Music Reviews



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Artist: Sonarophon
Title: Naked Arrows
Format: CD
Label: Zang:
Rated: *****
Recorded live at the Tou Scene in Stavanger the new second album of Sonarophone, titled 'Naked Arrows', is about to be released after three years from their debut 'De Frie Elementer' always on Zang:. Sonarophone is a duo formed by Alf Terje Hana (at CHAIN D.L.K. we reviewed different releases of his main project Athana) and Line Horneland. Containing eight tracks, the album is a melting pot where guitar experimentation (Alf is a master of this field) and jazz meet, transmute and rise to new life. Line vocals are captivating and hypnotic and pass from jazz classic atmospheres to whispers. On tracks like 'Oldtidsstrid' we have the sum of their sound with a spacey guitar introduction which is joined by vocal chants, breath noises and screams. It just sounds evocative and convincing. Also the following 'Short Song' is particular one as it's formed by a mix of distorted rhythms, guitar short arpeggios and little vocal chants. I imagine how it would have been being at that show when at a certain point the audience find itself in front of a woman who sings like in reverse and looks at a guy who seems to play a guitar but the speakers spread a fragmented strange sound (like on the track 'Samtea'). Inspired and beautiful this is an album I'm suggesting you to check and you can find so by visiting the band's sound cloud page at www.soundcloud.com/sonarophon
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Artist: Babi (@)
Title: Botanical
Format: CD
Label: Noble (@)
Rated: *****
Babi's voice seems to flutter about and go through a musical hotchpotch where a sound of a drawing pencil, a pot-bellied horn, an adventourous childplay-like toy piano melody and a joyful metronome on the initial "Passiflora", which rings up the curtain that hides the enchanted world of this brimful Japanese female musician, whose delightful twine of toy-music, poppish commercial cosmetics and a delicate razzmattazz manages to emphasize her lovely dreamy view of the world. Funny instrumental arabesques and pirouettes, which seem to have been tweely formalized on the atonal track "Lesson", got spread on differen stlistical slices of fragrant bread with the support of many performers on saxophone, fagotto, viola, violin, cello and clarinet after the invitation of this precocious - biographical notes say that she started leearning piano when she was just 2 and professional composition at the age of 5 - musician, who has been helped by Cornelius sound programmer Toyoaki Mishima for mixing and mastering as well: there are no traces of "adult" strategies inside her gracful cameos, even when she plays on triple times such as the amazing "Fancy Witch", a sort of minuet on a funny harpshicord, the daydreaming waltzing march of "Praeparat" and the more ephemerl one of "Passepied", the electro-pop scherzo of "Insect Collecting", which features a triangle and many insects (!), the staggering puppets evoked by the tidbit of "Zaubertheater" and the carilloning "Parade". On the final tracks, Babi let surface a "Pierrotesque" melancholic side of her fanciful personality, but tracks like "Owl" and above all "Atelier" reveal that gentility, which could have been by the overjoyed vivaciousness of previous playthings. This record, which has been co-produced by Noble and Babi's imprint Uffufucucu, will let you easily realize the reason why she gained deserved praises by Ryuichi Sakamoto.
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Artist: Response
Title: Surveillance/One Nation
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Ingredients Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
A release which groups two tracks named "Surveillance" and "One Nation" together could be mistaken as a reference to the umpteenth poor figure of Obama and his predecessor's US Administration which peeked at their own allies and prosecute against the brave Snowden instead of quitting their delusions of grandeur and omnipotence and their shameful plans, but I can guarantee that for instance the inspiring siren chant on "Surveillance" doesn't resemble Angela Merkel's Saxon accent and these two tracks by Mancunian talented dj and producer N.Owen aka Response aren't sleep-inducing as I could surmise that the stoolie who listened the chats of some European politicians could have fallen asleep at the wheel on their empty words, if they daily use the same paltry dialetics they flaunt during public speeches or panel discussions! The ignition of the above mentioned track "Surveillance", which gained massive support by Fabio, and the straight percussive lines of dry claps, metallic pit-a-pat and kick-drum raps over subcutaneous basslines, aural choirs and a menacing sequence of 3 tones on a surly synth-brass runs along the lines of "Resistance", the track we previously reviewed on this space, while "One Nation" manages to ingratiate ear-drums of those listeners and dancers who like that kind of viral agglomerating bass that producers like Intalex or Aphrodite usually implement in orer to coagulate all different percussive elements of their blasting tunes. My response on this Response's? Good shots!
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Artist: Oliver Yorke
Title: Digital Native/Lose Yourself
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Retrospective (@)
Rated: *****
The name of Oliver Yorke is quite new to me even if I listened a couple of very good tracks under his own signature on appreciated dnb imprints - "You Looked At Me" on IM:LTD's "Strange Delight LP" and "Magellan" from "Tell Me Why EP" on Alignment Records -, so that this tidbit on Italian label Retrospective Recordings cannot but be a welcomed discovery. On "Digital Native", the obscure intro and the crackling sounds, which precede a sizzling set of tribal percussions, murky low frequency, a mechanical breath and a sort of alien belch (even if I've heard scarier similar outputs from earthlings), seem to evoke the first phase of this digital entity after the breaking of the shell, while the following "Lose Yourself" seems to reprise the menacing and foggy atmospheres of primordial UK jungle hits, which got just slightly shaked by a popping mid-tempo minimal groove and some hooks to neurofunk sonorities. We cannot but expect similarly good sonic luxuries from this talented West London-based producer.
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Artist: Download (@)
Title: LingAM
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
The most mischievous listeners with a vague knowledge of Hinduism or just Kamasutra are going to think that the title of the new incendiary album by Download, the amazing project by Kevin Crompton aka cEvin Key - mostly known as one leg of legendary band Skinny Puppy - and Phil "Philth" Western, could refer to the phallic symbol of Shiva and emblem of generative power as well as an idea which could echo something like a downwards load and if you think about a possible contemproary adaptation of that symbol in the guise of a 1/4 in phone connector, such a link could sound somewhat fascinating, but besides any possible display of virility, a title like "lingAM" made me think about a sort of self awareness of their intrinsic value and stylistical eminence since Download's technical mastery with frequencies and electronics, which sometimes are like part of difficult codes, could be more associated with oratorical skills so that they proficiently work on a lingo they perfectly know. They lower start up lever on the initial title-track where the first elements of this electrically boiled soup they serve resurface from the bottom of sonic hoards, which draw on many stylistical basins - techno, goa-trance, electro, abstract electronics, toytronics, IDM, broken beats, ambient... -, whereas any following movement earmarks sonic recipes for unexpected ascetic and ascending pleasing moments as well as listening reminiscences: from Chemical Bros., which sound evoked over the listening of the overcharged "AAARD", to Underworld's "Beaucup Fish", which could come to mind while listening to "Duppy", from psychedelic hooks of FSOL, which could appear in the electrical storms of "Saw Crust", to Skinny Puppy's first experiments, which come out here and there over the whole album. The tracks like "Yoni", Blotch" where beat-driven concatenations hack the listening sphere up by speading wisely inoculated meditative moments, as if rhythm acts like a battery charger for mental right ascension, and the lysergic activated sludges of "INAGE MAntra", "PiLLAR" or "JirAFFE from the planet Sanders" are maybe the most pleasing moments and the best propellers for listener's imagination.
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