Music Reviews

VROMB: …pisodes

 Posted by Alex "The Butterman"   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 13 2002
Artist: VROMB
Title: …pisodes
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
The long overdue and highly anticipated new full-length album by Montréal's very Vromb is finally available. Once again released by Ant-Zen Records, "Épisodes" takes the good Doctor Heurel "Glugloïde" Gaudot's scientific experiments one step further.

"Épisodes"'s theme is somewhat blurred to those not yet familiar with Vromb's natural proggression and evolution. While Hugo Girard provides all sonic and audio excursions, his mechanical and electronic renderings are also based on and using recorded voice tapes by Dr. Gaudot. Seperated into four main episodes (each including four pieces), and sandwitched between a prologue ("Le Thème") and an epilogue ("Générique"), the format prooves to be quite the sonic journey.

Once the album begins with "Le Thème", we are off into an introspective audio excursion which comes to and fro the background of audible/unaudible sound. The first episode is called "Vision Stoboscopique" and quickly puts the listener into the right frame of mind. An introductory segment by Dr. Gaudot is followed by static intermissions and rhythm-heavy experimentalism. Episode two is "Le Temps À Vitèsse Variable" and features a difficult yet precisely executed mixture between a slow-moving synthscape and frantic speeded sequencing compositions. Only Vromb can try and succeed at this! Next comes "L'objet Synchronisateur", the third episode. By this time, both the listener and Dr. Gausot are getting into deep sounds, each wave segways into another electronic movement. The fourth and final episode, "Mouvement Multiplicatif" prooves to be the most experimental of them all, with sounds multiplying themsleves (as the title of the episode suggests) to a mass of deep, dense electronic drones and rhythms.

We close off the episodes with "Générique", which basically serves as the end titles sections, if this CD was in fact a motion picture.

While a few other Vromb fans have told me they were left unsatisfied with "Épisodes", I find the CD to be enjoyable for the most part. As always, Vromb's sound is constantly evolving, so perhaps the subtle changes from release to release isn't as tantalising to certain fans as it may be to Vromb himself. As for myself, I found "Épisodes" to be as good, if not superior to some of his previous work.

Released in three formats:
a) Generic jewel plastic case/regular packaging
b) Metal sliver box, which a bonus 5" vinyl record which includes two unreleased pieces ("Cercle" and "Cylindre"). This specially-sized vinyl record will not play on automatic turn tables.
c) Deluxe full-sized triple vinyl LP in heavy-duty carboard box packaging. The four main episode segments are featured on the two 12" records, while the intro ("Le Thème") and prologue ("Générique") are seperated onto a third, 7" record.

Again, the artwork and visual graphic design was perfectly executed by Bio-Z, mixing the tones of grey, silver, and black in perfect unison.


 Posted by Alex "The Butterman"   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 13 2002
Artist: VROMB
Format: CD
Label: Pflichtkauf
Distributor: Pflichtkauf
Hugo Girard, the main human element behind the project Vromb, has had various delays and setbacks concerning the release of his latest full-length album. As his fans became more and more impatient, Hugo decided to release a 40 minute EP (of sorts) featuring 5 new pieces, exclusive to this release.

I was personally warned by Girard himself that the tracks contained in "Interlüder" featured some of his more commercially-viable/user-friendly material to date. Heeding the warning, I carefully immersed myself in another Vromb environment, quickly figuring out why Hugo labeled his own CD as "more commercial". It appears the ever-evolving Vromb has decided to try a crack at generic and club-oriented basic rhythm patterns. Has he succeeded? It all depends on the listener's point of view.

I can't speak for other Vromb fans, but the so-called "user-friendly" aspect of this release wasn't prominent through the dense and ever-shifting waves of electronic ambiences, sequences, and generally high-tech/low-brow to actually merit a specific labelling. Granted, folks who did not like Vromb's "shift" between his first and second albums will probably not be too impressed by "Interlüder", but if you enjoy the repetitive techno "thump" with your electro-insectoïdal drones, then you'll be in Vromb paradise with this release.

Seperated in two blocks, the five pieces of this CD are at times similar to each other (in terms of basic structuration) , yet retain enough unique originality to be easily identifyable between each other. A deffinite must for all Vromb fans, and highly recommended as a starting point if you are not yet familiar with the Vromb sound. My personnal highlight is the minimal "Carnaval", which reminds this reviewer of a distant and mechanical re-interpretation of the carnavals in Rio.


