Mini-Reviews of Music

Note: I intend to review music in the context of music to "Web" to. This column will thus not be intrinsically about the music - but rather how it fits into the context of the Net. Also, I will review which ever CDs I happen to be listening to as I Web or write this column - so the reviews will grow to cover any and all of the types of music I own or borrow from friends. Please send any comments you might have to me at


Recent decent Techno and Ambient purchases:


Review of Dead Can Dance's NYC stop at City Centre.


Drop everything and go out right now and buy Stereolab's Emperor Tomatoe Ketchup. They are just one of the most engaging pop bands making music today!


Wowowowo, Stereolab's latest collection of singles, Refried Ectoplasm (subtitled Switched On Volume 2), is simply incredible. I always find a "new" album from the lab so incredible fresh and inovative to my ears. While their sound is not "fresh", it is definitely welcome change from the standard top-40 schlock pop fare, ditties by the number or by pure amount of unstrategic use of feedback. In any case, this album is a keeper and I intend to do a proper review, when I have the time. Lab on!

  • Review of a recent Chemical Brothers show


    CMJ '95 Reviews


    Pluto - the Orb Live at Roseland Ballroom


    Slowdive, Pygmalion:
    Space - reverb, loop, male, female. Nice. Lots of emotions let out here. A really nice work. Worthy of attention. Currently only available on UK's Creation label. Slowdive are no longer signed to SBK in USA. So wait, or purchase the import. [grumble: Slowdive is no longer slowdive, they are now Mojave 3 on 4AD.]


    Mini Reviews

    My description of great music is music that moves me and otherwise effects my emotions in different ways - not necessarily good or bad ways. Some recent albums which do that for me include


    Enigma - MCMXC a.D. 1990

    Cool musical meshings - combinations of a softer (but not quite ambient) dance sound with various samples with some good female half spoken/singing lyrics. The use of the the monk chants work really well when they are used. However, I did not think they were used enough for my taste. I think I preferred the first half of the album over the second half. (I really did not like the last part of the last track - The Rivers of Belief from Back to the Rivers of Belief) The Album can can be described as sensual in a sense. Use of french lyrics every so often and "heavy breathing" give it a soft sensual feeling. I guess my hesitantancy to rate this album is because I prefer the more ambient side of the new dance music to the dance side. Thus, I like the older progenitors of the current Ambient House trend (like Tangerine Dream, etc) as compared to the dancier roots (techno/rave, etc). But tons of other people really grove this album, and you might too - so like anything else I write here, take it with a grain of salt until you actually get to listen to an album! [One more quick meandering point - I would probably grow to like this album more if I had it and listened to it more...but we shall see.]

    Oh, but back to my original idea for this column - this would make good webbing music - not throbbing annoying (to me) like some techno, and not devoid of interesting sounds (like some of the ambient scene.) so good as a background to your probing of the Net!


    Negativland - Points 1981

    Wonderfully weird stuff. Dunno if I would listen to this CD again, but a once through is definitely worthwhile. Negativland play with "found" sounds. Not unlike sampling but different. I think the entire album is a collage of these sounds they have taken out of their normal contexts. It makes for a wild ride, as you never know what you will hear next. I do not know if it would stand up to repeated listenings however. When I saw a discography of these guys works, I remember it saying that Points was from early in their career (1981) and that later stuff is more accessible from a pop sensibility, or more structured towards a "song" format.

    [Warning - this review is the result of a first listening and I wrote it before I listened to the whole album, so your mileage my vary.]

    Scarce and Yo La Tengo at Irving Plaza in 1994

    My Review of a Stereolab/Unrest Concert at the Grand in NYC

    My Review of a Stereolab gig at the Mercury Lounge in NYC

    Review of various Techno/House Parties (raves) from 1996 and 1997.

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    You can reach me at / Michael Hauben