Music Reviews



Nils Ostendorf, Philip Zoubek, Philippe Lauzier : subsurface

 Posted by John Gore   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 08 2011
Artist: Nils Ostendorf, Philip Zoubek, Philippe Lauzier
Title: subsurface
Format: CD
Label: Schraum (@)
Rated: *****
An excellent release of free improvisation by these three musicians: Nils Ostendorf, trumpet; Philip Zoubek, prepared piano; Philippe Lauzier, bass clarinet & saxophones. The first two tracks are quite good and if I hadn't known it beforehand I would have said they were actually electronic pieces. The prepared piano work gives us a wonderfully dense cloud of overtones that sounds quite cinematic at times. The other pieces are more obviously coming from acoustic instruments, but with a richer expression of sound, as the musicians use various techniques to pull quite surprising sounds out of their instruments. The results can be quite delicate and gentle at times and then quite abrasive and aggressive. I liked this very much.

Thorsten Soltau/Weiss : rezykla

 Posted by John Gore   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 08 2011
Artist: Thorsten Soltau/Weiss
Title: rezykla
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Electroton (@)
Rated: *****
German sound artist Thorsten Soltau uses material by the German artist Weiss from his release 'Rephlex' to produce four new tracks. Weiss then takes the new tracks and remixes them again. Minimal in structure and sound, the pieces sometimes dance to the rhythm of a new primitivism and at the same time spit in glitchy electronic abandon, and then rests in pleasant slumber. The joy of pure sound and rhythm. Sometimes the sound could be a bit creepy, with granulated voices and conversations contemplating something malevolent. Sound falling apart but still musical. I liked this very much.

Wade Matthews/Ernesto Rodrigues/Neil Davidson: Erosions

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 07 2011
cover
Artist: Wade Matthews/Ernesto Rodrigues/Neil Davidson (@)
Title: Erosions
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
I enjoyed a lot the page of artistic diary intended to say something about this project by one of the involved musician - arguably the one whose sound art is more audible here -, Wade Matthews, who got inspiration for entitling a session recorded in March 2010 with the skilled Ernesto Rodrigues on viola and Neil Davidson on acoustic guitar from a message sent by the photographer caring the artwork of this release, Mary Petrosky (is it fun a photographer with such a surname, as "petra" Latin root means "stone", likes taking pictures of rocks! It's really cool the one on the cover, looking like to a sort of scratched liver...), titled "Rocks I've met". Maybe he was influenced by the sweltering day occured in July 2010 in Madrid, as Wade himself admits, but he made a bizarre association between the general flow of the sound of this issue, whereas an important role has been played by the astonishing manipulations on field recordings (you'll have the sensation of being in his cool studio where any object, even his ringing phone, plays a role in this nice recording...a process which could remind the role of the notorious Stockhausen's dog!) and digitally synthesized creatures (some of them look like signals grabbed from ether or astronomic capturing system to be honest...) while guitar chords and viola sketches are just put in appearance here and there, and the erosive action of water on rockets. "At first glance", Mr Matthews argues, "water seems to adapt to the form of its container, and yet, over time, the opposite occurs. [...] As it flows, water erodes its container, wearing away the hardest of surfaces to reveal what is beneath. Extending our metaphor, we could say that sound flows from the actions of musicians, and among listeners. As such, it erodes both. But it also polishes both, and most of all, it reveals both". Is Erosions going to reveal something according the conceptualization by Matthers, acting in keeping with improv music principles? It's up to the listener...

Markus Eichenberger: Halbzeit - Clarinet Solo 2008

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 06 2011
cover
Artist: Markus Eichenberger
Title: Halbzeit - Clarinet Solo 2008
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
If I should try to explain the choice by Markus Eichenberger of putting an old black and white photo from his childhood album, the first thing coming into my mind is the way some jazz players names the clarinet, id est the liquorice stick, whose sugared version is normally considered a titbit by young children. The second possible explanation could be found in the almost dadaistic approach to the instrument as it seems suggesting some phrases not so dissimilar to some childish toys (in the initial and in the final halbzeit - half time -, some repeated sequences of tones could even remind the sound of sirens or nursery rhymes as well as some tunes could easily remind those "improvised" sets on whistles or scholar flutes by young pupils). The way Markus plays his clarinet, based on single phrases with prolonged pauses of total silence or during which he just emits air and recursive persistence on the same tone, has the advantage to highlight the peculiarity of the sound of this instrument, wrongly considered a close relative of the trumpet, as it's normally believed to be one of the most piercing woodwind instrument. There are many quotations, sounding more like musical memories resurfacing from the depths of consciousness, such as Mozart's compositions for clarinet, Bechet's Petite Fleur as well as some Swiss folk songs, but it should be listened as a sort of introspective musical journey than just a collection of sketches, which has many moments of breathtaking intimacy and poetical brilliance.

Jason Kahn: Sin Asunto

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 06 2011
cover
Artist: Jason Kahn (@)
Title: Sin Asunto
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Many reviewers mistakenly think that graphical score is just an almost unuseful and somewhat provocative act of oddness or a disrespectful corruption of standard musical notation. The last example of such a different graphical representation I introduced on this web pages was the one Blixa Bargeld made while relistening to the sound sculputers by Alva Noto on the occasion of their appreciated collaboration (ANBB); the one by Jason Kahn is remarkably different not only because his ensemble of musicians, met in Seul in 2006, doesn't use both electronic devices and human voices, but also as it's not properly a graphical visualization inspired by sound stimulation, but it's definitively a real score! If you'll have a look on it, you will notice it could remind both some similitudes with the cycle of water - waves of different length, drizzle, raindrops, concentrical cicles close to the ones you'll notice on a liquid surface when throwing some object into it, snow crystals and so on among the symbols on this diagram for each musician - and a sort of stratification akin to the one of the atmosphere, following a sort of timeline - the horizontal axis of this diagram has been divided into 5-minutes long time intervals and you could follow the composition on this bizarre libretto! -. And even if this "organic" piece, composed for a concert series at the Moods club in Zurich, has been entitled Sin Asunto (with no subject!), both the mentioned remarks sound coherent and symbiotical to the artistic purpose of the composer, intended to "create an atmosphere akin to one pushing up to the surface from the very great depths of a vast and dark body of water, rising to the light streaming down from above with both a sense of urgency and resignation". It's really amazing the way the tunes resurface from the evoked depths and they way each musician - Vincent Millioud on violin, Bo Wiget on cello, Christian Weber on contrabass and Jason itself on amplified percussion, mentioned following the altimetric order on the graphical score! - follows these "atmospheric" punctuation with ease, showing their fluency in the most intruiguing and unruled language humankind knows. It's music!


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