Music Reviews



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Artist: Lark Blames
Title: The Reins Of Life
Format: CD
Label: Ur Muzik (@)
Rated: *****
THE REINS OF LIFE is the second release for both Lark Blames and Ur Muzik and this should be a sign of something, because this album is really intense. Formed by Lloyd James (Naevus, Retarder) and Marc Blackie (Sleeping Pictures, These Papercuts), Lark Blames released their first album "Chimney" four years ago on Old Europa Cafe and now are back with six tracks in balance from noise folk (the opening "Cups), industrial noise patchwork ("Hospital"), industrial psychedelia ("Sunday" and "Church") and ambient experimental psychedelia ("Lunge" and "Nimbus"). Most of them are long suites born from improvisation sessions where layers of guitar noises create a thick background for rumbling drums or melancholic piano melodies. Now slow and intense (remembering a bit Skullflower) and then experimental and hallucinatory the album will lead you through muddy paths... watch your step!
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Artist: Neutral Lies
Title: A Deceptive Calm
Format: CD
Label: Boredom Product (@)
Rated: *****
Neutral Lies are a duo coming from Lille, Northern France, formed by Jean Francois Dean and Nicolas Delbarre. A DECEPTIVE CALM is their debut album under this moniker but they have on their back years of activity with different bands. Since 1986 they gathered experience with: Mr Collins, The Vegetable Men, Integrite Absolue, A Place Apart, Frenetic Convulsions, Process On and Concept of Xeno. On A DECEPTIVE CALM they focused their musical skills on a mix of synthpop, upbeat electro and melancholic mid tempos someone, at this point, would name Depeche Mode, but Neutral Lies didn't have exactly that goal, because their music is more influenced by electronic new wave (check tracks like"Nostalgia" and "Slough of despond") and a bit of 80's e.b.m. (on the label's note you can read the name of Absolute Body Control). With intimate lyrics that cover the high and lows of human soul (mostly the second ones), Neutral Lies added to an analogue synthetic sound, a vocal style in balance from melody and detachment that sometimes didn't convince me fully even if with different listening you get used to that and you start to enjoy the cool sounds they use.
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Artist: The Ames Room (@)
Title: In
Format: 12"
Label: Monotype Rec. (@)
Distributor: MonotypeRec.
Rated: *****
In spite of the legendary Keith Jarrett defended free jazz players against the criticism by purists and traditionalists some years ago as one of the highest form of jazz, nowadays a lot of festival directors and people involved in music teaching have still too many prejudices against this branch of jazz, maybe the most radical and 'mystical' due to the vanishing ' sometimes just apparent ' and the consequent disarrangement of beat, meter, formal symmetry. The Ames Room trio had some experience with such a distrustful perspective and discordant feedbacks 'bout their style, but they decided to issue this provocative record including just two (very long) exhibitions, they performed in 2009. The first one was recorded at the festival NPAI in Niort (France) and in that occasion Adrien Chiquet, the director of Mulhouse's METEO festival, complained that the best gig in Niort was 'fucking jazz', while the second one was recorded in Poznan (Poland) and Polish organizers said The Ames Room's style was not jazz! The three eccentric guys behind this project 'the Berlin-based Australian double bassist Clayton Thomas, the Australian born jazz drummer, electronic musician and composer Will Guthrie and the French electro-acoustic composer, organist and alto saxophonist Jean-Luc Guionnet ' define their own style as hard driven terror jazz, but they don't seem to be too interested in definitions or academic learned disquisitions and I suppose even the listeners are going to relegate similar troubles to the back of the class after discovering the raw energy this combo is able to free throughout its eccentric session. I particularly appreciated not only the outlandish espressivo spontaneousness of their sound, but also the way they let 'speak' their instruments, being Jean Luc's saxophone ' it's really funny the way he can modulate it as to turn into croaking, moaning, shrieking and screeching across the intensively devious drum dynamics agitated by Mr.Guthrie's sticks and pedals! - and Will's drum the greater dialogists of the sessions and if you concentrate on the role inside the choral performance by each instrument it really seems they created a soundtrack for an Ames room, based on the three-dimensional optical illusion invented by American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames in 1934 given by a particular interior design for buildings where dwarfs could look like giants and viceversa. Funny brainy stuff!
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Artist: Sub Luna
Title: Awake!
Format: CD
Label: Cyclic Law (@)
Rated: *****
Formed by Mikael Lindblom (also a live collaborator for Karjalan Sissit) and Fredrik Sooberg, Sub Luna are the first act to have a release on the new Cyclic Law's First Eclipse series. Dedicated to dark folk music, First Eclipse, bring to the lover of the genre a great second album by Sub Luna. Released four years after their double debut CD "In The Shade of time", AWAKE!, sees the Swedish duo gathering the atmospheres already explored by Current 93 on their "Swastikas for Noddy" album and by Death In June on "But, what ends when the symbols shatter?" giving to the whole a distinctive imprint that refresh the whole result. Singing of love and hate, nostalgia and progression, magic and loss these are (as stated by the label's note) songs of protest from the age of nihilism. Basic 4/4 upbeat bass drum / snare drum beats enforce passionate acoustic guitar / piano ballads that will convince every lover of these sounds.
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Artist: Bisclaveret (@)
Title: Ephemeros [ante 'Te Deum']
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
Have you ever tried to play an instrument at night in the darkness? It's something strange if you are used to stay always with the lights on and used to have your senses kinda under control. It's like floating carried by waves of sounds and you feel like you are a medium. It's like it isn't you that is playing but it's like you are connected to something that normally you aren't aware of. Bisclaveret's new album EPHEMEROS [ANTE 'TE DEUM'] is a concept album focused on the link between the man and the seven angels "Ofis", "Ejael", "Donkuel", "Izrafael", "Semakiel", "Azrael" and "Androgyne" (names used also for titles of the seven tracks of the release). Musically the tracks sound like a ritual where words and sounds blend into one flux where guitars, litanies and synth pads create pulsating suites that actually sound like recordings of improvisations... maybe performed at night in the darkness.
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