THE CHRISTAN VANDER TRIO: Jour Apres Jour (CD on Seventh Records in France).
If you're expecting intense strains of Teutonic strangeness, you lose. This is not a Magma release.
Representing Magma leader Vander's closet classical side, this is pure jazz: clean and instrumental, replete with crystal-light piano, feathery bass, and bopping but very serious percussion. With no individual instrument taking the lead, the music rolls along like a gelatinous mass of cooling sound. Cool's the word; it's not harsh crazy jazz or driving fusion. The soothing melodies include one Vander original, a Coltrane classic, and two standards (one being a cheerfully sedate version of "Chim Chim Cheree").
All in all, "Jour Apres Jour" is surprisingly lacking in intensity, while still saturated with passion.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: A Homage to NEU ! (CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave. #251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
Any Bugtown reader should recognize Neu as uber-important in the overall Euro Seventies sound and much that followed. The notion of a tribute to Neu CD is intriguing (as are so many of the tribute and remix CDs today), but this one goes a step or two further.
You get eight versions of Neu classics. Metronomic tempos, driving guitar, whooping electronics--all the key sonic elements are present, as heard through the ears of the groups on this CD. For 69 minutes, you get: a surprisingly loyal version by Download, an electro-space version Autechre, a shortwave radio & drone piece by Dead Voices on Air, an slick version by Khan, an extremely experimental piece by Sunroof (aka Daniel Miller), the Legendary Pink Dots do their indescribable thing to "Super", an abstract piece by James Plotkin, and an atmospheric version by Jeff Greinke. Do not expect raucous power rock, for the majority of these covers are atmospheric with industrial intent, totally electrified. While the Legendary Pink Dots cover utilizes voice and instruments to duplicate an electro-sound. You even get System 7's "Interstate" track (wherein Hillage gave Neu co-credit on the song because he used a Neu sample).
But you also get a new song by Michael Rother (ex-Neu), a nine minute lively tribute to the late Conny Plank (who many--myself included--consider to be the fourth Neu member and not just their astute producer). This piece alone is worth the price of the CD.
Really satisfying, dense and definitely intense, this CD is recommended in a wide-eyed manner.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Alien Ambient Galaxy (CD on Hypnotic Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
This is a strange one. Here we have a sampler of music by artists on the Subharmonic label, released on Hypnotic Records (Cleopatra Records' trance division). Subharmonic is, of course, the USA label that has given us so many of Bill Laswell's ambient projects and collaborations. The line-up on this collection CD is: Laswell, Jah Wobble, Jeff Boom, Alex Hass, Pete Namlook, Liv Sola, Buckethead, Robert Musso, Mick Harris and Nicky Skopelitis (with a hidden appearance by Harumi Hosono from Yellow Magic Orchestra).
Drone is the keynote with this music. Fifty percent of the CD is made up of brief pieces by Laswell and various cohorts (or the cohorts alone with Laswell overseeing production); the remaining half is a brilliant 38 minute piece from Laswell and Namlook's "Psychonavigation" CD.
The material on Subharmonic is definitely worth checking out, and this collection on Hypnotic proves that quite effectively. Oh, and this CD has a 3D "wiggle picture" cover too.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Ambient Voids (on Hypnotic Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
This is a CD compilation of modern bands who carry the modern cosmic torch. Delving into the similarities between space music and ambient rave, this CD actually has a pretty interesting selection of material ranging from the mildly rhythmic to more overt electronics. 73 minutes long, this CD features: Synaesthesia, Ynos, Klange, Cluster & Eno, Nik Turner, Mr. Magic's Nightflight, Zero Gravity Club, Spiral Realms, OB 1, and Virtualizer. (The Synaethesia and Spiral Realms contributions seem to be nonLP tracks.) A top notch collection.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Back to the Universe, Volume 1 (CD on Only Records in Russia).
73 minutes of dreamy electronics by an excellent international range of twelve musicians: Uman, Chris Snidow, Vadim Pitsounov, Hans Joachim Roedelius, Karl Uhan Street Spring, Solitaire, Richard bone, Robert Carty, Artemy Artemlev, with previously unreleased tracks by Klaus Schulze, Mario Schoenwalder, and Georg Stettner.
