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| \ ' ` / `. \ <' / Generally a download|
| `. ,' `-:. ,' page. Some of my |
| '-------. '-----' forgotten MOD music|
| \.....' files. Zipped. |
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DOWNLOADS

List of files composed by myself:

  1. Fresh meat:
  2. from "One Pattern" series
  3. Probe revival and exercise.
  4. Intro song no. 2
  5. "Labirynth" theme, introsong for never written game
  6. SAMBA Smallest module ever, and it is not chiptune - has one real sample
  7. "Yattaman" theme
  8. DENZ Russian techno remixed
  9. DOPE This one is tricky -- needs AudioSculpturre to replay properly
  10. Song for Marian
  11. Song for my sister
  12. Las 2 nostalgic celtic theme

List of my favourite tunes by other folks, and rare bits hard to find elsewhere

  1. Very rare tunes by Symbiote (former Balrog) aka Samuel Cote from Quebec, Canada:
  2. Another rarity: a recording made in 1997 by me and Marcin vel Motaba [motaba files]
  3. And even more rare thing: Few tracks that DEAMER^Flying Cowz recorded when moved from Amigo onto PC and FT2. [New Dreamer]
  4. Soundtracks from Amiga demos. Not so rare, but they bring back memories...
  5. Some interesting songs:
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Album Reviews

In random order.
Earned points are in square brackets, Album of the Year in clamps.
Albums marked with Copyright sign "©" are commercial releases, all others are either Creative Commons or orther free license.
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Avi Rosenfeld

Kompositsia I (cc 2010 Jamendo)

(2011-05-25@12:30)
De wat? A strange place to find a classic rock album in Israel. But since we are all (and I mean ALL, including the developing countries, through OLPC project) a global village, it is surprising, but not strange. So what's that about? When Avi PM'ed me on Jamendo to have a look into his works, I've moaned something like "oh no, not another Klezmer band" as all the dreydlekhim and krethkim lately became a bit over-popular within jazz musicians in Europe and Klezmer ensembles spawned out of nowhere in overwhelming number and spread through all the clubs with live music, making it almost impossible to hear a genuine blues/jazz jam in Warsaw. BUT -- first few seconds of the album made all my worries away. A genuine rock, blues and jazz. Sometimes interleaved with slight eastern-Mediterranean (Levant is the right term?) motives, just to spice things up, sung sometimes in English, but mostly in modern Hebrew. A hamburger, but with olives and sumac spice: Seems strange at first glance, but tastes surprisingly good, and You want more. Vocals are a bit thin, but compositions and arranges together with lyrics, not to mention instrument skills are pure art. And what I admire, are the organisational skills of the composer and producer: some pieces involve up eleven persons to record (not counting the one at the console). Yes, most of the album is done by overdubbing, but I'm pretty sure, they could assemble to give a concert. If not -- then I'm pretty sure, that Avi and Enrico alone could entertain public for whole night at Club Rock at Racławicka street in Warsaw. My favourites? Yesh Li Siba and Horef, but that does not say, the other tracks are any worse. Eight stars [++++++++--].

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Kompositsia II (cc 2010 Jamendo)

(2012-03-02@11:20)
[just a note: Everything I've wrote within review of album Kompositsia I applies to all Kompositsia series, so for overall characteristics refer there. I tend to think of Kompositsia like it was one multi-disk album.]
This is second record by Avi, and the first I've ever heard. Starts with didgeridoo solo, but is compilation of classic rock/blues tunes, witho one or two references to country style and two great ballads (track #4 and #11) which touch the pure art form nearing craftsmanship of performers such as Bulat Okujava and Rolph McTell. As before, sung in modern Hebrew with slight excursion into English. And again -- not just sound wallpaper. A classic rock album, surfing over all styles and genres. I inly pity myself, I'm not familiar (not a bit) in the language used. As Avi wrote in response to my previous comment, he likes to sing his songs, and it can be heard -- must have been fun to record this album. Eight stars [++++++--]

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Kompositsia III (cc 2010 Jamendo)

(2012-03-02@11:20)
[just a note: Everything I've wrote within review of album Kompositsia I applies to all Kompositsia series, so for overall characteristics refer there. I tend to think of Kompositsia like it was one multi-disk album.]
The third album in series. More energetic and more of classic genre setting than the previous one. Yet again we have here elaborate, carefully layered arranges, pushing uses of instruments not always found in blues bands, which finds its culmination in the final tune, Obsession in blue -- great excursion into progressive rock, an instrumental overture that made me almost cry the first time, I've heard it. Almost impossible thing achieved: so massive, and yet seeming lightweight with all that "garage band" feeling. Not that I liked other tunes any less, the album is nice to listen (though my wife can't stand Avi's voice, yet taste is not disputable). Again, eight starts [++++++--], it must be great to hear them in concert.

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Kompositsia IV (cc 2010 Jamendo)

(2012-03-02@11:20)
[just a note: Everything I've wrote within review of album Kompositsia I applies to all Kompositsia series, so for overall characteristics refer there. I tend to think of Kompositsia like it was one multi-disk album.]
Number four. Many artists start to loose the juice at third release, but it is certainly not the case here. I can listen to this album whole day (after more of a year familiarizing with it) and still not get bored. I think I even learned some words of the language. Once again great sense of rhythm, performance skills and musical imagination -- to push onto us all the new klang, squeezing all of thew instrumentation not even coming close to any electronic tricks other than echo/reverb. This time (or maybe it is pure accident) the tunes are sorted into album in fast one--slow one style, ending with quite remarkable progmetal tune Under bleeding skies, so good, that my dear Elmyra said, it must be a cover. But it for sure isn't. Overall: decent album, eight stars [++++++--].

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Kompositsia V (cc 2010 Jamendo)

(2012-03-02@11:20)
[just a note: Everything I've wrote within review of album Kompositsia I applies to all Kompositsia series, so for overall characteristics refer there. I tend to think of Kompositsia like it was one multi-disk album.]
Five already? And everywhere blues. When listening to this particular album I've discovered something. A feeling rather than certain observation -- it seems as all (or most of the tunes) were recorded first as just singing with acoustic guitar and then all oter layers of overdubbing were applied. But technical guesses aside -- from the musical point of view this is yet another relief from the crap the TV is pushing onto us. Blues as 'bluessy' as it only could be, even if spiced sometime with Levant tastes.I like this album as a whole (in fact I'm listening to all Kompozitsia series shoved into one playlist, so have sometimes problem to distinguish, which song comes from which disk), but I like most Ay Carramba and remember most the final track Before the battle. What I'm still amazed with, is how one can record one album after another, that sound so similar, yet so different. Eight stars (no! again?) [++++++--].

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Kompozitsia VI (2011 Jamendo)

(2012-04-01@08:11)
yet another decent blues disk
[just a note: Everything I've wrote within review of album Kompositsia I applies to all Kompositsia series, so for overall characteristics refer there. I tend to think of Kompositsia like it was one multi-disk album.]
Another of the Kompositsia series, and once again a nice album being fine mix of almost all blues/rock incarnations. Nice hummable melodies, elaborate and carefully layered arranges, sometimes simplistic, sometimes huge.
My favourites? Rainbow Woman and good December, but it was hard to choose among all those little masterpieces of craftsmanship.
Eight stars, because it is very good record. I'll repeat, I'd like to hear them on stage. [++++++++--]

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Kompozitsia VII (2011 Jamendo)

(2012-04-01@08:11)
Kosher cheeseburger
Impossible?
Or maybe not..?
[just a note: Everything I've wrote within review of album Kompositsia I applies to all Kompositsia series, so for overall characteristics refer there. I tend to think of Kompositsia like it was one multi-disk album.]
Avi is spoiling us. Another record in such short time.
This one is kept in more reflective and pensive mood, with less dense arrange and more ballads. A nice bit to slow down. Right now, when I'm writing this review, with Kompozitsia VII in my headphones, it corresponds well with gloomy rainy weather outside, and yet is kind of cheerful, even if somehow nostalgic. And yes: you do not need to worry as it says in final piece. I agree. Eight stars [++++++++--]

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Kompozitsia VIII (2012 Jamendo)

(2012-04-01@08:11)
Magical stone.
[just a note: Everything I've wrote within review of album Kompositsia I applies to all Kompositsia series, so for overall characteristics refer there. I tend to think of Kompositsia like it was one multi-disk album.]
Eight is a magic number in Terry Pratchet's Discworld universe.
This record is a bit more vigorous than the former. Many guest vocalists invited into cooperation, to just add to huge number of musicians contributing their parts into sometimes massive arranges.
In left me on the Moon we hear for the first time female vocals not in chorus but as fully established second voice. An'leree is doing quite well
Generally, less than half of the songs is in Hebrew, mostly English but with a small excursion into Russian (hey, I still can understand, even if I didn't spoke the language for more than ten years). I like in that piece (Она смотрит на небо) the general feel, something like Alyosha Avdyeyev (Алёшa Авдеев) with his Band.
In general, this disk seems to be most mature and best quality of the kompozitsja series. It took me by surprise one or two times, and I learned, that classic blues has still room for experiment, and one doesn't need two trucks of synthesizers and sound processing equipment, neither to cut grand piano in half with jigsaw, to sound all new. Nine stars, fully deserved [+++++++++-].

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TRAMONTANA (cc 2011 Jamendo)

(2012-03-25@12:11)
I was confused a bit, why this one was not named "Kompositsia". It made me curious enough to seearch the net and to dig out the back story.
Tramontana is an Italian word, denoting a strong cold wind, a bit similar to mistral, but blowing from the north. I might know better, why this word was used for title, if I had just basic understanding of the language of the lyrics. I can guess only, that Lebanon is northern of Israel... But it is not cold there. I don't know...
Strictly musically, the album is just the same as the "Kompositsia" series: guitar, violin, male vocals singing modern Hebrew, and fine mix of blues with some Levant and Klezmer motives. The opening song says just about everything, melody is contagious. And after that it goes only better and better. Once again great craftsmanship and talent. My opinion? Although this album is in my head mixed with the other Avi's productions, I still can remember some songs as coming from this particular record. It is all old, but on the other hand all new. Hard to copy with, eight stars then [++++++++--], You need to listen to it to agree or not.

