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More BPMs Unleashed

Beats-Per-Minute (technically noted as BPMs) is a term used to often describe the frantic rate of percussive elements in electro-dance music.

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CLEANER: Solaris (CD on Metropolis Records)

Cleaner is Daniel Myer (from Haujobb).

Major BPMs going on here, directly rhythmic and quirkily esoteric. Thick electronic presence, glistening sharp and metallic. Towering waves of E-perc, drowning the listener in its relentless shadow. Insectoid quality, chittering in the sonic crevices. Hardware-tinged vocals, alternating between spectral whispers and hoarse chorales. Rasping pulses, scraping hulls, glottal basslines. Intriguing use of often delicate keyboards, a drastic counterpart amid the cybernetic passion.

Shuddering tuneage, crackling with high energy and a gritty personality beamed through a technological lens. Somehow maintains a pre-boil state of agitation, blending frenzy with a liquid sense. Super-heated metal, spilling slowly out of the mix and instantly melting everything in its oozing path.

Superb application of compulsive melody, grabbing your attention in an electronic vise and shaking your bones within your skin. Attractive riffs, luring you back into the searing sonic caldron. Engaging weirdness, bursting into BPM-driven whirlpools.

Industrial music, hard and brutal with the sensuous appeal of a monstrous robotic snake prowling dark hallways in search of new victims.

Songs that owe deep influential impact to: Stanislav Lem, William Gibson, Ridley Scott, David Fincher, and the Wachowski Brothers.

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FRONT 242: Headhunter 2000 (double CD on Metropolis Records)

This double CD collection release features 105 minutes of remixes by: Front Line Assembly, Aqualite, Haujobb, Beefcake, Xingu Hill, Talla 2XLC, Doug Laurent, Noisex, Substanz T., Apoptygma Berzerk, Leaether Strip, Funker Vogt, Empirion, Galan Pixs, Resistance D, Suspicious, and Space Frog.

When the original version of "Headhunter" appeared on Front 242's "Front by Front" album in 1988, the band had already established itself as a major force in the agro-dance scene. Through the Nineties, the genre grew around Front 242's unique sound, utilizing the band's intense BPM ratio and harsh electronic melodics as a template, worshipped and emulated by many.

Now, over a decade later, the song still stands as a milestone composition, blending elements of technology and sociology with aggressive electro-rhythms and compelling synthesizer tuneage. From Haujobb's abstract mechanized-culture reconstruction, Resistance Ds brooding stratospheric interpretation, "Headhunter" displays a superb cross-platform nature, lending its melodies to varied musical modes.

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FRONT 242: Reboot: Live '98 (CD on Metropolis Records)

After a period of creative inactivity, Front 242 reemerged in the late Nineties with a live tour of Europe that took the band's catalogue of tunes much further than audiences of this reformation tour could have expected.

Bass-heavy electronics return with massive doses of E-perc and live drumming generating a relentless wall of agro sound primed to blast the flesh from your ears with their expansive BPMs. Refinements of already-perfected melodies abound. The vocals are hoarse and growling, insistent and commanding.

More than a reboot of the band's sonic career, this music elevated the tuneage with even more intensity, tweaking the riffs into accelerated complexity and sonic appeal. Classic songs like "Masterhit" and "Punish Your Machine" reached farther than their original heights with evolutions of the melodies, busying the mix with even more effects and metallic mood.

This 69 minute CD features these highlights, exposing a whole new century to Front 242's potential for living in the future.

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JUNO REACTOR: Shango (CD on Metropolis Records)

Many technophiles have waited long and impatiently for Juno Reactor's follow-up to his awesome "Bible of Dreams" CD in 1997...and "Shango" pays off those hopes in a 62 minute-long dose of powerful and masterful techno gems.

Fusing elements of African tribal with spaghetti western soundtracks, Juno Reactor delivers significantly danceable tuneage that seethes as strongly as it surges amidst a frolicking cloud of percussive elements. Add to this hyperactivity a dominant command of compositional capabilities (one of Juno Reactor's fortes), and the music transcends cool into the territory of greatness.

Joining Juno Reactor on this CD are many notables, including: Ben Watkins, Steve Stevens, Alex Paterson (aka the Orb), and pedal steel guitar maestro B.J. Cole.

Also available is Juno Reactor's "Pistolero" CD EP (also on Metropolis Records), which features 39 minutes of this Morricone-saturated tune. Among the mixologists are Fluke and the Man with No Name.

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SPARKS: Balls (CD on Oglio Records)

This 2000 release by the Mael Brothers proves yet again their mastery of the pop genre with 49 minutes of glistening tuneage, each one a potential dance hit.

Deceptively simplistic keyboards guide the music in a promenade with celebratory E-perc and incidental instruments (present mainly through sampling). Notes roll swiftly, careening into catchy riffs punctuated by strange bloopings and vibrating bleachers. There is a curious blend of grandeur and humor in the melodies.

But let's not forget the linchpin of Sparks' sound, Russell Mael's sneaky-sultry crooning. His voice swims through levels of clouds to resound from noble heights. His voice caresses the mind as vitally as do the happytime lyrics

For more data on Sparks, check out their Official Website

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SVEN VATH: Fusion (CD on Virgin Records)

The melodies on this release are less frivolous than Vath's earlier pop works and more focused, as Vath's music grows from flash into substance.

The title track is a blend of techno and orchestral meeting on a swingtime platform. The rest of this 72 minute CD plays more directly to the sultry dance crowd, with intricate E-perc rhythms and ricochet electronics creating a gyrating funtime. Several of the songs exhibit this fusion quality, mixing techno and rave with swingtime, marching band, classical, tribal, and lounge.

There's an especially nice use of growly tones to achieve a sedate edge to the hyper beat.

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