Music Reviews



Stefan Paulus: Becoming-Dissolve

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 14 2012
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Artist: Stefan Paulus (@)
Title: Becoming-Dissolve
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Earth Mantra
Rated: *****
The author of this release, Stefan Paulus, conveniently calls his sonic stuff by using the expression "psychogeography drifts", a reminder of the notorious method for investigation on surrounding reality as well as an eccentric approach to the studies of a place, defined by radical theorist Guy Debord, and while listening this contemporary sonic "flaneur"'s "Becoming-Dissolve" and in spite of the theoretical limits of such a method, which have been recognised by its inventor, some words by Debord himself look like having been echoed back by Stefan's sound: "When freedom is practiced in a closed circle, it fades into a dream, becomes a mere image of itself. The ambiance of play is by nature unstable. At any moment, "ordinary life" may prevail once again. The geographical limitation of play is even more striking than its temporal limitation. Every game takes place within the boundaries of its own spatial domain". The so-called "derive" resounds in the three moments of this becoming, a kind of narrative sequence of long-lasting field recordings which have been injected with entrancing sine waves, electronic rarefied atmospheres and humoral resonances so that it seems an emphatic cruise across a nebula of daily aural stimulations: the overwhelming solipsism combined with a certain feeling of self-alienating during a train trip in "Becoming-Endless", the glacial lethargy and the freezing surges in "Becoming-Imperceptible", the entrancing absorption of the ego within a natural landscape, emphasized by heavy rain, nocturnal chirring of cicadas and the blowing of strong winds over a wintry land, in "Becoming-Molecular" are the daydreaming stages of this suggestive dissolving. "Becoming-Dissolve" is available for free on Earth Mantra's net-label web-site.

Ergo: If Not Inertia

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 13 2012
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Artist: Ergo (@)
Title: If Not Inertia
Format: CD
Label: Cuneiform (@)
Rated: *****
Even if Ergo sounds deeply rooted in jazz, the comparisons of their release "Multitude, Solitude" with sonic germs which have nothing to share with jazz such as Autechre, Sigur Ros, Steve Reich or Radiohead (some occasional listeners travelling in my car while "If not Inertia" was playing from hi-fi system detected even some similaratis with Colleen, Murcof, Efterklang, Sun Ra Arkestra - the most fitted touchstone in my opinion - or Kammerflimmer Kollektief) don't appear so orthogonal to me after the listening of this great album, the most recent act by this combo, founded by trombonist (as well as laptop musician) Brett Sroka, who decided to push his musical boundaries beyond jazz after some training years at Manhattan School of Music by embracing the wide range of compositional possibilities, offered by electronic devices and prompted by many improv and free jazz refluxes. It happened by chance that Ergo's music sublimed my reading of a passage from "Notes from Underground" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky during a dreary afternoon and you could imagine how I wondered when discovering they mentioned that great Russian storyteller (together with Charles Baudelaire, William Bulter Yeats, Joseph Campbell and Mark Gonzales - ! -) amidst their sources of inspiration. Metronome's sob in the initial "Sorrows Of The Moon", followed by wise piano strokes by Sam Harris, sets the mood with a sort of an anguished ballad, where Shawn Baltazor's drumming and Mary Halvorsen's guitar sounds like the adhesive tapes or the musical pebbles thrown into the mental pond where all tormented thoughts by some hard thinker gradually debouch. The sweet melody of a prepared piano sounding like a toy instrument and the ligneous creaks placidly carry the framework of the following track "Two For Joy", a sort of roving digression of melancholic brightening before the imaginary storyteller behind this musical tale starts twirling in the smoke again in the lovely solipsistic hyperboles of "Little Shadow" where trombone's convolutions ascends on steep and crumbly walls, whose bricks look like pressed by drums and piano, till the moment when in the moving title track, "If Not Inertia", those smoke rings seems to turn into something palpable and concrete, whose melodic piano dragging blurs with the lonely whistling, a background silent moan of the wind. The title-track acts as watershed of the album, as the second part better highlights the remarkable inputs given by two guest guitar-player: the talented above-mentioned Mar Halvorsen adds a certain obliqueness on the snare augmented by an electronic pulsation in "The Widening Gyre" and duels with the sliding trombone by Sroka just like they were cool-headed gun fighters in some desert place of the glorious Far West while Sebastian Kruger's acoustic guitar took part in the choral breezy melody of the final "Let's". The release also includes a film by Donya Ravasani on its "making of". I warmly reccomend a listening of this nice musical work out by Ergo.

