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  • Voicians - Shift EP review

    22 Nov 2009, 14:13 by shamikebab

    Voicians - Shift



    Track Listing:

    Back Down
    To The Core
    Trigger
    Dead End
    Nails
    Blaze
    Along my Mind
    Goodbye feat. Martin Harp (Celldweller Cover)
    Limitbreaker


    Shift is the second EP by artist and remixer Daniel Voicians. His debut release, 2007's The Inner Frame showed Voicians' ability to meld beautiful orchestral sections with harsh electronic beats. Shift shows the same eagerness to fuse sounds from a variety of different genres. However, Shift has a greater sense of urgency and power to the sound. Without diminishing his first release, you can quickly see how far Voicians has progressed, both in musical ability and general production values. If The Inner Frame was the first tentative steps onto a new world then Shift is a full on invasion.


    The opener, Back Down hits you like the starting pistol of some futuristic conflict, machine gun synths and distorted guitar riffs are beautifully complimented by a haunting, high pitched melody in the background. To the Core was initially released as a demo track to show fans what the second EP would sound like (the demo itself is still available for free download along with a number of other tracks at www.voicians.net) The final version of the track has some subtle changes from the demo but the overall heavy layered sound is still present, the track leads on very well from ]Back Down. Voicians has really spread his musical wings with Shift, there is a greater EBM influence, especially on the third track Trigger, the intro is quite a change from the first few tracks, a fast paced EBM type sound, similar to artists like VNV Nation and Covenant. The progression continues throughout the track, with a fast paced beat joining in. The piano breakdown at around the half way mark is simply fantastic. Piano driven closer Along My Mind is a notable shift in tempo and is more similar to the down-tempo sound of Voicians first release, in particular the track I saw you run.

    Since Shift was released Voicians has produced two additional tracks, Goodbye feat. Martin Harp (Celldweller Cover) and Limitbreaker. Goodbye is a cover of a track by the one man band Celldweller and features vocals from fellow remixer and now solo artist Martin Harp. The cover stands up really well to the original, Harp's lighter vocals compliment Voicians moody synths perfectly. This track is available for free download from the FiXT store. The instrumental version of the track is also available to anyone who purchases Shift. The second track Limitbreaker is only available to those who buy 'Shift', it's an instrumental track more in fitting with the rest of the EP.

    Shift is a superb release, a cohesive collection of orchestral and electronic tracks that would not sound out of place on the score to a futuristic action film or game. It's always hard working out whether it's worth spending money on an unknown artist, if you're still in doubt then download Goodbye (featuring Martin Harp) and the demos available from Voicians website at the links throughout the review, you can also stream the full tracks from his Last.FM page. The EP itself can be purchased from the FiXT music store at www.fixtstore.com.
  • Shami's Soundbyte – 17/08/09

    16 Aug 2009, 14:38 by shamikebab

    A special edition Soundbyte to show some of the music available on the FiXT Store Please leave any feedback!

    Shaolin Temple of BooM - Deus Ex Machina



    Deus Ex Machina is the second EP from hard rock band, Shaolin Temple of BooM. Strong vocals backed up with a mix of heavy guitar and industrial driven sounds. I struggle to find similar artists to this, David Alverez (the brainchild behind SToB) lists his influences as "Nine Inch Nails, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson, Queen, Fear Factory" Soundgarden is probably the most similar out of that set, but one band I keep coming back to when hunting for similar artists is VAST. I can see a lot of similarities in song writing and musical approach between this and VAST's self-titled debut album.

    Album Highlights:

    I Would Destroy
    The End of Reason
    Deus Ex Machina

    For Fans Of:

    VAST
    Soundgarden


    lvl - Denial



    The 2003 follow up to 1999's Industrial Rock debut 'Devil's Advocate' saw Dan Albert (younger brother of Klayton of Celldweller) really step out into his own direction and surprise fans expecting a similar musical style to the first album. 'Denial' is almost purely electronic, dark synths dominating the down-tempo soundscape, while Dan's clean vocals sound almost pleading at times. The album is difficult to pidgeon hole, the track 'Home' (which has since been remastered and remixed by several artists including Klayton, the EP is also available on the FiXT store) could quite happily be played on any dancefloor. Yet other tracks like 'Mirror' are far more difficult to categorise, layered synths and deep vocals make this a track that requires several listens to truely appreciate.

    On a more personal note, it genuinely makes me sad that this album will probably never get the appreciation it deserves due to a lack of exposure. I truely belive this is an electronic masterpiece, if you're reading this thinking "should I?" do it, you will not regret it.

