final track, is an experimental, shadowy electro / industrial / synthpop created with admirable refinement, through cosmic pads, sequenced processing, alienating vocal sections and glacial midtempo drum-machine alternations. Halo Effect is an heterogeneous partnership of talented, constructive minds, whose interaction originates the unifying element between electronic vanguard and rearguard which has codified the prodigious sounds of this modernist invention named "Life Is Perfect", an album of astounding highness, definable without doubts as an authentic masterpiece of its genre, opportunely materialized in the technological alternative music scene of the latter part of the year 2015. The cited word 'perfection', that one conceptually mentioned in the title of the album, wherever it resides, in whatever way it's manifested or understood, it isn't comparable to that you will listen to in these sixteen, incomparable tracks. Expect you something amazing. Beyond all your reasonable expectations.

back to top

Handful Of Snowdrops - "III" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

handen  The dreams, sometimes, after endless cycles of darkness, they become a bright reality, as an unexpected return from oblivion. It's exactly what happened to one of the most significant projects from the Canadian 80's underground scene called Handful Of Snowdrops, a duo formed in 1984 in Quebec City by Jean-Pierre Mercier (guitar / keyboards / programming / vox) and Michel Mercier (bass / keyboards / guitar / programming). Those who want to obtain more complete infos about the biography and about the current artistic connotations of the band, they can find all them in the interview realized by Vox Empirea, viewable in its appropriate section of these webpages. After the dissolution of the platform, which occurred in 1993, of Handul Of Snowdrops they remained only the nostalgic memories of their beautiful and unique sound that can be defined globally as a harmonious, melodramatic combination of voice and instrumentality having as their basements electro-synth rock solutions combined with 80's wave, gothic and darkwave retrospectives, details contained in the following discography now listed in chronological order. The eight tracks in electro-rock / darkwave style of "Land Of The Damned", they represent the official debut-album published in 1988 by the unknown label LiSP Records, to which it succeeded in 1991 the legendary electro-rock / synthpop second full-lenght "Dans L'Oeil De La Tempête" of nine songs, fired by the US brand C'est La Mort and digitally re-released in 2010 - with three bonus tracks - as 'Expanded & Remastered' version by the label founded in 2009 by Handful Of Snowdrops, the NanoGénésie®. "Mort En Direct" is instead an anthology dated 1993 containing the eleven best tracks taken from the previous repertoire of Handful Of Snowdrops, also reissued in digital-remastered format and licensed in 2010 always by NanoGénésie®. In the year 1991 it was published, again by the same same label NanoGénésie®, "Groundwork For Fundamentals (Demo Archive Volume One • 1984 -1986 )", an exclusive digital collection of demo-tracks musically oriented towards darkwave / goth / post-punk / synthpop / synthwave, reserved for buyers of the release "20th Anniversary Edition" of "Land Of The Damned", while the next "Storm Debris & Astronaut Remains" is the second and concluding volume of twelve digital-demo tracks released independently in 2010 by NanoGénésie® and extracted from the "Demo Archive" catalog between 1990 and 1992, the year before the end of the project and before the completion of the unfinished album "Astronaut". To all this they followed at first "Scream, Cry Or Fall Again", a digital-EP issued in 2013 by NanoGénésie®, inside which they appear three darkwave / goth / post-punk songs recorded live in 2012, and later "25th Anniversary Special Double Edition : Unreleased & Demos 1984-1986 / Land Of The Damned", a double vinyl LP released in 2014 by the Spanish label Domestica Records, in which tracklist Handful Of Snowdrops incorporated overall sixteen tracks stylistically belonging to new wave / post-punk / synthpop: the same record is also available in limited-edition LP titled "Unreleased & Demos 1984-1986: 25th Anniversary Edition", published in 2014 always by Domestica Records, including essentially the eight tracks recorded in the 'side-A' of the larger version 'Special Double Edition'. The inedited "1984 Lost Demo Tracks" is a one-track digital-release distributed in 2014 once again by NanoGénésie®, in which they are incorporated old demo IDM / electronics experiments recorded on tape, as well as the four-songs of the Extended Play entitled symbolically "+", published in 2015 by the NanoGénésie®, they precede the present, awaited third album "III" which signed the great return of Handful Of Snowdrops: it's published in 2015 by NanoGénésie® and materialized through an extensive chain of international fans from whom they are reached the necessary funds for the realization of this record work, in response to an effective and enterprising media-crowdfunding action promoted in 2014 by the two protagonists. The ten tracks on the new full-lenght - recorded / mixed in Quebec City at Nanogénésie studios and mastered in California by Blake La Grange at the Mercury Mastering - is a masterpiece of harmonic refinement in which Handful Of Snowdrops introduce hyper-doses of sonic aesthetics, together with capturing vocals / synths melodies, programming beats and electro-rhythmics on variable speed, all this atmospherically surrounded by those unforgettable, melancholic 80's wave consonances that characterized the music of the project since its early origins. "Terroir III (The Hills, The Sea, The Sky, The Stars)" opens the tracklist offering itself as a mainly instrumental sad-song, composed initially by downtempo percussiveness on soft, nostalgic chords of keyboards, the same elements that later, intensifying themselves adding vocal-sampling and, finally, piano notes, they become an orchestration suggestively penetrating, made of euphonies that reflect introspection, decadence and a touch of romance. "Dead City", a track of which it was extracted the video, is the manifestation of the real electro-rock / waver sound that the listener will experience in the album, that is a magical fluidity of keyboards and electric guitar, beautifully, elegantly vocalized by the melancholic tones of Jean-Pierre, under which the drum-programming scans precise midtempo cadences, in a whole of energy, grace and sentiments that enraptures instantly and forever. "The Man I Show The World" merges the fullness of electro-rock with melodious 'waving' formulations, drawing them through a coordination of vocals nostalgically keen, communicative, embellished with reverberant extensions of electric guitar and supported by the dynamism of the midtempo drum-sequencing. The next "The Kill" aggregates electro-wave / gothic sounds pouring them into a song of great value, created by a turbillon of uptempo drum-programming, anguishing flows of synths and electric guitar, among which textures you hear the imperiously harmonius voice of Jean-Pierre giving to the strophes expressions emotionally depressed, capable, especially in the refrain, to conquer the more glacial hearts. Softly relaxing and very assimilable, "Wreckage" is a downtempo electro-rock / synthpop track that will delight for the noble poetry of its chant, above which they hover fascinatingly exciting keyboard constructs and echoing guitar counterpoints, as well as in the following "Breaking Bones" the warm voice of Jean-Pierre sings verses overflowing with melodic purity and romance, all in an electrorock / wave modulated by ecstatic emissions of synths and segmented by midtempo drum-programming fractionations. Even more incisive, the following "Fall In Line" generates vivid feelings of immensity, seducing by pleading voice accents and by bright keyboard openings closely related to a backgroung of electric guitar and midtempo drumming, which synergy highlights once again the undying devotion of Handful Of Snowdrops towards the 80's wave-sound. "Everything Is Number" is also an amalgam of electro-rock and new wave, propelled by midtempo monospaced drum-sequencing and surrounded by a vocal foreground that seems interrogating the thoughts, converting them into sounds emphatically nostalgic, projected in a lovely arabesque of synths and rapid flight of electric guitar. The distinguishing trait of "Forever It Goes" is the enthralling guitar arpeggio protracted from introduction until the first segment of voice, recalled episodically in a triumph of melodic perfection and elegiac sentimentality, for an electro-pop / rock song full of magnetic, intriguing power, adorned with apollonian progressions of synths and rhythmic uptempo impulses. The epilogue is represented by "It Can Only Mean One Thing", a track sung by Jean-Pierre in collaboration with the backing-vocalist Mathematique aka Pascale Mercier, the Michel's daughter: this song, a sweet electro-wave / synthpop / electro- rock, is performed by clear voice, guitar gleams, melodious keyboard sections and midtempo drum-programming. Profusion of intimism and compositional cleverness they are present in this spectacular album that definitely asserts the impeccable songwriting and that certain talent out of the ordinary schemes which still marks the style of a duo risen from the mists of time. "III" is an album strongly desired, a sonic marvel for which it is extremely difficult to find superlatives enough suitable to describe all its preciousness, its rare beauty. This release is in possession of multiple meanings, all deep and different among them: it is the 'trait d'union' that establishes a virtual contact between past and present. "III" is also the need to free a passion too loud and uncontrollable to be restrained further into the spirit. The new full-lenght is also a due tribute given to the thousands of fans who have never forgotten this project and its important contribution to the alternative scene: Handful Of Snowdrops reciprocate this ardent passion dedicating to them an album of great sentimental value, tended to evoke as closely as possible the grandeur of a power-duo which, consciously or not, it continues to leave permanent testimonials of itself in the best alternative music. You will be dazzled by such splendor.

back to top

Hearts Of Black Science - "Signal" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

heblaen  The dominant feeling perceptible whenever you analyze Hearts Of Black Science is always to be in the presence project of artistic highness infinitely over the average and in possession of a distinction that finds rare correlatives in this music genre. The duo-act, founded in 2005 in Gothenburg, Sweden, is composed by Daniel Änghede (vox / guitars / bass) - vocalist of the English super post-rock band Crippled Black Phoenix - plus the ex horror director Tomas Almgren (synths / beats & sequencing). Since the artistic beginning of their platform, the two protagonists originated an unmistakable sound-system combining the hegemony of electro / post-rock structures with new wave, shoegaze and gothic complements: the harmonious blending among these styles generates lively, engaging music prospects, beautifully capturing, in a perpetual spread of elegance and a vaguely dark sentimentalism which induces our minds to a profound inner investigation. The record production of Hearts Of Black Science began in 2006 with two self-produced Extended Play, within which the duo explored with great authenticity electro / alternative-rock scenarios: their titles are "Hearts Of Black Science EP # 1", containing four tracks, followed by the five ones of the next "Hearts Of Black Science EP # 2". The two maxi-singles "Empty City Lights" and "Driverlights", fired in 2007 by the London brand Club AC30, also denoted as the previous releases an evident compositional predisposition directed toward electro / alternative-rock trajectories, such as in the other four episodes included in 2007 within the tracklist of "The Ghost You Left Behind Sampler", a publication released in the same year 2007, always by Club AC30, which officially licensed in 2007 also the Hearts Of Black Science's debut-album "The Ghost You Left Behind", inside which they still shine eleven chapters played by seductive alternative / post-rock sonorities merged with sober electronic curvatures. "Gold And Dust" is the limited-edition Mini-single of 2009, published by the Swedish label Wonderland Records located in Lerum: it consists of three synthpop, indie / electro rock / darkwave songs, one of which remixed by the Swedish technoligical solo-act Pretorium, aka David Lilja, who's together with Patrik Rydberg the electro / synthpop duo-project called mindXpander and also the creator of the psychedelic trance / goa-trance one-man act named Ypsilon 5. "The Star In The Lake", the second and ultra-quoted 2009's album published by the label Wonderland Records, revealed extraordinary, attractive synthpop / indie / electro-rock / darkwave soundscapes further perfected in their effectiveness, concentrated in a title-track of twelve chapters that made unforgettable and symbolic this release, raising it as the emblem of an executive capacity that goes beyond the ordinary ways. It was followed by "We Saw The Moon", a digital self-produced EP dating back to 2013, which lists five good electro / alternative rock songs. The next step was "B-Sides & Remixes Volume 1", a digital anthology self-released in 2013: it consists of fifteen electro / alternative rock tracks, including unreleased versions and some works remixed by Hearts Of Black Science or other external artists: particularly interesting is "Icon", a song rebuilt by the Californian punk-hardcore band Iconoclast. "Signal", the new album of 2015, is available in two CD versions distributed by the Swedish label Progress Productions: the first of them, now reviewed by Vox Empirea, incorporates eleven tracks, while the second one, in limited-edition of two hundred autographed copies, is instead made up of fifteen episodes mastered by Stefan Aronsson, member of the Swedish electro-industrial / metal-crossover band Red Cell. The new full-length is a triumph of refined, inimitable acoustics, full of aristocratic vocals, rhythms and sequencers programmed on variable speeds, fascinating, ethereal instrumental euphonies so perfectly modeled on the reverberated-dark schemes of chants, sung by that indescribable, rare, melodic beauty that only the North-Europeans artists know so skillfully create, in a continuous profusion of spectacularly intense modulations which drag the listener into sonic worlds that feel like immensity, all atmospherically surrounded by introspection, melancholy and by suggestive evocations. The evanescent intro guitar arpeggio of the opening track "Faces", it propagates fluttering during all the length of this post-rock / wave song, while the powerful tonal extensions of Daniel they impose with emphatic grace drawing elegiac sounds, to join the backing vocals belonging to the guest Heike Langhans - singer of the Swedish gothic-doom metal trio called Draconian and also component with Daniel Änghede of the space-themed downtempo duo called ISON - all in an epic context of echoes, of surreal flows of keys and staccato midtempo percussiveness formulated by the second guest-musician, Justin Greaves, drummer from the band Crippled Black Phoenix. The next "Protector" really deserves a place of excellence within the full tracklist: solid downtempo metronomic beats scanned mechanically / hypnotically by drum-programming, nostalgic vocals synchronized to the rhythmics and dictated with gloomy solemnity, they are the main elements which prepare the listener to dive into a refrain of so otherworldly grandeur that no known word can ever describe it, in which Daniel expands his voice with crepuscular magnificence emitting charismatic harmonies, further fortified by alabaster keyboard orchestrations, all in an electro / darkwave / synthpop song of inestimable charme. "Until Morning" partially illuminates the musicality through its pop-rock / wave / synthpop rays and by uptempo drumming, which beats, symmetrically accompanied by pulsing bass chords, they support vocals sung with romantic, melancholic delicacy, while dense radiations of keyboard completely encircle the sounds, shaping it with the bright riffs of electric guitar. "Timeless", a post-rock / wave song, abducts us, transmuting both the magic singer's lyricism and the instrumental constructs into harmonic pureness from which it's impossible to escape, thanks to the strong magnetism of a chant over which they twirl apollonian keyboards, ecstatic guitar counterpoints and the precise downtempo geometries of the synergy between drum-machine and bass. Within the subsequent "Unfolding" they converge melting, oneiric sounds, for an electro / post-rock sad-ballade full of decadent passion, expressed especially through the melancholic notes of Daniel's voice, embellished by the fairy vocalizations of the guest-singer Chrysta Bell - a Texan eclectic art-performer known as melodic-rock / jazz singer chansonnier, model and theatrical actress - all in a nobly sophisticated composition, from which it gushes a depressed sentimentalism, made more precious, estranging and rueful by circular keyboard symphonies and by diaphanous punctuations of electric guitar. The following "Icon" takes its post-rock / waving dynamism by a compact midtempo percussiveness and by bass-lines that vigorously sustain melancholic vocals, colored scales of keyboard and thin guitar textures. We continue with the next "Waiting", a charming electro / post-rock mainly performed through dry downtempo bpm's of drum-programming and through a nostalgic chant, which inscrutable, luxury attractiveness is enhanced within its vibrant refrain that unites them melody, class and vocal splendor, all cloaked by the metallic emissions of keyboards and gracefully carved by the electric guitar. The spleen lovingly poured by "Falling Away" is the concrete demonstration of the innate sensitiveness of Daniel and Tomas, whom forged a sad electro / synthpop / darkwave fluidly traversed by the downtempo beating of the drum-programming, by crystalline sequencer, by nocturne pads and by soft suspension of guitar, in a relaxing whole of romance, unreality, penumbra and sweet torment, foundations pervaded by the somber accents of singing. "Wolves At The Border" draws to itself the listening, thrilling, fascinating us with its impalpable procedures, initially expanding the alienating, arcane, siren vocalism of Heike Langhans, harmonized with soft rarefactions of string and sequencing, flying later on the nostalgic fades Daniel's chant, for a post-rock / darkwave / gothic overflowing of sensuality and infinite sadness, made even more ardent by touching sections of keyboard and by downtempo fractionations of drum-programming. The velvety electro / synthpop / pop-rock surface of "We Saw The Moon" is caressingly lapped by languid passionate vocal-keyboard progressions to which abandon ourself with beatitude, encompassed in turn by regular downtempo programmed alternations, anticipating the regal orchestrations like soundtrack that animate the final track, "Signal", an instrumental and melodically austere episode, in which the balanced interplay between electronic-neoclassical sonorities imprints on this song a legendary, martial apperance, so romatically chivalrous, all through sumptuous keyboards, guitar expansions, powerful echoes, percussive midtempo partitions and sequencing. Aesthetically impeccable, conceptually significant, to contemplate for hours like a painting of immeasurable value, this release is reserved for dreamers and anyone able to perceive and translate the hidden messages from our inner universes. With this intriguing masterpiece, the alchemists Daniel and Tomas have made a formidable stylistic advancement, however stably keeping intact the point of contact with their own interpretation of electro-rock, emphasizing each single fragment of the intimist, sentimental, dark, sphere that always makes amazing the sonic choreographies of this project. Isolationism, persistent sadness, illusory dimensions, sorrowing thoughts, they take turns in an endless succession of love, despair and hope, all externalized through irresistibly mesmerizing vocals and an unmatched musical calligraphy. You don't have to temporize. Direct you with open soul to Hearts Of Black Science for receiving all the riveting emotional vastness transmitted by their "Signal", an album that you will love and that you will hear every day, in any circumstance. Superb!

