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Symptoms, "Apathy"

Imagine you're stranded on a rooftop in the middle of a city with cloudy skies above and nowhere to go. Cars buzz past on their way to nowhere in particular and as the day slowly passes, their exhaust fumes fill the air. Time goes by but you know it's an illusion. The world is moving but you're still waiting, watching. This is the feeling imparted by this follow up to Symptoms' rather more varied and up beat self titled debut.

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This compilation, described as 'difficult listening' in the pressrelease, could be fuel to claims that much computer music is barking upseemingly generic alleyways since this could all quite conceivably bethe work of just a couple of artists. However I see this more as anindication that compiler Russell Haswell has fairly consistant tastesand has done a pretty good job of sequencing the tracks.There seems to be a fairly equal footing for the highly seriousacademic side of computer music and the perhaps more frivolous rockpopsside (Jim O'Rourke, Tom Wallace, Farmers Manual, Phoenecia). Theacademics all provide ample detail on the concepts steering theircompositions, whereas the digital rockpops laptop fraternity provide afew screen grab pictures or in the case of Tom Wallace, no informationat all. Perhaps the 'fuck off' finger on the farmersmanual desktop sumsup the attitude.Farmers Manual open and close the compilation, and their unassuminglittle digiglitch flutter fanfare starting snippet gives hardly a clueof the awesome low floor shaking rumble of the monstrous live recordingthat rounds things off. This track alone makes it a worthwhilepurchase, but the rest is enjoyable too.Jim O'Rourke, Tom Wallace and Phoenecia all pull similar tricks withvarying degrees of daftness. Phoenecia place relentlessly mouseshifting bubbles and cracks over intermittent drones. O'Rourke throwssome tropical Ai yi yi ya singing into his fluttering stew of rockglitched to death and Tom Wallace mixes the sounds of breaking bottleswith what sounds like a rock band trying to start a song and cuttingoff sporadically. It's really quite silly, with silent stretchesencroaching latterly making the sporadic bursts of noise all the moreridiculous.Rather more serious is Super Collider 2 workshop lecturer Alberto deCampo's synthesis of a pleasantly atmospheric droning green and blueworld. He processed sound sources which have a 'rich symbolic aura',such as nightingales, meditation bells and cymbals, ritual mantras andchanting. None of these sources are readily identifiable but their auraremains in this eerily evocative foray that certainly avoids the 'NewAge' alarms that the accompanying article might set off.Fellow academic Curtis Roads espouses the exploration of 'soundparticles', microsound 'beneath the level of the note' and he even hasa picture to prove it! And well he might, but his cut up computercollage isn't drastically removed from the soundworlds of Phoenecia orTom Wallace. Maybe laptoppers have been exploring the realm ofmicrosound for years without actually knowing it!Atau Tanaka and Eric Wenger created 'Bondage' using software that turnsscanned photographs of Japanese women tied up in knots into sound, andit's a detailed suite that shifts moods rapidly from intensity torelief. What they did with the photographs after they finished makingdeep dark dungeon noises isn't mentioned in the booklet, but they didhave the permission of the artist.



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This compilation, which shares its name with the Cologne-based recordlabel who released it, is their first artist showcase and the release Igot hold of. The disc is nearly one hour long and comes neatly packedinside a cardboard sleeve showing a record store's file. It wasinitially made available at shows during the last weeks of the labeltour, but will soon be made available to the public who couldn't makeit (see for details). Staubgold's spectrum ranges frompost post anything electronica to an alternative version of what oncewas called techno pop (but lately seems to have developed into laptopblues). 'Staubgold 20' collects an interesting selection of theirrecent releases, coupled with a few yet unreleased tracks and mixes(from Institut FÙr Feinmotorik, Sack feat. Joseph Suchy andSchlammpeitziger). Familiar names include Alexander Balanescu, ToRococo Rot and Groenland Orchestra (also featured with an additionalMPEG video). A name that should be more familiar is Reuber, alsoworking with Markus Detmer as Klangwart, with his minimalist butimpressive solo synthesizer work he explores live even further.Even though a few contributions (Oren Ambachi & Martin NG,Mapstation) are a bit too pointless for my taste, it serves well as agood introduction to this label and the more unknown artists workingalongside A-Musik and Mille Plateaux releases.
Not equally glorified with the current avant-garde stamp yet, Staubgoldspreads a sympathetically unobtrusive "home made for home listening"attitude without wasting energy on label conformity.If individualism is their goal, they're on the way.



