Music Reviews



Wil Bolton: Bokeh

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 21 2014
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Artist: Wil Bolton
Title: Bokeh
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
This new release by Wil Bolton, a sound artist whose name often appeared on this zine by means of his lovely drone-ambient outputs or for some releases he dropped by his imprint Boltfish or in the guise of Cheju, names after "bokeh", a word which refers to a well-known photographic blurring technique that comes from the alteration of the Japanese word "boke", meaning "blur" or "haze". Some photographers consider it an "optical aberration" as many "boke" could come from wrong focusing of the optical lens, but it could be intentionally added to bring out some object from background or for artistic photography. A friend of mine who has a mania for Japan and photography explained to me that "boke" is also the word to describe the mental confusion of aged people suffering from senile dementia, but even if Wil's sonorities could sound vaguely melancholic, I don't think it's connected to senility! The opening title-track seems to translate the above-described photographic 'out-of-focus' technique into sound as he blurred resounding objects such as seagulls or distant traffic noises by means of diluted atmospheric vanishing varnish and bulged clear bell-like hits and he follows a similar pattern on the following tracks where Wil slightly changes blurred elements and blurring dynamics: an indistinct chatter and a wrapping frequency which sounds like frowning on this interference on "Sash", driving rain and loooped metallic hits on the track that got named from the Welsh village of Tramadog, recurring traffic sounds, playing children and chirping birds that got wrapped into a Boards Of Canada-like sonic blister which renders a certain sense of lukewarm astonishment on the pleasantly lulling "1887", electric buzzes and other faint voices on the entrancing "Pentaprism". The final dedication to his 1-year old niece "Moonlight (for Sophie)" where he included the melody of her toy telephone and other rattles is the most tender moment of the release and could let you surmise that the sonic optical lens by which Wil filtered surrounding reality is a sort of childish reverie where the differentiations that feature the perception of adults got levelled off.
Nov 17 2014
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Artist: Lingua Fungi (@)
Title: Melankhton
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
When I read some notes about "Melankhton" according to which this album is "a sound interpretation of particular illness narratives and a study in experimental anthropology..." reflecting "the shifting states of the turbulent minds visited by 'Melankhton'", I thought that Melankthon was a sort of seraphic or alternatively devilish transfiguration of Philipp Melanchthon, the notorious German reformer, who has been regarded as the intellectual pulsating vein of Lutheranism, and judging by some aspects there could be some connection. Melanchton is widely known as the inventor of the term "psychology", but it seems that Jakko Padatsu, the mind behing Lingua Fungi, meant to use that term as a synonym of "soul seeking", whereas the five entrancing tracks of this record sound like an almost instinctive attempt of eliciting symphaty for mental sufferers , negative acception of soul seekers, by means of intensely evocative sonorities: the noise of a crackling pire on the opening "Wavy Guests" is the beginning and the end of a cycle where the reversed bells and the unexpected shamanic percussions seems to mirror the procession of phantasmagoric transient visions, which got rekindled over the quiet storms, the phoenix-like yells, the guitar-driven tribal dance and the obsessive pit-a-pat on "Departure", the hypnotical coalescence of cavernous waves, organic textures and alien melodies on the title-track "Melankhton", the dreamlike ballad of "Detached" as well as on the decisive last stage of this sort of sonic rite "Soma Dissolution", which sounds like adream withina dream. Another great act got added to Aural Hypnox catalogue, which released a deluxe box set (just 49 copies) including the already limited (449 copies) regular CD edition, two unique cyanotype prints and a silk-screen printed wooden panel which got housed inside a handmande cloth bag.