    Album Highlights:

    Home
    Mirror
    Restore

    Due to the complications between his original recording name 'level' and his new name 'lvl' it is hard to find his music. You can preview tracks from the album at the FiXT Store.

    For Fans Of:

    :Wumpscut:
    Blutengel

    Although not much like either really, they do share things in common. It's very hard to find a similar artist to lvl.

    I Will Never Be The Same - Standby



    'Standby' is the debut album from Electronic Rock band 'I Will Never Be The Same'. Standby mixes stadium rock sounds and moody synth lines, all fronted with Josh Atchley's emotional, personal lyrics. Regarding similar artists, IAMX is a good comparison, sharing both the musical sound and lyrical intensity. If you're still uncertain, you can download the closing track of the album 'Cry Little Sister' for free from the free downloads area of the <a href="http://www.fixtstore.com/page/3/freestuff">FiXT Store.</a>

    Album Highlights:

    Cry Little Sister
    Starfields
    Eyes Turning Black

    For Fans of:

    Julien-K
    Innerpartysystem


    Cyanotic - prehab 25mg-ep



    This EP is a teaser to the forthcoming second album from Industrial Coldwave band 'Cyanotic'. A relentless sonic assault from opening track 'The Static Screen' immediately sets the tone of the EP with a dark industrial exploration of mass media saturation in today's society. Other highlights from the EP include a cover or 16 volt track 'Two Wires Thin' and a collaboration with mindFluxFuneral on the track 'Dream It Dead' My favourite track however is 'Efficiacy (Alternate)', an instrumental IDM track that shows off Cyanotic's diverse sound. This summer will see the release of the full length sophomore album 'the Medication Generation', for me it can not come soon enough.

    Album highlights:

    The Static Screen
    Efficacy [alternate]
    two wires thin [16 volt]

    For Fans Of:

    Acumen Nation
    Chemlab
    16volt


    Victory Pill - Victory Pill



    Victory Pill was formed by former Pitchshifter and The Prodigy guitarist Jim Davies in 2004. This self-titled release is the first album by the band and the immediate Pitchshifter influence is very clear. However, that is not to say it is the same beast. Where Pitchshifter experimented with fusing Industrial Metal with breakbeat and drum n bass, Victory Pill fuses guitar riffs with electro beats and buzzing synths. Davies provides melodic vocals in addition to his guitar. Since the first album the band have remixed a Celldweller track (Under My Feet, available on the Under My Feet remix compilation) and are now hard at work on the second Victory Pill release.

    Album Highlights:

    Worst Case Scenario
    Red Pill
    Scaremonger

    For Fans Of:

    Pitchshifter
    Gravity Kills
    Zeromancer
  • Shami's Soundbyte – 17/05/09

    17 May 2009, 03:57 by shamikebab

    This week I have some more great albums and EPs to review, a couple may be familiar, several may not be. Please do try and listen to at least a track of each, you never know you may enjoy it! As always comments are appreciated!

    Atlas Plug - 2 Days Or Die



    Tom Salta is a soundtrack composer behind many popular video gamee scores such as Red Steel, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. and the Ghost Recon Advance Warfighter Games. Atlas Plug is his pseudonym as a recording artist, his first album '2 Days Or Die' could be simply dismissed as a video game soundtrack album (indeed many of the tracks from it have been featured in big games since) but this would be doing the album a disservice. Salta shows of his ability to combine elements from rock, hip hop, electronica and orchestral music into a high tempo album.

    Track Breakdown

    The album opens with the high octane 'Halfway Till Bliss' a layered track with a catchy hook and minimalistic vocals.

    'The Ace, The Only' has a rockier sound with hip-hop vocals of 'I'm The One, The Ace, The Only' over the top. This track was featured in Project Gotham Racing 3.

    The title track '2 Days or Die' features a heavy drum beat laced with into metal-like guitar riffs. the preacher-like vocals add to the frantic sound of this track. The track was used in the racer 'Rallisport Challenge 2'

    'Rule The World' features more big beats interlaced with fast paced synths, the vocals are very minimal hints of a super villain.

    'Get rolled On' is trip-hop at it's best, probably the most vocally complex track on the album, the dark synths staying in the background for most of the track.

    In 'Truth Be Known' you can really see Salta's orchestral soundtrack background. Starting off with a mellow, Eastern influenced melody, the track shifts into a fast paced action reveal with the addition of big beats and strings. Techno elements join in towards the half way point. Vocals are minimalistic chanting throughout, adding to to the Eastern feel of the track.

