Various – HÕFF (Trash Can Dance TCD102011)

Rating: 9/10 Difficult to imagine that Haapsalu, a town at the Estonian west coast, is a thrilling place. But a medieval castle, where White Lady is appearing at full moon in August, makes the spot suitable setting for HÕFF, annual festival of horror and fantasy films that is held at the end of April.On this occasion, Trash Can Dance has issued a compilation of darker rhythms and voices from the Estonian underground scene. As a small jubilee – 10th release in the TCD catalogue – the sampler provides a good insight into the scene. Spice Mouse opens and closes the […]

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Alba – Philomena (Aube 010)

Rating: 7/10 Three synth cuts that express harmony and splendor we know from the previous Aube releases. The label’s most celebrated artist Roland S. Faber has teamed up with Keen K and Aube’s co-founder Michael Künzer to produce safe tunes for those who miss bygone times.The theme of Philomena, named after Künzer’s one-year-old daughter, is presented in three versions, as floating synth interpretations with samples of human voice.“Part I” takes us back to Mediterranean resorts of 1980’s and italo-influenced piece misses only some cheesy vocals like under sunny skies you will hear my lies. The B-side opens with my pick […]

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DUST OFF: Plastic Noise Experience – Neural Transmission (Van Richter 1006 – 1995)

Unterschätzen Sie nicht die Macht*. Teutonic onslaught on American soil was the result when Californian label Van Richter hosted a release by Plastic Noise Experience (PNE), at that time a two-man project of S.M. Kalwa and Claus Kruse. “Neural Transmission” moves between industrial and EBM, and is a compilation based on PNE’s  three releases from the first half of the 1990’s. For the start a worldwide hit, rougher cover of Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy”, but the rest is written by the band itself. “Serious Times” is an industrial song with smoother synths and lyrics but for the rest you get […]

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Uku Kuut – I Don’t Have To Cry / Vision Of Estonia (UQ 001) – 10/10

For a review about Uku Kuut’s album “Vision Of Estonia” (2012), please click here. The sounds of the seven-inch are going right under the skin and it might be easily vintage funk and soul, rooted in American cities like New York or Chicago. But Peoples Potential Unlimited (PPU), a label from Washington DC, has found an hidden gem produced in Sweden by two exiled Estonians in 1984, Uku Kuut* [oo-cooh cooth] and his mother, in 1984. The title track, “I Don’t Have To Cry”, is cozy synthesizer funk with smooth vocals and slight vocoder. Even more I like jazzy funk instrumental “Vision […]

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Villa Nah – Running On (Moshi Moshi 29) – 7/10

1980’s coming back again, signals Villa Nah, a Finnish duo to support Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s comeback gigs in the UK this autumn. Group’s first album, “Origin”, is just out and current seven-inch gives a taste of the larger format, both songs found also in the album version.A-side’s “Running On” is a new wave song with soft pads and simple arrangements. The singer tries too hard to impress with charisma but does not sound very convincing. Instrumental version would sound pretty good, was my conclusion when the singer took a break and let the synths play.On the flip, “Ways […]

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Dom Thomas – The Exploding Disco Inevitable (Brutal Music 02) – 7/10

After a diving session in the deep waters of exotic disco and funk, Dom Thomas has brought to the daylight a selection of more and less glittering corals. It’s not the return of golden oldies but a parade of unknown cuts and edits mainly smelling so end-1970’s.The man from Finders Keepers camp kicks the party off with tikka masala flavour in “Karma Sutra Vocal” and India sends greetings also in Bollywood-sounding “Disco Bomb”. Oriental side is further represented with two tracks full of ample oriental funk, titled “Eastern Fractal”, and extra-drums cut “Pictures Of Phuket”. Like from the workshop of […]

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Cologne Tape – Render (Magazine 001) – 9/10

Cologne Tape is an orchestra consisting of no less than eleven people. Including Jörg Burger who has worked under aliases like Bionaut, Modernist, to name a few, and gone a long way in making Cologne an electronic music power center. He has been joined by producers behind the projects like Ada, Popnoname, The Field and others. All tracks are just called “Render” and numbered from one to five. The intro-like opener is a crash of massive bass effects, hollow percussion experiments and haunting voices, all thrown into the same pot and alerting the listener for what’s coming. “Render 2 (Magazine […]

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The Psychic Stewardess – Spiritual Foundation (Strange Life Records 037) – 7/10

It feels like sitting in your favourite cafe and knowing the menu by heart but still enjoying familiar atmosphere and those sweet cakes. The label and the artist tell what to expect. Another strike from Strange Life Records featuring Smackos-like floating and spinning vintage synths with a certain concept, including the identity of the artist. The Psychic Stewardess is presented as “a part time stewardess and psychic from the Californian desert town of Palm Springs” but do you really believe it? Just the label boss Mr Wolfers AKA Legowelt under another guise and even less smarter detectives can recognise his […]

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