Music Reviews



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Artist: Pjusk
Title: Solstøv
Format: CD
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
Despite the fact they keep on orbiting around the glacial sonorities that they usually explore, the third album by Norwegian duo Pjusk on 12k and their fourth one in their discography reaches highest stylistical peaks as this masterpiece just derives from the (both natural and processed with the help of label boss Taylor Deupree) sound of Kare Nymark Jr's trumpet. Rune Sagevik and Jolstein Dahl Gjelsvik come back their icy homecountry after their previous excursions over the snowy Russian landscapes and immediately introduces a foretaste of their forthcoming collaborative release with Sleep Orchestra by the ethereal track "Streif", the only one of the album which can be properly considered a droning piece as most of the following tracks are astonishing alternation of natural and wisely processed trumpet, which becomes a sort of medium between the glacial places they manage to evoke and netherworld. The unpredictable eruptions of trumpet, which breaks Pjusk's effusions of placid frequencies on tracks like "Falmet" or "Blaff" are real emotional plunging and got often camouflaged together with other instrumental entities and field recordings in a sort of mimetic game as it happens on the astonishing "Demring" or even more dramatically on "Glod", the track which precedes the entrancing final track "Skimt", whose pulsating mantra got enhanced by Japanese sound artist Yui Onodera. Definitively one of the best electroacoustic "environ-mental" ambient album that titilated my eardrums this year.
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Artist: Divine Shell / Justin Marc Lloyd (@)
Title: Obscure Psychic Themes
Format: Tape
Label: Rainbow Bridge (@)
I was unfamiliar with either of these artists but after reviewing Justin Marc Lloyd's 'Anxiety Flood Cont.,' I was ready for some lo-fi experimental. This tape does not disappoint. First up, we have Divine Shell with 'Post-Trip Specter' and 'Trash Study' ' the two seem more like one song though (although this is not surprising considering that they weigh in at 0:43 and 4:07 respectively). 'The Bandcamp page offers this description: 'Truly awkward composition of uncomfortable synthesis and spoken word separates these DS pieces from his highly-regarded harsh noise, industrial and power electronics work.' This is a bit more stripped down than the wall of cacophony that Justin Marc Lloyd's threw down in 'Anxiety Flood Cont.,' so it makes for a good contrast. Voices fade in and out of the mix of static before unloading with a blast of harsh noise. This then drops down again making you anticipate the next assault (which doesn't actually come). Overall, Divine Shell makes very good use of dynamics here. Flipping the tape over, we get Justin Marc Lloyd with 'Hurricane Inside,' which begins with some voices and someone saying 'Here's your weather report!' The track consists of conversation about a coming storm mixed with blasts of noise. Not bad, but not quite as engaging as the other tape. This is a short tape, weighing in at just 10 minutes, so it is only enough to get a taste of the artists.
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Artist: Justin Marc Lloyd (@)
Title: Anxiety Flood Cont.
Format: Tape
Label: Rainbow Bridge (@)
Rated: *****
I was unfamiliar with this Chicago-based artist, but just looking at these tapes I had an idea of what I was in for. The cover is photocopied and lo-fi. There is a hand stapled little book of weird pictures in the case. The lyric sheet is slightly larger than a fortune cookie fortune. The tape label is hand painted with a stamp of the title on it. You can feel the texture of the paint as you put it in the tape player. And you know that the only ones putting out a C-22 tape are noisy acts. So it isn't much of a surprise when I hit play and am greeted with some noisy cut up music with lots of pitch-shifted samples and incomprehensible lyrics. But this is not just thrown together at random. The music hangs together with a kind of structure before descending completely into heavily modulated noise. But this is not just thrown together at random. The music hangs together with a kind of structure before descending completely into heavily modulated noise. On his Bandcamp site, the description includes these lines: 'Heavy garbled tape and vinyl looping as backbones, drunkenly staggered. Non-sensical contrast, as a repurposing, creating unique limits around free-associating. . . . Read the lyrics and sing along.' Yeah, good luck with that singling along part. Well played, Justin Marc Lloyd. We flip the tape over and get some chaos with moments of clarity. For example, in between snippets of voice and noise, we hear bits of a music box with varying levels of processing. In the middle of this there is some discussion about the North Pole, which made me wonder how this worked with the title of 'Approval Ratings.' Finally we hear 'Libra Tears,' which is heavy, thudding percussion with pulsing noise and heavily processed voice and music. This one also shows that we can have Lloyd's ring modulator when we pry his cold dead fingers from around it. Overall, this is pretty good experimental. If you live in the Chicago area, go see him live and buy a tape off of him. It's fun and worth listening to.
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Artist: Mr.Mitch (@)
Title: Don't Leave
Format: 12"
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Belonging to a group of rare producers who are managing to find new creative pathways to so-called grime, Mr.Mitch finally got signed by Planet Mu after he gained some visibility by means of Boxed 'Instrumental Grime' night and excellent releases on his own Gobstopper label, and if you have never listened to anything by this guy, many listeners who like this genre (and surrounding ones) will immediately suss his talent out by listening to this appetizer which precedes his forthcoming album "Parallel Memories". That sort of supplication on the opening "Don't Leave" (me down...to complete the looping refrain) whose synth chords and floating drums sound like mirroring tears give you an idea of the unusual emotional alveoli that Mr.Mitch's grime airs out and such an intense ventilation gets closer to harrowing sentimentalism of Sebastian Tellier or Trentemoller on "Padded" after turning into a proper bordline poem Ruffneck's notorious refrain "everybody wants to be somebody" on "Be Somebody" and before getting closer to the typical mood of the genre on the final "Oh", whose mellow marimba, bouncy bumps and syllabic interjections. Really tasteful grime!
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Artist: Mistake Made
Title: Vault Series 15.0
Format: 12"
Label: Vault Series (@)
Distributor: Decks.de
Rated: *****
In spite of the fact there are no previous traces of Mistake Made - no releases, no tracks in compilations/selections, no white labelled vynils have been recorded in any public archives -, the stylistical proximity to the stuff coming from appreciated Vault Series, one of the Berlin-based labels that spreads an interesting "industrial" variation of Berlin minimal techno out, persuaded Subjected, its faceless owner, to lock their tracks up in the vault. A slap on the "Wrist", the first of the three tracks of the 15th ring of this technoid chain, features a seized industrial-techno engine, which sounds a little bit more oiled on the following track "Ricochet", whose claps over hypnotical basslines sound like whiplashes, while menacing nodules of low frequencies, alarm bells and resounding rattles slides on dry kicks and subterranean clashes on the assembly line of "Indec".
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