    'Crimson Phoenix' continues the more orchestral direction of the previous track, this song would fit quite happily into any epic sci-fi movie scene.

    Salta continues to show his ability to blend Electronica with an Eastern theme effortlessly with 'Winds Of Sand'. Intense synths combine with Eastern strings over a energetic beat, Arabic chanting adds to the sound.

    'Steel Run' blends mellow electronica with fast-paced techno breaks, robotic vocals with the smooth female chanting.

    'Infiltrate this' is the mellow closer on a frantic album, laid-back soundscapes, soft strings and minimal piano combine to form a perfect finish to the album.

    Closing Thoughts

    Tom Salta shows off his orchestral soundtrack background but adds to it with a variety of new influences. These combine into a must-listen album for any fans of adventurous electronic music. Since this, Salta has released an EP 'Around The World' and is believed to be working on the follow-up album.

    Album Highlights:

    2 Days or Die
    Halfway Till Bliss
    Truth Be Known

    For Fans Of:

    The Crystal Method
    The Chemical Brothers
    Lunatic Calm


    Synoise - Synoise Music EP



    The debut EP from Russian band Synoise is layered Industrial combined with elements of IDM and Drum'n'bass. The band consists of three friends, Synoise, the primary songwriter and programmer, keyboard player and DJ, Se Ed on bass guitar, and Andrew DM doing guitars and additional programming.

    This is among the best new Electronic music I have heard this year and deserves a far greater audience. Since the EP, Synoise have started working on a full album and have made a new song 'The Desperate' available for free download from the Fixt Blog

    Album Highlights:

    Other sight
    Kindle
    In Your Soul

    For Fans Of:

    Cyanotic
    Deprogrammed
    Sebastian Komor


    Porcupine Tree - Stupid Dream



    Most people have probably heard of Porcupine Tree, but as one of my favourite albums, it deserves a review. Probably not the album that most PT fans would chose as their favourite, over time I find this the album that I come back to the most often. 1999's 'Stupid Dream' was a significant change in direction after the more progressive 'Signify' into more accessible music. Several of the songs on this album have been played live pretty regularly, including 'Even Less', 'Pure Narcotic', Slave Called Shiver' and 'Don't Hate Me' The albums closing three tracks 'A Smart Kid', 'Tinto Brass' and 'Stop Swimming' is probably the most powerful close to any album. 'A Smart Kid' deals with a sole survivor of a nuclear war being picked up by an exploring spaceship. 'Tinto Brass' is an instrumental track inspired by the director 'Tinto Brass'. The closer 'Stop Swimming' is one of Steve Wilson's favourite tracks that he has written. It's about the impulse to stop swimming and go with the flow.

    Album Highlights:

    Even Less
    Don't Hate Me
    Stop Swimming

    For Fans of:

    Pink Floyd
    King Crimson
    The Pineapple Thief

    Phontaine - Phontaine



    I came across this album very recently but it has made a very big impression on me. Phontaine is the self titled debut album from Brighton-born Grant Baldwin. Minimal vocals and down-tempo grooves are the name of the game. Grant doesn't take a conventional approach to creating music "I don't listen to music as most people do, I've always absorbed tones and timbres before notes and arrangement. I blend instruments, ambience and sounds and maintain the sonic quality of their era. I hope this brings a sense of nostalgia to the listener." if chilled out electronica is your thing then you will love this.

    Album highlights:

    pleasure and business
    I Should
    Paradise

    For Fans Of:

    Susumu Yokota
    Moby
    Morcheeba


    Voicians - The Inner Frame EP



    Daniel Voicians made his first marks in music as a remixer with his entries into the Celldweller and Subkulture remix competition. Daniel won 3rd place in the Celldweller-Switchback remix competition and 1st place in the Subkulture-Erasus competition. Since then he has begun producing his own music and 'The Inner Frame' EP is his first release.

    The Inner Frame comprises 6 tracks that take themes from a wide variety of genres including chillout, industrial and down-tempo electro. The EP is mostly instrumental although 'Get Your Kick' features guest vocals from Joulz.

    Since the EP Daniel has begun work on a full album and has launched a new website http://www.voicians.net/ and made available a pack of unreleased demos for free download there.

