Mathon – Terrestre (Vinyl + DVD)

Mathon - Terrestre

Mathon’s new release, Terrestre, is a unique album, both musically and in terms of the physical format.

Switzerland based Mathon is made up of Thomas Augustiny, Roger Stucki und Pete Leuenberger. They create cinematic ambient music.

The album comes as a vinyl LP + DVD combination. It’s worth noting that the LP is pretty sexy, as it’s pressed in clear vinyl. A DVD is also included, with digital versions of each of the tracks, remixes and videos for several tracks. It’s clear a lot of thought went into the presentation of this release.

The album features 6 tracks, 3 to a side on the LP. The music combines electronic sounds, acoustic instruments & environmental sounds.

Mathon says that “they took their mobile recording-studio into the mountains and they chose the earth as their main theme for the compositions. The coexistence of nature and civilization and also the contradictions between the two can be heard on Terrestre.”

The tracks mix fluttering ambient synth pads with: piano, violin and other instruments; subtle glitch effects and processing; and an assortment of unidentifiable creaks, scrapes and drones. At times, it’s a bit like George Winston had to do a gig in one of the slightly eerie landscapes of Brian Eno’s ambient classic, On Land. Other times, it has more of a meditative quality.

Though the music on Terrestre is described as ambient – it’s not necessarily music you’re likely to put on and ignore. This sonic landscape may make you wonder just what’s in the shadows, behind that tree or over the next hill. Continue reading

Eban Schletter’s Cosmic Christmas

Eban Schletter’s Cosmic Christmas is described as a yuletide odyssey – but it’s also bizarre theremin-filled exotica that’s likely to find fans among curmudgeons and send people hoping for a little old-fashion Christmas running from the room.

Schletter has a varied background – ranging from music for SpongeBob SquarePants to playing with System Of A Down or acting as the drummer for the all-girl band Stone Fox (dressed as the skanky “Debbie”).

While other artists are looking to the past, Schletter has created a concept album based on the idea that “a military satellite finds itself in the midst of a musical “transmission” which forces it to rethink its primary directive.”

The album doesn’t hit you over the head with the concept, though.

Instead, Cosmic Christmas combines original songs and instrumentals with modern electronic exotica takes on Christmas classics. There’s some great “spacey” theremin work on Schletter’s versions of Christmas Time Is Here, We Three Kings and It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. Continue reading

Glenn – Electronic Secret

Fans of the classic synth music of Jean Michel Jarre may want to get familiar with Norway’s Glenn Henriksen, aka Glenn.

He sent us a copy of his 2008 album Electronic Secret, a 10-part suite of electronic instrumentals that he describes as “Nice chill Electronic music with a touch of Jean Michel Jarre, Kitaro, Vangelis ….”

In other words – his music is inspired by the late 70′s-early 80′s golden age of synth music.

Of the influences that Henriksen notes, the most obvious is Jarre. Henriksen’s obvious affection for Jarre’s music may excite some and turn off others, but, for fans of classic synth music, Electronic Secret deserves attention on its own merits. Continue reading

Rave – The Movie

Rave is a movie, from 2001, that tells the story of 6 LA kids that end up at a rave.

Here’s how the producers describe it:

A Rave is a Rhythmic Assault mixed with Visual Ecstasy and if you haven’t experienced one, you’re about to… It’s Saturday night in Los Angeles and 6 teenagers throughout the city are in search of the hottest Rave in the city– it’s the weekend and they’re ready to PARTY.

Over the course of less than one day, we see a portrait of these kids finding their way; their paths crossing in a universal setting…a big city with all the temptations, attractions and dangers.

Here’s my plot summary:

A bunch of kids decide on impulse to go to a rave.

They all end up either: dead, mutilated, or traumatized for life.

Continue reading

Nine Inch Nails In Minneapolis

I had the chance to see Nine Inch Nails show last night in Minneapolis.