back to top

Huron - "Fissure EP" - by Maxymox 2015

huroen  Understanding the meanings, the artistic stature and the complexity of the music created by Huron, it means interacting simultaneously with an hybrid form of artificial and human intelligence which transmits and makes displayable abstract images directly into the listener's subconscious, disquieting, seducing him. The interpreter of this solo-project is the Berliner Steffen Schröder, attracted since his youth by the multiple transcriptions of the avant-garde sound, evolving him from 1990 to 2005 as author and D.J. in a gradual metamorphosis of names and styles, creating at first compositions mainly subordinated to the melodic synthpop of Depeche Mode, then oriented towards the cosmic-krautrock of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, following later the current trends as braindance, EBM, techno and ambient. More precisely, since 1998 to nowadays, the musical renewal of Huron found its final collocation in a model that combines IDM, experimental-electronics, ambient-downtempo, glitch and dark-step elements, obtaining in this way modulations of high-sonic engineering, futuristic, extremely sophisticated, elaborated by otherworldly ability. Visionary, introspective explorer of electronic dimensions, Steffen has always shown great aptitudes of resourcefulness, distinguishing him, as well as his excellent remixing qualities, also for his IDM / experimental side-project one-man act called Cybotnik, realizer in 2008 of the homonymous seven tracks Extended Play entitled "Cybotnik", published by Crazy Language, the net-label specialized in genres IDM, ambient, glitch and electronics, founded by the same Steffen Schröder with his friend Axiom, an alternative Berliner musician who also operates in the experimental / IDM / electronics / techno range. As mentioned above, the natural remixing talent of the protagonist has originated many record products of rare beauty. By analyzing this particular argument, we can now list as examples some of the best re-works belonging to known artists from the international high-tech sound, all remixed with mastery by Huron: "Piezoelectric Actuator" by the Romanian project Datacrashrobot, "Requiem" by the German duo Machinecode, "Run" by the Hungarian solo-act Iketa, then continuing with "Lunar Morphics" by the Belgian Sk'p , "-10°C Romantic" by the Argentine one-man project Structural Fault and "Falling Star" by the U.S. solo-act Geodesik. The discography published by Huron consists in a large majority of digital files, with a small number of physical CD's, of which is part "Pressure In My Head", the double album fired by the Germanic label Trachanik Records, containing twenty-one IDM / downtempo tracks, which uncertain date is approximately between 2003 and 2004. They followed in 2006 four digital IDM / downtempo albums: "The Lonely Way," fired again for the Trachanik Records, which tracklist includes ten songs, followed by the fifteen episodes of "Colourdays", edited by Crazy Language, the label which also spread both the eight tracks included into "Fossilized" and the twelve ones of the release "Social Engines". The year 2008 was characterized by the magnificent "Soul @ Hope", an IDM / electronics digital album of thirteen chapters licensed by the label Crazy Language, succeeded in 2012 by a beautiful "Pictures From The Past", another digital full-length of twelve IDM / ambient / dubstep tracks, also published by Crazy Language. Thanks to engagement with the German label Raumklang Music, in the year 2003 it was widespread the electronic / IDM twelve tracks album "The Other Side Of Reality", available in both 'digital' / 'CD' versions and mastered by Alexander Dietz, aka Erode, the German IDM / ambient / industrial musician. The Huron's records productivity lists besides at least six self-released IDM / downtempo / ambient digital single-tracks: they are "Venetys-II", "Toffer II", "Spicious" - a song included in the album "Fossilized" - followed by "Kizz", "Cupshift" and "Bastard". Of particular interest are also the appearances of Huron into big compilations, such as the volumes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the "Crazy Compilation" anthologies, issued chronologically from 2006 to 2010 by the label Crazy Language, or into "Emerging Organisms Vol. 5", released in 2014 by the famous American label Tympanik Audio and "Wounds Of The Earth Compilation 6", distributed in 2014 by the homonymous Washington D.C. based net-label, strategically introducing some songs in other rare collections, such as "Devil Noise Assemblage - Compilation # 2", fired in 2011 by the Malaysian same named net-label Devil Noise Records, "MMF 2013 Compilation", edited by Maschinenmusik and "Long Way Home LP", released in 2013 by the Taiwan's label called Anchorage Sound. The new digital release "Fissure", published in 2016 by the eclectic Dutch net-brand brand Mindtrick Records, is a four-traks Extended Play reserved for a circle of musically advanced audiophiles: as always the songs are exclusively instrumental, full of sophistication and contemplation, in which the balance among IDM, obscure-ambient, downtempo drum and bass, industrial, glitch and dubstep, creates within our minds a gradual multiplication of utopian sci-fi allegories and incorporeal aestheticism, conceptually inspired by the dark, depressing perspectives for the next future in opposition to inner hoping feelings, in an eternal alternation of shadows and lights, of moonless nights and purple dawns, of torment and desire. The sound system applied in the tracks is a set of fractured rhythmical synchronies, pads magically extended, atmospheric suspensions and swarms of micro-electronic noises: the EP therefore opens with "The Morning And The Cloud", a composition introduced by deep dark-ambient chords and android vocal-loops, to which they follow the intricate interlacements between slow, robotic-broken scans of drum-programming, keyboard extensions, sub-intermittent breaks and creaking punctuations reproduced by the circuits of machines, all fascinatingly embellished by reverberated piano's trails. The ultra-technological scheme of "Mirrored Shadows" hypnotizes the listener, leading him in a sonic-psychic journey at first through sections of obscure-pads and dilatated evanescences, followed by asymmetric 'no-beats' and percussive downtempo contrasts, to which they merge aerial fluctuations of keyboard and systematic flows of electronic dust. The crepuscular structures of the next "Possibilities" draw their life initially by subtle rumoristic manipulations aggregated to dark fades, the same ones that, growing their intensity, are constantly crossed by discontinuous realignments of drum-sequencing and by lightning bursts of sonic-metallized particles, reflecting melancholically the echoes of piano luminescences. The abysmal breath of pads audible in the concluding "Under My Surface (First Mix)" submerges the tiny, sharp fragments of electronic interferences, inserted between gloomy keyboard expansions, giving solemnity and moving to a long, cultured, ultra-futuristic symphony made of darkness, magic and by rational technologism. Once again Huron exemplifies all his skill playing a modern idealization of 'concrete music', from which they virtually rise extraordinary, evocative sound landascapes: the thoughts and the will of the listener are lost into this sumptuousness, wandering among electronic mists, acyclic percussiveness, minimal synthetic noises and shadowy laptop formulations, all incorporated in the tracklist of "Fissure", which magnificence confirms that the creative impulse of Steffen Schröder is now tangibly at its apogee. As in any other release designed by this phenomenal outsiders, also the four songs included in his new EP they develop a progressive state of ecstasy divided into three phases: a beginning suggestively cathartic, an intermediate period dynamically hyper-articulated and a final time that summarizing both previous stages. If there's something even greater than perfection, Huron reached it.

* K *

back to top

Köln 81 - "The Great Sadness" - by Maxymox 2015

kolnen  Originally from Trollhättan, Sweden, as well as fervid estimators of the early Ultravox, Kenneth Ödlund (songwriting / lyrics / vox / keyboard / programming / production) and Tommy Boman (guitar / co-production) founded in 2010 the Köln 81, a tribute-name specially chosen by the duo-act to indicate respectively, the German city and the year in which it was recorded the legendary Ultravox album "Rage In Eden". Despite an unconditional devotion towards new-romantic wave / synthpop music typical of the Midge Ure's ensemble, the style of Köln 81, at the first time identical to that of the band of reference, it was partially mutated over the years, flaunting now marked alternative darkwave connotations, resulting by a prevaricating, inspirational admiration to symbolic representatives of this music genre, as Sisters of Mercy, Diorama and Clan Of Xymox. As the compositional style of Köln 81 was transfigured with trajectories melodically more shadowy than the beginning, it still keep intact into its core many Ultravox-oriented legacies, highly perceptible inside the seductive darkwaving formulations, all in a perfect equilibrium between introspective darkness, depressed sentimentalism and instrumental refinement. The musical experiences individually acquired over the years by the two protagonists are and remain opposed in their own nature: in fact, Kenneth comes from the electro sector, while Tommy comes from that hard-rock one, differences however strategically neutralized, amalgamated and then turned into a perfect agreement, through their shared passion regarding the transpositions melancholically gloomy of the '80's wave / post-punk sound', declined in its more traditional interpretations. "The Great Sadness", the self-produced debut demo album, is actually a list of songs exclusively available online with the purpose to arouse the interest of a label with which to start a process of discographic collaboration: the full-length is then be interpreted not only as a kind of externalization of the intents and of the executive ability of Köln 81, but also as a prelude of the sonic wonderlands and of the big contribution that the power-duo will be able to offer to the wave scene, if it will be adequately supported by an enterprising and foward-looking home records. "Black Train", the first of eight tracks, is a mixture of darkwave sounds rhythmed by midtempo drum-programming, which basic scans they mechanically fractionate the ghostly vocals of Kenneth, the essentiality of the guitar's background and the soft luminescences of synth. Memories post-Ultravox are greatly evident in "Elegie", especially in the suggestive arias of piano and in the electric guitar sections, to which are added the catching depth voice of Kenneth, the metronomic midtempo drum machine and the nobles keyboard embellishments. Similarly, the subsequent "False Messiah" joins unique, atmospheric Ultravox schemes of piano and sequencing together with shady voice procedures, which extensions, so poetically melancholy, they combine them with the glacial downtempo / midtempo drumming. "Cold War Lullaby" is a track in which it stands out once again the indissoluble bond that connects the Köln 81 to Ultravox, verifiable above all in the decadent romanticism originated by piano melodies and by the elegant singing, all accompanied by fleeting inserts of guitar, by melodic synth chords and rhythmed through dry midtempo drum-programming, which punctuations remember the same ones of the song "Stumble And Fall" by Clan Of Xymox. The fast percussiveness of "Low Pale Winter Sun" spreads danceable energy, while the Kenneth's chant, decorated with aristocratic touches of piano, with pulsing bass-lines and with enveloping expansions of keyboard, it raises sad euphonies overflowing of quite desperation, torn by the prolonged and electric guitar riffs of Tommy, in a darkwave song built with solid professionalism and method. "Chisinau" is an episode in which refrain the minimal filtered vocals they expand into obscure reflections, becoming a fascinating, majestic choralilty, intercalated with thin piano and synth decorations, as well as the tense guitar patterns backlight the sound, fortifying and enriching it with vibrant modulations regularly segmented by midtempo drum-programming. Nostalgic sonorities, vocal twilights and romantic desolation, they characterize the following "Close Your Eyes", a chapter in which they blow at unison the dark melodism of Sisters of Mercy with the same one sentimentally gothic of the best "Muscoviet Musquito"'s Clan Of Xymox, plus the austere piano-keyboard solemnity of Ultravox, in an alternating of acoustic / electric guitar's arpeggios and sensible, afflicted vocals, perpetually surrounded by midtempo drum-programming transmissions. The final track of the release is entitled "In Silence", within which the turbid guitar's distortions manipulated by Tommy tarnish ceaselessly the echoed brilliance of the piano, the midtempo drumming, the pensive lyricism of Kenneth and the opaque keyboard complements. Permeated with great class, "The Great Sadness" is the impressive preparatory debut of a subterranean formation that wants to surface from the anonymity, deserving the title of 'project-revelation "of the new , emerging darkwaver dynasty. The sonic preciousness of which they are filled the eight tracks is the concrete attestation of the inventiveness and of the dexterity held by the Swedish duo, who hopefully expects a positive response from the independent music industry. The graceful spleen, so openly recepibile into singing, it merges with a sound context balanced on the intimate and tormented harmonies of the big darkwave's masters, in conjunction with the refined pop symphonism of Ultravox, whose reciprocal interaction is summed up into music of extraordinary emotional intensity. Maximum consideration and admiration to Köln 81: we believe and we will believe in them. .

