Music Reviews



ATUM: Hitwa

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 29 2008
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Artist: ATUM (@)
Title: Hitwa
Format: CD
Label: Beast Of Prey (@)
Rated: *****
This new album by Atum is titled HITWA and it's divided into five movements. The main concept behind this work is represented by a question which can be read also as an experiment: if the effect created by the contemplation of symbols is a whole different experience for each of us, how much powerful can it be if in conjunction with sounds? The three panels of the CD package contains five different symbols you can use at this purpose while you are listening to the trembling sounds created by Atum. Sounds which tend to create apparent calm dark ambient suites (see the use of acoustic guitar with synth pads) where choruses, bells, and reverbered industrial rhythms come back an forth destabilizing the whole sound. Influenced by the early Cold Meat Industry sound of Megaptera and Desiderii Marginis and helped out by Infamis, Dead Factory and Equus, Atum succeeded into the creation of a hellish microcosm.

INADE: Aldebaran

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 26 2008
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Artist: INADE
Title: Aldebaran
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Released back in 1996 by Cold Spring Records, ALDEBARAN was the first CD by Inade. The German combo already released on their own label Loki Foundation two tapes but with ALDEBARAN they were able to test their dark ambient sound with a wider audience. Divided into four different movements, ALDEBARAN, is a sort of concept album focused on "the black light of the universe which illuminates the inner world" where the "68 dimensions is the stair where the shadows of the secret knowledge darken the reality". The band's sound aims to make feel to the listener the pulse of the universe and all the four movements ("Signals from 68 dimensions", "The conquest of being separated", "The crushing of earthly foundations" and "The end of the beginning") tend to induce a dizzy sensation into the audience. Flowing/hissing sounds come back and forth through the speakers and even if sometimes the minimalism of the early tracks need more attention, there's a certain development which make the sound explode during the second part of "The end of the beginning". Here the hisses are coupled by obscure vocals, trembling sounds and darkness. Listened nowadays this is still a nice album and you have to listen to it loud to fully appreciate it.

Formication: Agnosia

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 26 2008
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Artist: Formication (@)
Title: Agnosia
Format: CD
Label: dark winter (@)
Rated: *****
Released on Dark Winter both on cd and for free download – Agnosia is the new ep by Formication and features a twist in their style but mantains a top notch ritualistic and enigmatic blend of ambient. With "Agnosia" they take distance from coil-influenced electronics ( last year's "Icons for a New Religion " ) to dive deeper into an hard-edged isolationism, the obsessions and compulsions here are similar to those found on the first album by Final. As in their previous album "Redux" there are tracks on this ep with titles but without the precise order – this continuity slows down your mental processes in order to reach a trance-like state. Formication's sound undergoes several permutations and surely requires open ears. As for their previous release,i have the feeling that they are getting close to a masterpiece of dark electronics.


Abandoned Toys: The Witch's Garden

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 21 2008
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Artist: Abandoned Toys
Title: The Witch's Garden
Format: CD
Label: Mythical Records
Rated: *****

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With the best of intentions, self-proclaimed "new age music composer" Brett Branning of Abandoned Toys lays out what is meant to be a 9-course feast of melodious shadows in this instrumental, piano-driven Dark Classical disc. Immediately, however, it's clear that the piano in the opening track, "Within A Lilac Clutch," is either un-practiced or un-quantized, and it does not bode well for the rest of the CD. Luckily, the piano-predominant songs alternate with some nicely treacherous, wicked, haunted landscapes of more-than-Tolkienesque splendor, so all is not lost. In a vein belonging to Current 93, creepy female chorale-voices crescendo very well at the end of track two, the "Prelude" to the title cut. The brief track seven, "Spiraling Into the Sun," too, works best at redeeming the shakiness of this oeuvre.

As a composer, Branning is capable of many good turns of phrase, yet since he also claims film soundtrack experience on his website, it's all the more surprising that he'd put down so many pieces in need of tighter rhythm. Although he is ably assisted by a guest violinist on track five, "Flickering Embrace," the accompanist still can't find where to sync up with the choppy piano. Even with all the other scary, cool sounds to his credit on this release, it looks like Branning could stand to make better use of his toys for the next go-round.

SLEEP RESEARCH FACILITY: Nostromo

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 19 2008
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Artist: SLEEP RESEARCH FACILITY (@)
Title: Nostromo
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Alien has been released in 1979 after years of work and different times Ridley Scott was about to quit because production didn't care about his vision and for them the movie was beginning to be too expensive because of the director's maniacal precision. That movie had also the merit to introduce to a wider audience a master of the visionary art: Giger. He created the monster and he painted different sets. If you know the movie and you also checked the interviews included into the DVD editions you can understand why Sleep Research Facility on 2001, for their debut release, decided to take inspiration from the Nostromo crew story. Especially inspired by the first eight minutes of the movie, NOSTROMO, tries to reproduce the tension and the atmosphere of that great movie. This new edition of the album allow to the dark ambient lovers to rediscover a good CD where Kevin Doherty gave his best by creating five different movements able to scare the hell out of you. Dark ambient isolationism and drones will make you revive the first time you saw the dark corridors of the Nostromo space ship. This reissue include also a bonus track titled "Narcissus": an eight minute suite with fluctuating loops, light hisses and different other hypnotic sound layers.


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