Tim Paris – Dancers

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Dancers is the ideal title for the debut album from London based Parisian Tim Paris, each of its tracks whether an open flirtation or a more chilled proposition, a vibrant adventurous waltz. Better known as one half of It’s a Fine Line with Ivan Smagghe, Paris has sculpted songs which pull the imagination into unpredictable and vivacious soundscapes. Each one is distinct and stands alone in the tapestry of the release but have a symbiotic union which provides one refreshingly inventive landscape for senses and emotions to bask in. Dancers ebbs and flows in success across its body it is fair to say but only to waiver within a constant magnetic seduction which never relinquishes its strength.

As renowned for his remix invention which has seen him reinterpreting invention from the likes of The XX, Femi Kuti, Battant, Au Revoire Simone, Ewan Pearson, and Tiga, the DJ, producer, and musician now unleashes his own electronic alchemy through the album, merging the purest essences of synth pop, new wave, post punk, electronica, disco, house, and much more for transfixing and evocative aural climates. Dancers provides insights into richly flavoursome cinematic scenes but also ones which have an intimacy which goes beyond voyeurism to draw the listener emotionally into the imaginative investigations. Featuring a wealth of guests, the album is also a collaborative affair embraced by the creative ingenuity of Paris.

Opening track Golden Ratio strides boldly in on punchy beats and an electro tinkling which reminds instantly of Love Cats by The Cure Tim Paris - Dancersthough it takes little time to show its own distinct tease to the coaxing. The song then infuses intriguing melodic lures which do not nestle easily within the established pulse of the song but only accentuates the awakening potency. Featuring Georg Levin of Wahoo, the song opens up warm arms of melody bred enticement and smooth vocal expression which are themselves veined by intriguing twists of enterprise and electronic investigation. The post punk strict rhythmic heartbeat steers the journey allowing thoughts to take in the radiant sights and absorbing atmosphere. It is an adventure which midway takes a breath to return with an even more masterful hold on the appetite, a case of absence making the heart grow fonder.

The enticing start is matched by Rain which sees the guest appearance of Coco Solid of the Parallel Dance Ensemble. The song drips slightly chilled riffs down upon the ear whilst a rhythmic shuffle hurries across the senses. It is another alluring start given extra drama by the skirting dark throated bass, the combination building a striking premise which is enriched further by the cyber kissed vocal narrative. The repetitive spine of the track bewitches constantly; the stark core holding Joy Division/Bauhaus like predation around which the elegant and mesmeric call of the song spreads and croons.

The metallic breath of Outback, Stones & Vinyl soaks the ears next, the initial caress of the song courting a John Foxx essence which never leaves the infectious persuasion. As the track explores its seductive canvas, building and colouring the imagination with inspiring textures, the instrumental toys with the senses further, stretching its provocative enveloping with an additional Bill Nelson like invention. Like standing on a heaven lit cliff top whilst warm winds and sights wrap rivetingly around the senses, the song puts the listener in a hypnotic almost meditative emotional trance.

The following Minireich which features Sex Judas and Rupert Cross and Disco Ellipse both create a transfixing dancefloor bred temptation, though the pair tantalise and shimmer in their enticement rather than leap upon the eagerness of feet. The first has a definite Yello feel to its mischievous invention, vocally and in the devilish temptation offered whilst its successor is a cybernetic tango, flashing sonics and dazzling electronics spraying their bait around before the emotive weave of distressed melodies and restrained bedlam make their play successfully for the passions. Those nor the next up Unsung Deaf Hero fire up the same intensity of hunger and thrills as the opening songs but all captivate and refuse to release the album’s hold, the third of the trio a smothering wash of thick ambiences and funk spawned vocals casting a dark dance of inciting suggestiveness and mystery.

Dancers is back to dominating senses and mind with the outstanding drama of The Grip. With Ben Shemie, Paris lays a noir bred sinister atmosphere within which guitar and rhythms stalk the imagination, the encounter a soundtrack which could easily grace any caped crusader or futuristic darkly shadowed enigma. All the tracks allow the mind to run riot with their aural paint but this more than most conjures up stories and emotions to intoxicatingly bask in.

You’ll Never Know also creates a tenebrous encounter to immerse within, it’s again noir crafted riddle an imposing and incendiary fuse for an adventurous mind to run with whilst ears welcome the varied vocal hues and electronic weaves. It is a blend which is just as alluring in the slightly lighter Extreme Nails, its celestial stroll within a heavy but slow rhythmic frame a beacon for the listener to explore in their own design. Shadows as across most tracks are never far away with their tempering relish though they have to take more of a backseat within the fruity exploits of Heaven Parking which again sees Sex Judas involved. There is a subdued but visible lunacy to the song which brings thoughts of the eighties Martin Atkins band Brian Brain. It is a thrilling revelry which steps aside for the equally delicious Backseat Reflexion to close the album. The song sees Forrest joining Paris in a last irresistible seduction, electronics and melodies aligning within a shadow built emotional seduction.

It is a masterful end to a similarly consummate release, Dancers offering a collection of emotive and provocative vignettes which absorb thoughts and passions like a sponge for exhilarating experiences and adventures. Apart from the length of a few tracks stretching their staying power to clutch at straws in an attempt to temper the enthusiasm, Tim Paris has provided his finest hour with his own solo release, the first of many we hope and suspect.

