Music Reviews



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Artist: JLin (@)
Title: Dark Energy
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
The smoking black splinter on the cover artwork could ideally come from the notorious black monolith, that landed on Earth and changed the course of events of a community of monkeys in the subtly ironic clip of Kubrick's "A Space Odissey", and the cinematic intro "Black Ballet" of this release by Indiana-based producer JLin could foster such a fancy and let you think of footwork as a sort of blessed cosmic stoning against eartlings! Besides any possible whim of your imagination, her definition of footwork, a style which keeps on getting squeezed by many music innovators and was constantly followed by an enlighted music mind like the sadly departed DJ Rashad, could reasonably be considered the state of the art of the genre and not only for the amazing clips where she inserted the menacing voice of notorious fighting videogames ("Flawless Victory" and "Suicide" -!- announcing on "Infrared (Bagua)" obviously got taken frm Mortal Kombat, as well as the "Round 1-Fight" in the middle of the precise cuts of "Mansa Musa" - named after a benevolent ruler of the legendary Mali Empire - will go frakking wild many Street Fighter fans) and the likewise amazing percussive juglling that spread over the album, as one the main feature of her sound is the lack of samples from old funk or soul records (it's about freaking time!!!). After the praises she received for "Erotic Heat", a banging track that was inserted in the list of the second volume of Bangs & Works, the compilation by Planet Mu, which tries to collect the best of Chcago Footwork, this album clearly shows that she could be one of the real pioneer of this evolving genre. I could guess that smoking splinter landed on Gary, JLin's hometown in the neighbourings of Chicago, which saw the birth of Jackson 5 and hosted many Steel Mills - including the one where JLIn works - and some fumes reached her nostrils to enhance her inventiveness. A mysterious godsend for lovers of bass-driven sonorities!
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Artist: Hotel Neon (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
Footsteps on a wooden floor, two sonic waves (a low frequncy which seems to get longer and longer and a higher one which sounds like something a seraphic choir and a feeble murmur), a sort of heartbeat on the threshold of audible hearing levels feature "A Lament", the opening track of this release by which brothers Andrew and Michael Tasselmyer ignited their debut release Hotel Neon in the summer of 2013 on a striclty limited edition of 100 copies on cassette. A couple of years later after the first edition of "Hotel Neon" begun to circulate by means of word of mouth within a cosy huddle of ambient lovers, Ian Hawgood decided to re-release it by remastering the original version, that Tasselmyer Bros. mainly moulded by using cheap equipment (a usb recorder, cheap guitars, an effects processor and a computer). The title of the following track "Dust and Drag" seems to describe the sound processing, where listener could hear an undefined frequency which get finely pulverised before getting stocked by somber stretched tone and a mechanical loop, which sounds like a clock, while "The Crushing Weight" is the first exposure of the listener to more peacefully ethereal radiations and likewise smooth frequencies keep on shield listener from the rumbling sub-tones of "The Eye's Mind", which precedes the ecstatically narcotic reels of "Deprivation" and the entrancing subtle buzz, which flows through the heart of following "Confines". Distant thunderstorms attempt in vain to disrupt the heavenly ataraxia of "Lowly", the track which closes a release that perfectly matches the tagline of Hotel Neon: Restraint over haste, Perception over presumption, Awareness over intent". The Zen fingerprint on the a test tube filled with amniotic fluid.