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Doug the Eagle

A day at the people factory (Self/Jamendo 2005)

(2007-12-10@10:33)
Number one on the list is a music album A day at people factory, Released in late 2005. The author himself refers to it, as 'reverse engineered PinkFloyd stuff' -- and indeed, the opening song A Day at the people Factory sounds almost as a prelude to The dark side of the Moon, with bouncing echoed bass and cascades of VCS-like synth solos. As the other album, I've already rated somewhere, this one also is not only the tunes, but also a concept. Some of the concepts elude me, as I didn't read some books or didn't play certain games, or (as in case of the closing composition The Quest of Sacred Jaguar) I do not know some legends, but at least trying to understand, I searched the net to find the context -- and comparing how lazy I am, this is really something. Any flaws? I don't like the excerpt from Per Gynt, maybe because I don't like the original tune, but it seemed to me that it doesn't match all the other content of the record (though indeed, laboriously and beautifully crafted). Final rate? Tough task: I gave seven to Songs for Wild at Hart, and giving ..People Factory a six would be unfair, so weak, but deserved seven.

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Songs for the Wild at Heart (Self/Jamendo 2006)

(2007-11-19@09:30)
Just couple of days after I complained, there were no interesting music releases, I found out, that DOUG the Eagle has finished his album, Songs for the Wild-At-Heart. The credits say, it was mastered in 2006, but I don't remember, whether whole album was published -- I'd rather say, only the DMFA related part was put on site, while the Author was seeking for decent label to print his record. Anyway, It's release date to the public that counts. As for the music -- Do You remember the double vinyl album War of the Worlds (1978 concept album by Jeff Wayne)? It was an audio play of some sort, like radio broadcast story, but on solid record; all made using state-of-the-art radio editing techniques, with music in strongly 'electronicized' progressive rock genre. So are the Songs for the Wild At Heart. What was composed at first as mere instrumental passages, became background soundtrack for DMFA Radio shows, then, with use of recorded dialogues, was re-mastered into side B of the album. Those of You, who are already familiar with Daniel Ti'fiona -- A Warrior for hire, based on Amber (Panyko) Williams's script, will find all the beautiful music themes, and once again immerse in old-school sound textures. This part I have known before, the new thing was side A: Author songs and ballads by the composer, Joseph P. Morris; barely connected with each other, but sharing the same mood and sound quality. Also the texts are worth longer glimpse: They're not lyrics in spe as they tell an epic story, and always are concluded with a moral, which connects the works (though distantly) with renaissance tradition of masters like Erasmus of Rotterdamm. This record is different, than the sound pulp the radio feeds You usually, it is professionally recorded and has a concept. Any drawbacks? some tunes might use improvised solo, but it really doesn't impair the works. Final rating: seven stars out of ten: a must-have on the shelve.

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Mythical Creatures Exhibition (Self/Jamendo 2007)

(2007-12-10@10:33)
Another one: Mythical Creatures Exhibition, the most recent work, and candidate for Album of the Year 2007 internal award. This is truly matured work: Joseph has found his own sound, and does not need to replicate radiophonic techniques from late sixties, as he found his own way. Just like Songs for the Wild..., this one is also divided in two parts, like old-fashioned vinyl record; side A providing set of catchy songs, concluded with more epic The Dark Revenge of Jakob Pettersohn (by the way, I work in Denmark with an individual called Jakob Pettersen). The character of Jakob Pettersohn, aka Johann Cross will appear later in this note. The side B of the record contains only single composition Project: Dragonsong. People reading DMFA or attending Lost Lake forums may discuss, whether is it a requiem for Dragon race, after Destania's plan is brought to the sunlight, but fan-fiction speculations aside, the piece, which may even aspire to the name of symphony, is utmost beautiful. I didn't want to re-hear this album with my S1 and headset -- I waited, until I had free evening alone, so I decided to hear it from beginning to the end when I'm on this company trip to Kopenhagen. So, relaxed, with a glass of Tuborg Julebryg in my hand I've immersed in peculiar garden of sounds. And when it came to second, or maybe third movement of Dragonsong, I suddenly felt all the distance to my home, and almost burst into tears... This rarely happens, as I'm kind of numb when it comes to emotions. And this, dear Tapewolf, earned You extra star: I put eight-and-half on M.C.E, and now it can compete with Blechacz's interpretation of Chopin.

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Pancake ferret (Self/Jamendo 2008)

(2008-01-24@21:13)
We've been waiting for it. The fourth album from Tapewolf Pancake ferret (it's sticky and now it can fight back!). When I first downloaded this title and gave it a try, =I've had mixed feelings: maybe I was not quite in the mood, but it sounded a bit odd to me. And then my S1 player looped around the playlist... And again... And I found myself humming the lyrics. Once again I got wrapped in the peculiar carpet of sounds, and let my mind wander through the Artist's concepts. My favourites? My wicked life with the Hattifatteners -- It's purely coincidence, that this is the only entire instrumental piece on the record, though the Author says in workshop note, that some vocals could use some improvement. I tend to agree -- I hear nothing wrong with the singing, (sans one or two technicalities), but I've got this general impression, that the mastering was done in kind of rush -- maybe if the tapes were left to linger for couple months, then mastered, and maybe some tracks redone, there would be much improvement in general quality. Maybe. But it is provided "as-is" and it's good enough. One off-topic reflection: tracks Apocalypse in 4/4, princes of Dreams and Sheep are satanic I'd like to hear in arrange for classic rock band. Summing up? I'm not disappointed (as it was with paniq's new release) -- J.P.M seems to be still in good shape. I'll give six: not because this album is weak, but because it's slightly inferior to the previous ones, but this is the risk, when one is compiling pieces that didn't fit in concepts for previous records. Worth hearing at least (but not limited) to hear the way Sam cannot say 'soy' :).

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Three little pigs - the story of vengeance (Self/Jamendo 2009)

(2009-05-29@10:00)
This seems to be perfect moment to write the album review. As some of You may have noticed, Tapewolf, aka Doug-The-Eagle (J.P Morris) has released another record, "Three little pigs -- A Tale of Vengeance". The album is recorded using sacred Old Ways -- with multi-track and all-analog mixing. Also, as any good old prog-rock album it is clearly divided into virtual 'sides' of vinyl record. Side 'A' is the eponymous story of three little pigs, though much more darker, than the popular fairy tale: this time the pigs are the bad guys and wolf is doing right. We get gently introduced into the mood by overture starting with synth cello prelude, giving far resemblance of Finnish Apocalyptica band, then at once stepping into prog-metal climates, with sound a bit resembling the old and forgotten Tiamat. The catchy chord progression is shared this or other way by all parts of the suite, binding the pieces of story together. Compared to this, side 'B' may seem to be just a filler, but is not -- the four remaining pieces, three of which are instrumental, give the hearer necessary relief. The only song on side 'B' is again anchored to DMFA/Jakob Pettersohn universe and may be a bit unclear to people not familiar with these stories, but as music piece is beautiful. Any overall comments? Although Pancake Ferret appeared to me as compiled in rush, this album is carefully thought out and prepared. The quality of sound is best of all the albums released to date. Doug earned eight (8) starts this time, and is nominated to Album of the Year 2009.

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And Daryil answered, or Hippie tunes vol.6: songs of Lies and Larceny (Self/Jamendo 2010)

(2010-05-26@08:31)
Another album from this great artist. This time not awaited long. No announcements, except maybe for easy to omit note on Author's service, that tapes were submit to mastering. No promises nor due dates -- just a surprise to all listeners' delight. Same as the former releases, this album is clearly divided into virtual sides of vinyl record. First side is consequently kept in mood of late 1960's, from the first notes immersing us in vintage klang of Hammond organ and Würlitzer electric piano. Although setups resemble a bit those in Pancake ferret, the style is more consistent and mastering far better. As for the songs: this time experiments with sound and attempts to surprise listener were postponed for sake of good old song. Great hummable tunes and real swing, making one tap the rhythm with fingertips. And this through first five songs. Then take a rest and enter the mad race of All machine -- a pun on late 80's British electro-pop, set of voltage-controlled synths played against beat-box, which sounds almost, but not quite, entirely unlike TR-808. But, the choice of sound and timbre was not random and corresponds to the song lyrics. Same for rest of the second half of the album, up to the final, eponymous ballad. Joseph once again showed us, he can surprise with something new and that it is all about music, not technical puzzles. This album uses more instrumental passages and improvised solos than former ones, also vocal quality is improving. Song lyrics, the same as album title, again refer to DMFA / Jacob Pettersohn universe, although knowing, who Lord Daryil is, is not quite necessary to enjoy the album. Or maybe may be helpful to understand an inside joke in the final song (I don't want to spoil, but it is certain, that young adventurer has no idea, what kind of person Daryil is). My favourites? I treat this album as a whole, every piece is in its place, and shall not be moved. Over all rating? Great album again, eight stars [++++++++--] and nomination to Album of the Year award for 2010.

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More songs about demons (Self/Jamendo 2011)

(2012-04-03@21:39)
Progressive without metal
And once again we immerse into so well known sounds, that less and less are just 'reverse-engineered Pink Floyd stuff' and more in their own unique style. Once again some of the lyrics and concepts are either form DMFA or Jacob Pettersohn universe, but once again being not familiar with these works do not impair reception.
This disk is a bit more 'mainstream' than totally retro experiments in ...and Daryil answered, some instrumental tracks thrown in... But the final song is just beautiful: makes me start to wonder, what if Phillip ever assembled a band an gave a concert...
Yet, overall the sound is a bit crude and the album lacks a concept. Seven stars [+++++++---], and enter to the Album of the Year 2011 competition.

