Music Reviews

Artist: William Basinski (@)
Title: The Disintegration Loops II
Format: CD
Label: MMLXII(2062) (@)
One can't do without some historical data on THE DISINTEGRATION LOOPS II. Two acts of destruction are merged in one creative idea. Two "minuses" have turned into "pluses" with mathematical precision: the falling of NY twins and the once and for all flaking magnetic tape that has been storing William's records for ages. There are no transformations in sight within the cyclical movement of loops. No contrasts, just one big, amorphous cloud, kaleidoscopically lighted from without. Its compositions, once smooth and flexible, have not been reborn, but rather taken another stance, thanks to a magnetic tape. The dynamic reincarnation has hidden the past beyond the silent memory, leaving to us only what's on show here. The curious thing in this album's idea is the intersection of attitudes - the parting with the past in order to create in the present and the saving of the present in order not to forget in the future.

The opportunity to see William's video-installation, which emphasizes the roots of this work, will bring immeasurable rewards. Let us just say that the video is nothing else than the fixing of day-long fading of American emblem - the skyscrapers of World Trade Center. Rolling clouds of smoke and dust, sucked in by the clear sky in an attempt to hide its inappropriate smoothness, the shifts of lighting and the dark silhouettes of city domes and roofs, watching the agonized convulsions of their gaudy neighbors from a distance.

A clarinetist with a classical background, expressive jazz saxophonist and stylish composer William Basinski doesn't live any space for boredom and indifference. His trademark technique - mixing and overdubbing several melodic loops - sounds quite simple, but from this simplicity his delicate and abrasive ambient aquarelles are born.

The first of a couple of long compositions is "D|P 2.2". The crunching and whooshing surround snatches of sound that stir the calm smoothness of light and blurry melodic line. The crackling and droning sounds seem like they're trapped in the cabin of a roller coaster. The slow ascending to the next peak and the shivers of impatience are running through the body as the heart ceases to beat and in the middle of a sigh we are thrown down again to the abyss which is instantaneous, strangely attractive and inescapable. The next round, deceptively similar to the previous one, will find us in completely another, excited state. On the next peak the throw down will not be so sharply felt, we will feel the desire to retain the regular breath in order to be able to see everything that's visible from the point of the beginning of falling. The irrepressible oblivion will turn into the heat of a hunter.