Dancers is available on 2 x 12″ vinyl, CD, and download right now via My Favorite Robot Records.

http://www.facebook.com/djtimparis

9/10

RingMaster 12/04/2014

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Machinista – Arizona Lights

Photo by Milla Randjelovic

Photo by Milla Randjelovic

    Laying out an irresistible invitation into their magnetic synth pop world, Swedish band Machinista provide the most mouthwatering pedigree temptation through their Arizona Lights EP. Consisting of four original tracks and an enterprising clutch of remixes, the release is a dramatically compelling persuasion leaving a rather healthy and greedy appetite for this new genre proposition.

    Machinista is the brain child of John Lindqwister (Cat Rapes Dog, Basswood Dollies) and Richard Flow (Vision Talk, Haze For Sale) who linked up together in the final weeks of 2012. Their first effort was a greedily accepted version of David Bowie´s Heroes followed to equal responses by Molecules And Carbon. Fresh from supporting Henric De La Cour and with a flurry of their own shows coming up this month, the duo seductively hits us right between the eyes in presence and sound with their EP, it one blinding incitement that simply wraps around the passions.

     The ten track limited edition EP through Juggernaut Music Group also makes a masterful teaser for the band’s forthcoming indexalbum. It flirts and plays like a sonic temptress, bringing the richest colourful hues of synth pop past and present into its smouldering depths. The title track swarms into view first with a celestial breath starting things off, a spoken vocal narrating the emerging ambience and golden electronic sun of vibrant sound. The song is soon into a warm and inviting stroll with synth caresses and similarly coaxing vocals embracing the imagination. There is an elegance to the melodies which accentuates the lure of the encounter and a dance in its heart which equally engages body and emotions. It is an undemanding but thoughtfully composed and easy to access electronic waltz, a mesmeric evocation which alone provides perfect bait for band and upcoming full length.

    The outstanding Wasted steps up next and features guest vocals from Toril Lindqvist of Alice In Videoland. Like the first, initial contact comes in an enveloping and this time a haunting almost sinister ambience which takes its time to enjoy its consumption of the imagination. As it explores and sparks those thoughts the song simultaneously breeds a contagion which erupts into the restrained but eager stomp which excites and enthrals. There is also a definite eighties essence to the song, thoughts of B-Movie and Paul Haig hinting along the way.

    The following Salvation ventures more to the scenery of Landscape meets A Flock Of Seagulls with its mischievous and refined croon, pulsating beats and electro throbs magnetising the passions as vocals and melodies wrap their expressive weaves around the riveting canvas of the song. Again there is an energy and appetite to the song which similarly invigorates the senses as the track entwines its bait around the ears. Comparisons as everywhere are mere spices in something uniquely Machinista, their recipe certainly here mouthwatering and hypnotic.

     Pushing The Angels Astray completes the quartet of original songs, continuing the concept of the release which hints at UFOs and Abductions. The song trots through the ears with a vivacious heart and gait to its body as well as a virulently infectious chorus to match the charm of the electronic sculpting. It is a glorious enchantment and exploit for limbs and emotions, the pair at their most virulently persuasive and scintillatingly creative on the release which is confirmed by the delicious acoustic version of the song which swiftly follows.

     The release is completed by a quintet of remixes of its tracks, four of the track Salvation firstly by FutureFrenetic who give it a dancefloor friendly injection of energy followed by an atmospherically immersed treatment from Not Lars, a more chilling rendition through Tactical Module, and a vein throbbing interpretation from 2PM. In the middle of the four IIOIOIOII unveils his wonderfully invasive remix of Pushing The Angels Astray, the artist luring out the deepest textures and emotions of the song.

     With their debut album on the near horizon, Machinista could not have given it a better lead in than the Arizona Lights EP, a release which thrills and intrigues at every turn even through its remixes. Modern synth pop has found itself another exciting protagonist as the genre continues its thrilling revival.

http://www.machinistamusic.com/

http://music.juggernautservices.com/album/arizona-lights

9/10

RingMaster 07/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Pillar Point – Self Titled

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    Creating an immersive melancholic waltz for feet, thoughts, and emotions, the debut self-titled album from US electronica project Pillar Point is a fascinating captivation with a persistent almost niggling seduction which encloses the imagination in an evocative and reflective embrace whilst sparking the urge to shuffle and lift limbs. It is not a release to ignite a major fire in the belly but instead it simmers and smoulders earning a lingering respect and appetite towards its open invention.

    Pillar Point is the solo project of Seattle musician Scott Reitherman, an artist already known for his involvement with indie-pop outfit Throw Me the Statue. Exploring similar electronic textures and sounds to that band, Reitherman ventures into darker shadows and deeper emotive corners, tempering it with a melodic dance of imagination upon his solo release. Uniting with long-time collaborator and producer Charlie Smith for the Polyvinyl Record Company released album, Reitherman takes Pillar Point and the listener on a fascinating soar through crystalline atmospheres and sirenesque electro embraces, an adventure equally unafraid to step into personal reflective shadows.