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Ladytron

604 (©2001 Invicta HiFi )

(2012-03-11@16:10)
Quite a shame, that I've learned about existence of the group Ladytron so late. But this is maybe because I ceased to listen to the commercial radio broadcasts. I've been pointed to it when I was searching all resources about KORG MS-20, quite frequently seeing a phrase (approximately): One of the most remarkable contemporary users is Mira Aroyo of Ladytron. But I've decided for thorough rehearsal their music, when I was looking for the original song, from which Kiteh & Trakker: Teh Fut4r3 Krü (iz dead) (not knowing, that it is not Ladytron but Mizkitti). And it was good. So good, that I wanted album. And there was already four of them when I got interested (in 2009).
So, one might ask: What is so special about Ladytron? Nothing really. And then everything. We've heard electro-pop already. We've heard sweet Scottish female accent, also we've heard the Eastern-European. We've heard the daring sounds of electro-clash and all the outdated\oldschool electronic instruments. But not together and at once. And then come the lyrics: being a rhythm and melody themselves and underneath of that packed with metaphors and symbolism (I'm still discovering and deciphering some of that).
But to the point. About the album: 604 is a good introduction to the general style and concept. It is a compilation of material, that Ladytron was playing in numerous gigs for quite some years before this release. Sound is raw and rough, there are many experiments and very good understanding of the equipment. And almost all the pieces on the disk are songs (in most straightforward meaning of the word), my favourite being Paco and playgirl. The album is good. Not the usual half-digested pulp mass produces by entertainment industry. They get the crowd attracted with nice and simple melody, then hit them with weird electronic sound and for the last punch make them to wonder and discuss the text. This translates to my final grade: Eight stars [++++++++--], and this only because it is a compilation.

.:TOP:.

Light and Magic (©2002 Telstar )

(2012-03-11@16:10)
The album 604 I was cycling on my S1 for months, yet it left me a bit hungry. I've obtained the next in queue, Light and magic. With this disc I found myself again surrounded by unity of opposites: elektro-pop, but played with experimental sounds of early 1980's synthesizers. Nice, easy melody, but the lyric full of mental traps. And two completely different ways of singing them. After some months already of listening to this album from time to time I see another thing. It is (although it is not easy to notice) a conceptual album: Title Light and Magic is giving a hint. Subjects of all the lyrics are using illusion, produced either by modern technology or lies, to hide something. I strongly recommend to dig the words a bit deeper. As for the music -- one who think, that there is not really much we can squeeze out of old equipment, are wrong. Even when using preset sounds (like in Blue Jeans), the song can be short for masterpiece. On the other hands, kudos for sound engineer for the work she or he done to the drum machines to sound not-plastic. The disc is full of billboard-ready tunes, it is also hard to pick one favourite for me. but as I remember, when I was choosing randomly, most frequently I've hit the eponymous song, Light and magic. I was attracted equally by music as abstract and by the text, that seemed simply, but I still cannot fully grasp the proper context. Second in line to be probably Evil and Seventeen; I'm not so surprised, they've released these three on singles.
I liked the general mood of this album and the feeling, that there is something beneath. Well composed, well designed, well played. Nine starts [+++++++++-].

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Witching hour (©2005 Island Records )

(2012-03-11@16:10)
There was some pause between this album and the one before - but it was not hiatus. Group was doing a lot, and one of the thing was preparing new material. In some aspects we are back to raw and random of 604, on the other hand, the klang evolved and changed, readily noticeable change being use of electric guitar -- but not to go mainstream: sound experiment is still there, as well as really nice tunes, some citations from general pop/rock cultural icons used with taste and adding to the symbolism of lyrics
My favourites? from one side, the catchy single Last One Standing. On the other the down-tempo instrumental passage CMYK. This is a decent album. Ladytron, Still creative even if not shocking anymore, earns strong and deserved seven stars [+++++++---]

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Velocifero (©2008 Nettwerk )

(2012-03-11@16:10)
Just wait a bit, and there goes another record. The overall klang is more similar to Witching hour than to the pioneer two albums. Yet it isn't anything bad. Maybe I didn't spend so much time with this album as with the earlier three, still I liked it, but the strange attraction, that makes me listen to a disc over and over wasn't there. The album is a bit more mainstream, but not deprived of experiments like in Kletva and Predict the day.And they saved one very nice single for the last track, Versus. My rating? Nice little thing. A bit less daring, than the first two -- but this may be only we got used to the style. Seven stars [+++++++---].

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Gravity the seducer (©2011 Nettwerk )

(2012-04-03@21:39)
After some break in releasing, but filled up with concerts and tours, Ladytron issued another disk. New material, new ideas, slightly new sound.
This release is just a compilation and quite short. Yet it draws in: first the ambiguous title, that can be read in two totally orthogonal ways, giving different key to understand meaningful lyrics.
Pieces of poetry, with lots of vague and a bit cryptic references to almost everything: news, history, philosophy and urban legends. A puzzle for my mind to read all symbols right.
As for the music and klang: this album is a bit more mainstream. Sound experiments are still there, but are not an axis of the composition, and are more subtle and refined -- wise will marvel, foul won't ask. I know, the band has to evolve, but I sometimes miss the raw sound of 604.
And for those, who practice their operatic skills during their morning shower, there is fan-service: a karaoke version of ace of Hz attached at the end.Overall, this is a decent album. Maybe a compilation, but each piece brilliantly invented and carefully crafted. Seven stars[+++++++--]. The group is mature, now comes the time for conceptual album.

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Grace Valhalla

Psychopathetic (Jamendo 2005)

(2009-02-03@20:33)
-- the first compilation. ID3 tags in the tracks say, it was mastered in 2005, although publication to Jamendo was made June 2006. The album opens with title piece -- quite unique mix resembling a bit CASIO keyboard demo song, until the guitars kick in: it is hard to distinguish, whether guitar is played live or looped -- but who cares? The final effect is good. We can hear more of it in the next piece: today; after peculiar harmonies of opening tune now we enter mild, multi-layered sound carpet, resembling distantly Mike Oldfield's late works. So is next in line november MMIII, which adds also some radiophonic effects at the end; them leading naturally to the powers of the herb, which bears strong influence of middle east harmonities, though tailored into tonal restrictions of western music. little ball, which closes the record, is little different in mood than the others -- for me the mood is a bit nostalgic, up to mild depression. The feeling of nostalgia is especially brought by the vinyl noise in the background. Overall -- a nice thing, good both for ambient sound background and for relaxing evening alone with Your stereo -- but why so short?. Eight stars.

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Peak~ (Jamendo 2007)

(2009-02-03@20:33)
-- next in line. This one uses more sequencing and electronic gear, and is overall more aggressive, yet still the main quality is perfect harmony of sound and surprising the audience with new klang. As the Author herself commented (at least what was left from it after machine translation: my understanding of French limited to 20 words) -- she makes music, she would like to hear -- and I think, this is the best way for every artist: on DMFA forums once somebody said to the Author (Amber Williams): "You're Your most important audience, it is good as long, as it is fun for You" -- that we can have fun also, is only a by-product. But back to the album: the choice of instruments a bit determined the overall mood and purpose. This album is more ambient, but also more experimental -- with small excursions to musique concrète; it lacks hummable tune or a catchy single, but is a perfect as a whole. Overall: Seven stars.

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Wire (Jamendo 2007)

(2009-02-03@20:33)
The latest album (as of 2007). The Author said, this is a compilation of "side B" tunes, that didn't fit to previous albums or needed remastering -- I think, this self-depreciation biased judgement of some reviewers of this album, as I think, from all the three this one is the best. From the very beginning: rash me is readily recognisable tune; still noxed wins my heart by passionate guitar solo; Abyss and fresh are attracting with experiment on sound and editing, where ammoniac is a bit psychedelic in harmonies and sounds ("meow!"). The closing tune, jim, takes us back to the minimal setup know from album psychopathetic: drum machine, bass and guitar -- but this time with brief vocal samples. Will we have a bit more of it in the future? Overall: another Must-have on the shelve. I'll give nine stars!
=> Once again, after Robotnicka in 2004, French female artist has left me stunned. I allow my self to paraphrase words from Robotnicka's Spectre en vue review by Franklin Bruno. Grace -- You do, what the French are conventionally thought incapable of: You rock.

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SummerCamp (Jamendo 2008)

(2009-01-30@23:59)
So, I was cycling new Grace Valhalla's album in my S1 for several weeks now, and I think it is the time to drop a few words about it. First an off-topic remark: there should be functionality to inform You by e-mail about new releases of favourite artists -- I wouldn't miss this very album in 2008 then... But to the review: SummerCamp is so far the best Grace's album of all I've heard. From the first notes it may be noticed, that the sound and techniques have been redesigned from scratch, and probably some new instruments have been employed. Album opens with nice hummable tune entitled Roselyn, build over a guitar riff of four never-dying punk rock chords. It is nice prelude to the next one, All my life, which albeit a bit more aggressive, is still a slowly revolving sound carpet -- and a hidden surprise for sensitive ear: there are some reverse tape effects in the background. All in all, there is much more 'radiophonicness' (or musique concrète, as Francophone say): many found sounds interleaved with vintage synth we find in title tune of the album, and the culmination of sound manipulation is the Voodoo Lounge, a tripnotic mix of bits and scratches of Latin America soundtracks, that makes You feel almost like You sit within a circle of people during some strange ritual. And there come Dream Catchers, which resembles a bit works of Fred Nachbaur, but again with intriguing background noises, which for first I took for sound artifacts left by reverb machine. But they were intended, just like in next tune, Sandy where some digital whistles at the threshold of audacity give this nostalgic feel of Amiga module music and early sampling techniques. In feeling scattered we find somehow more modern arrange and a play with melody line moved to multiple-resonant drone bass sounding like crazy electronic didgeridoo. This tune also, probably because of the guitar and apreggiated ostinato recalls to mind works of Tangerine Dream. Then we are waken from speechless awe by brief visit In the Savage club -- again a slightly detuned camp guitar and insane dance, only to get back to civilisation by sunDogs, which sound more like a trial given to newly bought instrument, but is very enjoyable. We take a little rest in The garden of birds and waters, which slowly reveals its wonders and leads to grand finale, with delicious orchestral feel of space. Any conclusions? This album is much more than just another ambient sound wallpaper. There is much progress in comparison to previous albums, many ideas, many inventions, and almost touchable fun, that the Artist had while recording this music. I have had fun also. Nine stars on my private ranking and coup-de-coeur. Have I not missed it in November, would definitely win 'album of the year 2008' competition.

