Music Reviews

Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 1961-2014: An Anthology Of Turkish Experimental Music
Format: 2CD (double CD)
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
The series of anthologies, which followed the seven volumes of "An Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music" (released between 2000 and 2012) and the subsequent "Early Electronic" collection (focusing on tracks composed between the 50ies and the 80ies), keeps on expanding over the geographical ones. Following the surprising Anthology of Chinese Experimental Music, the title of this new one about Turkish electronic and experimental scene could be a little bit confusing as the only aged track is the opening one of the first cd, but the importance of its author go beyond Turkish boundaries. Such a temporal gap could be mainly explained by the fact that the interest in electronic music arrived relatively late in Turkey, thanks to the academic teachings by composers, who got in touch with electronic devices out of their native country and Bülent Arel, the composer of the above-mentioned "Postlude From Music For A Sacred Service" (1961), was one of those eminent expats. In reality, he just received many mouthwatering proposals from foreign countries, including the one by the Rockefeller Foundation, which invited him to join the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, and Yale University, where he projected and installed its electronic music laboratory and taught from 1961 to 1970, before being recognized as one of the most brilliant innovators of looping techniques. Another key figure of this almost unknown 'exotic' scene, lhan Mimarolu, the son of the notorious architect Mimar Kemaleddin Bey (a famous face on 20 Turkish lira banknote), moved to the USA after a Rockefeller Scholarship and studied at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center as well, under Vladimir Ussachevsky; his contribution to music, in general, is also related to his record label, Finnadar Records, his precious contribution to the OST of Fellini's "Satyricon" and his role in the release of "Changes One" and "Changes Two" by Charles Mingus and its experience in the field of soundtrack and contemporary classical music is evident on the evocative track that got included in this compilation "Prelude No.17 [Istanbul Fog]". The boom of electronic music occurred later both within academies and universities (Cenk Ergün, Koray Tahiroglu, Mehmet Can Özer) and the noise-oriented avantgarde (Mete Sezgin, Nilüfer Ormanl, Utku Tavil), but the Turkish experimental scene is more complex and opulent than many could imagine. This anthology, compiled by Batur Sönmez and Erdem Helvacioglu and split into two CDs, tries to embrace such a complexity and multifaceted scene. CD1 includes more 'academic' stuff that often get close to serialism and concrete musique, while the second covers a wide range of ambient music, samplers, and even stuff with references to political issues such as the impressive "Democracy Lessons" by Asaf Zeki Yuksel, the gorgeous abstract glitch ambient of "The Monopoly Of Victim Status" and the traditional folk-spotted "I Want To Be A Suicide Bomber" by Sifir, but I'm pretty sure that many listeners will get impressed by the broad stylistic range of this selection and the quality of these mostly unknown (to the masses) Turkish forward-looking musicians.

Bone: Radiation EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 28 2016
Artist: Bone (@)
Title: Radiation EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Faded Music (@)
Rated: *****
Recently landed on Poland-based imprint Faded Music owned by Ukrainian producer Fade, the first solo release of this year by Estonian producer Marek Ratassepp aka Bone could easily meets the likes of the followers of producers like Fanu, Klute, Commix and The Upbeats, as you can easily understand since the listening of the opening tune "Brawl", where his machines seem to channel ghostly howls and stealthy draughts over noise disturbances on well-greased percussive gears. The air got even more rarefied in the very first seconds of "Form And Void", where only a precisely cut groove shakes the elastic structure of its rhythmical body before the sudden raid of laser beams and mechanical forms fill the void! Skirting junk sonorities by finely twinkling melodic pins and hovering pads on the title track "Radiation", Marek gives the very best of his art of filling spacey sonic spheres by flowing particles of amen breaks in the excellent "Pulsate", the best moment of this release. Check it out.

Tape Loop Orchestra: Go Straight To The Light Of All That You Love

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 28 2016
Artist: Tape Loop Orchestra
Title: Go Straight To The Light Of All That You Love
Format: CD + 12"
Label: Facture (@)
Rated: *****
Just like his previous outputs, Andrew Hargreaves' one-man band Tape Loop Orchestra managed to focus on a very particular emotional state or, I'd rather say, a somehow mystical path as a framework for his orchestral well-forged ambient drones, that he presumably squeezed by a massive usage of reel-to-reel tape recorder, which could have "antiquated" the samples. The reflection about life-in-art and art-in-life eternal correspondence has a well-defined cultural sparkle and feeders, related to 'In Search Of The Miraculous', an old book by Russian philosopher and thinker Ouspensky, reporting his meeting and the subsequent involvement in his teachings with George Gurdjieff. The narrative self-biographical plot is also an interesting explanation of Gurdjieff's discipline ("The Work" or "The Method" in his own words) for the awakening of self-consciousness, the so-called "Fourth Way", joining together the methods of fakir, monk and yogi or, in the other words, the methods to develop body, emotions and mind to reach a balanced inner development, that has many fans in Western hyper-stressed communities. If you are interested in this kind of subjects, I invite you to deepen them - some aspects of these teachings could look like those platitudes that are so banal that are difficult to implement in everyday life -. What matters to us is the way by which the Tape Loop Orchestra turned it into sound, despite the fact that set of beliefs is just a sparkle, and this release cannot be considered an authentic tribute to that workout. The first of the two long-lasting track on Side A of the vinyl edition (transparent strictly-limited one by Fluid Audio sister label Facture) has been titled "Go Straight Towards The Light..." and doesn't disappoint expectations by such a descriptive title. The slow blurred and over-stretched melodies will bear listeners across the tides of time using gently distorted diluted guitars, slightly modified strings and peaceful sonic entities including a siren-like singing and fluffy violins that seem to resurface from the depths of a lake covered in fog. This wise combination of sound, bordering on typically ethereal music, manages to render the emotional and spiritual dimension of the above-mentioned book likewise the second track "...of All That You Love" (just join the two titles to build what the Tape Loop Orchestra - or maybe Ouspensky? - tries to teach), where the drone becomes even more amniotic and psychotropic because of the lukewarm caresses of some whispers and a breathe that sound like the guide to sync listener's breathe in order to reach some ecstatic state of mind, that the Tape Loop Orchestra could inspire. The contrast between the calm mood of the sound and the sentence you'll find in the artwork (“Death isn’t about judgment, it collects us all.”) reprises that contrasting correspondence that Andrew summarized in some simple questions... If life is art, can the artist decide where art ends and art life begins? Can they co-exist in one form? Do we celebrate the art or the artist?

