|Updated: 7/02/14 | © 1999 - 2014 Cool Bunny Media | Da Cool Bunny sez 'Spank that Plank, Baby!'|
Edition Grundmann-Neubert, Grüner Hang 26, D-48151 Münster, Germany.
Tel: 0251 73605
This is a collaboration between Frenchman N. Nomized and Siggi, and it is rather different to most of the other albums reviewed here. Bump Together is a much more ambient affair, utilising industrial-type sounds to create five varied soundscapes. I have to admit that this album didn't immediately appeal to me, I prefer music with a bit more melody, but it does have its moments. The tracks are Medicine Machine, Blood Sugar Test, Analysis, Western Germs and Catch a Chill. At times this sounds like two robot DJs at opposing ends of a club, throwing out samples, rhythms and loops at each other in some grand battle. Rather strange.
Machine Boy is British singer/ songwriter Dean Cook, and I know little else about him. Jules is pure electropop, a little in the Gary Numan mould though not as moody [or indeed, whiny!]. There's 11 tracks, Bar 1 opens the album with Cook's gruff voice making an effective introduction. Flunk is a moody, swirly instrumental, while Evil is a more uptempo song with some Jean Michel Jarre-like tonal effects. The rest of the album is a similar mix of beats laden songs and instrumentals, all of which are very listenable and well worth exploring. Audio quality and the sound mix are excellent.
This album features some of the earliest recordings by Siggi, but far removed from his beloved synths and sequencers, Session 1982 is a collection of acoustic guitar duets with Ernie Rissmann. And it is an eye (or perhaps that should be ear)-opener as this is a very infectious album of bluesy country folk instrumentals that sound extremely good. Highlights include Foolsdance, Kruppelkrieg, A 'Lowden' Night, Good Company. If you like Al Stewart or Gordon Giltrap's unplugged periods then this should definitely appeal to you.
More electro-dance music from English musician Dean Cook. The CD begins with the album's title track, a slightly oriental sounding tune that wouldn't be out of place as the theme for a tv cop show. Four is more of a techno sounding piece, with pounding drums and a looping minimal melody sequence. The next track, Elevator, takes the same melody loop and cranks it up with a buzzy rhythm line. Tin Dance returns to the mid tempo drum sequencer, a sampled yelping dog and a driving melody line. As the album grows something of a formula appears, many of the tracks feature hyperactive crescendo runs up and down the keyboards as a recurring motif and the tempos' veer clear of hard core techno and remain mid-tempo and [for my tastes] very bearable. While the ten tracks have dance beats this is techno-lite and very listenable indeed, with enough variety and jazz fusion licks to keep the album on track and interesting.
A trio of albums by French musician M.Nomized: Eight Waves dates back to 1999 and contains eight tracks of hybrid techno/ambience, featuring upfront rhythm loops, melodic sequencer lines and sound effects. Dissolute stands out with its chainsaw industrial soundscape - not exactly musical but guaranteed to set your teeth on edge. Anachronism starts with ambient whispers that mutate into a whigged out drum 'n' bass riffathon. Under Holy Water goes with echo-drenched choral passages layered over a muted drum 'n' bass backdrop - quite atmospheric. The choral effect is carried through on Infinite, with another drum thrashout halways through. Overall Eight Waves is pretty good stuff, very listenable.
A Strange Calling: This album was recorded in 1998 and also contains eight beat-laden tracks. Push In Hole begins with some 'kristallo' effects before a shuffle-rhythm drum sequence starts up - these two elements interweave and push each other for the rest of the track. Industrial-type noises roar at the start of Chemical Treatment before resolving into a drum 'n' bass riff with melodic lines topping the mix. Elements from these first two tracks are pretty much the template for the rest of the album, with variations [of course]. Take A Nap is is different, extremely ambient, little rhythm, highly atmospheric. A Strange Calling contains all the signature elements of M.Nomized's 'sound', and is an interesting album.
