Music Reviews



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Artist: KK Null + The Noiser (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
The cover artwork of this impressive release on Monotype seems to have been taken from those black and yellow stripes which delimit dangerous or contaminated areas which should not be accessible, but such a tempting invitation to trespass should not be declined as it combines the renowned skills of Zeni Geva's member Kazuyuki Kishino aka KK Null, who doesn't really need any introduction as he's one of the most appreciated noise guitarist and noise forger from the world-known Japanese noise scene, and French mediactivist, artist-researcher, musician, poet, anarchitect, experimental film-maker, Apo33's founding member and one active principle of Formanex group Julien Ottavi aka The Noiser. Recorded in 2011 when these two master craftsmen of louder noises, the most remarkable aspect is the way they "organized" avalanches of their cherished raw material over crumpling percussive structures and labyrinths of feedback and distorted sounds: for instance, noise seems to belong to a possible horror-movie score in order to highlight the sudden attacks of a furiously insane assassin rising from dark escoriating corridors on the first track - all tracks are untitled so that I have to point them by ordinals -; it sounds like coming from the innards of some imaginary slimy monsters which survives by finding nourishment into an abandoned powerhouse on the second track; it fans the mystical flames which got kindled by some hypnotical tribal percussions on the third track. The noise of a pneumatic drill blemishes a resounding piano on the short fourth track, bursts into a jungle by means of piercing clips and corrosive rumbles on the sitxh one, sounds like disturbing interferences on the fifth one, turns into looped savagely abrasions of melting timing chains in the seventh track. The final 25-minutes lasting track seems to combine all the previous suggestions into one absorbing and loudly sublime suite. Please trespass!
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Artist: DAT Politics (@)
Title: Powermoon
Format: CD
Label: Tigerbeat6 (@)
Rated: *****
In the wake of the update of their porous electronic-rockish turbo-pop sonic engines on the funny "Blitz Gazer" by means of more blitzkriegs in the territories of synth-pop and electro, Lille-based DAT Politics keep on rattle dance-halls by this amazing ep. The above-mentioned synth-pop gravitational wave sounds more audible on the initial "Boogie Mind", where the robotic refrain, the electronic bed of melodic roses and bleeping toms conjure Kraftwerkian creatures, and on "Ghost Town", where the clucking and the French stressed English singing by Claude "Crystal Cookie" Pailliot and the final laser beams orbiting around moon add a surplus value to the song. The light-hearted anarco-arachnoid style crop out of tracks like "Fox Box Sound", the alien toy puppets of "Monitor" or the unfastened frisky rocket fuel of "Trance Mission". The final collaboration with Frew Dabiel aka The Soft Pink Truth on "Hold That Pose/My Mother Told Me" sounds intended for seriously ass-shaking dancers.
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Artist: Routine (@)
Title: Si
Format: CD
Label: Nephogram (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Nephogram features almost no linear notes and, even in their bandcamp page, this band gives the minimal amount of information about this release. This is an italian duo of Filippo Mazzei and Fabio Ricci formed in 2000 and, after years of experiments, in search of a form that could include their sounds. The result is something between the gentle palette used by bands like Minamo and Tape and the sonic exploration of Supersilent, so is the sonic equivalent of something on the edge between landscape and abstraction.
Small and rhythmic noises introduce '1' that quickly evolve in a gentle sonic watercolor. '2' features a trumpet giving quite a jazz mood to the track. '3' follows an almost EAI trajectory being almost silent but requiring a close listen to follow the single sounds. '4' is focused on the dialogue between the gentle guitar and the sparse noises of the soundscape. '5' is constructed upon the exploration of the mechanical resonances of a drum kit until the trumpet and noises enter to colorize the sound palette. '6' sounds like a sonic picture of the autumn branches of a tree shown in the cover picture. '7' closes this release with sparse chords of piano upon sparse metallic sounds that are progressively filtered and then reduced to almost the memory of their timbres.
Something unique in the italian panorama where the trend seems to jump on the performative improvisation, Routine decides to canalize their improvisation in a musical form that can be heard in an endless loop. Almost amazing.
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Artist: Henry Vega (@)
Title: Stream Machines
Format: CD
Label: ARTEksounds (@)
Rated: *****
A single tone, which often mimics the repeating loops of a machine by sequences of clipped pulsations, sounds like the steady element of each composition of this interesting collection of compositions by talented electroacoustic musician Henry Vega, while the other ones fibrillate within an enclosed tonal range by rendering the impression they are somehow synchronized and their illusory order partially elude the aleatory parade of resounding particles. You could easily imagine a bird, which collide against the narrow space of its cage till its final paroxysm while listening the two parts of Slow Slower, where computer and recorder wondrously twist around filaments of harpsichord and viola da gamba by the Roentgen Connection, the tuning of a scanner and the sequential decryption of grabbed data on the four parts of "Scanner Quartet" - really impressive the interaction between electronic elements and the strings by The Ragazze Quartet on the first movement -, a garden of thorny flowers blossoming from a ticker tape on "Izumi" - another impressive work created at Sonic Arts Research Centre in Belfast and performed by The Electronic Hammer -, a pump dispenser of fused silica and blood-like propeller on troops of "Automata Angels", whose metallic skeletons move quickly on the conveyor belts of assembling machines, which sound like mirrored by great percussions. Such a technological camouflage of chamber classical music, which deserves more than one absent-minded listening, reaches the highest pinnacles on the final suite "Stream Machines and the Black Arts".
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Artist: H bar (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Dobialab (@)
Rated: *****
H bar is the work of Alberto Novello, who does the audio processing work, and flutist Paolo Pascolo. Here we have an interesting concept ' an album inspired by quantum mechanics and probability. The press sheet that came with this disc explains: 'H bar is a live electronic piece in which the musical actions of the flute influence the video generation and the sonic re-actions of the computer, which are triggered following the probabilities of quantum mechanics and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.' So the question now is what does this sound like? Imagine if Zamfir (master of the panflute, for those too young to remember the infomercials) collaborated with Think Geek's Annoy-a-Tron. The flute wafts over drone while glitches, beeps, and clicks punctuate the tracks. 'Φ (Superconductivity)' in particular showcases the glitchiness with a quiet beat that reminded me of old Autechre. Some of it also tends to get pretty noisy ('h (Continuous Quanta)'), with walls of noise washing over everything before receding back. The DVD provides the same music with some abstract imagery to go along with it. Overall, this is pretty interesting experimental music with cool results. I'm not convinced that the DVD adds much to the experience though. The album portion weighs in at around 41 minutes.
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