Music Reviews



Axel Doerner, Urs Leimgruber, Robert Landfermann, Christian Lillinger: Dorner Leimgruber Landfermann Lillinger

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 13 2012
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Artist: Axel Doerner, Urs Leimgruber, Robert Landfermann, Christian Lillinger
Title: Dorner Leimgruber Landfermann Lillinger
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
On a dreary day in October 2008 in Cologne, a group of talented musicians edged everything about their day (traffic, bad weather, any acrimony or disappointing chats with ignorant and casual interlocutor about crisis, politics or whatever...you could imagine such a preface) and decided to meet in a loft in order to exorcize reality for a while and looking for freedom in music at least. Similar attempt to kill boredom could be quite common, you could argue, but it's less common that four important representatives of the improvisational and free jazz scene - Axel Doerner (trumpet, electronics), Urs Leimgruber (saxophone), Robert Landfermann (double bass) and Christian Lillinger (drums) - meet together in a place and the result of such a rendez-vous could not be but surprising. The first tracks sound like a sort of warm-up so that no instrument gets drowned by other ones, some nice performing experiments (particularly on winds) can be easily distinguished, but the ultralow bass tone, which ends the second track, "ammmmmmmmm" (the only difference between the titles is the number of "m"s following the "a"...), seems to overheat the atmosphere and even if the third track starts with a not so different cue, based on cheeping saxophone, trumpet hiccuping, close mic recording of puffs, the sound progressively becomes more and more bombastic with the "awakening" of drums, heavier panting and more nervous plucking on the bass strings before the first spluttering sparkles of the fourth track, "ammmmmmmmmmmmm", where both the bass and the trumpet sound like hinting at some jazz standard phrasing. Henceforward a gradual crescendo will overwhelm the listener through involving free jazz explosions, which show the command of different musicians with very complex rhythmical structures, whirling in infections drumming fury, which sounds like strangling winds, whose sonic grand mal could remind the desperate convulsions of someone fighting against a straightjacket!

Alexander Elgier, Victor Grinenco, Samuel Sahlieh: Veiled

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 10 2012
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Artist: Alexander Elgier, Victor Grinenco, Samuel Sahlieh
Title: Veiled
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Sinister tolls, electronic buzzes and distant spourts, sudden puffs and suppurations, piercing synthesizer shrieking, metallic hits, screaming tones of violin and hardingfele (a sort of Scandinavian fiddle), obsessive pulses and sting sonic wedges thiken the pitch dark where obscure piano fragments difficultly try to draw melodic lines over this 29-minutes lasting one track album, wisely titled "Veiled", by this unknown Argentinian trio made up of Alexander Elgier (piano), Victor Grinenco (violin, hardingfele, objects and electronics) and Samuel Sahlieh (synthesizer, electric bass guitar and tapes). It's difficult to say if such a title refers to the fact they were performing different scores which tried to reciprocally mask through mutual interaction, even if you could think about some Morton Feldman piece (for some strange reason, my listening memory focused on "For Bunita Marcus" while listening to the occasional piano sprays by Elgier) randomly mixed with some noisy stuff by John Cage after electrolysis, but the path till the final highly nervous saturation point is so catchy that any attempt of association with other stuff is going to appear an unuseful waste of time.

VV.AA.: Run Over by an Elevator

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 08 2012
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Run Over by an Elevator
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Bearsuit records (@)
Rated: *****
"Run Over by an Elevator" (people who understand some youngish English slang cannot but chortle about such a choice) could be considered a digest of the lucky and brisk headhunting activity by Scottish label Bearsuit as well as an opportunity to foretaste some of its forthcoming releases by this interesting label, whose driving force seems to be a strong link with (mainly Japanese) producers who keep on spooring the traces of authentic innovators coming from Japanese scene (I could mention a plenty of musicians and non-musicians in the roster of labels such as Schole, Daisyworld Discs, Teichiku, Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo Lab, Toy's Factory, P-Vine and many others), even if there are many tracks which could recall other musical grounds (the track "Descending" by emlp, acronym for "electronic music learning projects", by Edinburgh based musician and composer Mark Rossi - one of the tracks I liked most of this collection - partially recalls Icelandic Mum asa well as "Bees In My Feet" by Haq, collaborative project between Japanese n-qia and Scottish half of Whizz Kid Harold Nono which is going to debut on Bearsuit soon, could remind some moments of Slowdive's "Catch The Breeze") and a geographical connection with Scotland and Northern England, one of the most active musical workshop who gave listeners a lot of mindblowing sonic stuff. It's really hard to rank them, as the stylistical range is quite wide and even lo-fi elements fly high ona quality level, even there are some highlights amidst this jungle of stuffed animals and hunting trophies: the above-mentioned n-qia with the hypnotic voice by Nozomi and fuzzy electro-acoustic textures by Takma, the intriguing feverishness of "Metamorphosis Pt.1" by Polish style-drifter Bartosz Dziadosz aka Pleq, the bizarre toytronics of "Mosquito Bites" by protean anti-nuclear activist Amogano aka Ememe and the amusing and childish one of "People Today Started Runrun" by Takashi Mizukoshi's Suppa Micro Pamchopp, the magnetic abstract J-pop of "Chikyu Wa Mawaru" (Japanese for "Earth is spinning") by Bunny & The Electric Horsemen, the seducing downbeat by Taub, a collaborative project by appreciated Nonine label manager Me Raabenstein and Harold Nono, the sweet melancholy-tinged rustic idyll of "Family" by Japanese vocalist, composer and pianist Hidekazu Wakabayashi and Harold Nono (him again!), and "Comp no.209" by Canadian composer and percussionist Antonio De Braga, the entrancing pastoral awakening of "First Moments" by The Frozen Vaults, forthcoming project of a big ensemble made up of cellist Dave Dhonau, pianist Yuki Murata, violinist Tomasz Mrenca and producers Bartosz Dziadosz (Pleq) and Harry Towell (Spheruleus), the frugal lo-fi lullaby of "The Kennel Club" by Edinburgh-based duo Aging Children, the balanced mixture of rain-inspired mood, soft electronics and indie approach by Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai, the cinematic intro by Welsh experimental musician Nick Auskeur, the desiccate homemade groove by Doug Seidel...I'm just realizing that I've mentioned them all even if my first intention was an attempt to isolate some highlights, a symptomatic "mistake" about how this selection could be mouthwatering. Check it!

