Music Reviews



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Artist: vhr-1.7 (@)
Title: lost angle
Format: CD
Label: Eilean (@)
Rated: *****
The entrancing excursion of "Lake Side" where the warm melodies that will swathe listeners on the following "Lost Angle" glimmer introduces this fascinating ambient journey (the 83rd point on the 100-points map of Eilean record label) that Japanese sound-designer Kei Komatsu undertakes on his project VHR 1.7 which overlaps granular synthesis, processed field recordings and brilliant acoustic textures. The lukewarm embrace of the title track definitively tunes listeners to a lovely reverie that carries on the electric breezes where sonic grains occasionally seems to collide with the thick sonic gel that imbues "Meon", whose final bloating low frequency sets the stage for the magnetic permeating dronescape of the following "Occasion", the ephemeral return to an opaque clarity on "Kalon" where the reprise of processed guitar-evoked languor of the title track strikes melancholic chords over a moor of distant traffic sounds in a rainy day as if Kei tried to render the recent halcyon moments, whose emotional fragrances begins to seep in the twinkling piano of the clanking echoes of ordinary life on "Tope" and the taut billows of blurred human voices, boiling pulses and electronic stabs on "Para" before getting lush on the flooding saccharin vacuum on the synth-driven finale of "Meoncentric Theory".
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Artist: Seth Cluett
Title: Forms of Forgetting
Format: CD
Label: Line (@)
Rated: *****
A feeble undertone where a pure hypnotical frequency and a flickering noise which is similar to the sound that paper produces when it got flapped by the blades of a working blower fan opens this long psychoacoustic and psychoactive suite by American photographer, essayist, professor of sound art, musician and performer Seth Cluett, who joined the three parts of his sound installation Forms Of Forgetting together in this one-track release. The interfering element of the above-mentioned paper gradually blend in the seemingly monotonal drone that got dilated till the moment when it seems to flicker by its own while resounding filaments peel the main frequency off by reaching the saturation peak after half an hour and getting gradually dried out till the final return of a popure frequency. Besides the interesting listening experience that can be amplified by a pair of good headphones, this release that Seth tributed to American composer and professor Lee Hyla, who recently passed away, comes after two years of live experimentation related to cognitive investigations about memory/forgetting and attention/inattention, which resulted in the employment of "techniques that aim to explore the fallibility of sound memory as a component of saturated, immersive listening over substantial elapsed time", according to the words of Paul Ricoeur, where forgetting should not be considered as oblivion, but as a process that "designates the unperceived character of the perseverance of memories, their removal from the vigilance of consciousness". That's not just a sonic piece for eraserheads!
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Artist: Tengil
Title: Stanni Altah
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Waerloga Records
Rated: *****
Tengil released their debut album "Stanni Altah" in August just to be discovered by Waerloga Records in September. Tengil landed themselves a record deal in a month!

Tengil is a Swedish medieval folk band much in the style of Cultus Ferox and In Extremo but without the metal parts. For me that is a big plus as I never where a big fan of the metal in those band even though many seem to like the blend.

Tengil is much darker where Cultus Ferox (which is one of my favorite bands!) is more pirate romance. Tengil is groovier where Cultus Ferox is hard and Pirate party music.

I think of bands such as Cultus Ferox because of one of the two band members in Tengil where playing in Cultus Ferox in Germany. I like that Cultus Ferox has a gimmick, a show and I don't really find that in Tengil.

The debut album is sometimes awesome and sometimes a bit boring as I have to check if the CD is on repeat. However that might sound harsh I truly believe in Tengil and think they show what they could be on the track Tamfanae. If they try more to mix things up and don't have the bagpipes shouting at me all the time I think Tengil could be among my favorites!

I liked the early Cultus Ferox the most as they were less metal then and more medieval. In Tengil I see a lot of potential if they stay away from metal.

The drumming on Stanni Altah I like a lot and also other weird sounding instruments and voices. The bagpipes are beautiful but as I mentioned before they are way to repetitive to be awesome.

Tengil could EASY be a 5 star band in the future and maybe they will be that under the Waerloga banner? Right now they are at best 4 stars but never 2.

The Highpoints of Stanni Altah is magnificent!
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Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: The Waerloga Journey - Compilation vol. 2
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Waerloga Records (@)
Distributor: Waerloga Records
Rated: *****
Finally Waerloga Records are back with a release. This time a compilation only released on Band Camp. Bands like Za Frumi, Arcana and Cultus Ferox are on the same album as some of the most talented upcoming stars in film score composing and composing for great video games. Waerloga celebrates their 13th year with a compilation with both old acts and new.

The album starts off with a beautiful piece of the American Sean Beeson. This track fits any major soundtrack & set the tone for the whole album. I think of movies such as Breveheart when I hear this track.

Bjaran was unknown for me but they knock me out with a song called "Babba". This is some high caliber Nordic Folk Music which make me think of trolls and dark forests of the north! One of the highpoints on the album!

Erdenstern's "Age of Adventure" brings us classic Erdenstern Fantasy music surely inspired by Game of Thrones and other more new films/series in the fantasy genre. This is one of the better songs of Erdenstern which says a lot as they have some true gems in their discography.

Za Frumi is of course heard on the compilation (as Waerloga is their home) as well and the song "Immra - Alternative Version" is stunningly beautiful. This is an alternative version of the song Immra from "Shrak Ishi Za Migul - Chapter 3" and as always with Za Frumi it's really good.

Tengil was the second band I never heard off before in this compilation (also see my review of their debut album) and like Bjaran I am presently surprised. Tengil perform a bag pipe driven song called "Tamfanae" and it's for sure the best one from their debut album "Stanni Altah". Swedish Tengil is a band we will hear more about in the future as they have signed with Waerloga Records. A cool move from Waerloga Records and Tengil.

Simon Kolle known from Za Frumi and his film scores contributes with a song called "Drakar och Demoner: Giltes Bane" which is a Swedish version of the game Dungeons and Dragons made into a couple of Swedish films. The track is fantastic and carries you to other worlds!

Jeff Broadbent is a skilled film/game composer from USA that contributes with a Hans Zimmer inspired piece which is awesome! "Ultimate Sacrifice" is the name of the song and in my mind it's more or less a trailer score. I want to hear more with Broadbent.

Pawel Blaszczak's track is really cool and not fantasy inspired but Sci-fi. The track is inspiring and gives us hints were Waerloga Records are going. Great track!

Eerie Caffer takes the album to a nature setting and with only the close sounds of guitars on a what sounds like a porch I see a swamp in front of me. Eerie Caffer's minimalistic song with a lot of nature sounds and guitars grows on me and I really enjoy it.

Joel Forssell & Simon Kolle made a song called "The Monitor Celestra" for a big Larp in Sweden inspired by Battlestar Galactica. Joel and Simon made this track for the larp and you surely can hear that the two composers where inspired by Bear Mccreary's original song. In my mind this song is actually better than the famous theme of BSG.

Hans Lundgren brings us a track that gives me memories of the film "Leon" at first but later on it burst out into a even more wonderful piece. Marimba, bass and flute are the main instruments heard. I had never heard of Hans but I will for sure listen to more of his film scores! Talented guy.

Gargrim the Liar with the song " Carmen ex Miragliano" really make me dream of dramatic theatrical worlds. It's like music made for Romeo and Juliet.

Joel Forssell with "Outside the Place" is all about thriller and drama. The song never really takes off even though I like it. Joel is for sure talented and parts of the song is action oriented which seem to be his strong suit. I would like to hear more of the work of Forssell.

Abnocto, Lost Kingdom and Encryption all three are presented with each track from their old albums. I like them all and they fit this compilation's purpose well.

Daniel and Mikael Tjernberg are the crazy Swedish brothers always giving us some strange tunes. Here their choice was the title track from their Soundtrack "Anton". This is strange cinematic jazz/fusion and old school film scoring from the 80s. I wrote this about the track when in my review of the complete soundtrack: "The cue Anton I really enjoy as it also is way out there with the Fusion and strange elements of musical geniality.".

Apocalypsis Cum Figuris is compositions made by Simmon Kolle written for guitar and violin. Very beautiful.

Cultus Ferox was one of my old favorites a couple of years back. Tengil remind me Cultus but Cultus often takes it to rock and Tengil stays in the historical music genre and cinematic genre (without rock). The track "Mutter Erde" is one of Cultus best song and I Love it!

Aardia with the song "Legion of Darkness" is the 20th song on this epic compilation. Aardia is all about epic power and this song is maybe their best? Pure, raw and powerful are words that describe this track.

Arcana are heard with their old song "Song of Mourning" which gives me memories of my youth in the 90s. I think Arcana are one the best bands in the world.

The last song on the album is Simon Kölles Musterion. I wrote this in my review of the Musterion album: "From the opening moments of the first piece "Elevator Down" it becomes evident that Musterion possesses a special demeanor via his ferocious line of attack, spiced with verve and a robust tone. Coupled with fluent lines and a few technical nods to the psychedelic years of the 60s, the artist snags your attention, and sails through these largely, original pieces with equal doses of fire and grace!".

"Only great poetry can describe the music on this album" was something I wrote in my review of Musterion "The Wondrous Journey Through the Catacombs of Life" and I think it is suiting to write the same about this wonderful compilation.

Waerloga Records has never been more interesting. They are a taking their beloved label towards Band Camp and digital releases and it will be interesting to see if the fans of the label follow them there?

Overall this is a great compilation, maybe the best 2014! I am stoked to hear more releases from Waerloga Records 3.0, as they call their new great webpage (www.waerloga.com).

Great work Waerloga

Tracklist
1. Sean Beeson ' Rod or By Dagger
2. Bjäran ' Babba
3. Erdenstern ' Age of Adventure
4. Za Frûmi ' Immra (Alternative version)
5. Tengil ' Tamfanae
6. Simon Kölle ' Drakar och Demoner: Giltes Bane
7. Jeff Broadbent ' Ultimate Sacrifice
8. Pawel Blaszczak ' No Escape From Here
9. Eerie Caffer ' Bombina Cries in the Rain
10. Joel Forssell & Simon Kölle ' The Monitor Celestra
11. Hans Lundgren ' Lou
12. Gargrim the liar ' Carmen ex Miragliano
13. Joel Forssell ' Outside the Place
14. Abnocto ' Spiritus Arma
15. Daniel & Mikael Tjernberg ' Anton
16. Lost Kingdom ' Collection
17. Apocalypsis Cum Figuris ' The Forbidden Chamber
18. Encryption ' Cold Skin
19. Cultus Ferox ' Mutter Erde
20. Aardia ' Legion of Darkness
21. Arcana ' Song of Mourning
22. Musterion ' Elevator Down
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Artist: Monolyth & Cobalt (@)
Title: Polarlicht
Format: CD
Label: Time Released Sound (@)
Rated: *****
I'm never timely enough when Time Released Sound begins to spread the limited deluxe editions of its releases, and the one they made for this album by French sound-artist Mathias Van Eecloo - 65 antique metal 16mm film cans got hand labelled, collaged and stamped together with 10 round hi-res satellite photos of the polar ice caps as well as rounded ones of polar explorers and some of their adventurous chilling voyages - unfortunately sold out at the moment, but some of the 150 copies of digipak edition should be still available. As you can easily guess, "Polarlicht" doesn't sound tropical at all even if the opening "Polar" could look like the defrosting of the sonic elements that features the album, whose style can approximately be considered a sort of minimal drone-ambient where sounds are more like a tuning to movements of glaciers and icy arctic winds. Even if there's a reference to Adolf Wolfli - I guess the title of a track "Adolf Wolfi Never Died" could be a clerical error -, "Polarlicht" cannot be considered an epitome of horror vacui, as the sonic sphere is more empty than crammed with unuseful sounds and if you've ever been nearby polar regions, you could understand that the sonicbook by Mathias is not so far from the aural perception than you can experience there where silence is sometimes so "dense" than even imagined sound during a migraine could lull you till paregoric reverie. Everything sounds permanently frozen: the slow melodic layering of "Blooming Stones" sounds like coming from gentle touches of the pointer of a multimeters on icy surfaces, the delicate electronic swaying of "Titanium (Geology)" could be a lulling melody inspired by pulses of a metal detector over a floating ice mass and even the appearance of birds on "Flugel Schagen" sounds like anesthetized by soothing anemic sounds which got interrupted by electric interferences and a slamming noise, while their ideal reappearance on "Birds Are Some Holes In The Sky Through A Man Can Pass" (I almost missed this verbose titles in an ambient-oriented record...) seems to belong to a sort of mystical experience. The dreamlike stillness of northern countryside got evoked by the following "Dùthaich (Land, People and Distance Between Them)", where the three elements inside the brackets are the proper sonic entites of the track, even if the syncopated snoring that he inserted makes me think about the sweet death for a frostbite of a lonely rhubarb farmer, There are some lethargic moments over the album, which could foster a slumber after a square meal, and some of them ("Verhaal 02", "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Licht)" seem to be dramatized by means of vocal samples from vintage movies, but they hold together with the rest of the album.
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