Music Reviews



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Artist: Arktau Eos (@)
Title: Scorpion Milk
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Finnish label Aural Hypnox disinters one of the most interesting spellbinding in the field of dark titual music, the first release together with "Mirrorion" from the underground cult act Arktau Eos by Antti Haapapuro and Antti Litmanen, who came back to the source after a couple of albums on Svart Records. All those listeners who have experienced some transmissions by these nordic entities should expect more similarities with many moments of "Ai Ma Ra", the double CD album which preceded their temporary migration to Svart, even if both the length of "Scorpion Milk", which lasts almost 50 minutes, and the skeletal structure of its sound, which could be woefully labelled as minimalist by some reviewers, massively emphasizes the esoteric entrancing exploration they fed by means of slow dull thuds and the sinister ultra-low echo, chirping bells and obscure litany which sounds like the rendering of a pending metamorphosis by an alternation of ghostly wheezes and murmured liturgies. Even if this release from Helixes Collective is the thing that gets closer than other releases to what many people tend to label as dark-ambient, it's really difficult to find other acts whose sound is likewise compelling and intrinsically arcane.
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Artist: Islands of Light (@)
Title: Ruebke
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
This delicate record by Islands of Light, the brainchilf of Vienna-based versatile artist as well as founder of Beatismurder Records and co-founder of Total Light Records Dino Spiluttini, who recently made a lovely collaborative release with Nils Quak on Umor Rex as well, could belong to those record I could suggest to all those people who often ask me something to listen which could be linked to autumn as "Ruebke" constantly evokes both the colours and even the scents of this lovely season. Its enchanting piano melodies, which embrace pedagogical piano playing whose halo mirrors both French impressionists and Satie ("Goerde"), Nova Nova-like soothing compositions ("Schlump"), clouded and somewhat saddening breaks ("Bodil", "Boris"), breathtaking tubular tonal delights ("Honung", "Heisternest", "Heimfeld") and more lively moments, got wisely antiqued by reel-to-reel recording which emphasizes its melancholic nuance by means of the noticeable hiss and the occasional flaws of old tapes as if "Ruebke", whose name is the one of a very little village nearby Hamburg, whose peripheral areas are often quoted by its title, were the sonic resolution which cme as an appendix to an old handwritten diary about moments of truth and emotional lucidity, whose gushing got eased by charmingly rustic isolation.
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Artist: Akira Kosemura (@)
Title: grassland +
Format: CD
Label: Schole (@)
Rated: *****
Many reviewers which follow Japanese composer Akira Kosemura and the interesting musical pearls he let drizzle by means of his label Schole considered "Grassland" as the album of his artistic completeness and maturity since when the first edition got released and sold out after a while. Four years after both the limited edition, which included a DVD, and the standard edition, he decided to release it again for the aural delight of all those ones who missed the first edition and included four previously unreleased trakcs as part of the bargain: the graceful opening "Breath Of Spring", where the title perfectly describes what you are going to experience, the computational capriccio of "Pianomatic", the sweetly melancholic "Into The Blue" and the pretty "Daybreak", where he recaps some of the features of Grassland music such as slight backbeats, expanding melodies, shimmering twinkling sounds and sonic cuddling, which are just some of the elements that could explain the intimate grace of this record together with its magnetic simple beauty. Some appraising reviews of the first release could give you an idea of the already released tracks, which I could briefly depict by invitjng listeners to imagine the emotional tuning after the contemplation of bucolic countryside, the flight of butterflies or dragonflies, the waving of grass after a gush of lukewarm wind and other elements which could belong to an ordinary idyllic break or a serendipitous romance.
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Artist: Maria Lucchese/Matthias Bauer (@)
Title: Alchimia Organica
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
After they ascertained that their artistic fields had many intersections, particularly the study of voice, their open-minded approach to different cultures and perspectives and the attempt of merging formally different branches of avant-gard arts, theatre and music, which often flow together, Berlin-based Italian visual artist and performer Maria Lucchese and contrabass player, improviser and composer Matthias Bauer blended their ele/mental sonorities in this "Alchimia Organica" (Organic alchemy). The sound of the first two tracks and the resounding distinct percussive strokes by Maria, who plays theremin, zither, didgeridoo, launeddas (a sort of woodwind triplepipe from Sardinia), oceandrum and gong as well as his voice reminded some ritual percussive experiments by Z'EV to my ear, but soon after the very first minutes both the amazing use of voice by Matthias and Maria with a funnily wide range of squeaks, murmurs, squeals, guttural yells and other bizarre naturally transformed calls (I particularly enjoyed the moments when both of them turn their voice by a sort of natural flanger!) and the thespian inserts and the crazy phrasing on contrabass by Matthias immediately immerse listeners into what they properly defined a "suspended and magic atmosphere of extemporaneous anarchy, and allucinatory excursion, a cathartic aesthetical experience", where listeners can suddenly catch a certain sense of humour and spiritual tension that often impetuously burst into lines such as on fifth and tenth tracks.
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Artist: Pharmakon
Title: Bestial Burden
Format: CD
Label: Sacred Bones Records
Rated: *****
I think I'm falling in love with Margaret Chardiet. The first time I heard about Pharmakon was last year. Listening to 'Abandon' a myriads of thoughts came into my mind, but the core message was 'this is fascinating'. Now Pharmakon is back with a new album called 'Bestial Burden'. For those who don't know, Pharmakon is the power-noise/death-industrial/whatever project of Margaret Chardiet, a woman from NY. This album, as far as I understand, has been conceived during Margaret's long stay in a hospital, for some medical emergences occurred just before her first European Tour. Somehow the album has an aseptic touch, distinctive of hospitals. The structure of her songs is actually very simple: a monotone sinister pad, an essential almost-martial drum section, another pad doing a macabre and, again, essential melody, some noises here and there, and finally her voice. The expertise of this amazing girl are vocals. She screams, she speaks, she laugh, she cries, she vomits. Rarely I had the fortune to listen to such amazing pieces of screams. It reminds me a perfect integration between Roger Karmanik and Marco Corbelli. This album is a masterpiece of death industrial, and I can't wait to listen to future Pharmakon's developments. Highly recommended.
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