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Review of These Days EP by LDCN — October 26, 2015

Review of These Days EP by LDCN

This EP is only available when you donate £3 or more for the ‘Until the End’ album which I’ve previously reviewed here.

It’s a great idea to make an EP available this way, the album is excellent and so is this EP, it’s a great complimentary release and both are excellent value.

The EP creates a great soundscape, there’s excellent ambience often with a really good edge of tension. The sounds are well crafted and excellently layered. The percussive rhythms are a great example of this, fairly sparse but give a good momentum whilst still allowing plenty of space for other elements which is a difficult thing to do but LDCN achieves this effortlessly. There’s a touch of the cinematic about this release at times too and what I also really like is the way that you can interpret the songs in many different ways.

Winter Nights
This song has great drone and reverse sounds to open, there’s a great soundscape and a nice edge of tension too.

Internal Thoughts
Builds on this theme evolving a bass and percussive rhythm which is layered really well with a great sense of space. There’s some great sounds effects too. The recorded clip has great use of delay, like a thought buzzing round your mind. Great evolution of the song, building slowly and effectively. I really like the way you can draw your own conclusions as to what this song is about.

3am
I really like the use of recorded sounds against the piano and background sounds, this creates a great ambience especially with the natural organic sounding piano against the more metallic elements of the percussive rhythm. It has an improvised / jazz feel at times and is another great soundscape.

Abandoned
This song has a great evolving opening, the string type sound and processed vocals give a great ambience and the percussive rhythm gives a really good contrasting momentum. There’s a great ebb and flow type feel to the song.

These Days
Great sound effects and rhythm to open, the song has a breakbeat / glitchy feel to it, it’s a great contrast between the ambience of the really good looping elements and the edgy, glitchy feel.

Lonely
Another great evolving opening, the vocals sit slightly in the background having a distant feel. Great background / drone sounds and the reverse sounds add a great element. The song tells a story really well, the percussive rhythm gives a good momentum and really adds to the feel of the track which has a cinematic feel at times.

Twisted (Bonus Track)
Another great opening, the song has a real brooding quality with the use of really well layered gnarly pitched and delayed string sounds and the reversed sounds add a great element. The song has a great evolving ambience, building tension slowly and really effectively with a great slow release too.

Review of ‘Time For Love’ EP by The Winachi Tribe on A1(M) Records — October 20, 2015

Review of ‘Time For Love’ EP by The Winachi Tribe on A1(M) Records

This is an outstanding EP, what I really like is the way that The Winachi Tribe blend styles of funk, soul, house and disco and create their own distinctive sound. The vocals are excellent with great use of male / female to provide contrast and there are great harmonies too. The drumming and bass is really tight knit providing a solid foundation. The EP has a great groove from excellent production.

Time For Love
A disco / soul / funk style to the opening, there’s a great vibe from the vocals which suit the style really well and the drumming and bass is solid too. There’s great use of contrasting female vocals and nice synth arp and brass elements too. It’s really well produced and has a great smooth feel.

Plant The Seed
This song has some house qualities to the opening but also with a funk/ soul feel and the song has a great laid back vibe. The vocals have a more spoken acid-jazz feel at times. Female vocals add a great element again with great harmonies. Great production again, it’s a really tight sound. The video directed by ZigZag Zig is embedded below.

TFL Remix (Love Maze 4DD Remix)
There’s a really soulful house feel to the opening and throughout, a great vibe from the female vocals and the male vocals provide a good contrast and there’s great use of acid-jazz style vocals too. Great production again, excellent layering and a really tight sound.

 
The Winachi Tribe have recently released Plant The Seed as a second single and the band have commissioned a remix by Danny Saber to coincide with its release. And it’s a brilliant remix, whereas the original song has quite a laid back feel, Danny has managed to keep its essence whilst giving the remix a great groove, a wicked vibe and a tribal feel at times. It has a really good energy with a brooding quality to the verses opening up the sound in the chorus.

 
You can also catch The Winachi Tribe live at a number of upcoming gigs:

2015
7th November: Shine On Weekender, Minehead Arena, Somerset with Happy Mondays, Stereo MCs, 808 State
22nd November: Leicester O2 Academy, supporting Happy Mondays
26th November: Nottingham Rock City, supporting Happy Mondays
27th November: Drummonds, Aberdeen

2016
23rd January: The Phoenix, Cavendish Square, London

A1(M) Records website
A1(M) Records on facebook
A1(M) Records on twitter

Blue Soap Music website
Blue Soap Music on facebook
Blue Soap Music on twitter

The Winachi Tribe on facebook
The Winachi Tribe on twitter

Review of ‘Hot Sweet and Blue’ compilation on Factory Fast Records — October 19, 2015

Review of ‘Hot Sweet and Blue’ compilation on Factory Fast Records

 

What I love about this compilation is the way that the songs don’t always stick to convention, sometimes combining styles, different elements or having great changes in feel which gives the album a distinctive sound. There are some great grooves, distorted riffs, blues and jazz vibes with great vocals too.

