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SACRIFICE ISAAC-"Migraine" CD-Hard and tight aggro-rock from a Kansas City act that incorporates the usual ingredients. The end results remind me at times of bands like HELMET, GIRLS AGAINST BOYS, and even a smidgeon of SONIC YOUTH's guitar dissonance. Overall, a pretty strong album and a promising debut. (Slipdisc)

Saligaul-"Death Is Our Only Excuse" CS-A collaborative noisefest by ANTIBODY and KORPERSCHWACHE, this 60 minute tape is a droning wall of sound and feedback that approaches a sort of static ambience. This is old-style post-industrial noise/power electronics--dense and numbing. (Castrated Tapes)

Samael-PassageCD-Powerful aggro-metal with a diverse palette that includes electronics, samples, and a Wagnerian atmosphere. Like a cross between TREPONEM PAL and TIAMAT, which is to say this is great. (Century Media)

various-"Sampling The Future" CD-A mix CD by Seattle DJ Donald Glaude which includes tracks by RABBIT IN THE MOON, JOSH WINK, TRANQUILITY BASS, and a host of lesser-knowns. All-in-all, good trancey techno stuff, with nothing really rising above the rest.. BEATSEED's CHEMICAL BROS impersonation is pretty blatant, but that aside this is a decent comp. (Thrive/Sire)

various-A Saucerful Of Pink CD-Modern electro/hardbeat acts tackle classic PINK FLOYD tracks. Most successful are PSYCHIC TV, FURNACE, HELIOS CREED, and SKY CRIES MARY.(Cleopatra)

Kevin Saunderson-"X-Mix:Transmission From Deep Space Radio" VHS VIDEO-Another in the X-MIX series, this one mixed by Detroit techno pioneer Kevin Saunderson. And like previous mixes, this one relies entirely on computer-generated imagery. Saunderson's selections are predominantly on the trance-minimalist-Detroit techno tip, including a host of smaller names alongside PLASTIKMAN, OUTLANDER, etc. The video work that accompanies these tracks is pretty much the expected, though. That is not to knock on Saunderson's talents as a DJ, as the audio portion of "Transmission" is excellent. I'm just growing weary of the whole computer graphics=techno video style. There's some fine video work here, to be sure, but for 45 minutes, this is a chore to watch. (Video Music)

Savage Gentlemen-"Savage Gentlemen" CD- A vast improvement from this band--casting themselves into a harder, more individual blend of electro-goth, glam, and metal styles. Some definite potential here, as the Gents' sound will appeal to a broad cross-section of heavy and dark music listeners. Starting off with the potent and metallic 'Filth', the album changes speeds somewhat with the more foreboding goth-metal 'No Mask!'. The SAVAGE GENTLEMEN also have a rampant sense of humor that sets them apart from similar acts. Nice work and certainly on their way to making a name for themselves. Includes a bonus multimedia video, which I couldn't access from my iMac. (Octopoid Productions)

Savage Gentlemen-"3-song Demo" CDR-MARILYN MANSON has a lot to answer for, despite that the SAVAGE GENTLEMEN don't wear their influences as far as some others I've heard. The opening track, the thrashy 'Love's Curse', reminds me of a Jello Biafra-fronted MANSON, while 'Torture' is a silly industrial-rock track that might please fans of stuff like KORN if not for the sludgy drum machine sound. The final track, 'Riverside', is purely a schlock-goth cut that revels in it's tongue-in-cheek pompousness. The GENTLEMEN's combination of goth, industrial-rock, and metal is not novel or unique, and though the potential is there, the songs on this demo suffer under the weight of their own derivative nature. (Land of Nod)

Scanner-"Lauwarm Instrumentals" CD-Robin Rimbaud is best known for his use of 'found' voice transmissions, so this disc may come as a bit of a surprise to those who still see him in that light. Beginning with a quick-fire sample of a woman's whispered and effected voice, the album swiftly moves into a much more rhythmic electronic territory. Heavy drums (which sound very live in spots), subtle electronic textures, frenzied drum & bass propulsions, and spooky soundtrack melodies abound. 'Lauwarm' is an excellent and highly recommendable series of sound paintings that conjure all sorts of marvelous and strange images. I'll be looking further into Rimbaud's catalog. Pick of the issue? (Sulfur/Beggars Banquet)

Scar Tissue-Separator CD-An excellent debut from this Californian electro-hardbeat act that ranges all over the map, from harsh post-industrialism to experimental techno/triphop. Several early trax are in a more standard PUPPY mold, but these are the exception. Diverse, professional, and quite worthy. (21st Circuitry)

Scary Valentine-"Gorgon" CD-A very solid 10-track album of moody, atmospheric electro-hardbeat with excellent female vocals. SCARY VALENTINE's name would have you believe them to be another in the endless parade of cheesy goth rockers, but Scot Gordon's cinematic soundscapes and HAUJOBB-ish beats are forward-thinking and well-produced, while vocalist Shari Valenta's enticing vocals are lovely and never overdone. An excellent, professional, and beautiful album worthy of much attention and support. (Scary Valentine)

Schizoidal-"Second" CDR-Some excellent instrumental electronic/IDM sounds from France that conjure the crunchy post-techno feel of the early Warp/Artificial Intelligence artists (BLACK DOG, B12, APHEX, etc.) or BOARDS OF CANADA. However, this 52-minute, 5-track release brings in more of a funky alien vibe. If you can imagine KRAFTWERK with slow SCORN-like breakbeats, then you may appreciate this solid release from a label that is quietly releasing some marvelous new music. (Secret Level Recordings)

Schnabel,Julian-Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud CD-Painter/sculptor records good pop album with the Bill Laswell crew. Some amazing songs here too, like Shes Dancing, which is poignant and as catchy as can be. Really liked this one. (Island)

various-Score Some Grass CD-Label sampler of 7 indie rock/pop/punk acts. Really not my thing.(Grass)

Scorn-Gyral CD-60 minutes of very deep, very dark ambient dub textures with a startlingly black, oppressive feel. And theres some rather extreme frequencies floating around in the mix. Incredible.(Earache)

Scorn-Logghi Barogghi CD-Another album that proves that Mick Harris isnt content to stay put musically. Logghi is a mutant hybrid of dark ambient mists, slow and low hiphop-style breakbeats, and a barrage of samples and dubbed-out fx. Much stronger than Gyral, this album successfully generates sinister alien atmospheres much like his cohorts in COIL and AUTECHRE, all the while retaining the SCORN feel. Welcome to the wickedly beautiful abyss. (Earache)

Scorn-Zander CD-The sinister dub textures of SCORN continue on this excellent instrumental album from Mick Harris. As with his previous work, Zander is full of low, slow breakbeats and some threatening textures and frequencies. There is more power in subtlety, and SCORN is a testament to this. (Invisible)

Scorn-"Whine" CD-The final album from SCORN, this time presenting the live sound with sonic assistance from Eraldo Bernocchi. This is some of the darkest, murkiest dub-hop around...and the bass on this recording would make many hiphoppers swoon with envy. It's instrumental, as you would expect from M.J. Harris, and this must have been a seriously tripped-out show, with all the forboding frequencies teeming and boomeranging themselves to and fro in the air. Most of the selections are from SCORN's last studio album, "Zander", but this release adds on a bonus 4-song EP called "Beat", that was never released before. Harris and Bernocchi create some of the deepest, most sinister breakbeats around, and with that, this release comes fully recommended. (Invisible)

Scrape-Chaos Of Life CS-Noisy post-industrial hardbeat that recalls the corrosive mechanical grind of DIVE. The PUPPY influence also still shows, but this Ontario-based duo is really growing with this release. (Scrape)

Season To Risk-In A Perfect World CD-Ugly, noisy rock for fans of HELMET or THE JESUS LIZARD.(Columbia)

