Archive for i:scintilla

Review: i:scintilla – Dying & Falling

Posted in Review with tags , on December 2, 2010 by softsynth

Based on the trajectory i:scintilla have taken over the years their newest album Dying & Falling is exactly what we could have predicted. Ever-more polished electro-rock that gets heavier and at the same time, more savvy with each passing recording. This album is a smart direction for the band. Ever-literate lyrically and a careful balance between electronics and guitar rock make for a great listen and their most consistently rewarding work to date.

While it’s true they are beginning to occasionally veer into Evanescence territory their work stands as still uniquely their own. They play with tone and tempo with delightful songs like the mid tempo title track, the shimmery “Omen”, and best of all, the anthemic “Shattered”. Sometimes it becomes a little too samey-same resuscitating the same guitar power chords we’ve heard to many times before, but overall the album works as both an emotional gut punch and as a collection of very carefully, painstakingly crafted rock songs with a smart use of electronics to provide depth and colour.  Ever-lovely vocalist Brittany Bindrim is in terrific voice here throughout, she’s become a stronger vocalist and lyricist as the years flow by. Continue reading

March madness

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2010 by softsynth

As we swerve head-long into March Softsynth is excited about the spate of new releases from an assortment of some of our very favourite bands. A sampling of the March goodness:

Absurd Minds: Serve or Suffer – March 5

De/Vision: Popgefahr – March 9

Diorama: Cubed – March 19 (check out their new video for “Child of Entertainment” at the link below – despite the horrific lipsyncing we’re diggin’ the tune…)

Psy’Aviah: Eclectric – March 19

Goldfrapp: Head First – March 22

The Girl and the Robot: The Beauty of Decay – March 26

Blind Faith and Envy: Into the Calm – March ??? (they are still saying March but no actual date yet…hmm…)

Continue reading

Electronic music in 2010

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2009 by softsynth

While not quite the promising bounty with which we were able to look toward 2009 this time last year we can look to the year ahead at a number of very exciting new releases. Goldfrapp’s 5th album is the big deal news around these here parts but we can also look forward to new material from the liked of De/Vision, Diorama, Michigan (rumoured), Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Iris, Covenant, Ashbury Heights, Android Lust, Birthday Massacre, i:scintilla, Conjure One, LCD Soundsystem, Unter Null, Miss FD, Suicide Commando, Distain, Hot Chip, Ellie Goulding and the weirdness that is Ladytron…in the form of producers for Christina Augilara (which makes Softsynth’s virtual head ache with trying to envision the results of this collaboration).

As we look forward to the new year the wheel keeps on turning and lots of great stuff to come…

The Softsynth 2009 Playlist (songs of the year ’09)

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2009 by softsynth

So this will be the last in the long line of “lists” for the year. We had mused about doing up a “best singles of the year list”

and were both overwhelmed by the task at hand and felt persnickety about the notion of being limited to just singles.

The era of the single is definitely upon us what with the death of the CD as the last remaining form of “physical” music and the growth of iTunes culture, but damn it, Softsynth is a creature from the age of album appreciation and the best songs are so often not the tracks sent out to be appreciated by the masses, but those that remain buried in the outer confines of an album. (That said many of the best songs

released there were, indeed, singles, so we’re not limiting ourselves here). It’s what made for the great mixed tapes of yore. (And for those of a certain age, too young for the pure album era of the 70s, but older than those who know only the MP3 era, the mixed tape was a crucial part of our musical upbringing. we created our own playlists, as a kind of precursor to the era we increasingly find ourselves in today via one-off MP3 downloads, but with tracks culled from albums or singles as we saw fit, depending on our mood at a given time.)

This is literally the only time through the year that we open things up to acknowledge the best stuff from various genres, not just electronic music (and in our next post we will revisit the question of what exactly constitutes so-called “electronic music”).We will paint with a wider brush just to fully colour in the year. So away we go, the singles of the year, er, songs of the year, uh…no, the “2009 Softsynth playlist”…

Continue reading

Bounty of DM riches from Alfa Matrix

Posted in News, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2009 by softsynth

I don’t think I ever realized just how many of my favourite bands are on the Alfa Matrix label. New out is the latest in an endless stream of Depeche Mode tribute albums, most of which suck donkeys, but this one may be the most interesting of all. Some of the finest electronic bands on the planet, spanning the full spectrum of electronic music’s subgenres cover some of DM’s best (and often less obvious) songs. Two of my absolute favourite bands of the moment are featured here, Belarus’ Diffuzion and Germany’s Technoir, but they only scrape feebly at the surface – Leaether Strip, i:scintilla, Nebula-H, Regenerator, Ayria, Inure, Psy’aviah (I never noticed how much electronic bands abuse the “gratuitous punctuation rule”), and a host of bands I’m less familiar with come up with some truly inspired cover versions of DM’s very best. It’s a pricey €20 and only available at the Alfa Matrix website, but highly worth it if you enjoy electronic music, even if Depeche Mode leave you cold.

Listen to samples: