Music Reviews



cover
Artist: Swarvy
Title: Bop
Format: LP + Download
Label: Paxico Records
Rated: *****
In this game called survival of the illest, Swarvy is a prime contender. The L.A.-based soundsmith crafts a veritable skating park of samples, audio pixels, and sparkling data streams in which fortunate listeners may half-pike to their heart’s content. The title track is a calling card in this regard, reconstructing found elements in a rotunda of electronica and dub. And while you won’t find too many nodding heads in this cityscape, you will find something rarer: a nodding heart. There’s a delivery truck’s worth of love in every moment of this meticulous record.

In “Ahoy!” and “Krunchrap,” that heart is turned inside-out for all to experience. Through lo-fi veils and lamentations, its beat stitches the title page of a corporeal chapbook. In such surroundings, the artificial feels part and parcel of everyday life, while snippets of the human voice come across as robotic. Other times—check “Astrognats” in particular—the pulse barely finds purchase. The key to its survival is consummation of the ear.

“Scrapplefromtheapple” and “Wait4me” drop us into industrial milieus of signals and anti-signals. Between them flows a social lubricant that acts as a prophylactic against compromise. “Marzbow,” for its part, is a siren song on the theme of currency. And while in title it may seem to be a homage to Japanese noise legend Merzbow, it is delicately executed. “Circles” more explicitly stuffs life experience into the commercial meat grinder as fodder for the cloud. A storm brews but never peaks, much like the dreams we wrap around ephemeral conferences of wire, glass, and metal.

Not all is angst and ennui. Whimsy abounds. Whether in the trip-heavy bluster of beat pollen and inner drive that is “Iiicccccyyyymmiiiinnnttt” or the dessert of confirmation served on the vinyl platter of “Well,” Swarvy powder-puffs captives of the modern condition and sends them merrily on their way, crackling down to the marrow with summery promise.

Bop is proof that scratching the surface can be just as deep as grabbing hold of the molten core. It’s an educational experience, a syllabus of syllabi, each a masterclass in morphing image into sound, and vice versa.
cover
Artist: The Holy Quintet
Title: Borough
Format: CD
Label: Mikroton
A semi-traditional quartet of viola, double bass, zither and bass clarinet are joined by “suitcase modular and radio” for a two-part experimental piece concerned with the overlapping of mixed drones and sustained string bowing with analogue-style electronic tones and some spontaneous percussive interruptions. Unusually liberated from trappings of a theme or higher concepts (the album is named after the location it was recorded in), there’s a reactionary, improvised call-and-response flavour throughout that fuels the dynamic- yet much of the bass instrumentation is rather sombre and slow.

The ‘radio’ element is mostly crackly static-style sounds which often counterpoint the remarkable purity of pune that gets generated by some of the other instruments. That’s not always the case though, as sometimes the strings and clarinet are used more aggressively and percussively as well, in a way that occasionally sounds rather… well, rather farty. There’s a section towards the middle of part two which is especially dissonant, the album’s most challenging section.

Capitalising on a rare opportunity where the whole quintet were in the same city at the same time, “Borough” was recorded in one day back in 2013, but the slightly rough-hewn edges to this work seem deliberate and composed rather than simply undercooked. Here are five experienced performers enjoying the opportunity to collaborate on something fairly loose and free with likeminded other players. In terms of ingredients it’s nothing new, but as a confident, 37-minute avantgarde work it’s hard to fault.
cover
Artist: The Mirror Unit (@)
Title: Wind Makes Weather
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
According to the explanation of saxophone players George Wisell and Tim O'Dwyer, the musicians behind this project (I should refer to them as 'units'), its name depends on the fact that they perform as if one reflects in the other, so that one acts like the mirror for the other and vice versa. The amazing aspect of their specularity, coming from a reciprocal knowledge and based also on the adoption of similar performative techniques, is the way by which they try to portray social situations, characters or even non-musical codes. The titles of each improvisations included in this output - entirely improvised and recorded live at the Peter Kowald Ort in Wuppertal on the 18th of June 2014 -, which became part of the huge catalogue of the Portuguese label Creative Sources in 2015, could be guidelines of what they are going to represent, even if the analogy is not that easy: for instance the scrawny structure, the constant segmented hops and even some occasional scream-like noises of "Arthropod" could be matched to arthropods' exoskeleton, their segmented bodies and sometimes the concern these invertebrates can inspire. Think about a mumbling, hardly busy and sometimes clumsy maid, while listening to "Whistling Maid", or some typically urban auditory startles, while listening to the opening "Authentic City". The author's winds could be imagined as a way to blink their coordinates in Morse code in the track "Morse", detectors of coming thunder storms in the title track of "Wind Makes Weather" or even the pencils of a sketch artist (check the sound of "Old Believer" and tell if it doesn't render the idea somehow...). The above-mentioned specularity could be better appreciated by the decision of recording each saxophone into two separate channels, Georg on the right channel and Tim on the left.
cover
Artist: Logics ft.Kodin (@)
Title: Knock, Knock
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Delta9 Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
If the Croation producer Danjiel Zinic aka Logics (the source for those rocky little isles portrayed in the artwork could be Croatia...or maybe that smoke around could allusive of something else...) can make tracks like the ones he poured into this new release title "Knock, Knock" by Delta9 whenever he waits that someone open the door to him, the people on the other side of the door could be tempted to let him keep on knocking on the door in vain. Jokes aside, the title track features a knock (of course) and an amazing and somehow disquieting set of percussions and sounds that could render an enjoyable sort of siege over a likewise enjoyable carpet of halftime precise cuts (maybe Logics trying to pick the lock after repeated knocking!). The tempo remarkably rises over higher BPMs on the following "Ratio", a track that gives faster whacks with the complicity of Zagreb-based dj and producer Kodin, but my favourite moment of this 3-track bundle is "Shield", combining midtempo, crippling dub/trip-hop sledgehammers and amazing concatenations of rhythmical strings. Check it out!
cover
Artist: Oliver Yorke (@)
Title: Wanderer/Not Giving Up (ft.Silent Dust)
Format: 12"
Label: none60
Rated: *****
It's not the first time I introduce outputs by West-London based producer Oliver Yorke for Silent Dust's imprint none60: more or less one year ago, he signed a couple of good mid-tempo tracks ("Helion" and " Kali") by balancing digital clicks, well-forged patterns and trippy melodies. His "scientific" approach to the beat-making and the editing as well as the sonorities by which he stuffs his tracks could vaguely resemble Photek. The soft melodic dough that starts to rise at the beginning of "Wanderer" got absorbed by rhythmical lashes, mechanical gears, serpentine computational sequences and sonar-like whispers that were widely used by some 'nu jazzers' in the late 90ies (check "Moonbathing" by Amba as a possible term of comparison). Some connection with sonorities of that period of bass-driven music can be heard in "Not Giving Up", the collaborative track with Silent Dust, whose hyper-compressed snare hit was a recipe of many jungle tracks of that interesting age of music making, but the melodic stabs and some clutches in this tracks pushes it towards the stylistic territories of labels like Kode 9's Hyperdub.
[ Next ]

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171...180] [181...190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha