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Kettle Black Reviews

 

Reviews A-J

Reviews K-P

Reviews Q-Z

October 2, 1999...

MASON JONES - midnight in the twilight factory cd (monotremata) very minimal haunting guitar sounds.... effected out to the point of mostly comprising of reverb reflections and delay echoes.... sweeping and very spacious. what you have left after you have stripped away all of the meaning from everything that holds your perception of reality together... the sweeping absent winds of the boundless negative veils.... or at least what trickles out of them into our reaches after they have coagulated into something more solid than the emptiness that they had once consisted of while still beyond the reaches of the human senses. (monotremata recs/815-a brazos st #515/austin tx 78701 : E-Mail monorecs@monotremata.com : Website) Deon D

AQUARIUM RAVE UP - S/T cassette (Ind) an odyssey into the secret world of protozoa and other tiny aquatic creatures... herds of tumbling paramecia, sluggish hydrae devouring daphnia, rotifers gliding along propelled by their rings of cilia, colonies of vorticella rolling along like tiny tumbleweeds, planaria with their bizarre eyespots, you get the point by now i hope. people who like TANGERINE DREAM's "phaedra" album almost certainly would be very into this tape.... that vibe is very prevalent in these synthesizer compositions. hell maybe dave used to be a member of T DREAM and he's not telling us. a time machine back into the 1970's new age tripped out synthesizer movement. makes me wanna jump on my gear and stay up all night recording and call off work in the morning. (dave fuglewicz/ 360 sheringham ct/roswell ga 30078 : E-Mail mgb@pipeline.com) Deon D

GREEN REPORT 5 - tatsuya nakatani solo percussion tape an experiment in percussion (Ind) i can't really tell if this was made spontaneously or created under strict control. this tape is extremely slow moving, i could imagine it being played at an art show. if this were to be performed live there would have to be a strong visual content to the performance due to the sheer minimalism involved here. even though this is percussion there isn't really any rhythm, this being so slow moving, more of what would be considered sound experimentation. i can hear some real drums, what appear to be pots and pans.. etc..., some scraping, and possibly a cello or bass fiddle. this seems to carry a very personal atmosphere, mainly intended for the ears of the artist and friends, but also available to others who may be curious. Deon D

CONTAMINATION DIET - geiger counter blues cd (gauge) the second release by this one man project. entirely done on a computer, source sounds which have been effected and looped to create post apocalytpic radioactive tales of woe. a world infested with residual radioactivity, distorted radio transmissions, gamma ray leaks, corrosive winds, atomic particles hurling through organic matter at tremendous speeds, and deadly ultraviolet rays pounding down. just harsh enough to still be relatively listenable to most people, interspersed with some more "out there" spacy sounds.... and even a SEPTIC DEATH cover song to boot. (gauge recs : E-mail lbneaville@msn.com) Deon D

V/A - noise kills punk dead cd (opulence!) it is impossible for me to give this disc a proper review in just a short paragraph... the variety here is all over the place... from more trippy feeling experiments, joke noise, rapcore, ambient, plain silliness, harshness. the best thing that i can really tell you is JUST GET IT. i hate to be biased and unobjective but to be honest i couldn't live without this and there are many who agree with me. a must have for anyone into experimental/noise. some personal faves: INKPOT MONKEY, OUR GLASSIE AZOTH, CYBORG, DIAMOND SHAMROCK. 67 trax in all.... and you will not be disappointed. (opulence! records/box 2071/wilmington nc 28402-2071 : E-mail kenyata@juno.com : Web Site) Deon D

CYANOSIS - the ethereal stairwell suite cd (Ind) what we have here is a collection of dark ambient textures created with guitar and bass... though they are unrecognizableas such, sounding more like synthesizers. this is extremely mellow with a late night feel to it..... like lurking shadows in the dark while the rest of the world lies unconscious and unaware... or an excursion into the more ancient and primal layers of the human mind. very dark and meditative, and i would have to agree with a previous reviewer of this cd as far as a word of caution: if you have emotional problems or you plan on listening to this while on drugs this will definitely bring your mooddown fast. kind of like wandering alone through a vast cavern with no light, the dark night, the abyss, in the dark north before the sun is reborn. (po box 1012/astoria or 97103 : E-Mail rehayes@transport.com) Deon D

