Music Reviews



Rapoon: Song from the end of the world

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 25 2016
cover
Artist: Rapoon (@)
Title: Song from the end of the world
Format: CD
Label: Glacial Movements (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Robin Storey, known as Rapoon, is based upon an experiment to revive a mega-virus dormant for 30,000 years that French scientists discovered in the permafrost of the Russian Arctic. As this experiments awaken the fear that dangerous viruses could be dormant in Permafrosts and could be released as an effect of climate change, the starting point of this release sounds as an almost perfect subject inserted in the imaginary of Glacial Movements.
Under an atmospheric soundscape, the piano loop of "We travelled in waves" opens this release setting the sad mood of a voyage towards the unknown signed by the bell samples; the loop evolves in a second part developed around whistles and hums which are resolved by the return of the loop. "A listening ice" juxtaposes hums and drones to create a menacing soundscape. With "A sky beckons down" the album start to traverse dark ambient territories while "Call of tongues" is a vocal interlude to "A prophecy lies under" which juxtaposes drones and samples until a dulcimer recalls memories of the well known Storey's past; so "Call of deliverance" is an hypnotic track based on loops while "An answer in ice" is almost abstract with his construction based on noises. "Ancestors talk in lands of darkness" is a synth melody upon an evolving noise in the background. "The sky dances in green" starts as a field recording track of a snowfall that acts as a background to the returns of samples from the previous tracks modified to generate a track that gives the creeps for an adverse profecy.
The subject of this release is developed in such a way that let astonished as Robin Storey seems able to develop again a truly evocative musical output and sound again fresh after decades of releases which established a genre. Another great release from a real craftsman.

Hybryds: The Rhythm of the Ritual / Ein Phallischer Gott

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 25 2016
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Artist: Hybryds (@)
Title: The Rhythm of the Ritual / Ein Phallischer Gott
Format: 2CD (double CD)
Label: Zoharum (@)
Distributor: Alchembria
Rated: *****
This new reissue from Zoharum collects tracks from two Hybryds' releases: ”The Rhythm of the Rituals” (1994) and ”Ein Phallischer Gott” (1997) which were related to the rhythmical and ethnical site of Hybryds musical output. According to the Magthea, cited in the liner notes, this music was made live using drum machine and sampler avoiding the use of Pro Tools which was popular in the "commercial" scene.
The first track are from the ritual side of "Ein Phallischer Gott": "Je suis le Premier et le Dernier", a track where Yasnaïa's whispers made hypnotic the rhythms in the background, "Keryneia", where the recording technique made the instruments sounds as in an open space, "Ruach" and "Moon Far Away", underlining their ethnical side. All track are based on vocals and percussion and use ambient reverberation to obtain an hypnotic effect. With "Call of the Tuareg", which was not present on the first version of the albums, the focus is shifted to a more abstract path based on drums, sparse field recording and flutes. The three successive tracks are from "The Rhythm of the Ritual": "Ritual of the Rave", whose first part is based on rhythm and second one on synth, "Hamyana el Caballo", with the return of Yasnaïa's voice, "For the Nameless One", closer in form to the first track of this cd. The other track are from the industrial side of "Ein Phallischer Gott": "Dolchineus", with his heavy beats, "Octahedron instrumental mix", hammering rather than hypnotic, "Urban War", apparently not available elsewhere, and "Totem of Revelation"; this track, instead of use ethnical reference are more obsessive and use more squared beats.
The second CD collects live recordings of these track and the line up is restricted to Yasnaïa and Magthea and so, what is lost in musical details is obtained in impact and accessibility.
An interesting reissue which (re)discover one side of this band but, sometimes, doesn't sound as good as it could because it's perhaps too compressed and sound a little too distorted sometimes. However, it's a document from a period that was the last true underground prior to the age where everything is apparently accessible. It's really worth a listen.

Kshatriy: Mushrooms and Kshatriy

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 24 2016
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Artist: Kshatriy (@)
Title: Mushrooms and Kshatriy
Format: CD
Label: Zhelezobeton (@)
Rated: *****
A new batch of releases to review has just been sent my way from Chain D. L. K. central, and this was the first one I (randomly) picked. At first unfamiliar, but the name Kshatriy seemed to jog my memory from somewhere, and then I recalled a few years back I reviewed a couple of releases on the Vetvei label on which Kshatriy was one of the collaborators. They were quite interesting as I recall, but markedly different from this work, although still in the ambient vein. Kshatriy is the project of Sergey Uak-Kib from Vsevolozhsk, Russia, and he's been releasing material since 2004. 'Mushrooms and Kshatriy' is actually Kshatriy's second release going back to 2006 that had an extremely limited release at the time (friends and fans) so most people never heard, or heard of it. This re-release has been completely remastered, and is one amazing work.