* L *

back to top

Laik-Oh! - "Dietro Il Mondo" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

laiken  Laik-Oh is a Mantova based ensemble founded experimentally in 2012 by the front-man Michele "Panf" Mantovani (guitars / synths / loops-beats / mixing) to whom, in later times, they joined three other artists from the rocker scene: Mattia Bortesi (vox / synths / lyrics), Luca Peshow (bass / backing-vox / choirs) and Giovanni Tutti (visual arts). Though the particular musicality formulated by the band is not directly comparable to that of other known projects, it presents ideally some correspondences with the electro-noise style of Italian Aucan, curving towards the atmospheric electronic / trip-hop sonorities of the English Massive Attack: inside the structures we can hear distinctly strong electro-indie rock connotations integrated to the sincopatic neurasthenic of dubstep, while the themes that animate the lyrics are inspired by transcendence, filtered and expressed through a radical, uncompromising secularism, but also by the art of Astrology and by travel experiences lived by the protagonists. The overall impression is that of a sound tortured by spleen, in which, together with alienating and obsessive atmospheres, they are perceptible feelings of isolation and of deep inner analysis; all this is already detectable within the five tracks of "Laik-Oh! Demo", a self-produced release dating back to 2012, and, subsequently, within the seven episodes of "Dietro Il Mondo", the official debut-album now described by Vox Empirea, issued in 2014 by the Ferrara's brand New Model Label Records and mastered in the US at the Sage Audio Studio by the sound-engineer Steve Corrao. The tracklist opens with "Secoli Di Stragi", a song also available in the video format elaborated by Giovanni Tutti: the sound elements that compose it are mainly oriented towards electro-rock counterpoints, initially arpeggiated by acoustic guitar, made suggestive by keyboard and saddened by piano notes, awaiting the incipt in which the granitic downtempo compactness of percussions, the guitar's electricity and the acidity of synth act as support to the destabilizing proclamations sung by Mattia who retraces the ancestral path of Christianity alluding, albeit metaphorically, to its historical contradictions and to the bloody events that marked its rise. "Assalto All'Inverno" introduces a great amount of electronic finishings in perfect symbiosis with the force of rock-sound: the result is a succession of quiet periods formulated through schematic lines of drum-programmming, transmission of electric guitar and wide expansions of keyboard, alternating with aggressive guitars, synth and a more incisive percussiveness, all this entirely saddened by decadent voice and introspective lyrics. "Asian Trip pt.1 [feat. MUD]", a track played in cooperation with the Mantova's musician Michele Negrini and published in 2014 as single by the Piedmont label Edisonbox, is definable as a mixture of ethereal downtempo-synthpop melodies hovering that they soar in the mind like a dream, composed by the interaction between keyboard / drum sequencing together with coriaceous rock-guitar insertions and singing pathos, in which its short strophes, in its accents and choral reverberations, they are internalized existential afflictions and the burning desire to share them. "Il Racconto Dell'Uomo Deluso" is the broken hope in the vain attempt to research themselves and their spiritual completion through the infinity of World, in an electro-rock initially rhythmed by essential drum-machine beats with psychedelic guitar armonies, bitterly vocalized by Matteo during the entire lenght of the song and adorned with rarefied, further additions of electric guitar, the same ones that, stratifying them, they rise a sound gradually stronger, boosted by downtempo scans and emphatic synth. The subsequent "Neopagano" propagates increasing waves of dismay and tension, formulated by penetrating electro-rock constructs within which they are imprisoned despair, dissent and skepticism about the cults and deities, in a perpetual, angry, hypnotic flow of guitar electricity, mechanical downtempo rotations of drum-programming, elegant synth harmonies and inflexible vocals in which restlessness they resonate disillusioned tones. "Asian Trip pt.2" is a psychodrama in which morbidity and delirium they generate a song that evokes the unfulfilled, the dissatisfaction, both materialized in this electro-rock slowly rhythmed by drum-machine, adorned in its early moments by piano notes, by echoing electronic consonances and by keyboard iridescences, followed by hallucinated lyrics and lysergic evolutions of electric guitar. Surrealism is opposed to reality: is what it happens in the intricate concept of the conclusive "Nel Temporale", an electro-rock song acoustically deviant, oppressive, played giving a dominant function to the guitar-riff and to vocals, in a sonic context that originates heavy downtempo-uptempo sections of guitar strings and drumming plus screeching synth. The often impetuous register of rock instrumentality is shaped naturally with the litanies uttered by the singer and with the electronic frequencies, creating a music interpretation of great personality that excludes itself from any possible brightness, allowing the discontent, the frustration to produce visionaries, depressed texts and modulations able to open wide spaces of emptiness into the listener. The interplay between the band's members is technically unexceptionable, productive, based on the intention to realize a sound outside the conventions, which explicate a multifunctional action, almost sacrilegious, thematically dedicated to the cancellation of religious hypocrisies, false dogmas, querying the conscience and trying to find at the same time the truths, those fundamental answers which, consciously, you will never find. "Dietro Il Mondo" is an album of excellent caliber, circumscribed to a self-analytical audience, capable to assimilate intrinsic meanings and predisposed in tormented and unconventional metrics: as astonishing it may seem, you must not considered definitive your current opinion on Laik-Oh!. In the future they will know how to overstep it.

back to top

La Pietra Lunare - "La Pietra Lunare" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

lapietraen  Musically active from 1997 to 2005 with a talented darkwave band called Vestfalia's Peace, however remained circumscribed to the 'demo-stage', Gianni Caldararo (lyrics / mixing / artwork) and Duccio Del Matto (musics) they continue their artistic itinerary through a project founded in 2009 in the lands of Molise called La Pietra Lunare, a name taken from the same novel by the writer and poet Tommaso Landolfi. The duo, intentionally, has made a final splitting from the epigonic and typically 80's British-wave sounds played in the past, building a style far from the primary waving reminiscences, that now incorporates selected elements inspired to the old Southern Italy neofolker customs, together with others from both the experimental prog / acid folk and from the most refined French singer-composers. The big merit of Gianni and Duccio is to have given shape to a music genre that doesn't not runs on any the conventional and repetitive trajectories, declaring them as proponents of an unprecedented post-neofolk subgenre defined by the same duo with the adjective 'verista' ('realistic'), a key detail more than ever highlighted in the song texts, which constitute a true tribute to the same Italian literary movement which includes famous writers chosen by La Pietra Lunare as reference: Giovanni Verga, Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, with others, less known and as distant as the first ones from the neofolk culture. The compositions prepared by the two artists in this their self-titled debut album, limited to just 260 copies and completed between the years 2009 / 2013, they could be considerable in the same way of an intensive and meditative exploration conducted within the meanings and memories related to the rural esotericism typical of some suburbs of the Southern Italian territory, in particular the one experienced in Molise during the period between the two Twentieth Century World Wars; the 'neofolk' cataloguing expressed by La Pietra Lunare shuns in almost radical way from the processes of modernization, sophistication and "urbanization" under which it's currently subjected this specific kind of sound. In fact, the aim of the project is exactly to make perceive to the listener the most authentic, mysterious and maybe forgotten cross-country existence, conjugating uncompromisingly the 'folk' verb into a dimension belonging to the ground and to the peasant society, enhancing in the same time its parallel universe in which they still vibrate atavistic superstitions and the talisman's cults by which propitiate the best auspices in the simple everyday life. Of significant importance is the home responsable for the distribution of the release, the German Lichterklang, a Duisburg based label of strong resonance in the martial / dark-ambient / neofolk panorama. The ten tracks on the full-length "La Pietra Lunare", mastered by Diego Banchero - the founder, with Carolina Cecchinato, of the Genoese neogothic / neofolk / darkwave band Egida Aurea and member of the esoteric prog-rock collective named Segno Del Comando, also located in the Ligurian capital - they take advantage, besides by the fundamental collaboration of single artists from famous Italian neofolkish projects, also by the important support of Molise guest-instrumentalists and vocalists gravitating around the duo; the competences, systematically replicated in all tracks on the album, they respectively confirm Gianni Caldararo to the vocals, to the bass guitar and to synth, while to Duccio Del Matto are entrusted guitars - classical / acoustic - and, occasionally, the role of accordionist: in this following analysis of the tracks by Vox Empirea, the reader must therefore consider implicit, fixed and repeated this invariable line-up scheme, to which it will be added progressively the list of additional artists. The tracklist opens with the folkish procedures of "Il Male Dell'Arco", a sonic execution passionately played by the Duccio's incisive guitar arpeggios and by the nostalgically evocative Gianni's chant, in a succession of moods, tones and arcane melodies adorned by the contralto saxophone of Fabio Cerrato, slowly rhythmic percussion, timpans and plates beaten by the drummer Antonio Losenno - band member of the Lucania based neofolk / martial / military-pop band called Lupi Gladius - with the occasional electric guitar by Eugenio Auciello, a musician historically close to the two La Pietra Lunare protagonists, and also author, with Duccio, of the drawing up of songs included in the albums of significant Italian underground bands, as the electro-wavers Hidden Place and the same Lupi Gladius. Particularly emblematic, "Che Fare?" incorporates two looped sections extrapolated with disarming naturalness from the old peasantry life: a brief introductory ditty, rudimentary sung by the shepherd between chiming herd and, farther, a feminine backyard diatribe in dialect, all harmonized with the suggestive chorus of Giulia Maselli, with the crystalline pinches of guitars, with the faint percussiveness generated by Antonio Losenno, the melancholy violin by Matteo Campopiano and with the electric guitar played by Davide Bruzzi - he as well from Egida Aurea and from Z.S.P. aka Zena Soundscape Project, a live experimental-psychedelic electronics quintet in which is also integrated Diego Banchero - . The charming melodic neofolk the following "Pane Nero" it combines with the celebration of ancient memories drawn from the difficult and essential Italian countryside life during the first decades of the past century, sadly sung by the sharp voice of Gianni together with the sweet and intriguing one by the additional-singer Gilda La Ragione, alternating them to the soft chords of acoustic / classical guitars, to the meditative sax blows by Fabio Cerrato, to the Duccio's accordion accompaniments, to the violin / violoncello played by Matteo Campopiano and Maurizio Demichelis, sounds under which we hear the midtempo rhythms cadenced by Antonio Losenno and, over half of the score, the electric guitar junctures by Davide Bruzzi. In the next "Gurù," the beautiful Gianni's and Giulia Maselli's intonations they reveal an highly emotional and aesthetically perfect singing, giving life to the fantastic character half woman and half goat poetically idealized by the writer Tommaso Landolfi, all this thanks to very descriptive, captivating and intelligible lyrics that they amalgamate with a vivacious neofolk musicality, supported by bass-guitar pulsations and by the midtempo drumming fractionated by Antonio Losenno, wrapped by the synth flows, together with delicate plectrum scales and guitar electricity planned by Eugenio Auciello, all awaiting the seraphic interlude during which the sax tenor of Fabio Cerrato and the traverso flute of Enrica La Ragione they fill the arias of sweet yearning. "L'Uva Puttanella" is a bucolic neofolk in which the voice of Gianni extends melancholy, recalling distant memories that speaks of a villager love and of everyday country's stories, while the Duccio's strings and his accordion they weave caressing chords together with the traverso flute embellishments played by Enrica La Ragione and with the attenuated electric guitar backgounds by Eugenio Auciello. "La Casa Dei Vecchi" is a fairy neofolkish poem sung as usual by Gianni, whose elegant accents they intertwine those so lovingly melodious by Giulia Maselli, between the placid arpeggios of guitars, classical / acoustic / electric, flanked from the celtic harp caressed by Alessandro Arturo Cucurnia, vocalist and guitarist from the Ligurian prog-ethnic folk project Antiqua Lunae, who demonstrates again his solid knowledge of the cordophone instrumentality also realizing the impeccable bouzouki allocations of the next "Sangue D'Osterie", joining them together with peaceful euphonies of acoustic guitar, of harpsichord, of the Matteo Campopiano's violin and with the electric guitar of Davide Bruzzi, all exponentially enriched by the sentimental and commemorative singing of Gianni. Pure Italian sonic archeology is the refrain of "Signorinella Mia" which introduces "La Merica", a song conceived through an initial, quiet neofolk segment decorated with the vocal duet between Gianni and the guest-singer Emma Tesone, supported by the plucked chords of guitars, by those aerophones gushing from the traverso flute of Enrica La Ragione and from the violoncello of Maurizio Demichelis, in emphatic contrast with the following, rhythmic, jazzy, vintage contralto saxophone sounds created by Fabio Cerrato and with the keyboard played by Francesco Lupacchino. "Città Nascosta" "expresses the passion of La Pietra Lunare for the French author music, a detail now manifested through the remake of the song "Le Bal Des Laze" originally composed by Michel Polnareff, the eccentric pop-rock chansonnier / producer in vogue until the 80's: the primordial song's features are now modeled around an elegiac newfolk romantically vocalized by the combination between Gianni and Giulia Maselli, whose chant pronounces lyrics taken from the Italo Calvino's novel "La Città Invisibili", in a languid succession of brushed strings, as always, by the expert hands of Duccio Del Matto, simultaneously with the bass puntuactions and with the vanishing electric guitar refractions performed in the background by Eugenio Auciello. "Battesimo Di Un Somaro", the final and entirely instrumental track, is dedicated to the writer, journalist, essayist Francesco Jovine: its sonorities are essentially based on gentle polyphonies of acoustic / classical guitars and on accordion counterpoints, rhythmed by the slight consonances of drum and tambourine marked by Antonio Losenno, in an homogeneous whole of dreamy acoustics from which they propagate harmonies that give the structures a thoughtful climax, so sadly lost in memories. The full release requires an opened, engrossed approach, sensitive to tht minimum particularities, this in function both of the deeply symbolic conceptualism of its lyrics and also for the high standard by which they were built the musics, prerogatives that they make this album not a simple object for listening, but above all a direct contact with places, times, legends, romance and earthly concreteness. The decorous naturalness and the grace of all songs they blend with sorcery, poetry and with the popular celebration of ancestral traditions, which, despite the implacable erosion of times and the drastic changes in rural society, they persist subterraneously in few places almost preserved by unbridled modernism, vehiculated across generations also through the sounds originating by this virtuous project, really able to extrapolate from the endemic cultures, native to their own region, those old popular retrospectives conditioned by shamanism of local farming history, narrating musically all this with such intensity and competence that no one else currently would be able to equaling them. From now on, when you think for an eloquent, praiseworthy alternative newfolk reference, your memory will whisper you one only name: La Pietra Lunare.

back to top

Lupi Gladius - "Lucania / Re-Edition" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

