Music Reviews



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Artist: Simon Balestrazzi
Title: Ultrasonic Bathing Apparatus
Format: CD
Label: sincope (@)
Rated: *****
Since the opening "First Immersion", this new release by Simon Balestrazzi sounds like the sonic report from a sort of altered state of consciousness which makes the brain experience reality as a close web of interferences, resonances, brainstem feedbacks and electromagnetic fields, an augmented perception that listeners catch as if it's inside a Faraday cage; the title of the release, which follows the last amazing act as Dream Weapon Ritual - another artistic alter-ego of former T.A.C. pulsating brain -, could let you surmise it could just be a sort of representation of technology-driven human perceptual prophylaxis by quoting ultrasonic cleansing, an electrochemical process that got extensively applied in jewellery, optics, dental and surgical cleaning and electronic musical instruments as well. The buzzing low frequency that saturates most of the release is quite similar to the noise that devices for ultrasonic cleaning usually makes, but besides undefined metallic objects, Simon seems to soak organic field recordings and foggy vocal radio broadcasts as well as a pile of instrumental parts from prepared toy psaltery, tsimblaty, tabletop guitar, horizontal steel cello, bulbul tarang, a prepared piano and even a broken metronome that appears on the meaningfully titled track "In My Own Transfigured Time" into his ultrasonic pool. The alternation of ablutions (three immersion before the last one) and three risingly hypnotical interplays ("Oscillation", "Osmosis" and the above-mentioned "In My Own Transfigured Time") seems to suggest he wisely follows a sort of gradual purification till the thirteen rarefied minutes of "Last Immersion" where the residual sonic impurities and memories keep on resounding in between cavitation bubbles.

Yasunao Tone / Talibam! / Sam Kulik: Double Automatism

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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May 10 2015
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Artist: Yasunao Tone / Talibam! / Sam Kulik (@)
Title: Double Automatism
Format: 12"
Label: Karlrecords (@)
Rated: *****
A solid bridge betwen generations of freeform-noise shapers with an incursion of an instrument - it won't sound so strange the moment you'll understand what I'm going to introduce - move the cogs of this "Double Automatism". The first connection is the one that the polymorphic avant-rock band Talibam! made when they invited the legendary noise-shaper Yasunau Tone, one of the most corrosive and evergreen (he's 80yrs old, folks!) footslogger of the so-called Fluxus neo-Dadaist movement, who shows a lucidity in destroying sounds off that could be compared to the destructive/deconstructive instinct of a baby. Talibam!, who have already hacked up many free-jazz and noisy blood on some of their past releases (the ones who know the sonic loose cannons by Ed Bear, Kevin Shea and Matt Mottel could imagine "Double Automatism" as a sort of digital transubstantiation of some ideas they collected on "Ordination Of The Globetrotting Conscripts") met the Japanese mastermind when they were asked to re-interpret Tone's graphic scores and game pieces on the occasion of the Japan 195570 avantagarde exhibition at NYC MOMA. Six months after that meeting, the trio invited Tone to record session and in order to accelerate the entropy of the possible final result, they also asked to trombonist Sam Kulik to join the session. Kulik's trombone sounds like the secret spice of the explosive fluid they made: on the first track "Op Apsis", the dampened tones coming from his instrument sound like an Alka-Seltzer in the devasted guts of someone who ate an entire buffalo who, in turn, ate contaminated grass growing over a landfill of computar parts, while it sounds like get up the guts on the following "Spome Trope" on B-side, a likewise corrosive track on the tight rope between wonder and total madness, where some electronics seem to make way for some phrasing by Sam Kulik. "Double Automatism" is one of those once-in-a-lifetime listening experience that should be tested by any kind of listener, a little bit like bungee-jumping! I assume no responsability for any permanent damage to your central nervous system. Terms and conditions apply!

