Here’s the debut LP of HNN from France. Limited to 500 copies, it was released on October 1st by La Forme Lente.

HNN was Gregg Anthe’s solo project, until it was announced Martin Dupont joined to form a duo. The acronym stands for Hsilgne Nekorb Ni, which makes In Broken English if you read it backwards. This lead me to discover Gregg is also the singer of In Broken English, an interesting rock band with a nice touch of electronics.

Face A opens with Life X-Press, the most upbeat and pop song on the album. The rhythm then slows down with Renouveau Ordinaire, an instrumental song featuring a female vocalist humming over nice vocal pads and analog sequences, followed up by Mono, driven by an hooking bass line on top of warm strings and beautiful melodies.

Then face B starts with Iris, an instant classic and my favorite title, followed up with Exhibition, another pure instrumental synthpop tune and A Step Outside, that makes a big wink to Kraftwerk, proudly claiming its synthpop influences by borrowing the air of Computerlove.

Even if Piece Radiophonique, as its title stands, would be pretty enough to play on mainstream radios, it think it is rather dedicated for true synthpop lovers. The organic tone of the synthesizers and the elegant arrangements left me very impressed; these throbbing melodies, delightful sounds and the overall emotions are really speaking to me.

After delivering excellent pop songs, each side is nicely ending with ambient and experimental tracks, and I have a feeling the next release with Martin Dupont will be exploring new musical grounds…

You can still order Piece Monophonique on Discogs.

Posted on December 5th, 2011 under Reviews, ,

This is the first release from Fabrika Records, a new label from Greece, limited to 500 copies and featuring no less than 15 artists.

I already knew some of those that have been around for a while like Dolina (France), Sickdoll & The Nuclear Shades (Berlin), Martial Canterel (NYC), Led Er Est (NYC) and Velvet Condom (Berlin); I was very glad to find more recent acts like Gertrud Stein (Germany) and Bloodygrave & Die Lust (Berlin); and I’ve been greatly surprised to discover projects like Lebanon Hanover (Berlin), Jemek Jemowit (Berlin), Die Skeletion (Germany), Human Puppets (Greece), Petra Flurr & El Modernista (Germany), Selofan (Greece), Alienphobie (Germany) and Phoenix Catscratch (Greece).

It came out on September 1st for the Drop Dead Festival in Berlin. As about half of these artists where in the lineup, I find it did well represent the spirit of this memorable event, being just as worthy of the great performances I’ve seen there. I must admit this record is now priceless to me, as the perfect souvenir I brought back from this crazy-ass-festival that I now remember like a bizarre dream I wish had never ended.

In its whole, the spirit stays on a darker note with no pop nor anything that could please the masses.  Every single song I found here is right in my bag–exactly what I am digging for the most: I Can’t Dance of Gertrud Stein makes me wanna dance like a wacky man and bash everything around–the rhythm is so damn good; Du Rennst of Die Skeletion is cold as hell and using amazing soundscapes; Kunst of Lebanon Hanover is a yet simple but very efficient tune with such a pretty vocal and dreamy synth pad; Dolina added some contrast with a lovely sentimental ballad, nicely colored of spacey sounds; and Sickdoll & The Nuclear Shades brought up a track with catchy guitars aside of so many freaking weird sounds that got packed into the same mix, leaving me anxious for their long awaited album.

There is not any weak song on this compilation, but I’d say Shadows from Martial Cantarel–probably the most cited artist of the minimal wave scene–could be the weakest one, just to say how much we’ve got hot stuff here…

There is so much more to say about this release but I’ll try to talk about other gems from these individual artists in upcoming posts.

Luckily, there is still some left for sale but this shouldn’t stay very long.

Posted on November 1st, 2011 under Reviews,

Even thought I only discovered //TENSE// last year with Sin Reality (Memory – 2010) that totally blew me away, this is already their 7th release since 2008.

What first came to my mind when discovering this Texas duo were the strong Front 242 and early Ministry influences. As I was really astonished by their work, I immediately pre-ordered this EP from Mannequin (limited to 500 copies) before it came out in April.

On the first listening, I got at a little confused as I was expecting the raw sound of Sin Reality, but I quickly grew to understand how they had evolved and I was not disappointed. To simply describe this sound evolution, the recording might be a little more polished with cleaner vocals–using different effects–and a cleaner sound in general. That said, the marginal madness and energy is still authentic while the whole record was made with some kind of futuristic esthetic.