lupsen  Exclusive re-edition of the debut full-length belonging to one of the most emblematic, new Italian collective around neofolk / martial / neoclassical / industrial: Lupi Gladius. A wide biographical description of the band is contained within the past analysis of the album "Veritas", readable in the Vox Empirea's 'reviews' pages of the year 2014. The same German label Castellum Stoufenburc, to which in 2003 was assigned the publication of the first version of the release, is honored to issue it once again, making it preciously unique through a restructuring process of the tracklist and spreading the work in a very limited number of 150 copies. Remarkable is also the attention dedicated to the packaging designed by Cold Sun Arts, made of a special eight-page folding / booklet that contains an A3 poster: as effigy of the project, the album's artwork always portrays the 'Beauty symbolism' of shapes from the Twentieth Century Vanguardism, with their emphatic, martial, virilely statuesque aesthetics which represent iconographically the concepts of Lupi Gladius. The 2003's edition included seven episodes plus two remixes processed respectively by known protagonists from the German neoclassical / martial-industrial scene, the Spreu & Weizen and Waffenruhe, while this new version of 2015, evaluated by Vox Empirea, consists of a title-track substantially identical to that original one, with an appreciable enrichment as regards the 'bonus-remixes', now four instead of the two present in the antecedent publication. Pietro Burzo (vox / percussions / lyrics), Giampiero Di Barbaro (acoustic guitar / electric bass), Quirino B. (electric bass / acoustic guitar), Fabio Vitelli (keys), Antonio Losenno (percussions / acoustic guitar) and the guest Vanni (violin) they are the components mentioned in the line-up, makers of a release firmly imprinted on militaty / neoclassical / neofolk / industrial parade-metrics, sounds audible into the first song of the album, "Massacro", a dark, rigorous march created by martial drumming, fieldrecording and by oppressive keyboard emissions, anticipating the most peaceful and melodic airs of "Guerrieri Impavidi", a neofolk / martial formulated using circular acoustic guitar arpeggios, the which gentleness, dotted of essential synth harmonies and percussive rarefactions, it's obscured by the nostalgically evocative singing of Pietro, written by Francesco Laviola, whose lyrics are harbingers of warlike memories and of imperishable glory. The homonymous track "Lupi Gladius" is a neofolk / martial / neoclassical poem formulated through melancholic vocals full of intrinsic meanings, also penned by the hand of Francesco Laviola, together with basic keyboard chromatisms and guitarristic placidness, a combination of evocative melodies and retro atmospheres within which they reverberate far the howling of the fierce animal that personifies the band. "Echi" is full of passion and sadness, feelings both expressed in a military / neofolk song played in its first segment by caresses of plectrum, keyboard spleen and by vocals sung with intensity, generated again from the mind of Francesco Laviola, messengers of old, nostalgic remembrances lived in Lucania, sounds culminating into a rhythmical orchestration of soldierly drumming, desolate pads, minimal synth harmonies and suave accompaniments of acoustic guitar. "Helden", equally grieved, is a military / neofolk / neoclassical track in which the ornamental elements, composed exclusively by afflicted keyboard extensions and by the slow martial percussiveness, they supporting a disciplined chant pronounced in Germanic language, from which we can perceive the moving desire to relive heroic deeds from long gone times. The first of four bonus remixes is the same one enclosed in the previous album version, or the transfiguration of "Massacro" masterminded by Soldat D. aka the German neoclassical / martial-industrial solo-act Waffenruhe: the song structures contain a conglomerate of military pathos built primarily by inflexible, resonant drumming on which it aligns sumptuously the neoclassical melodism raised by synth and by guitars, all made more dramatic by the vocal sourness perpetually repeated the word 'massacre', and by the desperate sampled screams. Remixed by Strydwolf, the Dutch neofolkish / martial / industrial / neoclassical duo-act, in collaboration with the musician and word-writer Michaela Steber, "Helden" is boosted by elegant subdivisions of acoustic guitar rhythmically punctuated by martial percussions, embellished by crystal touches of bells, keyboard surges and by introspective spoken-words. Argentum, the Argentine neofolk / martial / ambient / experimental band, gives more fluidity and harmonic clarity to the melodies of "Lupi Gladius", pouring in it accents vaguely synthpopish by replacing 'human' drums with the artificiality of the drum-programming, which precise midtempo cadences they beat the refined piano, the luminescent projections of synth, graceful guitar decorations and the melodic singing in Spanish. The project Waffenruhe remixes also the last chapter of the tracklist, "Helden", enhancing its keyboard sharpness but keeping unchanged its initial and epic sonorities, its stern vocal register and the main drumming framework, building the martial rhythms by mechanical subdivisions of drum-programming. To this second trasposition of "Lucania" is entrusted the specific aim to replicate, illustrating it in all its entirety, the level of inspiration and impeccable style of a band in progressive advancement, able to magnify the European tradition neofolk tradition combining it with the rigor of the martial sound, melting the precious distillate at themes and allegories of great retrospective interest. In the album, notes rise superb, sometimes imperious, often wrapped by a decadent romanticism on which they towering pride, craving for rebirth and fearless, identitarian spirit closed to the local origins, all the principles to which it's firmly connected the project's art. A special thanksgiving goes to the home Castellum Stoufenburc, which initiative will allow to a small entourage of devoted to owning a fundamental sound object that will add value and importance to their record collection. Draw you without delay to the music of Lupi Gladius, understanding its nobility and authenticity of intentions: the first listenings will be for assess the effective contents. The next thousand ones will be for indispensable, peremptory necessity.

* M *

back to top

Mind.Area - "Glowing Grey" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

mindaen  Mind.Area is a dark-electro / futurepop / IDM / EBM / solo-act founded in 2004 by the polyhedral German musician Maikko, who, together with Gordon Black and David Méndez, forms the line-up of the EBM / industrial / electro project Human Decay, into which he's keyboard player and visual-maker. Maikko in partnership with FleshWire, is also the protagonist of the cyberpop-punk / EBM / IDM platform called A.I. Zero, which full biography is available in the review of the album "Reality Design" published in these 2015's webpages. The discographic productivity of Mind.Area initially lists the six-tracks digital-EP "Thenceforward," a release self-produced in 2009 mainly devoted to EBM / IDM / electronics sounds, succeeded in the year 2010 by a second Extended Play containing six EBM / electronic remixed episodes: "Stagnation // Death", licensed by the German label Ionium Records, in which tracklist they appear excellent remake versions by the German electro-projects Reizstrom, EGOamp, LPF 12 and by the greek MikTek. Always the year 2010, it was published, again through Ionium Records, the debut-album "Long-Distance Side Trip", among which thirteen electronic / EBM / IDM songs they deserve visibility the bonus-remixes created by the East-European electronic-acts Blame and Disharmony, plus one by Human Decay. Later, in 2011, it was fired "Means To An End", another six-songs EP EBM / IDM / electro / industrial oriented, published by the labels Ionium Records / X-Line / Aphotic Audio: in its tracklist they towering the remixes planned by the Australians Empty, by Reizstrom and by LPF12. "Disorder" is an EP released in 2012 by Ionium Records, in which six EBM / electro tracks they are present the remixes by the Belarusians Fabious Corpus Act, by the Americans Drowning Susan and by the Germans Elbkrieger, while the subsequent "Maze", a limited edition full-length published in 2012 again by Ionium Records, includes fifteen chapters in which they stand out the vocal-instrumental participations by the projects EGOamp, Empty, Reizstrom, Blame, Drowning Susan and LPF12. By the agreement signed with the prestigious Russian label ScentAir, Mind.Area published two great products: the digital EP-release of 2014 "Die Lektion", consisting of seven electronic / IDM tracks, comprising also the remixes by the Germans MRDTC and by the Russians Fate Creator, Last Phase and Radiomun, followed in 2015 by this third album "Glowing Grey", here and now analyzed by Vox Empirea. Meikko, as Mind.Area, in addition to a large number of important artistic collaborations, he has remixed tracks belonging to higher exponents of the alternative technological music scene, among which they are mentioned for their value the formidable German electro-composers MC1R, aka Nick Jonath and Delivered and Soul, or also the Romans Halo Effect and the Russian Necro Stellar. The Mind.Area's portfolio reports many presences in various compilations, among which they stand out for their resonance "DarkFlower Night Live Vol. 4", "Synthematika Three" and "Radio Schwarze Welle". The new full-length Glowing Grey ", published by ScentAir Records in limited edition and printed in 'golden plated' format, consists in eleven tracks mastered at Maikko13labs and Studio8 by the German producer Kolya Koltron: the sonorities discoverable into the full songs-list combine evocative sci-fi atmospheres, sophisticated industrial / electronics elements, intelligent futuristic synthpopish harmonies, episodic EBM structures and IDM experimentations, in a complex whole of tense, raucous, vocals, witnesses of alienation and anger, bitterly pronounced through futuristically artificial melodies and obscure technicalities, from which they rise elegantly feelings of restlessness, fantastic soundscapes and high doses of danceability, all thought and executed by the interaction, equally subdivided, between the human sensitiveness and the coldness of machines. "Just One Day", the first act of the album, is built in synergy between Meikko with the cryptic guest-vocalist FleshWire to whom are dedicated the notes of acknowledgements and inspiration cited in the credits: this track is an electro / futurepop mechanically scanned by midtempo fragmentation of drum-programming, around which the rough singer's voice, shadowed by synthetic alchemies, spread a dark, mysterious charm, further on solemnized by austere keyboard flows. "Cabdriver" transports the imagination into an extraordinarily immersive and avant-garde dimensions, through a danceable electro / EBM / futurepop in which essence they aggregate linear midtempo drum-programming and icy synth melodies, all scratched by the acrimonious voices of Maikko and of the guest-singer CHR. "Life Is A Bitch" alters the spatiality re-drawning it within the listener's mind through electro / futurepop trajectories, all by a shaggy chant, rationally dissected, placed inside technologically advanced harmonies, cosmic-effects and metronomic downtempo bpm's. The following electro / futurepop procedures of "Renegade" speed up the rhythm by systematic midtempo counterpoints, fixing them perfectly on the thin suspensions of keyboard and on the rippling chant, while the following "Lies" amplifies the 'sound fiction' portraying it into an ingenious electro / EBM / futurepop scheme for dancefloors, animated by robotic midtempo markings of drum-programming, vocalized with hardness by the harmonious duet Maikko / CHR and crossed by glacial keyboard extensions. In the following "Should Have Known", the enthralling high-tech climax generated by the downtempo drum-sequencing symmetries and by the ecstatic currents of synth, is counterbalanced by the warmth and the sentimentality that wraps up uniformly the voice and lyrics sung by the guest-singer Michael Stalzer aka Mecha, vox of the German EBM / synthpop project Reizstrom and owner of the dark-electro solo-act named Menschliche Energie: the track, corresponding to a futurepop / electropop full of elegance and romance, sways fluidly as a dream on clear vocal melodies and atmospheric radiation of synth. "Die Lektion" proposes the characteristic ultra-modernist Mind.Area's electro / futurepop, through cold euphonies of keyboard, calculated midtempo replications of drum-programming and through acid, grainy vocals, as well as the subsequent "Perceptions (We Are ...)", an intirely instrumental song, is immersed in a futuristic intensely emotional universe, where the unreality turns into melancholy reflections of piano surrounded by the enchanting luminescences of pads and by the intermittent IDM drumming, all adorned by the seraphic chorus of the guest-vocalist Aynth, protagonist of the homonymous German dark-electronic project. In the next "Never Fade", an intriguing and charming futurepop, the artificial hegemony of downtempo percussiveness and the bitterness of singing they harmoniously blend with the relaxing fluctuations which gracing the CHR's refrain, while in the electro / futurepop textures of "No Regrets", the guttural voice of Maikko enounces wickedly atone, impassive, corrosive strophes, framed within a midtempo percussive diagram which pulses with absolute precision between impure sequenced puntuactions and gloomy synth. "Neubeginn 2K15" complete the tracklist clouding its electro / futurepop / industrial constructs by hyper-saturated transmissions of synth, by subsonic midtempo rhythms and coldly humanoid vocals. This full-lenght boasts technological figurations from a superior culture, by which we can decrypt an indefinable, penetrating surrealism, as well as the refinement of electronic processes dynamically stimulates the psychic involvement, establishing an almost scientific relationship with the sounds designed by Maikko. The roughness of vocals, partially screened by filterings, the gelidity of percussive automatism, the rigorous sequencing with the persistent states of restlessness and dissatisfaction of the instrumental melodies and lyrics, they attract the musically evolved listener, who will address his most truthful complacency towards a release so innovative and emblematic in its genre. The new Mind.Area's creation expresses, as well as an abstract and progressed vision of the electronic sonicity, the intent to perpetuate in the collective memory the magnificence of 'numerical symphonies', the same ones that make "Glowing Grey" a very exclusive album , like a moment of supreme perfection.

* N *

back to top

Novastorm - "Bad Taste" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

novasen  Novastorm is identifiable in the two musicians Arne 'Tandrin' Gutowski (instruments / lyrics) and Disdain (lyrics) : geographically located in Darmstadt, Germany, the platform was conceived in 2006 as a side-project of the dark-electro / darkwave / / EBM / industrial ensemble Mechanical Moth, of which Tandrin is member and founder. Mentioning the artistic credits of the two protagonists, they are also the interpreters of the EBM / industrial experimental act called New Electronic Order - abbreviated with the effigy NEO - while the same Tandrin was the precursor of Spirit Of D. , an ephemeral goth-rock band never concretely materialized. Stylistically oriented towards a danceable electro-industrial / techno-electronics / IDM sound, Novastorm have debuted discographically in 2008 with the fourteen tracks on the album "Bitch To The Bone", published by the German label Sonic-X based in Leipzig, returning in 2014 on the electro-alternative scene, after a prolonged pause dedicated with great results at live-sessions, with this grandiose, second full-length "Bad Taste" now treated by Vox Empirea, also containing fourteen episodes and reissued for Sonic-X. The goal of the new release, announced in the same year 2014 by the single "Unter Deiner Haut", is to present a more technologically advanced music, able to offer both fans and d.j.'s electronic solutions of high quality originated through further refinements / manipulations of rhythmic sections, hyper-saturated and distorted, in conjunction with even more decisive, enthralling 'clubby-minded' expedients inside which Novastorm inject all the peculiarities that distinguish the meanings of their sound, or huge quantities of eroticism, of aggression and psychic deviations. Studied expressly for stimulate and materialize uncontrollable dances, the songs of the tracklist externalize a rational, dynamic design, in which the chant, spoken coldly in German language in the form of skinny loops or atonal and minimal phrasing, it connect with fast electro constructs often largely instrumental, performed with percussive vigor by hermetic, pulsing sequencers and by functional synth emissions. "Fleisch, Fett Und Knochen" is the opening track, a dark-electro / techno of high potential for dancefloors, fully paved by symmetrical uptempo drum-programming propulsions, by hammering sub-bass and by metronomic synthetic particles, among which the aseptic words spur the sound in a frantic race. "Dreckschlampe" incorporates dark-electro / industrial elements expressed through the harsh, menacing filtering process on which they are subjected the vocals, together with an impetuous instrumental planning made through impure uptempo replications of drum-programming flanked by abrasive riffs of electric guitar and by acid synths. The percussive scheme of the following "Schwanengesang" incites obsessively to techno-dances, pushing fast, homogeneous uptempo cadences in a dark-electro context in which they alternating intensive sequenced hatches, cycles of vocal-loops and effervescent keyboard replications. Very well played, the amazing "Unter Deiner Haut" is a danceable dark-electro / futurepop within which the drum-machine and programming have the specific function of 'emitting bodies': their scanned uptempo transmissions generated by circuits support dark-harsh vocals and the harmonies mathematical calculated by keyboard, as well as in the subsequent "Psychopath" the drum-programming outlines uptempo rhythmics composed of 'dirty-beats' and turbo-bass, on which slender trajectories they fit together perfectly cold voice segments and toxic synths, all in a dark-electro / techno song that will cause ecstasy among electro-clubbers. Maneuvers of sonic obscuration and of strong predisposition to dance are also highlighted in the subsequent "Geigerzähler", propelled incessantly by bristly uptempo bpm's desfigured by caustic vocal alterations, adorned themselves by loops, by the artificial fragmentation arising from the equipments and by sour keyboards. In "Headshots" the dark-technological sound is further contaminated by mini-electronic frequencies, while looped childish chants create hilar atmospheres, as well as rabid compartments of electric guitar rhythmically scratch the midtempo drum-programming. The dark-electro morphology of "Ikarus" is made exciting and danceable through mechanical midtempo scores on which the vocalist coolly pours his urticant, inhuman, monophonic chant, incorporating it to the coordinated percussive system and to the metallic synth noises. The dark-electro / techno-industrial surface of the next "Hazard" is hardened by fractionated roars of the electric guitar, whose riff mark the uptempo drum-programming linearity swirling on disturbing whispers, while the following "Abschaum" proves to be a safe, excellent dark-electro floorfiller that every alternative d.j. must necessarily include in its playlist: the burning sound originated from this track is a fluttuation of periodical and emphatic backing-vox incitements alternated with an obscure singing, all geometrically divided by uptempo beats and harmonized with the essential melodies of keyboard. In "Aschepisser" they predominate very danceable and hyper-technological sonorities, created by inorganic-robotic vocals coming from some dark Galaxy, by electronic blurs of synths, by a pressing midtempo drumming and by icy sequenced decorations. The percussiveness of "Overlord" is a series of pneumatic uptempo bpm's clawed by sharp extensions of electric guitar and by dark-electro / industrial flows, in which the keyboard and vocals are reduced to elementary punctuations. "Strafe Muss Sein" radiates hypnotic vocal-looped synchronies and uptempo drumming, combined with electric guitar shocks and with a compact diagram of programming, in an electronic / industrial track equipped with a magnetic charisma. The final phase of the release is "Killer", darkly electronics, intriguing, rhythmed by powerful uptempo drum-programming that give the music a contagious vitality, in which they amalgamate systematic keyboard convolutions and alien-vocals. Totally focused on the more resolute danceability, all tracks of this album enmesh the listener, giving back him the musical equivalent of energy, through singing roughness, swarms of obscure electronic propagations and euphoriant percussiveness, or the basis on which is founded the sound created by Novastorm. Tandrin and Disdain program the machines, they synthesize modulations, they experience skillfully every possible strategy, transforming millions of bytes in spectacular compositions that they interface with the most current principles of sonic technology, demonstrating once again a solid cohesion and a tangible, laudable incisiveness in compose a full-length as memorable as "Bad Taste". Once triggered, the passion for Novastorm become an irreversible phenomenon: electro-followers and techno-dancers, you must found this album, wherever you are!