Theologian & STROM.ec: Hubrizine

 Posted by eskaton   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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May 02 2015
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Artist: Theologian & STROM.ec (@)
Title: Hubrizine
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
Collaborations can be a mixed bag. Sometimes they come out sounding like one or the other, making you wonder why they collaborated in the first place. Thankfully, this is not one of those cases. For those unfamiliar with these acts, Finnish band STROM.ec lays down some amazing power electronics and Theologian is the more recent project of New Yorker Lee Bartow who was previously known for Navicon Torture Technologies. He also runs Annihilvs Power Electronix and seems to be one of the hardest working people in the experimental scene. I was familiar with both of these acts, so I was interested to see what they would come up with. This collaboration consists of source material by STROM.ec that has been 'reinterpreted and re-engineered by Theologian in celebration of a shared appreciation for the works of Philip K. Dick.'

'Involuntary Dilation' kicks the album off and it was not what I expected from either of these artists. In fact, it was almost peaceful, with echoing piano and gritty, pulsating drone that becomes almost hypnotic. But then 'EM-19' brings it closer to familiar territory. The swirling ambiance, distorted vocals, crackling static, and some processed guitar added for good measure makes for an interesting juxtaposition to the first track. 'Ubik' keeps it going with distorted vocals, gritty ambiance, and subdued percussion. The mellow music mixed with harsh vocals definitely keeps it interesting. Next up, 'Hubrizine' reminds us that it takes some time for Theologian to build up a good head of steam, and at over 18 minutes, this track delivers the goods. This is the kind of noisy droning that made me fall in love with 'The Further I Get From Your Star, The Less Light I Feel On My Face.' There seems to be vocals here, but they are so distorted and processed that they serve more as another source of noise. Toward the end of the track, it suddenly becomes quiet, like standing outside of a humming factory, before walking in to hear everything in all of its rhythmic glory, complete with angry vocals. 'Exegesis' is an odd track with the typical Power Electronics vocals over music that reminds me a lot of Coil ' like Strom.ec meets 'The Halliwell Hammers' on 'Worship the Glitch.' Interesting. 'World War Terminvs' has an almost mournful ambiance that shifts into a nice synth-based composition. Even without knowing the title you get a sense that everything is really over. Very pretty; like something you would hear on a Cyclic Law release. 'Flow My Tears' brings it to a close with lurching, throbbing analog synth mixed with an angelic choir that makes for an interesting combination, but then again this entire album has been about mixing disparate elements to make something great.

In short, this is one of those occasions where synergy actually happened and you get something unexpected. If you like solid power electronics, this is definitely one to pick up. This album weighs in at 58 minutes.

Sist En 343: J20-20

 Posted by eskaton   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Apr 25 2015
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Artist: Sist En 343 (@)
Title: J20-20
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Debila (@)
Rated: *****
I really like 3' CDs. They give you a short taste of music that has to stand as a unified whole. You can't really try out too many ideas in 20 minutes or less. This offering from the Slovenian duo Sist En 343 is a great example of quickly getting down to business. As the cacophony fades in, you get a sense of what you are after: harsh, unrelenting noise. Rumbling low end noise, a circuit bent toy keyboard, computer noise from a 2600 baud modem, and the recorder that you used to play in 4th grade all thrown together into a blender. As it slowly fades away, you are aware of just how loud it was for a while. Good stuff for the harsh noise set. This album weighs in at 15:43 minutes and is limited to 100 copies.

Gomila Park: Ununoctium

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 02 2015
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Artist: Gomila Park
Title: Ununoctium
Format: 12"
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Rated: *****
This new radioactive element in Raster Noton's periodic table Unum Series is a Swedish lanthanide by Gomila Park, the collaborative project by Palma de Maiorca-based producers (and Dabid Bowie fans!) Carl Michael von Hausswolff and Martin Rossel. The very first sonic monads of the opening "Leibniz" - they tributed the title of two of the three tracks of this release to the notorious philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and the pioneering mathematician Ramon Llull, who laid the foundation of the binary system and the digital age, according to their perspective - could sound like a possible remix of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" by Trent Reznor and the stomping match between distorted guitar and a syncopated steamroller keeps on feeding such a creeping (but really endearing!) diffeomorphism before sliding into the awesome gargling by means of a sneaking analogue sequence and heavily sliced vocals (including loud snores, hysterical laughters, buzzes and fits of coughing!) on "Ramon Llull", whose captivating sound could let you hope some flu bug will turn humans into analogue synths sooner or later. The metamorphosis into an electromechanical chrysalis got wisely completed on the final "Calculus".


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