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Amber Teaser - "Human Ritual" - by Maxymox 2020
Amber Teaser is a virtuous Italian electro-project founded in 2018, whose line-up is composed by Mimmo Modeo ( vox ) , Antonio Iacca ( synth / programming ) and Teo De Cillis ( synth / programming ) . Each of the three members descends from musical experiences totally different from that one impersonated in their current band: in fact, Antonio was part of the punk-metal ensemble The Sovran, Mimmo played in the rock formation called Forks and in the alt-rock / funk / psychedelic Bellalingua, while Teo played both in the aforementioned Forks and in the technical death / thrash set Cosmic Heresy. Amber Teaser was born with the intention of spreading a sound that musically expresses mainly the dualism between the 'technical' and emotional aspects that characterize Taranto - the industrial city from which the protagonists come - so they love define their style as 'industrialpop', that is a balanced, elegant combination among synthpop / new wave / krautrock and italo-disco, elements enriched by a minimal post-Kraftwerk formulas. The result is electronically harmonious songs, often danceable, full of 80's recalls, sometimes hardened by rougher, alienating sounds, in a whole of midtempo / downtempo rhythms, sequenced symmetries, electric guitar fuzz-distortions, melodious keyboard extensions and a clear, intelligible vocalism, episodically melancholic and obscure, always catchy in its fascinating intonations. Identically to the sound-system, also the lyrics deal with contrasting themes directly connected to the sensitive human dimension, in opposition to the cold and speculative ones of the factories: existential dramas, visionarity, inner torments and disillusionment therefore intertwine in an effective synthpopish / waver musicality. The debut album "Human Ritual" ( 2019 / ScentAir Records ) represents today the band's first and only record publication; consisting of nine tracks - including the 'Hal-O-Ween Mix' version of the song "Dancing In A Restaurant" remixed by the German synthpop / futurepop / EBM platform Nova-Spes - the release externalises all the talent of a band rooted in the present times but at the same time disciple of the unforgettable 80's decade, worthy of being considered as one of the most interesting, new realities of the entire European underground scene in its specific genre, especially for having been able to give its music an indelible mark of authenticity, of refined decadence and of communicability. Gloriously Amber Teaser!
The best tracks of "Human Ritual", chosen for you by Vox Empirea:
- "Go Out From This Chaos" : the 'very-waving' / post-punk / synthpop instrumental aestheticisms of the solemn introductory phase herald an intensely atmospheric song, composed through midtempo drum-programming lines synchronized with the sequencer hatches, on which they rise suggestive flows of keyboards, an euphonic New Order-oriented guitarism and vocals full of bitterness. Danceability, meaningful lyrics and an irresistible 80's charm verticalize amazing sonances among which to get lost, escaping from confusion, abandoning themselves to a long, solitary contemplation of a fiery red horizon.
- "Here" : also available in video format, this new wave / synthpop episode is harmoniously punctuated by the cold luminescences of the synths and of the sequencer, electrified by the alienating riffs of the guitar, punctuated by the metronomic midtempo drumming and further made compelling by the shady chant by the vocalist full of ecstatic nostalgia, whose verses are flanked by the seductive counterpoints of the guest-singer Sarah Caprino. Performance of a disarming purity. Memorable.
- "Dancing In A Restaurant" : by the skilful interaction among new wave / synthpop and Italian-disco chromatisms, an immediately assimilable track arises, devised with sentimentality and with an excellent perception of sound beauty. The harmonious grooves of the keyboards project notes that enchant, while the romantic vocalism of the singer - embellished by the equally persuasive one of Sarah Caprino - together with the midtempo scans of the drum-programming and with the symmetrical pulsations of the sequencer, propagate velvety, softly danceable arias permeated by supreme grace.
- "Human Ritual" : the electronic / wavish / synthpop orchestrations of this chapter pay homage to the most illustrious 80's reminiscences, transporting the imagination into a sonic Eden to be overlooked in slow-motion mode with meditative participation. The two phases of the track initially feature a melancholic chant crossed by long pads and by a minimal, sectioned downtempo percussiveness, the same one that in the second cycle of the song draws essential intermittences, on which emphatically fluctuate bombastic keyboards, sequenced patterns, 'heavenly' chords and telegraphic impulses, all this in a triumph of symphonic, industrial technologism.
In the debut album of the newcomers Amber Teaser converge musical schemes of excellent quality, in which intuitions worthy of a highly inspired inventiveness are denoted. The thematic concepts, the sonic alchemies and the vocality of this release are prodigious, subtle energies capable of involving the listener during every single act of the tracklist. "Human Ritual" is a mentally penetrating creation, executed by expanding the ability to 'play the emotions', an art of which the band demonstrates extreme knowledge. Full-lenght to be owned without esitations. Not even with all our imagination would we have expected such splendor.
