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music review

Various ::: "Circuit Noir Volume 1"

dark - electronica - industrial

Compilation of 13 U.S. and 2 Australian electronic - industrial acts.

This 71 minute compilation contains quite a diverse collection of material from the electronic-body-music and industrial genres; from the light and trippy (Numantre, Oneiroid Psychosis) to grating industrial (Anti-Music-Foundation and Wage Class Slave), from atmospheric soundscapes (Crimson Boy and Marble Orchard), to aggressive electro (Noxious Emotion, EYE).

It's also great to hear an industrial compilation which features a high percentage of artists without distorted vocals, with female vocals, and with innovative beats and composition. Besides the 2 Australian and 2 Wisconsin acts, the rest are from the mid-west and north-west U.S. If you're interested to hear the kinds of electronic and electro-industrial music that is produced in this region then I honestly consider this a much better buy than the Cleopatra release "Elektro-Industrial sounds of the Northwest".

  1. The Azoic - "Intimate Incisions"
    A suspenseful and mechanical gothic-electronic-body-music piece with exchanging female & effected male vocals. Cold rigid beats, bell sounds, angelic female vocal samples and a morbid subject.
  2. EYE - "The Key - mutant AYA version"
    Objective comments? Well you won't get any from EYE. Let's be a tad more or less blatant and quote Tommy T. of DSBP records and the Cyberage radioshow in the U.S. who said of this track: "good stuff....different!! that's what i like, unique sounding...yet elektro with vox, and diversity!!... your track is real cool!! i played it on the CYBERAGE the other night!!" The following comments by Mick Magic in his review of the EYE ". . ." cassette apply to this track: "... Very high tech sound here...some beautiful synth sounds, muchly fast tekbeats, Gary Numan on helium vocals, ...manic teknoid indeed, very weird and quirky ... stop/start bits (show offs)..." Well, it's EYE's proudest moment on CD so far, though being as fussy as I am, I do want to rerecord this track as there are a few bits I'd like to play with. This is actually a modern manifestation/mutation of a (less credible) version initially recorded back in 1996 for a 2XX radioshow - see discography. There, that's probably enough blatant self-promotion until the next CD comp. review.
  3. Crimson Boy - "Love Gone Wrong 3 AM"
    Another great track from Western Australia's Crimson Boy who, incidentally, are apparently soon changing name to Faterazor. Very dark and spacious, weird remote robot-reverb vocals, cold-electronica with excellent original programming and sampling - the trademark of Crimson Boy. Love the deranged animal-like guitar groan samples, treated and subtle female operatic voice, and harpsichords/pianos. If you are familiar with and like the sort of music that Dorobo Records release then you'd dig this track.
  4. Numantre - "Les Coeurs Danser"
    Like Single Gun Theory and Dead Can Dance with very convincing sitar noises (is that a real sitar or a synth? It sounds real), arabic percussion parts and modulating synths. Great eastern-influenced female vocals; not quite in the same league as Lisa Gerard's (Dead Can Dance) voice yet (who is?), but well on the way there.
  5. Oneiroid Psychosis - "Effacement of Projects and Purposes"
    Trippy and hypnotic with sweeping synth-strings, great `speaking' tweaked synth-lines and vocoder vocals. For those who don't know what they are (vocoder-vox) think of what an angelic robot would sound like.
  6. Fockewolf - "I am God"
    "... we live in overstimulated times... stimulation for its own sake..." electro-body-music with husky female vocals.
  7. Anti-Music Foundation - "Your Loss"
    As their name implies they're anti-music. It's no surprise that they like their noise then. Can't make out any of the lyrics, but that's o.k. True industrial-wasteland-music from the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Reminds of SPK circa "Leichenshrei" album.
  8. Cesium 137 - "Smegma"
    This is a short and sweet, repetitive, pounding instrumental which works very well. Minimal. I like it.
  9. Wage Class Slave - "Fragmented"
    Features industrial SPK-like smashing percussion with distorted vocal prose. And guess what, they're also from Wisconsin. What's happening there to produce such nasty, alienated music? I think the UN should be called in to investigate.
  10. Noxious Emotion - "Nitrogen"
    Squidgy synth noises and Kraftwerk/late-80s-Severed Heads-like sticky-robotic-splatter beats. Robotic-vocals. Some great flanging keyboard blurbs. See CD reviews for more on NE.

  11. Nefarium - "Dream Releaser"
    This track contains some good music/programming ideas, and the verse vocals are o.k. but I have to be honest - please change the gothic-chorus vocals and lyrics! (For me) they ruin an otherwise good track.

  12. Separate Faith - "Synergy"
    Raw, hypnotic electro-industrial track which I like, but would like to hear it without the piano part.

  13. Society Burning - "Broken"
    Starts with an interesting reversed loop of something or other and teary-eyed EBM bass-lines but unfortunately this track is let down by the NIN-like vocals and lyrics.

  14. Marble Orchard - "Dementia"
    A chilling imagination-stimulating mellow instrumental soundscape. Music for vagueing-out to late at night in complete darkness. In a similar vein to Coil's "Hell Raiser Themes" as well as Shinjuku Thief/Shinjuku Filth and other releases on Dorobo records.

  15. Redonjon - "Veracity"
    A simple programmed instrumental track with slow digital-808/909-simulation beats, plonking synth-bass (perhaps a bit too plonky) and some nice bell and choir sequences. Very simple/minimal but nice.

This was available from Blatant Propaganda but has sold out.

$12 U.S. from:

United Endangered Front Records. PO Box 554 - Englewood, Colorado 80151, USA.
[email protected]

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