Music Reviews



Can: Can DVD

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 15 2006
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Artist: Can
Title: Can DVD
Format: 2 x DVD
Label: Mute records / Spoon records
Rated: *****
As one of the most influential bands in the history of krautrock, Can, have contributed to changing the rules of the game and keep contributing with their many side and solo projects even today. This jam packed double DVD release is a re-release and comes without the third audio disc contained in its original form, but is still a very good testimony of all of that. Among other things, you'll be able to enjoy a documentary (compiled by Rudi Dolezal & Hannes Rossacher), a short tribute film by Brian Eno, footage from the Echo Awards, the "Can-Free-Concert" (shot by Robbie Mueller and directed by Peter Przygodda, who edited most of Wim Wenders films) filmed live at the Cologne Sporthalle in 1972, "Can Notes" (filmed by Hildegard Schmidt and compiled by Przygodda), classic and rare TV performances, studio footage, 4 new 5.1 mixes and the making of them in studio, interviews, photo gallery, biographies of all band members and collaborators, discography, history and more... Most content is in german but has english subtitles. Basically the content will just keep rolling out of of your media player, so if you like Can, it is pretty obvious what you outta do.
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Artist: YUKI KAWAMURA - YOSHIHIRO HANNO
Title: slide
Format: DVD
Label: Lowave (@)
Rated: *****
The joyful wedding between Yoshihiro Hanno's musical gift and the enchanting images of Yuki Kawamura gave us a pure piece of art, I still can’t say if this a must have but it’s top class for real. As many of you can probably deduce a series of clips appropriate for Hanno's melodies necessitates a couple of important characteristis: the first one is an strong lyrical power, the second one is an (apparent) simplicity with which the afore mentioned power is articulated. Different videos for different atmospheres, but there's a "file rouge" that links the nine videos (ten including the bonus one) of this dvd, here your eyes are gonna meet sliding doors, the womb of a void warehouse, breaking pieces of glass, leaves...beautiful leaves, clouds and an ocean of colours. If you think (like I do) some contemporary japanese electronic music is strongly emotionally charged but also gentle and shy (think of Sawako or Minamo for example): the images featuring Kawamura's clips are made out of the same fabric and embody the same spirit. It's hard to choose between the different clips but it's also so easy to fall in love with episode like "Slide" or "Jour de reve" or "Play at dusk"?!...above all in the last case how can you resist to dive plunge your thought s into such a good-looking cumulus of clouds?. When the images aren’t rendering beautifully the unseen passing of time they will guide you into the secret life of elements (take "Ve" for example). In the last case the view I probably really close to that of a an insect or a rock thus we can say the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Hanno's music keeps its enchanting effect intact but with the aid of Kawamura the inward eye experience brings into another dimension.

ENT: Fuck Work

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 06 2006
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Artist: ENT
Title: Fuck Work
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru
Rated: *****
I was not familiar with Italian duo Ent's previous self-released production, and I don't know why I expected a rather typical glitch electronica. This is only true for the fourth track of this work, "Milk Oblò", which is not bad in itself, but is by far the least daring and engaging of this wildly psychedelic album, wrapped in a lush and nauseously coloured digipack (with a sort of giant whale formed by assorted sweets and flowers... ugh!). Using vinyl loops, guitars, keyboards, drums, electronic programmings and whatnot, Ent betray a clear musical bulimia, mixing turntablism, electronica, blues, kraut and psychedelic rock; the results are not always as focused as one would wish, but surely make for one of the most curious and varied discs I listened to in the last few months. All tracks are quite long and composite, with often unexpected and apparently contradictory developments. Take the opening "Beating Cherry Nipples", for example, where plucked string loops match with suspended notes, to be later replaced by tacky space keyboards, until a sparse acoustic guitar picking (somehow reminiscent of their friend Giuseppe Ielasi's recent excursions in "Gesine") closes the piece. Something similar happens with the following tracks, i.e. "All Night Long" (more vinyl loops and crackles, then a slow motion psychedelic blues) and "Eternal Plans" (arguably the best one, with rarefied sounds, micro loops and a dreamy finale, with a round dance of dazed sounds). The last track, "Nothing for Money", begins with droning patterns, then, after some uninteresting digital beats (a bit like the above mentioned "Milk Oblò"), there's a great crescendo with ecstatic drum patterns which definitely reminded me of good old kraut rockers. Though not everything works fine in Ent's poppy cut'n'paste, Scariot and Bortoluzzi surely know how to prevent boredom, with a taste for plagiarism and bizarre collages which could even remind of Nurse With Wound's least solipsistic experiments.

