Title: Many Worlds (The Crystal Issue Cycle 3)
Label: The Crystal Issue
Solar One Music is an hectic label that is producing quality music and is always in evolution. With The Crystal Issue sub-label, they deliver music focused on Acid/Chicago/Detroit/Techno/House, genres which deeply influenced Robert and Nico, the two label’s bosses. The releases will be issued only on one sided colored 12″ in a limited run… no digital files available. The first release of the series is by Mantra, project of a guy called Craig Stainton, who is also active with the Acid Phreex, Craig Stainton, Monofonix, Myriadd monikers. He has at his active an LP (“After Dark”) and three EPs on Bunker Records as well as another EP released the last year on Abstract Acid. Mantra’s is pure acid techno with tiny house influences where the classic TB-303 and TR-606/808/909 sounds are used to create a hypnotic loop where sampled vocals, sparse deep bass lines and some synth effects. On this first release presented on orange vinyl as opening track we find “Beat That House”, a tune characterized by an house bass line that is joined by TB-303 on the pauses, just to start again with the “mantra”. “Many Worlds” follows and this is focused on TB-303 sounds, drum machine blasts, tiny distorted synth reverbs and vocal samples scratches. Trancey, obsessive and dancey, these tunes are two of the best produced by Mantra. If you are into acid or techno, check this out!
Nuevo West born from the ashes of a Phoenix band called The Red Squares which disbanded at the end of 1983. Their singer/guitar player Sonic Mike Stephens and the other guitarist/keyboard player Roger Lee Chavous, decided to form another band when they met the bass player Walter Charchuck. Together they had the crazy idea to mix synth punk and country music. The drummer Greg David combined his drumming with the rhythms of a drum machine and dressed like Arizona cowboys, they started playing at art galleries and other unconventional places. Finally, Nuvo West were born. Soon after, they took their four tracks Tascam recorder and started to record their first MLP “Scary”. The record was containing six original tunes of which three instrumentals. “Accidents don’t happen in my world”, “Dogs have their days”and “Little yellow pills” were sounding modern and pop: a sort of Devo meet Wall Of Voodoo. Lyrics were talking about the neurosis of the modern world with an ironic twist. The three instrumental tracks “Androids love”, “Shades” and “Theme for alienation”, were sounding more adventurous compared to the previous three and even more experimental. Melody, spacey atmospheres or post punk upbeat tempos were the main elements of those cool tracks. The year after, the band went to the studio again and recorded their tape: “Twankin’”. Containing six new tracks, the tape sold twice compared to the MLP. Country music was the biggest influence for those tracks: the main tune is a clear example of that, thanks to that classic way of playing guitar and those double snare beats, “Desertate 7″ starts with an harmonica and has a massive use of cowbell, “Shades of yesterday” is a melancholic instrumental with a bit of space atmospheres, “Love made a fool of me” is a nice pop song and the closing “The town the winter forgot & The night is over” (they are really two different tracks mixed together), are a nice synth punk song and an upbeat country punk one. Personally I prefer “Scary” to the second release as to me it sounds more inspired and less linked to the American musical tradition. Probably on early 80s mixing synthetic sounds, punk and country was something innovative but I prefer alienation to tradition… Anyway this, by Synthetic Shadows, is a really good remastered reissue which gathers all the releases recorded by the band and it also contains an insert with history and the lyrics from “Scary”.
What can possibly be said about A New Life and his newly released cassette titled “Fright †reasures“? Firstly, it’s based off material that was recorded in 2011-2012, by the synth-pop producer Maurizio Pustianaz. Besides the obvious fact that it’s retro all over, there’s also the importance of analogue. Smearing our brains with a current of force, but at the same time also a sincere yearning for times that have past. The music itself strays from synth-pop, to minimal synth and he delves into the 80′s – with good intent. His abysmal fascination for that decade, is preceded by the apparent structure of the songs, whom in their natural state reveal much of the influences. But they are pretty unconventional – and are only matched, when it comes to superiority, by the fast-paced sections of synthesizer goodness. Some of the ambitious hints of melodic content, are sometimes not his strength when it comes to the music. The weird, showcased melodies in the choruses don’t intertwine in a good way, within the context that is intended – of the structured colossus that is his sound. Which at times actually can be turned in his favor, since the music itself relies on the ambitious notion and atmospheric experimentalism that is rarely seen within this decade. Sure, if you’re interested in Soft Cell, their experimentation seem to be a guideline for his music. But when it comes to the regular synth-pop, with 80′s vibes, this is not something for the faint of heart or primitive minds. No, this sounds like an intellectual approach to an otherwise pretty basic genre, at least if you gather up all your synth-pop belongings and heed to the overall quality. Catchy, it is and can be when he lets it form around the strengths that emit throughout the often heartbreaking lyrical content, but not to an extent that is in his favor. Since the vocals are 50/50, they’re just too much in some of the songs, but at the same time add up in the end – which makes this a case of how you’d like the lyricism to be. When he sings from his heart, the music itself is energized and should re-conquer the castle it needs to forcefully re-take. Otherwise, when it comes to the overall picture, it’s a picturesque cassette which needs to be listened to. At least if you compare it to the not-so-stiff competition out there.