     The album opens with the masterful Diamond Mine, the song a weave of electronic alchemy honed into an enthralling flame of melodic enticement. From its first caress of vintage sounding synthesizer the song is seducing the imagination, the mellow falsetto leaning vocals of Reitherman adding to the warm suasion. Dark bass tones politely groan from within the flames, beats adding potent jabs to cast a little further darkness to the sunspot of a song. It is an absorbing entrance and stroll but one which shows its true toxicity with the exceptional chorus. As it hits, discord invites itself to the mesmeric party and immediately cast a dark irresistible glaze to proceedings vocally and musically. It attaches its claws like a mix of very early Ultravox and Thomas Dolby filtered through the dark intimidation of Joy Division. It is a scintillating moment in a terrific start to the album, one it never manages to emulate again.

     The following infection soaked Eyeballs and the celestial Cherry give it a strong go though, the first an eager energetic bound of guitar teasing and mischievous rhythms within an electro cloud with as much tendency to haunt and shadow emotions as it has to seduce them. Its successor washes over ears with an ethereal breath and temptation which again mixes melancholy and warmth into an emotive sailing of the imagination. Like its predecessor the song is awash with an infectious bewitchment which lingers and inspires long after its departure.

     Black Hole steps up next with its rhythmic bait poised and ready to hypnotise from its first second, the ear clipping beats a constant provocation within a tantalising electronic entrapment. Smothering and inspiring thoughts into a personal adventure, the song is a vibrant tempting which has toes and heels itching to join the mix, something which Strangers In Paradise in its noir kissed romance also achieves with a slow steady saunter. As with the opener, there is an eighties synth pop essence to the song especially in its darkest climate, bands like Felt and Comsat Angels brought to mind by the sultry elegance and rhythmic intimidation respectively of the encounter. Its unpredictability and fusion of discord spawned ingenuity with warm melodic blushes is a compelling treat and across the whole album this type of union continually provides the strongest pinnacles of the landscape.

    Both Dreamin’ and Touch expressively glow in the passions, if at times with sluggish lures that stir rather than stoke the fires, whilst the delicious tease of Curious Of You with its electro devilry and contagious harmonies incites the coals to another feverish hunger. It is a track which holds the hands and whirls you around its hazy scenery in one fluid escapade for the duration of the refreshing dance. It is a magnetic incitement matched by the closing slice of mesmerism, Echoes. As its title the song resonates and pulsates relentlessly in the psyche and imagination, another weave of electronic and melodic beauty coaxed further by the impressive tones of Reitherman.

    The song concludes in fine style a magnetic release, an encounter from Pillar Point which maybe does not cause the passions to erupt but instead invites and persuades them to linger for vast swathes of time long past its farewell…a reward which arguably is the greater and very appealing.

http://pillarpointmusic.com/

8/10

RingMaster 04/03/2014

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Naked Lunch – Beyond Planets

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    The return of Naked Lunch, one of the UK’s first electronic rock bands, has been an increasingly impressive and thrilling proposition with a clutch of single showing that this is not just an aesthetic return of an eighties band as with so many others. Reinventing their sound and early songs with a craft and invention which sees them an easy fit in the modern premise of electronic world as well as casting new and invigoratingly inciting encounters to bask in, the band has made a striking statement with their debut album Beyond Planets. Anticipation was high because of the previous singles but the album exceeded all assumptions and hopes with its refreshing and magnetic slices of electro rock/pop.

    Originally formed in 1979 by vocalist Tony Mayo and guitarist Gary Shepherd, under the name Sons of Perdition at first with Naked Lunch becoming the moniker after their debut gig, the band built a strong and feverishly followed presence through shows with the likes of DAF, Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget, B Movie, and Clock DVA, as well as their own gigs and tours, and first single Rabies. The band also made a major contribution in helping Stevo find bands for the ground-breaking Some Bizarre compilation album which was released via the Daniel Miller (The Normal) owned Mute Records and to which the band itself contributed the track La Femme. That first single followed to acclaim and good support though was banned from day-time radio play because of its title; but subsequently line-up changes and differences led to the band ending in 1981, though there was a short lived live presence through Mayo until 1985.

   2010 saw Mayo reunite with early member Paul Davies with the pair writing new material before original line-up members Mick Clark and Cliff Chapman joined a year later. The band was expanded by Mark Irvine in 2012 and Jet Noir last year. First single Alone sparked the attention and bred an appetite in a great many for the band’s return, which the following Slipping Again, Again and Glow only reinforced and accelerated. Now with their excellent debut album, Naked Lunch position themselves back to the fore of British electronic music with a mature craft and imaginative invention which time has obviously bred in their creativity.

     Opening track We Are, the new video single from the band, opens on an electronic dazzling of sound and sonic light, a space bred beckoning enticing the imagination into play. From the celestial ambience magnetic beats soon register an eager coaxing before stretching the bait with firmer rhythmic temptation. The song soon settles into a restrained stroll with vibrant electro colour courting the somber and pressing dark vocals. It is an enthralling mix with a subdued funk swagger, the track playing like a mix of Fad Gadget and Yello as the narrative sets the scene and premise of the release, humanity in all its oppressive shadows. The song takes longer to fully convince than subsequent tracks it is fair to say but ultimately succeeds to set the album off on a potent and engaging start.