Luminance Ratio: Honey Ant Dreaming

 Posted by Mariano Equizzi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 24 2016
Artist: Luminance Ratio (@)
Title: Honey Ant Dreaming
Format: 12"
Label: Alt-vinyl (@)
Rated: *****
Put in playback Nosferatu of Werner Herzog and then put silent the movie and play this masterpiece of a massive esoteric impact. The Luminance Ratio have the immense weight of Ammon Dull, Ash-Ra Temple and the psychedelic inpiration of Kraut Rock. Their music is in resonance with atavistic sounds and guitar researches not to mention electronic sounds in the wake of OTO vibes. This LP is a ultimate trip into an unknown we missed very much in these years, it is a tool to get out from this planet. Every tracks and performance is a fresh wind into a mysterious desert in which to listen the Al-Azif of Lovecraftian memoire. Their Strings are vibrating like the strings of quantum physics.The inspirations of the album comes from Papunya's aborigines but the final destination is far far in space and time. Only your ears can judge and immerse in this stargate shaped like a LP called "Honey ant dreaming".

Richard Pinhas: Chronolyse

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 22 2016
Artist: Richard Pinhas
Title: Chronolyse
Format: 12"
Label: Cuneiform (@)
Rated: *****
The cemented collaboration between the excellent Washington DC-based label Cuneiform and the French philosopher, electronic music composer and guitarist Richard Pinhas brings another interesting output, the first-ever reissue on vinyl (white 180 gram vinyl featuring the original cover artwork) of Pinhas's superb output "Chronolyse", an interesting hybrid between progressive rock template and analogue electronics that he dedicated to Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic "Dune" more than 35 years ago. Besides the most known influences on sci-fi literature and movies (David Lynch's discussed cinematographic version was only the most popular one), "Dune" had a remarkable impact on the imagination of many musicians, but while Klaus Schultze tributed one long-lasting track in his album "X", Richard decided to tribute a whole album two years before the release of Schulze's album (1978). In spite of the fact "Chronolyse" has been released in the same year, Pinhas recorded it on tape between June and July 1976 after the purchase of a Moog P3 and a Polymoog that should work together a pair of Revox A700 he installed in his home studio. Even if entirely inspired, Richard didn't really want to strictly match it to the name of "Dune", so that he preferred to name it after the title of a novel by French science-fiction writer Michel Jeury, whose plot was related to time manipulations, which makes sense if you listen to what Richard did on this (maybe old-fashioned) output. On one side, you'll find seven short synth-a-delic swirling variations of the same theme, that could evoke the super powers of the so-called "witches", the female members of Bene Gesserit in the novel, whose highest acolytes - the Reverend Mothers - had greatest supernatural mental powers, including Truthsay - the ability to understand when someone lied by an attentive analysis of body language, speech and other biological clues -, the Voice - a tool to control human beings by selected modulations of voice - and a set of seductive powers, but mainly a weakness: the addiction to melange, a spice that was easy to find on the desert planet Arrakis - the set of Dune -.... any bizarre similarities with contemporary science? The track that closes the first side of "Chronolyse" was named after Duncan Idaho - another important character of Dune - and sounds like a summary of some techniques explored in the first seven short experiments, while the 30-minutes lasting "Paul Atreides" on B side is the moment where the above-sketched idea of time manipulation takes the shape of something closer to progressive electronic rock and some stuff of Heldon - Richard's Heldon mates provided drums, guitar, bass and further electronics in this extremely lengthy tribute to the heir of House Atreides, an aristocratic family ruling the planet Caladan in the novel and knowingly interpreted by a youngster (but already talented) Kyle MacLachlan (the well-known Detective Cooper in Twin Peaks) in Lynch's screenplay. "Chronolyse" can reasonably be considered the meeting point of the multifaceted universe of Richard Pinhas. According to Steve Feigenbaum, the founder of Cuneiform, it's “absolutely one of Richard’s very finest works: half live Moog electronics that make fantastic use of stereo imaging and mix aggression with the repetitiveness of Phillip Glass or Terry Riley, and half with Heldon in a 30' King Crimson-ish stormy drone-epic of mellotrons, electronics, guitar, bass, & drums.”.

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