Although majorly of interest to Schulse completista, this Russian collection (limited to 1000 copies) also serves up some decent surprises with the other musicians contained herein.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Behind the Eye, Eye Q Records Compilation Vol. 1 (CD on Planet Earth Recordings in USA)
A tasty 67 minute sampler of techno bands who share a high energy factor. Very cool tuneage from: Sonic Infusion, Vernon, Zyon Virtual Symmetry, Odysee of Noises, Goahead The Volunteers, and Brainchild, with standout material by Mirage and Java (both O.Lieb bands--from Spicelab).
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Eclectronica (CD on The Foundry, PO Box 8284, Berkeley, CA 94707-8284 USA) ($10 post.paid, $15 outside USA).
The general tone of this collection CD is atmospheric, moody electronics; some melodic, some atonal. The surprise is that only 10 of the 69 minutes on this CD are previously released.
Actually, this is quite a tasty journey into industrial ambience, with material by: M. Bentley, A. Kreisberg, (and collab improvs by them), the Apiary, eM, and Melec.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Eyesore, A Stab at the Residents (CD on Vaccination Records, PO Box 20931, Oakland, CA 94611 USA) (12.00 post.paid).
A tribute to the Residents--you just know this is going to be really strange and possibly disturbing. You get 31 bands in 77 minutes: Only a Mother, Idiot Flesh, Heavy Vegetable, Frank Pahl, Borgia Popes, UBZUB, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, The Mooseheart Faith, Splatter Trio, Amy Denio, Utotem, Greg Roe, Giant Ant Farm, Charming Hostess, Richie West and Bomb Factory, Silica Gel, Mommyheads, Supercollider, Snakefinger, Fibulator, Dramagold, Shakin Ray Levis, Poxy Boggards, Big Butter, Cracker, Pink Floyd the Barber, Non Credo, Lungpigs, Eskimo, Primus, and Stan Ridgway with J.E.D. If you think the list of musicians makes your head spin, wait until you hear their inspired takes on the eccentric music of the Residents. Although many of the pieces are raw and try to out-weird the originals, there's a lot of great tuneage here, delivered with love and reverence.
Sincerely recommended to anyone with an interest in the Residents' music.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Harthouse: Axis of Vision (double CD on Onion Records in USA).
The Harthouse label has accumulated quite a well respected rep in the Euro techno scene, but I picked this up for the Spicelab track (which sadly I already had on the "Lost in Spice" LP. But I was far from diappointed when it came to the rest of the music.
Harthouse's speciality is fast paced hard techno--a blend of the insectoid and the symphonic.
Two discs, a grand total of 2 hours and 18 minutes, 19 tracks by 15 bands...who are (hey, gotta list 'em): Marco Zaffarano, Spicelab (aka Oliver Lieb), Frankfurt-TokioConnection, Cybordelics, Pulse, Arpeggiators, Resistance D, Aurin, Progressive Attack (aka Ralf Hildenboutel, who's worked with Sven Vath), Curare (a collaboration between R.Hildenbeutel and Maik Maurice from Resistance D), Infinite Area (Pascal F.E.O.S. and O.Lieb), The Essence of Nature (S.Vath and R.Hildenbeutel), Braincell, Hardfloor, and the Ambush (aka O.Lieb).
A mountain of worthwhile techno music to move through, with very few lowlands.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Harthouse: The Point of No Return, Chapter 1 (CD on American/Eye Q Records in USA)
Once again my quest for more material by SPICELAB has found another Harthouse compilation--this one with three Spicelab tracks previously unheard (at least by me).
The Harthouse label has quite a reputation in Europe for dynamic techno, and this sampler CD from 1993 displays the label's early incarnation. The Spicelab tracks are rougher than later material, but still glorious with synthetic charm. Other tracks are by: Metal Master, Marco Zaffarano, Hardfloor, Overboust, Arpeggiators, Pulsation and Futurhythm, making this CD a tasty dose of rapid tempos and intriguing hooks.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Harthouse Compilation Chapter 5 "Bitter Fruits" (CD on Eye Q Music in USA).