CYANOSIS - stave cd (Ind) this cd is less ambient sounding and has more of a "spontaneous let's just pick up our instruments and see what happens" feel to it. some guitar sounds, metal percussion, ranging from clangy, to spacy, and a couple moments of "what the hell", with some "now i realize that i took too many hits of acid tonight". track number two is my personal favorite, "halo of dust", with some reverbed out space guitar and one of the strangest sounding arppegiated/flanged/modulated synth sounds to be heard, the first time i heard it i thought it was an extremely modulated human voice or something. this stuff could definitely be in the soundtrack for some old space movie. ok even though i said it was less ambient it is still pretty ambient, and the four in the morning feel is also present. so get this and put in in your stereo and watch some 60's/70's sci-fi with the audio on your tv turned all the way down. if you are into obsure stuff then check these experiments out. (po box 1012/astoria or 97103 : E-Mail rehayes@transport.com) Deon D

V/A - anomalous silencer 3 cd (napalmed) this comp contains induastrialized/harsh noise type stuff... with artists such as GOVERNMENT ALPHA, THE END, NAPALMED, MAMARRACHO, etc... and there seems to be a bit of a tendency towards sampled and sequenced material here.. some of these trax having beats to them also along with the sequenced samples/synths. so the rhythm gives this comp structure and more "musical" orientation as opposed to pure blasts of feedback and static, but don't worry, there are still some nice harsh moments. i would have to say that this release has a bit of a professional feel to it's content soundwise, and some of these trax i could even possibly see getting played in someindustrial/goth club and being danced to. people who are fans of the works of ogre would definitely love this. (napalmed/radek kopel/lipova 1123/434 01 most/czech republic) Deon D

AUTODIDACT - welcome to the dissonance engine cd (monotremata) hmm.... don't exactly know what genre to try to describe this in.... we have electronic beats with fuzzy distorted guitars, it's a little heavy sounding but definitely not too dark, though it does have some dark moments...... something maybe you would pop in after you get home from work or you're in the company of your friends. i wanna say that i could imagine some of this being soundtracks to some animes. it gets a little mellow and light at moments and you could definitely relax to this. most of the cd keeps a mid-tempo pace and most of the trax don't have any vocals to them. the fuzzy guitars give this disc a very warm feel to it... kind of pleasant and a little dreamy. on a scale of 1-10 i would give it an 8. (monotremata recs/815-a brazos st #515/austin tx 78701 : E-Mail monorecs@monotremata.com : Website) Deon D

September 1, 1999...

The Moonbabies - 5 Fresh Tunes From (Ind) J’s found himself a new tape to play over and over and over again! I’m getting ready to burn me a CD of this cassette release because I know I’m going to wear it out and I don’t want to have to ask for another. Hailing from Sweden, The Moonbabies are the product of a duo formed by Ola Frick (vocals, guitars) and Carina Johansson (vocals, polyorgan). A few demos and couple years later they added bassist Henrik Thorn and drummer Thomas Lundberg to create some of the most infectious melodic mood pop I’ve heard...ever...period. The opening track “I’m Insane But So Are You” features Frick and Johansson’s vocal harmonies that go together like peanut butter and jelly on a sunny summer afternoon. The music is the milk! The rest of the tracks mainly feature Fricks voice (which absolutely rocks in a Bob Mould kinda way) but I’d like to hear more harmony between the two. Excellent musicians, excellent music...I want to move to Sweden. (Contact: Moonbabies c/o Ola Frick, Kamrerg 7a, 211 56 Malmo, Sweden; E-mail: malmobabies@hotmail.com) J Mundok