Restricted Area: Silver Boots starts this 1998 album with a galloping beat, echo-drenched voice samples - it doesn't really go anywhere but it does it with M.Nomized's gallic style. Cosmic ambience permeates The Ray 21, which livens up with a 'bebop' style drum sequence that bounces all over the speakers. Nazca is more ambience, a sonic picture of the mysterious South American region - though the heavy drum sounds seem out of place and spoil the atmosphere. This mixing of ambient sounds with drum sequences that are almost techno but not quite heavy enough tend to appear in the rest of the tracks on this album too. Overall I quite like M.Nomized's take on electronic music, at times it sounds generic but something always happens to lift it out of the ordinary.
It isn't often you find a compilation CD with 38 tracks crammed onto it, but you will with Extractions - this lengthy CD-R highlights the catalogue of leading German Independent electronica label, Edition Neuman. Here you will discover 38 slices of 90 second sound clips taken from a wide variety of the labels' albums. Artists include Siggi, N.Nomized, Oli Guzul, Robin O'Brien, Dean Cook, Ernie Rissmann and many other musicians. The variety of styles is interesting, there are even some acoustic tracks. The recordings date from 1982 to now, and some of the tracks sound over-recorded and distorted, but that apart, this is a very interesting CD.
This home produced CD EP came to me via 'Marzipan' Mick Magic @ Music & Elsewhere (6 Farm Court, Frimley, Surrey, GU16 5TJ), though it isn't stocked by M&E - they do however distribute some of Siggi's other albums on tape. So who is Siggi? A German computer and synth musician who, on the evidence of this short CD will please the House/Rave clubbers with his beat heavy dance music. The five tracks here alternate between dance beats (Check It Out, Effective Dream, All The Things, Action) and something a lot more ambient (Impression 1). Considering that the lowest common denominator for dance music is a monotonous repetitive beat the stuff on this CD is certainly much better than that and would be of interest to anyone with a wider interest in electronic music.
Siggi has quite a comprehensive web site, showcasing his own music and that of colleagues, plus he also offers music promotion and production services, and a mail order service.
I don't get to hear much in the way of French electronica music so this CD-R, which arrived courtesy of Siggi at Edition Neumann, was a welcome introduction. M. Nomized seems a very skilled musician, with a nice line in semi-spoken vocals, as shown on the opening track, Le Reveur/The Dreamer (Woman), which is basically a long swirly piece of synth and string machine, along with the previously mentioned semi-sung narrative. Track two takes up the rest of the album's length and is called L'Heritier De L'Avenir/As A Souvenir For The Future... It's something of an electronic tour-de-force as almost every type of electronic music is performed somewhere throughout this multi-part work. It starts with the sound of electronic insects and synth flutes, rushing water, jumping percussion and [at times] a latin rhythm]. Split into seven parts, the music morphs between ambient, dance, world and industrial soundscapes, sometimes extremely melodic and at others a full-on explosion of noise. Very exciting stuff. For ordering details and pricing you can either write or email Edition Neumann - the contact details are at the top of this page.
Described in the Edition Neumann catalogue as 'nine calm electronica describing an upcoming storm', Blunas Revenge is anything but calm. The first of the title-less tracks is basically a looping drum riff which is phased, distorted and flanged until every aspect of its ambience has been explored. Very catchy, mind. Track 2 is more conventional, some gentle overlapping synth melody lines that doodle around for a bit until they morph into Track 3's heartbeat ambience and percussion riff. Track 4 is more upbeat, much more industrial in tone and style, and I guess the storm has arrived. The remaining tracks are variations of the previous descriptions, explorations of the calm before the storm, the storm itself, and perhaps even the eye of the storm. This is a very idiosyncratic album full of ideas and confidence.
Siggi - I Love Ya (Tell Me Why);
I Love Ya (Tell Me Why) is something of a flagship release for Siggi and his label, Edition Neumann - this cd album is the first to incorporate multimedia video clips and a selection of MP3 audio files, so that it can be played on your hi-fi or computer. Musically, this is a visit to the dance side of Siggi, with lots of big beats, elements of reggae (Baby, Got a Lot of Money) ambient (Feel the Speed and I Love Ya) and dub rhythms (One For You) and a little rapping here and there.Those looking for death-defying beats will be disappointed, most of the album is mid-tempo, upbeat, goodtime music, lightweight and for the moment. The three video clips play well, look like camcorder cine verite atmosphere shots, and the MP3 tracks mirror the audio versions, allowing anyone with an MP3 player to download them for playing on the move. This is a good album, enhanced by the multimedia element.