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"lush life electronica"

...And the winner for the WORST album covers of the year goes to,.... QUANGO! Who have also came close to winning for most pointless compilations but were beat out by Mille-Plateaux, whose Clicks + Cuts volume 746 is a 23-CD compilation of bald Europeans exchanging emails.

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coil, "love's secret domain"

You've either got it or you've heard about it. Maybe you downloaded allthe tracks online, paid tons on an auction or found it kicking aroundused or some cut out bin. Any way you slice it, this album cannot beignored. Now, ten years to the month after its original release, one ofmy favorite albums of all time is back in print. (With a few minoradjustments of course,...) The cover is the first difference I see: thefront shows a little bit more of the legendary painting StevenStapleton did on his outhouse, including his signature down at thebottom right corner, never before seen. The back is amazingly morelegible than the original release — which simply blew up a bit of thecover and used gold text — black background, gold text and a previouslyunissued image. The back of the booklet is graced by the backphotograph of the LP edition, but open the booklet up and sadly, thereare no lyrics included this time around.
The most noticable musical difference is about four seconds missingfrom the opening chopped up sampling bit, but those sounds do getrepeated over a few cycles however,... Enough of the nitpicking!
The recordings contained were completed in 1990, pulled from over twoyears of studio work, which is quite noticable. Back then, electronicmusicians didn't have anywhere near as much software, Coil had to domuch of this by hand. This is observed right from the opening secondswhere a cut-up mishmosh of samples were tossed into a bucket and tapedback together. Over the course of an hour, the group pummels thelistener with whacked-out stereo separation, mind-bending low-endfrequencies and ghostly voices which move in three dimensions aroundthe room -without- the aid of a 5-point surround system! It'sgenre-defying, electronic based with dabbles of jazz, techno, withflamenco guitars and orchestral arrangements. Guests on this recordinclude vocal contributions from Little Annie Anxiety Bandez, MarcAlmond and Rose McDowell, as well as Charles Hayward on drums, and MikeMcEvoy's trippy 'ecstatic keyboards' on "The Snow". While songs like"Windowpane" and "Love's Secret Domain" are instantaneously catchyfavorites, tracks like "Further Back and Faster" are so amazingly aheadof their time in terms of sound and structure. The multiple layers,samples and sections must have taken many late nights in the studio,the result is a mindfuck which has taken many listens to truly get.People accuse this record of being a techno record, but in actuality,"The Snow" is really the only fast-paced techno dancefloor anthem, andnot a bad one indeed with incredible playing, sampling and subliminalvocal manipulations. The record is multi-climactic, and builds a coupletimes before the end, with the calm and disturbing "Titan Arch"featuring Marc Almond's guest vocals over a chilly throb, "Chaostrophy"where an orchestra fights for center stage with a barrage of whitenoise, the explosive flamenco guitars of "Lorca Not Orca" into thefinale, the title track, snaking lines from William Blake and RoyOrbison.



