Music Reviews

Christopher Willits : Opening

 Posted by Emanuele Ratti (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 16 2014
with image
Artist: Christopher Willits
Title: Opening
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Ghostly International
Rated: *****
Christopher Willits is a US musician and artist from San Francisco. He is an expert in the technical aspects of electronic music (he hold a master degree in that subject)
'Opening' is a long ambient and drone album. It is a peculiar piece of art as the album is complemented with an abstract film with visual shots from California, Hawaii, Japan and Thailand. Coming back to music, the album has everything that an ambient work of this kind should have: long and deep pad playing fantastic melodies, choirs here and there, and some sweet noise to arrange and enrich the atmosphere. In some occasions ('Clear', 'Connect' ) there are also guitars which make the atmosphere more and more dense. What I do really enjoy is the openness of the sound that, while being minimalistic, it avoids the empty and tedious moments that ambient/dark ambient extremely minimal works usually have. Probably the only flaw of the album is the rhythm part, as the sound chosen are not at the same quality level of the atmosphere. More to the point, I expect something more from a professional musician in the electronic field: drums sound really like the kind of sound banks you might find in cheap Roland's electric pianos. Apart from this, the album is a great piece of art, and I look forward to listen more from Willits in the next future.

Quentin Hiatus: Conspirators 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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Sep 16 2014
Artist: Quentin Hiatus (@)
Title: Conspirators EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi
Rated: *****
The guide of the great master Sophos seems to have inspired very good musical eureka moments to Arizona-based dnb producer Quentin Hiatus as you can check on this amazing tidbit that comes after his likewise enjoyable self-made album "It's Only". Besides the opening "Nyctophilia" whose enlightened lyrics from MC Kryptomedic seem to have been the sparkling that triggered this release by portraying the figure of a possible contemporary mystical insurgent, whose thought-provoking spikes got echoed by grim aural mist and scuttling hi-hats, which could resemble some stuff by Fanu, The Upbeats or talented newcomers Dark Manoeuvres, the other three tracks came out of pure experimental process, according to Quentin's own words: the mellow female vocals got combined with attractive synths and course half-time grooves both on "New Spirit" and "Hear Me", while Quentin accelerates percussive particles and crams sci-fi-like synth pads on the final "Don't Touch That", the most interesting hybrid of drum'n'bass and EDM of this release which could inspire a passing fancy for conspirators on this confused planet.
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Munich Style Battle
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Broque
Distributor: Beatport
Rated: *****
After listening the five versions of "Munich Style Battle", a song which portrays the Bavarian metropolis by means of the sonic filters of five voices of Munich musical underground, it's not easy to say if its lyrics could belong to a declaration of love or hatred instead as well as the spoken words come from an alienated mind or rather a soul which is so assimilated by that urban life to understand its inner dynamics where sounds move the compass needle towards differnet emotional poles in this bipolar suite: the opening "City of Dekadenz" version by The Hermit highlights the paranoid nuances of the lyrics by means of a clipped downbeat, dreary whistle-like sounds in sync with the noise of means of urban transport before the less anxious final stanza while the toytronic electro-pop of the following "Pop City" version by Heiko "Granlab" Schwanz sounds like a freshet which follows the initial semidarkness. Dirk Martin Lamprecht, one leg of netlabel Grunfeld Tontrager, draws an aesthetically pleasing electronic dub movement - close to some stuff by Daniel Meteo or Fenin - from the city that according to speaker's words "skips the beat" where "the river in the middle, people disunited, silent line of life, always moves on", while dusky resonances come back on the following "Munich Bells" version by Volker Selzner which precedes the bipolar neutrality of spoken words and field recordings of social life on the final "City Of My Heart" by Zweileen. Munich: city of their hearts.

Troum: Dreaming Muzak

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 10 2014
Artist: Troum (@)
Title: Dreaming Muzak
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
Sometimes a reissue is a way to reconsider something that is taken for granted. This reissue was the first full length output from this band with a sound aiming to provoke a 'dreaming stadium' and his publishing history set it in an almost invisible state. Thanks to Åukasz Miernik, responsible for the MAEROR TRI reissues, this remastered version sounds as a today release and underlines the most impressive quality of this release that is his visceral mood that collides with the glacial coldness associated with this kind of music.
The first part starts quietly with a menacing drone that slowly evolves in volume and impact when layers of resonances were added to develop a wall of sound that today we could classify as almost drone metal but, over 15 years ago, was an improvement over the almost glacial sounds of the period. The second part, called 'the dream catcher', is even more radical with his 'loud' resonance (not in his literal sense, but the recordings were probably loud and they are mixed in a way that only the most loud aspect could be heard above the soundscape constituting the musical infrastructure) so, especially in the second half, is closer to the field closer to metal as in the coevals path undertaken by MZ.412.
This release is important to properly understand a path of musical research that someone believes starting with metal but was started by ambient and later popularized by drone metal in more profitable time. An essential reissue.

Xavier Charles: 12 Clarinets in a Fridge

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Odd / Field Recording
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Sep 09 2014
Artist: Xavier Charles (@)
Title: 12 Clarinets in a Fridge
Format: CD
Label: Unsounds (@)
Rated: *****
French electroacoustic musician and clarinet player Xavier Charles probes his skills and his living and practising space on this interesting release where he decided to complement the sound of his beloved instrument with voices of home appliances: even he freezed melody, the 12 clarinet lines that he defrosted from his resounding fridge sound like hypnotical vibrations from ice crystals on the opening title-track "12 Clarinets in a Fridge", the 10 lines that he loaded on the amazing "10 Clarinets in the Washing Machine" follows a 6-minutes lasting washing cycle that remives any harmonic stains from the score, while the surviving 6 clarinet lines echoes the heating of the sinusoid electric resistence and the agitation of water molecules inside a boiler on "6 Clarinets in a Boiler". All the above-mentioned aplliances are so integrated in each track that it seems that Xavier just tuned clarinet in with their sonic display. Likewise the clarinet sound like a tuning fork on the two long tracks that he placed in between his domestic experiments where grafts single tone of clarinets, which often fan out over harmonious sonic lumps, entrancing vibratoes and puffs into a miscellany of field recordings and external interferences ("Heterogene") or circular or gurgling mesmeric eddies ("Materiel"). Even if you got fascinated by Charles' experiments, don't try to melt your clarinet in the microwave oven!

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