 Posted by Alex "The Butterman"   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 13 2002
Format: CD
Label: Apogee Recordings / The Ceiling (@)
Distributor: The Ceiling + Wreck Age
THis wonderful little CD packaged in a simple yet highly effective (and postage-friendly) pouch concists mainly of of older recordings, originally released on "The 731 Doorways" cassette, from The Ceiling (ex-DDT). One piece ("Sonic Recourse") was previously released on the "Xcreteria volume one" compilation tape, and another ("Basements") was released both on the "Anathemata" compilation tape and later as a re-worked version on the band's "A Grainy Shade Of Ambient" 12" EP. One piece ("Bubonic Horse") is previously unreleased.

Essentially, those who missed out on the limited print run of "The 731 Doorways" cassette can get up to speed with this CD, while those who were lucky enough to get a copy of the original tape will find that the sound quality as well as the "bonus material" on this CD is superior to that of the original cassette. Perhaps the mixing was performed slightly different, affecting thus the final sound.

CHRONIC REMORSE was Paul Verman and Jim DeJong. If I'm not mistaken, they both decided to release "studio" material after a few live performances which prooved the dynamic between the two was right. In any case, "The Short Wave Appreciation Society" offers the listener very eerie and dark oscillating sound waves, textures, and alot of noise processing and, yes, radio transmissions. A difficult listen but well rewarded with originality and energy. Much harsher when compared to the "A Grainy Shade Of Ambient" EP, yet the movement and audio texture push this release beyond the realm of pure harsh noise, yet will please fans of the later who are open-minded about their noise.

LENS CLEANER TRIO: C.D. + Lens Cleaner

 Posted by Alex "The Butterman"   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 13 2002
Title: C.D. + Lens Cleaner
Format: 12"
Label: THE CEILING (@)
This odd vinyl record LP comes courtesy of THE CEILING records, one of Canada's buisiest and more interesting independant electronic-oriented labels. The LENS CLEANER TRIO is Jose Marchi on guitars, Marcelo Aguirre on drums and voices, and finally C.D. who provided the synthesis and montage for this release.

"C.D. + Lens Cleaner" is a very different and hard to categorise release, even for a label as diverse as THE CEILING. As far as this reviewer's ears can make out, live improvised sessions were first recorded, then heavily processed and mixed in the studio, creating thus a very experimental and electronic-sounding record, even if the main instrumentation consists of drums and guitar. Perhaps the best and generally safest way to describe this record is a very heavily 70s space-rock influenced record which also plunges head first in today's modern noise and illbient textures.

There are portions of this release which are stronger than others, but if the weak spots are indeed making themselves present, they usually don't last for very long. My personnaly favorite moment is somewhere towards the middle-end of the second side, where a very dense yet relaxing atmopheric wall is created and manipulated.

Printed on black vinyl and with a total playing time of about 35-40 minutes, this release is sure to please folks looking for something different and unclasifyable.


 Posted by Alex "The Butterman"   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 13 2002
Title: KLAB (phonorecord)
Format: 12"
Distributor: THE CEILING
Those who have followed the evolution of the defunct Canadian label DOOMSDAY TRANSMISSIONS will most probably already be familiar with both THE INFANT CYCLE and DRONAEMENT. Even after DDT became THE CEILING records, one could just as easily accept older catalogue items to familiarise themselves with the sound.

"KLAB (phonorecord)" is a split release for both projects, as well as each project's respective label. Don't think there is any kind of studio intervention here preventing the bands from releasing their true sonic art. In fact, "KLAB (phonorecord)" is quite a treat to folks who may or may not be fans of either labels/projects.

The first side of this vinyl LP features the main sounds of DRONAEMENT (Marcus Murkes), with some added material by TIC (Jim DeJong). The two long tracks on this side ("ER-9 Noise Transmission.wav" and "33 1/3 rpm Acoustic Transmission.wav") flow easily and indiscernably into one another, creating thus a 20 minute audio soundscape of soft-like and textured digital ambience, with some semblance of rhythms poking in here and there for good measure. Perfect late night sleep when there's not too many other noises happening in the vicinity.

Side two is credited to THE INFANT CYCLE, yet the line-up also prominently features DRONAEMENT contributing as much sound sources as TIC. "I-Meant-A-Drone.pop" features more hazy smoke-filled audio soundscaping, but a cut-up funk beat gets the foreground. This repetitive and somewhat hypnotic rhythm is apparently crafted from "manually altered vinyl", which brings to mind what these "D.J."s in club and hip-hop music are supposed to do... except there is nothing DJ or hip-hop about this piece, and the final result is another late-night jam listening experience, but with a bit more beat to keep thing moving.

If you have access to a vinyl/record player and can play it without having too many interuptions, this release is a winner, with top-notch production and great sound quality. Printed on clear vinyl.

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