As compilations go, Harthouse can always be depended on to deliver a tasty 70 minutes of uptempo techno fun. This one features: Jirl Ceiver, Goldfish, Alter Ego, Spicelab (remixed by Humate), Synesthasia, Koxbox, Patrick Lindsey, Eternal Basement, and Pulse (remixed by Oliver Lieb, aka Spicelab). It's extremely worth checking out.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Industrial Revolution (Second Edition) (videotape on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
This is a video companion to the Second Edition double CD collection (not to be confused with the following review of the Third Edition CD) and contains viciously cool videos by: Frontline Assembly, Leaether Strip, the Electric Hellfire Club, Psychic TV, Chemlab, Spahn Ranch, Noise Box, Die Krupps, Chrome, Killing Joke, Cubanate, Kill Switch...Klick, Test Dept., X Marks the Pedwalk, Pygmy Children, Birmingham 6, Digital Poodle, Stiff Miners, and Godheads.
As anyone who follows industrial music will know, this type of video is generally unknown to American audiences (being much too intense for play on MTV) and quite unseen unless you frequent some very cool clubs. This 125 minute collection of videos is thereby a veritable goldmine of delights and is highly recommended to all.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Industrial Revolution (Third Edition, Rare and Unreleased) (double CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
You love industrial music--the nastier the better. And you like collection releases, but you're not looking for an introduction to this music... Well, this collection will put a smile on your face--a nasty smile.
Previously unreleased material by: Skinny Puppy (9 minutes long), Psychic TV, Spahn Ranch, Chrome, Leaether Strip, Throbbing Gristle, X Marks the Pedwalk, Killing Joke, Birmingham 6, Razed in Black, Die Keupps, Noise Box, Penal Colony, Swamp Terrorists, Controlled Bleeding, Pygmy Children, Die Form, Kill Switch...Klick, Psychopomps, Joined at the Head, and Project Pitchfork. And rare material by: the Electric Hellfire Club, Laibach, Frontline Assembly, Clock DVA, Download, Einsturzende Neubauten, and Test Dept. Over two hours of intense rhythmic brutality--recommended for the novice and the knowledgeable.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Infinite Horizons (Limited Edition double CD on Horizon Music, PO Box 505, Glasco, NY 12432 USA) (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
To commemorate five years of
"Beyond the Horizon", the highly informative publication devoted to electronic
music, Horizon Music has compiled a dynamite double disc of rare and unreleased and live
tracks by many prominent electronic musicians. You get: a tasty and energetic piece by
Christopher Franke; atmospheric pieces by Star Sounds Orchestra (Steve Schroyder and Jens
Zygar, and Ramamurti Gresbek), Hans-Joachim Roedelius; melodic
E-music by Johannes Schmoelling and three such pieces by Klaus Kruger (two with heavy percussion); live melodic E-music by Detlef Keller & Mario Schonwalder, and Michael Hoenig; three pieces of moodily quirky melodic E-music by Conrad Schnitzler; ambient sonic constructions with an edge by Propeller Island, and Jorg Thomasius; two atmospheric pieces (one live) by Lightwave; and a pair of uptempo techno pieces by Pete Namlook & Rob Gordon, and Steve and John Joliffe.
Go for it fast--there are only one thousand copies made of this extra-fine electronic collection. Very recommended.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Into Topological Space (double CD on World Domination Records, PO Box 8097, Universal City Station, North Hollywood' CA 91618-8097).
An extremely wow collection release featuring (in 60 minutes on disc 1): a tasty pair of remix tracks by Perfume Tree, a Jack Dangers remix of a Globo track, an electrofunk track by Love Flag, a new track by Lift Laboratories' a remix of a Shriekback track from their last album--and a new Shriekback track of rapid surge attributes, and a world trance Loop Guru remix track.
While the second disc features 43 minutes of material by Sky Cries Mary: one of the Steve Hillage remixes of "Every Iceberg is Afire", an unreleased track from 1992, and a superb and previously unreleased 26 minute epic live version of "Death of a Star". (There's also an Uncredited track, presumably also by Sky Cries Mary.)