    Slipping Again, Again comes next, the song a reworking of the B-side Slipping Again of that very first single. The song has a dark bordering on sinister essence to vocals and ambience which adds a delicious noir breath to the tantalising mix of melodic enterprise and rhythmic revelry. The dust clad tones of Mayo only accentuate the heavy intrigue and shadow of the song whilst the synth teasing and guitar sculpted flames provide riveting adventure and mystery to the contagious and menacing croon of the song. It is an enthralling new chapter to the original song and easily ignites the senses before being straight away matched by next up Rabies. A new album version of the band’s first success, the track emerges on a skittish shuffle of percussive bait soon joined by pumping electro vibrancy and caustic guitar scratching. The band has taken the heart and essential power of the original but polished up its sides and intent to sculpt an even greater contemporary synth pop dance. It is a mouthwatering piece of enterprise which alone shows how the band has evolved and grown its sound without losing the  striking glory of its first entrance.

     The album continues to raise its plateau as the next trio of songs starting with Emotional Turmoil, toy with, entrance, and manipulate the passions. The track is a bouncy infection drenched romp of electro pop with scuzz kissed guitar and seductive sonic beckoning all framed by a rhythmic toxicity which is equally irresistible. A tonic for any down trodden day, the track is an energy fuelling, emotion regenerating dance of creative endeavour and irrepressible mischief. It is immediately followed by a new version of Le Femme, the song receiving its originally intended spelling but one changed by Miller for the Some Bizarre release. Like Rabies, the track is bursting with fresh updated invention but without losing any of its original strengths, and like the other thoroughly enjoyable. Alone steps in next with its shadowed brew of evocative elegance within an almost oppressive web of emotional drama, its premise that of individuals in a disconnection to the world the voice within an immersive atmosphere. It is a gentler embrace than the previous tracks but no less resourceful and thrilling.

The album’s best track, Weekend Behaviour struts in next with an instantly addictive electro seduction, a tempting soon aided by less intensive vocals and a wash of melodic radiance. It is slightly deceitful though as from within the warm stomp returning intimidation coated vocals join the affray alongside a snarling graze of guitar aligned to raucous energy. The song is a scintillating brew of electro rock with old school punk rock essences taunting and firing up the passions.

     A new version for the album of that previously mentioned single B-side, Slipping Again treats the ear next with similar success to the other re-workings on Beyond Planets whilst its successor Glow, a song which like all the recent singles gets an album make-over, provides a Landscape like expanse of exploratory imagination from the keys and guitar within a smouldering and pulsating electronic soundscape. With a delicious groove around and spicy twang to its central narrative, the track is a lofty pinnacle in a climate of peaks.

     Completed by the excellent Fade Away with its absorbing oscillating radiance and electro majesty, Beyond Planets is an outstanding exploit in a vibrantly expressive journey. Rich in nostalgia but only to the extent of re-kindling old flames to unite with greater new and potent excitements, the album easily declares Naked Lunch the real deal to give all the young electro bucks a run for their creative money.

www.nakedlunch.org.uk

9/10

RingMaster 11/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Public Domain Resource – Dead Surface

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     Until the arrival of their debut album it is probably not too far-fetched to assume a great many like us were not aware of Public Domain Resource and their magnetically crafted contagious sound. The recently release of Dead Surface has certainly addressed that lapse and such the potency of the synth pop bred waltz marking this fifteen track temptation the only recommendation is for you to go immerse yourself in this band. It is an album which ebbs and flows at times to both intrigue the imagination and occasionally leave the appetite wanting a little more from particular moments but taken as one radiant proposition the album is a riveting and vibrantly refreshing slice of electronic adventure.

     The Bergamo based project consists of Pietro Oliveri (music, synths, programming, vocals) and Ugo Crescini (vocals) though founded in 2012 it was initially a solo venture for Oliveri before Crescini linked up with him in March of last year. The band’s first year saw the appearance of Under The Ground, a track which reached 3rd place in the Industrial Music chart on Soundclick.com. Its successor Nemesis-The Third Day and the following The Hang were no less eagerly received either with the two songs riding high in IBM charts and all three now appearing upon the Space Race Records released Dead Surface. Combining a weave of sounds and flavours from eighties synth pop to EBM and varied electronic spicery, it is an encounter which warrants plenty of encounters to discover all its little nuances and seductive essences but one which constantly rewards with those unveilings. Whether the album will rival your all-time favourites time will tell but certainly it will earn and deserve a regular feature on your adrenaline cast playlists.

   The album starts with its best track, a title Ideals never relinquishes despite the strong challenges to come. Opening with a Dead Surface Coverdelicious bassline right out of early songbook of The Cure, the track immediately has interest hungry and eager to learn more. Tantalising electronic strokes soon join the persuasion alongside energetic rhythms and roving synth temptation but it is the excellent vocals of assumedly Crescini which seal the deal. It is hard to know who provides vocals actually each voice clearly distinguishable but only if you know which belongs to whom, something we could not find out in time. A more than healthy Depeche Mode feel evolves to wash through the song as it expands its lures and enterprise as well as a sturdy rock element to the vocals especially, it all adding to a masterful infection clad synth pop triumph.