Seaworthy-"It's Humbling When Two Saints Meet" CD- Poignant and introspective guitar/piano sounds from this new duo hailing from Westmead, Australia, 'It's Humbling...' is a gorgeous set of instrumentals that wax and wane, caressing the psyche with a warm and subtle touch. SEAWORTHY's Cameron Webb and Greg Bird have created a beautiful album of gently haunting melodies and understated yet heartfelt paeans to, well, perhaps the less-than-exalted times in life. Similarities can be mentioned to stuff like classic ENO perhaps, or some of the drone merchants of the Kranky stable, though SEAWORTHY can ably stand on their own collective feet with this remarkable work. I fell in love with this disc immediately and if the aforementioned float your boat (there's a pun in there somewhere), I'd suggest giving a shout to Cameron and Greg as this is simply a magnificent collection of what I like to call 'pure' music. Recommended. (Steady Cam Records)

d.A. Sebasstian-One Minute Endless CD-Diverse solo outing by the KILL SWITCH..KLICK frontman, delving into realms of spoken text,piano composition, noisescapes, even tribal music.(Industa Music)

Seij Minus aÇ-"less physical vortex" CDR-Electronic nightmare visions from this Tokyo-based artist who creates a variety of frenzied beats and frequencies that at times would appeal to fans of terror-noise technicians SIGILLUM S. The spoken parts are bathed in a haze of effects, while treble-charged sequences and pounding, mechanistic rhythms twist and turn in a funhouse mirror of distorted noise and ambient subtextures. Tracks like 'Soksh Inbutz' remind of SKINNY PUPPY's more noise-based work ala 'VIVIsectVI' (which is not a bad thing), and the following track, 'Inferior', has a sort of maniacal carnival sound that brings to mind the brilliant 'Eraserhead' soundtrack (another good thing), but this release is far from derivative . An interesting and challenging release worthy of attention. (gene of Cube)

Separation Vol. 10 CS-Experimental noisework thats pretty much a continuous wall of sound. SEPARATIONs noise is a numbing, unrelenting attack on the senses. Good enough. (Coprolith)

SEPULTURA-"Against" CD-Their first CD after losing original vocalist Max Cavalera, "Against" shows the band seemingly taking a step back into what got them at one point onto a major label and MTV stardom---powerful post-death metal. New vocalist Derrick Green fits right in, sounding like he's mistaken roofer's nails for Listerine. The band's chops are equally as nailed-down, and are as tight, precise, and thick as ever. Still, it seems like the band that was set to take metal into the next millennium on "Chaos A.D." and "Roots" has lowered the bar a tad. "Kamaitachi" is interesting, bringing in the Kodo drummers for extra percussive intricacy, but that's just treading water after "Roots". And there are some other influences at play here, like on "Choke", which has a Latin-flavoured acoustic guitar to add melodics to the forceful chug and thrash, and the ultra-tribal-with-depth-charged bass thumps, "Tribus". "Against" is a strong album, to be certain, but I feel like the dark and primal energy is missing from this album somehow. (Roadrunner)

Seraph-Awakened CDS-Solid hardcore metal with melodic violins, which is a good addition. Some definite potential here, but not quite there yet. (Wild Rags)

Severed Heads-Gigapus CD-Tom Ellard continues his eccentric, quirky brend of experimental techno-dance-pop, with great grooves and his usual playfulness. (decibel)

Shat-Are You Choking? CD-Hard-edged , punk-styled rock in the HELMET vein, from some Chicago high school guys. Really pretty satisfying overall. Produced by Critter of Trax fame. (Fuse)

Sheep On Drugs-Double Trouble CD-Club-geared music that owes a lot to prime SOFT CELL, with a high sleaze quotient and plenty of electro-grooves. (Invisible)

Sheep On Drugs-One For The Money CD-Englands SOD are moving more and more towards a jungle/bass & drum club sound, and this is easily among their best work yet. Fast electro-grooves and their usual seedy, snotty attitude make this one a winner. (Invisible)

Sheep On Drugs-"Never Mind The Methedone" CD-A full-length album of remixes by the likes of fellow Invisible labelmates Larry Thrasher (PSYCHIC TV), PHYLR, M.T.T., Dave Wright (NOT BREATHING), Marc Heal (ASHTRAYHEAD/ CUBANATE), and others. "Never Mind" mutates some of the SHEEP's bass-n-drum-oriented sleaze dance sounds into all new areas. PTV, for example, ups the BPMs for an energetic and noisy hypno-club sound, while other mixes emphasize the jungle or dub sides of the coin. All-in-all, a strong effort with very few weak spots (I still don't like their cover of "Back In Black" though). (Invisible)

Shinjuku Filth-Junk CD-A diverse selection of sounds from SHINJUKU THIEFs Darrin Verhagen, ranging from trancey ambience to nearly drum-n-bass techno. (Fifth Colvmn)

Shock Of Reality"Abysmal Devotion" CD-This new German signing from the recently reactivated Zoth Ommog label brings the expected hardbeat/EBM sounds in a pleasant yet really unremarkable way. SHOCK OF REALITY have all the right beats, sequences, samples, and accessable vocals, but the problem here is that they don't seem to have anything to set them apart from Zoth acts from 10 years ago. Aspects of synthpop filter through as well, though the songs themselves leave some room for growth. Still, a promising young act, especially if they can find a way to transcend the stereotypical Euro-EBM tag. (Zoth Ommog)

various-"Side-Line #24" magazine / "Soundline Volume 8" CD/ "Side-Line #25" magazine- Belgium's Side-Line has been actively promoting electronic, industrial, and darkwave music for years now, and is certainly among the most steady and reliable of the European scene. Issue # 24 includes interviews with DEPECHE MODE (the cover stars), SONAR, PIGFACE, KOMPUTER, COVENANT, LISA GERRARD, FUNKER VOGT, and many others. Issue #25 includes ULTRAVIOLENCE (on the cover), plus PROJECT PITCHFORK, SPOCK, FEAR FACTORY, FRONT 242, CURVE, and more. Side-Line's strength lies in it's coverage of little-known and rising European electro and gothic acts, which it gives equal time to alongside the larger names listed above. "Soundline Volume 8" is the final CD compilation to be included with the magazine (being packaged with Side-Line #24), and this feature will be missed, though it will lower the price of the magazine to a more reasonable level. Still, I found it interesting to be able to hear the little-known acts in the mag on the enclosed CD. Nonetheless, Side-Line is still an indispensible read for those following the whole electro/gothic scenes. "Soundline 8", the CD, includes everything from femme-vocal electro (IVOUX, DUST OF BASEMENT, FADING COLOURS) to pure EBM (FUNKER VOGT, IN STRICT CONFIDENCE, PYGMY CHILDREN,) to synthpop (ESCAPE WITH ROMEO, ENCOUNTER). My favorites are the noise-electronics of GENERATION X'ED, IMMINENT STARVATION, and HYPNOSKULL. (Side-Line)

various-"Side-Line Music Magazine #26" MAGAZINE-Another thick and info-packed issue of one of the most comprehensive electronic-music magazines in the world. The cover star this issue is WUMPSCUT, and besides a new interview with Rudy, the mag includes conversations with DAS ICH, LASSIGUE BENDTHAUS, PRAGA KHAN, CJ BOLLAND, MESH, ANT-ZEN, ALPHAVILLE, PIERREPOINT, HUMAN LEAGUE, SPOCK, and many others. And the usual massive collection of reviews and news tidbits makes SIDE-LINE a must-have for fans of the electronic/post-industrial/darkwave scenes. (Side-Line)

Signal Aout 42-Immortal Collection 1983-1995 CD-A comp of this Belgian groups rare work that crossed the boundaries of EBM, acid, and post-industrial dance/sequencer sounds. Very akin to some of 242s earlier work. (Fifth Colvmn)

Signal To Noise/Epoch-Construction No.008 CD-Split CD combining 2 projects of Arts Industria/ARC magazine founder Ken Holewczynski. STN are electro-hardbeat sounding very much like early FLA, while EPOCH favor an instrumental EBM approach with spartan, strident overtones. (Subtronic)

various-Silver Lake, What A Drag! CD-Collection of hard rock/pop/punk from the Hollywood/LA area. Some good stuff, but ultimately pretty generic. (Neurotic)