Alzo Boszormeinyl and the Acid Achievers -Present the Illusion ep (Benelux) Reaching an only slightly controlled level of choas, Boszormeinly spouts stream of conscience rants over improvised riffs. Don’t let me throw you when I say “rants” as they never seem to ever get really angry. Maybe monologues would be a more appropriate. In any event the bed of music that lies wonderfully beneath these words is filled with early Floyd/Barrett like guitar chirps and a very loose guitar-drum-bass garage sound with a massive list of “various” instruments thrown in for texture including double trumpet, french horn and theremin. Sometimes reaching back to new wave driven punk but mostly staying mellow, AB & the Acid Achievers can be summed up in two words...pleasantly dissident. (Web: www.lowmedia.com/~benelux; E-mail: alzo@juno.com) J Mundok

Biopsy -Third Stroke (DSBP) The best elektro-industrial music works on the listener like the films "Bladerunner" and "Dark City." It pulls you into an unknown but fascinating world, like a sonic virtual reality. This alternate world is so interesting and lush that you want to dive in and stay a while. The details of this alternate world have to have enough integrity and consistency that you can suspend your disbelief and "live" according the new rules. The band Biopsy is a gorgeous example of the best elektro-industrial music. True to the images its name conjures up, Biopsy cuts like a knife, so you might as well opt for general anesthetic and go along for the ride. From second one, you are sucked into the sonic universe that Biopsy inhabits, and you won't want to leave. The sounds of "nature" in this new world are exotic, vibrating somewhere between harsh and hauntingly beautiful. This world is very mysterious but not quite frightening because the noises are not random but rather operate according to set of unknown laws. Even though the listener doesn't understand these laws at first, there is still a cryptic sense of order. To prepare for this journey, you might want to pop a lozenge (otherwise, after 14 tracks of jaw-dropping surprise and wonder, your mouth will get dried out). What exactly should you expect to discover? Relentless beats that never stop evolving, incredible sounds from machines that this planet has yet to invent, excellent elektro melodies that pull you through the rough industrial soundscapes like a safety rope, and distorted power vocals like cries of lost inhabitants. Are these voices offering guidance or warning? Are they your friends or enemies? That is but one of many mysteries you will encounter in the world of Biopsy. Only one fact is certain: Biopsy are masters of theirdomain. (Contact: DSBP, 237 Cagua NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108; Web: http://www.biopsy.cx) Craig Conley

Circle of Karma - demo Now here’s a strange piece of music to come across ole J’s desk. It’s a 3 song demo from what sounds like a metal band circa 1988. Not that early eighties glam metal or that heavy heavy metal...I’m talking about the really nice hair, rattlesnake skin boot, silk shirt and tight ass jeans “clean” metal along the lines of White Lion, TNT, Babylon A.D or even some of the more accessible Fates Warning. My question is this: why do I have this to review for a predominately electronic/ambient music zine? and more importantly, why was this recorded in 1997? Not that it’s bad, cause it’s really not...when I was 17 I’d be first in line to see these guys open the Winger/Cinderella show at the Johnstown War Memorial...I guess I’m just a little bit confused. Rock on, dudes. (Web: www.circleofkarma.com) J Mundok