    The following Red Lines has a more tempered energy to its candescent electro glow aligned to shimmering enticements and also has little difficulty in seducing ears and thoughts. There is a rich emotive breath to the track from its opening note and first lyrical syllable and though as it progresses and builds a rich intensity in its melodic colouring and emotional depth the pervading shadows within never waiver or lessen their evocative call. Its successor Under the Ground is a similarly crafted blaze of melodically hued imagination, different in sound and delivery but as provocatively expressive and built with dark edges to provoke the imagination. Both tracks continue the impressive start to the album before passing over to another pair of pinnacles on the release.

    The title track from an arguably predictable opening dips enthrallingly into a darker climate of voice and sound which brings thoughts of New Order to the fore. It is when the song takes a breath and puffs out its melodic chest and rhythmic muscles around a pulsating nagging electro core that it ignites a virulent fascination of sound and shadowed seduction. The melodic groove which laps at the heart of the song alongside impassioned piano strokes only go to accentuate a Heaven 17 like bait fuelling the outstanding track, its success straight away matched by Fiat Lux. Admittedly the song took a little linger to fully convince but evolved into a strong favourite. Like those before, it has a unique character seeded in familiar yet fresh seeds. Once more thoughts drift to the eighties, this time from the chilled atmosphere which reminds at times of post punk band The Passage and a discord kissed vocal delivery which persuades like the haunted expression of that band’s creator Dick Witts crossed with the wily tones of Fatima Mansion’s frontman Cathal Coughlan. It is a ravenously addictive slice of electronic tempting adding further depth to the album.

    After such a strong passage maybe it was inevitable that the release would wander a little in potency which it does with the slightly predictable Negative Fields and the unsurprising Nemesis – The Third Day, though both are undeniably enjoyable and conjured by accomplished craft as they sandwich the arresting electronic landscape of Always Prey for Them – The Reich’s Station. Their enjoyable presences are soon lost to thought as the minimalistic beauty of Mishima San and the impossibly addictive Your Blood Is Mine combine to ignite the passions all over again; the first an elegant stimulation of melodic mesmerism and sultry synth pop engagement which is as epidemically contagious as any full on virus and its successor a multi-spiced electronic web which hustles and imposes its grandeur on the senses whilst holding them in a warm atmospheric embrace. Both tracks are irresistibly memorable, something you can say about the majority of the album as proven by The Hang. Heavy in texture and similarly weighty in infectiousness the song is a slow burning rousing of the imagination which needs longer than some to fully convince but does so without reservation before The Second Day takes its swipe at winning over emotions, its inevitable success going on what has gone before soon confirmed by its resourceful and skilful electronic maze of adventure.

    Completed by two more than decent remixes by Tourdeforce (Red Lines) and Retrogramme (Under the Ground) as well as the Magnetic Fields edit of Mishima San, the thrilling Dead Surface is an exhilarating incitement of a united dancefloor and individual passions. Increasingly more impressive with each romp through its insatiably addictive and inventive body the album marks Public Domain Resource out as a new protagonist in exploratory synth pop, a band draped in shadows for not much longer you suspect.

http://www.publicdomainresource.net/

http://ekproduct.bandcamp.com/album/dead-surface

8.5/10

RingMaster 10/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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IIOIOIOII – Sun

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Earlier this year the Rising Sky EP from US industrial/electro project IIOIOIOII set the imagination away on a warm mesmeric flight bred from its expansive atmospheres and spellbinding synth pop seduction. Equally it stirred up anticipation for and high expectations of the impending album from the North Carolina artist. On a day many hide in the shadows from, Friday 13th of this month will see the dawning of said album and an insatiable tantalising of melodic elegance and consumptive aural caresses which confirms and then crafts to greater heights all the promise and assumptions spawned by its predecessor.  Sun is a masterful casting of eighties synth pop and seductive electronic textures which enthral and flirt with ears and emotions from start to finish, a provocateur  who is new to the senses but holds a familiarity which makes easy allegiance to its infection seem like destiny.

IIOIOIOII (pronounced I.O.), is the solo project of Charlotte musician Christopher Gurney who since the release of the Rising Sky EP has come under acclaimed attention from fans and media alike. The quality of the four track release sparked something in people and its chosen genre, its seeds and poetical melodies seemingly cultured from an older era but evolving into a fresh and transfixing presence which adds almost classical warmth to the current climes of synth pop. Released as the EP via Juggernaut Music Group, Sun provides a glowing understanding soundscape and incitement for thoughts and emotions which with nostalgia and invention an equally tempting fuel to its enterprise leaves an already eager appetite for the artist full and still greedy.

Rising Sky is the first caress, senses spotting melodies gently coaxing in attention as a sinister industrial/electro rub shadows IIOIOIOII - Sun - covertheir enticement. It is an instantly engaging encounter which enriches its lure the further into its evocative depths the song moves. As the welcoming yet also slightly dark tones of Gurney call from within the predacious heat, the song arouses thoughts of eighties bands B-Movie and Modern English. It is a mesmeric start which holds an intimidation but it is held in check by the magnetic elegance of the melodies and the persistently infection laced lure of the song.

