Music Reviews

Music From the Film : Playfully Abrasive

 Posted by John Gore   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 21 2008
Artist: Music From the Film
Title: Playfully Abrasive
Format: CD
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
Self-styled as electro acoustic noise MFTF, the solo project of Gary Young (aka Pastor Irrelevant, member of New Killers On The Block, Drooling Zoomers, Bone Bunny, and Entfred), accompanied by Arthur Harrison on theremin and "cacophonator," gives us 24 tracks of sonic mayhem, most tracks under three minutes. Lots of jumping around from instrument to instrument and the occasional processed vocal sample. This has a very cartoon feel to it, combined with an unrestricted, free spirit of expression. Think Pee Wee’s Playhouse and the Residents and you’ll be close.

Yann Novak : In Residence

 Posted by John Gore   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 21 2008
Artist: Yann Novak (@)
Title: In Residence
Format: CD
Label: Dragon's Eye Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Three untitled tracks of subtly layered tones and pulses building a dark, unsettling, and somewhat claustrophobic "ambient" space in which to act or not to act. Mesmeric or soporific depending on your prevailing mood, attention and listening volume. Not all that original but what is nowadays. Very nice regardless. Limited edition CDR of 250 copies.

THE ANTRIPODEAN COLLECTIVE : the Massacre of the Egos

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 19 2008
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Title: the Massacre of the Egos
Format: CD
Label: Extreme (@)
Rated: *****
"It all started with a contemporary-classic piano intro... " this could have been the incipit of a book, but it’s the intro of the first track instead and it’s the debut of what we can without doubt define as an all star band featuring Paul Grabowsky (piano), Scott Tinkler (trupet), John Rodgers (violin), Philip Rex (double bass) and Ken Edie (drums). The opening song of this release is good but I think it’s nothing but a morsel if compared to the richer banquet following: in the middle of the tracklist they’re gonna cook such a delicious dinner you will hardly forget the taste. After the fourth or fifth listening I’ve to admit this’ probably of the few real "free" releases I’ve heard in ages, with this I mean this’ far from the last and useless reinterpretation of Ornette Coleman with all those prepackaged intersections, in "the Massacre of the Egos" the Collective took that original idea and turned it into something else. While the opening "scrawl" still presents some physical jazz splinters in-between dissonance and abstraction, the crew crosses the border with the second episode and never makes it back home. After the initial display of muscular power The Antripodean Collective gets rarefied and in some episodes embraces what in painting would be pointillism, differently from the average electro-acoustic combo they don’t stop at the door of technical dogmas of a genre and the instrumental dialogue at some point becomes really intense ("The need to have the last say"). Don’t worry if you think you’ve already seen all of the colors you’re wrong, that’s why in "Conference of the Baboons" they can compete fearlessly with the best team-works of Painkiller, despite the different global background, the Collective is only more relaxed, less distorted but in someway they’re not that far. If according to Ken Vandermark when speaking about Marsalis, it’s true that someone has institutionalized jazz turning it into wallpaper music, I guess this ship flies the jolly roger.

SVARTBAG: Svartbag

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 16 2008
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Title: Svartbag
Format: CD
Label: Rump Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
The first Svartbag core born in 1996 when the two guitarists of the band (A.REX and Niels Ladefoged) met thanks to a buy and sell ad. They started to work at some tracks and soon realized that thanks to their guitar effects they were able to create loops and thick atmospheres. Since then, they started working at their sound and they were joined by Peter Kyed in 2005, he took care of samples. Their debut album sees also the collaboration of Andreas Hauer-Jensen (Düreforsög/Mit Nye Band/Bleeder Group) on drums on four out of five tracks. With this combo at work, Svartbag self titled album is sounding like a blend of Krautrock and alternative rock noise where the mood changes from pseudo rock rides to spatial ambient tunes where guitars are sounding like the Glenn Branca Orchestra: alienated and multi-layered. "Loop#9", instead, is more psychedelic and it is the only track which doesn't have tension. The closing track "Billy Name" is a mix of psychedelic atmospheres and guitar noise and somewhat it recalled me some Sonic Youth ballads of the "Daydream nation" period. This was a nice surprise from Rump since I was used to their particular jazz/i.d.m. releases...

igOr: Solo View

 Posted by Mike V. (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 13 2008
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Artist: igOr
Title: Solo View
Format: CD
Label: iii records
Rated: *****
This record was received in with a description clearly stating: "Attention: Avant Garde." While this is quite the tricky descriptor to use these days, I actually think it describes this disc in one true sense of the phrase (think pre-postmodernism). On it you will find a swath of instruments that convolve effectively on my new music friendly ears, and this is somewhat exciting; Hammond organ, drum machine, heavily manipulated electrical guitar (often soloing, twanging or looping on top), some 8 bit and overly tweaked electronics of unknown origin– and yet there is still some room for interpretation, live performing, a respectable guitaristic presence, and a mix that was articulated by way of an engineer with sensitive ears.

Guitar tone is finely tuned in. The standard musical devices are arriving consistently via left field, with some occasional reinforcement happening on the right wing. A heavily tapped/panned stereo image conveys something of a psychotropic, sonic projection towards the listener which makes for a nice, live, soundstage.

The average track weighs in at 6.5 minutes, and ironically – incorporates a very non-avant garde song writing formula. This is where I hope that igOr will start to focus his energies of his militia of tomorrow. Themes, variations, solo sections, micro-level panning, occasional chorus, guitar passages, etc did not exactly throw me for a loop –but at the same time the content inside these worlds is not always predictable.

I will cheers Mr. Igor credit for his occasionally defined, and unique musical voice. Can’t say I’ve experienced an over-abundance in the way of this variety of non-sampled, electronic, guitaristic, spacious, 8 bit, a-rhythmic, white noisey, free-form guitar jazz, and I will say igOr does a good job of not shooting 'the shredder wad’ in what has become a playing field defined by athleticism before musicality. Kudos to that my fellow guitarists! But my alter-ego is questioning the longevity of this record –not every record should be required to be held to this same rule, so I encourage the reader to define these avant garde sounds on his own.

When I adopt this approach to listening to this, I can say that some new and interesting rules and textures arise from this disc. So cheers to igOr and his battalion of sonic soldiers. And while I cannot speak for every reader and open minded listener on this review site – what I can say that for those of us who seek the innovation in every album-- this disc may very well provide some well-timed curveballs in an often comfy game of experimental tides.

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