Electroshock Records: Review:  
(Electroshock Records ELCD 006)
07 tracks. Total time - 72:41

An international compilation: 7 contributions by Christopher Andrew Arrell and Robin Julian Heifetz (both United States), Charles Kriel and John Palmer (England), Graham Bowers (Wales), Clair Laronde (France) and Jukka Ruohomaki (Finland) form the electronic score of a decent compilation that sounds a bit bleak in comparison with the all-Russian first volume, although it must be said that the compositions by Palmer, Heifetz and Ruohomaki are excellent. Conclusion: tiny and independent "Electroshock Records" from Moscow broadened and enriched the musical landscape of international electronic soundscaping with its ethnical identity and musical versatility like no other label has done over the past 10 years.

Marc Mushroom ("Crohinga Wel")

This album contains seven tracks from musicians of four different countries - France, UK, USA, and Finland. The sleeve notes explain, that the tracks have not only been compiled by Artemiy Artemiev, but have also been re-edited and re-mastered. "Nouvele" - the opening track is by Claire Laronde (France). At times this reminds me of the kind of background music that would accompany a documentary made in the early 60's demonstrating what the 21st century may look like. Then at other times I am reminded of another group of French musicians "Structures Sonores" who made music from their own "home-made" instruments made from glass and metal. Although the track is quite long - nearly 19 minutes - it is made up of a number of sections that are often quite different. "Songs For G" - track 2, by Charies Kriel (UK) often has some quite eerie sounds, with a 'Ligetiesque' feel to it, then it will turn quite comical - at one point reminding me of Sid 'Vicious' "My Way". "Reel Sence" by Christopher Andrew Arrell is made up of a collage of sound effects that have altered, looped, reversed and layered in quite a nice atmospheric way. "Phonai" the fourth track, by John Palmer (UK) actually has what sounds like a 'real' instrument - a guitar - playing on it. Not in any 'traditional' way of course! The sounds he produces are reminiscent of the effect that Norman McLaren - the Canadian animator - created when he physically drew his sounds onto the optical soundtrack of his animated films. Other sounds John Palmer uses are those of children laughing and talking. "Beyond Words in Hunger Dark" by Robin Julian Heifetz (USA). Listening to this I wrote down a series of words - deep, clean, open, sparse, atmospheric. The synthesised sounds come together as nice background sounds or music to accompany a documentary or film with a wilderness, desert or underwater setting. The track is fairly consistent style throughout and has quite a nice feel, but at the same time, a slightly menacing edge as if there was an impending 'unknown' to come. "Transgression. Part I" - Graham Bowers (UK). The sounds are sharp and discordant, building to a rhythmic crescendo. Like a live Eno track - but no applause. "Luscina" - by Jukka Ruohomaki (Finland) could easily have been the 'jingle' version of Heifetz's track - featuring bird and animal calls. In conclusion - I think the album has some interesting experiments. However, if as compilations often are, these tasters are the best parts of forthcoming albums, then the artist from this lot that I would choose to hear more of would be Graham Bowers.

Ray Walker ("AM" Magazine)

If You conclude that previous volume (Vol. I) of these series has something to put off almost every kind of listener - synth fans will dislike the extreme experimentalism, while academics will probably have very little time for the new age lyricism and Kraftwerk noises. You should have a go instead at Volume II, which goes all international with tracks from Clair Laronde (France), Charles Kriel, Graham Bowers, and, from Daniel Biro's Sargasso label, John Palmer (GB), Christopher Andrew Arrell and Robin Julian Heifetz (USA), and Jukka Ruohomaki (Finland). It's all here - from slow, digital soundscapes (Laronde) to looped, treated female voices (Kriel), more mega-pitch-shifted metal sounds (Arrell), computer processed childrens' voices (Palmer), more dark ambient Roachisms (Heifetz), distant church organs (Bowers), and extreme computer-generated sounds (Ruohomaki). But there's a little more consistency of style, so this compilation is by far the more satisfying of the two. Electroshock's mastermind Artemiy Artemiev has produced some excellent music of his own, ranging from accessible, symphonic synth music to much more experimental styles, and has obviously put heart and soul into these projects. They're definitely for the more sonically adventurous, and if they can be criticised, it could only be for being basically too wide-ranging, to the extent of putting off most imaginable groups of listeners with one track or another.

M. J. ("Sequences")

Artemiy Artemiev must be the most regular Russian name you see in Western European publications. As I know that Artemiy is delivering hard work to give his releases some promotion, it'd be unfair to say he's the sole Russian artist who's worth following (the sad truth is that we hear or read absolutely nothing about Russian musicians). Anyway, apart from the fact that this CD is released on Artemiy's label, this CD has nothing to do with the man itself (...there isn't even a track from the man on here!). But, of course, as it's an Electroshock release it has the same style of music. Difficult to say what it really is but it's a sort of modern classic music performed with synthesizers... Some will say it's Indus while others will classify it as new age. Why care about classifications? This is just music that works as a soundtrack, but instead of giving the picture some background it works like a picture itself. Every sound is so detailed, so detailed in fact that it really gets scary... It's certainly true that this is a sort of music that demands the right mood, I mean I can imagine there are times I simply don't wanna listen to it... Let's say it's like having a walk in the forest, I don't do it every day (at least I don't!!!), but there are really moments you need it...Electroshock-releases are like that. On this album you can find material from Claire Laronde, Charles Kriel, Christopher Andrew Arrell, John Palmer, Robin Julian Heifetz, Graham Bowers, Jukka Ruohomaki.

Didier Becu ("The Original Sin")


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