A total winner and sincerely recommended.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Lost Highway Movie Soundtrack (CD on Nothing Records in USA).
A David Lynch film means an Angelo Badalamenti soundtrack. Add to that the highly publicized Nine Inch Nails track "The Perfect Drug" and toss in tracks by Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manaon, David Bowie, and a stunning rendition of "This Magic Moment" by Lou Reed.
But the real surprise comes with the four tracks by Barry Adamson (ex of Magazine and Big Country, and has been doing soundtrack albums for nonexistent films of his own creation for years). Adamson's use of a sample from the classic Sixties pop song "Spooky" is a blinding delight of Incomparable scope. The unfortunate part is that these Adamson tracks are excerpts from longer pieces which can be found on his "Oedipus Schmoedipus" album (on Mute Records in UK). In their full prime, these tracks blaze even more furiously.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Passed Normal Vol. 5 (CD on Ponk Reconds, PO Box 3664, Bloomington, IL 61702 USA).
This is a collection release featuring rare or unreleased music by a strange and tasty selection of musicians. This one is like a walk through the Canterbury scene with material by: Mother Gong, Ivor Cutler, Daevid Allen and the Magick Brothers, Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean. Lol Coxhill, Tim Hodgkinson, and more.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Passed Normal Vol. 6/7 (double CD on Ponk Reconds, PO Box 3664, Bloomington, IL 61702 USA).
This is a double CD packed with more cool tracks by: Ron Geesin, Peter Blegvad, Henry Kaiser, Pere Ubu, Clubfoot Orchestra, Arthur Brown, Hugh Hopper/Phil Miller/Pip Pyle/Didier Malherbe, Daevid Allen and the Magick Brothers, and more.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: The Passion of Covers (A Tribute to Bauhaus) (CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
Take the music of Bauhaus, a seminal foundation band of gothic rock (some earnestly believe there is no such thing as a bad Bauhaus song) and get a bunch of progressive, industrial, darkwave...well, weird bands, and the concept creates itself.
Powerful music with uncommonly strong hooks and deep emotion (often rage), the songs on this 56 minute collection CD are a choice selection too, including: "The Passion of Lovers", ,Dark Entries", "In the Flat Field", "Terror Couple Kill Colonel", "King Volcano" and of course the ultimate classic "Bela Lugosi's Dead". The CD features many artists, with standout performances by the Electric Hellfire Club, Two Witches, Faith & the Muse, This Ascension, and Kill Switch...Klick.
This CD also has a very flashy 3D Wiggle picture. cover featuring five different levels of Nosferatu going down for a bite.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Promised Land, Volume 2 (double CD on Mutant Sound System, 67 Irving Place S. 3rd floor, NYC NY 10003).
Start out with a neverending wave of snappy E-perc and thumping bass. Mold them into a nest of jazz-funk rhythms: peppy and calming with the same beat. Dreamy tones lilt through the drum and bass foundation. The soundscape is frequented by passive electronics and fanciful vocal effects.
Disc 1 is 74 minutes of these laidback melodies, accompanied by Fabio mixing with vocal overdubbing by Cleveland Watkiss, excellently recreating the atmosphere of the UK dance club scene. Disc 2 contains 74 minutes of other Drum and Bass tracks, sans the mixing and overdubbing The musicians featured on this clever collection are: Fokus, Q Project and Spinback, Carlito, Voyager, Funky Technicians, DJ Trace, Adam F. Simon "Baseline" Smith, Big Bud, Mouly & Lucida, DJ Crystal, Atlas, Double T. Code Blue, Trace, Koda, and Orca.
A satisfying audio background with just the right degree of tempo to keep the brain crackling.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Promised Land: The Fourth Dimension (double CD on Mutant Sound System, 67 Irving Place South, NYC, NY 10003 USA).
With music foundationed by strong Drum and Bass, you can expect intricate rhythms evolving and gyrating basslines a'thumping in a sea of electronic effects. Sometimes you get vocals, often only for a line or so before being swamped by the richly seething dancefloor auralscape. This release gives you an excellent taste of these Drum and Bass qualities: dreamy and hyper, peppered with a baitbox full of exotic hooks.