Here’s the mini-review:

  • This may bring out the haters – but for most of the show, NIN had a surprisingly straight-ahead arena rock sound;
  • The show had four main sections; rock, electronic rock, Ghosts instrumentals and more rock;
  • The visuals were stunning, the most artistic and impressive that I’ve ever seen at a rock concert;
  • The focus was almost entirely on the songs; there weren’t any traditional solos and the visuals often obscured the musicians;
  • For an EM fan – it was disappointing not to see/hear more of Alessandro Cortini. 

NIN was very tight and rocked hard, but the highlight for me was the instrumental breather in the middle – the visuals made this section wonderfully psychedelic. 

In a nutshell – the concert was well worth $60 for the tickets and a 4-hour drive.

New Music From David Wright, Robert Fox, Bekki Williams

Synth music label AD Music has several new releases that may interest fans of ambient, new age and space music:

  • Bekki Williams will be releasing a trilogy of instrumental music albums based on Dante’s Inferno starting in 2009. Apparently there will be three albums released over a 12 month period, so one every 4 months, starting late in 2009, which means the releases will go on into 2010. 
  • Electronic music composer David Wright will be performing in the USA in 2009 with guitarist Klaus Cosmic Hoffmann. The first concert will be at the Gathering concerts on Saturday April 18th. Although no further concerts have been announced yet, it is rumoured that a Wisconsin concert is being discussed. 
  • The new Robert Fox studio album Evergreen is now available. They call the album a “Majestic tour de force”. Robert Fox is one of the leading UK electronic music composers and he also is -founder of the electronic rock band Code Indigo

Synth.nl – Atmosphere

Atmosphere is a great new album of synth music album from Dutch synthesist Michel van Osenbruggen, aka Synth.nl

Atmosphere is a concept album, based on the layers of atmosphere that surround the Earth, the various types of clouds that are encountered within each layer and the sounds of weather that might occur at each layer.

The tracks are arranged to follow the layers of the atmosphere, as if you were taking a trip from the earth into space.

The “atmosphere” concept isn’t heavy-handed, but serves as a framework for Osenbruggen’s music, which is electronic music in the synth music tradition of artists like Tangerine Dream, 80′s Jan Hammer & Jean Michel Jarre. The music has a symphonic electronica texture with an emphasis on traditional analog-style sounds. Continue reading

Chemical Brothers – Brotherhood

Sometimes it’s a good thing to run an electronic music website. When I opened the mail to find a review copy of the Chemical Brother‘s latest, Brotherhood, it was one of those times.

Brotherhood is an unusual release. The box set comes with two CDs. The first CD is a greatest hits collection, spanning the CB’s 13 year career. It also comes with a new track, Keep My Composure

It wasn’t that long ago that the Chemical Brothers put out their last greatest hits release, Singles 93-03. And there’s a lot of overlap between the two collections. 

Judged for its own merits, disc one is clearly a great collection of some of the most influential electronic dance music of the last fifteen years. What’s really interesting with this release, though, is the second disc, which contains Electronic Battle Weapons 1-10.

According to the band, “Since 1996 Electronic Battle Weapons have acted as the laboratories for The Chems devious musical experiments and laid the rhythmic and melodic foundations for numerous tracks as well as providing some of the duos most formidable mixes. Until now Electronic Battle Weapons 1-9 have only been available on various limited formats and this is the first time they have been widely available.”

To these ears, Electronic Battle Weapons is some of the most interesting work that the Chemical Brothers have done. The tracks are much longer than their singles, giving them time to stretch out, and are less tied to traditional song structure than singles. 

The tracks don’t stray far from the Chemical Brothers’ familiar style, but they seem to highlight the best facets of the group’s sound: massive beats, great synth basslines and aggressive noise effects. Highlights of the disc include Electronic Battle Weapon 4 (Freak of the Week), Electronic Battle Weapon 7 (Acid Children) and Electronic Battle Weapon 9

Extra discs are often throwaway remixes and second rate tracks. With Brotherhood, the Chemical Brothers give you their greatest hits on disc 1 – but the best stuff is on disc 2. 

Essential listening for Chemical Brothers fans. Continue reading