The first song starts off with the sample of a man getting diagnosed by a psychiatrist saying: « So your official diagnostic is schizophrenic psychosis »–a common consequence of hard drug abuse–and the poor guy goes «No, it can’t be ». This introduction is a good representation of the global theme with lyrics expressing a fear of society, paranoia, social isolation and subliminal suggestions of recreational drugs usage.

I especially enjoyed the Pulse Beat lyrics, treating of an evil side of today’s internet connectivity. Nowadays, as we can see the masses heavily using social networks owned by private corporations without thinking any further about the inherent ethical issues, we can at least say these lyrics were not based on irrational fears after recently seeing social networks turning into public hubs of mutual surveillance, sadly reminding us of Orwell’s fiction. As some already said regarding Phillip K. Dick masterwork: paranoia is a gift.

Unmanned Cars is perfectly ending the album with an ambient song using smooth soundscapes with terrific effects, leaving me dreaming of dystopic science fiction scenes…

This is an excellent release that should please many EBM fans as well as other electronic music lovers out there. I am surprise to see it is not sold out already!

Posted on August 6th, 2011 under Reviews, ,

Released in April 2011, this compilation with a beautiful DIY cover is the latest great release from La Forme Lente, a  label from the shouth of France really worth keeping an eye on.

The selection contains 10 titles from  : codes (Belgium), Nihiltronix (France), Former Airline (UK), Makina Girgir (France) and Ssleeping desiresS (USA).  What makes this compilation so special is not only the selection quality, but also the fact that all of these artists never released much material before.

Both : codes songs are very cold and solemn, with industrial drums, heavy bass pads and catchy sequences. Shadow Coat has a man vocal while Nekra Fylla is sang by a female. I didn’t really know about : codes before getting this record and I am anxiously waiting for new recordings to get my hands on. This is definitely one of my favorite new project out there.

If I didn’t discover Ssleeping desiresS tracks through this release, I would have thought they are vintage recordings. This is typical synth wave, very cold,  haunting and danceable; just the way I like it. Worth mentioning, the lyrics are excellent; very intelligent and poetic.

As you might have read in this review, I was already fervent about Nihiltronix, but I got totally blown away by Hey Jesu. Blaspheming distorted and demented vocals with squealing noises over a kick ass bass and drum beat. Wow, this is really rock n’ roll! The other track is a little more quiet with a repetitive pattern, more weird noises and the same demented vocal, very far in the the background.

Then comes Makina Girgir that is another big revelation for me. Think of a dreamy atmosphere with beautiful analog sounds, addictive  melodies and a very sweet female vocal. I couldn’t ask for any better! Being more accessible, I think this project might reach a larger audience.

Both Former Airline tracks are quite different. Oktober is more electronic, with experimental sounds and abstract guitar melodies while Let’s Have a Party has more guitars and is a little more upbeat. I find they sound like a mix between Cheveu, The Fall and early Cabaret Voltaire. Both titles are kind of abstract, industrial and experimental, but nothing harsh with just enough weirdness.

Congratulation to La Forme Lente for this perfect compilation.  So far, this is sincerely my favorite release of the year. Hurry up while their is still a few copies left!

Posted on June 19th, 2011 under Reviews,

This white vinyl, limited to 300 copies, was released by Mannequin in February 2011. Mushy is a solo female project from Rome that has been around since 2003 and this seems to be the 3rd full length album.

I quickly got absorbed into Mushy’s thick and heavy atmosphere. Each of the 10 titles is colored of rich and dark pad textures with slow rhythms, reverberant drones and a touching vocal raising up from a deep cave. From the beginning to the end, it is depressing, hypnotic, neurotic and fatalist: definitely something reaching me deep inside. This is the perfect record to listen alone while thinking about the old skeletons hiding in your closet.

The song No More also involved Newclear Waves who accompanied with a drum machine and synthesizer.

Faded Heart is one of my favorite track. Listen carefully with sensibility to the details: you’ll notice divine rays of light cutting through Mushy’s obscurity.

Mannequin Label & Mailorder

Posted on June 5th, 2011 under Reviews, ,