* P *

back to top

Public Domain Resource - "Six Years" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

pubdoren  Through the second album titled "Six Years", the Bergamo Public Domain Resource have made a subsequent, fundamental progress in stylistic advancing and, then, in the definitive consolidation of their fame. The project was distinguished already during 2013 - the year in which it officially originated the discographic career of this talented power duo - as one of the most innovative and promising realities extrapolated from the big Italian-electronic alternative scene of that epoch, proposing the excellent "Dead Surface", their debut-album promoted by the Neapolitan company Space Race Records - the label co-associated to EK Product - in which review, published on the Vox Empirea's webpages of the same in 2013, it's available a detailed description regarding the artistic evolution of the two protagonists. Ugo Crescini (vox) and Pietro Oliveri (vox / synths / programming) reconfirmed themselves again in this 2015 as skilled manipulators of synthetic sound, manifesting, in addition with a concrete technical preparation and an inspiration beyond the limits of formal musicality, an important, meaningful wordwriting, with texts full of messages on which to meditate: they tell of dramatic episodes experienced in the horror of the Great Conflict occurred between 1939 and 1945, to which its seventy million victims and to their suffering is entirely devoted the album. The Second World War is then the stage in which Public Domain Resource have set the new full-length: fourteen songs, fourteen different stories, having as direct interpreters soldiers and civilians, allies and antagonists, all factions without exception involved in the crazy game of battle and, aware or not of this, joined all together by an unbreakable bond, a common aspect translatable in only authentic element that unifies this impressive number of fallen, the 'Death', the same one that obliges necessarily us, their subsequent offspring, as at the maximum respect to each of those names, men and women, old people and children, innocents and guilty, known or unknown, all this independently from their individual roles undertaken in the tragic War context, from their respective nationalities, from their ideological apperances and from the mere opinions of 'right or wrong'. The release, published in digipak again by Space Race Records, features both its production and its mastering at the Retrogramme Studios by Rob Early, front-man / synthesist / programmer, with Nikk Allen and Dmitry Pavlovsky, of the electro / synthpop / darkwave / IDM Washington DC based band called Retrogramme. The sounds applied in all tracks of "Six Years" incorporate multiple electronic orientations, whose main matrix replicates invariably a rational-melodic synthpop with danceable EBM scores for dancefloors, built systematically using large contributions of drum-machines, sequencing and futuristic vocals, entering at the same time 'modern electro' syntactics and, occasionally, IDM details, while the singing phases, transfigured by vocoder, they spread alienating modulations, often exhibited with morbidity and coldness, perfectly adapted to the dark tension that characterizes the lyrics. "White Cloud", first song, reports the sudden Hamburg bombing made by allied air forces, during which more than fifty thousand people perished, all this observed by the terrified eyes of a father who fatally led his son to the park in the same time of raid: the electro / synthpopish strategies that support the text are created through regular midtempo drum-programming scans, through hypnotic, liquid sequencers, keyboard sourness and through a concatenation of vocals hoarsely processed. Pulse sonar noise announce the following "Das Boot", or the tragic story of a German submariner who's sinking below in the sea abyss: the musics are electro / EBM consonances in which the chant is robotically propagated among danceable midtempo drum-programming rhythms, corrosive black & white keyboard waves and synthetic manipulations. The orchestral classicism enjoyable in the first segment of "Cold Lightning" is interrupted by a sinister explosion: this is the track's screenplay, combined with electro / EBM developments, composed by opaque, evocative synth harmonies, together with essential midtempo drum-programming bpm's and tormented vocals, which verses describe exhaustively the trauma generated within a London citizen who went to the theater at the same moments immediately following the unexpected, devastating explosion by a V2 bomb dropped on his city. "Sad, So Sad - Tibbets' War" is the introspective, contradictory self-analysis lived abstractly by Paul Tibbets, pilot and colonel of the famous American bomber Enola Gay, all initially in the attempt to legitimize, persuading himself, the validity of his intents, the impregnable positivity of the highest order received, the "right cause" and the military reasons for which he precipitated the Hiroshima's atomic super-bomb, all beliefs, however ephemeral, changed over time in bitter doubt, in repentance, in inner dilemma, in an enormous moral accusation for which he ask indirectly and symbolically the pardon to his own son: the electro / synthpop sound planned by the duo-act in this song is mechanically supported by circular midtempo drum-programming propulsions and by synth glares, which linear melodies, functionally distributed into the scheme, they embellish the desolate atmospheres of singing. Organically more energetic, the next "Kill Rolf, Kill!!" evokes the existential thoughts, the fears, the denied youth of a fourteen boy enlisted as soldier in the Hitlerjugend: the dark-electro / EBM formula of the track assembles keyboard intensity, filtered vocal with tones at the limit of despair and midtempo percussiveness, as well as the next "Laconia" shows the last life moments of one of the eighteen hundred Italian POWs boarded on the homonymous English armed-merchant RMS Laconia, torpedoed and sunk in 1942 near the African Coasts by a German U-156 submarine; in the disaster they died many crew members, but especially many of inmates incarcerated into the ship's hold, to whom it was forcibly private the access to salvation by English soldiers, an event that, for its unique, dynamic and frightening gravity, it deserves an appropriate commemoration, as this shadowy electro / synthpop song in which the voice compartments, substantially less altered by vocoder, they transmit a squared and tonally elegant chant, conjunct to the glacial frequencies of synth and to the disciplined midtempo beats of drumming. "Warm Frost" exposes the unspoken secret of an American soldier who, returned home after the War, he will never reveal to his mother - she later died and unaware of what his son has committed - all the unspeakable cruelty inflicted on enemies, the tortures perpetrated with rancor against his opponents, all only in the name of the alleged sacredness of the motivations for which he fought: the rhythmical-vocal planning of this electro / synthpop execution it differs from the previous rectilinear songs, being it now minimally composed by dashed, aqueous sequenced fluctuations and by circular drum-programming fragmentations, in a continuous, uninterrupted flow of vocals electronically modified. Proceeding in the tracklist, you can hear the melancholic arias of "The Sergeant And The Snow", a track inspired by two great literary autobiographies, the same "Il Sergente Nella Neve" written in 1953 by Mario Rigoni Stern and "Centomila Gavette Di Ghiaccio", written between 1945 and 1946 by Giulio Badeschi: the electro / synthpop sonorities arranged in the track are cloaked by atmospheric keyboard's touches, fractionated by cold rhythmic midtempo automatism and by a tonally embittered chant, in which they are perceptible the frustrations, the deprivation, the daily immobility and the immense difficulties of the Italian military prisoners of the German troops during the Retreat Of Russia. "Our Widows" is the terrible oath of revenge said by a died Russian soldier against one German, an anathema filled with unspeakable resentment, dictated from the afterlife with ruthlessness, by which the soul of the Russian deceased promises the death to the enemy for having killed his wife: the lyrics speak of relentless retaliatory, impersonating the grudge felt by the damned entity through resolutely harsh vocals, intercalated with danceable electro / EBM procedures in which the hard midtempo drum-programming it amalgamates with acid and grainy partitions of synth. The lyrics of the next "My Control" they illustrate in turn the farewell hymn dedicated to a woman by an American soldier, all just before the battle of Iwo Jima, the Japanese Pacific island where he died under the fire of the Japanese Imperial Army: vigorous uptempo drum-beats, pulsing bass-lines, staid vocal incitements and functional vaporizations of synth are the architectures of this electro / EBM song, the which extension titled "The Rift", focused on the same sound style, it incorporates symmetrical uptempo units, roughly androids vocals and keyboard luminescences. "Irish Soldier" declaims instead the military sense of sacrifice, the soul searching for the necessary courage and for the unwavering faith in a "right War" of an Irish recruits from the British Armed Forces before fighting against the Italian enemy: the sonic constructions of the track are electro / synthpop counterpoints based on metronomic midtempo drum-programming replications, a depressed chant with spoken-words interludes and corrosive keyboard segments. "The Breath - Kyoshi's Return To Hiroshima" sums through short but symptomatic strophes, the impressions of surprise and confusion experienced by a Japanese soldier finding, at his return home at the end of the War, the absolute, terrible destruction on his city caused by "Little Boy", the atomic Mk.1 bomb: the electro / EBM geometries of this track take place during the intro by a robotic vocal filament dictated in Japanese language, followed by algid, descriptive, monolithic forms of singing, from which they leak out vague afflicted accents, all supported by regular midtempo fragmentations and by atmospheric synth profusions. The last chapter of the tracklist, "Bombs Instead Of Songs", speaks simultaneously about the warlike thoughts, the dogmas of glory and victory and about the handsome images of Mrs. Hayworth, projected in the imagination of an American pilot while he's flying his plane to the city to be bombed, Tokyo: this electro / synthpop / EBM song is innervated by danceable, dynamic midtempo rotations of drum-programming, by electronically altered voice and by abrasive punctuations of synth. Concept album of great resonance, it's not an attempt of revisionism, but an effective, perpetual warning to the masses. The consistency of lyrics, for their "inconvenient transversality" and their determined opposition both towards the themes analyzed and the ordinary, conventional, questionable interpretation of 'War History' passed down the generations until today, it requires a conscious listening that transcends from the unilateral concept of musicality and electro-trends, concentrating intensely the attention on texts and, in particular, on the significance of each single event there mentioned, all in memory of a deceived, blinded, hostile, afraid Humanity, thrown against its will into a nightmare and into the fight, an Humanity deeply, hopelessly divided in his own ideals, and yet, paradoxically joined in one, real epilogue. The instrumental harmonization provided by Public Domain Resource in supporting to connotations of such exceptional clamor and social actuality, is an hyper-technological design uniformly encoded by balanced, linear, scientific melodies, devoid of emotional manifestations or 'easy' sound metrics, with obsessive vocals, never taken to extremes and artificially transformed by circuits, until obtaining a mixture of metallic-toned narrations. "Six Years" is an album structurally progressed, fertile in contents, determined in intents: it's at the same time form, intelligence and matter of the new Italian electronic front. You must have it. Categorically.

* R *

back to top

Rukkanor - "Desireth ( United We Stand )" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

rukkaen  The Polish Robert Marciniak is mentioned with Marcin Bachtiak as one of the founders of the estimated indie dark-ambient / neofolk / industrial label War Office Propaganda, officially born in 2003 and later renamed in 2007 in the today's brand called Rage In Eden; this musician represents since 2004 the solo-act Rukkanor, whose polymorph sound style joins martial / industrial / military / orchestral-bombast / neoclassical / dark-ambient elements. It was precisely by the aforementioned War Office Propaganda that Rukkanor fired at first with Cold Fusion - aka the solo-act specialized in the genres industrial / neoclassical / martial consisting of Marcin Bachtiak - the split-single "Wunderwaffe", followed by the first five albums of his career, making the debut in 2004 by the eleven industrial / ambient tracks of the full-length "Requiem For K-141 KYPCK", succedeed in 2005 by the nine industrial / ambient episodes content into "Deora", continuing then in the subsequent year with the limited-edition modern-classical / industrial / ambient split "Triumvire", shared together with Reinhard Hopfe, aka the Bavarian dark-ambient / martial solo-project Stahlwerk 9, and with Cold Fusion. In 2007 War Office Propaganda released the six tracks modern-classical / industrial / ambient EP "Ende" and then the refined album "Despartica - Face One", in which Rukkanor introduced thoughts and lyrics belonging to Nineteenth Century English famous poets and dramatists, this time directing the musical creations in the direction of electronic-industrial rock. "Wunderwaffe + New Apocalypse" is the title of the double split in very-limited edition containing a total of fifteen modern / classical / ambient / industrial songs, simultaneously distributed by the labels Rage in Eden and War Office Propaganda: this album, enumerating in total fifteen songs, it was created by Rukkanor and Cold Fusion in 2008 for commemorate the fifth anniversary of the founding of their initial home record. In the same year were published by Rage In Eden two other full-length: the first of them, "Despartica - Face Two" of eleven songs, replied conceptually the romantic, dramatic contents of the previous chapter, combining new-wave / electro / synthpop modulations with word-writings extracted from operas dating back to English / American Nineteenth Century poets. The second one, "Silk Road", is a split-release played again by Rukkanor in collaboration with Cold Fusion, in which nine tracks licensed from Rage In Eden we hear eclectic electro-folk / world & country / industrial /ambient sounds. Also by Rage In Eden they were licensed in 2009 the nine industrial / ambient / martial / neoclassical acts of the very-limited album "Almethode". The discographic agreement signed by Rukkanor with the prestigious German label SkullLine allowed in 2012 the spread of the album "Deccarah", whose eleven brass-military / neoclassical / neofolk tracks are widely described by Vox Empirea in the review available in the year of reference. "Desireth (United We Stand)", the new full-length of 2015, is published by SkullLine in two separate CD versions: the first, regular one, now object of this review, is numered in three hundred copies and it's composed of ten tracks. The second one comes in very limited-edition box-set of two volumes, whose bunus CD-r of seven songs is entitled "Desireth (Divided We Fall)". This album, the best and the most seductive that Rukkanor ever conceived, is marked by a climax full of disciplined, combative evocations, in which rigid percussiveness and keyboard orchestrations, devoid of excessive glitz, they strict supporting with militaristic, indomitable fierceness the neoclassical / industrial / dark-ambient structures. The overture entitled "The Awakening Of The King" is the beginning of the tracklist: dark, chivalrous parade atmospheres are introduced by a basic keyboard chord, followed by a march in soldierly step, slowly rhythmed by the powerful drumming over which they gravitate a grandiloquent chorality and synthetic murky vocalizations in the background, united with keyboard symphonies filled with glumness and pathos. The eponymous "Desireth" is pure martial aestheticism, a composition in which the dark majesty of keyboard sections wrap lugubrious vocal hymns and the austere midtempo pattern of drumming, from which they spread militarily and with obsessive slowness rolled-staccato's beats. "Down The Drain" fascinates, mesmerizes, dragging our imagination towards a post-Medieval dimension, all by its martial portamento and the splendor of its solid midtempo rhythmic implant, on which they revolves an ashen chorus, steeped of religiosity and of leaden keyboard euphonies. ""Crown For The Prince" flaunts a temperament of steel, solemnly martial, expressed by inflexible percussive midtempo scans and by warrior vocal liturgies, anticipating the subsequent "Welcome Home", a track decorated by linear, heavy downtempo drum-programming and by an alternation of sumptuous keyboard constructions, battle psalms and by Arabian-oriented details. In the militaristic slowness of "Black Dream Brother Of Death" they live simultaneously an intense melancholy, burning memories of mythical wars, honor and statuesque beauty, all by the perfect sinergy among snare-drumming segments, nostalgic keyboard chords and the sombre magnificence of choirs. Neoclassical orchestrality plus martial, resolute, authoritarian sounds, are the foundations of the following "The Light Of The Future", a track built by a strong, iper-sounding downtempo flooring, pinches of strings and by an oppressive, sophisticated melodic circularity that flows from keyboard. The inflexible, midtempo, alabastrine drum martiality that punctuates "The Final Trace" gives force and grandeur to the Gregorian chorus, increasing further the sense of rigor while it intersects the magnificence of keyboards, as well as in the following "The Future Is Behind Us" the martial constructs are depicted by a bombastic harmonic complex of choral voices, by downtempo percussions and by orchestral keyboards, which whole propagates an aura of omnipotence and pugnacious menace. The closing song is "A Farewell (No Happy Ending)", a martial cavalcade that smells of History, valor and legend, in which the indissoluble interlacement among the marmoreal keyboard harmonies, the obscure, manly chorus and the thunderous midtempo snare, charge this composition of vigor and impetus. Musicality like soundtracks, perfectly adaptable to filmographies of ancient or modern wars, especially for scenes where you have to highlight acts of noble heroism, but also to imagine armies deployed before the battle, or for the exaltation of glory and triumph. Rukkanor invents martial / industrial enormously suggestive horizons , focusing maximally him on the commemorative aspects of the executions and on their recall to drama, all principles by which the artist forges this music so luxury, capturing, variegated and cultured. "Desireth (United We Stand)" is the release that more than any other from the protagonist's repertoire has interpreted in every form of the substance of the military sound, concatenating ten paragraphs of sublime class, permeated of epicness, of charm and of an indefinable transcendence. Find this beautiful album as soon as you can, today or in the next future. It is indispensable to know that it exists, but it is even more achieve it, listen to it, remember it forever. Extraordinarily, uniquely, grandiosely Rukkanor.