Ernesto Diaz-Infante: wistful entrance, wistful exit

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 16 2014
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Artist: Ernesto Diaz-Infante
Title: wistful entrance, wistful exit
Format: CD
Label: Kendra Steiner Editions
Rated: *****
Poiché questa versione è stato ispirato da una morte in famiglia questo album, invece di mostrare la capacità virtuoso artista, si basa quasi interamente su un accordo che, variamente interpretato e con il riverbero del luogo, agisce come una forma di musica ciclo ma ha giocato invece di utilizzare un registratore. Così suona come le onde raffigurati sulla copertina di questa release come metafora del movimento circolare del tempo.
La prima traccia "questo" si basa sulle variazioni di un arpeggio cui note sono lentamente giocato in un modo che lascia le risonanze creano una meditazione e quasi triste atmosfera. La seconda traccia "lungo" si concentra sulla aggiunta delle varie risonanze delle note che, riverberante, raffigura una sorta di drone nel panorama della melodia. L'ultima traccia "momento" si basa sulla corda che viene lentamente variata riverbero della camera e il lento movimento del tempo di riproduzione.
Questo album suona come una sorta di meditazione silenziosa sulla vita e l'esistenza ed è una dichiarazione circa c'è più significato nella accurata riproduzione delle note di un singolo accordo alla ricerca di un suono e un'atmosfera, che nel gioco furioso di un milione di note ricerca dei limiti di gioco veloce. Un rilascio straordinario.
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Artist: Cristian Vogel
Title: Polyphonic Beings
Format: 2 x 12"
Label: Shitkatapult (@)
Rated: *****
According to Karl Heinz Stockhausen, a unified time structuring, a wise splitting of sound, the multi-layering of spatial composition and the equality of sound and noise are the "Four Criteria of Electronic Music" in brief and such an eminent conceptualization of music seems to have inspired the last two astonishing releases by brilliant Chilean techno legend Cristian Vogel, who after he moved to Berlin, one of the sacred site of contemporary music of our planet, fulfilled a quantum jump to his already appreciated style by a sort of integration of those principles into eerie dub-driven sonic boxes, which proves the chameleon versatility of this producer after the ambient-oriented album "Eselsbrucke". Some nuances of techno pops up in just one of his eight "Polyphonic Beings" - the amazing "How Many Grapes Went Into That Wine" -, while some technoid residue flow like water snakes in water ducts into a few of them - "Spectral Jack", "Forest Gifts" and "LA Banshee" are the ones where are more audible -, but most of the tracks have a totally different approach to rhythmical structure and sonic textures as he manages to synthesize outstanding hybrid between dub-techno and acousmatics where bright stylistical spots unpredictably deviate from the continuity principle of techno stuff: the sort of elegy that suddenly surface from the above-mentioned "Forest Gifts", the analogue spit-ups that surface on tracks like "Spectral Jack" (vinyl exclusive) or "Lost In The Chase" or the melancholically entrancing piano micro-melody and the shamanic hooks on the final "Society Of Hands" are just some of the moments when Cristian could find the right way to the hearts of more demanding listeners which cannot be considered proper clubbers anymore.

Kode 9 & The Space Ape: Killing Season

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 14 2014
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Artist: Kode 9 & The Space Ape (@)
Title: Killing Season
Format: 12"
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
Named after a verse of his song "Heart" that warns people about the dangers behind human heart, this EP, which reprised the forerunning collaboration by Hyperdub label boss Kode 9 and the late-lamented vocalist and poet The Space Ape and was eagerly awaited by all those listeners who loves miliar stones of UK dubstep and grime that came from this sparkling meeting of musical minds and souls such as "Memories Of The Future" and "Black Sun", has a particular meaning after the announcement on Facebook of the tragic death after an excruciating battle against a rare form of cancer by Stephen Gordon - Spaceape's name in family registry -. The lyrics got clearly influenced by the cognizance of his physical conditions that he angrily describes on the opening "Chasing A Beast", and above all of the imminent death in the offing, which fostered his last compelling poetic visions after having been just gloomy allusions in previous lyrics. Even if I can imagine he did them with tears in his eyes, the sonic inoculations by Kode 9 got perfectly synchronized and reaches the acme when visions and insights flow into heartfelt pleas (Stephen seems to warn listeners by really meaningful words in "Devil is a Liar") and resigned sighs such as on the touching "Autumn Has Come". Whether in heaven or in hell, I'm pretty sure that many listeners hope to meet Mr.Gordon again after their (possibly faraway) last hours. Stephen's family friends gets all our sincerest symphathy.


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