SINO-"re-build projects DEMO 01" CDR- This brief 4-track, 23-minute demo brings some rather extreme electronic music by a mysterious electronic artist (or group?). Combining aspects of noise-laced post-industrial power electronics, sequenced EBM, grinding rock (with some blistering guitar work), and some lighter, more melodic (but submerged) aspects, SINO's schizophrenic work is harsh enough to please the Ant-Zen crowd, and experimental/scattered enough to dodge the whole 'industrial dance' scene. I can't fairly compare to anyone else, and that's a good thing. Fans of stuff like the frantic 'Tetsuo' soundtrack should find this an appealing melding of jagged post-industrial elements. Very solid work, with a wicked editing style and plenty of dynamic. I'd be curious to hear more. (re-build)

Sirvix-Her Dead Love CD-Old-school industrial clanging and noisescapes with a good ear for dynamic and diversity. Energetic and challenging work. (Feedback/decibel)

Sister Machine Gun-Metropolis CD-The long-awaited album from Chris Randall and company shows a diverse bag of tricks, from aggro electro-rock fury to slinky neo-funk. Some tracks even show a little bit of drum-n-bass influence, and there seems to be a renewed interest in electronics--a welcome move Id say. A strong album overall. (Wax Trax/TVT)

Sister Soleil-"Soularium" CD-Chicago's Stella Katsoudas has been heard before on recordings by harder post-industrial-rockers like ACUMEN and 16 VOLT, but this album bears little resemblance to those aggro stompers. Nope, "Soularium" is a pleasant and fairly conventional pop album, featuring Stella's diverse and (usually) beautiful vocals. The music ranges from stylish electronic dance with ethnic grooves (her main tie to the previously mentioned post-industrial dance scene) to more rock textures to the less-successful James Bond-ish swing of "Liar". Some of this is simply gorgeous (the opener, "Feel My Love", reminds of Lisa Gerrard), while other tracks don't quite make it ("AOL", which was co-written with Van Christie). Nonetheless, SISTER SOLEIL has mucho potential. Now, what of the band she reportedly dumped upon signing to a major label? (Universal)

Six & More-Blue Q CD-A collection of live, improvised electronic music from 6 or more musicians at once(hence the name). Sounds range from nearly musique concrete collisions to subtle, atmospheric soundtracks with the occasional bleep or synth gurgling. Pretty interesting and unpredictable. (Archegon)

Skinny Puppy-"Back & Forth Vol.5 - Doomsday" CD- After one year and several setbacks, the recording of Ogre and cEvin Key's long-awaited reunion concert in Dresden, Germany is unleashed to Puppy fans worldwide. Boasting some impressive mixing and impeccably clear sound, this live show practically redefines the Puppy legacy. A selection of classic and favorite SP tracks are featured, and the clarity of the sound is amazing, with thanks to Greg Reely and Phil Western, who have successfully made 'Doomsday' as crystal-clear as a studio record. And although this material dates all the way back to 1985 (and up until 1992), it's given a swift kick in the pants and fresh skin-grafts through the recreation and mixing process. Key's live drums accompany the programmed rhythms to great effect, and Ogre's vocals are as visceral and expressive as ever. Keen ears can also detect some additional electronics and textures layered into the mix, adding some fresh updatings to the music. It's powerful, energetic, and sublime at the same time, as most every PUPPY release has been. Unmistakeably brilliant. (Nettwerk)

Skinny Puppy - "Puppy Gristle" CD - Laid to tape way back in 1993, this release sees the members of PUPPY joined by PSYCHIC TV's Genesis P-Orridge and Larry Thrasher for an extended 40-minute improv noise jam. Indexed as one lengthy track, 'Puppy Gristle' bounces from bruising noise collages to broken beats to crescendoes of orchestral strings, never straying too far from what can be aptly summed up as 'chaotic' and 'damaged' electronic music. Obscure and subtle vocals from Ogre add an element of (almost) structure, though this is undoubtably a release for the hardcore fans, as nary a semblance of 'song' rears it's head here. Inspiringly dense and potent sonic manipulations from an assembled group of musicians who continue to amaze and blow minds at every turn. (Subconscious)

Skinny Puppy-"ReMix Dys Temper" CD-This long-awaited collection of new remixes of classic Puppy songs is a strong effort, despite a few disappointments. Most of the remixers manage to maintain the spirit of SP while adding new elements to the mix. Ken Marshall's "Rodent" opens the proceedings with a harsh and beatheavy mix that stays true to the original. Gunter Schulz (of KMFDM), on the other hand, all but strips "Addiction" down into a cheesy commercial dance track. Ogre and Mark Walk re-interpret "Smothered Hope" as a weird carnival-esque toytown thing, certainly making for a very different "remix", but as a track I don't think it succeeds except in showing how far Ogre wants to distance himself from the whole Puppy sound. Autechre's "Killing Game" deconstruction is extremely abstract and chaotic, but quite worthy nonetheless, and manages to still sound like something Puppy would do at their most experimental. Riz Maslen (Neotropic)'s "Love In Vein" goes for a similar vein, basically creating a whole new track but to great effect. Her mix is a dark and suffocating electronic interpretation that swells with distorted harmonies and textures. "Worlock", remixed by Rhys Fulber, comes across as another very strong mix. Fulber keeps the song intact while adding some live instrumentation and more Puppy-like electronics. He is one of the only people who could remix this song and maintain it's beauty and tragedy, and he does just that. "Spasmolytic", remixed by the Deftones, is pretty uneventful, but certainly not as bad as expected. A few loops and new drum and guitar tracks are added, but these seem to be more of a detriment than a plus. Adrian Sherwood's remix of "Tin Omen" succeeds, extending this guitar-heavy track and adding in more electronics and samples while turning the guitar-riffs down. He's done better mixes before, but this is still a good showing. God Lives Underwater make "Testure" into a funky little pop/dance track--again, not as bad as expected, but not much of an expansion on the theme. Mark Walk's "Dig It" is another radical (albeit brief) re-construction, using computer voices and sampling the original amidst the chaotic electronic melee. Not bad. Chris Vrenna's mix of "Assimilate" slows this club favorite down to a slithery crawl while genesplicing drum sounds from "Dig It" in to good effect. Vrenna shows his respect for the pioneering band by making this track sound faithful to the Puppy sound circa 1986. Guru's mix of "Censor" completely misses the mark, simply adding in Ogre's raw vocals to a big thumping hiphop rhythm track. Ogre's maniacal vocals are raw and, in this context, totally out of place. Finally, Josh Wink's "Chainsaw" is a 10-minute minimalist techno romp, sounding much like PlateaU or Download with some Ogre vocals. Some good, some bad, but for any Puppy fan, this remix collection should prove to be an interesting and provocative addition to the collection. (Nettwerk)

