Music Reviews



Christian Wallumrød: Pianokammer

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 08 2015
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Artist: Christian Wallumrød (@)
Title: Pianokammer
Format: CD
Label: Hubro (@)
Rated: *****
If you had the possibility to listen to something by Norwegian pianist and composer Christian Wallumrod - one of the most appreciated musician of contemporary music scene from Norway -, you'll find this interesting release - his first solo album, as he got mainly engaged with different ensembles - slightly different from his usual path as some similarities could be find with a performance he used to play some years ago, which got inspired to neo-dadaist Fluxus movement. "Pianokammer" includes six pieces, which got recorded on many different grand pianos and in different venues between the end of 2013 and the first half of 2014 and shows the most experimental side of this talented pianist, who gets closer to isolationist ambient on the opening track, the first "Fahrkunst", where a sort of ghastly tonal undertow and a wavering tremolo feeds a drone that seems to render the absorption of a piano tone by surrounding objects in slow motion. The following "Hoksang" would have been labelled as a concise piano exercise without the amazing tonal decay and "mistakes" at the end of each melodic phrase, while the vaguely disquieting "Second Fahrkunst" could let you imagine that the above-mentioned absorption woke up sleeping ghosts, who devour the graceful composure of the previous "Hoksang" till the moment it totally fades out. The most fascinating aspect of the following track "Boyd 1970" is the fact that sounds played by a pianist, who repeats a lesson about rhythmic cadences, walking bass line or simple stride to a mediocre trainee by an exhausted and bored to tears teacher, while the resounding chords in the beginning of "School of Ecofisk" seem to drown in the arthritic tonal knots that strangle melody over the track, whose schizophrenic nuance partially affects the feebly classy tone, which opens the amazing nine minutes of the final "Lassome", before the piece slips down a sheer hole.

Igor: Fast & Slow

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 06 2015
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Artist: Igor
Title: Fast & Slow
Format: 12"
Label: Lamour (@)
Rated: *****
Many famous quotations by likewise famous people match art to pain or bad experiences and in the basis of such an assumption, I've heard many esthetes, who had no shames in exhibiting a certain sadism in refusing the labelling of art to anything which didn't got inspired by any kind of suffering. In spite of the beauty of his musical artifact, I wouldn't wish on Igor, the moniker of Swedish polyhedral musician Mikael Stromberg, to live the same experience that inspired this lovely release: even if he considers "Fast and Slow" as an important part of his healing process after having suffered from the sudden complete rupture of the aorta while he was cooking (the diagnosis says it was an acute aortic dissection), I really hope he's in good health in order to dedicate himself to his arts - he's also an artist in text-sound-picture context since the early 80ies -. I guess the title of this release could refer both to the irregular heartbeat during his convalescence and the distinguishing feature of each track, that he named after painkillers and other medicinal products, where the above-mentioned irregularity got reflected by sudden acceleration or decelerations, apopleptic strokes, muffled thuds and other sonic or compositional stains that seem to disturb already fragile balances.The references to some icons of 70ies ambient school as wel as proper classics such Brian Eno, John Cage and Erik Satie are guessed: the mysterious and somewhat melancholic nuance of Satie's composition could often comes to mind while listening to piano phrasing by Igor, who often transforms its sound by techniques for prepared piano, which are not so different from the ones by John Cage, or by celestial reverberations that recurs on very first ambient acts by Brian Eno, or itnegrate it with toy piano or brilliantly shaped electronic analog sounds. Even if the listening of this album could hit listener's heart, it has no side effects!

