Music Reviews



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Artist: Luca Sigurtà (@)
Title: Bliss
Format: CD
Label: Fratto9 Under The Sky Records (@)
Rated: *****
Open: Rich, textural ambient begins to pour from the speakers (or headphones I suppose for most); there is an underlying washing of noises and field recordings. A deep bass slowly creeps in. Very oceanic, almost glacial. And so begins 'Bliss' by Luca Sigurtà from Frattonove (aka Fratto9 Under the Sky). While 'Bliss' contains just 5 untitled tracks, it clocks in at over 41 minutes, each one full of rich, pristine tones, textures and sounds. One of the only signs of melody is discovered at the intro of the second piece in the form of plucky koto or similar instrument, but as the texture slowly fills in around it, it quickly melts away. A very quiet, but delicious track overall. The third movement fades quickly in, filled with lush, almost orchestral walls, which very slowly, and very stealthily mutate into dissonant chords by the end of the piece. Track 4 is far more sparse, with soft static living just beneath a slight tension, which eventually gives way to the final chapter of this aural journey. A crisp ringing drone almost tricks the mind into believing its surrounded by crickets; maybe sitting calmly out in a cool, spring night's air. Until the static returns, much more than before, followed by the sounds of a dungeon or cave, echoing through said night. 'Bliss' has it all, from those beautifully rich, thick textures, to its robust tones, to its underlying noise and field recordings, it is just a well-executed, well-written page in the ambient history books.
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Artist: The Exaltics / Elec Pt.1
Title: The Exaltics Meets Elec Pt.1
Format: 12"
Label: Solar One Music
Rated: *****
After four months here we are again talking about a new volume of "The Exaltics Meets" series. This time on side B we have Elec Pt.1. Behind this moniker there's Andreas Gehm, a producer from Koln, Germany who produced since 2006 different releases for Bunker Records (five EPs), Panzerkreuz Records (two albums), Abstract Acid (an album and an EP), Snuff Trax and Abstract Acid. This isn't his first time on Solar One, as he already took part to the latest label's compilation "SOM5" with the track "It Feels So...". Since, as reported on The Exaltics interview I did some months ago, "The Exaltics Meets" is a serie where Robert Witschakowski produces tracks according to the genre of the guest musician, this time on side A we have two tracks ("The Midnight Connexion" and "Nichts Aber Auch Nichts") which are inspired by acid techno. As you may know, The Exaltics produces dark vibrating tracks which takes mix elements of techno, electro, ambient and acid and each time we have more or less of each one. The fist tune mix melodic ambient pads, 4/4 upbeat tempos and raving acid leads. The dark madness finds its top on "Nichts Aber Auch Nichts" thanks to grinding TBR303 lines and fast drum machine lines. Stops and go plus some pad enhance the dramatic moments. Side B opens with "Drei Chinesen Mit Dem Acidbass", a track where leads and bass lines follow the typical crazy acid arpeggios while drum machine patterns are built creating a sort of obsessive 4/4 beat where hi-hats, claps and ride sound like fighting. "The Player" sounds a bit darker but the style is quite similar to the previous track. Vocal inserts plus synth noises and tiny melodic lines help characterizing the tune making of it a nice hypnotic tune.
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Artist: Seba
Title: Identity
Format: CD
Label: Secret Operations (@)
Rated: *****
Inside the alchemical symbol of fire, the comic portrait of Sebastian Ahrenberg aka Seba depicts himself in a whirlpool of tentacles, diamonds, a cute girl biting apple and everyhting which could summarize a story, including feelings, passions, temptations, pains, fears, thoughts, victories, defeats and whatever seems to be the fuel whose combustive agent cannot be but drum'n'bass. Such a "humanization" of the genre is one of the most relevant aspect of the second labum by this appreciated Swedish producer, which shuffle his best cards for the highest stakes of dnb folowers by conjugating a wide arrays of styles and some hints from past champions: for instance, some of you could recall some intersections between dnb and alternative rock by Pendulum while listening the engaging "Too much too soon", where Jinder seems to sing about the emotive consequences of an impulsive passion, some "romanticized" tunes from Hospital while listening the masterpiece of liquid dnb "Nothing can replace", whose skilled singer could recall the style by Kirsty Hawkshaw (or maybe she is Kirsty Hawkshaw...!?!?!) with vocal nuances which could remember LTJ Bukem's Logical Progressions, some grimly computational pre-apocalyptic atmospheres and the devilish voice-over by Ed Rush & Optical's "Travel The Galaxy" on title-track "Identity", some pad-driven soft skidding by Omni Trio on the initial "Can't Describe" or even some elastic Detroit techno by Basic Channel or Bochum Welt on the unique stunning and somehow unexpected techno track of the album "Midas". In spite of possible remembrances, you cannot but notice the elegant touch by Seba and appreciate his astonishing versatility. There are really many master strokes. My personal favs are the above-mentioned "Nothing can replace", the majestic epic synaesthetical hooks of "Balance of Power" (not so different from some tunes by Upbeats), the perfect crossbreed between progressive techno and breakbeat of "Could this be love" and the heart-melting emotional intensity of the soulful song "Madness". This release by the owner of Secret Operations, which could be considered one of the proper dnb highlights of 2013, cannot but deserve 5 stars.
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Artist: RMEDL | K11 (@)
Title: Chthonian Music
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
This striking conceptual album and the related sound installation, based on the sound spacialization system I.M.E.A.S.Y. and performed in an ancient Etruscan hypogeum in the archeological park of Cecina, a little town close to Leghorn (Italy), during the spring solstice within the programmatic-conceptual event "Metasound ' Independent Curatorial Experiences in Contemporary Art: from the object up to the event: sound art, multimedia and practice of the art of listening", was initially limited to 50 private copies. Three years later, Cold Spring decided to reissue it in order to avoid the this remarkable sonic artefact could sink into the oblivion of the underworld the involved artists ideally climbed down. The Roman consul Albino Cecina, which gave the name to the above-mentioned town, ordered the construction of a villa, whose ruins can still be visited. The cavity of its cistern and its mysteric tunnels became the perfect location for Chtonian Music project by Italian philosopher, composer and sound artist Pietro Riparbelli aka K11 and Sandro Gronchi, head of Radical Matters, who involved an impressive number of sound artists and musicians from different but somewhat contiguous stylistical ground (Philippe Petit, Seth Cluett, Gianluca Becuzzi, Francisco Lopez, Aderlating, Andrea Marutti, Burial Hex, Christina Kubisch, Deadwood, Francesco Brasini, L'Acephale, Luciano Maggiore, Massimo Bartolini, Nordvargr, Utarm, Y.E.R.M.O) emphasized the sacral function of that ancient place with a sonic performance which sounds like a contemporary devotional rite to the Goddess Demeter/Persephone, the queen of hell and bride of Plouton/Hades and the symbolic representation of "the awakening of the soul and its cyclical path of death and transfiguration" behind her myth, who inspired the religion of the Mysteries, imported by the Etruscans in Italy. After the initial "Mvndvs", where Francismo Lopez immediately catches listener's attention by rendering natural amplified sounds on deep ultra-low frequencies by Seth Cluett and unexpected distorted rumbles which lacerates the apparent stillness like heavy thunders, the five following parts of "Katabasis" sonically describes the descent in the underworld by means of remarkable performative peaks such as the mindblowing raving ascension of Part II with the catchy vocals by L'Acephale and the heady drones by Utarm, the entrancing piano by Burial Hex on the magmatic fog by Andrea Marutti and Pietro Riparbelli in the third part ("Epopteia"), named after the final initiation rite in the Eleusinian Mysteries, the dusky electrical excitement of the first part, the grazing guitars by Francesco Brasini on the immersive virtual underworld moulded by Becuzzi and Bartolini on the narcotic organ and unearthly shouts by Riparbelli, the metallic rolling balls and the resounding crack on the ground which ushers listeners to the end of the obscure journey in the fifth part, before the final representation of "Nuktelia", a sort of supreme demonaltry when wizards with snkes twisted on their arms, moved at flickering light of torches in long orgiastic processions. Due to the high number of guests, under the stylistical viewpoint, "Chthonian Music" harvest from a wide range of styles: dark ambient, doom metal, dark-folk, field recordings, art rock, drone, classical music, musique concrete, ritual ambient flocked to celebrate the mysteries.
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Artist: Pilocka Krach (@)
Title: Fame
Format: 7"
Label: Greatest Hits International (@)
Distributor: Word and Sound
Rated: *****
According to the danceable statement by talented forger of electro beat Pilocka Krach, everybody's name is fame! Even yours! On this delectable appetizer, she combines spoken words with delicious electro-pop and electro-house pills by hooking that humorous subtle irriverence of some glamouresque acts (I could mention Miss Kittin's death certificate of Frank Sinatra or some other tunes which plays hide and seek which reverse electrotypes from the world of showbuz and fashion), so that after kind preamble ("Hi..how are you?") she repeatedly introduces herself with the typical formula "my name is..." and evokes an array of possible identities (money, kiss, Kurt Cobain, Mexico, alcohol, cool, swimming pool, bubblegum, cigarettes and so on), which lead back to fame while she rolls on funny samples, enthralling elecrobeat cogs, elastic malicious bleeps on "My Name is Fame", a possible response to a classic by David Bowie, who got celebrated together with his unique declension of pop on the amazing list of famous dead people of the following "David Bowie will never die" as well as on different clus by Pilocka. In addition to the digital version, "Fame" comes on fine 7" limited edition vynil with three digital remixes of "My Name Is Fame": while the first one by Philip Bader sharpens the zesty taste of the original track and the recreational rhytmical grip by means of dry hits and smashing claps, Be Svendsen Remix pulls a playful aroma out of the original track by nice synthesizer-flute arrangements and vocoder voice a là Max Headroom which smells like vintage break dance. The cherry on top comes from Sven Dohse, which ignites his remix with classy beats and frizzy electronic gushes from trask-funky hues of original guinea pig.
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