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Einstürzende Neubauten, "Berlin Babylon"

Who better than Einstürzende Neubauten to do the soundtrack for a post-Wall Berlin documentary (by German director Hubertus Siegert, see This 37 and 1/2 minute disc is the latest in their color coded, digipacked soundtrack series on Ego/Our Choice, this one lavender in a photographic slipcase. Borrowing from last year's "Silence is Sexy", three versions of "Die Befindlichkeit des Landes" (The Lay of the Land) serve as the anchors and centerpiece while "Beauty" appears in a differing instrumental form. The themes of status and transition within "Landes" likely match those of the film. The remainder are mostly brief, Sexy style tracks or sound pieces requisite of many a soundtrack: whirring helicopters paired with orchestral overture, industrial debris and percussion workouts, snatches of Beethoven symphony, a cacophony of broken glass, a woman reading a German text in a storm, a bit of piano, etc. "Architektur ist Geiselnahme" (Architecture is Hostage Taking) is the one exception with Blixa singing in German. A lengthier version will appear on the soon to be released "Strategies Against Architecture III 1991 - 2001" double disc collection. "Berlin Babylon" is essential only for the most completist of Neubauten fans. I'm not so sure a CD was even necessary, I'd rather just hear it within the context of the film. And be forewarned - this is the first disc I've come across that uses a padlock technology to make it uplayable on a CD-ROM.



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Little Annie, "Diamonds Made of Glass"

Little Annie, aka Annie Anxiety Bandez, is best known to me for her neurotic stream of conscious performance on "Thing's Happen" from Coil's 1991 masterpiece Love's Secret Domain. But, her extended discography stretches back to the mid '80s with several solo singles and albums including collaborations with Penny Rimbaud of Crass, On-U Sound, The Wolfgang Press, Current 93 and COH. She also paints (see cover) and participates in poetry readings in the NYC area. This 3 track disc pairs her words and voice with Joseph Budenholzer of Backworld and one Larry 'Super Model' T.

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"2 remixes by afx"

So, V/Vm releases 2 CD singles of Aphex Twink remixes and all the nerdyRicky James worshippers go insane that this happens. People startposting to newsgroups saying how much of an "outrage" this is withoutknowing the truth behind everything. Now we've got this, the Twinkhimself remixing an 808 State classic, "Flow Coma" (from the 1988 album'Newbuild') and DJ Pierre's "Box Energy", yet neither are credited onthis coverless release, issued by Men Records, a sub division ofRicky's Rephlex label. Where's the outrage? The funny thing is, thiskicks ass over much [if not all] of his original output over the lastfew years. I do love the retro-style cut-up collagery of the 808 track,created entirely from analogue gear in perfectly square 4/4 beats, nowmimicing much of the broken beat stuff James excels in. His remix of"Box Energy" also relies on the original's analogue 303-saturated acidnoises. The last track, "Bonus High Frequency Sounds" is a ratherunnecessary 2-minute tag to the remixes, no doubt a toss-off from AFX'smuch anticipated, much downloaded forthcoming full-lengther. Overall,it's a great little package for those who like to have fun with theirelectronic. Aphex fans do need to come to grips with reality, however:Ricky's a hack, quite admittedly good at it, but his best stuff isn'tnearly original. I know I'll get tons of hate mail for this one, but Ihave faith those hero-worshippers will eventually come around tolearning more about original music.



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Manchester-based sound designer Andrew Diey has already shed theForeign Terrain moniker in favor of Black Faction after just threeyears and a handful of discs. Last year's stunning FT debut "LP 1" wasa soothing global audio travelogue comprised of over two dozen piecesof mild electronic ambiance and beats. "Internal Dissident Part 1" ismuch the same but does so with a lesser number of longer tracks (mostin the 6 to 10 minute range, 70 total) as sound effects, atmospheresand melodies are applied to relatively simple, yet very effective,electro beat box grooves. The dissident's journey parallels that ofDante's epic passage through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, "The DivineComedy". We begin in Diey's hometown but time and distance soon becomeirrelevant as we smoothly shift into other mindsets and geographiclocations. "Manchestique Concr³te" is a respectful head nod to thethriving local electronica scene, past and present. An early '90s IDMmelodic sensibility provides a lulling warmth as a slightly unsettlingverbal tick is conjoined to the rhythm. With "Virgil's Bridge" Dieyputs his commercial sound design skills to work with a virtualenvironment of otherworldliness and demonic voices. Most of the latterhalf of the disc once again pays homage to fellow Mancunian and friendBryn Jones, suffusing some of the trademark Arabic and electronicovertones and politics of Muslimgauze into the mix. In particular,"Sepia Indate" wails with regional instrumentation and "Afghan Frontv1.1" features sound bites of President Carter's condemnation of theSoviet Union attack on Afghanistan. "Widow Maker" brings the journey toa heavenly end as beautifully understated string/key melodies and beatsgradually build and break upon a sizzling canvas of static. Nice. Verynice. A 12" for "Manchestique Concr³te" will be out soon via Dal Riadaand Part II will be a live version of the album released as a limitededition LP, also by Soleilmoon.