Skinny Puppy-"The Singles Collect" CD / "The B-Sides Collect" CD-These 2 compilations bring mixed feelings for fans of the hyper-influential electro-rock act. On one hand, it's good to be able to have many of these tracks together on full-length discs, and this makes it handy for new or recent fans to hear a wide cross-section of Puppy's always-changing and diverse sounds. "The Singles Collect" brings together mostly LP mixes of classic tracks like 'Testure', 'Tin Omen', and 'Killing Game' with a few single mixes ('Inquisition', the full-length 12" mix of 'Worlock'). This collection is a great place to start for anyone interested in hearing the evolution of SKINNY PUPPY's terror beat history. Tracks aren't arranged chronologically, but rather from the more accessable to the harsher, leading the listener deeper into the noise-ravaged tracks gradually. For the completist, 'The Singles Collect' has little to offer aside from the new (and rather poorly-edited) short mix of 'Dig It' and some impressive and appropriate new cover art. On the other hand, 'The B-Sides Collect', which includes a number of Puppy's more obscure tracks from their now-shamefully out-of-print singles, shows the band in it's less-accessable side. Tracks like the VIVIsectVI-era 'Serpents' and 'Punk In Park's Zoo' are pure monolithic slabs of noise-beat that have yet to be rivalled. Strangely, several tracks are available already as bonus tracks on Puppy's full-length CDs (like 'Yes He Ran' or 'Amputate'). Again, kudos to Nettwerk for creating a handy and attractive comp of these tracks. However, these collections leave several Puppy tracks (and all the great cover art) sadly lost and unavailable. For example, the long and intense remix of 'Spasmolytic' (from the now-OOP 'Spasmolytic' CDS) is nowhere to be found, as are the eerie cartoons-on-acid art of Jim 'I Braineater' Cummins. A better idea would have been to do something like Zoth Ommog's collection of FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY's 1990-91 singles ('The Singles Four Fit'), which respectfully compiled 4 complete singles and their original cover art onto one disc. Sure, these a probably minor complaints to anyone not already a die-hard collector/fan, and track listing choices aside, these collections are essentials to anyone interested in a concise overview of the Vancouver trio's legendary output. (Nettwerk)

Skrew-Shadow Of Doubt CD-Big, mean, and ugly metal/rock with a penchant for samples and technology. Pounding and unrelenting, Shadow Of Doubt could be the first cousin of WHITE ZOMBIE. (Metal Blade)

Skylab-#1 CD-Laid-back, receding-into-the-background ambient/dub/trip hop, for lack of a better description. Meandering electronic soundscapes. (Astralwerks)

Slave Unit-Slave Unit CD-A strong debut from this Californian electro-rock group---bringing the bad-assed beats, metallic guitars, etc. Fans of 16 VOLT will appreciate this one. Maybe the strongest act thus far from COP. (COP)

Slayer-Undisputed Attitude CD-As punk these days means bubblegum pop, SLAYER decides to cover some classic punk/hardcore tracks just toprove what it was really about. Pulverizing and intimidating as only SLAYER can be. (American)

Slayer-"Diabolus In Musica" CD-After a several year absence, these kings of heavy heavy rock have delivered another dose of maximum hate noise. "Diabolus" is a fierce and primal bloodclot of fast and nihilistic energy. You won't find any deep messages or subtle sound manipulations here whatsoever, just a frighteningly coarse outburst of rage and anger. And there's nobody better at it than SLAYER. (American)

Sleep Chamber-"Some Godz Die Young" CD-SLEEP CHAMBER's leader/conceptualist John ZeWizz seems to have 2 sides to his venerable and longlived electronic/sex magick ritual music project. "Some Godz" definitely focuses on the trance/dance electro side of the fence, and it may be one of his best works in that vein so far. Atmospheric synth tracks are coupled with his subtle, intoned words to create moody soundscapes, while tribal drum programs lift many tracks into almost clubby territory. This is the ideal music for bondage or S&M clubs. (Funfundvierzig)

Sleep Chamber-"Sonorous Invokations Ov Brian Jones" CD-An ambient/experimental soundtrack that takes cues from, as well as pays homage to, fallen STONE Brian Jones, as well as a few of the band's friends and associates who passed away around the time of this recording. SLEEP CHAMBER leader John ZeWizz crafts some of his finest work when he's doing trancey instrumental soundscapes, and "Sonorous" is no exception. Rather than the blackened, occult-themed ritual music of his past experimental albums, "Sonorous" brings a hightened melodic sense, and dare I say, a more emotional slant than most of the deep and chilly SLEEP CHAMBER catalogue. This mostly electronic soundtrack uses samples of the Master Musicians Of Joujouka and Brian Jones and swirls them around with tapes, synths, samples, sitars, windchimes, wood flutes, etc. to excellent (and eerie) effect. A wonderful work and a fitting tribute. (Funfundvierzig)

Sleep Chamber-Sopor EP CD/ Seduction CD-Both are collections of new versions of earlier songs,plus some exclusive and live cuts. Cold, distant, and explicit electronic beat sounds with a ritualistic hypnoticism.(Funfundvierzig)

various-"Slip This On And Rock Hard" CD-A sampler disc of Chicago label Slipdisc's roster of hard "industrial rock" artists, including tracks by FINAL CUT, 13 MG, CLAY PEOPLE, and a couple of remixes by DJ? ACUCRACK. RORSCHACH TEST starts the proceedings with their WHITE ZOMBIE impersonation, "Satan"--a pretty standard metal-with-programming track. Thier other cut is a butchered reworking of BERLIN's 80s new wave hit "Sex". Other acts are similar, mixing hard rock attitudes with heavy grooves, plenty of guitars, and minimal electronics. Best of the bunch are the FINAL CUT, who provide the sizzling "It Comes Too" and "Shake", from their "Atonement" CD. (Slipdisc)

Slug-The 3 Man Themes CD-Aggressive and noisy drone rock that seems to take dual influences from both the noise/rock and the improv Krautrock scenes, resulting in some extended jams that kick serious ass while remaining vaguely psychedelic. An apt description might be RAPEMAN covering CAN. Indeed, CANs Oh Yeah is reproduced here in fittingly thunderous and faithful form. (PCP)

small.medium.dead-Waste CS-A brief tape of noise experiments that radiate with dark and ominous energy. Reminded me a little of early LAB REPORT. (Disintegrate)

Smersh-Join The Radium Girl Fun Movement CS-Why SMERSH arent better recognized is beyond me, as theyve quietly been releasing all sorts of great, noisy electrobeat experiments for at least 10 years, predating better-knowns like MEAT BEAT. SMERSH specialize in pounding instrumental beatbox tunes with occasional surreal samples. The riddims are heavy, and the playful nature of the recordings is imaginative, quirky, and quite fulfilling. Buy.(IMMP)

Smersh-"Escala En Hi-Fi" CD-If there ever were a band that could be called a "beatbox" band, SMERSH would be it. This self-produced CD is a long-overdue collection of material from this veteran electronic band. "Escala" combines tracks from vinyl singles, albums, and compilations between 1984 and 1994. Sounds range from nutty big drum machine trouncings to greasy, well-oiled mechanical thump-a-thons to beat-slinging post-industrial club dubs. SMERSH always injected a sense of humor into their music, setting them apart from many of their more serious peers. And although they managed to release vinyl thru well-known Belgian electronic indie KK Records, SMERSH never seemed to lose their sense of fun. It may sound a bit primitive now in spots, but those of you into heavy and noisy rhythmic workouts like the Ant-Zen "power-beat" stuff would do well to hear one of the originals. A classic collection. Geddit, man! (Mirandette Popular)

SMP - "Hacked" CD - A collection of 16 remixes, 'Hacked' sees a variety of other underground electronic acts taking the now-established heavy electro-rock/rap crossover sounds of the Seattle-based SMP into some different (yet still-groove-heavy) directions. From the hard post-industrial dance of MINDLESS FAITH's mix of 'Chemicals' to the rap-edged synth meldings of STROMKERN's 'September' remix to the glitchy noise deconstruction of THINE EYES' retooling of 'Megaton', these mixes flesh out some distinctly new possibilities for Jason Bazinet and company. MED LAB turn in a spacy electro-dub version of 'September', while other acts turn in fine if relatively unmemorable cuts. All-in-all, a strong and lengthy (71-minute) selection of sounds that straddle the line between hip-hop and hard electro-dance/rock. Solid work from a band that has forged it's own path over the course of 4 albums and continues to refine and evolve their unique and signature sound. (Invisible)

SMP-Stalemate CD-Energetic hardbeat with a big hiphop/rap influence. Aggro, political, and a fairly strong debut.(Re-Constriction)