The mastermind and driving force behind the ‘NOISEBRIGADE’ music project, is the same man, who has embarked on a new stronger and ambitious synth trip, creating the ‘A NEW LIFE” project, making a new beginning, inspired by important and life-changing events in his life.
Having already released an E.P. he presents his brand new two-track single, titled ‘PHASE TWO’.
The first song, “In These Troubled Times I Won’t Dig My Own Grave”, is an intense, yet emotional journey, with strong and memorable lead lines and melodic elements, that manages to stay true to the early 80s synth/new wave melancholy while advancing forward lyrically and musically. The analogue synths take centre stage showcasing the artist’s talent for melody and arrangement.
His almost haunting vocal delivery is enhancing the dark vibe of the song even further, taking the song to another level.
The second song of the single, “End Of A Barrel”, is an equally strong track, with analogue beats, catchy arpeggios and analogue synth ‘details’.
The vocals remain dark and haunting, with an infectious chorus, that compliments the expertly executed synth-work of the song.
This two-track single, is a brilliant showcase of ‘A New Life‘s new, dark, melancholic exploration of sounds and lyric themes, that combined with the complex arrangements of the songs and the immaculate production, will leave you wanting more! A high quality release from every aspect.
Recent changes in the life of Maurizio Pustianaz (Gerstein, Noisebrigade, co-founder of Chain D.L.K.) are reflected in this debut EP under the A New Life moniker. The titles of the 3 tracks included in “Satori” and the lyrics of the first two (the third is an instrumental) are obviously autobiographical: “A New Life“, “Smile Again” (in which Mauri sings passionately “my revenge is to smile again”), “Grand Opening”, all seem to be the sonic equivalent to the ups and downs of the man’s life and, hence, high on emotion, passionate songs.
Musically this is a 100% (early) 80s record, ranging from new wave to post-punk, reminding of seminal Human League (more of The Future era), British Electric Foundation (pre-Heaven 17), Soft Cell, Factory Records, even early Depeche Mode. Mauri combines analog equipment with soft synths and sings upon layers of (noisy at places) melodies and stressful robotic beats. Personal favourite is the title track (great refrain!) and I really like the switch from what seems to be a nightmare intro to an optimistic groove on “Grand Opening”.
This is a decent “retro” release by a man who’s devoted to music for more than 30 years. Support it, support Maurizio’s New Life!
The new tape “Fright Treasures” contains eight tracks recorded during the last year and half.
It talks about the discovery of our personal treasures,
the ones you find digging into your soul.
What’s the “frightening” factor?
Well, while you discover yourself you find also things you should fix, you face your dark side… something you have to deal with.
Is that scary enough?
1. Split In Two 04:00
2. New Beginnings 04:34
3. Sentimental 04:21
4. Another Story 04:56
5. Experiment In Fear 04:09
6. Keep On Losing 06:00
7. Divide Et Impera 04:22
8. Time To Go 04:26
It can be checked here:
The tape will be available soon.
“Phase Two” is my second single and it has two tracks
1. In These Troubled Times I Won´t Dig My Own Grave
2. End Of A Barrel
You can check it and purchase it here
This is my first single.
It has three tracks:
1. A New Life
2. Smile Again
3. Grand Opening
You can check it and purchase it here
A New Life is my synthwave musical project inspired by electronic bands of the 80s such as Soft Cell and Human League. At the moment I have two releases out on Romance Moderne
A New Life, born because personally it was time to change things and approaching them in a fresh way. Musically, A New Life, is influenced by early Human League and Soft Cell but don’t sound like them. Analog synths meet digital ones creating a sound which is deep rooted into the 80s. Post punk and new wave are the main elements but if you think about minimal, well, the sound isn’t that minimal if you think that the songs have three or four melodic synth lines. Using a bit of analog dirtiness and warmth, A New Life want to gather cool sounds with catchy melodies.
Here you can check all my tracks: