Music Reviews



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Artist: Break/Fields
Title: Duck For Cover/Reel Funk
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Symmetry (@)
Rated: *****
Bristol-based dnb label Symmetry serves its summer cool dishes by this stunning digital release, which got marked by two of the fastest and strongest stallions of its stable: the appreciated dnb producer Break drops "Duck For Cover", a massive tune with all the features which distinguish this talented bone-breaker and sounds like a turbine which reaches red-hot iron-like thermal states when the engine is close to go full speed by means of bouncing bass drums, gunky basslines and snapping breaks, whose conciseness and balanced dosage is so close to perfection that I'll wonder when Break will start to make bromidic stuff. The second corse comes from another big name of the label, Ben "Fields" Wilson, whose caustic snapping over maze of amazing dovetails of hitting entities on "Reel Funk" could call some stuff from Konflikt or Future Forces Inc. to dnb lovers' mind.
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Artist: Slam (@)
Title: Rotary/Catacoustics
Format: 12"
Label: Soma Quality Recordings (@)
Distributor: Rubadub
Rated: *****
We recently quoted the Scottish techno label Soma Quality Recordings, whose long life - it's active since 1991 - seems to mirror the science of ageing whiskey whose thorough knowledge seems to be a secret art of their nice homelanders. Soma recently reached the important milestone of its 400th release, which got signed by its co-founders Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle aka Slam, a very influential fellowship for Glasgow techno club scene since the times when Steven "Workman" Sleepman asked these lads to care Saturday night at Glasgow's Tin Pan Alley. This "celebrative" tracks come out during tha last months in their recording studio, where they penned themselves up behind fences of past and new sonic technology that they tested for Slam's upcoming album (or maybe for whipping some new storms on the dancefloors up): the opening "Rotary" got ignited by a raw analogue line and a dry kick, which get gradually rippled so that they test a transition from a minimal tune to a proper techno track; on the flipside, "Catacoustics" drag deep techno sonorities up by means of hypnotical delayed bells, sub-bass gulper's lashes and masterfuly percussive spools- Long life to Soma!
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Artist: Bryn Harrison (@)
Title: Vessels
Format: CD
Label: Another Timbre (@)
Rated: *****
The inputs of this interesting apotheosis of repetition for piano by composer Bryn Harrison are a sequence of nine notes from a mode by Olivier Messiaen (I could guess he took it from ""Mode de valeurs et dintensites" or from some variation of his sixth mode) for what we could call tonal entities and Howard Skempton's "Tendrils", where the composer weaves lines by means of a number of transpositions of Messiaen's mode. The resulting almost imperceptile repetition of intervals and phrases and the somehow confusing tonal juxtaposition of the 20-minutes lasting original version got remarkably expanded on he version you'll find on this release, which recently reached my desk in spite of the fact it got released last year, so that its spellbinding powers got highlighted on the 76-minutes masterful performance by Philip Thomas (an honorable mention to the one who flipped through the pages of the score, who got captured by microphones). I'm pretty sure that even the rational filters of the most trained musical ears, which will presumably focus on computational aspects, will fade away in order to make way for imagination - some nightmarish settings such as disorienting woods, narrow dark tunnels or other mysterious places you could build by your own imagination could croos listener's minds - and emotions - I could guess you could match it with angst, sadness or suspense - till the moment when this labyrinthine repetitions could even provoke some physical reaction. I can't exclude that...
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Artist: Ernesto Rodrigues/Ricardo Guerreiro/Christian Wolfarth (@)
Title: All About Mimi
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Even more abstract and "astringent" than "Early Refractions" the collaborative release with alto-saxophonist Bertran Gauguet, this release of the consolidated musical partnership between Ernesto Rodrigues (viola) and Ricardo Guerreiro (computer) with the guest appearance of Swiss percussionist Christian Wolfarth on cymbals is even more abstract and overlapped to reductionist aesthaetics. I could guess the title "All About Mimi" could be a reference to same-named multi-modal interactive musical improvisation system, whose linear diagrams seem to get reprised by cover artwork. Its slightly crooked green lines could be the sonic representation of the skewed declension of minimalism that this trio play where you could have the impression that each instrumental emission sometimes claws, sometimes furrows, sometimes violently cannons the surface of the seemingly silent computer-generated barrier that amalgamates the other two (sometimes unrecognizable) elements and their mimicry as if they are trying to escape from their atonal prison cells by means of painstaking grinding of the wall.
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Artist: Richard Pinhas & Oren Ambarchi
Title: Tikkun
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Cuneiform (@)
Rated: *****
The brilliant phiosopher and musician Richard Pinhas, the man behind the legendary French rock band Heldon - when he founded Heldon in 1974, Richard was an assistant professor of philosophy at Sorbonne as well as a lover of science fiction, two branches of human knowledge which heavily influenced his musical outputs -, join his sonic forces with Australian ground-breaking guitar player Oren Ambarchi, a proper prodigy in the enhancment of guitar sound with equalizer and the stylistical flirtation with krautrock (have a listen to his excellent "Sagittarian Domain" in order to have a recent evidence of the fact my words are not shallow praises), for one of his two simultaneous releases. The complementarity between Richard and Oren techniques and aesthetics got already successfully tested on Pinhas' recent album "Desolation Row" and get enhanced by the contributions from drummer Joe Talia, Pinhas' son Duncan, Merzbow and Eric Borelva and perfectly express the theme of this release, which refers to the idea of Tikkun ha-Olam, one of the most important concept of the Kabbalah according to Pinhas' personal interpretation: "the concept of Tikkun is immense, very very big and important, not only in the original Kabbalah but in all the paragnosis "jewish" theoretical concepts. It is about the spiritual creation of our world...a kind of parable... to repair something deeply broken is the point...and Tikkun is the concept that this operation or this process can be named". The three long suites which harmoniously melt elements from progressive rock, krautrock, ambient, psychedelic electronics and dub mange to evoke the spiritual yearning of renaissance behind this esoteric concept by means of effected guitar rides, whose balanced sequences prop the groove up like sharpened spines, smooth stridencies, refulgent drumming, where the almost metallic layering of the initial "Washington, D.C. ' T4V1" and the gradual melodic decay on the centrl "Tokyo - T4V2" prepare the ground for the psychedelic acme of the release, the final "San Francisco - T2V2", where electronic gurgles and scraped guitars coalesce with the punctual appearance of Talia's drums, which boost the previous stridency up to an almost mystical experience.
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