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Music » CD Reviews

Local CD Revue

New releases from ManicProject and Mathematics et Cetera



ManicProject, Square One ***.5
Let’s get this out of the way: Phil Istomin does not use GarageBand, ProTools or any other software application to write, record, mix and engineer his music. The Moscow-born, Bountiful-based industrial artist created Square One with little more than an Ensoniq keyboard, live guitar and enterprising spirit. DIY to the bone (he proudly advises record labels to fuck themselves), Istomin upholds the Industrial Records tradition of anti-commercial marketing while incorporating a bit of mainstream charm into his vocal delivery'at times, a carbon copy of Trent Reznor’s seductive threats; at times, simply strained and flat. This slight setback suggests Istomin’s talents might be better applied to collaborative projects as his Massive Attack, Tricky and Neptunes influences pulled off on respective team efforts. “Black, White and Blue” with local emcee Buck Dexter contributing a smooth rap suggests Istomin has a future in hip-hop, trip-hop or any other genre that might benefit from his inventive beats, loops and samples. Given his industrious vision, there’s a good chance he’ll just go it alone. Despite the occasional stumble, as on the self-important anthem “Mind and Fist,” sounding a bit like a send-up of industrial music, (like comedian Brian Posehn’s genius “Metal By Numbers”), Square One is a gem. Whatever form Istomin takes on next, we’ll be listening. (ManicProject.com)

Mathematics et Cetera, Eye Contact Is No Guarantee ***
Of all the storied bands hiding out in Utah County, Mathematics Et Cetera is at least one group that lives up to the exuberant word-of-mouth hype. In case you’re unaware, a vibrant music scene is taking over Provo, but most of us are too lazy/apathetic/terrified of BYU for the 45-minute drive to verify the rumor. Epic with a capital E, the group’s debut is track after track of lush, expertly layered production working overtime to match Joscef Castor’s choirboy-meets-beautiful-recluse vocal style'theatrics that at least partially inform fierce love/hatred of Muse/Keane/Thom Yorke. Oddly, it’s the space between each tortured howl and whisper that brings to mind Radiohead’s fantastic trances. Yes, this is a bold comparison and no, Mathematics et Cetera is not even close to being untouchable. But when the standout “Trains Make Cars Stop,” “Virgin Melody” and “Child Mind” reach their gorgeous peaks, the mind starts to wander to wonderful places. Not too shabby'Provo roots or not. MySpace.com/MathematicsEtCetera (Hotel Palindrome)