Music Reviews



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Artist: CO.CASPAR.OSP (@)
Title: Labcopilation #2
Format: CD
Label: Paranoise Records (@)
Rated: *****
German label Paranoise Records presents a compilation of studio work in the industrial noise vein of spoken poetry set to sound BY German performance artist COCASPAR.OSP from 1998 to 2003. It’s a limited edition of 500 that includes a poster. Other labels have released most of the tracks but this is a good way to get a sampling OF COC.OSP’s (or CoCaspar, as I will refer to him for the duration of the review) work without having to hunt them all down individually. There are 9 tracks in all lasting a little over an hour. Beginning with a big BANG (not unlike a shaken vintage reverb chamber), "Thus Long Lights Light" is a miasmatic mix of strange birds and noise puffs and pops that gives way to a mélange of ambient voices, the kind you might find in a restaurant. One voice, reading a rather morbid bit of prose(?) emerges and takes the track to conclusion. I should mention that CoCaspar utilizes a rather electronically primitive assortment of paraphernalia consisting of tubes, wires, amplifiers, creaking chairs, etc. to generate his sonic atmosphere. This is actually a good thing, as it takes his expression far a field from the usual sampled fare that tends to dominate the dark ambient and noise genres. Some of the spoken word poetry/prose uses electronic voice processing and some does not. Those segments that did use the processing tended to have the voice a little too up-front giving the voice a separateness that I found to be a little too contrived. I felt that the readings worked best when the voice was unadorned and mixed in with the sound sculptures Cocaspar was creating. But hey, that’s just my opinion. I’m sure some listeners might disagree.For the most part, CoCaspar creates some deliciously malevolent atmospheres that rival vintage Coil in sonic turpitude. This can be heady intellectual stuff in a Nietchzean sort of way. The integration of spoken word with the sonics gives this "compilation" a cohesiveness that is often lacking on a regular release by many artists I’ve heard of late. A lot of people seem to have trouble pinning CoCaspar’s sound down; it’s quite unlike so many artists working in the darkambient/indstrial/noise genres. For lack of a better description, I can only say that CoCaspar creates his own reality via an "unreal" set of implements. It is quite nice that an artist like this can thrive (he’s got a LOT of releases out there, both audio and video) in a musical climate that has moved away from the electronic experimentation of the 80’s and 90’s. But then again, he’s a European artist and I’m sure they’re a lot more open-minded over there about fringe music. Fans of Coil’s more esoteric and less commercial ventures may appreciate this more than most.
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anymore
Artist: ARKTAU EOS (@)
Title: Mirrorion
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
This material is deeply evocative and deals with arcane audio structures. There are both dark elements and crystal sounds. It is an album by a Finnish duo with a very nice artwork! By listening to it, you will be like a traveller inside a quiet dimension where you are allowed and invited to dig your soul. It is interesting to notice that these recordings have been made with no electronic stuff, at least for the first phase. Silver River is probably the deepest moment of the album. The listener will get a strange pleasure in finding himself in a path full of darkness and light.
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anymore
Artist: JUNIOR BOYS (@)
Title: So This Is Goodbye
Format: CD
Label: Domino Records
Rated: *****

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Records like this really thrill those listeners who are into electro stuff. No ebm attitudes, no nostalgic synth pop clones but a fresh wave of modern music. Since the very first note of Double Shadow, analogue sounds surround you, machine boxes make you feel like a human robot. The approach is somehow minimal but at the same time full of nice arrangements as well. First time is simply a masterpiece! It has got a breathtaking change of tune, an elegant clarinet and a good use of the voice. Soft arpeggiators are often in pole position (they sometimes remind me of Water Lily by Sputnika) with tiny pads behind... Dreamy danceable music for sophisticated ears.
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anymore
Artist: KUSH ARORA
Title: Bhang Ragga
Format: CD
Label: Kush Arora Productions
Ok, here's for a tough one to review, not because I dislike dub (which I actually like quite a bit), but because I lack terms of camparison and most of all, I really haven't made up my mind about this album yet. I dig some parts and would gladly do without others. For sure, this San Francisco's musician (here at his second full-length) has a personal approach to dub music, mixing raggae/dancehall styles with electronics and a heavy slab of Indian (Punjabi) music - with a list of guest musicians playing live tabla, dhol and dholak, santoor, flute, etc. More guests offer vocal duties, which is where my main problem lies - I find it really hard to get into N4SA's style, for example, though it could well be a perfect raggae performer. I just don't get into it at all. But the instrumental side is quite interesting throughout, with a sort of Bill Laswell/On U-styled approach and that heavy dose of Eastern sounds. Not my favourite style of dub-cum-electronica, but someone more competent than me could find this a masterpiece.
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Artist: Obfusc (@)
Title: Internal Countryside
Format: CD
Label: Boltfish recordings
Rated: *****

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I dig this. It's a Brooklyn-based IDM/electronic/ambient artist with a lot of good ideas and talent. It's on British record label which has a good and clear vision of how to achieve cinematic atmospheric music and how to showcase it to the world (very neat and well designed website, low-cost but creative promotional press-release design, beautiful and modern record covers).Think of "Internal Countryside" as beat-driven ambient flirting with harmonious idm. Nice overlapping of cozy relaxing sound bits with smooth glitch down-tempo soft-tronica. Smart programming, heavily influenced by the whole Brit thing (the "other" brit thing, that is). If you like the warm, organic, digitized sounds of Warp and of some of their best selling ambient artists, as well as artists rosters of labels such as Toytronic or Expanding, this CD will feel right at home on your shelf.The album includes four remixes by Cheju, Mint, Ova Looven and Milieu as well as a video clip by Jason Banker.
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