EAT STATIC: Bony Incus (CD EP on Ultimate/Planet Dog Records in UK).
Very flashy EP by this high tech Ozric Tentacles offshoot band. The duo behind Eat Static have already neutron-chiseled a place for themselves as wizards of techno, and this EP digs that niche ever deeper with glowing lights. Harder than usual, the E-perc is actually drowned out by the wall of rapid pulse synthis. And then the electronic rhythms barge into the mix, producing an overly busy melodic mesh.
EAT STATIC: Implant (CD on Ultimate Records in UK, Mammoth Records in USA).
This band is Ozric Tentacle's techno appendage. Obsessing on UFOs and extraterrestrial intervention, "Implant" is solid, hard delivery, ruthlessly hyperactive trance music. Stimulant percussion, insectoid electronics, and the ever-present didgeridoo--dynamite songs and a decent 70 minutes plus time length.
EDERA: Ambiguous (CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
Melting keyboards sigh and drift through Dark Wave tunes rich with powerful female vocals. Add some emotional percussion to this generally sedate but still unsettling music. Late night candle-lit dress in black kind of stuff. Comparisons to older Siouxsie and the Banshees can be drawn, made even more believable with the inclusion of a Banshees cover song. The album wraps up with a tribal influence...outback drone and chant. Pretty tasty stuff.
THE ELECTRIC HELLFIRE CLUB: Calling Dr. Luv (CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
Angry industrial rock of a satanic nature (but that's hardly a surprise now, is it?). What you get: 58 minutes of attack synthie and attack percussion and very savage guitar. Lots of samples (usually obsessing on mankind's evil nature) and growling vocals.
The real payoff is the extreme presence of snappy tunes--exotic, sinuous and intense. I definitely smell a Hawkwind influence buried here.
Of note: Shane Lassen (aka Dr. Luv), the band's keyboard player, died in an unfortunate auto accident in 1996. This release displays a creepy reverence for his passing with such brilliant sampled sentiments as: "You never know when you're going to give your last performance" and "Come back, Shane".
eM: Djinn (CD on The Foundry, PO Box 8284, Berkeley, CA 94707-8284 USA) ($10 post.paid, $15 outside USA).
This one is experimental electronics of a non-rhythmic nature that strays strongly into industrial ambient turf with grinding waves, shredding insects and a luscious cacophony. Most sonic sculptures achieve a noise ratio and maintain it throughout the music; where this music reaches a counterpoint of pulse and abrasion that enlivens the tense calm. Inventive use of melodic passages punctuated by abrupt outbursts keep the oily atmospherics dark and dangerous.
You can visit The Foundry's WebSite at: http://www.foundrysite.com
ROGER ENO: Lost in Translations (CD on All Saints/ Gyroscope Records in USA )
A competent selection of pleasant tunes and soft ambience with frequent yet unobtrusive vocals. The high point of this album however is the ethereal guitarwork by Michael Brook. Kudos once more to the man who can make a guitar sound like a roiling bank of summer clouds.
ENSEMBLE MODERN: Zappa: The Yellow Shark (CD on Barking Pumpkin Records in USA).
This is just intense. This is what happens when you take Frank Zappa's music and do classical orchestral arrangements of it--and it's really good! A palpable sense of humor overtakes it all before the set is done. Satisfying music with a cool sixty page square-bound book included in the slipcase.
ENTERPHASE: Phase One (CD on AD Records in UK) (Contact: Jeff Filbert at JSF Productions, PO Box 561267, Rockledge, FL 32956-1267; or Fred Becker at Mach 25 Music, PO Box 26331, Indianapolis, IN 46226).
On the softer side, we have an album by Fred Becker and Jeff Filbert. The first three tracks are delicate keyboard pieces with atmospheric electronics achieving a dreamy approximation of interstellar space. The fourth track is appropriately entitled "Blue Shift" for its comin'atcha sequencers; the pace is quite uptempo here. The last track is a 27 minute epic track that claims (in liner notes) to be "presented in the grand manner as a long cosmic anthem to space music" --and how true that is, being a constant pulse sequence akin to an early Heldon trance, underlaid with sparkling electronics of a particularly tectonic nature.
EPOCH: "Factory" (cassette tape on Arts Industria, PO Box 4142, South Bend, IL 46634, USA).
This 30 minute tape features percussion-heavy industrial music, throbbing with gutteral electronics and anthem-like vocal chants. If you go for FLA, Skinny Puppy, X Marks the Pedwalk, or Leather Strip--you'll find much of interest in this independent release.
ERASURE: Fingers & Thumbs (CD EP on Mute Records in UK).
Personally, I have always found Erasure's sound to pander too heavily to the commercial side of techno. The tracks on this EP do not excel with pep or hooks.
The gem on this disc is the "Figures in Crumbs" track which features the three remaining members of Wir (the band formerly known as Wire) performing the gritty music behind Andy Bell's vocals.