There's a profusion of tracks by Helen T, featuring prominent use of shimmering sax and lamenting flute, lending the snappy tunes a music hall flavor that raises the ceiling and subdues the lightshow.
Disc One doses out 77 minutes of tuneage by Helen T, Nookie & Larry Heard, Time Signature, In Deep, Mind 21, Futurebound, and Parralax, all DJed seamlessly by Slipmaster J. While Disc Two features 70 minutes of Drum and Bass classics by the Collektive, N-Jay, Helen T, Fokus, Drawback Hill, Addiction, Personelle, and Universal Traveller.
Very tasty stuff.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Promised Land: Future History (double CD on Mutant Sound System, 67 Irving Place South, 3rd Floor, NYC, NY 10003 USA).
Disc One: 65 minutes of modern Drum & Bass tuneage mixed by UK DJ Peshay, including tracks by Addiction & Helen T, Outcast, Lemon D, Revelation, N Jay, Rogue Unit, the Forcefield, Capone, the Collective, and Fauna Flash. Seamlessly blended into a long aural-scape of strong beats, hypno rhythms and sultry bassline pulsations, littered with dreamy vocal effects and sashaying electronics. You get melodies galore as the music creeps from zone to zone, hitting all the hooks and winks.
Disc Two: features a 66 minute collection of classic Drum & Bass tracks by LTJ. Bukem, DJ Crystl, Big Bud, Skanna, Roni Size, Code Blue, Peshay, and Helen T. Some very snappy tunes here. Very impressive beat constructions goin' on, massive BPM ratios full of funk and cooking fusion. These pieces represent the foundation upon which Drum & Bass flourished and became its own form, distinctive from techno, trance and hip hop.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Reflections in the Looking Glass (A Tribute to Siouxsie and the Banshees) (CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
A collection release wherein bands do cover versions of classic Siouxsie and the Banshees songs. The bands range from strict goth rock to bell-like electro trance, with international contributions by Inkubus SuLkubus, Mephisto Walz, Switchblade Symphony, Ex-Voto, The Last Dance with Kelly Garret, The Shroud, Collide, Regenerator, Waiting for God, Corpus Delicti, Deep Red, Edera, Sin, and Stone 588. The collection lacks a certain spark though. It's almost as if the bands had too much respect for the originals to dare to embellish the songs.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Sally's Photographic Memory (double CD on Volume Records in UK).
This compilation was released in 1996 as a tribute to photographer Sally Harding, a longtime chronicler of the techno scene for Volume and other British publications. Many of the tracks on this nearly two hour long double CD were written and recorded especially for her by her friends in these groups. Although many of these tracks have ended up seeing release on the groups' records, these versions are different.
Bands on this collection: Higher Intelligence Agency, System 7, The Drum Club, Spooky, Slab, Pressure of Speech, Orbital, A Positive Life, Krumble, Cranium HF, God's Holy Men, Fire Escape, Mellowtrons, Meat Beat Manifesto, Banco de Gaia, Secret Knowledge, Reload, Schematrix, and Ultramarine.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: A Saucerful of Pink (double CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
Here we have a collection release dabbling with the connections between modern electronic music and early space music. This time it's a two hour selection of PINK FLOYD songs covered by the likes of: Psychic TV, Controlled Bleeding, Spahn Ranch, Sky Cries Mary, Spiral Realms, Leaether Strip, Ron Geesin, Eden, Din, Alien Sex Fiend, Furnace, Nik Turner, The Electric Hellfire Club, Hellos Creed, Pressurehed, Penal Colony, EXP, Melting Euphoria, and Farflung. (Technically, the Geesin track is not a Floyd song, but an homage to the absent Roger Waters.)
To say these versions are loyal to the original songs would be erroneous. The differences are extreme and heavily molded in the styles of each individual artist--from Spahn Ranch's intense electro version of "One of These Days" to Nik Turner's flute dominated most excellent version of "Careful with That Axe, Eugene". The variety is thoroughly enjoyable.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Sci-Fi Cafe (CD on Hypnotic Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
Concept collection. Science fiction TV and film themes done by modern electronic bands. High points: an eastern trance "Star Trek" by Loop Guru, an overt industrial "X-Files" by Leaether Strip, a techno frantic "Doctor Who" by Astralasia, a cosmic "Lost in Space" by Pressurehed, and an intense ode to "Rollerball" by Download. Seven more tracks round out this 61 minute CD.