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Robotnícka

Divide and Conquer split LP (self, Maloka, Zorlac, Traffic Violation; 2001)

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(2010-01-22@23:05)Driven by all good fun I had, when listening to Spectre en Vue! (27/4 for almost nine moths) I've decided to probe also the earlier album. Back then the group had a lead guitar, second singer an none keyboards. They sound more like a decent high-school rock band. But they composed all of their pieces themselves and the quality is already very good. There is no over-excitement nor piercing sounds, but saying, the album is not worthy is unfair. This album is just a compilation, but compilation of very good work. I like every single piece, although the disc lacks concept and the mastering is a bit below average. But they rock. I sounds impossible for French people, but they rock. Despite all he flaws, on my private scale six stars [++++++----].

Spectre en Vue! (self, Maloka, Bloodlink, IRRK; 2004)

(2010-01-22@23:05)
Almost everything has been said already in review of this album made by Franklin Bruno. But just for a file: Imagine a mind setup, where all lyrics are written from a position of objects, like Kraftwerk did it (Ich bin ein riesiger elektrischär Generator!). Imagine a basic blues instrumentation consisting of drums, bass guitar and various vintage synthesizers, like Gershon Kingsley's squad, that recorded Popcorn. And on top of that an overly excited female vocal -- somewhere between Björk and Metal Urbain. All together is Robotnicka. From first notes of the album the listener is just caught and dragged by insane tempo and all the excitement. The recipe for success? As in all punk and punk-like productions: the album -- although has a concept and consistent mood -- is just glued together with only catchy singles. Every tune has its place and every tune is hummable and dance piece. Overall? I've jumped our of my socks when I've heard it for the first time on Nectarine.eu and when I've downloaded the album and listened for the first time. So much energy and touchable joy, that the group had when recording it. Behind that, they play really on a professional level. Listen to the bass and drums -- such a mastery is pretty rare even in well-paid commercial bands. And remember, they're just amateurs, a bunch of students that happen to play together and give some concerts in free time. I just crave to see them on stage -- but, unfortunately, they're temporarily disassembled. Still, I give nine stars [+++++++++-] and it was Album of the Year for 2004.

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paniq (Leonard Ritter)

Neurons -- Fire at will! (self/Jamendo 2005)

(2010-01-29@23:49)
The very first album from paniq I've ever heard. I've got familiar with this music when listening to Nectarine.org in the period, when I've greedy downloaded everything that sounded good. I totally don't know, how did I land in panig.org -- the web front-end of Leo Ritter's creative actions. But there I've found this album. The album is just a compilation lacking the general concept, but the work is crafted and mastered carefully and with sense of humour. There are some mild experiments and lots of things, that will sound new for mainstream listeners, but are quite common thing for Demoscene insiders. There is no radiantly brilliant or innovative piece on the disc, but I like every single song. For these, who listen it for the first time, I recommend to listen the last track to the end -- giving a bit of patience to the silence gap. My favourites are Life, Elektronische Musik and the very bonus-track. Overall? Something more than just another demoscene music disk, a really nice alternative to the commercial dance music, very good experience for people seeking new sound. My opinion: Eight stars [++++++++--], and it earned Album of the Year for 2005.

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Lost known good configuration (self/Jamendo 2006)

(2010-01-29@23:49)
Also sometimes misspelled Last known God configuration. A full-length CD release of pop-elektro dance with lots of experiments on sound and virtual synthesizers. Some tracks were released before mastering of the album, eg. Der Weise shown up on Nectarine.org as single and Barcode anxiety was used as soundtrack for demo Die Ewigkeit schmerzt. Leo Ritter is renown for never be boring, so this album is similar but totally unlike the former, Neurons - Fire at will!. Lots of new Klang, lots of experiments, some weird remixes and recycling of various found sound and music clips. My favourites? Der Weise, Evoke and Saturday bam. If You like catchy melody backed with daring experimental electronic sound, You should like it. Excellent album, but not state-of-the-art. Seven stars [+++++++---].

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Story of Ohm (self/Jamendo 2007)

(2009-11-07@17:42)
At first glimpse I didn't like that album. Too loud and too techno. But I didn't give it much attention, so I didn't recognize it's qualities at first. Whole disk is at once experimental and popular -- the composer did manage to step outside rigid framework of dance music giving us some new sound, and new rhythm -- especially the 6/8 in Kiroyal. Although it was not planned, there is a line that can divide whole album into two parts, starting from Niemals sterben, there are songs, and my favourite being Der Sturz. Summary? A decent album, many experiment with synths and drummachines, quite pleasant mix of styles and sounds (klang).

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From Zero To Hero (self/Jamendo 2009)

(2009-11-07@17:42)
I was in fear, that this album might also be misunderstood by me, so I have given it a good try, when I was driving to my in-laws. So, we type "paniq" in the google, and we have first surprise: the album on composers own web page is different from the one published on Jamendo. I mean the tunes are the same, but the list is arranged differently. Does it change anything? I'm used to listening whole albums. I believe, that the composer, singer, or at least sound engineer had a concept to arrange tunes on disk in one order not another. I feel it to be a blasphemy to use random shuffle on a record that is not compilation or “the best of”. Seeing such a thing, as two releases the same, but different, can mean two things: either the author or publisher didn't care, or the author changed own mind after time. Which case we cross here -- how the hell could I know? But to the album itself: The quality of sound and mixing is best of all albums to date. Among all the tunes we hear only one song, and an á capella one. There is some interesting experiment with ring modulation in Nuts and Bolts and The future of the Internet, Lovers in space sounds a bit like best old tunes by Members of Mayday, und alle so yeaah sounds as played on a broken cassette deck, so popular in 1990's. All in all, the album is not boring at all, and everyone can find a tune or two he or she will like. My opinion? Seven stars [*******---] and nomination for Album of the Year award.

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Work in progress (cc 2010 Bandcamp)

(2011-01-01@15:00)
I see, that Leo will not add anything to this compilation, therefore I may as well write a review of it as if it was real album. What is Work in progress? it is something like the Finally Unfinished tracks released few years ago by this artist: Put together singles and mixes, that didn't fit into any album or were just abandoned, yet too good to be forgotten. As such -- an artist's trashcan -- the album shows vast variety of styles, arranges and timbres. New sound, new rhythm, new concepts. This disk seems to me to be just a silent bragging and playing on a nose to all other artists -- like saying: 'Hey, look! I throw to trashes things that are far better than your best ones'. And good. Greatness deserves to be recognized. As for the disk: you need to hear it to get a grip of the concept of a soundscape tour over the peculiar zoo of curious sounds and music experiments. None of the two tracks are alike. Everything is surprising. My choice are the four songs starting from Time, and the Weltkrieg -- the last one containing vast citations from symphonic works and military music arranged into basic rave/hardcore techno setup (with TR-909 and hoover lead). As a whole the collection is quite impressive. Additional value is, that whole is composed using single Aldrin workstation, therefore produced cheaply. Final verdict: eight stars [++++++++--], and shame on You all others.

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Beyond good and evil (2011 Bandcamp)

(2011-01-30@22:22)
This was advertised as "The most remarkable album on the entire Earth" and Leo promised us, that he is not being pretentious. But alas! After all this overburden, a mountain gave birth to a mouse.
I'm not saying that the album is bad: quite contrary, the quality is state-of-the-art and the release form equals and sometimes exceeds commercial albums, moreover -- the production committee, consisting of Leonard Ritter and Sylvia Klaus, has shown great organizational skills, beginning from raising founds, designing graphical artwork, inventing and manufacturing merchandise, arranging printing hardcopy of the records. In parallel they put much effort and energy to promote the album throughout all available information channels, mostly social networks and community portals, reaching "noosphere" size bigger than local radio station and approximately the size of nation-wide broadcast company (like Poland). For just a couple of creative people, without all those "relatives and acquaintances of the Rabbit" in record industry, such a thing was considered impossible to happen -- until now.
And then comes slight disappointment. This album is IMO remarkable in everything but the music, which is just decent craftsmanship -- no concept, no big sound, no experiment, no fun. Clinical case of a work that should be great by assumption, but it isn't, like the large charity projects, where audio producers bang together 'the best of the best' from their stable and feed them with some nice idea to get something monumental, but the yield mostly is just single-shoot which You like, because You were told to. So, Leo -- You have great workshop and now (since You left Demoscene and making a Demo doesn't apply anymore) go make conceptual album about it.
Anyway -- great job in educating people about CC license, but strictly MUSICALLY, the compilation "work in progress" was better. Amen. Six stars [++++++----].

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Maniax Memori (Maxime Marion)

L€ktro Pöppe (Jamendo 2006)

(2010-01-29@23:49)
So, I have had it cycling on my S1 for some time now, time to drop a few words. This is the first of Maniax Memori albums published to-date. As the author said, the pieces included in the compilation are various compositions recorded in former years -- but whole has been mastered to form an album. Some of the songs use continuous mix (without pause). Generally there is much experimentation with sound, klang, rhythm, and radiophonic techniques. Some of the loops and tracks I've already known from Grace Valhalla's albums, so my suspicion, that the acquaintancy of the two artist is more mutual, than just sharing the same label, seems to be true -- if they exchange pre-recorded material. However not social patterns are my concern, but music. And the music is better than just good. This album may seem just another trip-hop mix -- but it has a swing: when listening, just from the first few seconds You find Yourself banging the head and tapping fingers to the arm rest or desk top. The rhythm is contagious, and the loops adhere to the mind like self-repeating meme. Every note has its place and every piece seems just natural in the order of the album. And it rocks. Sources of looped tracks are very various: from generic beat tracks through many electronic passages ending with Beethoven's Seventh (in fucked TH rbbr) and De Gaule (?) and Hitler's public speeches (in The free mix and 39/45 inD). Certainly, this is something You won't pass by indiferently. Final rating? Eight stars. [++++++++--]

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The Art Of War (Jamendo 2007)

(2010-01-10@19:28)
A sort of Deja Vu: Another surprisingly great French artist and another case of an album I didn't like at first replay, but after seasoning two years in the depths of desk drawer I've suddenly rediscovered it. And this was wise from my side, because I've recognized some unusual qualities. I've expected something like Grace Valhalla, but The Art of War is bit more aggressive and experimental than Grace's albums. The ten songs are arranged along ten verses of a famous Jules's quote from Pulp fiction (which he names “Ezekiel 17:25”). Just from the first sound in prophets we sink into great experimental sound carpets. No two pieces on this record are alike, this is a great mixture of different sounds and arranges -- but the same mood. My favourites? nnosense(3) and campaign(6). Overall: great experiment on sound, maybe not as radical and nonconformist as Matmos, but definitely not a single-use pulp the commercial radio tries to feed us. I give eight stars: [++++++++--] -- A must-have on Your shelve.