Diverje -Existence/Program Remix (DSBP) Diverje's Tommy T Rapisardi can be described in four words: creative, versatile, original, and independent. His album Existence/Program Remix is a divergence of sorts from the run-of-the-mill elektro-industrial product because his creative expression is not dictated, controlled, or limited by any third parties or genre restrictions. He bares his own soul, and his soul turns out to be multifaceted. There's a bit of anger, a bit of confusion, a bit of frustration, and a heavy dose of individuality. Throughout this sonic journey you can expect heavy guitars and noise, distorted vocals, plenty of intricate electronic programming, melodic synths, and driving beats. The styles range from industrial-rock-metal to harsh-EBM-wave to experimental-crossover. The lyrics describe a man with large ambitions who finds it difficult to be tolerant and understanding of those who desire less in life. He is aggressive by nature and does not want to be subservient. He desires the freedom to express himself individually and creatively without restriction. He will not tolerate being possessed by others. For all his confusion and frustration, he is driven by his own unyielding integrity. The real stand-out tracks on the album are "Examine," an elektro-dance piece which features guest music by Testube's Jeff Danos, "Mesmer," a melodic, romantic instrumental piece appropriate for some sort of industrial ballroom, and "Hiding," an eerie excursion into a cyberpunk version of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. In addition to Testube, a dizzying array of supporting talent on the album includes Biopsy, Razed in Black, SMP, Matrix, and Noxious Emotion, all of whom add their special magic through music and mixing. (Contact: DSBP, 237 Cagua NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108; Web: http://www.dsbp.cx) Craig Conley

The Guider Project - Millennium (Deep Blue) Haunted Techno Rock...or something like that. This is a CD-single and I really don’t have much on this group (could be my fault since I’m on my fourth address since March). Okay I have to admit I’m getting a little sick of hearing about the new Millennium. I know we’re gonna party like it’s 1999 but I’ve had about enough. No offense to these guys since I’m sure they’ve been working with this track long before I knew about it and long before every one was singing about it. There’s the main track and 2 remixes but they really don’t sound any different at all. A four on the floor kickbeat, driving percussive keyboard, an occasion heavy guitar chord or gong hit for good measure and a bunch of people chanting “in the new millennium” so many times that I walked around zombified for 3 three days repeating the line. Not a bad track but certainly not enough to decide what the bands is like as a whole. (Contact: Eddie Carr’s Entertainment, 9208 Spruce Mountain Way, Las Vegas, NV 89134) J Mundok

Liquid Fiction - Rainy Days (Eleventh) Here’s a band that were able to actual get to the place Depeche Mode was heading toward before the 90’s got in the way. Do you remember how that band was evolving from the mechanical, plastic sounding synth pop of the early 80’s into the softer, more ambient pop of “Violator”? Well these guys found the secret map and picked up where they left off. Liquid Fiction consists of Tom Vote and Brian Hazard with a guest vocal appearance by Guia Uy. The album is all programmed keyboards with awesome vocal harmonies throughout. None of the tracks get much crazier than straight forward, extremely melodic synth pop not unlike the more accessible A-Ha of the past but I couldn’t write this review without at least a nod to the final track, “Material Masquerade”. Basically a piano/vocal piece, this ballad was able to pull the sap-strings of even this old manly man. Great for reminiscing about the dark high school days of the prior decade. I’m not surprised that this track was actually written in 1988. (Contact: 11th Records, POB 241, Huntington Beach, CA 92648 ; Web: www.colortheory.com/liquidfiction; E-mail: liquidfic@aol.com) J Mundok

Ogden Yaza - Up From the Cracks (CONcept) Vocalized pop songs from what sounds like the church of Syd Barrett (not necessarily the same pew...) with out of tune guitars and struggling vocals, intermingled with varying length instrumentals. OY uses everything from clean electric guitars to wind generating synths. Spawned from the mind of one Christopher O. Nash, this self-proclaimed electro-goth takes the listener on a 70+minute trip of mostly darker-than-average-bear sometimes industrial/other times ambient tracks. In my opinion we could have done without the vocal stuff which could have led to a more timely and far richer album...nutshell: stay instrumental. (Web: www.geocities.com/SoHo /Museum/9669) J Mundok

