Music Reviews



Kenneth Kirschner: Compressions & Rarefactions

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 18 2015
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Artist: Kenneth Kirschner (@)
Title: Compressions & Rarefactions
Format: CD
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
The reading of some reviews or meditations, where more or less famous music writers describe the experiencing of Kenneth Kirschner's music as if they were in the guise of Burroughs writing a page of literature under the effect of some hallucinogenic substance, as well as the way by which graphic artist Kysa Johnson, who cared the artwork of this release and matches Kenneth's extreme dilutions of sound in time to subatomic decay patterns, are an interesting explanation of the mission and the vision of this Ney York-based sound artist. You could read them on the booklet of this release, which managed to include of a couple of shorter recordings (shorter if compared to the average length of Kenneth's psychotropic epopees into sound) in a cd and added a code that could be redeemed to download three other recordings (lasting 5 hours in total...), but I'd like to extract some parts of them in order to give you an idea of what you could expect or you could skip, if you are a lover of concision in music. For instance, Marc Waidenbaum (disquiet.com), after an extremely detailed description of the (both emotional and spacial)set and the setting as a preface, reasonably claify that Kirschner "embraces a sense of periodicity that challenges the listener's comprehension" before turning back on his meditative path and stating that "if time is Kirschner's most self-evident compositional tool, then memory is his most active one. As we find our way - that is, find a way - through the immersive, percepting-consuming, periphery-spanning territory of his work, as time passes, as life passes, our sole guide is the work itself". While Simon Cummings (5against4.com) sees "paradoxes everywhere" in Kirschner's output and run through some of them on his interesting track-by-track commentary, I find the conclusion by Mike Lazarev (headphonecommune.com) particularly guessed to set the emotional fences where Kirschener's sonic particles or electrons draw their seemingly chaotic circles and microtonal twists: "while listening to the music of Kenneth Kirschner, one can become lost in time, ceasing to be in its prison of binding. As the shackles of time fall away through the sounds, I am brought back into this very moment, where the vois is the present, and the silence is noise". What could I say more to these fine words? I might say my very first impression, as I maybe felt the some fascination that a baby could experience inside a big and hidden lab of clock repairer, where variation of single geears or teps gradually mutate the "scansion" and the perception of time. Check it out!

Roman Leykam: Realm of the Shades

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 14 2015
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Artist: Roman Leykam
Title: Realm of the Shades
Format: CD
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
Rated: *****
Long-lasting collaborator of Frank Meyer Arts both on solo-releases and collaborative ones, experimental guitar player Roman Leykam recently signed this new output, where the shades of the title don't really refer to places where there is no light, but it should be meant as a synonum of hues. It's better clarify that if you are not a lover of effected guitars or synth-mnipulated guitars, you could find the listening experience that Roman provides dreadfully boring, as the excessively abstract and old-fashioned sonic mantle by which he wrapped and blurred his brilliantly effected guitars - a trained ear will easily recognize that he's quite good in manoeuvring effects - could even severely test the resistence to the synthesis of sleep-inducing agents of listeners, who can understand what he wisely does. My attention was kept high by some interesting insertions of e-bow guitars as well as by some meaningful ideas such as the humongous growl he lets rise in "The Aftermath" or the club-induced claustrophobic feelings that got rendered in "Bleak Place", but I can't really stop yawning when the above-mentioned mantles made some interesting guitar-driven experiments sound like demo songs of cheap electronic keyboard.