SMP-"Terminal" CD-Jason Bazinet's SMP proves that old-time pop-punk (like all those cheery, tattooed FM-radio staples who I shall refrain from naming) is as dead as good old Sid. As on his previous CDs, Bazinet and programmer/drummer Matt Sharifi (now rejoined by former member Sean Ivy) updates the punk legacy with electronics and energy to spare. Much like California's BABYLAND or HATE DEPT, SMP combine the sequences, samples, and programming of the industrial scene, but choose to make it more 'rock' than 'dance'. And while SMP's predilections for rap are shaky in spots, what really makes SMP stand out from the pack is their energy and enthusiastic live feel. And I get the distinct feel that the SMP live experience is where it's at. The track 'Policy' is particularly driving and potent, and may well be one of the best SMP tracks yet. Another step up for this group that's determined to rise above. (ADSR Musicwerks)

SMP-"Ultimatum" CS-This new material from Seattle's SMP moves further and faster away from their past work. This album continues in an aggressive post-Wax Trax! hardbeat realm, with the hyper BPMs of tracks like "Success" reminding me of early BABYLAND, sans the scrap percussion. The music is often fairly minimal, with only thumping drum machines, some synthwork and samples, and the shouted, punk rock-style vocals of Jason Bazinet present. The band successfully blends moods and tempos well, and this album shows a bright progression from a band on the rise. (SMP)

SMP-"Ultimatum" CD-This full-length sophomore effort by Seattle's SMP ups the ante on their previous album, "Stalemate". The production is fuller, and mainman Jason Bazinet's music has become stronger in structure and overall execution. SMP's "thang" has always been it's synthesis of hip hop and post-industrial dance sounds, and "Ultimatum" does fit this bill quite well. SMP avoids the "industrial rock" cliches by avoiding guitars almost altogether, and their music is a percussive brand of post-Wax Trax! EBM electronics with Bazinet's shouted punk-style rap/vocals. Tracks like "Electric Prod" (which must be a crowd favorite live) have an almost anthemic quality that sets SMP apart from many of their peers. Definitely a strong step forward from this band. (Catastrophe)

Snog-The Future EP CD-Australias SNOG have certainly moved far ahead of their initial sample-thieving hardbeat music. This 7-song EP lashes superb hard techno beats with great soundscapes, aligning this more with post-ambient experimental techno than industrial. Really impressive. Im converted. (Metropolis)

Society Burning-"Tactiq" CD-This debut full-lengther from Colorado-based SOCIETY BURNING has it's moments of promise, but is marred by weak vocals and generally pretty unremarkable music. The NIN influences aren't as evident as on some of their past comp work, but SB's hard tech-rock sound and songwriting just don't have that unique quality that sets them apart from others doing the same thing. Maybe next album. (Re-Constriction)

Solarus-Empty Nature CD-Deep, dark, dub grooves produced and assisted by experimental guitarist James Plotkin. SOLARUS shares much with the death-dub of SCORN, but with a wider range of feels and atmospheres. Fine work and a great listen. (Release)

Somnium-"Life/Death" CS-This one was a surprisingly impressive listen. The premise behind SOMNIUM is improvisation...the capturing and recording of moments that can never be repeated again. Amorphous clouds of dark and filmic electronic sound with rhythms that ebb in and out of the mix and enticing female vocals that add yet another dimension. Really some fine work, reminding me somewhat of a more electronic LIFE GARDEN. More, please! (Somnium)

Various Artists-"Sonic Residue From Vapourspace: The Magna Carta Remix Series Volume 1" CD- It's been some years since we last heard from ambient techno star Mark Gage's VAPOURSPACE project, but he emerges here with this collection of unlikely remixes from the prog-rock label Magna Carta. Boasting of former members of such name rock acts as TESTAMENT, PRIMUS, DREAM THEATER, KING CRIMSON, KANSAS, YES, and others, these tracks are given a fresh airing with Gage's electronic remixing. The results range from the funky ATTENTION DEFICIT cut to the techno-exotica of STEVE MORSE's 'Led On' to the overdramatic rock vocal horror of EXPLORERS CLUB's 'Time Enough'. Luckily, the majority of 'Sonic Residue' is considerably less vocal, and the combination of the live instrumentation and the atmospheric electronic touches of Gage prove to be interesting and usually gel into cool and mysterious amalgamations. Sure, it's not all perfectly worthy, but it is a new concept and fascinating soundclash. (Magna Carta)

various-"Sonics Everywhere" 2CD-An amazing compilation of the rare 12"es released on Mick Harris' formerly defunct ultra-collectible dub/jungle label, Possible Records, which has been reawakened with assistance from Invisible. Including several tracks from Harris (as SCORN and QUOIT), as well as projects of J. Plotkin (INTERCEPTOR) and some "mystery" names, "Sonics Everywhere" brings a formidable bass dub attack of the distinctly SCORN-ish nature. Low and slow breakbeats, traces of drum & bass, deeper-than-thou sonics and dark moodiness. Simply a great collection, and it would have been quite a shame for this music to be ignored and lost forever. Kudos to Harris and Invisible for resurrecting it from obscurity and legend. Find this immediately. (Possible/Invisible)

Son Of William-Husk CS-4 tracks of strong guitar/metal/electronic abrasion with distorted vocals, reminding me of a slicker SKIN CHAMBER. Good songwriting, powerful riffs and drums..its all here. Somebody snap these guys up quick.(Berzerker)

various-"Sonologie One" CD-Subtitled "An electronic collective", this a fine debut release from OraMusic. It includes mostly unreleased or remixed tracks by notables such as DIE FORM, BLINK TWICE, VON MAGNET, BIOPSY, and REGENERATOR, alongside a smattering of lesser-knowns in the post-industrial beat and darkwave soundtrack-style realms. Compiler Brandon Finucan has arranged and sequenced these tracks into a pleasing collection of modern electronic sounds. Only a couple of tracks rely on the usual "industrial" cliches, and most of these artists contribute some ear-pleasing electronic textures and sounds. A good and diverse sampler and well worth a listen. (OraMusic)

Soul Oddity-Tone Capsule CD-Crafty experimental techno with ambient and hiphop influences. Enjoyable alien beat soundtracks. (Astralwerks)

various-Sound-Line Vol. 1 CD-Included in the 17th issue of the glossy Belgian electro magazine SIDE-LINE, this 14-song sampler includes many rising electro/ hardbeat acts like FICTION 8, REGENERATOR, INSIDE (featuring Darrin Huss of PSYCHE), CYBER-TEC, and DELERIUM, among others. Fine comp and great mag. (Side-Line)

various-"Soundscape Gallery 2" CD-a 68-minute comp of modern ambient soundscapes, mostly from a number of artists I'm not at all familiar with. Sounds range from the melodic beauty of Michel Huygen's "Megaluz" to the dark stylings of CAUL's "The Soul Rising Out Of The Vanity of Time". "Soundscape Gallery 2" is a fine and cohesive collection of shifting, sifting, and timeless electronic sounds. (Lektronic Soundscapes)

various-"Soundscape Gallery Volume 3" CD-An impeccable collection of magical ambient sound from some of the genre's finest, including TEMPS PERDU?, LOREN NERELL, DWIGHT ASHLEY, and even a collaboration between TIM STORY and HANS-JOAQUIM ROEDELIUS. Everything here gels together in a swirl of light and dark organic and electronic soundtrack beauty. There's soft and gentle passages and heavier, darker overtones present, but everything here is of world class quality. If you like artists like ROBERT RICH, VIDNA OBMANA, or STEVE ROACH, this comp is for you. Magnificent! (Lektronic Soundscapes)

various-Source Lab 2 CD-Excellent collection of French techno/trip hop/funk sounds, easily rivalling the best of the UK and US. Catch some future greats here. (Gyroscope/Caroline)

Various-"The Space Between Time: A Urodub Sound System Mix" CS-90 minutes of varying ambient music from a variety of 'anonymous' artists. From drifting darkwave soundscapes to minimal computer music to subtle psychedelia to ethnic atmospheres, this instrumental collection ranges all over the map. A journey in sound and definitely a worthy listen. As with all of the Uroborus Press releases, this cassette comes exquisitely packaged with cultural artifacts (mine came with an old photo of three 50s-era young ladies attached to a postcard photo of a cathedral interior). (Uroborus Press)

