JULIE SASSOON / WILLI KELLERS - Waves

Julie Sassoon is a British piano player operating from Berlin. A duo session with drummer Willi Kellers in 2016 was recorded and that creation is released now on the second cd of this double package. That session led to a series of live concerts and one of these has been recorded at Munichunderground. That concert is on the first cd. The combination of piano and drums delivers unique dynamics ranging from the percussive 'If You Ever Change' to the poetic 'Twilight' or to a piece like 'Soulplay' which is full of tension. Both musicians have a perfect empathy towards each other en develop an organic and symbiotic musical trip. 'Waves' is a strong example of accessible and listenable avantgarde jazz. (Geert Ryssen)

  • AREN DRIFT - Beneath The Surface (EP)

    Aren Drift is a British female fronted progressive rockband. The progressive nature of the band lies within it's songstructures and the blending of modern rock and post-rock influences. Singer and rhythm guitarist Radka Nemcova has a deep and powerful voice and has a trio behind her of guitar, bass and drums that due to the limited instrumentation makes the music breathe with lots of dynamics. It's a good idea not to use keyboards. It gives the band an original touch in the contemporary progressive genre. Strength in melodies, riffs and performance makes this a joy to listen to. The mastering was done by Pete Maher who also works for U2, Lana Del Rey and Jack White. Impressive reference, impressive EP. (Geert Ryssen)

  • ONYX & THE RED LIPS - Cinematic

    Onyx & The Red Lips is a French trio of female singers that want to revive the female harmony bands of the fifties like The Andrew Sisters. They do it with a contemporary touch, so this is not a pure nostalgia trip. They fluctuate between pop, blues(rock) and swingjazz and do so with a lot of flexability. These musically trained women are exploring different kinds of styles which brings a lot of variation and updates the retro atmosphere to a fresh level. I'm sure this will be great in live concert. (Geert Ryssen)

KIM IN THE MIDDLE - The 7 Year Itch

The third album by Kim In The Middle shows Belgian jazz vocalist Kim Versteynen in her most versalite way. She walks different ways without losing focus and direction. It's always jazz, always great singing and always a great instrumental setting around her. She balances between 'classic' jazz singing and modern phrasing with ease and it all sounds natural. She chose songs and music from a very different origin (Kate Bush, Zoot Sims, Gabriel Fauré, Eberhart Weber, ...) and writes lyrics that due to her singing style sound so fluid. One moment one finds him/herself in a musical, a piano bar or in a contemporary jazzclub. Her influences go from Diane Reeves to Norma Winstone and a lot more, but she melts it all into real Kim In The Middle stuff with the support of a wonderful trio consisting of Arne Van Coillie (piano), Flor Van Leugenhaeghe (double bass) and Gert-Jan Dreessen (drums). These guys deliver the perfect instrumental context in which Kim can blossom. A beautiful record that brings a warm ambiance in the room and makes one listen along the way. (Geert Ryssen)

PRIMAL STATIC - The Corrupting Of The Revolution (EP)

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Primal Static is releasing their newest EP "The Corrupting of the Revolution." The four tracks are highly experimental and still rooted heavily in the American blues tradition. It's a two man band, in fact a man and a woman with a totally different background. Singer/guitarist G.T. performs against the background of the electronics of HoeFei, a Chinese female keyboard player with a classical background. The outcome is modern wizzardy that cuts like a knife. The four songs on this second EP are musically very interesting and well performed. Alternative music for those who like adventurous songwriting and sounds while blending two worlds. (Geert Ryssen) www.primalstatic.com 

PORN - The Darkest of Human Desires - Act II

French band Porn is working on a Trilogy about the darkest corners of human nature. They created the character "Mr. Strangler" to impersonate the evil powers in man. Their vehicle is a style that mixes gothic and industrial metal. The lyrics make the label "horror metal" valid. The first part of the trilogy was released in 2017 as 'The Ogre Inside -  Act 1' and this Act 2 was released in February 2019. The lyrical content may raise more than one eyebrow as Mr. Strangler is in full action now, commiting murder and massacre as an expression of his death cult. The songs are about the drive of a number of scary and ruthless serial killers (Charles Manson being one of them) and raises a warning: don't try this at home! However, recent scientific studies reveal that the agression and violence often expressed in extreme metal, do not trigger that kind of violence into the listeners and fans of this music. On the contrary, it has a calming and mellowing effect. In that way it can be categorised as an artistic expression of a (hopefully) marginal but existing reality. Musically Porn is not an extreme metal band. The blend of gothic and industrial metal is captured in dark atmospheric songstructures. Fascinating it is. The band got techical assistance from Tom Baker who also worked with Marylin Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and Rob Zombie. So, soundwise there's nothing to complain about. (Geert Ryssen)