Fernes Land changes tack to the above album by being extremely ambient, and I am using the word here as coined by Brian Eno. Most of the tracks are slow or mid tempo, almost meditative pieces, using treated sounds and synths to create interesting soundscapes. Melody isn't as important here as the atmosphere and the 'feel' of each piece. Consequently Fernes Land won't appeal to everyone, though it makes a good companion piece to I Love Ya, acting as the chill out area for that album's dance floor attitude. Stand out tracks include Ikarus, Impulse, Nivana, and Slowdown.
Serious Art is different again, taking more of an electropop stance, with opener Once Upon a Time sounding very much like a Yello out-take. The title track Serious Art is a very up-tempo rinky tink instrumental that has you humming its infectious tune within seconds. Waltz sounds very un-waltz-like, more like a piece of bossa nova ambience...go figure. My Old Trouble Blues sounds like a cross between a John Carpenter gothic synth soundtrack and some bar-room blues. And the rest of the album continues in the same vein - every track is different [there's even a couple of classical toccata's], with Siggi eschewing pre-set formulas to make every piece on this cd unique
Spuren opens with a brooding, Gary Numan-type synth riff and spoken lyric of Kirschblute Bei der Nacht. There are a total of 13 tracks on this collection and I guess most could be described as being in the ambient and trance styles with ocassional vocals. Few have the more upfront dance beats heard on the others cds reviewed here. Nothing really stands out here above the other tracks, everything is very listenable and you could easily put this on late at night with the lights low to chill out before or after going clubbing.
Sandstrand starts with a rousing electro-boogie called... er, Sandstrand, which is quite catchy. Hardbeat is even beatier, sort of melodic drum 'n' bass if that's possible. Erschrick Nicht, opens with brooding gothic synths, then evolves into something John Carpenter could have written for Halloween. Track 4, Borderline-Type, carries on in the same vein before the very d'n'b sound Steam Engine. The album ends with an almost baroque piece performed on synths: Vorwarts In Die Vergangenheit - very spartan sounding and at odds with the rest of the album. It's also the most atmospheric piece here. The remainder of the thirteen tracks tent to be a mixture of the styles already mentioned. Sandstrand is a very listenable cd-r and tends to highlight Siggi's more commercial side.
Nasty Mixture starts with a loping drums 'n' bass riff called Can You Hear Me? which if played loud enough should have the neighbours banging on the walls in the affirmative! It morphs into some industrial sounds and treated voices asking the title question. Dunkle Strassen has a sort of pulsing reggae beat over which Siggi speaks a German lyric. Oddly effective. Contact is more industrial sounding: a basic drum riff, overlaid with discordant percussion and treated voices. Mein Hologram harks back to the sound of Kraftwerk - sparse rhythms, a catchy melody and enigmatic German vocal. Bliss. Send Me reminds me of the Yellow Magic Orchestra's pastiches of black soul music. Final track, Waiting For Nomo, changes tack completely with what sounds like a extended vibraphone overlaying a muted drum riff and treated voices. Nasty Mixture is another intriguing showcasing the many facets of Siggi's music.
Clover Leaf is an ongoing collaboration between Siggi in Germany and N. Nomized in France, and as you would expect from an album with the title Harddance its roots are firmly in technoland. The title track is actually more ambient and industrial in both approach and feel, with a dustbin drum sound for the rhythm and a shifting collage of industrial sounds taking it through its twelve minutes. Sexy starts with some phased moans and then a muted techno beat kicks in - all very slinky and lubricious. No Doubt begins as a piece of Tangerine Dream electronica and then goes techno big time, including the kitchen sink and sampled opera singers wailing away! David's Blue is another lengthy slab of ambient techno, veering clear of the deep beats but still packing a rhythmic punch. Harddance ultimately does make a stand against techno being boring, there's a lot of imagination here, especially subverting what you'd expect from a techno album.