Konstruktivists: Destiny Drive

 Posted by mad:dog   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 13 2015
cover
Artist: Konstruktivists (@)
Title: Destiny Drive
Format: 3 x 12" vinyl
Label: Bleak (@)
Written and recorded between 2013 and 2014 and deemed to be the first album to be released on vinyl since their 1985's "Glennascaul", Konstruktivists' (Glenn M Wallis - Samples, Vocals, Words and Mahk Rumbae - Synths, FX, Arrangements) latest musical endeavor, "Destiny Drive", is nothing short of a sonic immersion in darkness. Thick with conceptual electronics and heavy on lyrics that do not allow your attention to roam free between the tracks, the A side ("Is This You", "Lone Groover", "Persona Non Grata") is both structured and relentless. It manages to keep a fine yet rather delicate balance between rhythmic seriousness and peculiar bits that are industrial to their very core. Each of these three tracks features its own arsenal of loose but purposeful sounds that may resist categorization, all mixed with Glenn's slow-paced and laconic vocals bulldozing the air. In fact, it becomes quite easy to end up picturing yourself while listening to this A side performed live and accompanied by video works that are just as subjugating as the tracks themselves. And then there comes the B side with "In Orange", "Static Automatic", "Psykho Politics" and "All That You Are", all four of them grinding on your eardrums as they play. It's a quivering and galvanizing B side that may not make for an easy listen, wrapped as it is with feverish, haunted vocals and angsty strings and beats. But nevertheless, these four tracks seem to unfurl at their own singular pace with no hints of what is to come. They converge toward a more integrating whole only to fade away in the end, leaving behind a trail of sounds reminiscent of a machine that occasionally leaps into inertia and malfunctions. Released on Bleak, a Vienna-based label focusing mainly on releasing experimental electronic music, "Destiny Drive" comes on red vinyl limited to 300 copies. Also available as a digital download on the band's Bandcamp site.

Am.Eise: Untitled

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 11 2015
cover
Artist: Am.Eise
Title: Untitled
Format: CD
Label: attenuation circuit (@)
Rated: *****
It's hard to find any information from this project whose release on Attenuation Circuit is something which could be described as an abstract radio drama. As based on filed recordings, instead on relying on the cinematic effect with the development of a narrative, An.Eise extracts resonances and noises blurring the perception of recognizable sounds.
The track starts with a sort of radio recordings of a voice introducing the listener into a meditative track constructed upon a quiet ground noise acting as a canvas where metallic samples, or percussions, emerge. The development of the track is driven by the ground noise that quietly develops in a soundscape when there's the introduction of some samples until the return of the metallic sounds closes the first part of the track. The second part is based on filed recordings, most notably a child's voice, vaguely resembling a kindergarten memory. The third part is focused on samples from the first two part played until they collapse in a sort of noisy drone from whose the metallic noises emerge introducing the quiet last minutes based on a quiet drone dissolving the noises on the voices of some adults at the bus stop or so it sounds.
Close to a form of radio drama and adventurous in the sound construction, it's a demanding listening from a project able to extract small bits of inquietude from a large picture of quietness. Truly recommended.

Steve Roden: Flower & Water

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 04 2015
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Artist: Steve Roden (@)
Title: Flower & Water
Format: CD
Label: Dragon's Eye Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
I was unfamiliar with this Los Angeles musician, but with this album I am reminded of Aube's 'Pages From the Book' in which the only sound source was a Bible. Steve Roden took a similar approach with this album: 'Flower & Water began with an offer to work with the first Dragon's Eye release ' a flexi-disc with a recording of George Winston playing a blues piano composition called 'Medley: Bread Baker's Stomp' ' as source material. Since I am not a true remixer, I decided to modify the track via physical manipulation. Most of the material began with cutting up some of the flexi's and taping back together in 'wrong' ways. I then played (or tried to play) the broken records that had been taped back together ' also putting objects onto the surface of the record while being played with a cheap record player that had a small built-in speaker.' The result is a series of looped compositions with shorter pieces (most less than a minute) interspersed throughout that highlight more experimental approaches with broken stabs of music ' here is where he must have stapled together the flexis into frankenflexis. The result is fascinating and some of the results are stunning. 'Words In The Shape Of A Tree,' for example, is a hauntingly beautiful series of looped piano snippets. 'Feeling, Smelling, Tasting' begins with looped piano and ends with heavily processed grinding sound, as if it was slowly being played backward with a bad needle. 'Straightforwardness' begins with reversed music and then moves into a mournful piano loop over pulsing swells of bass. If you're looking for experimental music that will not scare your friends and make them ask 'why the hell do you listen to this kind of stuff?' this is an excellent place to start. Don't get me wrong 'I listen to stuff that sounds like sheet metal in a blender, but sometimes I like it mellow too. This is an example of how experimental can still be beautiful, even in conventional ways. Well done. This album weighs in at around 36 minutes and is limited to 500 copies.


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