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Various - Maschinenfest 2013 Blank

November 10, 2013
maschinenfest no. 15 is history – and while the antics and memories, the videos and pictures of another edition of the one festival to be are exchanged throughout the worldwide maschinenfamily, here’s this years legacy: 27 tracks, mostly exclusive (as always), covering all bands from headliners the klinik, synapscape and ah-cama sotz over outcasts like ruins of beverast to promising newcomers like cacophoneuses. genre-bending and reliably high quality throughout!

let’s give a nod to every act that appeared on stage and their featured tracks. kick it off with cd1/blue: persons unknown (dazzling malicious in disguise with a claustrophobic collage), le moderniste (harsh rhythm noisecore), fausten (the modern face of noise), the ruins of beverast (black metal infused with an underwood of electronic beats by remixer ah-cama sotz), sudden infant (like a pre-school kid’s idea of rhythm noise), config.sys (an alternative version of their cracking new album’s opening track), tzolk’in (emotionally enhanced by remixer loss), iszoloscope (growling noise with a speedcore subbase), the klinik (a live version of their classic “desire”), cacophoneuses (convincing midtempo rhythm noise), mezire (oppressive death industrial/pe), alarmen (up-to-date idm with quirky ideas), greyhound (comparatively downbeat tribal rhythms) and ruby my dear (breakbeat/breakcore and atmospheric interludes). change cds and get ready for the 2nd helping (in silver): klangstabil (an atmospheric instrumental), s.k.e.t. (another loss remix), hypnoskull (an unsettling collage over almost-beats), synapsacpe (a classic aggressive vocal track), monolog (maddening audio trickery), silent walls (xabec follow-up drone project), philipp münch (drilling noise track in modern production), shorai (the title track that’s not featured on their current album!), control (the leading force in power electronics), sonic area (signature sound cinematic electronica), mimetic (with a remix of his recent album), mono no aware (slow but devastating) and ah-cama sotz (with a live version).

the 2013 edition is bound in blue cardboard with silver and bronze print. the essential annual dose of vitamin “m”!

(official promo text, 2013)
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Config.Sys - Silver Stripes Blank

November 10, 2013
on their 6th album for pflichtkauf config.sys focus entirely on what they do best: concise rhythm programming. techno beats and an industrial flavour, original ideas that subtly enhance every track, that’s nine of them in 43 minutes, a minimal cover design – high entertainment value and dance floor food without much of a fuss!

2013 sees config.sys 6th maschinenfest appearance as well as their 6th album for pflichtkauf – and that’s one a lot of people might find their most in-a-nutshell album so far: nine tracks of one kind, and the album starts right away with its dominant feature, the almighty 4/4 bassdrum. “revolution v2” then gives us various breaks to create a massively euphoric buildup; “aggressively paranoid” adds queer sounds, and “midijunkie” spreads some distortion; “funks not dead” proves a mighty earworm with its daf-style proto-techno sequence before “hooked on noise” rattles away like a steam train; “call for sanity” adds some darker atmospheric parts and “machinery in operation” shuffles off into beat overdrive, in “self-liquidating” the beats are strangely contorted, before “shrillness”, with its testosterone-infused bassline, closes the album in a dance floor mood.

“silver stripes” comes in a black foldout cardboard cover with silver printing, giving away nothing but the titles, and that’s a perfect minimal package for this clear-cut, crisply produced album!

(official promo text, 2013)
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Sigillum S - Bardo Thos-Grol as reviewed by Blank

July 6, 2011
I can't state how much I owe to this CD - I bought this when I was just 17, and at the time I would not dispose of a purchase easily, however difficult to get into. I trained myself in advanced listening on this one taking my time to explore the lenghts and depths of all parts of this ritual composition.
Naturally, I'm unable to rate this other than as a milestone, though I'm aware that its importance for the history of music might not be as big as its importance for my personal development of musical tastes.
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6 Comm* - Like Stukas Angels Fall (Retrospective 1984 - 1990) as reviewed by Blank

April 3, 2010
To me this is a perfect example of how you can mix an album to death - an overall loudness that keeps piercing the eardrums unpleasantly, totally out of tune with the thoughtful, solemn nature of the music itself, and then: Tons and tons of reverb on the voice - how can anyone recognize the actual vocal performance here?
Besides the question if you need the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. version of some of these songs, these weaknesses in sound make this CD quite hard to listen to.
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The Auteurs Vs µ-Ziq - The Auteurs Vs µ-Ziq as reviewed by Blank

