Datacide 19Record Reviews

Datacide 19 Record Reviews by Low Entropy

Patric Catani: Flex Busterman – The Brain Of Flex Busterman [storage068]

In 1997, DHR released the album “The Horrible Plans Of Flex Busterman” by Patric Catani, which was one of the first (or the first?) albums to celebrate the Chiptune sound of the 8 bit – and especially the SID (a C64 music format) – era.

Now, 23 years later, Patric Catani produced a follow up – partly credited to Flex Busterman himself. Again, the theme here is Chiptune sound and video Game Music – done on a special tracker, according to Patric himself.

This album is remarkable in a special way: of course the Chiptune movement is everywhere now, and producers like Timbaland brought it even to the charts and radio airplay with Nelly Furtado a few years ago.

Yet, when Chiptune is the topic nowadays, people usually think of music in the vein of, for example, the high score theme to Monty On The Run, or to Commando. Bright, harmonic, poppy, almost cheesy tracks with the typical Chiptune flavor and ingredients. But those of us who lived in the Computer era of the 80s might remember that the majority of Chip sounds were not like this; there were also plenty of tunes that had a weird Balkan / Eastern / Oriental feel, then there was odd Sci Fi / Experimental type sounds, and some Chiptunes that were, essentially, outright Noize Music, bringing the sound effect capabilities of the Sid Microchip to its limits.

And this is where the new Flex Busterman album touches down. It gives a good expression of those “other” forms of Chip sounds, and combines it, in some tracks, with the more melodic sound.

A good flashback to that bygone era that is still so present in our times.

Of course, that is just half of it; this is not some nostalgia-only shuffle. Patric, at the same time, with these tracks, does a lot of pioneering, and experimenting, and creates unique, fresh and chilling sonic outings. My personal stand out track is “Hardsidbreak Hotel”, which to me is the most melodic, yet also psychedelic track of the whole album. It has a tune that is among the best melodies I heard in Patric’s work, or music in general. If you preview the album, make sure you listen to this track.

Great sequel to the first Flex Busterman album and something for every music fan that has a heart for tracker and chip sounds too. The overdue return of Flex Busterman.

Taciturne: The Last Vigil [Aneurysm 02]

“This was the music I had in my Head in 1995-1997 but was not be able to produce at that time” says the producer himself about this record. This is actually the first new musical output by Taciturne on vinyl in 24 years! And it definitely has been worth the wait. What do we get here? This is some type of Hardcore and Speedcore with a very strong focus on atmosphere and emotion. It feels much more like a record for contemplation and introspection than a dance-y, Gabber type of record. Which doesn’t mean the tracks would not be ultra-heavy and brutal! For they are.

It can be compared to *some* earlier tracks by Taciturne – “Praxis Dr. Fischer” from the Otaku compilation comes to mind. But it is a much more advanced, improved version of it. I think I can also hear plenty of influence from French Hardcore, especially Flashcore here.

For the drums, in the 306-340 BPM range, are for the most part of the short and reduced variety, compared to the average full-on noize Speedcore tracks by other producers.

As hinted above, what is especially to praise is the mood of the record. Very somber, full of sorrow, with a certain nihilist feel, but not defeatist or “disturbing for the sake of being disturbing”, more like a haunting and feverish dreams that leaves one feeling drained and hopeful at the same time.

If you’re a Taciturne aficionado, getting this record is a no-brainer. If not, at least take a listen to it! This is Taciturne at his maximum capabilities again.

Murmuur: Rise Of The Death Gods [Nethercords]

Spanish artist Murmuur on Australian label Nethercords. The tracks straddle the line between Doomcore and Industrial Hardcore here, with some definite inspiration by contemporary Techno. The backbone of these tracks are the pounding drums, which come across ultra-brutal, and are sure to get some people pumping on the dark dancefloor.

Supported by hellish, demoniac wailing, screeching sounds that set the right mood. What I like is that while there is a lot of punch in the production, it’s not so “overly” laden and distorted like a lot of Industrial Hardcore releases these days. Two tracks are original tracks by Murmuur, while the two other tracks are remixes of tracks originally by Tyrant X, who is also the label owner.