I don't think the "mushrooms" in the title have anything to do with Portobellos, Shiitakes, White Buttons or Chanterelles, but more of the Psilocybe variety. Don't worry though, you won't need to eat any fungus to appreciate this work; Kshatriy provides all the hallucinations you'll ever need here, and then some. Working primarily with electronics, Kshatriy explores nine aspects of the psychedelic mushroom experience over nine tracks - Growing, Flying, Curious, Crying, Angry, Psychactive, Walking, Magic, and Dying. In the beginning, you sense activity like something is trying to break through the surface, darkness, but overhead the cry of birds and the motion of other lifeforms. Your mind is becoming keely attuned to the tumultuous life of another realm. The claustrophobia falls away and a sense of spaciousness reaches your consciousness, open, vast and brilliant. Now the hallucinatory terrain glows with a pulsing life of its own. Things in the atmosphere once invisible are now revealed to you- subtle but still evident. The curiosity you have about them makes manifest all manner of intracasies in form; at times abstract and oblique, at others in perfect patterns of symmetry. The inner and outer worlds merge and become one. Emotion takes over and happiness and sadness become indistinguishable. It's the primordial brain at work, welling to the surface of your consciousness, unearthing visions of a past eons beyond your lifetime melded with a future you have never experienced. The "Psychoactive" component brings new information into your experience as outside stimuli (voices) creeps in. It is beyond logic and reason, just another layer to pass through. Time to move, and "Walking" through space and time seems like the right thing to do. There is no solidity, only "otherness" as you move. When yourself moves beyond your self, are you still there? Now comes the tricky part, the sense that you can do anything, be anything. Manipulating supernatural forces, ascribing meanings to symbols and signs, effecting change to your environment, moving by will that which would otherwise seem static. But all too soon, there is the come-down. The experience is fading, "Dying". As you find the alternate reality dissapating, here is a sense of both sadness and relief. Exhaustion finally overtakes you as you melt away.

This is the only way I could describe this work. Details about synths and sounds, drones and moans, ambiences and atmospheres just don't work here. You need to experience it for yourself. One of the best albums I have ever heard in the psychedelic and (slightly) dark ambient vein, I just can't say enough positive things about 'Mushrooms and Kshatriy'. Definitely worthy, and limited to only 77 copies as I understand. Do not fail to acquire one.

Wieman: Alive Futarist Minifesta

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 24 2016
cover
Artist: Wieman (@)
Title: Alive Futarist Minifesta
Format: CD
Label: attenuation circuit (@)
Rated: *****
This release starts from a performance in Tilburg to celebrate the 100th anniversary of 'Futurism' and, for this effort, the duo of Roel Meelkop & Frans de Waard was joined by Jos Smolders. From a musical perspective, Wieman sounds as a logical continuation of the path taken by Goem but, while this project was almost rigorous in their form, this release is seeking ways to sneak off from rigid structures with detours to other paths and "épater l'auditeur".
The sound of an airplane, under a pounding beat, opens this release and set the musical tone at the crossroad of futurist's fetishes and, obviously, noises. The second part of the track is a sort of dance interlude centered upon Smolders synth where a spoken work recording, mostly taken from 2001: a space odyssey, adds that sense of estrangement which is the character of last century's avant-garde. The third part is closer to the classic Goem form as it completely centered upon minimal beats and sparse noises that suddenly takes the foreground for an harsh interlude featuring in the background war sirens as a probable reference to upcoming war. Almost unexpectedly a meditative fourth part starts as a sort of danceable (?) interlude to an atmospheric part acting as a bridge to the closing noises that ends the piece.
It's another work that confirms the even creative status of this artists which continue to seek new ways to expand their now codified language. A remarkable work of art.

France Jobin: Singulum

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 20 2016
cover
Artist: France Jobin (@)
Title: Singulum
Format: CD
Label: Line (@)
Rated: *****
Electronic music composers get portrayed or portray themselves as icy mannequins, ataractic or ghostly entities or robotic hybrids. Even if there's always a reason of similar (self)portraits and more or less aware representations, a certain humanity could look like a disrupting element of such a cliche, particularly when the technical canon seems coherent to a desired idea of excellence. When Montreal-based minimalist composer and sound artist France Jobin will gradually make her way into your eardrums, she doesn't opt for brute attacks or epic introduction, but she lets a glimmering breathe of piano tones and light electronic buzzes peep out by a strategy that you'll be tempted to label as shy. But such a shyness got matched to a grace, that is going to magnetically attract towards her surprisingly interesting sonic world, where sonic particles gently flow till the moment they sound like sparkling a significant process in a rarefied environment. France's way to organize these fascinating sonic particles seems to have been inspired by quantum physics: in her own words, "quantum physics inspires me to draw a parallel between the fundamental building blocks of physics, sounds and music. I put field recordings through a series of editing and manipulation processes which result in very different sounds from their origins. These manipulations affect time, timbre, harmonics and the essence of each sound, whereas composition influences how they relate to each other.". I don't really know how these scientific matters influenced her sound, but I'm pretty sure that she managed to find a path by which minimal electronic music can gracefully sound even more immersive than over-stuffed sonic outputs.


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