The impressive start continues with Weapon, again light and shadow entwines in a dramatic melodic embrace. With an enveloping tantalising ambience stalked by sinewy rhythms, the song simultaneously prowls and seduces the senses and imagination, flowing crystalline melodies making spellbinding bait to which defences are immediately attracted, especially as a Visage like electronic narrative coats the delicious enchanting and intrusive toxicity. The song immerses the senses in a provocative bathing, one which is reassuring but also emotionally exploratory; a trait just as ripe within its successor Stardust. Like those before the song has no urgency in making its full intent known, instead slowly dawning in all its aspects and emotional castings. The evocative slow stroll and celestial kisses from within the melodies sparks another delve in to eighties synth pop, the crafting of Paul Haig coming to mind as well as a darker presence which has whispers of Nine Inch Nails to it. Absorbing and virulently infectious within its reserved yet fully flighted soar, the track pulls the passions even deeper in to the riveting narrative of the album.

For Do You Know Gurney uncages a serpentine malevolence to his haunting vocals, a move again opening new shadows and enticements within the album which the following Falling boldly stretches into even darker realms whilst persistently lighting the way with irresistible melodic and electronic weaves. Gurney’s vocals on the second of the two provide an almost venomous breath to temper but also stretch the glassy beauty flowing easily over the ears; a kind of Frank Tovey meets Mr. Kitty persuasion. Though admittedly the pair nor the invasive but beguiling Spotlight which emerges next manage to ascend the heights of the opening trio of songs, all with sumptuous ease increase the bewitchment from and hunger for Sun.

    We’re Still Alive steps forward next with a steely intent and stance to its contagious croon. Like a new sculpting of the haunting invention of Trent Reznor and the chilled imagination of John Foxx, the track is another merciless majestic tempting of the senses and emotions whilst both New Sedations and Echo, the first a feisty discord drenched slice of creative bedlam and the second a ghostly smothering which induces fear and rapture, increase the drama and intrigue of the album. Gurney on the pair again shows with varying success he is unafraid to push his vocals to places they may not be wholly comfortable with but constantly it only adds to the appealing portentous air of songs and release.

After the veering on doomy presence of Goodbye, the album is completed by remixes from Dreams Divide (with Stardust), Revenant Cult (Spotlight), Art Deko (Rising Sky), Garten der Asche ( Spotlight), and Machinista (Stardust), all in their individual ways discovering and extending new aspects and traits to their chosen sources, though truthfully none find the unfussy triumph of the originals. Nevertheless they provide a fine closing stretch for a release which reinforces and forges greater promise within IIOIOIOII; the dangerous beauteous temptation unveiled one rewarding trap to fall for.

https://www.facebook.com/IioIndustrial

8.5/10

RingMaster 11/12/2013

 

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Vienna Ditto – Ugly

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Creating flights of sultry enigmatic bewitchments, smouldering arcane blues swept electronic enchantments which evoke unique adventures in the imagination each and every time, electronic blues duo Vienna Ditto unveil their finest, most potent seduction with the Ugly EP. The three track release travels the psyche and emotions with a sublime soaked enterprise bred by a blend of country blues and gospel influenced ‘voodoo electronics’. It is a transfixing venture through sweltering evocative climes and across magnetic aural sunspots which gloriously mesmerise from start to finish.

Vienna Ditto consists of Hatty Taylor and Nigel Firth, a pair who first met when the latter started teaching the former guitar when she was 11 years old. The couple lost touch after a couple of years but met again by chance in the street in 2009, and within a week of reconnecting they recorded an electronic version of the Johnny Cash classic Ring of Fire, and their own composition Long Way Down within another a week of that. The second track found itself on Huw Stephens’ Radio One show which was followed by an appearance on the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury Festival and further radio exposure. Their self-titled EP of 2011 and following singles through to this year has intensified the acclaim and attention upon the band, each a fresh and vibrant exploration of a sound which is distinct and imaginatively unique to Vienna Ditto, a strength which the Ubiquity Project Records Ugly steps forward with to worry new plateaus of excellence.

The title track seduces ears and thoughts first, its opening celestial electronic wash instantly offering a suggestion of Vangelis before _CardWalletcoming to a halt to allow fiery guitar strokes to deliciously aggravate the senses and appetite alongside pulsating beats and a rockabilly temptation embracing the delicious tones of Taylor, this switch the first example of the band’s ingenuity within a torrential majesty of unpredictable imagination. Firmly into its creative weave all textures and essences merge to sculpt an incendiary and haunting expanse of atmospherically sweltering mystery. There is a feel of Saint Agnes to the flames which lick at the enthralling narrative vocally and musically whilst the increasingly bedlamic electronic teases tantalise and ignite potent exploits in the mind and passions.

The following By Way of Apology immediately caresses emotions through the vocal cradling of Taylor, it a sirenesque beauty within similarly emotive sonic invention from and the craft of Firth. The sound conjured envelops the senses, casting a canvas which the bewitching Taylor exploits and makes full use of to romance the narrative of the piece and the listener’s imagination. The Portishead like elegance of the song as well as the steamy ambience makes another exploration in the closing track Stop.  There is a sixties pop sorcery whispering from inside its woven electro and emotive wash providing another unhurried tender engagement which kisses and woos every aspect of the body and soul with a melodic alchemy and irresistible skilled sway.