July 6, 2009
I wonder if any other owners of this specific version of the (imo fantastic) release have encountered the same experience as me: With the years the surface of the CD has dissolved to a degree that is completely unlistenable now. I do own some other CDs effected by disc rot and the like, but nothing as severe as with this here, with the surface on the recorded side looking like it has been transformed into a strangely crystaline structure.
Thank god I have the vinyl as well, as I really love this work from the heart!
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Hands Productions as reviewed by Blank

June 14, 2009
HANDS goes into it's 15th year of existence in 2009, and it has proven to continually develop - maybe not as quickly as you might expect, but well... who would have ever guessed they would come up with a homepage that actually provides conetnt and a mailorder section, plus a myspace page?
Also, the label's artist rooster has increased, as well as some long lost bands resurfacing, like SYNTH-ETIK or TYPHOID. 2008 saw the debut of MASCHINENKRIEGER and LAST DAYS..., more primitivist noise, not so much my cup of tea, but 2009 has provided a wonderful harvest with the irresistably charming Drum&Bass of ANGINA P, the slightly intellectual quirkiness of INCITE/ and the fresh takes an Rhythm Noise by British act PCP PRINCIPLE and the tribal-styled GREYHOUND-offshoot SYNTECH - all those are to be well watched!
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The Musickwreckers* - Mission Mass Media as reviewed by Blank

June 24, 2008
Here it is, the debut fullength of the artist formerly known as Thorofon - and listening to this, the name change actually does make sense. While early Thorofon was rightout Power Electronics with the usual screaming job going on, the later releases showed an increasing use of angst pop structures and a development from "tracks" to "songs". This evolutionary mission seems now completed...
In a way, this sounds like the male companion to the music released by Geneviève Pasquier, which in fact, it really is. Both dig deep into the consciousness of industrial culture, with Geneviève Pasquier resounding the Cosey Fanni Tutti moments of TG or early Chris & Cosey and the Musick Wreckers now representing the song-structured male aspects of that band/era.
Unfortunately, to my taste, this is a picture vinyl, which renders it useless for DJ purposes, but the sound quality is still fine as is the production.
Nevertheless, from a release that deeply old school/retro, do not expect too much innovation, but 11 tracks of rock solid quality entertainment.
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The Rorschach Garden - Transfer as reviewed by Blank

May 22, 2008
Before I start singing the praise about this album, which is only the 4th regular full length in a band history of 20 years now, I do admit my personal connection to the people who are TRG, but then: If you disagree, write a review yourself and make your own point…
TRANSFER is a true recommendation with it’s collection of songs that radiate a warm band feel and it’s diverse melodies and hooks, all crisply produced for maximum listening satisfaction. Yes, the TRG sound does (still) have strong 80s connections, and that is because the band use original analogue synths a lot, but the production is digitally enhanced and quite up to date. You won’t find preset sounds or any other weaknesses on here, this is true electronic craftsmanship. Some comparisons crop up while listening – the singing hints at Bernard Sumner of New Order in places (Play Games, Let The Information Flow) and the latter plays with the OMD Enola Gay pattern a bit, A Lost Love and Nature's Last Announcement bring to mind the darker days of Depeche Mode maybe. But that’s where you see the strength of TRG: While you can maybe make out those references, they are never obvious or superficial, and they’re definitely not ever in danger of being perceived as another DM-clone.
While the majority of songs on TRANSFER are full-bodied pop songs with strong hum-along melodies, there are also some worthwhile distractions, like the indie-dance-flavoured opener, the three instrumental pieces (Interference, Night Train and the Epilogue), the industrial-tinged A Lost Love or the (one and only) minimal electro of Less Vast.
So let’s ask the question, who will actually like (and maybe even buy, though this is out of fashion nowadays) this kind of music? Certainly not the minimal electro scene they used to be filed into for a while, for they have definitely outgrown the ANALogue dogma and lo-fi fixation for good. Neither very interested seems to be the highly commercialized Goth scene, fed on their diet of ghoulish poser bands who actually play schlager music tuned a few octaves; even though TRG for some reason feature regularly on scene-related compilations and play their few live appearances in that scene’s surroundings.
No, the audience for TRG are adults with a taste for quality music and an individual pedigree in independent music AND pop music that goes beyond commercial ambitions, people who grew up on 80s music, don’t fear the experimental and nowadays still have a heart for the likes of JUNIOR BOYS. Speaking of them: If any record company should ever pick up TRG for more exposed marketing (as I believe they bloody well should), those would be my recommendation for doing remixes. More than half the songs on TRANSFER would be a good choice for outtakes, and as all the elements lie crystal clear in the mix, a perfect playground for skilled remixing.
But then, pop business is the way it is, and so it might remain the privilege of the connoisseurs to enjoy this CD!
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Mandelbrot - Thorns as reviewed by Blank