    Album Highlights:

    Loyal Friend
    The Die is Cast
    Get your Kick
  • Shami's Soundbyte – 27/04/09

    27 Apr 2009, 20:10 by shamikebab

    I've been meaning to write a note like this for a while. If I feel like it I might make it a weekly thing (look I even have a cheesy title and everything!) This isn't going to be 5 new albums I like, this is just going to be 5 albums I've been listening to that I think others would enjoy, both new and old. Please leave any feedback!

    Celldweller - Celldweller



    Realistically where else could I start? Have you ever found an album that you like so much it means you struggle to listen to new music because you keep going back to it? This has been that album for me over the last few years. I've never heard an album that blends together so many different genres effortlessly into one cohesive musical journey. Right from the opening notes of the radio-friendly 'Switchback' through to the minimalistic, ambient closer 'Welcome to the End', Klayton shows an ability to fuse elements of Industrial Rock, Metal, Electronic and Trance into tunes that can be appreciated by fans of all or none of those.

    Album Highlights:

    The Last Firstborn
    Own Little World
    The Stars of Orion

    For Fans Of:

    Pitchshifter
    Crossbreed
    Orgy


    Röyksopp - Junior



    Perhaps best known for their use by various companies (in particular 'So Easy' being used in a T-Mobile advert), Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp's third full release 'Junior' is the first half of a 2009 double release (The counterpart disc 'Senior' will be released later this year). It has been four years since the last album 'The Understanding' but the wait has most definitely been worth it. Junior continues along the same line as the previous efforts, including many of the same vocalists. However, the music is also lighter than before, with several tracks being quite club friendly. The first track (and also first single) 'Happy Up Here' sets the stage for the rest of the album with a bouncy electronic vibe and the delicate female vocals over the top 'You know I really like it, I know I'll always be here'. If this album was an animal it would be the energetic puppy bouncing round your ankles. The lyrics always stay playful throughout, 'Tricky Tricky' in particular has the whimsical line 'Six afraid of seven, ‘cause seven eight nine'. Anyone that enjoys artists like Zero 7 or Air in particular should not miss out on this album.

    Album Highlights:

    Happy Up Here
    Miss It So Much
    You Don't Have a Clue

    For Fans Of:

    Zero 7
    Air
    Moby


    Sybreed - Antares



    I had not heard of Industrial Metal band Sybreed before they were recommended to me a few weeks ago by a friend. Their 2004 debut album 'Slave Design' was a pretty standard Industrial metal album that was by no means bad but hardly broke new ground. The 2007 follow up 'Antares' added a new layer to the sound though, more synthesiser use and more variation between the harmonized clean vocals and the aggressive screamed ones. Sybreed would quite happily fit into a bill with the likes of Fear Factory and Scar Symmetry. The blend between the dark melodies and the forceful guitar riffs creates some amazing tracks, particularly 'Isolate'. Sybreed are currently working on their third album 'The Pulse of Awakening' which should be out this year.

    Album Highlights:

    Emma Zero
    Isolate
    Revive My Wounds

    For Fans of:

    Fear Factory
    Mnemic
    Scar Symmetry

    SKOLD vs. KMFDM - SKOLD vs. KMFDM



    Skold Vs. KMFDM is a side project involving Tim Skold and Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM. The album includes two different version of 11 tracks. Each track has a full length version and a shorter interlude version. The album understandably sounds like Skold and Konietzko's earlier short-lived side project 'MDFMK' who only had one release, 2002's 'MDFMK'. This album does not feature KMFDM's Lucia Cifarelli however. The album is a breath of fresh air after the some what stagnant sound of recent KMFDM efforts. Whether this album steps out of the shadow of this years KMFDM release 'Blitz' remains to be seen.

    Album highlights:

    Love Is Like
    Bloodsport
    Error 404

    For Fans Of:

    KMFDM
    Ohgr
    Skold


    Julien-K - Death To Analog



    It has been a long wait for Orgy fans. The band went on hiatus after the release of their 3rd album 'Punk Static Paranoia' in 2004. In 2003, two of the band's members (Ryan Shuck and Amir Derakh) started working on more electronic material that they didn't feel was suited to Orgy. 6 years later after several delays fans can finally get their hand on the result of this work, Julien-K's debut 'Death To Analog'. The album is far more electronic-rock than any Orgy album although it retains similar clean vocals despite being a different vocalist. The limited edition of the album features a second disc with remixes of the album. It features remixes from renowned artists including Combichrist, Deadmau5 and Paul Oakenfold.

    Album Highlights:

    Kick The Bass
    Technical Difficulties
    Nvr Say Nvr

    For Fans Of:

    Orgy
    Zeromancer
    Celldweller