Trendy. Intriguing. High power delivery. Big pay-off. Major fun. Awesome job.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Space Daze (double CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
It's a solid journey through the evolution of space music in a diverse selection of bands: Kraftwerk, Psychic TV, Hawkwind, the Orb, Hellos Creed, Legendary Pink Dots, Gong, Delerium, Ozric Tentacles, Alien Sex Fiend, Spiral Realms, Brian Eno, Pressurehed, Syd Barrett, Coil, Amon Dual II, Nik Turner, DIN, Tangerine Dream, Sky Cries Mary, and Clock DVA (an excellent cross section representing both the early influential groups and the modern bands who have picked up the cosmic torch. Varied tunes, linked by the astral thread of experimentation. Music that pushes the envelope--and you get 2 hours and 25 minutes of it on this tasty double CD.
There's also "Space Daze" the book by Dave Thompson (published by Cleopatra Records in USA). It's a solid journey through the evolution of space music, delving into numerous "scenes", chronicling in decent detail the formation and influences (and often crossovers) of these scenes. From Hawkwind to Pink Floyd to Can to Ozric Tentacles to the Orb to the Legendary Pink Dots ...there's a galaxy's worth of data crammed into this book's 160 pages. Lots of photos too, plus a decent (if sparse) discography on the major players in this musical history.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Take This (60 minute cassette tape on Hoffman Cleaner Cathode Company (PO Box 4073, East Norwalk, CT 06855 USA).
This features material by I, Thou; Mother's Gaping Hole; Artskool; and Northern Machine...trancy rock in a Belgium sound vein. Very tasty.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Tangerine Ambience (A Tribute to Tangerine Dream) (CD on Hypnotic Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
Another in the very fashionable series of CD releases featuring music by a particular band performed by other modern bands who display influences of the honored band in their own work. This time it's electronic vanguards Tangerine Dream.
This 74 minute CD contains dramatic electronic performances by: Inter-Mase, Surface 10, Rey Project, Supersonic Project, Dean De Benedictis, Rey and Geiz...all doing cover versions of TD pieces (among them the classics "Phaedra", "Force Majeure" and "Mojave Plan") ...and two original pieces by ex-TD members Steve Schroyder and Conrad Schnitzler. Some pretty slick stuff.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Trancewerk Express Volume 1 (A Tribute to Kraftwerk) (CD on Hypnotic Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
Here we have a 68 minute collection of Kraftwerk (the media acknowledged fathers of techno) songs done by modern techno bands. A tasty idea, and the music is very trance dominated while retaining Kraftwerk's hyper sense of rhythm.
You get a fair selection of Kraftwerk tunes, including: "Music Non Stop", "The Model", "Home Computer", "Trans Europe Express", "The Robots", and--of course--"Autobahn". The renditions are decent and the only downside of the disc lies in the fact that I've never heard of any of the bands doing the cover versions.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Transmissions from Planet Dog (double CD on Mammoth Records in USA)
A double CD sampler of four bands on the eclectic techno UK Planet Dog label: Banco de Gaia, Timeshard, Children of the Bong, and Eat Static (whose "Epsylon" EP has been released in the USA with the addition of the three tracks from their "Lost in Time" EP).
All the material on this sampler seems to be previously released, but it is an excellent dose of the bands, displaying their sounds and range--from high energy to world trance.