February 16, 2008
This is quite a departure from the soothing, crystaline soundscapes of it's predecessor "Auf Tauchfahrt" - instead, THORNS is constantly grating the eardrums with shifting tonalities, ever changing mock-rhythm-patterns and loads of clinks and clonks. Nevertheless, the tracks are concise and the rigid structure makes the "hard" sounds surprisingly accessible.
Such music is individually perceived in different ways by nature, but to me THORNS is neither Dark nor Ambient, but surreal, queer and very exciting, standing quite on it's own within the genre and avoiding all it's cliches.
If I was into taking drugs to music, I would probably go for acid instead of barbs for this one...
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Junior Boys as reviewed by Blank

December 13, 2007
A real class band to discover, their synth pop tunes are devoid of cliche and contain grooves and twists not often heard in the genre. Not a bastard crossover though you can hear Electronica, Cinematic and Dance influences, all executed with high quality production, a glistening blend of analogue and digital composing. And what does make a band special and stand out among the crowd? Right, a trademark sound, and that is definitely present with only two albums released so far. I sure hope lots will follow!
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Autopsia as reviewed by Blank

September 26, 2007
Autopsia can rightfully be called a pioneer of Dark Industrial. BUT: I would only back that for the releases that came out until 1992, which were mostly dark, eerie, ritual and positively lo-fi. These releases helped shape my understanding of music and made for contemplative listening. Everything from then on has much more of a compository, ersatz-neoclassical structure and fails to attract me in any way. I hope he still finds an audience, but Autopsia has always been shrouded in obscurity, so who can tell?
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Autopsia - Requiem Pour Un Empire as reviewed by Blank

September 26, 2007
The reason why the numbering is missing on many of the first pressing's CDs can be easily explained: I worked in a record store at the time, and we had ordered a few copies of this release. They arrived with the numbering on the jewelcase (rather than on the inlay itself) and that had been done with a non-permanent felt-tip! One can imagine where the numbering has gone...
Btw.: Quite good release, dark and intense, a highpoint in the Autopsia discography as far as I'm concerned.
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David Thrussell - The Fetid Fungi as reviewed by Blank

September 24, 2007
Track 8, "Ringtone", is a rendition of the Edgar Allan Poe classic masterpiece of literature, "The Tell-Tale Heart". In the credits of the bonus movie (which sees the track performed by someone NOT Thrussel, but also in quite a convincing way) Poe is credited as "inspiration": Nevertheless, the lyrics stick with the original story in almost every detail - until just before the end there's an unexpected, hilarious turn. Thrusselish humour at it's best!
While I'm at it: The rest is about as entertaining as a spoken word CD can get. If you can realate to Thrussel's dark wit, a truly mind-expanding listening experience. Also I'd like to mention the bonus texts in the beautifully printed book.
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Various - 666 Versus 808: Iron Maiden Elektro Tribute as reviewed by Blank

August 24, 2007
edited over 12 years ago
I personally find the MACONDO track absolutely stunning, a timeless hymn that makes this record worth buying alone. A magnificent pop gem in queer minimal/analogue style. Unfortunately the band's other material is a bit mediocre IMO.
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Death - The High Costs Of Living as reviewed by Blank

June 3, 2007
edited over 12 years ago
An absolutely classic record imo, combining dark and metallic sounds with tight beat programming and a plethora of irritating noises. The trax have a strong industrial feel and stand the test of time!
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Djwhal Khûl as reviewed by Blank

June 3, 2007
edited over 12 years ago
Djwhal Khûl was the early-to-mid-90s industrial project of O. Braun and in my opinion one of the most underrated and shamefully forgotten acts of the genre. One can only speculate why both releases, the Mini-CD and the fullength did so little commercially. They were well-produced and had a sound of their own very much - maybe that was their downfall, because they wouldn't fit within the cliches of a genre.
The Djwhal Khûl sound was dark and atmospheric, but in way that was not superficial. One thinks of the strange eerieness radiated by a lot of COIL tracks.
Another aspect of the Djwhal Khûl sound was bombast: Think LAIBACH, think the equally underrated and forgotten MYNOX LAYH.
All that was met with production techniques that came from Oliver's work as a techno producer - no techno beats here though, the occasional rhythm in Djwhal Khûl tracks was slow and punding, but tightly executed.
All in all one has to say, that at a time when the industrial scene was undergoing a major change and the success of the more progressive, rhythm-oriented style was yet to come, this project was bound to fail, even though it was well-supported by the label.
Yet I've always liked Djwhal Khûl and will continue to do so.
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Electronic Pig - Pigs De Résistance as reviewed by Blank