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Daniel Bautista

Music for a Film (Jamendo 2007)

(2010-01-29@23:49)
Another full-length album by Daniel. As the title describes, it is a composition exercise, to make a suite of variations over single catchy music theme to permute it through all illustrative moods and arranges -- just as the film music composers do. From the first notes of the opening song, to the End credits we immerse in different music world and almost see the act, which this music could accompany. Song titles are not very sophisticated -- look more like workshop notes for the sound engineer for final film montage: Action Scene, Love theme, Epic intermission or utmost funny Elevator music. The arranges are simplistic: drum-machine with electric and acoustic guitars -- but the effect is spacious and monumental. Contrary to the Beethoven album (which was the first of Daniel's releases I've heard ) the lack of bass guitar is barely heard and almost unnoticeable, also the beat-box sounds more natural, although this album was mastered EARLIER -- just another puzzle. But who cares? Outcome is marvellous. Every of my friends -- who usually listen to commercial pulp served by country-wide radio stations, and by whom I am renown as person listening to weird and experimental music -- actually said, that they like this album very much. Any final notes? I liked this album very much too. Intended as just music background it is really nice piece of work even as stand-alone creation. I give eight stars [++++++++--].

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Beethoven (Jamendo 2008)

(2010-01-10@19:28)
Quite short instrumental album. A bit modernized interpretation of some most known Beethoven passages on electric guitars. The raw and daring sound brings freshness and whole new look to a bit stalled world of romantic music and its interpretations. Especially the Seventh Symphony -- speaks for itself and needs no further explanations. Very good job for making these works popular again. Any flaws? So what comes to the first plan is the Klang: although the guitars are played perfectly, the lack of bass and the fact, that recordings were made against automated drums, are audible, but not annoying. Then the mixing could have been more dynamic -- but this will come over time, maybe letting the sound files to be mastered by some more experienced sound engineer will do. I have also some words to say about the interpretation in general: it didn't made me jump out of my socks (although it made me to discover anew the Beethoven's symphonies). When it comes to the rock interpretations of classical music, the standards were set long ago by Emerson, Lake & Palmer and now the listener expect something more than just exact replay -- though I must say, that cropping Seventh an Ninth without loosing the mood was quite an achievement. And The Great Fugue needs no face-lifting -- it already sounds of 70's psychedelia. Summary? This record could use bass guitar and drums played by live person, together with some improvised solos, but is not bad at all: six stars [++++++----].

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Weirdos and classics (Jamendo 2010)

(2010-05-26@08:31)
The newest release from Daniel. It was lingering in my drawer for several months, as it was published in January, but i needed a second look into that disc. The same as in previous albums, we have here setup od drum box and guitars laboriously layered by multi-track recording. The album is mixture of classical pieces arranges and original compositions. Music is played with ease and great skill, sound just flow, and only somewhere in the back of one's head You know, how much work was put into that. Again, in some songs the lack of bass can be heard, but is not so significant, also the beat box is programmed more carefully to not sound so monotonous. My favourite? Two of them: the interpretation of M.Ravel's Bolero, which brings up all elements of Fado style, one is almost expecting the Portuguese words to be sung; the other is Heaviest shit on earth, just because -- can't say why. Summary: this is a decent album, obviously, that author did have fun recording it, some interpretations are a bit flat and hollow, but there is nothing wrong. Seven stars [+++++++---] and nomination to Album of the Year award for 2010.

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Cocktail Eleven (2011 Jamendo)

(2012-04-03@21:39)
Fine blend
New release that waited almost whole year to get reviewed. I have it looped for several days on my player, and it didn't get boring -- this counts always for plus.
Cocktail Eleven is a fine mix of instrumental pieces from different genres: it opens with citation from Mars by Gustav Holst, which in turn I know as part of soundtrack for old Amiga game, Megalomania... There are also some progressive rock pieces, recorded with guest musicans (but still against drum machine). And somewhere inbetween all-guitar renditions of two wedding marches, Wagner's and Mendelssons. And yes, the Chopin's nocturnus op.9 (no.2) known throughsoundtrack for /blue lagoon/, carefully arranged for (if I'm counting right) four guitars.
This album is great to explore and fun to listen. I dread to think, what would it be live with real drummer, eight stars [++++++++--].

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Adam Castillo

NEPTUN (cc 2010 Jamendo)

(2011-05-25@12:30)
A conceptual album. I like conceptual albums. I've approached this release with caution -- last time someone recommended me his own album it ended badly. Obviously, I was wrong. This work proven to be a very nice one. Connected with a short story of the same title, the album is a tale of journey to the most distant (real) planet of Solar System. Artistic concept is quite interesting, and the compositions themselves beautiful. Arranges are typical Electronica, with well-known sounds of late 80's polysynths, augmented here and there with some special effects. Recording and mixing is flawless. Listening to this work was really mystic experience and great journey. Eight stars [++++++++--].

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The Nabis Project (2010 Jamendo)

(2012-04-01@08:11)
When stars die
This album is build around a short story of the same title The Nabis Project or The Cosciousness of a Star written by Sonia de Braco over original idea of Adam. All pieces are very good illustration of the corresponding chapters of the story, but are a quality of themselves and serve also as stand alone work. Nice relaxing electronic music, sounding a bit of 1990's but not without some experiment and surprise sounds.
As said, this is a conceptual album, and should be received as whole, yet I think my favourite is approaching the Earth
Recording and mixing quality is absolutely good. The mood is spoiled a bit by use of text-to-speech software rather than real reading (Hey, there are voice manipulation applications), but maybe I'm just allergic to that after receiving countless advertising calls.
For me, seven stars. [+++++++---].

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Tahiti New Age (2011 Jamendo)

(2012-04-01@08:11)
Where ancient meets modern
Another full length album by this great artist. A conceptual suite, inspired by folklore music and culture of Tahiti native people. Author writes in the album leaflet, that these are all tracks from some old albums, now given a new mix and a concept. I'm not quite familiar with Adam's earlier work, so I don't have this feeling of the same tracks recycled over and over (as some lazy producers of commercial entertainment industry too often do).
This album is surprising. We have here evenly divided rhythm, sequenced bass, slowly modulated drone pads -- all the artistic measures used by downtempo genre and relaxation music. Yet, the album is all invigorating. And inspiring. It made me to dig the net to search for sources -- the Tahiti Heiva (the word meaning 'music' and 'dance' and 'festival', something like 'sabar' in Senegal). There is something in ancient tribal ways of making music, that goes directly to the bones and emotions. We may learn so much from the sources. Seven stars [+++++++---].

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Mindless Self Indulgence

Tight (©1999 Uppity Cracker)

(2010-04-22@00:03)
What can I say: I've put MSI in the same playlist as all the MU compilations, and got caught, that there is something not right only when I've heard the language of the song. MSI is quite queer setup of punkish guitar, classic bass and a male version of Björk as vocal all played against digital drum-box augmented with live drums break-beats. It really is like MU, but totally different and much-much better. Surprising music and sound experiments, mind-bugging lyrics, performance, that tries to be careless and frivolous, but in fact is carefully staged and tweaked to perfection. This is their first album released, but not a début: they were giving concerts for quite a time before that, just enough to gain significant fan base. This album must be a very queer experience for those, who heard Little Jimmy Urine on the concert. I didn't. So overall: It was nice to listen. Maybe not so energetic as R0b0tnicka, and not so raw like MU and Polish punk groups of my Youth. But there's really something into that. And the super-hilarious bonus track :). I give seven and half of star: [+++++++---] for lack of catchy single.

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You'll rebel to anything (©2005 Uppity Cracker)

(2010-04-22@00:03)
This was the first MSI album I've ever heard. And I liked it from the first sound. Interesting mix of raw punk instrumentation and basic radiophonic techniques. Experimental, but catchy and danceable. The kind of music, one may get wild along on the concert. And on top of that Little Jimmy Urine, trying hard to be not so excited over what he's doing. It must have been fun to record this disc, and it can be heard. And as for group who claim, they slack off and don't take care, they're really surprisingly good. My favourite tune? the eponymous You'll rebel to anything, as long as it's not challenging. A tong twister in the chorus, and Jimmy raising from whisper to shout in the same sentence. Pure energy. overall? Eight stars plus [++++++++--].

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If (©2008 The End Records)

(2010-04-22@00:03)
the newest album so far (2010). Generally it sums up Europe tours and new material. Yes There is nothing You can do, that I've not already done to myself. Still fresh and not fallen into routine. Listening to it I was a bit biased by daring experiments made on YRTA, this album being a bit more mainstream, I've for first taken for a bit inferior. But this assumption was wrong, fortunately. The material from If must be a great experience, when heard on a concert. Yes Punch your lights out/Hit the pavement/That's what I call entertainment. And so on. I've done some research on this album, and learned, that the last song, mark David Chapman was written "on the internet" with fans' guidance. Some of the reviewer complained, that the group starts to serve just their loyal minions ignoring all the rest -- so maybe it is, what gives MSI best fun? They're playing mostly for themselves, not for You and such thought is rather born in a mind of phonographic producer, counting the records he could sold for profit for the "general audience" and licenses for elevator music -- not a person who loves music and freedom. I've loved this disk, regardless if I'm MSI fan or not. Eight stars [++++++++--].

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4Mat (Matthew Simmonds)

Decades (cc 2010 Bandcamp)

(2011-05-25@12:30)
Quick recap for people outside Demoscene: 4Mat was, and still is, one of the most prolific musicians, well known for his tunes for C-64 and Ammiga, still active in Demoscene as well as in mainstream free music community. So -- being a legend sucks. Sucks, because expectations are higher. When I've first heard Decades I was disappointed: shallow sound, crude and spartan instruments settings, melodies and arranges that somehow sounded not right. As SID sounds sampled on Amiga (and someone might like it) but without that energy of 1990's. The disk is hard to rate: there is nothing wrong with any particular tune, but I don't like that album. Something in the klang is just wrong. This record would make excellent Demoscene music disk, if the music was done real-time, but as for mainstream record this is just not enough. I think the term 'decent craftsmanship' describes it best. Therefore only six stars [++++++----].

