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, ,

As you might have read in this interview, Automelodi is the latest project initiated by the same head as Echo Kitty and Arnaud Lazlaud. I am a big fan of everything that was produced by these bands since I heard of the amazing hit Supermatos that appeared on the soundtrack of this Quebecer movie.

I have always been very excited about this artist from my beloved land of Quebec, but I’d like to say that I didn’t want to post this review because it is a local band, but firstly because it is good! In my opinion, this it is the best project that ever came out of Montreal.

Released by Wierd Records, it is the first Automelodi full length following the Automelodi fait ses courses EP released in 2009. The first song of each side, Schéma Corporel and Buanderie Jazz were the favourite hits both released on the previous EP that many fans will be happy to find on this self titled LP.

The cover portrays a nice pastel sketch that reminded me of Xavier (singer, writer and compositor) banning his head and wearing a typical French fisherman shirt. I found it pretty cohesive with the strong French scene influence the vocals and lyrics are tainted of. Airline is the only song written in English and the singing curiously reminded me of Marc Almond from Soft Cell.

A pop sound, loads of beautiful synths, deep pounding and nasal basses, spacy vintage sounds, simple and catchy rhythms, elegant and poetic lyrics with polished arrangements is what you will find on this record. Sweet, melancholic and refreshing as a rainy September day, it ran under my skin to give me the goosebumps quite a few times.

Posted on August 15th, 2010 under Reviews, ,

This album came out on La Nouvelle Alliance in October 2009. Nihiltronix is a solo project from the Paris area and the same artist is already well known for his previous act ICK under which he released 19 records between 1995 and 2007.

V.S.K.B. was an industrial Soviet project from the 60′s in Latvia near Riga that was conducted to do research, design and test of the new equipment produced for agriculture and agronomy. This project was closed in the 90′s and the kids that were born out of this experiment were left homeless, known as V.S.K.B., and now drawing memory lines in analog frequencies…

The Nihiltronix side kicks off with a slow, cold and demented minimal track. It gets a little more upbeat with the second and third tracks that both have an addictive drum beat that reminds of ICK. The last one is more industrial, heavy and hissing as hell.

These 4 songs are raw, dirty and distorted as a big ball of anger, tainted with a modern industrial doom sound. Not for the sensitive minds, it could lead to hate and revolt. Everytime I listen to the first track it pulls right into my guts and gets me gritting my teeth.

The V.S.K.B. side is an instrumental and mystical work. With space noise machines, it first starts with a melancholic atmosphere and it soon turns into repetitive and hissing sounds, reminding me of fever dreams. Not too harsh and still accessible, there are pleasant melodies and minimal rhythms, sprinkled with sounds from outer space. Based on the information from the inner sleeve, they are using esoteric Russian synthesizers.

The copy I got came in a pretty white and gray marble edition.

Posted on February 28th, 2010 under Reviews,