Music Reviews

Artist: Band Ane
Title: Anish Music Too & Free
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Jenka (@)
Distributor: VME
Rated: *****
Some biographical notes could be really important to understand one of the most astonishing musical personality of Ane Oestergaard: her innocent face akin to the one by an angelic street urchin saw the light in a little village in the region of Jutland and begin the adolescence in an idyllic setting, a place where everyone knows each other amidst a fabulous natural context. Her family house was nearby a small lake surrounded by a big forest, the ideal place to develop a refined artistic and musical sensitivity where she inherited the passion for music from her beloved father - whose collection of records included a plenty of classical, pop, acid rock and even avantgarde and electro-acoustic stuff -, refined in England where she attended a jazz course, set on the right road by her boyfriend, an electronic music lover which advised her to attend a Cubase training course and propelled in the fertile artistic ground of Aahrus, a little Danish city growing in popularity for having given a plenty of very interesting contemporary electronic musicians (musicians such as Jonas Olesen, Karsten Pflum, Heidi Mortensen and Jonas Rasmussen just to mention a few of blossoms grown in that scented electronic musical garden...),where she actually lives attending the electronic music course at the local conservatory.

This double album has been inspired by a prolonged stay in her home-town, where she rediscovered the fascination of countryside, a sort of intimate and personal dimension injected in the peaceful and perfumed melodies of the first part of this oeuvre, being Anish Music Too, following her very debut full-length in 2006 (Anish Music) an eloquent title to highlight there's an idyllic but above all personal imprinting on it, a silent and quite place, suddenly broken by the somewhat idyllic and "noisy" life of the eccentric neighbourhood disquieting or I'd better say delighting and inspiring the second part of Ame's release, "and Free", where she poured tales, life stories and rural portraits coming from outside her red hut by translating it into the universal language of music in such an evocative way that you don't need to understand Danish to imagine her sketches. She plays with different music idioms in an off-hand manner adding a delicate touch to a glitchy style getting narrative sketches, contemplative soundscapes (close to the lovely ones by Future 3), references to Japanese contemporary music (some tracks could remind to the musical mind of most careful listener slices of Takagi Masakatsu, Nobukazu Takemura or musicians playing with the appreciated Japanese label Schole), some chilled stuff by names such as Plaid, Pole, Aphex Twin or Boards Of Canada and some of their gaudy pieces of respective inventories, glitch-ambient, drill'n'bass, childplays and even techno afloat in an easy and balanced way - tracks such as Ballongyngen, Atom Muffin, Cirkel, Braendsel and even the one she dedicated to her favorite broadcast of a Danish radio station, Harddisken, based on laptop-generated music (her main love amidst personal armory...) could remind you something already listened, but you'll recognize a certain coherence from the stylistic viewpoint...-. You'll also fall in love with her way of filtering the above-mentioned rural portraits included in the second part of this issue in such a whimsical way! Brimful and brilliant work-out! ...and definitively one of the most delightful release in recent times as well!
Artist: Voice Electronic Duo
Title: SON
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: MonotypeRec
Rated: *****
The anatomical description of this Polish electro-acoustic project's caged both in its denomination, Voice Electronic Duo, and in this record, SON, not only because its line-up made up of the talented experimental vocalist Zofia Esden (voice and loops) and the prolific sound-artist Marcin Demyter aka Emiter (generator, electronics, voice, loops and tapes), but mainly as this record could stand as a sort of spelling-book of their own style: they pay homage in three of five tracks to some historical cornerstones of art and experimental music in particular: Intonarumori, as you could easily argue, is dedicated to the notorious sound machine built by the Futurist Italian musician Luigi Russolo, considered the very first pioneer of the so-called machine music, whose The Art of Noises, one of his masterpieces is a must-read for people involved in the composition of experimental music, includes an interesting classification of different noises, which could be used, while Le Monde Sonore Existe, a bizarre excerpt with vortical vocal experiments by Zofia and looping by Marcin, is a quotation taken from Ezra Pound's Machine Art, aimed to give a convincing theoretical dignity to the unconvential side of music and the title-track, the astonishingly 16minutes and 16 seconds-lasting Son, dedicated to the legendary John Cage, seems to be an application of the statements he did about aleatory music just after he embraced Zen philosophy. A part of these remarkable tributes, I mainly appreciated VED's music art in the other two tracks: the disquieting Herbaciarnia u pani Flory is maybe the best expression of the vocal experiments by Zofia and in same passages of the harshily recursive hypnotical 4/4 loop you could have the impression she took microphones and recorder during a painful surgical operation on the day every anaesthetist was on vacation! A really stunning track just like Mandala, where a more peaceful and entrancing sound environment let Zofia's ethereal and feather-like trilling flow higher turning them into something close to a nightingale's warbling! Realized with the financial support of Pomeranian voivodship government, this nice issue features an artwork cared by Anna Witkowska.
Artist: JPLS (@)
Title: The Depths
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Minus
Rated: *****
After the swashing minimal techno wave flooded over a lot of techno clubs throughout the planet, having sometimes brushed some old techno-trance sounds up in brimful dj consolles and nothing more, there're some techno-makers rediscovering the "anthemic" and most conceptual side of techno on the pathways of what some peppy producers such as Plastikman made in a not so far past-time. Even if Jeremy Jacobs aka JPLS doesn't disengage the minimal clutch especially in the compositional structure of the track, based o gradual addition of sonic elements, it could be filed into this privileged archive of sonic researchers side by side to other renowned producers such as Robert Hood, Frank Bretschneider, AFX or Thomas Felhmann. As his previous album in 2007, entitled The Twilight, entirely based on tracks conceived between 3 and 5 am (!), The Depths rests on a solid conceptual layer derived from a bunch of visions and visionary models you could easily find in theoretical physics' essays or in personal diaries with detailed reports inspired by hallucinogenic drugs! In particular, JPLS could have imagined the interactions of sound particles with other sub-sub-atomic recipes flowing in the surroundings or presumably the physical chain reactions which could stand behind an arguable transformation of the mentioned particles into energy (don't be scared...most talented techno makers could easily feed this kind of lucubrations throughout their releases!).

From the obscure pool introducing this atomic whirls, a set of stretched hats begins cleaving the sonic space and abruptly absorbs the listener into a gluey magma of sub-tones and percussive low frequencies: the listener will not easily distinguish when the outro of Reset - the 13-minutes lasting track I'm talking about - really begins lulled by the sound of castanet-like pulsating beats and will inadvertently slide into the following one, Zero Point - a sort of gradual disintegration of one melodic line, whose hypnotic step partially mask the juxtaposition of the same melodic line before it completely fades - and Displacement, whose structure is more conventional, starting with a suffocating kick-bass whose heavy trampling seems to arise clouds of dusty sounds drawing foggy mantras while Jeremy trifles on pitch, even if his favorite game is more similar to those "guess the differences between similar images" you could find on a plenty of crosswords issues! The following track, Basis, is just confirmation of Jeremy's preferences: a good example of looping where a limited set of sounds is injected into a cyclic movement which slightly vary during the recursive movement turning into something completely different. How many similarities with biological cycles can you notice?!?! The second part of the album is more "experimental": one of the funniest track is surely Fold, where a booming electro bassline seems twirling on itself when Jeremy adds a layer of random harmonics to the spectrum before the final disgregation introducing the entrancing down tempo groove of Collapse, a track featuring sounds which could be presumably inherit the visceral ones of an alien being after a Lucullian banquet! The spectral engratation of stripped down beats and deep harmonic percussions in Convolution is going to ease listener's way to the final track, State, where those shaking sound particles which begin their venomous effluxes at the beginning of the record are going to leave their residual energy. A funny as well as dumb misconception of looping, dealing with the purist minimal heads, just like almost any M-nus release!
Artist: Daemonia Nymphe
Title: Live At La Nuit des Fées
Format: DVD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Rated: *****
Daemonia Nymphe, in my humble opinion, are one of the most enchanting bands of the whole Prikosnovenie catalog. They have a mystery halo and their self made instruments which reproduce antique Greek models make sound their music even more involving. This DVD catches them live at the 2009 edition of La Nuit Des Dees festival where they performed eleven tracks. I don't know if you ever saw a photo of their act but I assure you that they are worth your time: try to imagine three white witches wearing masks dancing smoothly while percussing their tiny bells (or performing like on "Divined by Trophonios") or playing ancient strings instruments while three guys on the background beat hardly their drums, play a percussive string instrument (sorry but I don't know its name) and guitar. For 50 minutes you'll be enchanted by sirens' chants and even if you don't understand their language you'll dream of heroes battling while trying to return to their homes, magic spells, angry deities and feasts. The sound and image is great and different cameras have been used, shooting the concert from different angles just to give an extensive live experience. As bonus (along with the Daemonia Nymphe video of "Divine goddess of fertility"), to make you live in full the atmosphere of the La Nuit Des Fees festival, Prikosnovenie shoot a panoramic introduction to the stands and to the people present to the event and also put an extract of the Corde Oblique gig (they perform six tracks where you'll be able to appreciate Riccardo Prencipe's guitar and the soft harmonies of Claudia Sorvillo's vocals) and ten minutes of Djaima with two tracks of their Bulgarian folk (really touchy the atmospheres of "Mamo").
Artist: Argine
Title: Umori D'autunno
Format: CD
Label: Ark records (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
The new album from Argine is an album inspired by autumn the season of falling leaves and days becoming shorter. After "Dentro" a short instrumental which open the album there the first peak of the album "Risveglio" when a piano gives light to a sad and calm acoustic guitar riff (we are in pure neofolk territories). "Lontana" could well stand in a Death in June album, and this is a compliment. "Pioggia" drives us in war songs territories with a good choice of synths and the rage of the electic guitar and the filtered voice. "Distesa" yelds perfectly the band's idea of autumn with a wounderful description of a landscape and the melody of the violin. Then the album continues with two electical songs "umori d'autunno" e "insofferenza" and two acoustical songs "Ad una finestra" e "Parole e segnali conosciuti". "Dicembre" is almost a new wave songs with the lines of electic guitar and the fast rhythm. "Blu Luce" close the album with an atmosphere which recall the first light of the dawn after a long night. This band shows a solid idea of song structure and musical ideas of a variety unknown of most band of the neofolk scene. This album will end up in an end of the year playlist.
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