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Surrender (cc 2011 Bandcamp)

(2012-03-25@12:11)
The same as the previous album by Matthew, this one was advertised on Pouet.
This is yet another album that I have difficulties to get used to. I've heard it only few times, and still don't like it. And yes, maybe it is dabbling with SID and Amiga and some of it performed live, but for me nostalgia rarely win over boredom here. As much as I like early 4mat's work, I didn't like Surrender at first time. There is daring sound and quite interesting experiments with rhythm and general construction of music pieces. Look at Lovers (track #3) for example: at first glimpse it was -- hmmm... -- onerous to listen. And then it just clicked in. But saying that Surrender is a bad album is unfair -- it is just not my wavelength.
It is decent and deserves six stars for some nice ideas. [++++++----].

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Piotr Pawłowski

Desiderium (2008 Jamendo)

(2010-01-10@19:28)
This was quite a discovery for me. I will not deny, I've givn it a try mostly because the name of composer sounded familiar -- It is nice to see, that one of my fellow country men came up to the standards. I've sampled it online, then decided, that though there is only one album, and so short one, I'll definitely take a longer glimpse. The Desideratum album holds only one three-piece suite, arranged and named like a mass. What strikes from the first notes, is very high quality of arrange and mixing. The score is replayed via some MIDI engine, but it is barely audible -- the mastering is a master work. The author shows great skill in composition techniques. I can only guess, that Mr. Piotr has formal education in musical composition. Once again it proves, that good preparation and workshop is 90% of the success: because even if the musical themes are somehow plain and impossible to cite (no “hummable” tune, like in eg. Beethoven's Seventh), the music drags to the proper mood, sucks in and carries the listener floating through cascades of mood swings and various arrange concepts. Great use of classical orchestra. Great management of mood through picking right sounds and timbres -- the composer didn't try to invent the wheel, and it is good, because this sort of work doesn't need it. To conclude: Eight stars [++++++++--], an I'd like to hear this music live in a concert hall.

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Requiem (2011 Jamendo)

(2012-04-03@21:39)
One man orchestra
Requiem. A tough topic: Monumental, reflexive, inspired and spirited. When one sees such title, expectations are high. But this time we will not be left disappointed. The suite takes you to the slow paced beautiful journey through imaginary world of massive orchestra arranges. Sounds and melodies in all voices are carefully layered and instrumented, giving always proper mood. Pain, sorrow, but also hope and glory -- all there when they're needed.
And now for the technicalities: It is hard to believe, it is not live recording. I mean -- maybe the strings have this peculiar synth vibe, but are by no means flat. And what deserves special attention, showing, that behind spark and talent there is perfect craftsmanship and hard work, are all the choir and vocal solo parts: It needs several replays and careful ear to notice it is in fact vocaloid-like speech synthesis. If You're not yet impressed by the absolute quality of music by itself, this should throw You on the knees.
Kudos. Hats off. Nine stars [+++++++++-]. This would be perfect album, when recorded in concert, I'd like it to be performed by Wiener Philharmoniker directed by David Zimman.

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Cosmic Spring

First transmission (Self, 2009)

(2012-03-25@12:11)
A studio album. Another great discovery through search of information on Korg MS-20. First You must see the YT videos created by Newueel, like Korg Monofive. After being amazed for week or so with playlist I've created from these videos, I've learned, the guy plays in a band. And they give concerts and they've recorded some albums (two at the moment I've discovered them).
So, what is worth noticing in First Transmission? It is electronic music, conceptual, experimental, but also nice hummable tunes and persistent rhythm. All wrapped in classic synthesizer sounds. Album is a compilation of compositions by all members of the group, bound together by loose concept of more or less obvious references to human space flight. And also the quality of music is remarkable: Just from first notes of first tune we go into carefully woven sound carpet, that sounds familiar, but is not clear to which genre and style it should belong. Clearly not downtempo, but relaxing. Not dance, but the rhythm is quite upfront. Classic elektro sound, but not without some klang experiments. Heavily sequenced, but also with lots of sound and melody line created by live tweaking. I believe, the group had some fun in creating an album, which connects some surprising opposites, to produce something new in field, where we used to think, that we already have heard The Very Everything. No, we did not: we didn't have heard Cosmic Spring. Eight stars for taking me by surprise [++++++++--].

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Live at Psi Picnic 2009 (Self, 2009)

(2012-03-25@12:11)
The other of two records available on group's website.
This disc is a live unabridged recording to single concert given at psynami convention. There is some new material present, like Sunset buzz, but we also meet here again all tunes well known from studio album, so alike, but so different: this is the poer of performing on stage, ability to do things a bit different each time and to express the immediate emtions shared with audience -- as explains one of the quotes used in Cray Circuits. All in all, when it comes to this kind of music, this is a pretty good live recording, caught exactly the energy of the performers and general mood of the event. I canfeel it, evenif there are no crowd noises mixed into tape. I expexted some more of new material though. Therefore only sevenstars [+++++++---].

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Moonove

Xplore EP (cc 2011 self)

(2012-03-25@12:11)
Moonove is French artist, member of BitJam collective, quite prolific, keeping releases and gigs every now and then since 2004. This short album was advertised on Pouët.
In fact, after downloading, I've totally forgot about it. So, just some days ago I gave it a chance and cycled it several times on my S1.
Xplore is quite short, just twenty minutes, like one side of split record. But it has it's own mood and climate. Electronic, sequential, meditative. The emotional load of this creation just talks to me, I liked it from the first wave of noise in Strange planet, through slow synth solos (SID?) of Machines and careful applying of silence periods At the dawn of new era up to the last inharmonious chime of Leeten. This is nice little record downtempo relaxing tracks for a short break. Seven stars [+++++++---]

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Matmos

The rose has teeth in a mouth of a beast (©2006 Matador)

(2010-01-29@23:49)
Who is Matmos? A music -- or better said Neatly and rhythmically engineered sound group from Baltimore/USA. I've first heard them one cold winter night on Polish National Radio Programme 2 (which is something like BBC-3, serving cultural news and classical music). And it dragged my attention immediately. The genre is hard to describe as it is not just Elektro -- rather pop version of Musique Congrète, You have to hear it Yourself to understand. The album itself is dedicated pro memoriam of ten (in Japan - 11) famous philosophers who are declared, or considered to be, homosexual. Because I don't know any of the names mentioned in the song titles, I don't fully grip the whole metaphor ans symbolic meanings nor the connections with lines of text and exact sounds used to compose -- but it didn't hinder my reception. The compositions are unique, no two pieces on the disc are alike, and every single one is great. It was a great experience to immerse in surprising sound textures and to slowly discover all musical and cultural allusions. I'm fully aware, that after four years of occasionally listening to this album I still miss some details -- but such the creation shall be, to reveal itself slowly, to show its beauty piece-to-piece. I will return to this record every now and then just to stretch my brain and try to find another layers. I give nine stars, for concept, idea and excellent performance in perfect workshop. [+++++++++-]. And as You know, it earned Album of the Year for 2006.
see also brainwashed

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Rafał Blechacz

Chopin's preludes and nocturnæ (©2007 Deutsche Gramofon)

(2007-11-07@09:00)
-- always check the other offer: Yesterday I was on late duty (I'll tell You about it later), and because it is unable for me to come to work later as I'm giving a lift to several people in the morning, I've made two hours' long lunch break. I've visited the nearby shopping center and bought myself a record. Not any ordinary record, but Rafał Blechacz's "Chopin's complete Preludiæ and Nocturnæ" -- the first of three disks, he was promised to record with Deutsche Gramophon. And before I review it, some curiosity: regarding of which store sold it, the price could balance between €20,- and €5,- (!); Moreover, the more expensive one was packaged in weak cardboard envelope, the cheap one was in decent perspex box. Normally, I would assume, someone mixed up the price labels, but both things were in separate and unrelated stores (a book store and electrical appliance retailer).{edit}It revealed later: the cheap-looking issue was in fact the better one: it has another layer of data track containing extra-high-quality dolby 5.1 audio stream, so called SONY Super Audio CD. This also solves the mystery touched later in this note. The better-quality CD was available, but not strongly advertised{/edit}
=> But now maybe back to the record. The envelope consist only of one large photo of the player, title only scribbled on a backbone -- which I liked. Inside: a nice sixteen page booklet with Chopin's profile on second page of cover, more photos of Rafał in several situations, and introduction in four languages (including Polish). As for the record itself, I didn't have proper conditions to replay it: I used battery operated portable player and low quality headphones, and I couldn't avoid the environment noise -- yet not the sound crispness was my concern, but the qualities of playing. And these were better than good. Now I can understand, why did Rafał harvest all possible prizes on XV International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition: This was amazing, unusual -- we used to a bit rhapsodic and over-expressed interpretations by Russian pianists or the almost sterile exact replay by Japanese; and this performance is from one hand -- technically perfect and precise, from the other, very, but not too much, emotional and colourful. For me a perfect bridge between the two mentioned 'national' schools. And with the unique technique and expression, comes also great understanding of the work, which led to discovery of common denominator of all 24 pieces in op.28 -- on this disk, they really sound as one album, not mere compilation; the posthumous prelude together with one prelude op.45 and two nocturnae op.62 are not just add-ons to fill the space, but they conclude and balance the work. Then comes one little drawback: it seems, that dynamics of standard 16-bit linear PCM encoding is not enough for such a thing. Even when I was comparing the offer of record stores, I was searching for DVD-audio record (24bit 120 kHz), but it seems, it is not available in Poland. Moreover, in middle part of prelude no.15 (in D-flat major) I heard, that the instrument didn't caught up with the pianist -- although this one was expectable, I've heard worse in my life. Finally: nine and half stars out of ten. Perfect record.
=> Because none of my favourite artist did release in this year, and I couldn't reach the new Hésperion, it seems, the Album of the Year competition is now solved.