V/A - Cybonetix 1999 (DSBP) There are many compilation albums on the market that seek to introduce elektro-industrial music to the general public. The problem with most of them is that they are rehash jobs designed only to make some quick cash. Cybonetix 1999 is different. This is a strong compilation featuring only exclusive tracks and remixes, and the tracks are hand-picked by a professional DJ who also happens to be an elektro-industrial musician himself. My first impression of this album was, "This is the kind of music that inspires people to open up their own dance clubs or to host their own radio shows." There's a diverse collection of talent on this album, and all of it inspires you to move. One of the best tracks is Side 3's "Groveling," which conjures images of New Order meeting Xorcist and mutating into some sort of third entity. Other artists include Bio-Tek, Cydonia, Frontrunner, Fockewolf, Biopsy, The Aggression, Infrastructure, Lateral Tension, Fatal Blast Whip, Joshua Bourke, SMP, FearvLoathing, Product 13, Dead Letter Office, Volition, Noxious Emotion, and Diverje. This album showcases many heavyweights in the elektro-industrial scene, and there's something new for both diehard fans and newcomers to the genre. (Contact: DSBP, 237 Cagua NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108; Web: http://www.dsbp.cx) Craig Conley

August 14, 1999...

Arthur Loves Plastic - Slice (Machine Heart) Arthur Loves Plastic is one of those artists whose music is so drop-dead gorgeous that you find yourself desperate to talk about it even as you struggle for words to describe the magic. Arthur is actually an electronic keyboardist named Bev Stanton who, from her basement studio, fashions dreamy, sample-laden techno/trance/synthpop in the tradition of Moby. Stanton likes to create richly-layered sonic tapestries out of synths and sound bytes, backed up by intricate trip-hop rhythms and industrial flourishes. The music alone is enough to keep your head shaking in amazement, but Arthur Loves Plastic turns all the knobs to "11" by showcasing diva Lisa Moscatiello on vocals. Moscatiello's sultry, provocative voice (reminiscent of the great Billie Ray Martin) is one of those rare talents that makes you close your eyes and sit in rapt attention. One of the best tracks on the album "Slice" is entitled "Ashtray." It's a slow, smoky, soulful techno piece with one of the catchiest melody lines I've heard in years. Another standout is "Rain," a track featuring guest vocalist John Sudnik that's right on par with the masterful music of Leftfield. Check out Arthur Loves Plastic and you, too, will be saluting Captain Plastic Fantastic! (Contact: Machine Heart Records, P.O. Box 66294, Washington, DC 20035; Web: http://www.arthurlovesplastic.com; E-mail: machineheart@mindspring.com) Craig Conley

Moonbabies - Olympian Heights EP (Ind) K7 All of the songs on the Moonbabies' "Olympian Heights" EP have a quality of wistful yearning, both in the vocals (whose strength always betrays something deep inside that is held back) and in the guitar-oriented music (whose strength often betrays a twinge of anger or frustration). The overall touch of emotion and sadness lends a universal appeal, similar to the work of Joy Division. "Have You Ever Said Goodbye" is a slow pop/rock song with spacey sound effects giving it a very dreamy feeling. A signature folksy guitar riff opens the song and hooks the listener from moment one. In the mid-tempo "Epileptic," Ola's Frick's deep, masculine voice is perfectly contrasted with Carina Johansson's pristine female backup vocals. The song builds to a climatic seizure of sorts, with a startling powerful guitar solo. "Starlet" is a duet between Ola and Carina. This folk/rock song has roots in 60's psychedelica, with perhaps some Beatles references in the lyrics ("all you need is love"). "In the Banshees" is an up-tempo track reminiscent of Qkumba Zoo. Ola's echoed, soaring background vocals give the song a particularly haunting feel. If you like harmonic, introspective, catchy dreampop with substance, Moonbabies is a sure bet. (Web: http://members.spree.com/entertainment/moonbabies; E-mail: malmobabies@hotmail.com) Craig Conley