* T *

back to top

The New Division - "Gemini" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

thenewen  The most updated line-up of the waver project named The New Division, originally founded in 2005 in Los Angeles and musically productive since 2006, today deploys the following components: the charismatic leader and inventor of the band John Glenn Kunkel (vox / guitars), together with Michael Janz (synths), Alex Gonzales (drums), Daniel Corrales (bass / synth) and Bidi Grijalva (guitar) to which are also added the contributions given by external musicians such as the bassist Charles M. LaBarbara, the guitarist Brock Woolsey and Israel Medina, him, together with Alex Gonzales, are assistants to the drum-programming. This American collective generates a sound mainly inspired by the 80's new wave, skillfully combined with a lot of capturing synthpopish / electro expressions belonging to legendary old-school exponents like New Order and Depeche Mode; always very active in live stage, The New Division were able to give to their music and to their name a slow but progressive prominence in the independent music scene, until the obtainment of a growing number of positive feedback both from fans and from the opinion-makers operating in the specialized press. The band's discography of was initially characterized by a large number of experimental digital EP / singles self-produced through an own label created by the front-man called Division 87, previously the finalization of a real album: listing then chronologically the band's releases, we mention the first five darkwave tracks included homonymous Extended Play "The New Division" published in 2009, followed in 2010 by two singles: "Art Kraft", calibrated on downtempo / electronic modulations, and "Starfield", still tending towards a darkwave cliché particularly rooted in the John Glenn's compositional style. Further on, we continue with other two self-produced digital singles dated 2011 and included among the fourteen tracks of the debut album "Shadow", also published in the same year: "Opium", or four tracks enriched with innovative new wave / eletro / house solutions, succeeded by the five episodies contained in "True Lies //// Saturday Night", designed around downtempo / synthpop / darkwave metrics. Again in 2011 they were licensed the six new wave / electro songs of the digital-EP "The Rookie", plus the electronic / downtempo promo-single titled "Walk In The Dark". In 2012 they were published the four new wave / electro / house tracks of "Night Escape", one of which built in collaboration with the Greek electronic / downtempo duo Keep Shelly In Athens. "Together We Shine" is instead the title of The New Division's second album issued in 2014, complete of eleven excellent darkwave / synthpop songs, simultaneously released by the labels Division 87 and the Sweden Progress Productions. The following three new wave / pop / electro / house digital-singles self-produced in 2015, each of which containing three tracks, are all incorporated into the titletrack of the third full-length "Gemini" now reviewed by Vox Empirea: they are in order: "Introspective", "Eyes" and "Copycat". The sound elements that distinguish the new album, published in this last part of 2015, in addition to denote an increased executive capacity, fully summarize the different sonic guidelines and the transformations that The New Division have applied over the years to the traditional new wave matrix: they resulting danceable easy-listening creations in which they are markedly perceptible pop inclinations and overshadowed vocal tones, in balance with dynamic, radiant synthpop structures, harmonious electronic details and, in some tracks, certain house intuitions. "Gemini" is an album produced in cooperation with FJ DeSanto, member, together with Brandt Gassman, of the New York based electro-rock duo called Hypefactor. This specific European version of the CD, published by Progress Productions, enumerates seventeen songs, four of which are unpublished, differently from the thirteen ones regularly contained into the American edition distributed by Division 87. The first chapter of the tracklist is the short, instrumental and atmospheric "ii.", or a prolonged synth-pad in which they resound cosmic noises and distant phrasing, all this anticipating the danceable new wave / synthpop structures of the next "Killer", built exalting the melodic vocal fullness of John Glenn, well articulated between the dry midtempo scans of drum-programming and the brilliance of keyboards. Fast bass scales, flows of synth, geometric accompaniments of electric-guitar and resolute midtempo drum-beats, are the bases of the following "Gemini", a song in which core they move the late-80's wave fundamentals of New Order that convert the catchy musicality of this track into an immediate, stable feeling with the listener. "Senseless" inevitably attracts by its new wave / synthpop sound reinforced by opened, wonderfully surrounding and visionary harmonies, played by very well intoned vocalizations through, kaleidoscopic keyboard verticalizations and by curt midtempo drumming fractionation, symmetrically running on the sequenced lines and on the electric guitar punctuations. "Iris" is at once enchanting beauty and sublime pleasure, an electro-wave / synthpop song of wide space, created by ordered, slow drum-programming trajectories, around which they gravitate the charming chant extensions of John Glenn, which reverberations form a single, indissoluble body with the vibrating oscillations of sequencing, with the fascinatingly New Order-oriented guitar counterpoints and with the terse decorations of keyboard. The approach among new wave sounds, synthpop formulas and house arrangements create the nucleus of "Introspective", a track in which the melancholic vocal elegance, the lithe intermittences reproduced both by midtempo drum-programming and the drummer, the softly arpeggiated guitar background and the romantic keyboard emissions, they completely conquer the listener and his senses. The interlude represented by "i." seems to take place quickly into an unlit sonic tunnel, from whose walls they shine mysterious fluorescences coming from the mono-dimensional pad and from the hatches of sequencer. In the next "Alive" the vocal aestheticism of singer beautifully interacts with new wave / electro-rock / synthpop consonances, emphasizing an indefinable but pervasive aura of sadness, darkness and tormented passion, all connected with a midtempo drumming synchronized with blooms of electric guitars and with soft profusion of keyboards. The relaxing "Golden Winter Child" is a synthpop / wave / house track full of sentiment and sophisticated partitures, a continuous irradiation of graceful melodism externalized by superb vocals, by metronomic midtempo drum-programming, refined piano arrangements and by keyboard iridescences. The synthpoposh / waver lightness of "Copycat" makes this track very enjoyable, supported by a clean chant from which they emerge nostalgic inflections, while heat keyboards and rhythmical subdivisions of electric guitar placidly encircle the midtempo fixity of drum-programming. The amazing "Eyes" greatly increases the waver identity of musics, highlighting them within the seductive hegemony of John Glenn's euphonies, alternated at midtempo percussive scheme that irresistibly stimulates the dance, further corroborated by pulsing bass-lines, by very 80's electric-guitars complements and by compelling supports of keyboard. And is still the sweet chant of John Glenn that awakens emotions, filling the sounds of a penetrating suggestiveness that languidly propagates inside "Murder Shock", a song erected on ecstatic pop-wave / synthpop melodies embellished by enveloping keys, by midtempo cadences of drum-programming and by bass / electric guitar allocations. The sequenced mechanism with the midtempo percussiveness they rhythmically animate "Bloom" and its fairy vocal / synth / guitar expansions, all in a new wave / synthpop track adorned with seductive harmony, whose exclusively keyboard final, started after a long pause of silence, transporting the imagination in a timeless dimension. The succession of the next four exclusive bonus-tracks lists initially in order the remix of "Sensless", elaborated by the electro / new wave / post-punk duo-act from the Tennessee called Future Unlimited, whose reconstruction increase exponentially the danceability, the definition and the electronic dosage of sounds. All continues with a second remix, that one relating to "Introspective", rebuilt by The Dossier, an electropop duo from New York: the house-oriented nuances, already heard in the original track, now get a more evident and very clubby role, amalgamating them with the pop-waving / synthpop context, in a danceable triumph of class and distinction. "Romantic" is inclined instead toward pop-wave maneuvers overflowing with sentimentalism, sinuously moving through midtempo drum-beats and vocal clearness, in an evocative whole of keyboard melodies and guitar sounds. The song at the ending is "Holy", also stylistically corresponding to an emphatically electronic new wave / synthpop, driven by midtempo thrusts, attractively vocalized and decorated with intriguing supplements of synth, piano and sequencing. Masterful performance, executed with absolutely gratifying results, which finally certifies the sagacity of The New Division in converting new wave reminiscences into a sound of considerable thickness, always closely linked with the glories of the 80's Age but perfectly suited to the latest pop trends, all this through the integration of advanced strategies, disarming, pure vocals and finally through intelligent, versatile music refinements. John Glenn Kunkel and his ensemble describe their repertoire in a sublime way, revelating all their wisdom and authoritativeness in an alternative panorama increasingly saturated, in which it's crucial to differentiate themselves from the moltitude of phenomena and new styles. "Gemini" is therefore a full-length that presents a different sound module, sometimes innovative and very popish, of the 'wave concept', played by the band with scrupulous perfectionism, competence, determination and clarity, particular aspects that make this work not selective, but musically without complications and wide-range listening. Here is an essential album for effectively feel you satisfied of your record collection. Splendid!

back to top

The Saint Paul - "Days Without Rain" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

thesaen  German band located between the cities of Velbert and Oberhausen, formed in 2010 under the provisional name of Trinity's Fall, transmuted in 2011 in the current effigy The Saint Paul, which line-up is composed of three members: Paul (vox / synths / machines), Marc (synths / machines / live-video maker) and Robin (drum-programming / percussions / live-drummer). The music created by the project concentrates a sophisticated, melodic set of futurepop / synthpop / EBM technicalities markings, which combination generates formulations full of superb harmonies and danceable energy. Afterwards an initial experimental cycle, the band has directed its compositional style more and more towards the emphasis of the "catchy sound factor", a detail audible in the early demos and in the live-sessions too, confirming this aspect by the studio-work, the dimension in which the three protagonists are much able to manage, improve and express their great inspiration. The long time spent during the songwriting has always been aimed at the systemic research of that which is definable as 'seductive continuity', or the ability to enmesh the listener since the first to the last moment of the song, without any interruption of the emotive partecipation levels: to achieve this, The Saint Paul apply to sounds the maximum scrupulosity, planning exciting vocals, instrumental euphonies electronically advanced and highly danceable rhythms. The band's discography began in 2011 through two consecutive releases: a presence on the compilation published by the prestigious magazine Orkus Magazine entitled "Orkus Compilation 66", in which the project placed the song "Drowning", followed by the Extended Play "Rewind The Time", distributed simultaneously by the German labels UCM Records and Danse Macabre, among which eight electro /synthpop tracks it stands a nice remix by the German EBM / industrial platform Heimataerde. The band has also valid remixing attitudes, a virtue demonstrated it in the reworking of "Kill That Little Fuck", a track contained in the double box-set limited-edition album "Women And Satan First" belonging to the German electro / industrial solo-act Wumpscut, released in 2012 by the Landshut based records home Beton Kopf Media, or with the reconstruction of the track "Winners & Losers", included into the homonymous self-produced EP of 2012, created from the German electro / EBM duo Reizstrom. The year 2013 was marked by four brilliant events: a participation in the compilation "Gothic Spirits - EBM Edition 5", published by the German brand GoldenCore Records, succeeded by the transposition of a song by the German futurepop / synthpop band Endanger called "Die Show Muss weitergehen", remixed by The Saint Paul and inserted in the tracklist of the album "Larger Than Life", edited by the famous German label Infacted Recordings, then continue with the video of the song "Two Faces", contained in the CD / DVD compilation "Gothic Visions IV" published by the German label Echozone and, further on, with eleven future / synthpop / EBM songs of the debut album "Consequence", fired by the German labels UCM Records and Danse Macabre. "The 20th Anniversary Compilation" is instead an anthology of German electro / futurepop band Solitary Experiments, released in 2014 by the Berlin label Out Of Line, to which The Saint Paul took part remixing the track "Steering Wheel", adhering in the same year 2014 to another song selection also entitled "20th Anniversary", in this specific occasion belonging to the German industrial-electronics / IDM / EBM one-man act called MC1R - aka Nick Jonath - within which the band remixed the track "Truth". The new album "Days Without Rain, now reviewed by Vox Empirea, was published in 2015 by the independent label Infacted Recordings: it, like the previous episodes, is a miracle of futurepop / synthpop / EBM / electro euphonies, created by great aesthetic sense and by deep sentimentalism, in which the correlation between the Paul's passionate vocals and the intrumental conjunctures of drum-programming, sequencers and keyboards, generates a balanced complex impressive of human introspection and technological music advancement. The full-lenght's realization is conceptually inspired by not revealed events and linked to the personal sphere of the band's members: the lyrics treat essentially about daily real stories or else imaginary, abstract arguments left to the free interpretation of the listener. The album also avails of the technical cooperation of two important characters: the firts one is the Swede Christer Hermodsson - aka Crull-E, the keyboardist of the legendary electro / synthpop band S.P.O.C.K. as well as founder of the synthpop / EBM project Biomekkanik - to whom has been entrusted the important mastering phase of this record, while the second studio coadjutor is called Berndt, The Saint Paul's live-engineer, who's now the mixing planner of the twelve songs included in the tracklist. "Grey", the album opener, articulates rigorously downtempo bpm's, cold electronic expansions and austere keyboards, structures on which the vocalist propagates his depressed and deeply thoughtful chant. "Reality Distortion Field" is a futurepop / synthpop melodically irresistible, played through robotic midtempo sections of drum-programming, embellished by magnetizing synths and by multidimensional vocals sung at first shady, low, rancorous and later, in the refrain, strongly enthralling. The vaguely Depeche Mode-oriented recal audible in the next "What Do You Want" are evoked by a compact synthpop / electro register, built by midtempo drumming, vocals harmoniously resolute and by black & white keyboard sounds, as well as in the following "White Unicorn" the drum-programming replicates with cartesian precision danceable midtempo beats, while the voice of Paul decorates superbly the futurepopish constructs making them further exciting, and the synths spread flows of fictional melodies. An electronically dry, explosive percussiveness, subdivided into slow sequences, flanked by the penetrating voice of Paul and by enveloping keyboard luminescences, they constitute the introductory segment of the beautiful "But He Will", in which the sinegie between uptempo drum-programming and the dark, desperate chant, develop a powerful futurepop / electro / EBM floorfiller-song that will non stop dance us. "Neon Light" is energized by massive percussions that urge muscles and mind, all in a futurepop / EBM made of mighty uptempo drum-programming, bold vocal incitements and sidereal partitions of synths. Red-blooded, euphoric midtempo automations propel even the next "T1", amplifying its dancing inclination within this futurepop / synthpop / electro completed by an intriguing chant and by iridescent clouds of keyboards. "Unempathic V2.0" blends futurepop / synthpop sounds full of fervor, pervaded by uptempo intermittences, melodious vocals sung in high-definition, cosmic-effects and by dense radiations of keyboards. The subsequent "Retrospect" combines the aseptic coolness of machines with extremely romantic vocals: all in a futurepop / synthpop played with elegant, melancholic intensity, punctuated by soft-downtempo drum-programming and adorned with charming accompaniments of voice and synths. "Leave Without Answer" reconfigures again the dynamic futurepop / synthpop geometries that have adorned so far the tracklist, this time through schematic-programmed midtempo break-beats, spatial keyboard patterns and through meditative vocals, superbly exalted in the refrain. "Not Tonight" is concretely one of the potential hits of the entire title-track: its rapid futurepop / synthpop modulations ensure a continuous, electrifying danceability, activated by midtempo drum-programming on which the wonderful voice of Paul melodically intones a restless and incisive chant, surrounded by bewitching keyboard chords. The conclusion is assigned to "Dead End", a sad-synthpopish ballade scented of nostalgia and delicacy, sadly orchestrated by downcast vocals, sorrowful partitions of sampled violin, short piano notes and by decadent symphonies of keyboard, for a sensible set of desolation and melancholy, corroborated by the childish innocent chorality that characterizes the the final part of this song. Sonic perfection and immediacy always active, riveting atmospheres and rhythms, together with vocal extension declined with vivid passion and intelligibility, are the attractions of the electronic style designed by The Saint Paul, an ambitious forefront, worthy to be be praised and projected quickly to success. The high standards that distinguish the music of this German band - already amply perceptible starting from the EP "Rewind The Time" - proceed, intensifying them at its maximum expansion in this new release, within which the cold cerebralism of machines grants large space to the vibrations of feelings, creating emotional landscapes mixed with futurism. "Days Without Rain" is an unique, sincere, ardently desired album, an explicit demonstration how is astonishing the preparation of Paul, Marc and Robin, three avantgarders endowed with inventiveness and capacity in progressive evolution. Discover and dive you into all the fascination of this full-length and make sure that its memory remains in you forever. Indelibly.