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Аляксандр Ігаравіч Рыбак

Fairytales (©2009 EMI)

(2009-07-21@09:05)
I have had mixed feelings, when getting this particular record to serious review. I was afraid, that sans quite good single, all the rest may be just a crappy filler for the record. First glimpse at my player after loading the album was also alarming -- just few second spare to forty minutes: means the album was compiled in rush, and there was not enough recorded material... But, fortunately, all my assumptions were wrong. This is a début album -- and as a début album a decent one. Not just a compilation of random songs: albeit this record lacks a concept, all the compositions share the same mood and feel. I have done my homework, and while cycling the album on my S1, have read as much, as Mr. Wikipedia and Mr. LastFM had on artistic person of Aleksander (Yes, I WON'T write it with 'x'). It is promising, that he composed most of, and arranged all of the song on record himself -- although young and quite new to the business, he has a straight view of what he wants to accomplish. The songs are indeed something that may be called pop-folk, and are fine mixture of Celtic, Nordic, Slavic and Klezmer elements. All in all, the album resembles a bit the famous A day at the races by Queen -- if only Freddie was playing violin instead of the piano. Yes. And the violin is played with passion and precision. As always, I like most the two pieces, that are instrumental, because there Aleksander shows all his interpretation skills. So, if it's so good -- say people who started reading with peeping onto stars -- why so low rating? There are several reasons: The vocals are formally correct, but nothing more. There is some variety of songs on the disc, but voice character and timbre of the composer match less than half of the pieces -- I mean, Aleksander is a good singer, better than most pop stars, has musical ear and good formal training, but this is just not it -- the producer could invite some guest singers, especially for Dolphin> and thirteen Horses. Then the lyrics: nice, but they're juveniles, with all the advantages and fails of a juvenile. All in all, a good craftsmanship, very good style, excellent instrument play. Lyrics below average. And there comes the producer, and throws a techno-dance-fuck remix for a bonus track, that pours a bucket of dung over one's ears. Final rating: six and half of star [******+---].
Will this album have chance to be the Album of the Year? Not really, there are some rules as of nomination: This album is not Creative Commons licensed, nor the author is my personal acquaintance, nor the production is demoscene-related, and either this record didn't throw me on my knees from first listening.

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Synthésic

Instrumentales depuis 1989 (2009 Jamendo)

(2009-12-01@08:10)
I was drawn to Synthésic profile when listening to one of the streaming radios of Jamendo. This is the only one album/compilation on user's profile, tat has considerable length, all other are singles. As it was published this year (although contains material recorded much earlier, as the title suggests), I've decided to give it a try. The mood of early 1990's is clearly to be heard: this sounds more like one of the Amiga music disks. Although quality of sound is better, instruments and timbres bit more selected than ever recurring ST-01..ST-04 samples, the look and feel is almost like listening to Nectarine.eu radio station in Amiga zone. I'm not telling, that it is something bad -- but I've expected a bit more. Nevertheless, this album is not lacking some nice, hummable tunes (my favourites being Velocity and L'amour espoir), and is a bit more than just sound wallpaper. What counts for minus? The quality of mastering: some track might have been mixed better, and there are terrible errors in files: definitely not intended sound of broken-down CD player (short looping). My final conclussion: six stars [++++++----], slightly above average, but not so very special.

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Greg Baumont

Wood (2005 Jamendo)

(2009-12-01@08:10)
A real album, although so far only one on Jamendo. From the first sounds the listener is wrapped into peculiar world of klang, that is amazing and unique. The album is well-balanced, and every piece has its place. Every sound and layer seems to be put carefully to into whole creation. I like the general mood, although was not really familiar with the genre: Electro-Funk, I'd rather expect something like Daft Punk, but I'm positively surprised. So, to the songs: La sixieme porte de Shaanaghar is perfect for the opening, and gives a hint, what the whole album will be. Built over a single recurring riff, layered carefully and augmented with some SFX, resembles distantly of Tangerine Dream's Force Majeure. Le nettoyeur tries to tell a story of preparation to some shady business involving guns. Next in line, Blue star seems to be a recording, that whole album was built around. A nice, catchy song, arranged in some minimalistic electro design and with voco'ed vocal. That lead us to some style and sound experiment in Respirre!, with intro using all known artifacts of Hindi music, gently progressing into wide and spacey New-Age arrange. This one is probably my favourite. From mystic and meditative depths of that song we step into a mind trance of quite another sort: Why takes from Techno and Krautrock scene, what it has best, and transforms it in best way. All built over a single loop of TB-303 bass, ascending, descending and falling into whistling resonance throughout whole piece. Then comes the best one: Te new day, again gone to some areas of 'etno', this time of some nearer East. Muslim makam seems just natural over the nice elektro background. Some more use of vocoder just supplements whole thing. After that we come to a little reminder -- guest artist, Ilya Malyuev (Иля Малюев) made a great trance remix of Why. Then comes my least favourite, La face cachee de la lune, which is also great, but a bit not in the general mood of this album. All works close with Les chevaliers de l'Aar, another piece augmented with radiophonic effects to tell us a story: of long journey on horseback in the rain probably... And leaves the listener in a pensive mood. Any flaws? in The blue star settings of vocoder machine might have been chosen more carefully, as final verse pronounces a bit like Always too gangsta', but is not enough to dismiss even half of point. Almost perfect -- but not novatory, not inventive. Nice but not original. Eight starts [++++++++--].

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Zvonko i Gradski Ured Za Kulturu

Rapa a SastamaZvuk Mocčvare 2004)

(2010-01-22@23:05)
Browsing the links section on R0b0tиíčka's webpage, I suddenly found myself in Central Europe, on Balkan peninsula. In the city of Zagřeb, prosperous despite war, a group of friends set up a rock band, gave some concerts and issued a record. Their web-page (from where I've downloaded material reviewed here) is now defunct, mostly due to Yahoo/Geocities close down, and nobody cared to open elsewhere -- but they have so much coverage online, that it is not needed. So for the album. I is a compilation of material sung on concerts and various occasions, but all songs are connected with unique mood and distinctive Klang. The disk is opening with an instrumental-experimental passage Nagasaki, that may be a bit tricky, because has nothing to do with rest of the album. The story told here is obvious, so I won't spoil. Worth remarking is, that we hear here all possible instruments used elsewhere on this record, even a didgeridoo, and the Japanese is pronounced without accent. Out of a bit pensive mood we are waken up by Dekonstrukcija pop-pjesme, which introduces all group members and gives us general overview of their style. Next comes the catchy single (which was if I remember well even played once or twice by Polish State Radio programme 3): Gledam Televiziju. A pop-punk cover of some Croatian cabaret song (Vanja Sutlic & Schtrtz Teatar I believe). And then comes one of my two favourites: Gubiš svo to vrijeme. Very short, but just beautiful. And the phrase of the refrain is now welded to the back of my brain. Let's go away or a while is an instrumental passage, sounds a bit like elevator music, but is not bad at all. Zvonko u epizodi, a piece which gave the name to the group, is just a epic story, and as I'm not communicating freely using Serbo-Croatian, this is a total mystery to me. The same as Barbara. And then comes the turning point. After rather sweet and easy hummable tunes, comes one a bit darker: Rupa u sistemu (meaning: “a hole in the system”); the second of my favourites. Based on eight-bar blues in minor mode. And we go back to village festival in U ocekivanju Godota and have slight excursion to English speaking world in My old lady. The record is closed by sister Ray -- longest of all songs, and again with many sound experiments, binding like braces the whole construction. And at the end -- a bonus track: an overly excited cover of famous The Who piece, My generation. And this is it -- pity, that this was just single-shot enterprise, and no further albums are in plan. My opinion? It is nice, hummable, pop-punk music. The language is a bit exotic (even for a Pole), but it doesn't hinder the reception much. The composition, performance and mastering are maybe not perfect, but excellent for given technical restraints. I like this album very much. I'd love to see them live too. Seven stars [+++++++---].

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Métal Urbain

Les hommes morts sont dangeroux (© 1981 Celluloid, Bizz Records)

(2010-04-22@00:03)
A classic. Who is Métal Urbain? This is an oxymoron. A punk group from... France! The media have been feeding us with stereotype of French culture for years. Modern people may think, that France is a country of restaurants and fashion/cosmetics designers and factories, and the only music they know is J.M. Jarre. French people are conventionally incapable of Rock'n'Roll. But that is wrong! They can punk. They always could! Métal Urbain (MU) is first (1976), and most renown French punk group. Unique for both: the lyrics (very daring and anarchistic), and the music: raw and wild distorted guitars played against cheap electronic drum machine. Result? A pun on 'gay' elektro pop of the late seventies and great tribute to hatching punk movement. As for the record... Unfortunately, the group wasn't very creative. It is a classic case of "one record group". I've listened all albums I could get access to, mostly concert compilations and bootlegs, and I've noticed, they play over and over all the songs from first record. Therefore only one reviewed: the first and only studio disc. Quality of recording is low -- but such MUST be, punk is trashy, careless and indulgent. Lyrics are real poems, venting an unspeakable loath for contemporary society and spreading a hope in anarchy. And the music is danceable and hummable, rhythmic and easy, just as punk should be. My final opinion? One must hear it even just once. It's a part of history. Overall rating is: six stars [++++++----]. Being a figure in history is not enough to be great.

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CNCD.fi

CNCD album 1995 (©1995 self, TRSI Recordz)

(2010-05-07@10:33)
CNCD is (was?) a Demoscene group from Finland. They were once renown for Amiga demos, but mostly for "CNCD sample CD" -- a great collection of instruments for tracker-type music software, now quite rare collectible release. I've found reference to their webpage looking for the very instrument disc, but what I've found is interesting too. The album is nothing very unique, even for it's time -- but this is for the advantage: the sound of vintage synthesizers, fat juicy bass-lines and various radiophonic effects give this album distinguishable klang. The music keeps its slow pace, revealing slowly in queer harmonies and rhythms. I liked this album from the first notes. Something more, than just sound wallpaper: seven and half stars [+++++++---].