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Aranos has been a very busy Bohemian bee the past few years havingreleased a 7" on Klanggalerie, a 10" on Beta-lactam Ring Records andseveral albums including art/music collaborations with Nurse WithWound. Here the Ireland based multi-instrumentalist mixes it up withMilwaukee's Jon Mueller and Chris Rosenau of Pele and Telecognac amongothers. Seven oddly titled tracks make up the 45 minutes on thisedition of 500 on Crouton Records ( "The Other is Bflat" sets into motion a hypnotic lullaby of small metallic objects,electronic swirl, delicately plucked guitars and long, bowed violinnotes. The next four tracks continue the flow with a background becomesthe foreground sort of mellow surrealism: orphaned snippets of ambientwash/drone, the clanking of clutter, mildly distorted scraped electricstrings, minor electronic discharge and brief piano flutter. Inparticular, "Thinking of Penis and Vagina" makes me think of a lightbreeze propelling a rusty swing in an empty park just barely withinearshot of a train yard. "Now Sparkling Ice" is apparently all Aranosand it sounds that way. It's a peculiar yet warm vocal and violin piecein which he accompanies himself both vocally and musically. The firsthalf of the final track "Boiled Pear" violently churns through binarygarbage over stray piano/banjo notes and a floating backgroundpresence, then quietly settles through the latter five minutes. Farfrom random and abrasive, "Bleeding.." is accomplished and verypleasant indeed. The sort of disc that demands to be played from startto finish and you lose yourself in. The packaging is a pretty fold-upwith equally surreal poetry upon the flaps. Get this while you stillcan.



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Thalia Zedek, "Been Here And Gone"

Those of you looking for Thalia to continue in the sound set forth byher former band, Come, are either going to be pleasantly surprised ormiserably disappointed in her new direction. I'd lay my money onsurprised. Listening to this record there was one immediate thoughtthat repeatedly came to mind: it's a shame this release will notreceive the great fanfare and praise and record sales it deserves.Thalia Zedek has a voice all her own. Throw out your Patti Smithcomparisons, as they're neither creative nor warranted. Thalia has thevoice millions would kill or die for. It's there, in its gorgeousscratchy beauty, in full effect on this, her first solo collectionwhich contains eleven tracks, three of which are covers (includingLeonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love" -- a wonderful choice andexecution). Where you think you've heard Thalia before, think again.This release, if nothing else, proves that no one really KNOWS Thalia,nor what she is capable of. Chris Brokaw is along for the ride, but heis not at all in that classic Come form. Very subdued is this music,and rightfully so. That voice demands it. But the best part of "BeenHere And Gone" is hearing Thalia the songwriter move to the forefront.By the time you reach "Back To School," the second track, mind you,you'll almost be haunted out of your skin by this music. Then you hearthe lyrics, and it breaks you. "Can you tell that sometimes I can'tforget that I'm alive?" Incredible. The arrangement is also fittinglyspooky, with viola and trumpet in the most amazing places in the sonicpalette. Sure, it's a far cry from Come, but it sort of had to be,didn't it? In bringing the sparser, quieter instrumentation to thesesongs, Thalia reveals herself for more than she ever has before, andthe listener is blessed for the experience. All in all a fine release,so listen for yourself, already.