Lance Lenehan - Soundscape (Ind) If the best music works on more than just your eardrums, then the music of Lance Lenehan is like getting a full-body massage. Based in Australia, Lance composes symphonic synthesizer music in the tradition of Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, Enya, and Mark Dwane. He was introduced to electronic music in the early 1970's when he heard Japanese synthesiser artist Isao Tomita playing Moussorgsky's famous "Pictures at an Exhibition." Not long afterward, Lance purchased his first synthesiser and began experimenting with and recording a whole new range of sounds. Since then, he has composed and produced a wide variety of music which is largely ambient, but also incorporates elements of traditional orchestration, jazz, and rock. His music, created on both analogue and digital synthesizers and digital samplers, reflects the major technological developments in electronic music over nearly 20 years. Today, Lance combines his computer programming skills with the latest music technology to develop soundscapes from layers of both traditional and modern instrumentation. His album "Soundscape" contains beautiful examples of his musical approach. The song "The Summer Past," with its jubilant synths and intricate pop melody lines, is reminiscent of Erasure. The more orchestral "Turning Point," with its engaging Celtic melody, is comparable to the early work of Enya. "Animotion" features a very deep sampled voice and an exotic, bouncy piano rhythm. "The Last Rainforest" combines the sounds of traditional instruments (such as drums, bells, flutes) with guitar and brass in a mid-tempo world-music style. "Runner" is a majestic, upbeat synthpop piece with crisp percussion and a strong, uplifting melody that repeats in the style of a Hindu chant. Twelve of Lance's tracks are available in RealAudio and MP3 formats on his website (Web: http://www.soundscapemusic.com; E-mail: lance@soundscapemusic.com) Craig Conley

Warm Target- Split (Orphan Music) If the universe is based on the laws of cause and effect, then you must have done something *very* good to have deserved the techno/rock powerhouse called Warm Target. Based in L.A., Warm Target is a solo project by veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist Robert Illes. Warm Target's sound is a fusion of catchy dance beats, heavy guitar sounds, a lot of techno keyboard, interesting synth chord progressions, some great modern rock grooves, and sultry male vocals. Much of the music is reminiscent of Lords of Acid, the mellow side of KMFDM, Love Spit Love, The Psychedelic Furs, Portishead, the Prodigy, and Garbage. Another easy comparison is to David Bowie's recent excursions into techno (and making comparisons to Bowie isn't something that I do lightly!) The familiar rock structure of the lyrics gives the fresh techno music an instant appeal. The listener easily slips right into the groove. Have you ever begged your lucky stars to finally bless you with the killer songs you have been so desperate for? You can stop praying and start playing, because Warm Target has arrived. (Contact: Orphan Music, 401 Shirley Pl Suite B-8, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; Web: http://www.orphan-music.com; E-mail: robert@orphan-music.com) Craig Conley

New August 9, 1999...

Skuzzy Cable - Deep-Raved (Bomb Sniffing Dog) Here's a brand new four song disc from California's BSD records. Every once in a while I come across a disc that somehow sounds completely different from anything I've ever heard using a mix of sounds that are strikingly familiar. Electronic based beat music is the backbone for Zark's Jim Morrison-like vocal sound while the foundation is seasoned with soloing saxophone and harmonica. The stuff isn't really that "out there" but it's just really...well... different. I've never heard any more from Wall of Voodoo besides "Mexican Radio" but I could imagine these four tracks could have easily been on a record with that classic. (Web: www.frankmedia.com/skuzzycable) J Mundok

Loren Jan Wilson II - twelve days/cluster (Ind) 19 songs of pure-strained individuality. Each one unlike the perviouos, yet all existing off each other. This disc is actually two releases put onto one recording. "Twelve Days" was done in 1998, whilst "Cluster" is the newest one, 1999. Only a few of the songs have lyrics to them (not that that is a problem): "sex is boring", "space", "low", & "$hkpkax_python" .... and they are all great. The rest of the music is interferences, loops, synth- a surreal soundscape. Very reminiscent of the Legendary Pink Dots, yet not so much as to where the two are the same. I didn't find a track that let me down, nor a song that made me cringe or lose interest. Sit down with this & prepare for a journey. (Web: http://greycity.cs.uchicago.edu) Gub X Fook

 

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