Music Reviews



image not
available
anymore
Artist: JOHN HUDAK
Title: On and On
Format: CD
Label: Presto!?
Rated: *****
"To create «On And On», I recorded myself strumming a guitar for a long time. I converted the strumming audio to midi information (a collection of numbers that hold the basic pitch information along with duration and volume). The computer had to simplify the strumming, and in this simplification, left me with a melody ... a succession of number information that I used to trigger the pitches of an instrument much like a dulcimer". Call me lazy but sometimes quoting the artist himself is the best way to introduce a very peculiar work. "On and On" is a mammoth single-track, 70'28" by an artist who's surely not easy to pigeonhole, having worked with anything from pond microsounds to human voices to "traditional" instruments as in this case. But "On and On" is surely not a traditional guitar-based album. The simple strumming is layered and repeated in a sort of cascade continuum, with a minimalism that could even get on your nerves. You sense there are notes, yet the repetitive structure is that of a though minimalist opus (Charlemagne Palestine's strumming came to mind, though it's surely not the closest comparison). And yes, somebody has already underlined that, there's a sort of zen serenity and detachment that seems to spring from these notes. Now, I feel this acts a sort of Rorschach test: can you stand 70 minutes of (true, non plastic, non wallpaper) beauty and detachment? I can surely stand ugliness, and gravel-like sounds, but I've found this an uneasy listening. This eventually revealed a harder experience than I expected, and not because of boredom.
image not
available
anymore
Artist: Cory Allen (@)
Title: The Fourth Way
Format: CD
Label: Quiet Design records (@)
Rated: *****
"The Fourth Way" is Cory Allen's fourth full length album release, out on the Austin, Texas-based label Quiet Design, run by our very own contributor (and talented musician himself) Mike Vernusky. Allen's way of creating music includes a Fender Rhodes and a Moog Voyager and he augments those with software patches and raw computer data converted into crackling sound files. Abstract and uncontrolled as such randomized conversions might sound like, Allen finds a way to glue and encompass all of that together in a controlled environment of minimalist but expanding ambient music. Droning soundscapes, subtle textures, crystallized sounds mesh and clash in an interplay of emotions and thoughts. Through the bright glitchy sounds and the duller icy diluted pads, the listener is invited to proceed along a journey during which the careful balancing act between self-aware experience and hypnotic full immersion defines the rules of engagement. Quiet Design describes it as invoking a sense of "urgency and zen", and I believe that the relationship and contrast between any two antagonistic states of mind, are what contribute to the very fruition and enjoyment of "The Fourth Way".
cover
Artist: Hardwire (@)
Title: Knflict
Format: CD
Label: Glow:Room Records (@)
Rated: *****

BUY from  BUY NOW from CD BABY (CDBaby.com)
Hardwire is one those industrial-metal bands that are in it for the long haul. They formed back in 1999 in Arizona and have been active ever since, although their release schedule hasn't been as prolific as one might think.
Hardwire embrace the impactful industrial-metal verb of bands like KMFDM, Die Krupps, Skinny Puppy and Rammstein heavily relying on huge walls of distorted guitar riffs and bombastic hammering metallic rhythic patterns. Instead of using the same old and boring filtered EBM-type singing or the more spoken word vocal style of Rammstein or Laibach, these four desert lads adopted the quasi death metal vocal style that resembles that of Fear Factory (who are also a pretty prominent influence in their songwriting process).
"Konflict" is their second full length non-CDR album release and except for the four opening tracks, "Konflict" is pretty much a remix album, with pretty impressive interventions by Die Krupps (if you are a long time fan of Die Krupps like myself, you'll totally recognize their contribution and style), Angelspit, C/A/T, En Esch of KMFDM/Pigface, X-Fusion, Kreign, Caustic and Collapsed System.
Needless to say it's a great album to have if you are into heavy industrual-metal.
cover
Artist: Legendary Pink Dots (@)
Title: Plutonium Blonde
Format: CD
Label: ROIR (@)
Distributor: ROIR
Rated: *****
With a musical career continuing over a quarter-century and releases numbering well over 40, LPD has managed to avoid making commercial concessions throughout that time and grow a cult of listeners into a sizable fan base. Not a huge fan base, but certainly a respectable one for this kind of music. No one in these economically depressed times would be doing extensive touring (especially in the U.S.) if they couldn’t count on a substantial audience willing to spend the bucks to see em live. And the Dots have been touring quite intensely over the last few months to support the new album, PLUTONIUM BLONDE.

The Dots have always been somewhat of an enigma, especially to reviewers and critics. I’ve seen them described as experimental-industrial, neo psych-folk, acidized avante garde ambient electronica, and all manner of other permutations in the pigeon-hole game. Truth of the matter is, LPD can’t be pegged down with a simple description. They are all of the aforementioned in general and no single one in particular. Even Current 93 (kind of a parallel as far as a similarly prolific career goes) is easier to quantify and assess on a "per album" basis. So what have the Dots wrought on PLUTONIUM BLONDE? Is this an essential Must-Have LPD release? Not exactly, but it is an interesting one.

As any Dots fan is aware, LPD is the band vehicle for Edward Ka-Spel, the Wizard of Odd in the windowpane world of the Dots device. Your trip through it is perceived through the lens of his kaleidoscopic spyglass, and like an LSD experience, you never know what you’re going to get in advance. Still, like the drug, there are certain things you can expect- tracks that start out as songs and tangentially morph into something else; Ka-Spel’s inimitable vocal meanderings with cryptic lyric imagery; ominous dream-like passages, and an overall tone of psychedelia. And yes, PLUTONIUM BLONDE definitely has all of these elements.

There are also a few tracks where the main focus is Ka-Spel backed primarily by acoustic guitar or even banjo lending a folky touch (think Incredible String Band rather than Pete Seeger) seeming more wistful than I’ve heard him sound in a while. But no ditty stays intact from beginning to end as strange, spacey ambiences take you elsewhere. Perhaps the most "commercial" track on PLUTONIUM BLONDE, if you could even call it that is "My First Zonee" sounding like a bit of Syd Barrett style twee Brit-pop. It actually has a simple, memorable hook. Nice, in a whimsical sort of way.

I’ve always found the Dots to be rather melancholy outfit and PLUTONIUM BLONDE is no exception. Still, Ka-Spel is not without humor. His oblique narrative on "Arm and a Leg" bears that out. There is also a good amount of sonic psychedelic effluvia which Dots fans have come to expect and enjoy. So why then, do I consider PLUTONIUM BLONDE a "good" Dots album, rather than a "great" Dots album? Lack of focus for one thing. Lack of intensity for another. Although it may take a couple of listens to really appreciate, by that time much of the impact has worn off. Of course, there’s always the "altered state" value, but having put my indulgence in that behind me, I can only reference my imagination. One other observation - PLUTONIUM BLONDE seems to be a more minimal and sparse endeavor than other LPD outings. It is generally fairly slow-moving too. Maybe something equivalent to an opium dream. After experiencing it, you might be apt to remark, "Where was I for the past hour, and what was that all about?"
image not
available
anymore
Artist: Airchamber 3 (@)
Title: Crumble
Format: CD
Label: Amirani records
Rated: *****
Airchamber3 is an Italian trio featuring Andrea Serrapiglio, Andrea "ICS" Ferraris (who also writes for Chain D.L.K.), Luca Serrapiglio. "Crumble" is their first CD as a trio (although they all have previous experiences and side projects) and also features Alessandro Buzzi on one song. "Crumble" is the document of a series of recording sessions where the three experimented live with laptops, guitar, saxophone, cello, percussion and a bunch of other toys, gadgets and instruments (phototheremin, kaoss pad, wind controllers, loopabow, contact mics etc). These sessions were tracked live, without any overdubs, and were simply divided into multiple different sections that became the "songs" of this CD. If you are familiar with the live experimentation and avantgarde music scene you'll know exactly what it sounds like, if not you should come to NY and spend a couple of nights at John Zorn's venue The Stone, and you'll see... or hear... The downtown music scene of NY or the SF live improv scene have a ton of bands and artists that could be used as comparisons here (Fred Frith, Eugene Chadbourne, Chris Brown, Jim O’Rourke, Bill Frisell, Elliot Sharp and so and so forth). This is the kind of CD that would not be out of place in the immense Tzadik catalog, but if you are interested in a different, foreign look at what this scene has been creating, Airchamber 3 might be a good place to start your investigation.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...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] [1232] [1233] [1234] [1235] [1236] [1237] [1238] [1239] [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] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960] [1961...1970] [1971...1980] [1981...1990] [1991...2000] [2001...2010] [2011...2020] [2021...2030] [2031...2040] [2041...2050] [2051...2060] [2061...2070] [2071...2080] [2081...2090] [2091...2100] [2101...2110] [2111...2120]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

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