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KaEn

Dźwięki Epoki (2008? self, last.fm)

(2010-05-26@08:31)
I've heard it first on Nectarine (scenemusic.net) and it sounded weird. So weird, that I've been instantly attracted to it. It was very hard to find any information about the Artist and the album. The release date provided here is date of adding the album to last.fm, which (beside Nectarine) seems to be the only place in internet with any information about it. The comments in profiles for every track in Nectarine look like copied from somewhere, but I couldn't track them back to the source. This mystery even sharpened my appetite, so I've quickly downloaded whole set and immersed into peculiar sound. The album is conceptual and experimental. All the mind-bobbling sounds seem to be achieved with very simple means, but with mastery and passion, which brought in mind the pioneers from BBC Radiophonic Workshop: peculiar harmonies and resonance, distortion and contagious rhythms. The vocals are, however, horrible. Some barrier in reception may be also the language chosen -- but we shall not argue with the artist. The songs themselves are in vast variety of lengths and moods, although whole album is kept meditative, even if not really "down-tempo". Szaman is somehow disturbing, where Czekam quite otherwise: calming and nostalgic. Even through simplicity of means, the goal of inducing proper feelings to the listener was achieved. And for that the fair rate: Seven stars [+++++++---]. An amazing experience.

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Adam Gordon

Raindrops (2009 Jamendo)

(2010-05-26@08:31)
This album was recommended to me by its author via Jamendo internal messaging service. I've followed the instructions, and used calm evening to give it first try. Then I have been cycling it in y S1 for some time... And I still have mixed feelings. The album supposed to be down-tempo and meditative. Down-tempo I agree. But instead of meditative I'd rather choose 'boring', and as boring things annoy me, then definitely it was not calming. From the first notes: the chord progression in the opening eponymous song, Raindrops were resembling beginning of klaus Schultze's Body Love so much, that I've waited for the sound of the helicopter passing by and the ostinato bass to kick in. The whole album focuses around show off of technical skills of the composer playing guitar. Compositions relay mostly on mathematic harmony and studied contrapuntal techniques being base for improvisation, which limits to ornamenting only. I've got a feeling, that the Author sat down to write this album with his mind set on the work to be great one, not just perform and record. So we can hear it: Great understanding of classic composition techniques and instrumentation, certain arrange skills, decent performance abilities. But no spark in it. This would be fine for background music in a film, but is too little for stand-alone creation. My jaw was sore from yawning. Five stars: [+++++-----], only because i couldn't find any technical flaws.

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Marty Friedmann

Dragon's kiss (©1988 Shrapnel Records )

(2011-01-30@22:22)
For me, one of the ten most remarkable albums I've ever heard, along with "A Night at the opera", "Pictures at an exhibition" (ELP) and "The dark side of the moon".
A record from times, when 'heavy metal' was just 'heavy metal' without any dark- trash- goth- emo- celtic- folk- or any other fuck prefixes. I've replayed it for countless times, mostly to come back to sanity after cloudy experimental soundscapes of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schultze &co, like parfumeur who smells ground coffee to clean the nose between probations.
What I like particularly on that record? Great guitars and bass, played with ease and skill, carefully and laboriously layered by overdubbing on multi track tape recorder. The tunes are hummable and contagious, the overall mood swings between pensive and nostalgic to aggressive and energetic. A bit show-off, I admit -- but who isn't? And Marty really has something he can brag about.
The drummer is, however, another story. Not catching up with Marty's energy. Just decent, not to say monotonous. I agree, that free-style jazz drum play would be not in right place, but a bit more vigorous and elaborate drum patterns would have added much to this album.
But despite that: it is fairly good record, and true rock fan must have a copy in his/hers shelve. Eight starts [++++++++--].

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Mister Electric Demon

There's only a step (cc 2010 self)

(2011-01-01@15:00)
This album was advertised by its author on Pouet.net. I've given it a longer try. And what can I say? After two months of NOT listening to this disc I can recall none of the tracks. It was quite interesting after first replay, especially because the Author said in workshop side notes, that he had some challenges with choosing proper sounds and timbres. The tracks are mostly sound and timbre experiments, shaped into quite decent melodies. Rhythm is hypnotic but not contagious. All resemble a bit works of Tangerine Dream from the 1990s (in the Melrose and Tyger period). All tracks are calming and relaxing, the colourful sound carpets of classic synthetic sounds backed with some radiophonic effects in the background. Really nice. But 'nice' is not enough to win. There is not a single hummable tune on the disc. There is really nothing stunningly original among the tracks. This one earns six stars [++++++----], because I liked it, because was technically perfect and because was not boring, although not really passionate.

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The pillows

Addict (©2003 MIYA Records, American release a year later by Geneon Entertainment)

(2011-01-30@22:22)
Who are the pillows? A great punk group from Japan. On this example I've learned, that if something exists in the world, the Japanese have it twice. Same for the punk rock.
I've heard it first as soundtrack for FLCL OAV anime, back then, when I was devoted otaku. This was entirely different from all the crappy J-Pop that is usually used in anime series. OAVs are much better (see Cowboy BeeBop OST by 'the Seatbelts'), but the majority was/is crap. But back to the topic. Material from this album was written or remixed particularly for FLCL, therefore the album includes many instrumental tracks, some of them being used as mark-sound in storyline elements common in all six episodes, like final battle. But the record is good also as stand-alone work, and certainly it is not necessary to see FLCL to appreciate this work. The pillows have great energy, more than decent playing and composition skills and readily distinguishable klang (by use of MS-20 in the solos?), from one hand a bit neo-puknish imitating sometimes Offspring and Greenday, from the other completely unlike anything I've heard. Japanese lyrics sound a bit weird, and the songs written in English use rather borderline simplified language. But I still like this album very much, the same as in 2003, when it got AotY award. Nine stars: [+++++++++-].

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Piotr Woźniak

Dom na dachu (©2010 MJM Music PL MJM5215)

(2011-01-01@15:00)
This was a present from someone I like. I've given this record a try, although I'm not quite into this kind of music. The name is familiar among Polish people, mostly due to accomplishments of the artist's father in late 1970s. What we have here? Some lyrics, that try hard, quite decent arranges of not really impressive music. The vocal that is a bit annoying. All together not too original. If I'm about to compare to other artists, the closest might be Ralph McTell (that one of 'the streets of London' remixed into 'Gates of Dreamhack' by Raddox), if only Ian used full studio arrange instead of just his guitar. But back to the topic: After I got used to this album, I say, there is really nothing to dislike in it, but it also is pretty plain. Labelling it 'elevator music' would be a slight insult, so I give it a six stars [++++++----] and name it romantic ambient.

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Mischapex

Turn up the 303 (2010 Jamendo)

(2011-01-01@15:00)
This EP surprised me. In Positive means: Quite short, all tracks just snapshots of concept for longer loops, but all kept in the same BPM setting -- I guess, for easier DJ-ing. And where I thought, that everything hat has a TB-303 in it must be boring and secondary -- this little compilation proved to be different. Although 303 is not really clever machine, sounds thin, but the sound is distinct and readily recognizable. And there is much more one can stress out of single oscillator, single VCF and decay-only envelope. Yet, even if the album is not really my kind of music, it has drawn my attention to listen to it more than once, and it always counts for plus. I can't complain about lack of hummable tune, because this area of music creativity is inherently deprived of such thing. But this is compensated by lots and really lots of sound experiment. Of course -- all the WC Olo Garb fans from U-Tube will complain, that the author is not squeezing all of the Novation/Nova keyboard, but the hero of this (and the previous one) release is the TB. And great thanks, that the use of 303 is not limited to just whistling the filter resonance, as others too often do. A star extra for showing, that TB can be also a solo/lead instrument (for the record a VST plugin was used, I wonder, if 303 can be played with CV/Gate external keyboard in hardware?). All in all eight stars [++++++++--]: for innovation, great ideas and perfect realization. I'd like to hear this mixed live on club stage.

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Split/Various/Compilations

Tripnotic: A Step Into The Hypnotic World Of Trip Hop (©1998 IRMA)

(2010-05-07@10:33)
As the title says, this album was released for people, who would like to learn, what Trip-Hop is. I've heard this album first in 2003, when I was doing my night shifts at copy shop. The calming and aetheric sounds and arranges, sound carpets built over various tracks and beat sequences, interleaved with citations from classic elektro and rock pieces -- this all is fine mixture, that really gives good overview of the downtempo/trip-hop scene. I've never dug more into the topic, the names of performers sound to me as strange today as the first time, but the music didn't grow old not a bit. I still pull this album from the shelve every now and then, when I need some calming evening, and don't really am in a mood for any classical record. This disc is an compilation, but in case of a "study" album, the diversity is for its advantage. The quality is state-of-the-art of year of the release, the pieces chosen carefully and with concept. Six stars [++++++----].

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Enough Dubs 2 (cc2010 Enough records)

(2010-05-07@10:33)
I have had some expectations when downloading this album, but unfortunately they weren't fulfilled. Enough dubs is another 'overview' album, this time showing work of people who build the Enough Records Network Collective... But for me all the pieces sounded as made by one person: same rhythms, same klang, and the opening song (?) spoils everything. I was cycling the record on my S1 for some time, but it was only trying. The quality is state-of-the-art and there are few good ideas, but they don't cover for whole album. I wouldn't buy it. They say on the cover Bass-driven sounds from all over the world -- so, if You like TB303 square-wave over and over... I liked more the deep fat bass on CNCD 1995, recorded 15 years ago... Five stars [+++++-----].

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Album Of The Year award

Here are the Albums of the Year, in chronological order.
To get the nomination, the album shall be of free license, being authored by one of my friends, be Demoscene related or be so astonishing good, that throw me on my knees.
I'm applying the rule, that once granted award can not be transferred to another artist, which missed nomination (As I'm quite eager to give AotY or 2008 to Summercamp by G.Valhalla).

  1. The Pillows: Addict -- フリクリ soundtrack vol 1
  2. Robotnicka: Spectre en Vue
  3. paniq: Neurons: Fire at will!
  4. Matmos: The rose has teeth in the mouth of a beast
  5. Rafał Blechacz: Chopin's Preludes and Nocturnæ
  6. Doug the Eagle: Pancake Ferret
  7. Doug the Eagle: Three Little Pigs -- The Tale of Vengeance
  8. Daniel Bautista: Weirdos and classics
  9. Piotr Pawłowski: Requiem
  10. Grace Valhalla: Valhalla Rising
  11. Karolina CIcha: Wieloma Językami
  12. The Dumplings: No Bad Days
  13. The Dumplings: Sea you later

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