* U *

back to top

Ultima Bleep - "Hysteria / The Lost Files" EP - by Maxymox 2015

bleepen  They are a German band native of Hanover, Niedersachsen, in Lower Saxony, founded between 2008/2009, currently consisting in the following members: Mic-L (vox / programming / synth), Ray Gordon - owner of the German synth-pop act Ton Sur Ton - (programming, synths, backing vox) and Adam's Sky, (programming / synth / backing vox). For many years active individually not only in the electro / synthpop scene with the role of producers / sound engineers as well as musicians in other bands, the three protagonists, united by an unquenchable passion for the technological sound, they formed in 2007 an anticipatory project called Netz:Werk:Liebe, evolved definitely later into Ultima Bleep: through the new platform, Mic-L, Ray and Adam's Sky have composed and filed a large amount of promotional material, in part included into the debut-album of 2008 simply entitled "I", fired by the German home Major Records, in which twelve-songs tracklis it stands out the beautiful electro-cover of "We Stand Alone" of Ultravox. After the closure of their label of reference, the discography published by the band was released independently by using its own brand called Ultima Bleep Records, through which the project has licensed in 2014 "The Vril Rmx Part One", a digital EP of five tracks created with the contributions of known electro-platforms: the U.S.A's Iris, the French Foretaste plus the Germans Funker Vogt and Mignight Resistance. Remarkable are also the past Ultima Bleep's participation occurred in 2008 as live-supporters at concerts of Unheilig and De / Vision, as well as components of valid emerging electro-acts as the German In Good Faith, completing their biographical credits with the presence into two compilations by Major Records, "Elektrisch 3" published in 2008 and "Orbit Electro Vol. 1" of 2009. In these years the main intention of the band is to select and publish digitally and gradually in subsequent volumes the most significant tracks taken from their full repertoire, choosing them with strategic rationality among the multitude of executions accumulated over the years until the present day: of this collection is also part the recent downloading Extended Play titled "Hysteria / The Lost Files", released in 2015 by the Ultima Bleep Records and now analyzed by Vox Empirea. Its tracklist incorporates nine chapters, three of them composed by the official line-up, while the remaining six ones, all them extremely danceable, are remixed by external bands and by the respective Ray Gordon and Adam's Sky's side-projects. The musical style conceived by Ultima Bleep, detectable in this new EP too, is always an effective interaction among synthpopish melodies, romanticism and danceability, all built by vivacious or atmospherically slowed rhythmics, by pulsing bass-lines, by expressive / clear vocals and by harmonious synth formulations, as in the first song of the tracklist, "Hysteria (original version)", an episode played enhancing primarily the harmonious Mic-L's singing, in a dance-minded scheme marked by midtempo drum-programming and decorated by intoxicating sections of keyboards. The next "Ein Neues Leben" configures a synthpop within which it prevails the sense of abandonment and melancholy, elements musically represented through downtempo drum-programming beats entirely surrounded by the warmth of pads and by the exciting strophes sung by the vocalist. "When Loves Turns To Anger", an explicitly and elegantly electro / synthpop track, is based on danceable midtempo symmetries of drum-programming, on the Mic-L's deep vocalism and on solemn synths orchestrations, in a chapter full of power and intriguing sounds, created by the artistic union between the two projects Ultima Bleep / In Good Faith and remixed by the German futurepop super-band Bruderschaft. We continue with the introspective and vaguely melancholy mood of the following "Für Die Ewigkeit" illustrated version 'MWW Remix', a song of considerable caliber in which the vocalist embellishes the synthpop constructs by his sentimental lyricism, softly placed on the precise midtempo drum-programming and on the enveloping keyboard emissions. The remixed alternation of "Hysteria" starts at first by the inventiveness of Mesh, the famous dark-electro band from Bristol: they rework the original structures now turning them into a great version called 'Leylines' - particularly suitable for underground electro dance-halls - in which the synthpopish arrangements, the amplified keyboard figurations and the hard percussiveness, join the fullness of vocals, further increasing the level of energy and danceability already present in the track. The more aggressive interpretation of "Hysteria", remixed by the German progressive gothic / metal band Schöngeist, is a brilliant mix of synthetic counterpoints and incendiary guitar riffs, whose synergy propagates at the same time blinding steel-colored sparks and splinters of modern technologism, all through the double automatic rhythmics, initially minimal and later intensely rock-oriented, cleverly inserted into an electrical / electronic contest named 'Anunnaki' that guarantees to sound dancing dynamism and marble solidity. The synthpop / wave solo-act Ton Sur Ton - represented by Ray Gordon - exemplifies the sonic versatility of"Hysteria" remixing it this time into the spectacular 'The Coming Race' version, in which the interchange of the pneumatic cadences of drumming outlines ultra-danceable percussive paths, directly connected with rousing vocals and with the harmonious decoration of synths. The German producer / songwriter Rico Hüllermeier proposes his remixed version of "Hysteria" transformed into this 'Paralyzed' version, created by linearly fractionated drum-programming, by complements of electronic-effects, by pressing sequencing and by more incisive keyboard modulations, harmoniously modeled around the chant. In the final, Markus Adamski, aka Adam's Sky, rebuilds "Hysteria" remixing it as 'Assimilation' version, segmenting mathematically the intermittent drum-programming and codifying them between filtered vocals and artificial synth melodies, in a sonic diagram that finally remarked the strong dancing orientation of the track. An Extended Play that demonstrates perfectly the compositional irreprehensibility of this band, "Hysteria / The Lost Files" gives credit to the polished and highly communicative synthpop style of Ultima Bleep: the meticulous accuracy systematically applied into every single track shows a total mastery of the machines, as well as an impeccable interplay among the components of this project. In addition, each of remixes heard is an excellent tool for alternative D.J.'s, who will find songs suitable to be placed successfully in their trendy playlist. The architectures of the nine tracks draws its inspiration from the 'classic European synthpop', playing an epigonic cliché like that one of the most valuable projects of this music genre, highlighting Ultima Bleep as a band that possesses artistic consistency and a definite personality. The release "Hysteria / The Lost Files" immediately imposes itself with its appealing musicality, concentrating in its substance all the best requirements for a capturing electronic pop, that are melodism, intelligence, danceability and synthetic ecstasy. We are proud to dedicate virtually to Ultima Bleep a long, well deserved applause.

back to top

Ultranoire - "Disclosure" - by Maxymox 2015

ultraen  Vox Empirea, always looking for interesting and valuable proposals from the alternative music underground, today focuses its analysis on an emerging duo-act that deserves to be fully known and appreciated: the Ultranoire. Founded in 2011 by Josef Stapel ( vox / songwriting ) and Szilard Kun ( keyboards / musics ), the project was temporarily called Voyagers, geographically dividing its base between England and Hungary. The effective operation phase of Ultranoire occurred in 2014 with the publication of the self-produced EP entitled "Monochrome" containing five tracks, followed in 2015 by the self-produced digital-EP "Individual" consisting of four songs: to this last release they contributed two Hungarian artists: Tamas 'Silk' Sellyei, co-person in charge of mixing and Peter Lipovics, a musician from Nostromo 7, an avant-garde / electro duo with which Josef Stapel recently worked as guest vocalist on the single "Existence / Rewired & Reborn". The musical genre belonging to Ultranoire is marked by a certain authenticity and it's defined by the same authors as 'synth-noir', or an experimental combination of post-Depeche Mode / post-Camouflage / post-Kratwerk sounds, integrating perceivable dark synthpop / electropop elements, elaborated with supreme class and cultured refinement, using perpetually expressive shadowed vocals, surreal keyboard-sounds and schematic drum-machine automations. The positive opinions of the critics, together with excellent live-concerts and with the growing admiration from the audience, they favored with no particular media strategies the diffusion of Ultranoire's music, promoted especially through FM and digital radio stations, so up to the achievement of important results such as the placement of the debut-album "Disclosure" among the highest positions of the prestigious German Electronic Webcharts. Licensed in 2015 by the Russian label ScentAir, the full-length now reviewed by Vox Empirea includes eleven tracks, six of which are extracted from the two previous Extended Play: the opener is "In The Darkroom," a midtempo electropop hypnotically cadenced by drum-programming scans and by a liquid sequencer, in a set of high-tech melodies on which Josef sings a darkly saddened chant from which they transpire evident 'Dave Gahan-oriented' inflections. The magnetic charm of "Leaving Sensoria" has a strong power on the listener, thanks to synthpop / electropop euphonies full of shadow and melancholy, vocalized by Josef with reflective, introverted tones, punctuated by homogeneous midtempo drumming and by symmetrical sequencing, all decorated by evocative keyboard orchestrations. "Bad Moon Rising" is an atmospherical downtempo electropop, scientifically subdivided by basic drum-programming allocations, on which they spinning alienating keyboard euphonies and sad, meditative vocalizations. A circular sequencer processes obsessive melodies, synchronizing them with midtempo drum-programming, while emissions of turbid keyboards and vocals nostalgically darkened surround the sound: this is the 'noir-electropopish substance of "Distant Galaxy". In the next "Drowning Man" they alternate dry intermittent midtempo drum-beats and monochromatic sequencing, joined with seductive keyboard ornaments and with the placid, introspective vocals of Josef, all in a synthpop / electropop listenable in the penumbra, absorbed in your own thoughts. The electropop danceability of "Lost" (Shifting Realities 2012)" is perfectly matched with the innermost feelings, like the narration of a painful self-analysis, interpreted by linear, stimulating midtempo percussiveness, regular sequenced punctuations, harmonious keyboard constructs and by low, melancholy, vocals, pronounced with seductive intonations, the same ones that also embellish the next "Taste Me", a track formulated by relaxing synthpop / electropop sounds, dynamized by essential downtempo drum-programming, while melodious transversal keyboards propagate artificial symphonies overflowing of sophistication and futurism. "Desperation" has a synthpop imprint characterized by a vocal climax harmoniusly thoughtfully, in which we can hear notes lapped by romanticism and suffering, all punctuated by precise midtempo bpm's and enriched by capturing keyboards. "Perfect Time" reflects the existential dilemmas that afflict the spirits of the two protagonists, in a depressed synthpop atmospherically played through ashen vocal counterpoints, straight midtempo subdivisions of drum-programming and pale keyboards, whose synergy generates a song full of abandonment and intrinsic desolation. The following "Drifting (Excerpt)" is a short dark-electropop episode in which they interact exclusively leaden, minimalist symphonies of keyboards and the downtempo beats of drum-machine, as well as in the ending "Singularity" the Josef's voice spreads words and harmonies filled with nostalgia and grief, in a poignant synthpop punctuated by gaunt midtempo drum-programming and sweetened by soft keyboards, on which chords they are interposed melancholic piano ornaments. Ultranoire are the makers of a sober and extremely communicative tech-style, adorned with shady aestheticism that subjugate the listener, in a turbillon of assonances that will surprise all fans of classic synthpop / electropop. The essential paradigm of instrumentality and chant, although musically decipherable and clear, it's always marked by an oblique, indirect, tormented and ever immediately explicit melodism, a virtue that gives to the eleven songs a considerable charisma and a particular intelligibility, in addition with many 'non-ordinary' distinctive traits. This album not only is an extraordinary masterpiece of technological music art: it's also the sonic illustration of the suffering and of the anguish of a soul, heartbroken by the slow but everyday annihilation, by loneliness, by lost hopes, but also by the desire of light, of love, in an eternal alternation of desire and bitterness. Compared to many other record creations belonging to the same electronic genre, "Disclosure" can be defined with all intents as a 'non-conventional release': identifying yourself in its meanings, you can finally find and free all those indecipherable words whispered in your mind by your subconscious, the same ones that you thought they were unrealistic and you were never able to understand them. This is a revelation project! Ultranoire, ultra emotions.