Listening to Ugly is like walking through the soundtracks of unpolluted shadow soaked adventures of the heart, emotive travelogues across noir lit or sweltering climes which initially hold their secrets close to their chests but open up to the sirenesque call and bait of Vienna Ditto. The EP is simply scintillating and the band the fruitful hypnotic future of synth/blues pop.

http://viennaditto.com/

9/10

RingMaster 25/10/2013

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IIOIOIOII – Rising Sky

IIOIOIOII

With more than a passing nod to eighties synth pop, the Rising Sky EP from US industrial/electro project IIOIOIOII is a delicious major introduction to an artist which combines evocative atmospherics with seductive melodic embraces and teasing testing invention. Consisting of four magnetic tracks which without stretching boundaries explore fresher pastures than most within a well-worn genre over the years, the Juggernaut Media released Rising Sky is an engaging and captivating proposition from a potently emerging talent in Christopher Gurney.

Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Gurney with his solo project creates an absorbing web of sound and textures around strong vocals and open emotive narratives. IIOIOIOII (pronounced I.O.) takes thoughts at times back to early Mute Records days with its minimalistic breath within a feisty enterprise. The EP also occasionally triggers comparisons to the John Foxx, Modern English, and once or twice the new wave/synth pop beginnings of Ministry, yet despite that it has an individuality and character which brings those flavours into something refreshing and invigorating as well as different to most current bands. It is a mesmeric treat and the instigator to great anticipation to Gurney’s forthcoming debut album.

The AA side of Rising Sky consists of the title track and Stardust , the opener immediately laying down a seduction which breeds IIOIOIOII - Rising Sky - coverattention and hunger for its persuasion. The first track ambles in with electro splinters of encouragement and a more sinew cast industrial predation which though equally inviting is wrapped in shadows and intrigue. The vocals of Gurney make a clean and open provocateur though you sense a snarl on the edge of every syllable waiting for its moment but the song’s restraint holds court throughout. The track has a reflective pace to its narrative and gait which holds both the magnetic elegance of the melodies and preying darker edge of the shadows in an easy union whilst the infection laced chorus has the virulent lure which marked the aforementioned songs of Modern English.

Next up Stardust like the first song, appears on the upcoming album Sun, and equally makes a compelling teaser for the full length. The slower evocative stroll of the track instantly weaves the pop charms of Paul Haig in with the thick ambiences of Nine Inch Nails, though the song ultimately steps mainly through the synth pop scenery of the potent landscape. It is an absorbing flight which bewitches imagination and passions within a celestial mesmerism veined by the melancholic breath of vocals and lyrical expression.

The B-side brings Could Have Been, an exclusive track to the EP, and Good Night a re-mastered version of a track first found on the projects first demo. Both continue the compelling call of the release, the first with a darker shade to its emotional hues and aural colour. It again offers essences of Trent Reznor as well as Gary Numan whilst within its vibrant stroll over the senses its suggesting blacker shadows carry a Frank Tovey touch. May be less impacting than the previous pair of songs it is still an encounter which leaves ears and thought absorbed and appetite greedier for what the release and IIOIOIOII has to offer. The closing track is a starker, darker industrial prowl; its fizzing, corrosive surface accentuated by the acrid lilt to the vocals. It is only half of the story though because like all songs it allows extremes and opposites to embrace and here Gurney weaves an OMD like melodic exploration with excellent vocal suasion to the cloud, menacing evocative heart of the track. It is a sinister thrilling conclusion to a masterful release.

If Rising Sky is any indication of the album it is going to be one of the most highly anticipated and striking synth pop/ electro industrial releases of recent times. Roll on its arrival as it is very easy to be confident that IIOIOIOII has something special in wait for us.

https://www.facebook.com/IioIndustrial

http://juggernautservices.bandcamp.com/album/rising-sky

8.5/10

RingMaster 11/10/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Man Without Machines: The Kreuzberg Press

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    With a heavy influence from the synth pop and post punk of the eighties, Scottish band Man Without Machines has an electro sound which though an warm vibrant kiss from today is one which Mute Records would have devoured three decades back. Debut album The Kreuzberg Press blooms all its seeds into a pleasing and engaging package which fluctuates from consistently enterprising and satisfying to openly thrilling, an infectious encounter which pulsates with imagination and electronic dazzling.

From Dundee, Man Without Machines is the brain child of Adam Lockhart who upon the album conjures every aspect of its intriguing presence from songwriting and playing to production, with only additional help from Andrew Mitchell on bass and bass synth on certain tracks, whilst live the band is a five piece with a line-up completed alongside Lockhart by Mitchell, Val Campbell (Keys), Michael Benbow (drums), and Steve McCullough (guitar/synths). Influenced by the previously mentioned eighties sound and European politics, the album title referring to Kreuzberg in Berlin notable for its radical and counter-cultural movements in arts and music, the band has been capturing attention from fans and media through singles like Something’s Happening Here, a release given strong attention from the likes of BBC’s 6Music and BBC Scotland something the album surely will strengthen to a wider degree.