Spacecraft-"Cybersphere" CD- The 7th CD from this ambient/electronic/space music collective is impressive and shows yet again how easily this group can create stunning visual imagery through their often-improvised electronic synthscapes. SPACECRAFT's evocative and deep-listening music conjures some really filmic essences, from a peaceful celestial orbit to the physical and tactile space of the Mother Earth herself. For example, the rustic guitar of 'Anima-Machina' evokes images of a dusty western scene--complete with quaint ghost towns and tumbleweeds. Yet, later, in the same track, sequenced percolations resonate with a similar vibe to prime TANGERINE DREAM, and bring to mind visions of free flight. This type of journey is what SPACECRAFT excel at, and listeners are able to join in, albeit in the comfort of their own personal space. In fact, this music was created for the Cybersphere Planetarium in Tennessee, and I can only imagine the visions the patrons had during the performance, especially as this music stands so well on it's own. Gorgeous sounds that certainly warrant further investigation by fans of anyone from ENO to soundtracks to Projekt to STEVE ROACH. (Space For Music)

Spacecraft-"Hummel" CD-70 minutes of subtle and mysterious ambient music from this Kentucky-based group. "Hummel" was a live improvisation recorded at the Hummel Planetarium (on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University), where I'm sure SPACECRAFT's spacy organic ambient sound was more than well-suited. "Hummel" blends gentle drones and slowly-moving melodies with traces of vocals by Diane Timmons--the result is a soft and beautiful album that should please fans of stuff like ROBERT RICH or VIDNA OBMANA. Excellent work. (Lektronic Soundscapes)

Spacecraft-"Summer Town" CD-This 7th release by Tennessee-based ambient group SPACECRAFT conjures some wonderfully primitive yet masterful ethereal vibes. 'Summer Town' was recorded live in the early morning hours at the Unityfest 2000 (held in Summertown, Tennessee), where over 150 people practiced their morning yoga and meditation exercises during the recording. With that in mind, this amazing 55-minute, single-track piece sounds sparkling and positively beautiful, joining multi-cultural ethnic tones and drones with gently drifting guitars, flutes, and electronic effects. The haunting live instruments harken back to classic Kraut/space rock like POPOL VUH or KLUSTER, while the production and electronic soundscapes should prove to be quite pleasing to fans of master soundscapers like STEVE ROACH or ROBERT RICH. 'Summer Town' is simply an engrossingly gorgeous work that works well in any setting, from background to deep listening. Take that as a recommendation. (SpaceForMusic.com)

Spacetime Continuum-eMit eCaps CD-Jonah Sharp gravitates towards a smooth, intelligent, and altogether more rhythmic electronic sound, dropping aspects of dub, jazz, trip hop, etc. into his finely-crafted ambient techno. (Astralwerks)

Spacetime Continuum-remit recaps CD-A fine selection of remixes by the likes of HIA, Carl Craig, SUBTROPIC, and AUTECHRE (among others), covering all the bases--from ambient/trance to jazzy bass & drum work. (Astralwerks)

Spahn Ranch-The Coiled One CD-Excellent aggro-tech sounds with clear, melodic vocals.Their best yet and quickly gaining a strong reputation in the genre.(Cleopatra)

SPASM-Smear CD-Building on their past work, this 2nd album from the improvisational Invisible supergroup is a more structured noise/rock outing combining atmospheric drones with Atkins powerful drumming and Spybeys angry (and cryptic) vocalizations. Strong stuff. (Invisible)

SPASM-Spasm CD-Collaborative live work from Invisible artists Mark Spybey, Martin Atkins, Eric Pounder, and Curse Mackey. Improvised abstract chunks of atmospheric sounds.(Invisible)

Spear - "Sapphire Flower" CD - Beginning with the nocturnal drones of 'Nightlights', SPEAR delve into a world of subtle electro-acoustic meditations and spacious subterranean textures. SPEAR creates dark experimental soundtracks that resonate with mystery and moody tension. 'Sapphire Flower' is a gem of modern experimental sound sculpture that will hopefully bring some attention to this skilled artist(s?). Some tracks feature spoken poems that only further the cinematic qualities. Anyone with a liking for work like prime LUSTMORD or LIFE GARDEN would do well to seek out this superlative disc. Score even more points for the beautifully tasteful packaging and designwork and you have a thoroughly recommended release. (Ignis)

various artists-"Speed Freq." CDR-This continuous-mix-collection of electronic/techno sounds includes tracks from a variety of rising international artists, and manages to sound cohesive and diverse at the same time. Tracks range from synthpop-styled club techno to stylish spoken word with high-energy backbeats to trance, all gelling together into a feverish dance/club experience. Everything here is quite professional and the production is clean and rich. DR. BIZARRO's guitar solo in 'Make Mine Karma (edit)' provides a sort of chill-out break from the clubbing before the beats resume, then it all climaxes with the gorgeous hammered dulcimer of KENNETH HOPE GREY's 'Among The High Kings'. All-in-all, a very well-crafted journey suited well for both danceclubs or home listening. (Pivotal)

Sphere Lazza- Incinerate CD-Electro-hardbeat with a primitive analogue feel ala early 242 or DVA. (Fifth Colvmn)

Sphere Lazza-The Enemy Within CD-Hard electro with real songs and a slight synthpop angle. A marked improvement over their debut. The potential is there.(Cleopatra)

SPINESHANK-"Strictly Diesel" CD-A new LA-based act from Roadrunner, SPINESHANK presents their own take on modern guitar rock/metal, with an explosive punch and influences from the post-industrial electronic scene. "Strictly Diesel" shows a band that maintains it's "heaviness" with a potent pummel of drums, guitars, low bass rumblings, and excellent studio manipulations/samples. And, they remain melodic while not relenting on the outright aggression. Sure, the guitars chug and grind, and it's despite the aggro outlook, vocalist Jonny Santos balances the harsh and melodic well. SPINESHANK are, like labelmates FEAR FACTORY, part of a new breed of metal that combines aspects of several genres into a cohesive whole. A very strong debut, "Strictly Diesel" will be hard for these guys to top. (Roadrunner)

Spirit Of The West-Two Headed CD-Catchy, well-written folk pop from Vancouver, produced and mixed by Ken Hiwatt Marshall. (Discovery)

Spiritual Bats-"Confession" CD-This badly-named Italian group proves that cheesy retro-Batcave goth is an international plague. Their CHRISTIAN DEATH-inspired vampire-wannabee schlock is so campy and retro, you'd think these folks were making fun of the whole thing. Does anyone REALLY like this stuff anymore? (Alchemisti Music)

Splashdown-"Redshift" CDEP-This 5-song EP begins with the driving dance-rock sounds of "A Charming Spell", complete with beautiful vox by Melissa Kaplan. From there, it's just downhill. The remaining tracks go for a more commercial triphop angle. Kaplan's vocals are certainly charismatic, reminding me a bit of the pure sweet vocals of Stella from SISTER SOLEIL, and the exotic electronic textures are promising, but the ultra-radio-friendly production and overall feel is ultimately generic. My initial interest is gone, sorry. (Lava/Capitol)

Splinter Test-Electric Newspaper Issue Four CD- A compilation of voice snippets intended for sampling use. Everything from old 50s instructional records to silly sex talk to Gens spoken ruminations can be found here on this rather disjointed disc. I fail to see however how this stuff could be used very creatively in creating new compositions. (Invisible)

Sporangia-"3 Aural Portraits Of Positive Neuro-Somatic Feedback Or Electro Donkey In Light Syrup" CS- This brief 4-song tape of instrumental experimental hiphop brings a good-sized dose of alien funk, with definite affinities towards the Ninja Tune/Coldcut sort of sample-this methodology. Really good stuff, certainly deserving of CD release. Side B enters a more atmospheric, less rhythmically-inclined stage, and is just as successful...dense, textural electronic hallucinations. This is a great tape. (IMMP)