* V *

back to top

Vuduvox - "Vaudou Électrique" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

vuden  Belgian-French duo-act native from Flanders, created in 2012 by the mastermind Jean-Christophe Van Thienen aka J-C (voice / machines) and Olivier Thibaut (guitar), Vuduvox is an avantgarde project of great interest, endowed with consistency and a solid technical experience developed within electro sound. In fact, describing the past artistic biography of both musicians, it emerges their primary membership to Buzz, a synthpop / minimal electro / new wave quintet conceived in Lille in the early-80's by the same J-C, who was the band leader / vocalist / mastering / songwriter / keyboardist / drum machine programmer / art-worker, while Oliver was the percussionist. Analyzing the album-releases of Buzz, they emerge many important remix collaborations provided by names of high reputation as Dirk da Davo, Implant, David Carretta, Millimetric, People Theatre, HIV + , the sound-engineer of The Young Gods called Bertrand Siffert, the mythical band Signal Aout 42, Void Kampf and Darkmen, then continuing with Pankow, Dolls of Pain, the founder of Renegade Soundwave Danny Briottet, David Harrow, NTRSN, Combat Voice and Bak XIII. The subsequent improvements accrued individually during years they have contributed significantly to the musical growth of the two protagonists: J-C stands out for its activities on stage alongside major bands such as The Cassandra Complex, Implant, Parade Ground, 32Crash, Spectra Paris, Trisomie 21, Neon Electronics and Luc Van Acker, as well as Oliver is officially recruited as live-in drummer into the Belgian EBM / industrial projects Grandchaos and Signal Aout 42. The sharing the same electro guidelines and a productive interplay between the two artists, in addition to the need to transmute radically the Buzz's identity and music, have allowed the realization of the platform Vuduvox, the sound of which is an advanced blend of Techno Body Music / electro-industrial / cyber-electroclash / cyber-post punker / retro-future wave elements. The record productivity of power-duo currently enumerates "Sérénade Pour Un Renegat", self-produced demo-release dated 2012, plus a serie of remixes formulated by and for the projects Implant, Neon Electronics, Signal Aout 42, Dolls Of Pain, Bak XIII, People Theatre and Synthetik Form, all this previously the finalization of "Vaudou Electrique", the debut-album released in 2014 by the label EK Product, now described by Vox Empirea. As they have changed compared at the age of Buzz, the current Vuduvox still keep the same spirit and the same irreverent, cutting irony conveyed with anger especially towards the 'power' to which never surrender: the drafting of texts, sung entirely in French language, often shows connotations politically subversive, provocateurs, increasingly aggressive, critical and intelligently destabilizing. The full-length is mixed / produced by Vuduvox themselves with Dirk da Davo, - who's both the front man of the famous Belgian new wave duo Neon Judgement and the only-act named Neon Electronics - in cooperation with the sound-designer Laurent Bergman, while the mastering process is entrusted to Len Lemeire, producer / remixer / vocalist and founder of Implant and, only for the digital version, to Maurizio Fasolo, the founder of the Italian EBM / industrial cult-band Pankow. The tracklist includes fifteen songs interspersed by twelve short spots called 'vudubreaks' which reproduce invariably the 'Vuduvox' logo, playing it instrumentally or through the contribution of the vocal guests Dominique & Michael Borchardt, Frederick Demeester, Maurizio Fasolo, Stephanie McQuaid & Andrew Harrison, Célina Nativel, Hélène Tavernier and Deadivo Trinity. The album starts with the mentioned "Sérénade Pour Renégat", an episode Techno Body Music / electro obsessively powered by circular midtempo sections of drum-programming and guitar roughness among which they stand out the cold punctuations of synth, the roche pronunciations of J-C with the backing vocals of the guest Gary Asquith, aka the front-man of the London band Renegade Soundwave. "Berlin" unleashes in its background a dense perturbation of guitar-riffs which, collimating against the uptempo beats and against hatches of sequencing, they strengthen the sonic force and the danceability of this Techno Body Music / cyber-electro / industrial obscured by harsh vocal tones and by the fluorescent glacially of keyboard. "Vudubreak 1" is a fast passage of electronic air that traverses fascinatingly the 'Vuduvox' word, introducing the next "Kamikazes", a Techno Body Music / electroclash track rigidly sequenced by dry midtempo bpm's of drum-programming on which vertices they rise solemn pads, electric guitar contrails, synth deadlifts and the low, stinging vocals of J-C. "Vudubreak 2" is a fleeting emission of interferences, loops and vocals hissing voices, while into the following "L'Usine" the drum-machine scans regular midtempo geometries that rhythmically support the acidity of guitar and the claustrophobic, tormented atmospheres built by the synth / vocals conjunctions, all for a 'very clubby' Techno Body Music / electro / industrial. The icy male-female intercalating of "Vudubreak 3" is combined with artificial noises, with the sampling and with a single, high-sounding guitar reverb, anticipating the next "Silex", a Techno Body Music / electrotech / industrial song mechanically spelled out by drum-programming, which midtempo propulsions act as base to the chant whispered harshly by J-C, to the backing vocals of Ophelia Delusion, to the caustic mass of guitar-sound and to the exasperating, replicated micro-melodies of synth. "Vudubreak 4" is a murky interlacement of vocal sampling and alien frequencies on minimal beats of rhythm-machine and harmonious pulsing sequencer, as well as "Kennedy - Severe Gunshot Wound Version ", a Techno Body Music / synthpunker / industrial track, is littered with vocal-loops and energized by midtempo rousing drumming replications, all lethally sub-voiced by J-C and symmetrically innervated by the compact, excoriating synergy between electric guitar and keyboard flows. On the surface of "Vudubreak 5" they soar echoing vocal-effects quickly pierced by the metallized transit of an electronic vortex, preceding the inflexible Techno Body Music / electroclash / tech-pop sonorities of "Fascination", built by midtempo drum-programming fractionations, leaden, acrimonious vocals, flagellated by tense electric guitar saturations and by robotic synth euphonies. "Bruit Blanc - Lumière Noire", a Techno Body Music / electroclash / industrial song, it propagates flexuous, articulated downtempo drum-beats on which they are aligned hypnotically cycles of voice and, further on, the monolithic keystrokes of programming, the heartbeats devised by the guest Samuel, the corrosive guitar resonances and the essential keyboard schemes. "Vudubreak 6" is an ephemeral breath electronically within which, as always, it reverberates enigmatically the vocal-logo 'Vuduvox', while the next track entitled "Ils Descendront Du Train" it speeds its Techno Body Music / electrotech structures through danceable drum-programming markings, wrapped by torrential magma of electric guitar and irradiated by a colorless singing and by flashes of synth. "Vudubreak 7" is only a momentary, livid sub-percussive concatenation of sonic dilations which turn on an elementary rhythmic system, in contrast to the vibrant Techno Body Music / electroclash / industrial procedures of the subsequent "So Kalt", under whose rapid uptempo percussiveness it rages an 'iron and steel' guitarism jointly with the J-C's opaque vocalizations, adorned by backing vox sung by Ophelia Delusion and by the synthetic harmonies of keyboard. The temporary execution "Vudubreak 8" is simply represented by melodic sequenced impulses that announce the rhythmic midtempo synchronizations of "Charogne", a Techno Body Music / synthpunk / cyber-electro track executed by hot guitar aspersions and faded, guttural vocalism, all completly dashed by metronomic midtempo drumming and adorned by the squared synth textures. "Vudubreak 9" is instead a slight vaporization of electronic matter suggestively caressed by feminine whispers, while the guitar forcing that dominates "Disco-Démolition" it merges with raucous vocals, with the midtempo drum-programming straights and with the synth verticalizations, evoking futuristic sounds to dance frantically. Industrial attritions overshadow suddenly the suffocated 'Vuduvox' vocalization: is what happens in "Vudubreak 10", an interlude that separates the previous song from the next "Au Rythme Des Incendies", a Techno Body Music / electroclash coldly sung by J-C among gritty electric guitar riffs, midtempo drum-programming automatisms and sharp keyboard modulations. In "Vudubreak 11" an android voice punctuates alphabetically the name 'Vuduvox' spreading fragments of electronic shocks, as well as the Techno Body Music / electrotech / synthpunk configuration of the following "Avec Toi" immediately catches the alternative dancefloor's people making dance them without respite, all by repetitive midtempo drum-programming, by raging currents of electric guitar and by shining synth finishings. "Vu-Du-Vox (Part 1 & 2)" starts with disturbed extensions of vocal-sampling / noise-electronics continuing with an accelerated uptempo segment of drum-programming surmounted by massive doses of guitar energy, vocals gutturally threatening and by keyboard iridescences, in this ultra-danceable Techno Body Music / tech-pop, synonymous for vigor, rhythm and movement. The final chapter of the tracklist is "Vudubreak 12", a minimal filament of sequencing within which the vocalist recalls specularly the epithet 'Vuduvox'. Album of unconventional temperament,"Vaudou Électrique" is an explosion of sonic technology, from which artificiality we may highlight particularly attractive tactics and concepts. Vuduvox, today at the apex of their professionalism, they move with great ease in electronic territories, creating a style that integrates simultaneously messages of strong symbolism and powerful modulations like sonic cataclysms. The incessant persistence of guitar and the exciting drumming they complement each other, communicating actively with grim, mono-dimensional vocals, interconnected with contaminants keyboard radiations. The equipments are then interpreted as living organisms, capable of materializing dynamic-rhythmic transmissions and essential counterpoints to dance and listen with total participation, while the lyrics take on the function of weapons aimed against all forms of social hypocrisy and prevarication. Can't stop now the binomial J-C Van Thienen / Olivier Thibaut, deservedly considered as the most talented electro performers the new Era: Vuduvox. Only Vuduvox. Nothing other than Vuduvox.

* W *

back to top

We Are Waves - "Promises" - cd - by Maxymox 2015

wearen  The same name 'We Are Waves' makes understandable the stylistic predisposition of this quadrangular Turin-based formation, spokesman of that immortality which from forty years it continuously sustains the foundations of new wave music and of all its infinite forms. Founded in 2011, the band deploys the following line-up: Fabio Viax Viassone (vox / guitars), Cesare Corso (synths), Fabio Menegatti (bass) and Francesco Pezzali (drums), whose interplay generates excellent alternative- 80's wave / post-punk / pop euphonies, harmoniously combined with electronic ornaments of new conception, highlighting a songwriting full of authenticity, simultaneously addressed both to the celebration of classic waving rituals and to the innovative supports from the modern sound technology; they resulting compositional elements that introduce musically and conceptually references to sonic models divided between past and present, with specific peculiarities inspired to the introversion and to the after-punk glumness of bands like The Cure, The Sister Of Mercy and Joy Division, or also to the existential, isolationist drama of the early Tears For Fears, concurrently to the contemporary indie rock-wave of White Lies and Editors, mixing all these factors with the synth-rave music of projects such as Nero, Vitalic, Gesaffelstein and The Toxic Avenger. The discographic productivity of We Are Waves began in 2012 through the downloading self-produced EP of four tracks titled "Wav", followed in 2014 by the eleven episodes included in the debut-album "Labile", published by the Lombard label Memorial Records, continuing in 2015 with this new, second full-length album "Promises", licensed by the Valdaostan brand MeatBeat and now analyzed by Vox Empirea. The sound-system devised by the band predisposes harmonious melodies of synths, evocative guitar arpeggios, shady bass pulsations and solid percussive geometries, all magnified by the beautiful and important voice of Fabio, whose extensions, very similar to those of White Lies vocalist Harry McVeigh, are characterized by despair accents and particularly descriptive lyrics, sung with ardent passion, which meanings, always directly related to the emotional dimension, interrogate deeply the spirit, expressing its weaknesses, the hidden concerns, the privations, the poignant melancholy that consumes every moment of everyday life, internalizing this endless and restless flow of thoughts with full awareness and determination, in an eternal alternation of darkness and lights. The full-length "Promises" is the resonant voice that comes from the tormented mental cycles of We Are Waves, a release of extraordinary quality which finally succeeded in the difficult intent to bring out the project from the substrates of the underground scene, confirming yet once again the We Are Waves as one of the best Italian reality circumscribed in this particular music genre. The tracklist includes eleven masterpieces of new waver art, which symbolic "1982" is a first example: a beautiful chant, specular to those of Robert Smith, at first full of withheld suffering and then culminating in a liberating refrain of beauty and intensity beyond imagination, phrases full of pathos, cadenced by schematic midtempo drum-beats, embellished by keyboard luminescences and by liquid reverbs of guitar, in a song of immeasurable value to which no one can resist. The wave-rock structure of the homonymous "Promises" is built using compact midtempo drum sections which dry beats vigorously rhythm a magmatic set of electric guitar, large synth coverages, bass rotations and vocals emphatically pronounced, anticipating the subsequent wave-rock midtempo procedures of "Be Your Own Island", over which they deflagrate a multicolored explosion of guitar riffs, precise bass segments, a frantic vortex of synths and the desperate Fabio's vocals. Released as single and available online in video format, the following "Lovers Loners Losers" focuses highly effective wave-pop allegories, exposing them with the same nonchalant and expertise of the more blazoned projects: the saddened and authoritative melodism of singing it dominates nervously between electrical vibrations of guitar and dense keyboard textures, creating a waterfall of capturing iridescences punctuated by midtempo scans. The intermittent drum-programming that introduces the instrumental "Monochrome" is later synchronized and surmounted by the powerful midtempo reinforcements of drummer, while guitar expansions they blend with the uniformity of synths and with a galaxy of micro cosmic-effects, inserting this track inside an experimental wave-rock / electronic context. In the wonderful "Silent Lullaby" not only the melancholic tones of Fabio recall vividly in many aspects those of Roland Orzabal, but also the sound constructs are oriented toward the depressed romanticism and the intimism of Tears For Fears, here atmospherically played through soft chords of acoustic guitar and radiated by warm keyboard, by bass-lines and by downtempo subdivisions. "Wreckage" is another wave-rock song performed by metronomic-midtempo flagellations surrounded by a disillusioned, despairing chant, together with brilliant evolutions of synths, bass, guitar and floating electronic currents. Profusions of downcast sentimentalism it spreads from "Children Lake", a sad wave-pop again voiced by the terse Orzabal-oriented intonations, cradled by relaxing keyboard harmonies and by slow percussiveness. "Wasted" retrieves the dynamic wave-rock of which We Are Waves are true masters; the singer's voice colors the sound by disturbed, sorrowful pigments of dramatic aftertaste, enhancing all the burning bitterness that screams from the recesses of psyche, as well as the guitar's strings, the uptempo drumming configuration, the tracing of bass and the extensions of synth are shaped into a triumph of energy, rhythm and immersive musicality. The following "Midnight Ride" runs across enormous distances with strength and high speed, reaching wave-rock / post-punk landscapes, electrifying the listener through hyperkinetic, lancinating shocks of guitar and bass with feverish / snare uptempo percussions, while the distraught voice of Fabio, interposed among the instrumentality, communicates dismay amalgamating with the airs of keyboard, the same ones which remember those so intense, psychedelic and seductive audible in certain compositions of Breathless. "What Happened Today Is Useless", the final track, externalizes high doses of speen, always entrusting to the vocalist an important role in interpreting the dilemma and the suffering, joining the desolation of singing with melodic ynths and with the tenuous embellishments of guitar / bass scales, simultaneously moderating the progression of drum now set as staccato's downtempo drum-beats. Full-lenght realized with great commitment, sensitivity and cognition, an unique product to possess without indecisions. What differentiates "Promises" from the most recent wave-minded publications is primarily the listening continuity, gradually transformed into a need originated by a tracklist in which reside 'eighties underground wave' nostalgia skillfully combined with a touch of today's electronic culture and meaningful lyrics that capture the imagination; secondly, an event not frequent in many new wave record products of these last years, every song contained in this work could become a potential success to be placed in the most prestigious 'alternative hit-charts'. The We Are Waves masterfully directing an album marked by immense voice charm and by marvellous orchestrations transmuted into a diadem of feelings, words and sounds, which, without exception, will remain impressed on your memory accompanying you in each moment of your life, sharing with you unspeakable anguish and the sense of loneliness, understanding the dolor caused by the soul wounds. All this will happen with disarming naturalness, concretized by eleven tracks that never will be consumed by time. If this is one of the implicit 'promises' made by the band, it was absolutely fulfilled.