Music Reviews



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Artist: Taiga Remains
Title: Works For Cassette
Format: 12"
Label: The Helen Scarsdale Agency (@)
Rated: *****
In the act of decanting the five tracks of this collection from tape to vinyl and digital data, James Plotkin wisely kept the tape hiss of the original versions intact, as he understood that it's an essential element of the fascinating aesthetics by Alex Cobb, the guru of Cincinnati-based Students Of Decay and the man behind the curtains of Taiga Remains. This sonic pouring on San Francisco-based label Helen Scarsdale Agency combines a couple of rare releases by Alex under that guise, which already appeared as strictly limited tape editions in 2008: the first one, "Beneath The Weeping Beeches", came out on Matthew Sullivan's tape label Ekhein, where the sweetly sorrowful resins of the initial "Sup Pralad" and the icy thorns of "There's Nothing" seem to get gelled on the dreamlike plains of the entrancing sonic sprouts of "Skin, Leaves"; the second one is "Thereafter", which got formerly released by Mike "Treetops" Pollard's label Arbor, whose two tracks - named after two types of Taiwanese tea ("Winter Tai-Tung" and "Spring-Shan-Lin-Shi") - shows the masterful way Alex manages to generate emotional convections by means of gently layered processed guitars, which phases their radiant heat out. You won't get nauseated while sipping these two cups of psychedelic tea.
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Artist: Hunter Complex
Title: Hours
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Narrominded (@)
Rated: *****
This new release is a digital single from the already reviewed last album from this outfit. As stated in my review, the musical outcome is 'a sort of modern postcard from a distant era' and is something that, perhaps for the nostalgic effect, is really easy listening in the best meaning of the word.
The first track is the second single taken from 'Heat' and is constructed as an almost classic synth pop track from the early '80s with luminous melodic development. The really interesting part is the two remix: the first one, from The No, is focused on the juxtaposition of an hard edge beat over the melodic lines of 'Seriuos Glasse', while the second one, from Drvg Cvltvre, entirely deconstructs 'Highway Hypnosis' taking it in darker and more evocative territories making and interesting use of noises as it doesn't erase the pop allure of the tune.
As almost every single this is a collector's item, however the Drvg Cvltvre remix is something worth a listen and could even acts as a possible line of development for Hunter Complex. Nice
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Artist: Aeoga (@)
Title: Temple Treye
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
The piercing sound of a theremin on the opening track (or I'd better call refer to tracks as "telemorphic sonic formations", as they call them) "Feast Of The Stance" instantly immerses the listener into the hallucinatory sacredness of the listening experience that Finnish duo Aeoga provides on this entrancing release. Its pealing resonances as well as the sepulchral afterglows on the following "Between The Crescent Hooks" seem to evoke the reawakening of dormant supernatural being, whose first yawning got hailed by hypnotical tribal drums, and could mark the resurgence of this project, even if "Temple Treye" was already recorded and performed on live stage in 2006 and got de-iced after eight years of hibernation by Aural Hypnox, the discographic display of the artists of the Helixes collective and their thelemic entities. The menacing opacity of lo-fi synth murmuring and the crystalline tinkling of "Telemorphic Cuts" draws obscure diagrams around listeners before the spooky roaring, the ominous pace and the other-worldy invocations of "Temple Treye" lets distinguish its appalling lineaments, where the vividly sketched ascetic exaltation of this sort of sonic rite becomes blurred on the magnetic soup of "Transparallel Mist" and reveals unexpected phosphorescences on the final "Feast Of Te Trance", the conclusive phase of an unmissable release for lovers of drone-like dark-ambient sonic substances.
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Artist: France Jobin (@)
Title: The Illusion Of Infinitesimal
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Rated: *****
If some sonic diggers accidentally begin to listen to this album by Montreal-based sound installation/artist and minimalist composer France Jobin aka I8U without knowing anything about its conceptual aspect, I'm pretty sure some of them could surmise that a maladroit nipper foolishly forgot to calibrate input controls on mixer while listening the opening track "1/2" where just some delicate frequencies, high beeps (not so different from pure tones for audiometric tests) and thin piercing sounds cross the microscopic holes left by knitted pad-synths which got intentionally mastered at a very low volume and seem to act like a filter for unnecessary and maybe unwanted sonic intrusions. According to a different way of listening the same track, you could imagine it's like an unobtrusive diaphragm between listeners and surrounding world, that you keep on feeling whether you are wearing headphones or you are listening to it from loudspeakers, where just some delicate sonic entities occasionally detach from the above-mentioned stream of frequencies as if "1/2" tries to render moments of temporary partinf from "outer world". Even the only trace of noise on the second part of the suite doesn't get under your skin as it rather resembles the noise of distant engines (a car, a watercraft, a helicopter o maybe a tractor) when you are on a desolate beach at dawn. A similar route between barely audible loops to resurfacing sonic entities has been followed on the other two long-lasting suites: whereas the central track "0" could evoke a peaceful reverie in a countryside farm, this talented Canadian woman pulls the initial pure tones and bleeps out of the sonic sphere before letting that previously almost silenced drone wrap the listener into a warmer embrace on the final "+1". That's a very good rapture in the fertile plot of minimalist ambient.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Traces Three
Format: 12"
Label: Recollection GRM/Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
The series "Traces", which collects authentic pearls from more or less unknown pioneering scholars of the legendary Groupe de Recherches Musicales, come to the third act and strenghtens the remarkable appeal that Recollection GRM, Editions Mego's auxiliary label whose main aim is to dig into GRM archives in order to spread forgotten artifacts of this group of proper innovators of sonic science, is inspiring between more demanding listeners. Besides the choice of grouping four different composers and sound engineers from four different corners of the planet, who attended this memorable community, the four works cover a period between 1975 and 1979. The first one in chronological order is maybe the more "conventional" track of the selection: "Hypnos" (1975), an extract from Slovenian composer Janez Maticic's "Trois Visions", is a set of really hypnotical sonic paregoric from masterfully steered oscillators, which are going to carry listeners into an entrancing parallel universe that could resemble that branch of ambient which got spread by Cascone's Silent years later. The immersion of a plenty of concrete resounding objects (metallic hits, helicopters, cars, grumbles, engines, rotors, breaking glass and maybe some captured goblins as well) into a magnetic pool of white noises on "Impresiones Fugitivas" (1976) by Venezuelan composer Servio Tullio Marin evokes those sund effects that featured many horror movies of the 70ies, while the opening "Ruptures" (1978) by French scholar Charles Clapaud could let you think to some obscure abstract sonic material where sudden bursting manages to make the listening experience more adventurous and somehow creepy that many contemporary electronic musicians keep on spreading today. The final "Moulin Diabolique" (French for "Evil Mill") (1979) that Polish composer Eugeniusz Rudnik dedicated to his daughter Kamila Maria rebroadcasts the anti-military spirit of late 70ies by a brilliant assemblage of six different sequences, where the semantic contrast between its weird sonorities and the ludicrous cornerstone and intrinsic stiffness of military logic has been brilliantly rendered: according to Rudnik's own words, "the basic material of this work consists of military orders in different languages and of the sounds (voices) of a human group (soldiers). through editing, the sense of military discipline was removed from the ordering sentences, thus enhancing the grotesque and terrible content of the order itself".
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