Music Reviews



VITOR JOAQUIM : Flow

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 21 2006
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Artist: VITOR JOAQUIM
Title: Flow
Format: CD
Label: Crònica (@)
Rated: *****
Portuguese multimedia artist Vitor Joaquim has traced a singular path over the last 25 years starting with improvised music in 1982 and then composing for dance, theater, cinema, video, installations and multimedia. "Flow" is his latest work on the Crónica label. The main concept here is the confrontation between voice and computer and in almost all the tracks we can find heavily processed breathings and whispers among the swarming layers of processed instruments or even a sensual female voice(Filipa Hora's) as in the second track. Ranging from dissonant glitch to languid and dreamlike sounds with bursts of high-speed grainy loops - "Flow" is a complex work, only sometimes indulging in melodic moments. A fresh update to Markus Popp's lesson and surely a perfect listening for the autumn and winter to come.

GABRIEL PAIUK/JASON KAHN: Breathings

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 09 2006
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Artist: GABRIEL PAIUK/JASON KAHN
Title: Breathings
Format: CD
Label: Cut
Rated: *****
Cut founder and renowned laptop/percussion improviser Jason Kahn here teams up with Buenos Aires-based composer and pianist Gabriel Paiuk for one of the best improv records I've listened to in a long time. It's almost hard to believe this was recorded in a single afternoon in Paiuk's house in November, 2004, given the intensity and the balance of its sounds. Kahn mostly works with high-end digital crackles, minimal feedback effects and subtle electronic drones, while Paiuk improvises at the piano, alternating between sparse notes and - my guess - chord plucking, scrapings and other instrument-played-as-an-object tecniques. What amazes is the perfect interaction between the two, and the stark beauty of these nine untitled fragments. Skillfully dosing pauses and constrained eruptions, but never really reaching full-on noise, Kahn and Paiuk create a work of apparent stasis where the underlying tension is at times almost unbearable, sensing it will never explode. "Breathings" has often reminded me of Rowe's and Tilbury's masterpiece "Duos for Doris" (especially its first minutes), which is also not that unsound given that Paiuk has played with the former. Improvised music at its best: both harsh and extremely refined, with an enviable taste for the choice and dosing of its sound events.

Sidra: A Swampadelic Blessing of Downtown SF - The Official Bootleg

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 09 2006
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Artist: Sidra
Title: A Swampadelic Blessing of Downtown SF - The Official Bootleg
Format: CD
Label: Afe Records (@)
Rated: *****
Paolo Bandera (of the post-industrial cult acts Sigillum S. and Sshe Retina Stimulants) and Tiberio Longoni (former member of seminal punk and psychedelic bands like Jumpers, 198X and Peter Sellers and The Hollywood Party) joined their efforts for the Sidra project. Sidra's music goes far beyond the codified notions of rock, jazz, blues and even electronica and the stodgy clichès of post-rock. It sounds like a more structured and jazzy version of the so called post-post rock played by artists on the Intr_version label. As they claim with grisly humour on the cover, this record may not be for all ... but for the open-minded be sure that those ten sonic-ectoplasms will take you for some serious trips!

ÉRIC CORDIER: Breizhiselad

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 07 2006
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Artist: ÉRIC CORDIER
Title: Breizhiselad
Format: CD
Label: Erewhon
Rated: *****
Cordier is probably known to most people for his "Digitalis Purpurea" cd on Ground Fault, or for his works with Éric La Casa and Jean-Luc Guionnet in the Afflux project. This 6-track, 73-minute work is a very intimate, yet political work (or, say, intimate like every truly heartfelt political statement), recorded using an old 10" vinyl as the main sound-source, filtered through a delay pedal and other unidentified "handmade devices", with the sporadic use of some outdoor field recordings and the constant one of vinyl noises themselves (scratched surfaces, motors, etc.). As Cordier explains in the inner notes, "the source record may be familiar to older generations as one of the first recordings on which the Breton language found its place again after decades of persecution and censure. Since the record became available, these pieces have taken their place in a national collection that has helped reassess the value of songs and language that were hitherto considered obsolete by the intelligentsia and the state". These lines should give you a necessary clue about Cordier's intents, along with the use of Breton in the liner notes themselves and with evocative titles like "Mes chaînes seront brisées" and "Vieux pays de mes péres". Cordier uses the pre-recorded vinyl support in a way similar to Philip Jeck's and Loren Chasse's, that is, a highly emotional and somewhat respectful re-reading of the past, in search of forgotten or - the main difference with Cordier - historically downtrodden memories. The original sound source (which the author calls "horrible because of the catechism-like vocal arrangements but a work of genius in terms of the beauty of the melody and the conviction of the singers") is mangled and stretched, but maintains a solemn, almost sacral feel; listen to "Breizhiselad/Ar Baradoz", the field-recordings ridden "Lieux de repos" or "Vieux pays de mes pères", all very intense pieces. These evocative qualities are present even when the melody is reduced to a minimum, and the track is mostly built on vinyl crackles, as in the final "Tu es le portier qui m'ouvre le ch'teau". Cordier has written a fascinating work, which manages to shed light on crucial matters like traditions, or the risk of losing your own tongue, without writing rhetorical manifestos. As an aesthetic experience, it grows with each listen, and I honestly wouldn't advise to take it all in one go, as it could sound redundant at first. A much recommended record for sure.

The Impossible Flower: Roots and Fruits

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 05 2006
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Artist: The Impossible Flower
Title: Roots and Fruits
Format: CD
Label: Afe Records (@)
Rated: *****
This album was recorded between 2000 and 2004, when TIF was just a solo project by Andrew David Daly (Garreth Dickson joined in 2004). Crackling processed piano, small clusters of unrecognizable instruments, reverse damaged guitar debris and a subtle sense of melody are the main ingredients for this album. The second track is called 'The Jig' and features an unprocessed acoustic guitar plucking which is now and then penetrated by glitchy loops. 'Honey and Bees' is my personal favourite here, adding some catchy female vocals to different layers of gentle backwards sounds. Can't really wait to see where things will go from here.


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