Music Reviews



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Artist: Archon Orchestra (@)
Title: Cenotaph
Format: CD
Label: Muzyka Voln (@)
Rated: *****
I've been enjoying the material coming out of Muzyka Voln, so I was interested to see this installment. I was not familiar with Archon Orchestra, but the cover reminded me of Theatrum Chemicum's releases. The label describes the album as 'the sounds of a church organ harmoniously intertwine with delicate, subtle electronics while piano and strings mysteriously 'float' under the arches of a gothic cathedral immersing the listener in light melancholia.' Archon Orchestra serves up some good electronic neo-classical which reminds me of Theatrum Chemicum or Autopsia. Somber and heavy. The only downside on this album was 'Time {extra},' which was an upbeat number that didn't seem to work. Kind of like when Autopsia has a somber track that all of a sudden kicks into techno for a while. However, this is pretty good overall. This album weighs in at around 44 minutes.
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Artist: Tape Recorder 3 (@)
Title: Deep Politiks
Format: CD
Label: Lofty Records
I was unfamiliar with this act, but this is the solo project of New Haven, Connecticut based Todd Zack. In the hand written note that came with the disc, Zack describes this as 'dark experimental goth punk' and a 'faux rock band with occult undertones.' I have to admit that this sounded a lot like standard rock to me, although it kind of sounds like old Christian Death (Valor's version) at times. However, it seems that part of Zack's project is to infiltrate traditional rock with some weirdness. If that's the case, then this would be a good foray into that venture. Slip this into a friend's player and they will find innocuous music mixed with lyrics like 'She was a vampire and could change the weather / She moved in fields of chaos through incendiary heather,' and mentions of 'gropes for my succubi.' This album weighs in at around 28 minutes.
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Artist: Marc Hurtado / Vomir (@)
Title: 2011
Format: CD
Label: Tourette Records (@)
Rated: *****
Marc Hurtado is one half of elder statesman French duo Ãtant Donnés. I was not familiar with VOMIR, the project of Romain Perrot who the label describes as an 'International Master of the Harsh Noise Wall genre, which described a monolithic static harsh sound.' Hurtado describes the album as 'a raw and savage album elaborated in total freedom with no consideration for time or space that surrounded us.' When I put this in the player, I realized that these are people after my own heart. We begin with crunchy, rumbling low-end bass noise interspersed with the screams of the damned. On some tracks (Ciel, for example, or Chaine, with its pounding thuds), it becomes a bit repetitive, but rather than becoming boring it becomes hypnotic. That said, it does begin to all sound too similar toward the end. The standout tracks for me are Feu, a constantly shifting slab of atmosphere, which eschews the in your face noise approach and Lumiere, an amazing tour de force of droney noise woven together with distorted voice. This reminds me of the kind of noise that has come out of the California noise scene over the years; if you like that kind of sound, this is definitely one to check out. This album weighs in at around 74 minutes.
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Artist: Supersimmetria (@)
Title: Golden Ratio
Format: CD
Label: Industry 8 (@)
Rated: *****
When I opened the package, the post-it note on the disc described it as 'Ant-Zen-ish.' The layout and design were done by Salt, so I figured that we'd be on the same page. To me, Sonar and Winterkälte are Ant-Zen-ish, so I was a bit surprised when I put this on and was greeted by'¦. piano. And no beats. Well, the beats came later, but this is not the kind of in your face beats of Imminent Starvation or Noisex. The interesting thing about this album is that the beats sneak up on you; by the time you notice that they are there, they seem like they have always been there. Supersimmetria is the work of Berlin-based Armando Alibrandi, and the label describes the album as 'A recording where space and atmosphere are the most dominant. The varied rhythmic and arhythmic elements are never allowed to dominate the sound. All musical elements are subservient to the tranquil and spacious sound.' Indeed, this is much more peaceful than most of the Ant-Zen catalogue, so if you're looking for more of the drum and noise kind of stuff, this is not what you're looking for. Then again, this may be something you didn't know you needed. There is a lot of repetition throughout this disc, but instead of becoming annoying it actually works. There are also recurring themes that travel from song to song, such as the piano lines that are continually woven throughout and the drone that ties it all together. The beats are pleasant and resist overpowering the atmosphere that Supersimmetria works so hard to build throughout. Overall, this is quite well done, and I will be interested to see how this artist evolves over time. The two remixes at the end of the disc were good on their own merits, but didn't seem to hang together with the rest of the album (as should be the case with remixes). Worms of the Earth put a more beat driven spin on 'Ascending,' with exotic female vocals, while Aphexia offers up a dense, almost overpowering rendition of 'Chiasm.' Well done, but I would almost like to see them off the disc because the rest of it has such a level of cohesion. This album weighs in at around 75 minutes.
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Artist: Somnambulance (@)
Title: Night Wandering
Format: CD
Label: Everest Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this duo from Zurich comprised of Valentin Dietrich and Silvan Jeger, but with a name like Somnambulance and a disc titled 'Night Wandering,' you should have some idea of what you are in for. And rarely have I heard a disc live up to such expectations. The label explains that 'From their noise-music past they adopt the concept of music as something abstract and consecutive; something that spins on in the head of the listener ' similarly to the comatose moment just before falling asleep, where the sense for temporal sequence is lost and the perception of reality is no longer possible nor necessary.' This is one of those discs that fade into the background so well that you are only aware of it when it shifts ever so slightly. As such, it has that peaceful feeling of sleep, but the kind of sleep where dreams are coming and you're never certain whether they will be good ones or bad ones. On this disc, they are all good ones, at least as far as the music is concerned. The closest comparison I have is Aidan Baker's drone work, but this should provide some sense of how things sound on this disc. This is very well done drone that doesn't really get boring, which is quite a feat when you are trying to channel the idea of sleepwalking. Get this and sit down with a good book (anything by Thomas Ligotti would fit well) and sink into the music. This album weighs in at around 43 minutes.
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