Music Reviews

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Artist: Hautville
Title: Le Moire
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: SPQR (@)
Rated: *****
Inspired by Greek Mythological figures of the Moirai (often known in English as the Fates, were the white-robed incarnations of destiny which the Romans called the Parcae), 'Le Moire' is a new MCD of the Italian band Hautville. Containing four new songs and a cover Banco del Mutuo Soccorso's song "Non mi Rompete" (Hautville's version is pretty similar to the original and has a nice atmosphere), the CD has as special guest on piano on "In Superficie" and "Caelum et Terra", Arturo Statieri of Pierrot Lunaire (they were an Italian prog rock band that did two albums in 1974 and 1977. They reformed and recorded a new album in 2011). First of all, I have to say that on this MCD Hautville found a new dimension and convinced me completely: they have found a right balance where the acoustic guitar and the heavenly voice of Simona are the main elements and synths, piano and drums, enrich the formula. Most of the tracks are mid tempos full of pathos where the 70s progressive influences are really evident and not only because of the Banco cover. Take "In Superficie", it has an haunting piano melody where dissonances and melancholy duet with Simona's voice just to explode into a wonderful prog rock opera. "Caelum et Terra" seems to be the natural following to that track and its based on guitar arpeggios, piano improvisation, synth orchestration and light drum beats. Really cool work and you haven't to be a prog enthusiast to dig it!
Artist: The Bleeding Peasant Orchestra
Title: Sanctuary and Truce
Format: CD
Label: Corrosive Growth Industries (@)
Rated: *****
Checking around it seems it's been awhile since Chain D. L. K. reviewed anything from the U.K. based Corrosive Growth Industries label, perhaps because their last release by Initial Prayer ('Last Man in Europe') was in 2005. Corrosive Growth has to be one of the more obscure labels out there and this release by the Bleeding Peasant Orchestra is made up of undisclosed members, likely from the label's roster of artists. No individual credits on the CD or the band's website. No one-sheet sent with the CD, nada. That's really a shame because this is a marvelous work; something you could easily imagine being released by Cold Meat Industries.

The CD begins with 'Cathedral of Wounds,' a sort of low key funeral waltz with muted low percussion, measured acoustic guitar, melancholy wordless medieval choir (beautiful soprano female voices being dominant), atmospherics, and eventually, a poetic recitation by Brit-accented gent. Very cool. Next track, 'Ignorance,' is a trancey acoustic Middle Eastern style number with western (drum kit) percussion. Vocals are again recitation style ala David Tibet; a sussinct elegiac ode on the volatile state of affairs in that part of the world. Imagine a Current 93/Muslimgauze collaboration, and you might get some idea, but this is really excellently done!

After the somber, ambient 'Echoes of Life in a Poisoned Forest,' we are treated to the centerpiece of this album, 'We Serve (Austerity 2013)'. It's martial industrial with ominous low orchestral horns, military cadence and a distorted drone. The recited lyrics are worth quoting ' 'You want something that you can't have'¦ you want all of this'¦work hard, work harder still, keep going and you will be rewarded. Where once hope flourished, now ashes'¦the ruins of a promise'¦a deception'¦a mirage. We came into the machine, accepted the poison, ands lost everything, but still, we serve. What can you tell me about how it ends? Will there be more lies to keep us quiet? More laws to keep us down? Forge it all into the promise of riches, and tell us again that the system works; you just have to work harder. We shall be saved. Follow their leadership and comply with the new orders. Just need to trust in our masters once more. Don't worry, believe, behave'¦and work fucking harder!' Damn, this is well done!

'We Kept to the Rules (and look what happened)' is kind of a wistful, placid, ambient piece, but you get the sense that humanity has been swept away in the wind. 'Sunburst' starts out like cosmic space music but turns into this melodic ditty with mellotron in the lead, reminiscent of vintage Kraftwerk. Wonderful how it builds and expands. 'Cracked Wheels 16' is ambient music of a darker sort, with the thrum of some kind of alien machinery and the low moaning wail of something'¦unnatural, the piece ending with the words 'respiration stops'. In 'Pandaemonium (CGSF 2012)' there are gamelan-like bells, and a plucked string instrument that begins the three-note repeated basic rhythm. A Tibetan (style) horn blows an intermittent single note, and eventually other instruments and ambient noise creep in. Percussion embellishes the rhythm; a violin joins Philip Glass style, perhaps more minimally, rhythmically bowing a single note, then shifting to another. There is a good deal more than this, but you get the idea. When the piece is done, applause ensues, so I can only assume it was played live. Final track, 'Never Saw It Coming; Never Heard You Leave' is an odd track with a low orchestral one-chord loop and the sound of static or a scratchy record. Harold Budd-ish (or Eno-esque) piano emerges with a repeating melody that is supported by ambient synth tones, and that's how it ends.