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Agregat - "Left Behind" single - by Maxymox 2020
The Norwegian Eirik Askerøi ( vox / guitars / synth / programming / production ) and the German Kyrre Tromm Lindvig - aka 'Tromm' - ( vox / drums / synth / programming / co-producer ) are the creators of the duo-act Agregat, founded in 2003, perfected over the years and today synonymous with a perfect artistic interaction. Both fans of the alternative 80's synthpop / new wave / post-punk scenes and of their major exponents, the two protagonists, after an initial phase of adaptation, decided in common agreement to establish a sound design that drew inspiration from the reminiscences of that old, unforgettable decade, but which at the same time able to keep its own authentic identity, spreading a technologically advanced, communicative musical style, strongly melodic and highly attractive. Over the years the Agregat's line-up has integrated the following external musicians who collaborate occasionally as live performers: Sigrun Gomnæs ( drums / maletKat ) - member of the Norwegian contemporary music band Pinquins - Kristoffer Carlsen ( drums ) , Oyvind Mjelve Strandem ( keyboards / additional noises ) and Andreas 'Ljudkarl' Moe ( sound engineer ) , this latter still present in Agregat in the role of responsible of mixing and of lights-setting in the numerous concerts. Eclectic and remarkably enterprising, the skilled guitarist Eirik with he excellent percussionist Tromm come from experiences gained in various Norwegian projects, within which they have increased a solid professionalism and the precise knowledge of what it takes to conquer the public: in fact, Eirik was part of the jazz / pop band called Falleba, militating both in the children music platform called Pling as well as in the afrobeat / reggae / pop-soul band Queendom, while Tromm was the drummer of jazz-ensemble Quarter Past. However, although they play separately in a wide range and even allowing themselves some long interpauses, the two interpreters always respond faithfully to the recall of their Agregat project, through which they express a great compositional talent in studio and an engaging contact with the fans during the live sessions. Formulated through the best Instrumentations and eloquently illustrated, the musics of Agregat has joined an high level quality: it is the winning combination among synthpopish / electro / futurepop / EBM and vaguely new waving elements, played with the intent of transmit to the listener the sense of avant-garde melodism and dance, entertaining him continuously from the first moment of the songs to the end, all by limpid, fresh, essential post-Depeche Mode / post-New Order, post-Kraftwerk sounds, consisting of midtempo rhythms, symmetrical sequenced lines, harmonious keyboards, decorative guitar counterpoints and a catchy vocalism intoned with extreme clarity; these are the main connotations that characterize the entire discographical repertory of the power-duo, which chronologically mentions the debut album "Agregat Salutes You" ( 2009 / Jejune Productions ) , followed at first by the Agregat's 'Perversion For Profit Mix By Agregat' version remix of the song "Red Rain" by the Norwegian EBM / industrial duo Kant Kino, included in their anthology "We Are Kant Kino: You Are Too" ( 2010 / Alfa Matrix) and later by the legendary single "The Runners" ( 2018 / self-produced ) - mastered by Morgan Nicolaysen and mixed by Swedish sound engineer Stefan Sundström - succeeded then by the single "Funkhaus" ( 2019 / self-produced ) - mastered by Morgan Nicolaysen and mixed by the IDM / techno / downtempo mastermind Knut Petter Sævik - concluding with an important participation in the compilation "Neonautics V. 03" ( 2019 / SkyQode ) with the track "The Runners" and finally with this new single "Left Behind" ( 2020 / self-produced ) now reviewed by Vox Empirea. The texts of Agregat, cultured and often metaphorical, analyze abstractly or realistically the inner aspects of existence, the individual behaviors and the global social-politic sphere, treating in parallel also novel themes, which meanings are transformed into strophes full of vivid symbolism. The track "Left Behind", precursory of the next, long-awaited album, is the distilled, evolved and more than ever effective substance of what could be defined reasonably the 'Agregat sound': it propagates splendid synthpop / futurepop / new wave / electro sonances in which we can perceive indirectly distant 80's memories, through snappy midtempo drum-programming cadences, precise sequencer sections, bright keyboard embellishments and through an irresistibly melodic, enthralling chant. Evaluation 10 out of 10 on every point of view: the synergy Eirik / Tromm possesses the ability to convert every single note into a triumph of listening pleasure.
Modernist atmospheres, danceable dynamism, electronically euphonic instrumentality and vocal elegance, are the super credentials of "Left Behind", an intelligent and representative song that confirms once again the musically superior height of this duo. The structures of the track, expertly technologized, encode a sound-system that has become the distinctive register of a project in progressive growth, launched faster and faster towards its definitive, well-deserved success. Exceptional, as only a few artists can be. We love Agregat, we follow Agregat, we believe in Agregat.