David Romaine – Made of Star
Uptempo drumming to open with a strummed riff, the song has a great groove. The vocals have great harmonies and I really like the timing changes, sometimes on the beat and sometimes behind, giving a great contrast.

Gypsy Ghosts – Try Not to Die
There’s a great 80s 2 tone feel to the opening, an excellent arrangement. There are really good changes in feel and a great vibe to the song. The vocals are excellent, they have a great intensity at times. There are some great guitar lead lines too with a surf guitar feel at times.

Mojave Nomads – Fat Quarter Stack
A great distorted riff and drumming to open creates a solid groove. The vocals are processed really well. The song has great changes in feel, there’s some really good riffing too.

Lowrise – Kill to Love
A great riff to open the song with shimmering guitar chords, there’s a great momentum provided by the drumming and a great urgency to the song with a nice release in tension too. The vocals are more spoken at times with a great edge of angst and tension. There’s some really good uptempo riffing and a great solo too.

Pig’n’Aif – Oh Girl
I really like the beach recording to open which leads into strummed chords and a feel somewhere between jazz and lounge. The song has a great laid back vibe and some really good piano too. The vocals have an upbeat feel and suit the style really well.

Mike Marison – Here in my Life
An excellent blues vibe to open the song, solid drumming provides a great momentum and there’s a great groove provided by bass, synth and guitar. The vocals are really good with a nice edge at times. There’s a really good solo too.

Lila Blanca – Disappear
Great wah and flanged guitar to open leading into a delayed riff and subtle bass, the drumming is quite uptempo. There’s a great distorted riff with a nice change of feel and the vocals add a nice edge of tension.

Factory Fast Records website
Factory Fast on twitter
Factory Fast on facebook

David Romain on facebook
David Romain on twitter

Gypsy Ghosts on facebook
Gypsy Ghosts on twitter

Mojave Nomads on facebook
Mojave Nomads on twitter

Lowrise on facebook
Lowrise on twitter

Pig’n’Aif on facebook
Pig’n’Aif on twitter

Mike Marison on facebook
Mike Marison on twitter

Lila Blanca on soundcloud
Lila Blanca on twitter

Review of ‘The Balkan Dances’ EP by Deadlights & Black Marine — October 14, 2015

Review of ‘The Balkan Dances’ EP by Deadlights & Black Marine

 
This is a great EP, each song is an excellent soundscape with great synth sounds, background layering and excellent piano playing. There’s a jazz improvised feel to the piano at times which has a natural organic sound which contrasts really well with the digital synth and background sounds. There’s a subtle hint of glitch at times too.

Barynya
A wonderfully ambient song, it has a darkish feel to open with swirling almost background sounds accompanied by piano and a choral type backing. The piano playing is an excellent improvisation. A glitched conversation sits in the background adding a great element of tension.

Kezbegury
Great string sounds to open with piano and there’s a great tension provided by the contrasting drone like synth. The piano playing is excellent again too with a touch of dissonance at times which is a great element. There’s a really good building of tension, the song is an excellent soundscape.

Troika
Another great opening, effected vocals which are panned and sound like they’ve been subtly glitched lead to great piano playing again with a subtle swirling background sound. A great ambience again, really good layering with the background conversation having a real ethereal feel and there’s a really nice glitched rhythm in there too.

Deadlights on twitter
Deadlights on facebook

Black Marine on twitter
Black Marine on facebook

Review of ‘Sledgehead’ compilation album on Factory Fast Records — October 13, 2015

Review of ‘Sledgehead’ compilation album on Factory Fast Records

 

This is an excellent compilation of guitar driven songs with styles from jangly rock, punk, grunge, indie to uptempo rock. There’s some great riffing and uptempo solos all propelled by solid drumming and bass. The vocals are excellent too, some great harmonies and a good range of styles from uptempo to lonesome to a more laid back bluesy feel.

The Statements – They Say
Great riffing to the opening of the song which is propelled by solid drumming. The song has a great momentum and solid indie rock vibe. The vocals suit the song really well and they have an edge of tension to them. There’s a really good solo too.

Supervoid – Death of a Scholar
There’s a laid back feel to the opening of this song with bass and percussion, a great riff and chords played on two guitars arranged really well. The vocals are similarly laid back and there’s a great change of feel to them in the chorus which is propelled by distorted guitar and there’s a great build of tension ending the song with a final release. The song has a great grunge / Seattle sound reminiscent of the Smashing Pumpkins.

Bill Zanni – Screaming Red to Silent Blue
This song has a great acoustic guitar riff to open, accompanied by a distorted guitar and a second distorted guitar adds a great lead line. The vocals have a brooding quality and a great feel which really adds to the song.

The Everglows – It’s Alright (For You and Me)
I really like the uptempo riff and drumming to open, the vocals are great with excellent harmonies. The song has a great jangly vibe and the organ adds a great element.

Anti – Vaporize
Another song with a great riff and drumming to open, the vocals are harmonised and layered really well and contrast against the more uptempo riffing at times. There’s quite a laid back groove to the song.

Danny Lowe – None of the Above
Great uptempo drumming and riffing to open the song, vocals have an urgency about them. A great punk vibe to the song which has excellent riffing and nice changes of feel.

Screwtape – Yikes!
There’s a really uptempo riff and drumming to open this song which takes a more laid back chord vamp before returning to a more uptempo groove. The song has great vocals and I really like the changes in feel. There’s a great energy throughout.

Factory Fast Records website
Factory Fast on twitter
Factory Fast on facebook

The Statements on facebook
The Statements on twitter

Supervoid on facebook
Supervoid on twitter

Bill Zanni on facebook
Bill Zanni on twitter

The Everglows on facebook
The Everglows on twitter

Anti on soundcloud
Anti on twitter

Danny Lowe on facebook
Danny Lowe on twitter

Screwtape on soundcloud
Screwtape on twitter

Review of Ultimate VST by Superwave — October 12, 2015

Review of Ultimate VST by Superwave

 
Ultimate has been around for a little while and it’s one of those hidden gems that you find from time to time that offers great sounds and great usability and like other Superwave products offers excellent value for money. It is also still supported and developed, being recently updated to version 1.4.

I really like the interface for Ultimate, it has a really good 80s / vintage feel with sliders for the filter and envelopes, well graded and easy to read dials plus a number of buttons to make selections such as oscillator waveform, arpeggiator mode etc. The layout is easy to navigate and well laid out. There are a number of different panels which are switched between using the 5 panel select buttons towards the bottom of the screen or the sequence edit button. Note that an Ultimate Extreme HD version is also available, designed for minimum resolution of 1920 x 1200 and has the same functionality but all switchable panels are accessible from a single user interface.

On the face of it, Ultimate seems like many other virtual analogue synthesizers having 2 oscillators, a common oscillator section, a filter, 3 envelopes, 2 LFOs, a sequencer, arpeggiator, and a good range of effects including chorus, phaser, delay and limiter. However, what sets it apart is that each oscillator actually has up to 16 waveforms each of which can be detuned, fine-tuned, phase adjusted and panned to suit. One of these waveforms is the ultimate oscillator for osc 1 which has a great sound and I really like how you can set the rate and depth of analogue drift. There’s also morph and modulation options for each waveform too.

And this is what I really like about Ultimate, it means you can get some pretty big, huge even, strings, leads, pads and basses. You might think that this means it’s suited to trance and it is, but it’s certainly not limited to this style of music, it’s equally at home producing 80s and vintage sounds too. There are a number of presets arranged into these categories, most of which have really good sounds.

I also really like the sound of the filter, the cutoff and resonance are operated by sliders and produce some really good changes in sound especially when used with the sequencer as outlined below.

There are 4 instances of the 32 step sequencer, 3x modulation and 1 gate. These have a number of controls and destinations meaning you can get a range of effects from a simple gate effect to complex melodies with modulation. For instance you can set up filter sweeps using the gate and cutoff or have a great sounding bassline with or without an arpeggiator, you get different but equally very effective results. It’s an excellent feature that really helps get the most out of the sound.

The arpeggiator is a classic and phrase arpeggiator with up / down and 4x alt patterns, 18 beat ratios over 1 – 4 octaves with a number of controls. This gives some really good results too with a bit of experimentation especially when combined with the sequencer.

Overall it is an excellent synth for pad, basses and string type sounds which it does extremely well. I’ve created the demo track embedded above using 6 instances of Ultimate to give an idea of the type of sounds it can produce. Very little external processing has been used, just one instance of Tal Dub 3 delay and one instance of ambience reverb. The background sound is a field recording from Charing Cross tube station which has been processed in Polygon by Glitchmachines and from which the track takes inspiration for it’s name.

