Music Reviews



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Artist: Transfer (@)
Title: Øe
Format: CD
Label: Murmur (@)
Rated: *****
According to the linear notes this release is inspired by "the numerical representation of life and the sensorial stimulation, achieved by combining data into binary format, replaces human primordial needs [..] Transfer is a sonic reflection about all affective phenomena which come out by the use of digital interfaces". Honestly, it's true that digital sharing and recording of things is an important part of our life but, instead of similar (in intention) works ad Ikeda's "data.matrix" where musical output is indivisible from the artwork from his comprehension, musically speaking this album is a filtered drone oriented release similar to the last outputs from Stephan Mathieu as it share the same research for dreamy soundscapes.
"February - Seek" opens this release with a gentle drone slowly evolving and colored by subtle small noises. "Seadawn - .Ksd" is based evocative samples above the carefully constructed soundscape featuring also an orchestral initial tuning. The first minutes of "Sad - Jitter" are constructed with noises until the drone fill the musical infrastructure. "Hatsuyuki - D Quant", the longest track of this release, is constructed upon four drones that sequentially enter the canvas until the last slowly ends.
This release doesn't follow any new territories but it's carefully written and produced that it will be enjoyed by all fans of this kind of musical research. Recommanded.
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Artist: Different State
Title: The Frigid Condition
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Marek Marchoff is a mixture of illbient, industrial and psychedelia that is an end of the year surprise for this label more oriented in dark ambient territories. This is a two face musical offer as it features the repetitive mood of illbient and the search for variety of psychedelia and, so, it's sometimes out of focus but it search the listener attention.
"Done" opens this release with a old vinyl recording that quickly develop in a guitar loop above some sparse noises. "Consciousness" is an hypnotic tune with an oriental flavor given by the samples and the guitar tuning. "Salvatore Fabio" is the first track of this album featuring a vocal line. "Conspiracy in the Mirror" is a long instrumental tune featuring also a sax line. "Love" feature a female vocal line that gives variety to the underlying musical structure that is the same for the tracks with minimal variations. So, "Intuition" and "Spiritual Potential" are variations above the same lines. "Cold" returns to the instrumental paths of the beginning of the album featuring and evocative soundscape below the guitar line while "Spirit" is another vocal driven track and "Disastral / Hidden Composition" and almost dark ambient exercise.
This album features some tracks longer than necessary however it's a release enjoyable for everyone.
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Artist: Bobun (@)
Title: Suite pour machines a meche
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
In addition to their passion for genetical engineering and defiling of respective musical instruments, viola and cello, as well as a decade of duetting, French-Japanese violist Frantz Loriot, whom I already introduced on the occasion of a review of his collaborative project Viola Two Viola with Cyprien Busolini, and French cellist Hugues Vincent have in common the teachings by Joelle Leandre, one of the most renowned improvisational master. Her Cage-inspired approach to composition, her precepts about the importance of solid classical compositional prep even for the most ungodly improviser who wants to build a bridge between improvisation and composition seem to resound in this "Suite pour machines a meche" (translatable as "Suite for drill machines"). The introductive tuning of "Immersion" with their two instruments which seem to follow opposite directions on musical scale - viola (getting more and more piercing) towards higher pitches and cello, which looks like an emulation of binaural tones of a brain machine, towards very low ones - and the final "Emersion", a sort of ballad where a certain declension of harmonics unexpectedly features in a lead role, could mean to suggest there have been some intent of describing a sort of journey into the abyss of respective performative language with some topical phases such the total approach on the threshold of silence on "Shizuka na yume", whose woody stripping of bark and gunky sliding on strings are maybe the most bizarre moments of the release, the mechanical assemblage, testing, timing and calibration on "La Machine", the neurasthenic and enervating scraping on the eruptive "Un certain agacement se faisait sentir parfois" (transl."A certain irritation sometimes makes itself perceivable") and the minimalistic harmonic germ of "Nitescence". This release by Bobun packs so many sonic hints that it easily manages to attract listener's ear.
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Artist: Lynx (@)
Title: Balloons/Passing Time ft.Hellrazor
Format: 12"
Label: Soul:r
Distributor: S.T. Holdings Ltd.
Rated: *****
Another drum'n'bass doozy from Marcus Intalex's imprint Soul:r has been marked by the signature of one producer in top shape, Portsmouth-born Steve Nobes aka Lynx. On A side, he provides a sample of compositional playfulness by means of "Balloons" where it seems he staged a sort of imaginary game room with coloured balloons, whose systematic inflation sounds like having been rendered on this funny clapping track, which prompts a certain sense of hebephrenic infantile regression in the listener. After such a return to innocence, Lynx gives voice to the melancholic feeling wich sometimes catches somewhat grown up old lions who seemingly lost their sheen on "Passing Time" - co-signed by skilled producer Rich Scott aka Hellrazor - by means of an uplifting rhythmical liquid phunk pattern which allays the nostalgia, evoked by some moody sonic hints - particularly some chorused grand piano and a pipe organ, whose phrasing seems to hang in the balance and get gradually banished by accelerating ticking hats - and assuages the blues by paddling beats. Lynx managed to see through walls and underground by pushing his powerful sight on human emotional flights and its temporary tailspins again.
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Artist: cdatakill (@)
Title: Battleworn
Format: CD
Label: Hymen Records (@)
Rated: *****
Denver-based musician Zak Roberts is cdatakill, active since the mid-90's under names such as ak-47 and dj rabies where he was more into speedcore and hardcore. This is quite a change from those genres, although as cdatakill Roberts makes good use of what he's learned along the way. 'Battleworn' marks the fifth release as cdatakill, the first on Hymen Records, the others being released on Ad Noiseam. I haven't heard any of Roberts' previous releases, so I'm going into this with 'virgin ears' so to speak. I must have had this CD confused with something else in the review hopper, as I put off reviewing it for so long likely because of the aggressive-looking cover, I mistook it for a noise project, which it assuredly isn't.

There is a lot going on on 'Battleworn,' maybe too much at times but don't let that put you off. As cdatakill Zak isn't adverse to mixing genres, often within the same track. At times you get jungle, dubstep, hardcore, IDM, breakcore, doom metal, country-western (I kid you not, it's the samples!), techno, and likely a dozen others I haven't thought of. Remember when FSOL was considered innovative? Well, this sort of makes me think of them then, although cdatakill bears not a whole lot of resemblance to cdatakill. The first thing that stood out to these ears is Zak's excellent drum and percussion programming skills. Always engaging, and often rhythmically inventive. It's not overkill either; there is plenty of space for interesting atmos and ambience. I like his use of vocal samples too, often not much more than a processed snippet or phrase, but actually enhancing the music rather than detracting from it. The electronics are inspired and resourceful. From track to track there is a good amount of variety, yet a cohesiveness that won't give you the impression you're listening to a V/A compilation. There is a dark moodiness to 'Battlworn' but it never gets morose. Sometimes I was reminded of the best of Scorn, but with a less heavy-handed approach. At others, Access to Araska, or similar artists. The two remixes on the album ('Battleworn' by Nest, and 'I Swear' by Sense) sounded completely different from the originals, and not bad at that, so you're not just getting rehashes.

Summing up, I was fairly impressed by cdatakill's 'Battleworn'. It's an album that seems to have a good replayabilty factor, somewhat psychedelic and mind expansive, and you can really get immersed in it. The recording and production are very good too. It's hard to imagine where cdatakill will go next, but count me in for a copy of the next release. I'm game.
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