Archive for Electronic Music

Deals & Steals: That’s a Lotta Vikings!

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2013 by Lightning Slim

220px-Battle_Sluts  Bit of a Nordic influence this time out (again!), and certainly some good tunes found at good prices. This first lot was found at Second Spin:

Leaves Eyes – Vinland Saga $8.99. Moody conceptual stuff about Leif Eriksson’s travels and exploration.

Soilwork – Stabbing the Drama $8.99. Slowly filling in my back catalogue of these Gothenburgers and In Flames BFFs.

At the Gates – Slaughter of the Soul $4.49. Speaking of Gothenburg, there wasn’t an identifiable scene until this album melted everyone’s faces.

Dark Tranquillity – Character $2.49. One of their best.

Destroy Destroy Destroy – Battle Sluts $5.00. Actually an American band. But that title! Sounds like Cradle of Filth meets Manowar. Perfect touring partner for 3iob.

Not Viking but a bit Scottish (and awesome):

Murder Inc. – Locate Subvert Terminate: The Complete Murder Inc. $3.99. So nice to hear a remaster of this marvelous Killing Joke side project with Chris Connelly. Behold, Scot-industrial rap:

And in the super-bargain category, some finds from the local thrift store. Each were only one or two bucks apiece!

Green Day – American Idiot. Overplayed? True. Overplayed because actually very good? Also true.

Promonium Jesters – Time and Place. I once saw these Ontario industrialists open for Hanzel und Gretyl. Their recorded output has a steal-from-the-best quality to it, including some spot-on Skinny Puppy influence.

220px-The_Mix  Kraftwerk – The Mix. Worth it just to find out I’ve been singing the chorus wrong all these years. Still, fun fun fun!


Deals & Steals: Something Old, Something Older, Something Jurassic

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  Weird selection from Second Spin  (and my local places) this time around, but oh so fun. We’ve got games, remixes, compilations and collaborations. The S-S prices are in $US, and the Second Spin folks took another $10 off the top, which basically covered shipping. Onward!

Original Soundtrack: Mass Effect $8.99. The Mass Effect universe has been as much fun for me to hang around in as Hogwarts or even Middle Earth. I gave a damn about these games (we can talk about sticking the landing later) and it was due in no small part to the music. Very well executed stuff by Jack Wall and Sam Hulick, and a brilliant end credits song by Faunts that truly makes you believe you have saved the galaxy. In the eighties!

Fear Factory: Soul of a New Machine (Expanded Edition) $8.99. This fills a long-overlooked gap in my collection, and does it in style by including some great retrospective liner notes and the Fear is the Mindkiller EP as well.

Negativland: These Guys Are From England And Who Gives A Shit $5.77. This “Official Bootleg” brings a bit of closure to one of the world’s longest-beaten dead horses, acting as a final word on Negativland’s feud/collaboration/fascination/lawsuit with the world’s biggest band and America’s best known radio DJ.

Jello Biafra with Nomeansno: The Sky is Falling, and I Want My Mommy $7.99. Don’t know why I held out so long before getting this. It’s a bit like I knew I liked peanut butter and I knew I liked chocolate, but I didn’t trust this candy hybrid. Fixed now!

  Rush: Chronicles $21.99. Big deal, you say. Anyone with half a brain knows Chronicles is the non plus ultra of best-of compilations, representing perfect track choices and sequencing.  Ah, but what if you had to replace your worn-out copy? What if you had a chance to do it with a version containing an extra DVD full of the band’s videos? What then, smart guy?

Super big deal: Last weekend I was in Toronto and saw this, still wrapped,  in a used record shop:


Yup, that’s the full series of The Shield encased in a coffee-table picture book. I was going to pay the $99 sticker price when the clerk told me it was 20% off. Madness. I love you, place I don’t remember the name of. It’s across the side street from The Rex, if that helps.

It gets better; I found this at my local Value Village for twelve dollars:


It was a good week for scrounging!

Album Review – VNV Nation “Automatic” 2011

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , on November 22, 2011 by Lightning Slim

  There is a comforting consistency in VNV Nation’s output of late, even if it comes at the cost of the flashes of brilliance that occasionally brought the house down on earlier releases. While Automatic has no “Beloved” or “Perpetual” to offer, it does deliver the lush, melancholic and melodramatic darkwave (with a generous helping of pop-rave) we’ve come to expect. The usual lyrical suspects are at hand: loneliness and isolation, the corruption of power, the double-edged sword of progress, the utopia/dystopia dichotomy. If you’re not already familiar, think of it as an aural adaptation of Blade Runner produced by Merchant Ivory, or perhaps Gary Numan performing the works of Shaw.

Most of the tracks eschew hypnotic repetition in favour of more traditional pop music structures, complete with ballad-style choruses and instrumental breakdowns. Only dance floor single “Control” really bucks the trend of this kinder, gentler VNV by calling back the robotic sparseness of “Chrome” or the heavier passages of Judgement.

Automatic is recommended for any fan who has stayed onboard for the band’s evolution, as it represents another stage of that journey while remaining within familiar territory. Sure, there’s no new showstopper, but the show itself is dependably solid. 7 out of 10

Album Review – Skinny Puppy “hanDover” 2011

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , on November 10, 2011 by Lightning Slim

  Skinny Puppy’s more successful moments occur when the songwriters among the band members act as checks and balances on one another. This is why reunion album The Greater Wrong of the Right worked (with everyone on their best behaviour and dedicated to making a Big Damn Album) and Rabies was so popular (guest producer Alain Jourgensen acting as wedge/buffer/common foe). By the same token, Mythmaker left me cold, as it had too much of one Kevin and not enough of the other for my liking. 

hanDover manages to strike a fair  balance and channel a bit of nostalgia along the way. The sparse minimalism of opening track “Ovirt” sounds as though it would be at home on Bites/Remission, and is followed by “Cullorblind”, which has much in common with the Process period. Mid-record breather song “Brownstone” finds Nivek Ogre veering into Ritalin-style storytime side project territory before hanDover continues its journey from simpler beginnings to densely structured Greater Wrong style pounders “Vyrisus” and “Village”. The listener can hit Stop at this point to keep things in a dance floor mood, or move on to the obligatory lengthy noise-sculpture finale.

“Village” is the single, and seems designed to assuage any doubts that hanDover has the means to please older fans, who won’t be able to keep themselves from grinning when Ogre deploys his old-school shriek on the chorus.  What I like about it is that it takes the same slinky disco bassline that so many imitators have been marrying to Puppy’s groundbreaking electronics work since Too Dark Park and absolutely schools it, resulting in a brilliant Charlie Clouser dance track without actually requiring Clouser himself.

Well thought out, thematically sound and far more enjoyably listenable than the band’s fans have come to expect, hanDover succeeds as recreation rather than being a chore, and does so without sacrificing the exploratory spirit of  its creators.  8.5 out of 10

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