Ultimate is available from Superwave

Review of ‘Young Martyrs’ EP by The Poetry Book — October 9, 2015

Review of ‘Young Martyrs’ EP by The Poetry Book

 
The Poetry book are Chris W and Soul R from Madrid, Spain. They have created a really solid EP, there’s really good layering of sounds with great atmospheric soundscapes often contrasting against the harsher synth or distorted drone sounds. The vocals are heavily processed, often sitting in the background which gives them an ethereal feel at times and really adds to the vibe of this release.

Decay
A great opening soundscape, the song has really good momentum but still retains a laid back vibe. The vocals are heavily processed which gives them a really good ethereal feel.

Young Martyrs
Another great atmospheric opening, there’s a really good contrast between distorted guitar tones and softer melody. Production is excellent, giving the song a kind of subdued feel contrasting really well against the more upfront riff and ethereal quality of the vocals.

Love Letter
This song has really uptempo drumming to open contrasted against evolving synth sounds. The riff complements the drumming really well. There’s a great edge to the song, the vocals sit more in the background. Great synth sounds too, the song has a really good evolving sound.

A Last Ritual
A great guitar riff against a synth bass drone leads into a more defined sound with drumming, bass and distorted guitar. The vocals are processed really well and sit slightly in the background again. There’s a really good tension from the falling and rising synth sound and really good layering of sounds.

The Promise
A great ambient opening given a great edge of tension by the synth sound which provides an excellent contrast. The vocals have a real ethereal quality which adds to the brooding quality of the song.

The Poetry Book on facebook

Review of ‘Atomic Appliance’ album by Roofhare — October 6, 2015

Review of ‘Atomic Appliance’ album by Roofhare

 

This is an excellent album, there’s a great attention to detail with some very well crafted sounds which are layered really well. There’s great percussive sounds, some of which sound like struck items and great synth sounds too including great arps which create intricate rhythms. Some of the songs have an ambience which contrasts really well against synth sounds or more metallic sounding percussion. At times the album feels like songs were improvised or recorded live and there’s a great jazz vibe at times too.

The album is free to download but any donations will be very gratefully received because all 100% of them will be forwarded to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank supporting their work in providing food to people in need, especially children.

Dome Humming
This song makes great use of ‘found sound’ percussion hits with great delay and reverb. There’s great layering and separation of sounds. I really like the stringed instrument which has great tonal qualities. There’s almost an ambience at times which contrasts really well against the percussive rhythm which grabs your attention.

Atomic Appliance I
I really like the evolution of this song. It has a sparse opening developing more of a rhythm. Great sounds, the arrangement gives them lots of space. The ‘squelchy’ bassline is a great element giving more of a defined momentum with increasing frequency of sounds. There’s great layering again, the song has the feeling of a live or improvised performance.

Atomic Appliance II
There’s a great arp to open providing a rhythm and melody, there’s a dissonance at times which works really well. There’s great movement in the sound too, synth sounds placed subtly in the mix work really well adding a great element.

Atomic Appliance III
This song continues in a similar vein, a rhythm and melody arp to open but this time with background synth sounds with great drone qualities but also really good movement in their sound too. There’s great layering again too.

Ode to Alice Herz-Sommer
There’s a different feel to this song, great use of recorded sounds to open, a really good rhythm and bass with layered synth sounds. The song has an abstract feel, like thoughts coming and going. The recorded voice parts work really well.

Open Skies, Open Heart
Bass and delayed synth to open creates a great soundscape, there’s excellent layering and a great emerging string sound followed by lead synth part. There’s a great contrast between the ambient synth sounds and more urgent feel of the delayed sounds.

Melancholy of Nostalgia
This song has an almost cinematic opening, string sounds are great especially against the background sounds which are layered to great effect. It’s like there’s an organic part and contrasting robotic or metallic / constructed part. The song evolves really well.

Requiem for Layers
A great opening soundscape, bass compliments the synth sounds really well, there’s some really good swirling background sounds too. The song has real reflective qualities, a great arrangement and layering and a nice edge of tension too.

The Flues
This song has a great jazz vibe and a more defined percussive rhythm. It’s a great arrangement which gives the song an improvised feel.

TennisinneT
A recording from a tennis club (presumably) forms a great backdrop for some excellent improvised jazz piano. I really like the contrasting digital sounds against the more natural piano and rhythm / bass. Again the song has a great improvised feel to it.