Stabbing Westward-Wither, Blister, Burn and Peel CD-After a stunning debut, this 2nd effort from this Chicago electro-tinged rock band comes as a bit of a letdown. More of a pop feel, and the songs just arent as catchy. Could have something to do with the departure of some key members, I think.(Columbia)

Stanford Prison Experiment-The Gato Hunch CD-Powerful postpunk rock. I have absolutely no complaints here.(World Domination)

Starlight Mints-"The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of" CD-Not-so-creamy smooth pop/rock from an Oklahoma band, with some good rough edges (no doubt courtesy of producer/ noisemeister Dave Sardy). The MINTS straddle the lines between psychedelic out-there weirdness and outright radio conventionality, certainly in the same boat as stuff like the FLAMING LIPS (coincidentally also from Norman) or the PIXIES. If that sounds like something you'd like to check out, here you go. Well-done, and actually a good counterpoint to the schmaltzy pseudo-sincere sameness of the so-called 'modern rock' scene. (SeeThru Broadcasting)

Stars Of The Lid-Music For Nitrous Oxide CD-This Austin,TX group has rather quietly created an amazing ambient/drone album that will find a definite niche among SPACEMEN 3/MAIN/LABRADFORD fans. Within these 76 minutes, theres a countless array of detailed, subtle, and organic sounds that gently cascade to-and-fro in the mix. As hypnotic as ZOVIET FRANCE and as sweet as SPECTRUM, SOTL are creating experimental music thats timeless and distantly beautiful. Fully recommended.(Sedimental)

Stars Of The Lid-"The Tired Sounds Of Stars Of The Lid" 2xCD- The long-awaited return of this narcotic drone project of Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie is a wonderous double-CD set and over 2 hours of gorgeous guitarscapes and tonal processing. Field recordings, piano, strings, and even horns add further mood to the duo's lonely, languid landscapes. And there seems to be an increased focus on melody and structure here as well, converting the layered electronics and sound manipulations into more amiable tones. SOTL's music is glacial and slow-moving, never scattered or disjointed, and their music has a well-considered, even majestic quality to it. Don't expect any rhythms or vocals here, just carefully-crafted, filmic drones and distant reverberations. A simply beautiful release. (Kranky)

State Of Being - "Implosion" CD - This Cleveland band produces a strong blend of heavy electro-rock, goth, and synthpop that sounds much more 'live' and human than most in their genre. Taking in such a diverse lot of influences sets SOB apart from most of their more programmed peers. Vocalist Christopher Foldi has a deep and sort of dramatic presence that may endear the band to darkwave fans, while his band presents a melodic rock-mixed-with-synths sound that never crosses into metallic territory, although plenty of guitars are employed. Indeed, STATE OF BEING maintain a more late 80s-style synth/new wave vibe. Ex-STABBING WESTWARD and THE THE member Andy Kubiszewski's cool and abrasive remix of 'Instinct' is a highlight that should garner some serious airplay and attention. Solid work that should appeal to a wide cross-section of listeners. (Reverse Image)

Stereolab-Peng! CD-Quiet pop with an experimental Krautrock sensibility. Unusual and different.(American)

Stereolab-The Groop Played Space Age Bachelor Pad Music CD -Inventive pop with NEU! overtones. Pretty catchy and fun.(American)

Steril-Egoism CD-Those of you lamenting the downfall of X MARKS will definitely appreciate the excellent STERIL, who combine Euro-tech electronix with good guitarwork. Remixes by Sevren Ni-Arb and HAUJOBB only add to the fun. Excellent! (21st Circuitry)

Steril-Transmission Pervous CD-German hardbeat thats quite good, especially if you like the early PUPPY-ish sounds of groups like X MARKS THE PEDWALK.(21st Circuitry)

Steven-Dotlip CS-Playful, experimental music that uses basically anything (toys, shartwaves, xylophone, swingset, etc) to create a variety of loosely structured vignettes. (IMMP)

Stewart, Mark-Control Data CD-The influential On-U/TACKHEAD/POP GROUP founder man steps ahead with a politically-charged set of 10 electro/funk/dub/techno/rock tracks. STEWART is an unheralded originator of the whole industrial dance scene, and tracks like the abrasive Consumed(which borrows from GRANDMASTER FLASHs classic White Lines) are simply mindfryingly intense. (Mute)

Stiff Miners-Giselle CD-Hard techbeat from a Soviet group, reminiscent of primitive LAIBACH, CLOCK DVA or KRAFTWERK.(Cleopatra)

St. James Headtrip-Issues Of A Disordered Imagination CD-Aggressive drum machine-driven rock with much potential. Theres nods to the hardbeat and goth scenes, but St.James injects the music with some distinctly pop elements, too. (Creative Manure)

St. John's Eve-"At The End of It All" CDR- All I can say is wow! The stunningly belligerent 'The Situation', which practically opens the disc, dares to combine brutal power-noise with huge and all-encompassing beats, reminding me of APHEX TWIN's 'Come To Daddy', but more hateful and aggressive. That's saying something. Then it's on to the grinding mantra of 'Rita', which feels like a metal cheesegrinder drawn across the skin in a slaughterhouse. Following all this is the moribund death-ballad 'It's Getting Harder To Climb Back Up', which then gives way to the soft and warm, ENO-esque ambience of 'Surfacing', which, dare I say, is like a REAL 'Music For Airports', complete with the distant-yet-constant cyclic hum of the jet engines in the distance. And this is just the first several tracks on this 46-minute monster! Later on, there's more evocative soundscape work, combining samples and what could be radio transmissions or field recordings into tension-packed wallops of what sounds like civil unrest (in the creepy 'The Search', which ends with a, well, bang). 'Obsession' brings interestingly effected hip-hop beats into play, while retaining it's distinct sense of unease and eerie post-goth vibes. 'At The End Of It All Part 1' submerges a plaintive guitar melody underneath blistering noise, and finally, 'At The End of It All Part 2' is, as the title describes, the sound of the coffin being lowered into the ground while the rumble of the living goes on around. I love releases like this, as it's so easy to write about music that evokes such vivid mental imagery. I say kudos to St. John's Eve mainman J.K. Weichert as this is simply a superior release. (St. John's Eve/Requiem)

St. John's Eve-"Standing In A Crowd In A Corner Near The Wall" CDR- This solo work of Indiana's own J.K. Wiechert manages to combine harsh and often grinding post-industrial sounds with influences from both the goth and experimental sides of the coin. Wiechert has a good ear for the subtle, like in the potent 'Slave', which begins with ominous reverberations only to build into a crescendo of repetitive power noise that would rival most of the Ant-Zen acts. 'Love Song' is especially blistering in it's extreme noise aggression, whereas 'Transmissions' brings glitchy record-surface noise static with underlying radio voices and a mutated bassline at the fore. Alternately, 'Ripe' even drops the drum & bass riddims into the melee. And though this album is predominantly instrumental, the vocal parts are usually painfully distorted, furthering the affinities with the modern post-industrial/noise scene. Overall, an enjoyable release, and tailormade for those interested in harsher rhythmic electronics. (St. John's Eve)

Stonebody/Expose Your Eyes-The Expectation Trap CS-Collaborative noise in the vein of NON or MERZBOW. Effectively numbing. (Stonebody)

Strange Cargo-Hinterland CD-Lush, pleasant, and chilled-out electro-grooves from William Orbit. (Discovery)

Straphangers Art Ensemble-Straphangers Ball CD-Some home-taping legends converge upon NY and record this straight-improv session that really is surprisingly good, especially considering that theres 8 personalities present here. Sure, theres quite a lot of chaos, but theres also a subtle side. Whereas parts could rival Japanoise screamers, other sections fo this unedited work are relatively quiet, restrained, and even moody. Get a copy of Hal McGees HALzine and get this CD too..theyre worth it. (HALtapes)

Rainer Struck-Die Sieben Inneren Meere CD -Symphonic, melodic synth music here, quite listenable and conventional but not too overbearing or indulgent. (Spharenmusik)