VARIOUS: A Tribute to the Music and Works of Brian Eno (on Cleopatra Records,13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
It's hard to imagine anyone who has had a more subliminal yet vital impact upon the field of music in the last three decades than Brian Eno. Whether it be his awesome pop music, or his ambient pioneer ventures, his music will definitely endure the ravages of time and public disinterest. This collection of cover versions of Eno works embraces the man's experimental nature by often straying far from the original song's genre, exploring exciting alternative takes. Whether it be an industrial grind "Here Comes the Warm Jets" by Chrome, a deconstructive "Sombre Reptiles" by Controlled Bleeding, a grooved "Sky Saw" by Brand X, a space music "The True Wheel" by Farflung, a hyper techno "Third Uncle" by Astralasia, a heavy metal "Baby's on Fire" by the Electric Hellfire Club, or a fusion jazz "Energy Fools the Magician" by Alien Planetscapes...the result is different and breathtaking. There are four more pieces on this 54 minute CD: acceptably loyal ambient takes on ambient songs. Expect to be surprised.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Unsettled Scores (double CD on Cuneiform Records, PO Box 8427, Silver Spring, MD 20907 USA).
Now here's a collection release with a concept, and the concept has a twist. Take all of the artists who've had albums on Cuneiform Records and have them do cover versions of songs by other Cuneiform artists. The result is over two hours of awesome progressive music by Forever Einstein, Kit Watkins/Coca Roussel, Doctor Nerve, Peter Frohmader, Piero Milesi, Philharmonie, Hugh Hopper, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, Miridor, Phil Miller, Henry Kaiser & Friends, Happy Family, Djam Karet (who show up covering an old Heldon tune), Present, Richard Pinhas/John Livengood, David Borden, Volapuk, Rattlemouth, PFS, George Cartwright, U Totem, Virgil Moorefield, The Muffins, Forrest Fang, and C.W. Vrtacek. And all of it is previously unreleased! Big payoff here, and it functions excellently as a sampler to these artists' work.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Untitled 10 (Australian import double CD on Extreme Records, PO Box 147, Preston 3072 Victoria, Australia).
This is an extremely tasty collection of non-LP tracks by Extreme's impressive inter-national roster of bands. Disc One is 74 minutes long, featuring ten tracks: a ten minute epic of instrumentalist trance by Pablo's Eye, a dark industrial journey by Fetisch Park, a strangeling Muslim lament by Muslimgauze, a Moroccan percussive roll by Ed Pias, a spooky nightwalk by Soma, a suburban sound sculpture by Social Interiors, an ambient electronic piece by Skuli Sverrisson (from Mo Bama), a harsh electronic piece of atonal nature by Otomo Yoshihide, an industrial noise attack by Merzbow, and a swooping electro funk masterpiece by Groovy. Disc Two is a 62 minute collage mix by Social Interiors of music sourced from the Extreme roster of releases. Twisted through the industrial ambience of Social Interiors, this music is twitchy and dreamy at the same time. Mixing together melodies from different songs by different bands, Social Interiors produce an undulating mutation of rhythms, becoming a new sonic entity unto itself.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Zenflesh Two--Homegrown--Organic--Purifying (CD on Zenflesh Records, PO Box 21995, Long Beach, CA 90801).
Zenflesh is an independent label dedicated to atonal industrial noise. This collection of artists certainly nails that point home with a selection of intense pieces by Petit Mal, Hape Angel, Accelerator, Matt Bramlette, Turk Knifes Pope, Andru Kirkpatrick, Sound Source 21, and Brownie Mallets. You get 68 minutes of the type of music that mentally disturbed people might use to meditate on the ugliness of life.
SVEN VATH: Ballet-Fusion (CD EP on Eye Q Records in UK).
Here we have 3 remixes and the original version of this song--a total of 37 minutes. Heavy electronics, growling and crystalline--herded into a snappy tempo by multiple E-perc tracks. Lots of electronic overlayers swim through this. The odd quirk here is that the 3 remixes by Speedy J, Der Dritte Raum, and David Holmes sound remarkably similar, while the original version sound decidedly different. (The Speedy J remix was included on the "Touch Themes" remix CD).
SVEN VATH: The Harlequin: The Robot and the Ballet-Dancer (CD on Eye Q Records in Germany).
This time the Euro techno maestro presents a lush soundtrack for this tale. (Tale--hol There are no Iyrics.) The music is techno with a dash of classical and new age and fusion. Predominantly a techno explosion of rapid-snik electronics and hypnotic rhythmics which often possess the flavor of steam powered machinery. Despite the presence of a robot as one of the cast, a robotic edge to the music's electronics is carefully restrained and utilized only to enhance the few pieces starring Robby.
