Music Reviews



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Artist: Tundra
Title: Tajnie i Głębie
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This is the first full-length release from an electroacoustic project present as in balance between improvisation and composed works. In fact, their style lies in the intersection between EAI and ambient as, even if carefully constructed, is more adventurous in nature than the average of this genre's releases.
The deep drone of 'half moon' opens this release and slowly develops in bright one that introduces the listener to 'werdrujace kamienie' a track focused on the contraposition between the drone and the rattles creating an almost religious athmosphere. 'Powtot CZ.1' is based on a peaceful and solar drone, sparse noises and a voice sample of stunning evocation that ends with the drone loops of 'wrzosowiska' and 'krill lasu' that acts as an introduction to 'Powtot CZ.2', the longest track of this release, based on a menacing drone whose resonance are colored by a female voice chanting, instead of the spoken word of the first part.
This is an impressive debut album that, using a well known form, is able to develop his most evocative properties and to provoke an emotive reaction. Truly recommended.
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Artist: Rapoon
Title: Fall of Drums
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
In the cover this 'this album marled a return to analog and mixing outside the box' and, as this reviewer was unhappy of the latest release of this historic project, this sounds as a return to the form that Robin Storey pioneered in his long career. This is also marked by his return to Middle East's ethnic rhythms and his evoking ghosts.
When the drums of 'A gallery of crows' starts there's suddenly a flavor of all the previous release unfolding with his hypnotic and charming beauty. The drones and samples of 'beneath and beyond' creates a static, but not boring, soundscape. The loops of 'upstarts and sheep' are slowly colored and submerged by the drones. The last track 'the heat beguiles' is almost half of this release, clocking over half an hour, and start with voices' loop and the drones slowly ends with the down of the echoed samples creating an hunting but peaceful atmosphere, thanks to echo effects reminiscent of dub technics, and when the drones and the echoed samples slowly evolve in a cohesive unity this tracks emerge as the centre of this release.
From an esthetic point of view there's anything new on this release but is a charming release from one of the most important names in the field. A stunning return to form.
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Artist: Donor
Title: Against All
Format: 2 x 12"
Label: Prosthetic Pressings (@)
Rated: *****
A passion for Birmingham Industrial Techno (Surgeon, Karenn and Perc Trax), early Dutch electro and Detroit style, his stay in Barcelona and Tokyo, where he assimilated some stylistical elements, and his careful dwelling on John Carpenter's movie fed the sound of Brooklyn-based producer and dj Greg Schappert, who signs his first proper album after some releases on Svreca's Semantica Recordings, Lucy (12)'s Stroboscopic Artefacts, Miniscule digital imprint that he co-founded and recently Russian label Venator, but the main source of inspiration for this awesome release is the world we live in, which offers so many sources of inspiration for any dystopian representation that I can surmise that the eerily prescient images that his sounds manage to evoke didn't really need greatest stretches of the imagination. The first half of the record spins around this dark mood by amazing rehashes of Detroit-esque techno where highest peaks got reached on the fully laden funkish electromechanical breath of "Menace Is Mine", the sci-fi smudges of "Station A15" and "IP Test", the one where some elastic declensions of that style by Jeff Mills could come to mind, but the most interesting moments of the record occur when Donor get closer to more articulated and sometimes abstract electro breaks on the second half of the record - the robotic hiccups of tracks like "Counter" and "Fault Is Found" are my favorite tracks of the whole album - before the epic end on "In Your Place", whose artificial static bliss that slowly turns into an icy symphony sounds like an insightful provocation.
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Artist: Niereich (@)
Title: Placebo Effect
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Micro.fon (@)
Rated: *****
Not to be confused with Darren Emerson, the notorious former member of Underworld, Dj Emerson, nome de guerre of Simon Emerson Kidder, is one of the most prominent representative of contemporary German techno scene as he earned his spurs not only for a pile of good releases but also as a label manager of Kiddaz.fm, whose parent label Micro.fon focuses on darker techno stuff that I actually like most. He recruited Austrian artist Peter Linsberger aka Niereich, one of the most skilled producer and dj of that crowded scene, who grinded his machines on the hard-hitting track "Placebo Effect" on the occasion of his first act on Micro.fon by means of a progression over a straight drum-kick, a loop built on the noise of the needle when slides on vynil surface which sounds like a zipper, an intensively hypnotical sequence of electronic gamelans and aerostatic polygonal shafts that stops after he breaks a clap. A remarkable control of gain also charactetises the more liquefied sonorities of "Black Sheep Scenario", while label boss Dj Emerson adds his own remix of the title-track by re-shuffling the elements of the original version that got poured into abstract steamy sonic hazes.
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Artist: Hot Four (@)
Title: Eye Of The Moose
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
In spite of the bull moose on the cover artwork whose blood-red background and the dissection in four parts of the outline of the hugest member of deer family, it's neither a leaflet for butchers nor a christmassy idea of gift, even if the debut release by this fourtet is much more interesting than the invasion of records from mainstream musicians that majors normally led in this period by means of marketing necromancers! The initiative got drawn up by talented Norwegian vocal artist Andreas Backer who grouped Stale Liavik Solberg, a brilliant drummer who was his mate at Stavanger music academy, Swedish guitarist David Stackenas - we already met his name and his skills on some collaborative releases with Ernesto and Guilherme Rodrigues - Canadian expat double bass player Joe Williamson together and recorded this amazing live session in Sweden, where they insert contemporary classical music, free-jazz and European improv hooks as well as a remarkable numer of sonic ideas in a blender that flushes amazing dynamics out. The opening title-track "Eye Of The Moose" manages to keep a certain poise as if they were trying to find a first cautious attunement, but things radically changes on the following tracks: "Antler Of The Moose" charges eardrums by means of twisted scratches, more dissonant interactions and swirling cracks and Backer's vocals brilliantly follows this gradual nervous breakdown and could sometimes surmise a preacher fighting against rising voltage of an electric chair; "Claw Of The Moose" digs into eardrums by the slow asphyxation that got rendered by gargling vocals, eruptive torsions and crumpled guitar strokes and the rattling final track "Tail Of The Moose", where last and almost breathless vocal runs by Andreas meet the last amazing instrumental rush of popping mute hats, thundering double-bass and tangled mess of guitar tones.
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