From start to finish, The Bleeding Peasant Orchestra's 'Sanctuary and Truce' is an incredibly enigmatic album. I loved it all. I haven't heard anything that resonated so well with me in quite a while. Highly recommended, especially for fans of Dead Can Dance, Current 93, Death in June, and similar acts in the neofolk-ambient realm. Only thing is, this album defies categorization, regardless of what category I decided to put it in here.
Artist: Luca Forcucci (@)
Title: Fog Horns
Format: CD
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
The premise that half Italian half Swiss young sound artist Luca Forcucci made about this surreal release, the 14th chapter the prestigious Belgian label Sub Rosa added to his limited-edition Framework series, could let you surmise the initial title-track and the following two long lasting suites could belong to a sort of sonic document about sensorial hallucinations that tiredness could cause; he spoke about "twelve hours of flight and some sleep deprivation" before his landing in San Francisco. So Luca explained, "Because of or thanks to my state of consciousness, I heard a distinct and beautiful sound. It took me a while to understand if I was really hearing it or dreaming it: the sound of the fog horns". The field recordings of conversations by anonymous pedestrians, chirping birds, delayed noises of a train trip and other sonic clues intertwines with the sound of distant fog horns he listened after he landed in San Francisco in Spring 2011 and those fog horns have been turned into the cement of endoplasmic reticulum of sounds, including some hip-hop scratches by Le Gooster on "Fog Horns", which sound like unexpected reminiscences resurfacing from inner depths or frenzied parties, the occasional metallic hits of crockery, other hip-hop morsels and the mesmeric over-stretched cello by Michael Kott on the somehow disquieting and hallucinatory atmospheres of the final track "Winds". On the central track "L'Ecume des Jours", fog horns became the imaginary vertex of a mysterious building who got erected both in the spacial and the sonic dimension, whose architectural principles lay on the sound of crashing waves, puffed electric distortions and scorched reedy samples which chorally becames headier and headier by emphasizing the artistic metamorphosis of this device that warned vehicles of navigational hazards or boats of the presence of other vessels or other obstacles in foggy condition into a presence, which is both reassuring and unsettling as it succeeds in evoking an impending danger by means of his orotund heavy "voice" and his effect on sonic sphere which seems to be covered by a sort of camouflage mantle.
Artist: Norbert Möslang (@)
Title: Killer_kipper
Format: 12"
Label: Cave12 (@)
Rated: *****
We're surrounded by a plenty of sounds and waves we don't really care about during our ordinary day as they're often overwhelmed by inner sounds or noises or just because they acclimatize within our sensorial sphere. Nevertheless, we're immersed into clouds of microwaves, light and sound waves, magnetic fields, which are sometimes close tot the threshold of perceptibility or silently cross our bodies and interfere with our neuroelectrical activity. The sonic research of Swiss improvisor, clarinetist and saxophonist Norbert Moslang seems to be focused on the channelization, the moulding and the organization of those sounds and grated this bump on his past collaborative projects such as Voice Crack, an interesting experimental free jazz collaboration with Andy Guhl, or the amazing quartet Poire_z. This performance has been recorded on 23rd September 2011 after the Cave12 and fmac associations invited him to perform in the conporary art festival Mac 11 in Geneve and gives a remarkable sample of his performative art. Compared with other Moslang's recordings I listened before, noisy sneaking movements of "killer_kipper" sound less random and better organized: there's an inner syncopated pacing which often resurfaces and more or less silently control the traffic of noises and electrons Norbert grabbed by cracked everyday electronics. The 27-minutes lasting performance has been splitted into two tracks and sides: on side A, this regulatory function got fulfilled by a subtle low frequency which gradually turns into a sort of pumping machine and the reaching of saturation levels seems to be more gradual than the dynamics on side A, where the constant flow of electrons rolls on a sort of hiccuping knock. Very interesting trial of noise manipulation.
Artist: Kamil Kowalczyk (@)
Title: Nova
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Kamil Kowalczyk, originally from Poland, now based in Edinburgh, Scotland is a minimalist electronic musician who has released six albums in mp3 format on the U.S. net label 'Zenapolae' and another in CD format ('Aurora', 2011) plus this one available in CDr and digital download. If 'Nova' is any indication of what he's been up to, I'd say Kamil is certainly someone you might want to check the back catalogue of. 'Nova' consists of nine sort mostly lengthy pieces, with one short one at 4:33. From the album and track names, you can tell these pieces are "space-oriented" (as in outer space), but don't expect anything akin to classic 'space music'. This is actually much closer to the coldness and sterility of space, or as it might be imagined. The soundscapes are primarily composed of drones of various colors, tonalities, and densities, using different LFO and filtering techniques to blend and contrast them. Voices, sometimes echoed, sometimes not occasionally appear, some seeming like astronaut/mission transmissions, and others, eerie disembodied space. (I won't spoil your experience by telling you what they say.) As minimal as the soundscapes are though, there is still an amount of aural variety in sonic events and incidentals. Throughout the course of the nine pieces you will likely feel you are traversing the void, and experiencing light cast from the stars, shimmering and shifting in your perspective. At a point in the recording there almost seems to be a dimensional bending, as if space was being folded. This is a very heady album and I'd encourage listening in both headphone and open speaker environment to experience it fully. 'Nova' is certainly one for more contemplative, relaxed moods when you can take the time to fully absorb it. If you haven't listened to this kind of music since Tangerine Dream's 'Zeit,' and loved it, I'd say this is a 'Must Buy'. (Album is limited to 250 CDr copies.) It is very deep. You could easily get 'Lost in Space'.
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