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Pullman, "Viewfinder"

It's simply amazing to me some bands can be solely instrumental — which, to a certain extent, limits them — but still sound original, and capture a beauty that few bands, instrumental or otherwise, can even approach. Pullman's last release, "Turnstiles and Junkpiles," was a beautiful pass at acoustic guitar arrangements for this quartet, with no other instrumentation like percussion or keyboards present. The songs were stunning in their beauty and collaboration: a real triumph for these four musicians from such diverse backgrounds. This time around, Tim Barnes joins the core group of Doug McCombs, Bundy K. Brown, Chris Brokaw, and Curtis Harvey, which means there are drums on a lot of tracks, and a general nod towards more atmospheric explorations.

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NIKO SKORPIO, "Chamber Moosick" EP

This EP from Some Place Else, Finland is a pleasant surprise; thesamples are used in an entertaining way, voices are nearly hidden withsome decent percussion and the electronic soundscapes drift alongconstantly mutating.
Niko's overall approach reminds me of electro pioneer Frank Tovey (FadGadget) in the way he uses his gear for maximum effort without gettinglost in technical questions. His sampling attitude, especially on theopening track "Teeth Of Eris," brings Broad Broadcasting Bureau in mindand the more or less analog sounding drones on "Limbo In C Major" andthe nearly 12 minute "Flooding Aura" the likes of Steve Roach. But NikoSkorpio (featuring the Mad Jackal Orchestra) has a sound of his own anda caring hand for details; the artwork is well done, avoiding expensiveefforts and proving there might be a way to use CD-Rs for independentproductions without going cheap.
Not an desperate attempt for uniqueness, but an original one well worth trying



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goldfrapp, "utopia (genetically enriched) ep"

I love Goldfrapp, don't get me wrong, but there's something that needsto change in the trend of releasing CD singles in this country.Remember the time when CD singles were appropriately priced around$4.99? Artists would give a few different songs in the best casescenereos and maybe a mix or two. This "Genetically Enriched" CD EPcomes at an unredeeming $9.99 price tag and features five completelyuseless mixes of "Utopia." It starts with a disappointingly alteredversion for the radio consumption (all they really did was add a couplesounds and recompress it poorly in the master) and ends up litteredwith four boring dance versions (yawn). They decided to toss in acouple versions of "Human" for good measure but left out the best mixby Graham Massey (808 State) so if you want to hear that one, you'regonna have to shell out another ten bucks for the import. The onlyredeeming features of this single are the brand new song "U.K. Girls(Physical)" which incorporates that terrible "(Let's Get) Physical"song and Calexico's 'remix' of "Human" which is really a stellar coverversion in Espanol, but that really doesn't warrant the price ofadmission. Maybe when the record labels stop dicking around the artistsand the consumers, they'll stop being referred to as dickheads. On amore positive note, Goldfrapp will be touring North America veryshortly. Dates -should- be posted at www.feltmountain.combut by the time this zine was published, the US dates were ignored onher site and Mute's as well. Guess they really don't care enough aboutNorth America nor their artists.



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fischerspooner, "#1"