Sand Dollar
This song has a great opening sound which creates an intricate rhythm. Some excellent ‘pipe hit’ type sounds and layered melody give a great momentum. The drumming is almost breakbeat or 2-step which adds a great element. Really good changes in feel too.

Roofhare on twitter
Roofhare on Soundcloud

Review of ‘Non Compos Mentis’ EP by Eyemouth —

Review of ‘Non Compos Mentis’ EP by Eyemouth

 
Non Compos Mentis is the second EP by Swedish band Eyemouth comprising of David Lilja, Marcus Lilja, Tove Ekman and Joakim Åberg. I’ve also recently reviewed their third EP and latest release Noera Genesis.

There’s a great vibe to this EP, a really good range of songs and styles with excellent arrangements, playing and vocals. But it’s much deeper than that, there’s a touch of the cinematic and a great flow, almost like a journey through considering your own mortality or sanity. It’s like realising that you’re in a bad place, seeking assurance that it’s not your fault, descending deeper into chaos with a release of sorts but still with a lingering tension.

Blood on the Earth
This song opens with a great synth riff and dark, intense drumming. The vocals add a great edge of tension with excellent harmonies. There’s a brooding quality to the song, great layering and use of background sounds.

Responsible
A simple but very effective repeating riff – sounds like a harpsichord or cimbalom – accompanied by swirling, subtle background sounds. The vocals are superb, simple but very effective arrangement. I really like the dissonance to end the song.

Phlegmone
There’s almost tribal percussion to open the song, it’s intense with vocal sounds, breathing almost, swirling around leading into vocals and a recorded background sound. The song has a really edgy feel and great sound effects to end.

Will There Be A Light
This song is embedded above. It acts like a release, having a more upbeat feel to the opening. The vocals have a great edge to them, there’s a sparse feel to the verses with really good changes in feel. I really like the use of background recorded sounds and the way the tension at the end of the song leaves you to make your own conclusions on how things turn out in the end.

Eyemouth website
Eyemouth on twitter
Eyemouth on facebook
Eyemouth on soundcloud

Review of ‘Alt Country Armor’ Compilation on Factory Fast Records — October 5, 2015

Review of ‘Alt Country Armor’ Compilation on Factory Fast Records

 

With an excellent range of songs from blues, folk, country to rock and roll, this compilation has excellent story telling, great acoustic guitar playing with fiddle, lap steel and blues harp too which really adds to the sound. The vocals are excellent too, often with an edge of sadness or tension which is really captivating.

Melting Pot – Sneaking into Heaven
This song has a great opening riff leading into a real bluesy groove. Percussion is subtle but works really well. Vocals are great with some excellent harmonies and nice edge of tension. The song has a great vibe with nice changes in feel. There’s also an excellent solo which has a touch of lap steel.

Tom Brooksby (feat. Jackson Brooksby) – Half Way Home
I really like the blues harp opening leading into an acoustic riff with a second acoustic guitar arranged really well. The vocals have a great folk / blues quality to them with some great harmonies. There’s a really nice solo too.

Julie Gibb – The Spirit Song
A real country feel to this song with excellent interplay between violin, bass, lap steel and piano. The vocals are gorgeous, edged with sadness which creates a great tension.

Tokyo Rosenthal – Mister Tell Me Bout The Great Depression
There’s a real driving feel to the opening of this song which maintains a similar momentum throughout. There’s great fiddle playing, really good riffing and solid vocals with a nice edge of tension. The song has really good changes in feel too.

Gene P Kelly – Whiskey Love
There’s a great rock and roll vibe to this song which has excellent riffing propelled by solid drumming and bass. The song has great vocals, telling the story really well. There’s a great solo too.

Matt Davis – Take It From Me
A strummed riff, lap steel and vocals to open with, the song has a sparse arrangement which is really well done. The vocals are really good, having an edge of lonesome about them. The song has some excellent guitar playing, subtle lead lines are played really well.

Johnny Hate – Farewell Not to be Back
This song has a kind of ballad feel, 2 acoustic guitar riffs interplay really well with a lap steel providing a great contrast with shimmering chords too. The song builds tension slowly with just a hint of distortion at times and a great solo too.

Factory Fast Records website
Factory Fast on twitter
Factory Fast on facebook

Melting Pot website
Melting Pot on twitter

Tom Brooksby on reverbnation
Tom Brooksby on twitter

Julie Gibb website
Julie Gibb on twitter

Tokyo Rosenthal on facebook
Tokyo Rosenthal on twitter

Gene P Kelly on facebook
Gene P Kelly on twitter

Matt Davis on facebook
Matt Davis on twitter

Johnny Hate on facebook
Johnny Hate on twitter