March 29, 2007
edited over 12 years ago
Just like the first Piggy record announced, this is something for the open-minded listener, harking back in various traditions of Industrial music (that's NOT the confined genre that is modern "Industrial Hardcore").
If you search for dancefloor (hardcore) beats in a functional mixdown, this is definitely not for you. This is leftfield, genre-defying and massive punk attitude, sticking the middle finger right up your face.
The production is tighter than on IM005 and the enjoyment is even bigger - for me it sure is!
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Soft Cell - The Bedsit Tapes as reviewed by Blank

February 26, 2007
edited over 12 years ago
I can't say anything else to start with other than I love this CD! Being brought up with the delirious pop miniatures and anthemic drama of SOFT CELL, having later discovered the experimental sicknesses of THROBBING GRISTLE and CABARET VOLTAIRE, this fits so well within the frame, sitting next to the stuff that HUMAN LEAGUE recorded as THE FUTURE. Unlimited by commercial desires, limited by technical shortcomings, this is so charmful and pleasant it hurts. And a track like "Cleansing Fanatic", being a total amateur recording from almost three decades ago, easily kicks today's "Minimal Electronics" ass!
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Stereolab · Nurse With Wound - Simple Headphone Mind as reviewed by Blank

January 29, 2007
edited over 12 years ago
I cannot find enough praise for this release with it's perfect combination of spacious backdrop and experimental noises. Two masters meet for their best. The A-side is a special favourite with a definite reminiscence to the equally hypnotic proto-psych-beat monster "Klingklang", being the (entire) A-side of Kraftwerk 2 LP.
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Sandy Warez - The World Of Noise as reviewed by Blank

March 16, 2006
edited over 13 years ago
A fine 5-tracker for me: TTM stays within its very own realm and releases something very fitting - and very good as far as I'm concerned. For SW this is quite different from the otherwise output, and on TTM it feels well at home. While both tracks on the A-side would compare well to RUDE AWAKENING, the B-side is a delicacy of its own, with both mixes of "World Of Noise" being fine tech/industrial crossover at non-gabber pace and the closing title not wanting to be taken seriously anyway, but putting a grin on faces with its latino ripoff put over primitive tech beats.
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Legion Ultra - Perversion Of Purity as reviewed by Blank

February 14, 2006
edited over 13 years ago
This has got the OLD SCHOOL tag written big time across all the tracks: Thre is a prominent use of highpitched frequencies, noise walls and screaming vocals, whereas this lacks the lower frequency subcurrents and rhythms that were/are contained within EISENGRAU or MÜRNAU tracks. So here the eponymous Belgian goes a different path. A relentless one...
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Werkbund - Tanz Und Andacht / Rungholt as reviewed by Blank

February 14, 2006
edited over 13 years ago
Oh well, this bootlegger continues to split opinions. For some this might be the only opportunity to get these wonderful outerworldly tunes, but why in the world combine two releases that are about 10 years apart? While the tracks from the double 7" set are much more lighthearted and floating (well, at least within the confines of the WERKBUND universe), the RUNGHOLT tracks are deep and rough with a definite industrial edge. They are all great, no doubt, but the release...
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Xaphan - Grass Eating Milk Machine as reviewed by Blank

February 14, 2006
edited over 13 years ago
This record is truly a fine example of crossing over the boundaries of techno and industrial music with just the right dose of fuzz and distortion vs. strong beat patterns throughout. A1 is a standout track with massive bass, and I like it even better pitched down heavily to add doom factor. The record remains strong throughout with the climax being the B2 track, where it all culminates into one perfectly composed killer cut!
Just dammit, he doesn't seem to be in a hurry about releasing more...
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Mürnau - Decoder as reviewed by Blank

February 2, 2006
edited over 13 years ago
The first single LP for the label, and somehow the more simple, condensed shape fits the "musical" content quite well: While earlier 220N releases (of which the Mürnau and Eisengrau, i.e. this artist's released formed the majority) were more freeform and experimental, this is a linear record that takes you on an enjoyable trip throughout, with some variety on the way: The A-side is pure powerelectronix, distortion and shouting with subcurrent bass rhythms, while B1 and B2 appear more subdued and with an old school/analogue feel before the final tracks slices everything apart with highpitched frequencies. Thoughtful, recommended.
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VVV* - Resurrection River as reviewed by Blank

January 23, 2006
edited over 13 years ago
So after the debut hit the scene with a bang in the nineties, this is a much more low-profile release, which already hints at where it's headed: The booming industrial beats of Endless are not to be found, this emphasiszes on minimal, nevertheless sick atmospheres. The unmistakeable flavour is still there, and Vega will always be Vega, but this is definitely not one for the floors (as Endless was in some parts) or to be listened to in company at all. But as far as I'm concerned: Attention pays!