Overall, there is a grandeur to Vath's music this time. This album is rich with drama and yearning.
SVEN VATH: L'Esperanza
SVEN VATH: Harlequin: The Beauty and the Beast (both CD EPs on Eye Q Records in USA).
Vath's style of energized trance music is crystallized, slick and intoxicating. His compositions are always superb. On these EPs (newly released in the USA) you get an abundance of remixes: on "L'Esperanza", 38 minutes of remixes by Visions of Shiva, Tony Garcia, DJ Pierre, and Vath; on "Harlequin", 72 minutes of remixes by Murk Boys, Underworld, Oscar G, F.E.O.S., CJ Bolland, and Total Eclipse. A word of warning: I have Vath's two LPs, the remix LP of the second, and a host of EPS including the UK version of "Harlequin". And these two EPs still contained a high percentage of material I did not have.
SVEN VATH: Ritual of Life/Accident in Paradise: the Remixes (CD EP on Eye Q/Warner Bros Records in USA).
At over 70 minutes, this EP contains a lot of what it is--and it's all great! These two tracks are standout electronic dance pieces from Vath's "Accident in Paradise" CD, and the remixes are sinuous and sumptuously varied.
SVEN VATH: Touch Themes of Harlequin, Robot, Ballet-Dancer (CD on Eye Q Records in Germany).
Techno with a dash of classical and new age and fusion, warped by energetic and trancy remixes by: B-Zet Alter Ego, Underworld, Hardfloor, Aural Float and Speedy J. Extremely tasty stuff.
THE VELVET SWINES: A Trip To Ollywood (60 minute cassette tape on Harsh Reality Music--label inactive).
THE VELVET SWINES: Lambs' Tongues In Froot Loops (90 minute cassette tape on Sound Of Pig Music, PO Box 150022, Van Brunt Station, Broolyn, NY 11215, USA).
THE VELVET SWINES: Secret Swines (90 minute cassette tape on Audiofile Tapes, 209-25 18 Avenue, Bayside, NY 11360, USA).
Imagine a Roman feast of cosmic proportions, followed by a recording session of brutal, thrashing electronic music. Sometimes they even name the sessions after the food they consume. Perhaps that gives you an idea of the true scope of The Velvet Swines' sonic debauchery.
If you imagined a cohesive attackwall of sound, you guessed correctly, a lot of hostility certainly went into making these cassettes. The electronic effects and depraved keyboard rhythms establish a savage trance quality that is set upon by the other instruments (like a scorching guitar frenzy), who flog the melody with their outbursts. Snappy E-perc patterns are a constant fixture, as are cruelly treated voice loops and screaming vocals. The music is often like a coiled spring impatiently waiting to jump into your face.
"Lambs' Tongues" and "Secret Swines" are both rich with a driving antagonism, not unlike early Heldon or other mid-Seventies European electronics. "Ollywood" displays an outrageously lewd satirical look at "Ollie North, The American Hero." The wit is hilarious; the music infectious. For those who crave cover songs, "Lambs' Tongues" features a searing version of "The Gumby Theme" (a la Suicide), while "Ollywood" has a lurking take of Eno's "Sombre Reptiles."
Tired of just annoying the neighbors? Want to start searing 'em? The Velvet Swines might be your answer.
VIRTUALIZER: Acid Worriors Dream Crystals (CD on Hypnotic Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
High energy trance music, full of rapid electronics and sharp percussion going at breakneck speed. Very spacey stuff, but then the album's title implies all that. The sheer velocity of the music is quite impressive though, with the constant pulsing and booping metallics and shimmering bell tones. Bridging all the songs together seemlessly, this CD becomes a 78 minute journey through various cosmic melodies. Very tasty stuff.
VIRTUALIZER: Sex Technologie = The Future (CD on Hypnotic Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
More upbeat, but still soft in delivery--not that that's a bad thing. This release is quite buglike: electronic patterns weaving intricate hypno-trails of sultry E-perc, weirdling sounds and vocal snippets. There's a sturdy rhythmic touch to the music, coupled with an interesting compositional trance sense, producing a viable dance and/or relax experience at the same time.
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