Music Reviews

Mergrim: Intersect Landscape

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 12 2013
Artist: Mergrim
Title: Intersect Landscape
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Moph (@)
Rated: *****
Sprouted from his acclaimed debut album "Invisible Landscape", Tokyo-based Takahisa Mitsumori aka Mergrim gives worldwide listeners the chance to know many interesting Japanese artists and musicians (mainly unknown on this side of the planet), who have been involved in the remix project "Intersect Landscape". All remixers managed to keep the miscellany of glistening crispness, daydreaming vibe and aerodynamic forces of the original sonic mold by means of wise chromatic variations without omitting their stylistical mark: I found particularly catching the sobbing glitches of swishes by m-koda on "Beautiful Corruption", the entrancing jazzy gliding of no.9 on "Soft'n Poetry", which could make you think about an imaginary crossbreed of some tracks by dZihan & Kamien ("Homebase", "Drophere") by Sakamoto or viceversa, remix of Arch by Go-qualia, whose title, "Chemistry of a dream and a spring breeze", is the proper description of what you're going to experience, the delicate piano expansions of moshimoss on "Senkyou" and Lycoriscoris on the melancholic "Ideal That Fade Out", miaou's remix of "Noir Noir", which could be associated by many Western tasteful listeners to an airy variation of Cornelius' music, saccharin folktronica resins of agraph on remix of "Dry Aesthetic", the chirping childish vocal interpretation of Cokiyu on her remix of "Step Of The Flakes", the frothy electronic tunes of Ametsub on "Shdwgrph *Grain", the sleepwalking casting of electronic honey by Geskia! on "Absentminded Drowsiness", the enthralling electronic-house flying over by Dj Sodeyama on his reinterpretation of "Beautiful Corruprion". The fact I quoted all of them at last could be indicative of their respective quality, so that it's really difficult to make a rank. The second cd of "Intersect Landscape" includes some live-tracks that Mergrim recorded during his tour in Japan and China, where his music got rocketed over the clouds by the precious collaboration of talented drummer Kazuya Matsumoto. If you like jazz-spotted glitch airy electronics, you'll find this listening experience really blissful!

Ghost Time: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 11 2013
Artist: Ghost Time (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Hinterzimmer Records (@)
Rated: *****
Listeners get immediately absorbed in an other-worldly magnetic field since the very first moments of the initial track "Pastly" by the widely reverberated and somewhat claustrophobic rasps, withering flurries and suffocated shrieks and the phantasmagorical listening experience keeps on draining away without any break over the lond-lasting four tracks as if it's a sort of sonic translation of an attempt to recover after the hallucinogenic fever dream caused by an alkaloid poisoned philter, which culminates in the frightening screams of the ghost of some harridan and the intoxicating fumigations of "Faint" and the oblong and almost unreal pocket trumpet on the final "Glimpse". This haunted declension of avantagarde-jazz and post-industrial research has almost become a cubbyhole, but this uncommon trio, made up of English pocket trumpeter Andy Knight and a couple of outstanding personalisties of the experimental scene, American renowned performative artists and noise percussionist Z'ev and Scottish jazz-fusion drummer and percussionist Ken Hyder, tried to fertilize this stylistical ground by bizarre instrumental parts, performative techniques and references to centuries-old traditions: all bass lines have been taken from the Ceol Mor, the ancient tradition of Scottish Pibroch, the so-called music of laments; Z'ev and Ken generates overtones by using alto, tenor and baritone rolmos, which are Tibetan ritual cymbals; the vocals combine elemnts of Canntaireachd, a vocalisation of bagpipe playing, and Khoomei, a Siberian and Mongolian traditional form of throat singing which Ken learnt when he was in Tuva, a Russian region in Southern Siberia. Beyond this musical "syncretism", another relevant aspect of Ghost Time is the fact it was entirely recorded live in one take, even if someone could think that its overtones could have been electronically modified.