Fabrice Favriou: Phases

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 03 2012
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Artist: Fabrice Favriou (@)
Title: Phases
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Even if in the very first seconds of this album, you could think about someone in the act of fixing a broken intercom, this eccentric multi-instrumentist was meddling with an harmonium when he recorded this release at home-garage-studio. Due to its quite high cost of maintenance, the resulting disappearance from chuches (where it was mostly used) and the coming of more cheap electronic or electric instruments, this fascinating instrument close to accordion, but completely different from the technical viewpoint, maybe lost its notoriety, even if many musicians know its particular acoustics, its piercing timbre. Moreover harmonium's feature of keeping distinguashable different tones, even when they are played together, was particularly appreciated by tuning testers. On "Phases", Fabrice Favriou manages to extract six very interesting pieces, mainly based on modulations and microtonal variations through changes of pumping pressure, and you could be astonished by the impressive timbral possibilities as well as by similarities with other instruments which can be emulated by harmonium, so that while listening some of his six phases, you could even think that Fabrice is playing a distorted guitar or a brass. From the stylistical viewpoint, "Phases" sounds consistent with previous collaborations or releases by Monsieur Favriou, who seems to compel listeners to a sort of sound-induced trance through proper drones, untiring perforations or long-lasting dilutions of single note.

Kiko C.Esseiva: Droles d'Oiseaux

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 01 2012
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Artist: Kiko C.Esseiva (@)
Title: Droles d'Oiseaux
Format: CD
Label: Hinterzimmer Records (@)
Distributor: Experimedia Ltd
Rated: *****
After some incidental releases following his "Sous Les Etoiles", the skilled francophone "hispanoswiss" composer Kiko C.Esseiva signs his third album, which confirms his talent in putting a cinematic narrative cloth on thorough electroacoustic unconventional pieces. Even if a certain bond with some "canons" of Schaeffer's musique concrete could lead some self-important listeners and reviewers to confute the groundbreaking extent of his sonic conduct, it's impossible to consider "Droles d'Oiseaux" as a properly mannered oeuvre. To be honest, such an aesthetic dispute is not so relevant as the above-mentioned cinematic hook is the most prominent aspect of this composer's style, who manages to fuel suspense and unexpected and somewhat ironic twists to his sonic amalgams of vocal experiments, subtle drones, field recordings, horror movies atmospheres and acoustic fragments whereas he inserts some human actor who get inside their part in the sonic scenes. The one played by Priscille Reymond-Finger on the long-lasting suite "Safe'n'Sound" is particularly absorbing: she rapidly changes from a suffocated trepidation to a terror-stricken peep and an heavy snoring coming after the crush of a thunder which suddenly shatters the nightmare, which sounds crowded with frightening metallic noises and cramped dump infested with rats, so that it seems the track is a description of a turbulent sleep, concluding with a restoring bath! The presence of sonic twists brands all tracks: in the initial "Epigraphe Et Ouverture" a field recording which evokes an idyllic excursion in the wood with many chirping birds suddenly closes with the appearance of a chainsaw, which could explain the references to epigraphs ("Droles d'Oiseaux" could be roughly translated as "crazy bird", so that you could imagine the cutting of a tree could mark the tragic collapse of its nest...), but the funniest and most meaningful contemporaneously is the last suite "Je Vole", whereas the happy-go-lucky flight described by the daydreaming spins of Alexandre Esseiva got broken by a disastrous fall, so that it seems the suffumigation of a Pindaric flight caused by the frustration of daily life.


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