Released via Man Vs Man Records, The Kreuzberg Press takes no time in seizing ear and focus with opening cyber ticks and a coarse electro rub leading into an energetic wrap of welcoming guitar, warm vocals, and teasing keys. Even Still Even Though has a heat and smoothly flowing stance which combines repetition and subtle shifting tones for a compelling and catchy dance upon the senses. With essences initially of Fad Gadget evolving into a more OMD caress, the track is a strong and tempting start to the album which is instantly built upon by the following tracks.

Anyway unloads bulging pulses upon the ear before keys reveal their song with a sizzling touch alongside guitars staging their own display of magnetic lures ably aided by the throat contagious bass tones of Mitchell.  As the opener the song has easy access to an impressed reception with the vocals of Lockhart bringing extra fine elegance upon the hungrily energetic song. The song like the following Share The Love with its wonderful underlying niggling leaves a lingering taste brought through a varied stance within the overall electro pop wash of imagination to ensure many returns.

Through the likes of Sound Of Your Lies with an intro which loudly whispers Visage, the shimmering glow of Peterloo, and Falling Star, the release paints colourful pictures musically and lyrically which without finding earlier heights still entrances and ignites the senses for a continuing compelling experience. The latter of the trio offers washes of pre-disappointing pop era Human League with a blush of latter day Ultravox to wrap the listener in a quizzing emotive hug, its persuasion eventually staking its claim on the passions.

First single form the album, Something’s Happening Here is a delicious stroll through the ear with a Numanesque flavouring to its contagious swarm of mellow rhythmic agitation and seductive melodies driven by an excitable but held in check energy. It is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the album and it is obvious with its irresistible beckoning why it has lit the fires of so many. Scorelines is an equally tasty treat with an equal depth of allurement, its sterner guitar taunting and spellbinding synth melodies an electro polka of invention and exceptional temptation.

The heavier muscular It’s Closer and the closing rousing saunter of In Salt helps bring The Kreuzberg Press to a fine close with very agreeable accomplished invention. As well as the mentioned references inspired by songs at certain points there is also an overall feel of the smaller indie bands like Radio 5 and Music For Pleasure, bands which despite imaginative sounds departed as silently as they arrived and stayed during the eighties. With Man Without Machines it is hard to expect, on the evidence of their album, that they will see the same underwhelming fate.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Man-Without-Machines/101401753255976

7.5/10

RingMaster 4/03/2013

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The Horn The Hunt – Depressur Jolie

Reading interviews with and about the background of Leeds based duo The Horn The Hunt, there is the feeling that adventure is in their blood whether physical or artistically. Their second album Depressur Jolie is an instant affirmation of that thought upon hearing the thirteen tracks living within its borders. Like little exposures from an exciting journey the tracks reveal and instil images of rewarding struggles inner and from the outside. The sounds of Clare Carter and Joseph Osborne have been labelled as pop music by some but that simple tag does not do justice to the depths and layers within their songs, certainly not those that live and breathe inside Depressur Jolie.

The album opens with the title track and what a track it is. From the moment ‘Depressur Jolie’ erupts into life with a big deep resonating bass riff surrounded by soaring synths a sensational ride ahead seems a guarantee. The song is a glorious weave of musical ideas and sounds that attach themselves to the side of the driving rhythm creating a musical kaleidoscope. All this makes for an impressive canvas for the stunning vocal ability of Carter to swoop, soar and play upon, though there is nothing light about her delivery or skill. As the album evolves song after song she with ease travels from dark and aggressive through smooth and controlled to a J-pop like delivery, often within the same song.  The big folk drawl of ‘Harpoon’ takes over proceedings with a glorious imposing dark slow bass riff joined by crashing guitars and keys over a twanging series of chords. This and the next track, the recent single ‘Raptor’ a song with a rhythm that seems to stalk like the predator of the title, show The Horn The Hunt come from the same creative pool as Dutch band De Staat; builders of multi layered songs with sometimes the most unexpected sounds which always work wonderfully.  

Carter and Osborne can do mellow and more straight forward too as the emotive ballad ‘Be The One’ with vocals so controlled and skilful they raise hairs on the back of the neck shows. ‘Lava Dreams’ and ‘Bear Trap’ deliver it even more simple with lean synths sounds and rhythms underneath the enticing vocals; both tracks recalling the basic organ and guitar genius of 80’s band Young Marble Giants but with attitude. Of course simple for The Horn The Hunt is complicated for many but they show they have the vision and ability to paint glorious musical pictures in many ways. ‘Henry’s Out’ and ‘Animal Magic’ deserve a special mention too, the first with its great synth indie pop groove over a tapping finger type rhythm and expansive chorus, and the latter for its smooth pop sound over  soft tribalistic beats and cries.

Depressur Jolie is a musical blessing for the ear, inventive, unique, and best of all extremely enjoyable. Where many try and fail when being creative with sounds and what seem on the surface like random noises, The Horn The Hunt excel making each song an event which offers something new on each subsequent play. An album of mini tales and big sounds Depressur Jolie is a must listen for anyone looking for originality. The album is released on White Label Music on 23 May 2011 and the bands official website is @ www.thehornthehunt.com

Pete RingMaster 17/05/2011
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