Crypto Tropic: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 06 2015
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Artist: Crypto Tropic
Title: s/t
Format: 12"
Label: Le Cabanon Records (@)
Rated: *****
Besides the attractively guessed package - the external blue cardboard has the geometric shed of the label logo which could be cut, while the internal cover portrays some wild plants, where pins, filters and effects could let them match to ghosts or some mysterious treefolks -, the sound by Crypto Tropic, the bicephalous project by Thomas Pujols aka Nebulo (he signed some releases for the excellent Hymen Records as well as a remix on Hecq's "0000" was appraised by many followers of the well-known sub-label of Ant-Zen) and Francois Dumeax aka Druc Drac (he's on Hymen's archive as well - on a collaborative release with Thomas and his own album "Retrofuture" -) is likewise attractive and fascinating: the mysterious electronic cumbia of "Ambiuc" opens side A, which includes some of my favorite moments of the album such as "Byzance", where chirping insects and birds ot melted with computational beeps before exploding into a babbling electronic feast, "Canopee" (French word for "canopy"), whose tingling amalgamation of polyrhythms, intermittent compu-melody and other synth-generated rushes perfectly render the reverie which could be inspired by the contemplation of reticular tree crowns and waving pins and needles, "Ternal", whose simple sequence sounds like getting injected under listener's skin by an electric buzzing, and "Cryptes", one of the most fascinating moment of the whole release, whose slightly hypnotical melody couls equally evoke some space mediatations by Vangelis and the mysterious charm of places like Rosslyn Chapel. B side features the dub-tech step of "50ð", whose sonorities seems to mirror a mirage in the middle of a desert, the amazing computational medley of "Art5", the whooshes of "Mori", the estranged obliquity of "Tropes" and the amazing "Tropiques", whose adventurous dynamics, driven by sizzling elements that sounds like getting hotter and hotter, makes it another highlight of the release. They included a code that listener could redeem on label's bandcamp - I could recommend to listen to Crypto Tropic in some mysterious place (an abandoned old building or a wood), but playing it on a desk could be much more uncomfortable than playing it from an mp3 player! - as well as a map, including a "bird-eye" view and geographic coordinates of supposedly cryptic tropical places. I'll check them as soon as possible.

Niedowierzanie: Paradise

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 05 2015
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Artist: Niedowierzanie
Title: Paradise
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
Niedowierzanie is a french composer living in Berlin whose musical output is at the crossroad of modern classical, electronic music and folk. Most of the tracks are made out of acoustic instruments like cello, accordion and mandoline which are treated and juxtaposed creating subtle masses of drones.
The gentle notes of "Neige Noire" open this release and immerse the listener into a pit of layers of sounds centered upon a filtered accordion. "Credere" uses the same structure but it's based on the mandolin and the cello. "Irrintzi" is a quiet tune which let emerge the more reflexive side of this musical output while "Vous Voulez Ma Peau" expose the most noisy side of this formula as it features distortions to be enjoyed at relatively high volume in the first part and are resolved in a crystal clear drone. "Les Horizons Perdus" mirrors this structure in a shorter form while "#9" closes this release with the hypnotic resonances of the acoustic instruments.
While it's not a particularly impressive release in the realm of form, it has a sort of familiar feeling that gives this release an allure of something to hear whenever possible. A nice release.

Sindre Bjerga & Micromelancolié: Invisible Paths

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 04 2015
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Artist: Sindre Bjerga & Micromelancolié (@)
Title: Invisible Paths
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
"Invisible Paths" is single composition by the duo of Sindre Bjerga and Robert SkrzyÅski which is a sonic exploration based upon found sounds as field recordings as well as drones or ambient texture. The result is an example of what has been called "cinema for the ear" as it sounds as something truly evocative of the soundscape in which we live.
The first track, "Invisible Path I', starts with small noises in a complete silence gradually overwhelmed by a drone. The noises are the main element of the second part as they are selected for their rhythmic quality while the voices are chosen for their evocative quality. After a noisey central part, the final one is based upon a drone texture and field recordings creating an atmosphere of tension as they mainly feature sparse sounds."Invisible Path II' starts as the first part but the noises are more rhythmic oriented and are the focus of the first part while the long second part is focused on drones that gradually overwhelm textures and noises closing this release with a charming sense of peace.
This a release which confirms all the good words spent of the previous SkrzyÅski's release and, even if it's not a record for the masses, stands upon the best releases of the year. Absolutely recommended.


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