Picture if you will, Gary Numan crashing his car into Fad Gadget's newbuilding. While their debut release follows in the vein of tons ofother new electro artists (see Adult, Le Car, I am Spoonbender, andG.D. Luxxe), something about FischerSpooner reaches deeper than theaforementioned. While the Ersatz crew prides themselves on sterilityand acute repetitive execution of their concept from release to release(Nikola's photography, screen printed road-sign looking icons for bandlogos, etc), Fischerspooner's presentation is lush, sexual, andbeautiful. From the suggestive sleeve art of a man's face covered inpoppy seed-laden cum, to the inside of the gatefold with burnt skin andmeat, peeling makeup, and glitter. In addition, there are full-colorprints on an almost textured cold-press rough sleeves, while eachrecordlabel is also in full color, and featuring pictures of the cover starwith tubes, wild hair, floating underwater or in the air.
The music is not a far departure from our newest new-new wave ofelectronica. The beats are steady and consistent, the kick and bassdeep and rattling, without disorienting breaks or expectedjunglist-tweaked cymbals. The vocals are what really stand out here:male and female singers who are, without a doubt, singing. No radiostatic effects, no drone. It's like Section 25 or early Wake backed bythe women of ESG or 52nd Street. The sexual overtones are presentthroughout, more or less suggestive with the use of heavy breathing andwhispered vocals that become part of the orchestra and dragged out withthe constant use of vocoders. On the track, "Invisible", deep inhalingand exhaling open the song, rattling speakers as if he'sblowing in your ear. The last exhale is dragged out deep into the mixas the beat kicks in, returning later as the end trails of verses, likea Jesus and Mary Chain wash. The track reaches a pregnant pause halfway through, teasing with a kick in time before returning at half thespeed, with deep and breathy vocals. The effect is like continuing tofuck after stopping to catch your breath.
Another great track is their first single, "Emerge", which is available for download from their website:"Emerge" would probably more closely document their style and be aproper comparison to the remainder of the albums contents (save the sadand looming "Tone Poem" and the cover of Wire's "The 15th") and couldsafely be the bands statement of purpose: "sounds good, looks good,feels good too".(Emerge was remixed by Adult, and is available on the "Emerge Remixed"12" also on Gigolo.)
Their live performance has been described as rather over the top —morea rock opera and less a static "stand behind the equipment" electronicshow. Check the site for more info. Different and addictive, nostalgicand new, Fischerspooner is highly recommended.



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phoenecia, "brownout"

After a few singles and compilation appearances, a full length from theMiami-based duo of Josh Kay and Romulo Del Castillo has finallysurfaced. The dark, glorious sounds strike up imagery of being in anunderwater bell, sharing the space with numerous swimming creatures.Ambient soundscapes color an otherworldly scenery, with melodiesproviding a gloomy yet peaceful feel to that land. Never for once dothe ambient moods sound boring, however, as the bright melodies oftenbecome one with the rhythms. Other unfamiliar sounds merge with heavilyblurred and filtered beats, constantly in a state of change. Thepatterns they make with them are original and catchy, and change oftenenough to keep your dancing fun. After bring disappointed with theTakeshi Muto, I was a little wary about getting this record, but aftermany listens, I'm amazingly pleased. Fans of their other releases mightbe a little struck by how much the duo has matured into creating acollective full-length concept.



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lesser, "mensa dance squad"

The overuse of the term "IDM" is increasinly irritating, given it'squite rare any of the stuff lumped into that category is intelligent,dancable or even music for the most part. Hence, the appearance ofthis, a 41-minute auditory reaction from everybody's favorite SanFranciscan electo jester. When I hear the title, "Mensa Dance Squad" Ipicture a crew of super nerds basing dance moves on formulas andequations. One of the ironies of the Mensa organization is that memberssimply test well and have to pay for their membership status, much likethe "IDM" category, it's all a bunch of bullshit. This is appropriatelypriced as an extended play single, as it's not got the conceptual tieslike Lesser's last full release, 'Gearhound'. Hit play on the compactdisc and instantaneously you're flooded with a perfect score forgetting trapped inside a video game machine on the fritz. The first sixtracks are all choppy stuttery post-gabber 1-2 minute songs, with titlevariations on "Mensa", strung together nearly seamlessly. Is thisintelligence or is Lesser just taking the piss outta the scene? Eitherway the tracks are fun, incorporating various elements of prettiness,static, signal noise and goofiness. The next three tracks are all newstuff, tied together with appropriate crossfades, but clearlydistinguishable from each other, the first being a vigorous energyburst, the second being a subdued cleaner melody, the third being arough abrasion not entirely unlike moments off the 'ConstantShallowness' CD from Coil. The disc is rounded out by the CD appearanceof Lesser's track from the European tour split with 606, "EpicAct/Awful Way to Go" (which shreads that obnoxious Faith No More trackinto little pieces) and a 9+ minute "Mensa Dance Squad" gabber-dubremix from 606 himself.



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Unwound, "Leaves Turn Inside You"

It's always fascinating to look back on a band's recording catalog andsee how much they've changed since those early days, especially whenthey put out a new CD that's superlative to anything they've put out.Unwound used to have a reputation as a Sonic Youth rip-off, usingguitar distortion and minimal vocals and building to an overpoweringcrescendo. It was almost dadaist in design: noise for noise's sake. Tohear a band that used to attack their instruments as much as theyattacked basic song structure forego most of that tradition in favor ofhaunting melodies neither abrasive nor pedestrian is impressive. Truethere are moments of noise, and these songs can really crank it up anotch. But most of the noise has been relegated to atmospherics, andthe songs have a more definite structure this time around. JustinTrosper really seems to have grown into his voice, as well, and thedouble-tracked vocals in areas are really quite lovely. "Leaves" is anambitious set, containing two CDs of new music with multimedia content.The multimedia selections are music videos of a sort, for "RadioGra" onCD1, and for "Scarlette" on CD2. The "Scarlette" video is animated,where the "RadioGra" video is compiled footage of whale rescues. Ineither case, the music is entirely appropriate for what you're seeingonscreen, the way good videos should be (if there are such things).Overall, "Leaves Turn Inside You" is a pleasant surprise, packed with alot of punch. If you've hear Unwound before, but haven't been listeningfor awhile, it might be a good idea to try this release out. Trust me:you will be impressed.


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HOCHENKEIT, "omu4h 4aholab / 400 boys"

Portland-based Hochenkeit's second album "omu4h 4aholab" (which isapparently a transliteration of the Mayan phrase "400 boys") is acollection of space-rock jams that fall somewhere between early livePink Floyd and Amon DÙÙl II. The album opens with "Seen," a mellowtrack that builds a very Middle Eastern inspired groove around crashingpercussion and a Harmonium drone. The Pink Floyd influence on the bandshows through "Two Fish Kissing," this time with a rather Indiansounding drone and Turkish mandolin. The drones cease temporarilyduring the opening of "To Be Born Drunk and Die Dreaming," which buildsand twists not unlike a rather funky ragga, each member of the bandsoloing here and there until a screaming wall of noise has been built.The funk vibe continues into "Give Them To the Ants," where a groove isformed and Middle Eastern touches are improvised over it. "400 Boys" isthe first of a pair of fourteen minute jams that close the album. Itis, for the most part, a series of drones by guitar, Harmonium, violin,and sax, with the occasional appearance of cymbals. The song goes on alittle bit too long, though. "Please Turn Out the Sun" finishes thealbum nearly where it started, with Middle Eastern percussion and alight drone. It builds in a way that reminds me of the first Godspeedyou black emperor! album, methodically adding drums, guitar,synthesizer tones and sampled speech; the guitar and Harmoniumeventually take over and the song suddenly becomes a depressedpost-rock jam. Finally, the drones and percussion from "400 Boys"return for the last few minutes of the track. What Hochenkeit do withthe space-rock sound is nothing short of beautiful, and they do itwithout poorly repeating the 70s like many of their contemporaries.



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maximilian hecker, "infinite love song"

Berlin's Kitty-Yo label continue their obsession with proto-pop withthe introduction of Max Hecker on this brand new 7"/CD single. On thetitle track, the lush production, catchy tune and uplifting melody isquite infectious by the time it reaches its climax, the text is almostpainfully repetitious. Almost the same can be said for the second song,"White". A rather dull verse goes nowhere, the vocals are so boringthey need overprocessing, but the chorus is still somewhat emotionallycharged. Getting there is not half the fun but the destination ismildly rewarding. Definitely worth a couple bucks, but not the price ofmost import CD singles. Hecker's got something, but it's still indevelopment. Give him a couple of years to begin wooing the worldwideaudiences. Disgustingly enough, I find these songs stuck in my headlong after they're over. He must be doing something right.



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