Subarachnoid Space-Almost Invisible CD-A wildly meandering brand of improvisational psychedia from Mason Jones and friends. The bands feedback-enriched guitars and drums snake their way around drone rock textures and more aggressive grind jams. Good stuff. (Release)

various-Sub-Nation Vol. 1:Industry Vs. Artistry CD-A comp of mostly dark gothic rock affiliated with the Sub-Nation club in San Diego. Of particular interest are tracks from LYCIA, THIS ASCENSION, and a STEREOTAXIC DEVICE demo. (Sub-Nation/Etherhaus)

Sufi-Lifes Rising CD-Trip hop sounds with a charming torch-style chick singer. Pretty tepid music though, lacking the grit of artists like TRICKY.(Caroline)

Sully-"I Have Much To Report" CD-Based on this band's appearance on last year's "Plastic Volume 1" comp, I assumed that SULLY's debut would be a more club-oriented production. However, this album owes much more to the swirling ethereal feel of the COCTEAU TWINS (especially in the vocal department), although musically, SULLY is much tougher and aggressive. Big drums and textural, effected guitars create a moody, expansive framework for the wailing, melodic female vocals. Really, a pretty appealing mixture, with some catchy songwriting (despite lyrics being mostly indecipherable). A strong debut. (Nettwerk)

various-"Summon Room" CD-A collection of spoken word pieces from many distinctly intelligent and creative individuals, though most were previously unknown to me. This turns out to be a showcase for some provocative and interesting thoughts, with only a minimal amount of pretentiousness (I won't name names, Alligator). From the poetic to the horrific, from introspective to silly, these artists (with a nice balance of male and female) bring insights and awareness that are refreshing to hear. Another drawing point has to be mentioned--an unreleased spoken track by THE LIVING JARBOE. At 75 minutes and a bargain price, you can't go too wrong with this. (Iron Vertebrae Press)

Sun God-E.F.A. CD-Rodney Orpheus (CASSANDRA COMPLEX ) and friends construct an album celebrating the mystical, ritual world of voodoo. Pagan howlings and tribal electronics. A breath of fresh air.(Fifth Colvmn)

Sunshine Blind-Liquid CD-This group is probably one of the US leaders in the gothic rock realm, but dont hold that against them. Despite SUNSHINE BLINDs trad goth elements , good songwriting places this group ahead of most of their contemporaries. (Energy)

Superfinemagneticparticle-Murk CS-An appropriate title, as this electroacoustic music is as murky as it gets. Very atmospheric, semi-melodic, even dirgy introspective work. Loosely structured and quite good. (IMMP)

Superfinemagneticparticle-"The Cabinet Of Curiousities" CS-A nice full-length cassette of music by this obscure, yet very productive collective from New Jersey. SFMP is a sort of musical chameleon, swaying effortlessly from jazzy electronic soundtrack pieces to semi-industrial soundscapes. They have a good ear for subtlety, often using sparse sound sources and samples to create uniquely interesting textures and conjuring some perplexing visual imagery. And their sense of humor is evident thoughout. An engaging listening experience, quite worth a listen. (IMMP)

Superfinemagneticparticle-"Little Eternities" 7"-The IMMP crew manage to pack 8 songs onto this little 7"er, including one track recorded with Ron Geesin. Sounds range all over the map, from weird, nonsensical noodles to more moody excursions (like "Geographic Tongue") to crunchy jazz-scat-beats. SFMP mine a region of playful, whimsical electronic music that very few tend to notice....blending post-industrial soundtracks with strange, disjointed, skittering experimental weirdness. These underground veterans don't take themselves all that seriously, but they do prove that unpredicatability in music/sound is definitely a virtue. (IMMP)

SUREAN-"Surean" CS-This short 3-song tape shows a young electronic band with a promising blend of cold synthpop and darkwave. The sweet and strong vocals of Rachael Rhodes are the main strength, evoking a romantic gothic sort of spirit, while the simple and minimal backing programming is very danceable and almost techno in execution. A good start. (Gorden Entertainment)

Suture-"Suture" CS-These 1994-95 demos from a (now-defunct?) Alaskan band were obviously quite influenced by the usual North American culprits (SP, MINISTRY, and even 16 VOLT). Sure, the drum machine is kinda plinky, and the movie samples and the ultra-distorted vocals are by now quite cliched. But SUTURE's use of dynamic and noise showed some serious promise. (Suture,908 East 45th Court #1, Anchorage, AK 99503-7550, USA mailto:sparambe@alaska.net

Swamp Terrorists-Killer CD-With excellent production and their dynamic collision of metal/ hiphop/ dance club sounds, these guys should rightly be in the same realm as KMFDM (who they most closely resemble). Killer is indeed the bandss best yet, masterfully shackling aggro guitar sanples with very deep club beats. If theyd only cut out the awful rap attempts... Still, this is an intense and excellent piece of work. (Metropolis)

Swamp Terrorists-Wreck CD-67 minutes of remixes, including 2 by KMFDMs Sascha. The unjustly neglected TERRORISTS are easily among the finest at the crossover dance/metal ballgame, with punchy beats and great guitar samples, and these remixes prove that these guys have found their niche. (Metropolis)

SWANS-"Public Castration Is A Good Idea" CD-A good-quality live recording finally reissued after many years of being a double-LP vinyl rarity/collectable, "Public Castration" ably demonstrates classic-era SWANS (1986) in a ferocious live setting. The 8 tracks here clock in at over 70 minutes of gruelling sonic mayhem. Leadman Michael Gira had yet to discover more song-based pastures, and the band (consisting of longtime partner Jarboe and longtime SWANS Westburg, Kizys, Parsons, and Gonzalez) pound and pummel their way around his anguished cries, yelps, screams, and authoritative declarations. A powerful slice of SWANS history that's finally available for public consumption, "Public Castration", like it's title suggests, isn't for the weak of ear nor faint of heart. (Thirsty Ear)

Sweat Engine-Multiple Insertions CD-Aggro electro-rock with a vicious vocal attack and a penchant for metallic percussion, plus a sense of humor. Includes a wealth of cool CD-ROM data. (Pan Handler)

various-Sweet Sub/Mission CD-A great comp of hard electro-rock acts on Italys Sub/Mission label, including remixes and unreleased versions by bands like SWAMP TERRORISTS, MEATHEAD, TEMPLEBEAT, CIRCUS OF PAIN, etc. Any fans of the SWAMPIES club/metal sound will find this a prime intro to similar acts. (Fifth Colvmn)

Switchblade Symphony-Serpentine Gallery CD-Gothic rock that lapses into SIOUXSIE-ish melodramatics, and cheesy sub-hard rock balladry (on Wrecking Yard).(Cleopatra)

Synaesthesia-Desideratum 2CD-Over 2 hours of great ambient/dub atmospheres from Leeb and Fulbers outlet for DELERIUM/INTERMIX outtakes. (Zoth Ommog)

Synthetic Division-"Tainted Goods" CDEP-This solo project of Shawn Decker has been around for some time, and this is his first CD release. SYNTHETIC DIVISION's earlier cassette work focused on a melding of the harder post-industrial and lightweight synthpop, and this release veers nearer to the synthpop side of things. Decker's programming is minimal and purely melodic, but with some punchy and uptempo rhythms providing the pulse alongside his uneffected vocals. In fact, "Tainted Goods" reminds of the early-mid-80s synthpop of stuff like OMD or ULTRAVOX maybe. Definitely some quality material worthy of label attention. (Synthetic Division)

System Of A Down-"System Of A Down" CD-Heavy and all-out aggro rock from this new band, mixing up the styles and moving beyond simple "power-metal" through the incorporation of aspects of punk, jazz, rap, and even ethnic sounds. It's a pretty fiery and politically-intense album, all the while holding down melody and songs amidst the occasionally schizophrenic and multidirectional musical direction. This group could be poised to move to the top of the hard rock/ metal world. (American)
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