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Artist: Core Shift
Title: Far Beyond The Stars
Format: 3" MiniCD
Rated: *****
Core Shift is a project started by Mike Kramer, based in the Netherlands. He's the initiator of the (h)ear foundation, an organization that support electronic music artists by putting up events such as lectures, workshops and exhibitions. Mike Kramer's founded Core Shift in early 2013 as an output for his electronic and ambient music production. His latest offering under this pseudonym is reminiscent of the ambient techno of the nineties. Think Basic Channel, Aphex Twin (Selected Ambient Works), Fuse, The Orb and B12. There is only one track on this mini album, called 'Far Beyond The Stars'. The track features all the ingredients of ambient techno music: lush pads, pulsating 808 rhythms, flickering synthetic riffs and the occasional sampled dialogues. Mike Kramer describe Core Shift's music as 'Dance for the mind' and rightly so, as his music is both beat based and has enough layers of sound textures to keep your interested all the way through. The track ends with a more twisted, noisier and darker tone. I have the feeling that it could have lasted way longer and it's almost a shame that the track ended so abruptly. It sounded like a live improvisation that had to cut short, which is really sad. However, it's still a good piece and it's well done electronic music. 'Far Beyond The Stars' is certainly not the most original music out there, but it's a real pleasure to listen to. This mini album is limited to 50 copies and is self released.
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Artist: ImiAFan + Dario Seraval
Title: Against The Walls
Format: 12"
Label: Seja Records (@)
Rated: *****
Imi Vegh lately is kinda busy collaborating and releasing music under his moniker ImiAFan and "Against The Walls" is his latest one which has been released recently by the Dutch label Seja Records. For this new MLP Imi collaborated, again, as for the "Neurozone" LP, with a legend of 80s electronic music: Dario Seraval, singer of Borghesia. I'm sure that if you are acquainted with e.b.m., you know at least their album "Ljubav Je Hladnija Od Smrti". On this new ImiAFan MLP, you can find four new tracks ("Možgani Na Asfaltu", "Crne Rukavice", "Poker" and "Words Strong As Blood - Original Instrumental Version") with music composed by Imi Vegh, Miki Bernath and Dario Seraval and vocals by the latter. For the lyrics they did a particular thing, because they wrote them taking inspiration from eastern Europe punk bands GRC, Berlinski Zid and the Slovenian poet Tomaz Salamun. Musically, the tracks are based on a minimal atmosphere where upbeat tempos and synth sequences create a strong structure where Dario is able to sing his vocals giving life to a convincing performance full of pathos. You can call it minimal e.b.m. or else but it really doesn't matter, because Imi has his own style which you'll appreciate, thanks to the use of analog synths sounds and catchy tiny melodies. Closing the vinyl, you can find a Damolh33 remix of "Poker" and a so called gothic version of "Crne Rukavice". I found this record really good but you can check by yourselves following this link: http://sejarecords.bandcamp.com/album/seja-10-imiafan-dario-seraval-against-the-walls
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Artist: A Sacred Cloud & Anarchist Mountains
Title: Ep Cosmique
Format: CD
Label: Jeunesse Cosmique (@)
Rated: *****
This great split ep by A Sacred Cloud and Anarchist Mountains has been released by the Jeunesse Cosmique & Howl! Arts Collective labels. Both record labels are based in Montreal, Canada. Apparently, the A Sacred Cloud contribution is a live recording of a concert that took place at the Sala Rossa in January 2014. It was a concert organized to support a Pakistan family who couldn't get the refugee status by the Canadian government. The music is very cosmic and abstract (in a good way) and the variety of sound sources used for this recording makes their part of the album an enjoyable ride. Personally, I preferred their second track called ' Run, Run Shaw' because of the heavy use of analog synthesizers in it (it sounds like the Korg Monotron Delay) and also because of the beautiful synthetic arpeggiator that comes in about half way through the piece. I also have a soft spot for improvised flute playing and the two tracks by A Sacred Cloud feature plenty if it! Not all improvised music is good, but in this case the talent is there and the listening experience is good.

Anarchist Mountains side was recorded in an apartment in Montreal (dubbed L'Apartement Cosmique). Their pieces are much more ethereal and ambient, we're almost in new age territory here, and the production is clearer than A Sacred Cloud. The aptly named piece 'Glacier' is indeed reminiscent of the great North while 'Estuary' noisier take on ambient music is different in tones but similar in vibe. The minimal silk screened artwork is beautiful and it comes with a nice cardboard insert. If you're a fan of experimental ambient music, in the same vein as Celer, you'll be pleased by this ep. Note that the album is available for a pay-what-you-want price on Bandcamp.
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