Mountains: Centralia

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 09 2013
Artist: Mountains (@)
Title: Centralia
Format: CD
Label: Thrill Jockey (@)
Rated: *****
After listening this graceful release by Brooklyn-based duo of Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg, I dare to say that if hills have eyes, mountains have certainly ears! Named after the desolate ghost town of Centralia (Columbia County, Pennsylvania), where a large undergound fire (still unextinguished) of anthracite coal mine acted as a depopulation bomb due to air pollution and excessively hot temperature in 1962, a somewhat tragic event which tickled the imagination of many writers, musicians, directors and other creative flairs, this release could give you the impression these musicians turned into transducers of that surreal land, lying on a brazier which scared away the sacrilegious asinity of its previous usurpers (it seems that the abandoned mine was set on fire by dumping of hot ashes during landfill) nd will last for centuries to keep them at a safe distance. The static appearance of electronic mantles almost evokes the quiet grandiosity of a massif, which overlooks its surrounding realm, whereas computational sparks and the extreme cleaness of both electronic and instrumental sound seems to mirror the purificatory and slowly pervading action of that fiery furnace which managed to melt pavements and asphalt and undoes chasms, rifts and cracks on the ground. A certain sense of tragedy of some overstreched frequncies and decomposing sounds oddly coalesces with organic splendours of instrumental parts and over the album, but the first weight, under sedation of heart rending cello and strings ("Sand"), lulling or entrancing guitar arpeggios ("Identical Ship", "Circular C"), pastoral-like symphonies ("Tilt"), lukewarm psychedelic suites ("Propeller"), bubbling springs of electronic gleaming ("Liana"), could be more clearly felt in the final lovely hesitant "Living Lens". Tragically soothing.

Sabled Sun: Signals I

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 07 2013
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Artist: Sabled Sun
Title: Signals I
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This project has changed direction and, perhaps, importance. I've searched for some linear notes and found nothing on the website: only the name of the track, the cover and nothing else except the fact the second part of this release "Signals II" has already been released and this is four release in four months, some years ago, in another distributional framework, Psychic TV just tried to do a similar operation: 23 albums in 23 months.
Just a step back. This album is composed of one long track that reveals pro and defects of this project. The fact that this label is a 24 bit label devoted to the digital format is clearly audible: the sonic presence and details is impressive and Simon Heath from this aspect reveals himself as one of the most technically gifted. This track starts quietly in the usual dark ambient mood i.e., a quiet drone colored by small noises until this noises takes the scene mutating until the drone and the quiet noises return to take the control of the piece just enough to admit that noise returns to take the spectrum and end the track as someone could expect.
For fans this is a release to pick and from a critical perspective this album raises an issue uncommon in the audio field: this project marks an historical importance as it start to raise an issue that is related on the dialectic between art and the medium used for his distribution. Someone raised the issue that this technical possibility is harmful for music as it gives full control of the artist to decide what to release but it doesn't take care of one simple issue: who has the right to decide what to release? This review is not the place to discuss that but it's the place where I could say that this project is important even if you doesn't listen to all his releases.
Mar 06 2013
Artist: Schloss Tegal (@)
Title: Oranur III
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Many gourmet of electro-industrial dark ambient don't really need any introduction of American sound project by Robert Schneider and Mark Burch, named after a castle near Berlin which was formerly a psychiatric clinic for military people, where they got treated by means of music and art therapy. I surmise they have a reputation as many critics and reviewers consider Schloss Tegal as the founders of so-called dark ambient, whose main features were hovering since their electro-industrial debut release in 1989, a 7" single which was properly titled "Procession Of The Dead". They planned a series of reworks of some albums of their discography. This one by appreciated label Cold Spring is a digtally remastered version of their "The Third Report", a record inspired by the apocryphal scientific matter of orgonic energy, theorized by the controversial Austrian psychoanalist Wilhelm Reich, who made some researches of this supposedly existing cosmic energy during the years he spent in the United States. The concise, but exhaustive dissertion on Reich's experiments and beliefs about Deadly Orgone Radiation, Cosmic Orgone Engineering, Cloudbuster, Electro Magnetic Fields and its relation with the so-called "emotional plague", Oranur experiments, bio-weapons and other similar matters you can delve, with old pictures of Reich's cloudbusters is the conceptual framework of this album, which sounds like a sonic transducer of that theorized energy. Its magnetic flux density got emphasized by vocal samples, which seems to be taken from descriptions on tapes, noisy excoriation, abrasive insertions, toned-down obscure frequencies, piercing rumbles, which keep on putting a steady strain, which is somewhat uncommon for many dark-ambient contemporary releases, on many tracks such as "Coital Affirmation", the long-lasting initial "Oranur II "the Third and Final Report"", the disquieting "Dark Eyes", the creepy cryptic "Beyond The Wall Of Sleep", the subterranean clashing gusts of "Orop Desert Eas 1954-1955", the shivering phantasmagorical breeze of "Orena "Orop Terria"", the ethereal carnality of "The Core Men". This final report is supposedly the final warning to the sleeping beings of the Earth, according to their own (Schloss Tegal or some multidimensional being?) words!

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