This is a record that stands apart from most Dark/Doomcore outings, first by the excellent sonic production qualities, and second by bringing in new and different ideas to these forms of music. Definitely one for the Doom and Industrial heads, and anyone else who likes creative, hard and dark music.

Miro: Unforgotten Seasons S2 [PP.022/D]

Already the second release in the Unforgotten Seasons series; which seems to accompany Marc Acardipane’s “The Most Famous Unknown” releases on the Planet Phuture label. This is once more a compilation of tracks done by Miro under his various aliases such E-Man, The Overlord, Frozen, etc. in the past. And there are surely many favorite picks by long time Miro fans here. True classics. Among them, for example “Purple Moon”, one of the earliest “true” Doomcore tracks in the 90s, with a bitter sweet melody.

Or “XTC Express”, originally released under his E-Man alias, which might be one of Miro’s finest moments in his production history; the beats more on the Techno side then Hardcore, supporting an almost perfect Rave/Arpeggio sequence of notes. Special mention should be made to “The Forest”, a track from one of this two EPs on Narcotic Network Recordings; this was a very unusual and experimental release for him, far from Hardcore and Doomcore tropes, more an Electro, almost Aphex Twin or Lory D like feel.

Not to forget “First Bite”, his venture into haunted Darkstep / Drum’n’Bass territory.

But, essentially, all tracks on here are noteworthy, and special and unique in their own way.

This is not some generic Hardcore type release!

This release would be a great introduction to the vast scope of compositions by Miro for newcomers, and old time fans will also find a lot of their dearest tracks on here.

Marc Acardipane The Most Famous Unknown Expansion Pack 4 [PP.016/D]

The “Godfather of Gabber”, Marc Acardipane, started re-releasing the PCP catalogue, as well as material from his other labels, last year with the “The Most Famous Unknown” compilation on his own Planet Phuture label.

After the intial release, the “Expansion Pack” releases began – with additional tracks – and we’re at Pack Nr. 4 already.

If I’m not mistaken, most (all?) packs contain at least one previously unreleased track, and on this release it is “Burning Sky”, a collaboration with Miro and it is the stand out track here for me.

While it is co-credited to Miro, it gives me more of a Jack Lucifer / Kotzaak Klan feel (which are akas of Miro), with it’s frantic and speedy drumming, ultra somber synth pads, and the nihilistic feel of the track, including the lyrics (“do we have a future, if we are the future?”).

The album is worth listening for this track alone, but let’s look at the other compositions, too. This release spans a large area of Marc’s output in various styles: from the claustrophobic, reduced Techno of “A New Mind”, the substance fueled manic Rave episode of “Impossible X-T-C”, the Breakbeat HC appeal of “9d5 Safari Strings” to the huge space arena make-the-crowd-go-wild Gabber of “Don’t Touch That Stereo” (one of his most revered tracks).

While there are many tracks that likely everyone who is into the hard side of electronic music has heard mentioned, or knows by heart, there are also lesser known but still bright and masterly produced tracks included, such as “House Force” or “Ey Dude”.

To sum it up: if you are in any way into Hardcore, or Techno, or, well, into great music in general, give this a try.

Umwelt: Escape The Future [NF 24]

The French Electro overlord Umwelt with a new release. Should you not be familiar with this artist, he has been releasing since the 90s decade, and is known for mastering a combination of Electro, Techno and Acid in his music.

I feel this release is a bit of a return to the roots for him; it’s beautiful, beautiful Electro, that, even though this music is deeply routed in the 80s music scene, feels brand new and fresh.

What always stands out for me in the work of Umwelt is that, even more than most other Electro legends, his music has a soundtrack, soundscape, Dark Ambient feel to me; it’s great to dance to and can give you a night of restless legs, but it’s also great to just *listen* to, and gives you an impression of hearing the score to a movie of far away planets and distant galaxies.

He shared a release with Marc Acardipane a while ago (on his own label New Flesh Records), and I am certain I hear a clear PCP influence here, apart from other things.

So, for Electro heads, this is more or less a must; and enthusiasts for atmospheric releases should take a look at it.

Low Entropy

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