This album is subtitled "An Excursion into Hyper-Realist Poetry", which is impressive and a little frightening, especially as I don't have an affinity for poetry! The opening track Welcome to the New Millennium is an instrumental, quite bouncy and infectious. Well, the rest of the album consists of 14 techno or ambient backings with treated voices reading poetry and prose, mostly in English. I think most of the poetry content is sci-fi related, with tracks titles like M.I.B, Star Lander, Chupacabra etc. A lot of the vocals are mixed well down so clarity is hard to define and I think I'll have to pass on judging this cd - if you like the X Files and sci-fi mysteries then you might get a kick out of this.
Guests is a compilation CD of various friends of Edition Neumann. It starts with the British band Magical Moments At Twilight Time (MMATT), with the suitably synthy and sci-fi [and slinky] Zen Sequent. This is followed by PP? and Uncertainty VIII, a drumbox/simple keyboard/sampled voices collage which doesn't really go beyond interesting. L.G.Mair Jr's Return to the Vortex, carries the torch with a twenty-four minute slice of electronica revolving around techno rhythms, brass sounds and sound effects - has its fun moments. MMATT return with Galina Belogzova, another highly listenable cosmic trip around the Moon and back. Next is Tesendalo and Norwegen, a lengthy [fifteen minute] ambient soundscape which shifts and changes enough to keep the interest going. Final track is by Wolfgang Foag - Strichzeichungen, the most experimental, and have to say, almost unlistenable piece on the cd. Guest is an interesting and mostly listenable collection of end of milennia electronica.
Siggi - Talk About Love; Beinahe Schmerzhaft; Mercy For All;
The Early Tape; Pushing; Not Delivered.
Talk About Love is a fast paced cd single, a bouncy rhythm loop with various samples weaving in and out - a pretty infectious three minutes.
Beinahe Schmerzhaft: 16 tracks of varying dance electronica, beginning with the irrepressibly bouncy Do It Now. Siggi spread his wings a bit with the 'world music' influenced African Session, and The Prayers continues with a similar vibe. Get On The Floor is a chunky-sounding dance number with soulful female vocals, as is Can't Stop This Feeling. And so the album goes on, a mixture of dance floor faux-soul tracks and techno tracks of varying beats and densities. With Siggi variety is the spice of life, and if you don't like one track on this collection there's another quickly coming up!
Mercy For All: Another collection of electronic dance music, falling somewhere between techno and trance. Opening track E-Mail For You starts things off with some sparky synth loops and an almost martial drum sound. Funk Up is a variation of the previous track, but it is undeniably funky. To be honest, the rest of the tracks are also variations of the standard dance beats, with a selection of squelchy synth lines propelling things along. Mercy For All is definitely the album for clubbers getting ready for a night on the dance floor.
The Early Tape: A completely different aspect of Siggi's music here, an album of acoustic guitar music with an occasional blues thrown in. Siggi is an accomplished guitarist and hearing this album makes you wonder why he doesn't add the sound palette of his guitar to his synth music. All the tracks are self-composed and many have an ambient, dreamy feel to them - Rio is particularly lovely, while Lied has more of a ragtime feel. This is the most distinctive album from Siggy in this batch, all the more because there are no synths involved, just a man and his acoustic guitar.
Pushing: This is a collection of twelve tracks, mostly percussion heavy electronica - though not heavy enough to be techno. The first three tracks seem to be using the same rhythm backing but with variations on the top. Dirty Blues follows and has a lovely blues bass riff that fairly lopes along. Du is more broody ambience with a bit of Joy Division-type vocals mixed in. Indeed, many of the tracks have a gothic brooding ambience to them very reminiscent of Joy Division and early New Order.
Not Delivered: This is something of a multimedia bonanza as this CD-R contains the same set of tracks in audio cd, mp3 formats plus four video tracks. What we have here is a set of seven dance-oriented tracks, many with a jazzy feel brought about by some funky sax playing. I particularly liked Short Line which combined jazz and ambience very well; You're So Sexy returns to the techno feel, but with a swinging sax taking the lead. A varied set of moods here.