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We The North - "2020" - by Maxymox 2020
We The North is the second project of the Swedish Johan Hansson, musically and conceptually different from his first artistic identity called Unitary, whose biography and discography are described exhaustively in the detailed report on the Extended Play "Woke" ( 2018 / Misty Recordings ) available in the 2018 reviews section of Vox Empirea. Founded in 2016, the solo-act We The North is a sort of sonic extension of the protagonist's tormented inwardness, whose musics are not only his interpretative and personalized response to the meanings of 'synthpop', but also a form of communication that effectively incorporates feelings of estrangement, anger, negativism, isolationism, capable of depicting in the imagination the frozen immensity of the wintry Scandinavian landscapes, the desolation that hovers heavily during the dark season and the alienating melancholy that surrounds them especially during the very long, cold nights. While the Unitary's sound - specifiable as 'Emotional Body Music' - is a combination of fast EBM / futurepop / dark-synthpop elements, that played by We The North - technically indicated by the term 'Nordic Noir' - is a set of electronically engaging, dynamically obscure sonances, performed through synthpopish formulations in which they synergize balanced old-style / new style orientations: the result is a whole of harmonies perfect to be listened to, danced and remembered. The discography of this platform initially lists the EP "Endemic" ( 2016 / Space Race Records ) , anticipator of the debut album "Dayblind" ( 2016 / Space Race Records ) , followed by the full-length "Unhealing" ( 2017 / Space Race Records ) , by the EP "Split" ( 2018 / Space Race Records ) - planned in collaboration with the Italian synthpop / new wave / darkwave / EBM solo-act TourdeForce - thus continuing with the digital singles "Is & Eld" ( 2019 / self-released ) ," Kall "( 2019 / self-released ) and" Vi "( 2019 / self-released ) , all three of them published associating the name We The North with the effigy 'Feat. Vita Arkivet'- aka an additional pseudonym used by Johan to distinguish these three Swedish publications - returning today on the scene with the digital anthology "2020" ( 2020 / self-released ) now reviewed by Vox Empirea, containing fourteen of the most representative songs taken from his entire repertoire - including the version of "Endemic" remixed by the American electro / goth / new wave / post-punk / synthpop solo-project called Mr. Kitty - remastered and structurally restyled at Earthbound Mastering studio. This document embodies all the musical and the sensorial essence of We The North, manifested through overall midtempo rhythms of drum-programming, systematic sequenced hatches, atmospheric keyboards and vocals of extraordinary, icy beauty, sung by euphonic, deep, introverted tones, in which we can actively perceive emotions wrapped with a certain indirect darkness. Intimism, danceability, functional technology and an intense melodism, are the peculiar traits that Johan Hansson has configured in his identitary creature We The North, through which he propagates catchy, intelligent sounds, orchestrated with advanced compositional art. If you are true fans of the evolved electro / synthpop and you want to listen to something even more superlative, in "2020" you will find many reasons to love viscerally this amazing album, from which you'll never want to separate yourself. A white, silent immensity. The chill wind is a whispering breath that mesmerizes. The pale reflection of Scandinavian light. The North.
The best tracks of "2020", chosen for you by Vox Empirea:
- "Vi" : in its introductory phase, the polychromatic punctuations of sequencing, the polarizing melody of keyboards and the precise midtempo cadences of drum-machine, summarize the subsequent electro / synthpop schemes of this masterpiece, nobly adorned by a fascinating chant pronounced in Swedish, through Johan transmits vivid meanings, nostalgic passion and something else that cannot be described in simple words, but so authoritative as to induce us to repeatedly press the 'rew' button on our device and listen to the song over and over again. What is meant by an unforgettable sound experience.
- "Endemic" : contemplative, intimate, this track constitutes one of the rare downtempo electro / synthpop chapters of the full We The North's discography. The drum-programming elaborates slow, asymmetrical pulsations embellished by sequenced luninescences, while the dense coverages of keyboards spread harmonious chords that blend with the magic of the vocals. A song to listen to embraced in a room, at the twilight of sunset, singing it softly with closed eyes.
- "Kall": the geometric midtempo percussiveness of the drum-programming and the intermittences of the sequencer configure a dynamic track that makes this song ultra-danceable, enriched by the melodic counterpoints of keyboards and by the penetrating melancholy of the vocals sung in Swedish. Fatally seduced by the cold.
- "Understand Me" : 'a triumph of sublime electro / synthpop consonances'. There are no more suitable phrases to define so much sonic charm. This song, rhythmically rationalized by a danceable midtempo drumming, sectioned by the logical replications of the sequencer, filled with gracefulness by the keyboards and made precious by the melancholic chant of Johan splendidly enhanced in the refrain, abducts us without compromise. The flow of attractive energy that you will immediately feel for this track is stronger than Earth's magnetism.
Clear, elegantly suggestive, the sound design of We The North is a bitter gaze projected from the window of the soul towards infinite spaces. In it converge restlessness, depressed feelings, loneliness, inner conflict, whose vibrations are transmuted into electronic expressions of immeasurable preciousness. This album-compilation collects a fine selection of songs extrapolated from previous releases, beautifully perfected, reworked and ready to relaunch this formidable solo-venture worthy of all the prominence possible. "2020" is the electro / synthpop at its maximum resolution and at its maximum evocative power. Now you know what to listen to for the next hundred years.