Music Reviews



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Artist: Ernesto Rodrigues, Guilherme Rodrigues, Gianna de Toni, Christophe Berthet, Raphael Ortis
Title: Trees
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
It would almost appear that while small tonal leaves detach from their axis, the quintet of improvisers were getting into the act of collecting helical wood shavings, scraping the trunks out, breaking some spines, clearing the deadwood away, piling sawdust and exploring other bizarre dissonances by means of their own instruments: Ernesto Rodrigues (viola) and his son Guilherme (cello) - well known to our readers -, Gianni De Toni (double bass), Christophe Berthet (soprano saxophone) and Raphael Ortis (electric bass and objects) planted five improvisations in between layered stillness ("Moonlit Trees"), shady poised harmonies ("Whistling Trees") and resonances on the edge ("Tree of Life", the track - I think it's not accidental -, which sounds more mysterious and somehow dizzying), which gradually become elements of a soundscape where extended techniques and the unusual clippings that they produce are like giant trees within an open spot.
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Artist: Dreadmaul (@)
Title: Blood Magic EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Boundless Beatz (@)
Rated: *****
The words of the opening "Voodoo", which seem to have been taken from the first chapter of a novel I found on an electronic community, set the mood for the listening of this awesome and somehow gloomy release by German young dnb producer Dreadmaul: "There descended once upon our land a time of darkness and chaos. Fires destroyed our forests, the Oceans went wild, and the heavens forgot how to make rain. Pregnant women gave birth to goats and not babies. Waterholes dried up. The ground became like stone. There was no harvest. Mothers went mad watching their children die of hunger. Fights broke out among our people. Everyone looked for someone to blame for the disasters. The Elders gathered desperate for a solution. They found none and the suffering continued. One day a woman appeared. She was a wise woman guided by two leopards. She looked upon our land of darkness and chaos and told our king 'Your suffering will end only when you worship as we do, the gods of voodoo.". Such a preface could let you foretaste the style he digs, where Upbeats-like dark atmosphere perfectly matches fireballs of haunting tribal drums, sinister low frequencies and gothic sonic entities that reappear on the following "Bloodbath", whose title could let you imagine the content of the words by another voice-over, which speaks over stunning bass-driven thunderclaps, but the real percussive pearl of "Blood Magic" comes on the following "Volcano", whose hitting vibe got built according to a technique that its forger called 'reverse sidechain' - he just increased volume on every hit of the sidechained signal instead of reducing it -. The final "Shutter", whose sonorities could vaguely surmise the thrilling combination of breakcore and IDM that came from another (inactive at the moment) old German act, Beefcake by Gabor Schablitzki and Volker Kahl, is the last menacing black cloud of this excellent release.
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Artist: Porya Hatami (@)
Title: Arrivals And Departures
Format: CD
Label: Time Released Sound (@)
Rated: *****
The theme of the sonic journey by Iranian-Kurdish self-taught soundscapist Porya Hatami could be easily guessed by its title as well as the fine hand assembled artwork that Time Released Sound label boss Colin Herrick made for the limited version edition, which could be unavailable at the moment as just 75 copies came out from label's workshop: inset within vintage outer hadback cover is an antique glass airplane identification slide and you'll find pages of runway identification diagrams, vintage airport photos, flight instructions manuals and handwritten actual pages from old pilots logbooks, avintage pencil and a unique aeronautic snapshot, while each factory pressed disc is slipped into an old airmail envelope. This aural delight mainly focuses on air travel with an impulse on the emotional aspect of flight, where the well-known hybrid of minimal ambient drones and field recordings got bundled by daydreaming dilutions and emotional filters: the opening "Farewell", where singed frequencies float around gentle piano phrases, distant echoes of soft melodies and supposedly nostalgic reminiscences, is the most "cloudy" moment of "Arrivals and Departures", while the following "Homecoming" is maybe the moment when Porya evokes the beauty of his native region - he lives in Sanandaj in the mountainous environment of the Northern West side of Iran -, where you don't realy need an airplane to "feel the sky"; the above-mentioned signs of old aviation vividly speak on the recorded transmissions of the following (soft) "Landing", whose peaceful fluffy pads are going to disperse any possible traces of fear of flight before mitigating the subtle yncope of reversed piano tones and tubular sounds of "Terminal" and getting gradually imbued with dazzling beams on the final "Sunrise Pylon". By Hatami's own admission, a perceptible influence on his sound comes from Taylor Deupree's 12K sonic material.
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Artist: Sistema
Title: Ego EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Factor City
Rated: *****
Even if Manuel Ruiz, the dj - formerly known by his viral moniker Dj Ebola - behind Sistema, is a veteran of vibrant Catalan scene, speaking of an electronic underground scene as a standalone one could be a long shot, as tha scene mainly absorbed the sound of other scenes in order to forge sometimes interesting reworkings thanks to a lively interest on different branches of electronic music that got fostered by worldwide known festivals. The sound that Manuel pumped into this recent release for Factor City feature this attitude, so that I won't say it's ingenious, but I won't say he can't handle some sonorities in a brilliant way: you might, for instance, notice some similarities of the opening "Ego" to late 90ies German chilled trance or Mike Paradinas' first outputs, as well as some resemblances of some synth-pop and electro-house stuff of the well-balanced acid house groove and the celestial vocoders on the following "Run", the soothing "Seiscuarenta" and the melodic techno of "Freeze", but you won't say the listening experiences that this Spanish producer provides are not pleasant at all. The final remix of "Ego" by Barcelona-based duo The Suicide Of Western Culture, whose solarization of the original version by means of over reverbed echoes which could resemble some stuff by Fuck Buttons or Digitonal, is likewise enjoyable.
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Artist: Marsen Jules (@)
Title: Marsen Jules at GRM
Format: CD
Label: Oktaf (@)
Rated: *****
Some unforgettable cosmic journeys by his late compatiot Pete Namlook could come to listener's mind while listening to this release by Martin Juhles, the real name of Marsen Jules, who composed this little gem in a couple of weeks while staying in the legendary GRM-studios at Radio France in Paris. Lookign beyond any possible similarities, listeners can only but swaying his mind in this isolationist pleasure, a sort of ascension over string-driven glares whose symphonic tails gently vanishes on a wall of low-frequency sound, which creates the impression you are floating in the deep space. In order to render this 35-minutes lasting journey that he splitted in a couple of tracks, Martin followed the principles of Pierre Schaeffer, the founder of the "Groupes de Recherches Musicales", and notoriously one of the main composer of the so-called "Musique Concrete" movement, whose composition were mainly based on recorded sounds and sound manipulation. He managed to render a really immersive and relaxing listening experience.
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