Marek X.Marchoff & MJ Caroline Rider: Voxfields

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 11 2012
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Artist: Marek X.Marchoff & MJ Caroline Rider (@)
Title: Voxfields
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
The fifth chapter of Zoharum's ongoing IYHHH (anagram of Into Your Hands Hearts Hallucinations) series coincides with the first album by Different State's head Marek Xavier Marchoff, entirely based on field recordings, taken from the east and west bunkers area of Fort Tilden, an abandoned army base, built together with Fort Totten in order to defend NYC from airstrike attacks, whose vestiges are hidden by pines, coastal overgrowth and wonderful dunes, so that it's a sort of surreal paradise nearby New York, where old wartime structures (barracks, nuclear missile silos, underground artillery shelters, observatory outposts and so on) jars on natural coastal set, different from common muddy beaches and murky waters of other American beaches on Atlantic Ocean. Marek and Mj Caroline Rider proposes an immersive guided tour of this strange place just some miles out of the chaotic Big Apple, whose emotional hooks and power of suggestion have been amplified by some inserts, which look like a projection of authors' feelings since the beginning, where an obsessive clinical pulse together with a kind of keen electric buzz and air raid warnings highlight mental images while these sonic grabbers walk at a rattling. Listeners are going to keep on strolling over claustrophobic clashes, chirping birds, seagulls and insects (sometimes getting quite unnatural), rusty tanks, sinister trills, bare echoes, heavy footsteps, rustle of dropped leaves, disquieting gurgling and even human clamours - appearing on stage just in the final track, which features interesting manipulations of them - and other elements, which have been "organized" by Marek and MJ Caroline in a "musical" way, just like notes on a pentagram. Very atmospheric exemplar of sonic psychogeography!

LUCA SIGURTA': bliss

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 08 2012
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Artist: LUCA SIGURTA' (@)
Title: bliss
Format: CD
Label: Fratto9 Under the Sky (@)
Rated: *****
Some years ago Luca Sigurtà has been brought to my attention from my Chaindlk-mate/musician Eugenio Maggi aka Cria Cuervos, Eugenio gave me some of his early releases, later I've bought myself his cdr on Afe records, his cds with Pocket Progressive, Harshcore and so on. We're not writing about a newjack since the guy has an intense touring schedule both alone and with bands like Harshcore or Luminance Ratio, he's also been sharing splits or collaborative efforts with Andy Ortmann, Claudio Rocchetti, To Live and Shave in La, Slicing Grandpa and Fhievel just to name a few. For this second chapter of Fratto9's Microcosmos series Sigurtà has shaped his best work so far, finally enriched by a boombastic production with the aid of Giuseppe Ielasi during the mastering process. This piemontese musician has put together a release that is intriguing, meditative but at the same time relaxing. Always close to the border of ambient music, this crepuscular collection of drones is really inspired, by some means I've been quite surprised during the early listenings and it has to be addressed to the fact Luca has basically worked with weird, noisy, electro-acoustic projects and his live acts, without being exactly "power-noise" oriented, are physical and angular (whatever it means). I think despite the many influences you can perceive here and there the sound of this music is really "american", I mean even if this music sometime may suggest you comparison to Oren Ambarchi, Brendon Labelle or similar artist, Sigurtà stylistically is probably closer to John Wiese or Aaron Dilloway and this' more evident if you have the luck to see one of his shows.

FABIO ORSI : the new year is over

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 08 2012
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Artist: FABIO ORSI
Title: the new year is over
Format: 3 x CD (triple CD)
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
Along with Giuseppe Ielasi, Fabio Orsi is probably the most talked about italian musician that surprised me the most release after release. Differently from Ielasi, despite some different works, Orsi has more stylistic continuity infact if we have to draw in some comparison to picture what kind of artist we're in front of, he could be the italian answer to Aidan Baker. Even if both Aidan and Fabio are crossing a post ambient music field their approach is considerably different, infact the italian artist relocated in Berlin has a less depressive e more ambient feel that doesn't remind anything in particular. Release after release and after several collaborations, many of which see him involved together with Gianluca Becuzzi, Orsi developed his peculiar musical language and beside melancholia I'd add his modus operandi is high emotionally charged. This new triple cd came out on Silentes (if you've never given a try to this label you'd better check it) shows this guy is in full blossoming and after having seen him live (a less than quarter of an hour minutes blast) I can confirm he's a real talented musician. Even if I was afraid three distinct cds were just too much, after having experienced all of them one after the other I can truly say while they can be listened as three episodes of the same movie, there's no superfluous repetition and considering it's post ambient music it's surprising. Why do I define this music post ambient? Cause Orsi added an electronic percussive beat that animates the first cd, he's also add some dark passages that later leave room to dreamy and almost evocative feelings and everything well mixed in a really relaxed mood. I really don't know if this the apex of Orsi solo carrier but I'm sure this' one of his best works so far and like Aidan Baker it amazes me how he managed to maintain such a high quality considering they both are unstoppable under the releases profile. Believe it or not this' probably one of the few triple cd releases you can repeatedly listen without finding everything excessive. The general atmosphere of this album made think to this french sentence "le ciel bleu est plus joli après la pluie"


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