The music of William is not a landscape, it's the air filled with ozone, made sparser by the wind and colored by sun blisters. The stamp of beauty is found on every bit of it, the beauty as the only constant force which is visible even during the saddest moments. The gentle melancholy, which is especially felt in the second composition on the disc "D|P 3", does not break the inner harmony. It is changing the balance of moods, but doesn't bring any mess of feelings. The sound flows freely in our veins, it seems, instead of being limited by space enclosed within the walls. The crystal flow of sound penetrates each living cell, enveloping the insides, filling us with unexplainable freshness, relaxing, giving strength, unobtrusively healing and remaining after it's gone. Hypnotized, we leave the headphones lying on the table after completing this journey together with the music, taking this calm, ever-staying beauty with us. The pulsating atmosphere becomes part of us. It's out of reach for unconsciousness because it's not a phenomenon, but a natural, universal rhythm.
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Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Rise - The Story of Outlaw Disco Donnie
Format: CD
Label: Utensil recordings (@)
After the success of the independent documentary film "Rise" about New Orleans' finest Freebass Society raves, organized by the unstoppable promoter Disco Donnie, the director of the film Julie Drazen, the producer Summer Forest Hoeckel and Utensil Recordings label director Mike Bosley, have decided to unite to give us this official soundtrack to the movie; a work of love that features Crystal Method, Nico, Leftfield, Trancesetters, Thievery Corporation, Charles Feelgood, Hawke feat. Adamsmasher, Tommie Sunshine, Vigi and Flip, Dj Qbert, Josh Wink, Tsunami One, Ils and to conclude Adam Freeland with Josh Wind and Tom Middleton. 19 tracks (five of which previously unreleased plus one exclusive remix) and bits and samples from the movie that will mean a lot to those who have attended one of these allegedly unforgettable events in the past. Moving swiftly and joyfully across trance, house, techno, ambient, goa, breakbeats, downtempo, turntable virtuoso and everything in between.Perhaps the most notable and noble thing about this record is that part of its «proceeds will be donated to the EM:DEF (Electronic Music Defense and Education Fund), an advocate for the electronic music industry which has proven itself crucial to the survival of the electronic underground» and who have raised enough funds for the legal defense of event promoters (Disco Donnie being the first of them) that couldn't afford legal court defense from unjust prosecutions such as the infamous Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act (better known as the "rave bill", passed by Senate and Congress on April 10th). More info at
Artist: Observe And Control
Title: Self-Titled
Format: CD
Label: Self-Released
EBM has become a very misinterpreted term these days, with Future Pop monstrosities (you know who you are!) lumbering about under the guise of EBM and the market hysteria around it. But this band, hailing from war-torn Tel Aviv (Israel), brings about a new energy and brings us back to the true definition of EBM: driving techno beats lined with organic industrial drumming (kinda like Crocodile Shop), sharply done trance-synth lines, and those classically trancey, droning vocals. The lyrics are very enigmatic but very clear as to their meaning, such as "War", giving us the general idea what they are expressing without being bland nor vapid about it. Every track is simply energy defined, with a shot of pure emotion shining through. It sounds pretty much like the group Assemblage 23 wish they were, but could never come anywhere close to being (no insult intended, as Tom is a very nice guy!). As the first band of this kind from Israel, I’m becoming rather certain this scene and band (along with Mexico) could easily give Germany a run for it’s money very soon. Rating: 10
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Artist: ASTREA REDUX (@)
Title: Fractals
Format: CD
Label: Meta Wave (@)
Astrea Redux lived two phases as a band. The fist one goes from 1984 to 1991 where the band members were: Axel Treusch (music, keys, vocals, lyrics), Stefan Riel (vocals, lyrics, mixing), Antje Mead (vocals, mixing) and Rieke Weiger (vocals, dance, graphics). On 1987 they also worked to a couple of their tracks with John Foxx at his Garden studio but those tracks never saw the light as a record. In early nineties they released a single titled "Sternenlicht" as Endzeit but by their ammission, putting on that record three of their weaker and commercial songs hasn't been a good thing to do. After that experience the band split up. In 1995 the phase two begun: Axel met Oliver Münch (who was playing as A New Ground) and they started to work together but only in 1999 they decided to team up definitively under the name of Astrea Redux. The compilation I've received to review is a sum of their songs composed between 1984 and 1992. The eighteen songs of the CD show very well the band influences and make of them a sort of ideal link with 80's electro new wave. Astrea Redux started where bands like Ultravox, Visage or Gary Numan ended. The band wanted to incarnate the spirit of the electronic fathers going on with the work they started:, experimenting with sounds and melodies and keeping on the initial idea without surrending themselves to the glittering and seducing dance/mainstream calling. Listening to these tracks you're led into a place where the chart results where the consequence of a good song and not of a good marketing work. A place where the early works of people like John Foxx, Simple Minds or Ultravox are still echoing. Many songs are instrumental voyages where every electronic lover could find himself at home while the remaining ones are electro wave songs with fashinating melodies. This is definitively a good CD that finally gives justice to the early work of the band bringing to light their buried treasure. I'd like to listen to their new stuff, at this point... :)
Artist: Bruce Atchison (@)
Title: Shut Up & Talk 2 Me
Format: CD
The Canadian composer Bruce Atchison appears not as the creator, but rather as the delicate conductor of the three worlds - the world common to all mankind, the private inner world, and the no man's cosmic one. With an unexplainable, both alienating and magnetic spiral he screws the mind of a listener into the solid rock of infinity! He showers us with waves, not impulses that are ready to rise from just one half-sigh. The turning of head, the swallowing of saliva, the random playing of wind behind the windowpane, is about to tear the tight thread, meticulously tuned by Bruce's genius, about to break the unstable link between the planes of space, time, sensuous and visual memory. By moving the planes and facets, he builds the multilevel pyramid, matching the clearances with some linking diagonal that sets the trajectory for our purposeful journey.

Let's stretch the mental canvas to its full length, wipe off the dust, deleting all unnecessary details, smoothing out all wrinkles and washing out the spots. Remaining motionless, we find ourselves in the final point which is not identical to the beginning. Our medium does not deceive us with some serene hypnosis, but there's no other natural ways of listening to his music, which is not even so much of music, as it is the interdimensional speech, amplified in the light of microscopic magnification.

The dark, ominous and spiky sonic fragments make up the alluring and harmonic whole and the technicism of womb-like, edgy voice becomes the hook that firmly holds the uneasy, flowing beauty of electronic melodies within the limits of the river-bed. The painting of sound by Bruce Atchison is akin to the geometrical plastic of the art of Ancient Egypt, and its origin seems equally dubious at times - either human hands or extraterrestrial forces. The mystery of the sphinx, the pyramids, and the music of Atchison - even if the scale is different, the origins seem to be the same. The author's use of radio-wave aesthetics doesn't mean his longing for unnecessary complexity and excessive décor; it's the essential part of his universal thinking that covers all elements, distances and moods.

Some compositions are essentially just words submerged in ambient textures. The music has narrative character as well. It's neither the monolog of a bard nor lively hip-hop recital, nor fluffy opera lyricism. It's more like the distant observation, the statement of the endless wayfaring of a man in the most global and existential sense.

The compositions, full of diversity and expression, are hanging on the rope of single tempo. The insinuating sonic fog is ascending in serpentine movements like a snake. The proceedings are laid-back and calming and we find melancholy without sentimentality, modesty of colors without monotony. The landscapes are light and airy. They are almost imperceptible, so that only the well-cut structure reminds us of their presence, without which the sound would turn into formless and inert mass.

The seemingly faceless and cold music hides real strong charge that makes sure the generous message of the composer safely reaches the listener. This message is to embrace the whole world and to newly find your own self as part of it, and to do it in a way yet unthinkable.
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