Magicicada: Everyone is Everyone

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 01 2006
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Artist: Magicicada (@)
Title: Everyone is Everyone
Format: CD
Label: Public Guilt (@)
Rated: *****
I had never heard of Magicicada before receiving this disc in the mail. Upon opening the packaging, you will find a photo of something I can’t really describe (maybe the underside of a crab?) and extensive liner notes which can also be found on the band’s website. The liner notes are pretty informative - here’s a sample: "4. I Demand My Fucking Cloud: Guitar, found objects, contact mics on faulty electrical lines, shruti box, voice, mics out the window, MARTA, Meredith reading in the corner, and Rob Clemens on 'inside your skull' keyboard. This was one of those days where everything just worked. Recorded in one take. The title comes from when Rob & me were driving about and for some reason, he yelled, "I DEMAND MY FUCKING CLOUD!!!" out the window, which is just such a great thing to say for no reason, ya know?" If this sounds interesting, you’ll probably enjoy the disc.

Overall, this is one weird disc, but I like it a lot. It’s not quite noise, but definitely out there – I suppose one could consider it "experimental." The nice thing about the disc is that the sound is constantly shifting and evolving. There is also a lot going on in the music. The tracks range from ambience to all out noisiness. Plus you end up hearing Steve Brand (Augur) on zurna (a woodwind instrument) – what’s not to like about that? Probably my favorite track on the disc was "For the Father," which had a nice noisy drone going which sort of reminded me of Hafler Trio (Kill the King).

The only track that didn’t really work for me was "Well Below." The music was not as interesting as the other pieces and the vocals were annoying after a while. But overall, this is a good disc with a lot of variety. This would be a good introduction to experimental music – it’s a bit more accessible than most without compromising the qualities that make it interesting.

Les Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites: Friesengeist – Part 2

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 01 2006
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Artist: Les Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites
Title: Friesengeist – Part 2
Format: CD
Label: Musea (@)
Rated: *****
I had never heard of this artist or the person behind it, Julien Ash. This is part 2, but alas, I do not have part 1, so I have no way of telling how it compares. Nicely packaged, but the liner notes could be more extensive. For example, I really like the woman’s voice on some of the tracks, but there are four different people credited with vocals as well as one person credited with "ghost voice." If I had to classify this, I would put file it under neo-classical. The press sheet states that "his works evoke Michael Nyman’s style, without forgetting Pascal Comelade’s or Jean-Philippe Goude’s universes."Because this kind of stuff is difficult to review, I’ll try something a bit different. After a few listenings, I listened to the track and wrote a play by play action – here goes: Track 1 – Starts off with what sounds like a child singing, blends then turns to nice piano.Track 2 – Piano, guitar, and a woman singing in French.Track 3 – Piano with violin, kicks in with some drumming. Sort of a Muslimgauze feel to it, which fades out just as it was getting enjoyable back to piano and guitar.Track 4 – This is a bit odd – the singing is back but almost reminds me of a weird mix of pop and goth violin. Doesn’t quite seem to fit in with the first 3 tracks. I like the woman’s voice though. Then shifts into a different kind of track about 4.5 minutes in, as if they decided to put two different songs on the same track. The staccato violin plucking on this one starts to wear on you after a while, but then about 6 minutes in, we’re back to the original feel of the track. Track 5 – Back to piano and guitar. Not bad easy listening, but there are a few instances of static interspersed, which is nice. Bells at the end is nice, but almost doesn’t fit with the previous track.Track 6 – More nice neo-classical.Track 7 – At 15:34, this is the longest disc on the CD. Guitars and drums kind of remind me of old Durruti Column, which is never a bad thing. But then at 4:45 in, it abruptly stops, changes gears, goes to piano with spoken male vocals. Then at 7:45, it shifts gears again, loses the vocals and brings in some bells/brass percussion into the mix. I really like this segment. Track 8 – OK, but the chorus of people singing doesn’t quite work for me. Track 9 – Pretty good piano track.The main problem I had with the disc is that the tracks seem to go on past what they should. It is as if they arbitrarily decided a length for a track, but when the piece had been completed and come up short, they added pieces of another track. Don’t get me wrong – disjointed can be good. It just doesn’t seem to work in this case too well, probably partly because of my own classical training and partly because it seems like the sonic equivalent to watching television with someone who changes the channel just as things are getting interesting. I think that there are a lot of good things happening here, but unfortunately the band switches gears just as you’re getting into it.Overall, this is pleasant listening. With the exception of a couple of tracks, it would fit right in with the rest of your classical collection but nothing too groundbreaking on this disc. For my tastes, the segments that were the most interesting were the ones where they incorporated a variety of sounds. The piano / violin combo just doesn’t do much for me. Your mileage may vary.


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