ALMøST HUMAN - XS2XTC / XS4XTC (Fastball Music)

Metal has a wide range of styles and now and then a record grabs your attention without being in your favorite style. Swiss metallers Almøst Human are around in one form or another since the nineties, but 'XS2XTC/XS4XTC' is their first full album. Their blending of extreme metal with classic rock energy delivers a very exciting and fascinating album. Their songs sound harsh, raw and brutal, but still there's a classic touch to their riffs and grooves. There's melody, emotion and a lot of passion in their performances that lifts the band to a higher level. Thematicaly the band focusses on the place of human beings in the wide range of "animals". This is not meant for romantic or sensitive souls, but if you like some adventure or exploration of unknown territory, Almøst Human may be your servant. (Geert Ryssen)

  • MATT FINUCANE - 'Vanishing Island' (Light Crude Records)

    Perhaps this title refers to what's happening to the UK right now in its relation to continental Europe ... The Brighton based musician/songwriter writes songs in the tradition of the experimentalists like early Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers and Daevid Allen. Influenced by artrock, krautrock and electronic noise, Finucane presents ten adventurous songs with inventive arrangements that will appeal to fans of the mentioned artists, especially in their first outings. The Berlin period of David Bowie is another reference. This debut album will be released on May 3, 2019. A taste of what's to come is already available on Matt's website: www.mattfinucame.net . Very enjoyable and well made album throughout by an individual and fascinating artist. (Geert Ryssen)

  • ROME - Le Ceneri Di Heliodoro (Trisol Music Group)

    "The protagonists of Rome's lyrical world are history's forgotten heroes and outsiders, most notably of the 20th century: Anarchist rebels (as on ‘Flowers From Exile’, 2009), the French resistance (‘Nos Chants Perdus’, 2010), Southern Africa's struggle for freedom (‘A Passage To Rhodesia’, 2014) or revolutionaries and underground fighters such as those on Rome's ambitious trilogy ‘Die Aesthetik Der Herrschaftsfreiheit’ (2011) inspired by the works of Peter Weiss and Pablo Neruda among others. "
    "On ’Le Ceneri Di Heliodoro’ (’The ashes of Heliodoro’), Reuter does not shy away from the provocative and ambiguous and thus tackles new terrain and touchy subject matters such as Europe's dissolving unity, or its relations to the US and the fragile fraternity of its nations."
    These quotes from the release sheet of Rome's 13th (!) album tell us about what this album is all about lyricaly. It's an important aspect of the album as Jerome Reuter who is in fact Rome, is first of all a modern folk artist influenced by masters like Brel, Cave, Waits or Cohen. The atmosphere is dark, melancholic but not depressive. Jerome's deep voice suits the songs very well. The instrumentation is also his work with a little help from Tom Gatti on additonal instruments and arrangements. 'Le Ceneri Di Heliodoro' is a strong concept album by a very individual artist from Luxemburg. Although the lyrics are mostly in English there's some German passages, typical for the multi-cultural nature of his native country. Musically this could be categorised als "neo-folk" with a progressive touch. Interesting record that impresses again and again with every spin! Available on cd and on deep red vinyl. (Geert Ryssen)

  • VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND - Lines In Sand (Moonjune Records)

    The Sixth studio album by the Vasil Hadzimanov Band opens with a strong ethnic touch. Hadzimanov is Serbian and that flavours now and then his compositions, but not in a dominant way. It would be a shame if the incidental listener would back off because of that because what follows are twelve strong, entertaining but substantial compositions. The rich instrumental line-up (keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, percussion) is enlarged by some sax and vocal guest appearances. Hadzimanov is a gifted piano and keyboard player and the other players are instrumental in the unique flow in this album. The open and dynamic sound and the beautiful texture of the instrumental arrangements makes this a joy to listen to. This is a top album building bridges between jazz, fusion and progressive rock. (Geert Ryssen)