Music Reviews



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Artist: Tarab + Artificial Memory Trace
Title: Obex
Format: Tape
Label: Crónica
Sonic experimenters Slavek Kwi (Artificial Memory Trance) and Tarab have engaged in a kind of cultural exchange whereby they provided objects and activity sounds to one another, irregularly transforming them into amended sonic products that would then be recycled into other noises. The result is a hard-edged, heavily-processed hour long collection of processed noises, often metallic, hard, percussive and deep, sprinkled with glitches, crackles and breathing noises.

Many of the 14 tracks are just short interludes that sound like messing around with a sound effects library, but there are three much longer pieces that give this cassette a solidity. “Entimorf 3”, at 17 minutes long, is a piece of many stages, a dynamic collection of rumbles and industrial surprises that at times opens up into hollow spaces with rolling lava-like rumbles, where metallic bends and stretches are morphed into something that almost sounds like pining wolves.

“Transform 1” seems to revel in harshly counterpointing two environments, one akin to a forest where trees are being felled distantly, the other a heavy industrial space with overwhelming pneumatic power.

Final track “Lampsh” follows a slightly more trodden noise path with reverberent tones and deep EQ’ing giving everything an underground feeling, with sharp and rapidly cut hits and bangs giving a sense of panic and claustrophobia.

Some of the shorter pieces are not quite so short, “Transform 2” for example a slightly more sci-fi five-minute development of “Transform 1”, “Transform 2B” four more minutes of the same material sources rustling tighter and closer..

Overall “Obex” has a raw, gritty quality to it that’s reminiscent of some of the darker sonic experiments of the 60’s and 70’s, delighting in its own avantgarde harshness. It’s a release that will particularly appeal to experimental enjoyers of sounds with a more distinct physical pedigree.
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Artist: Genetic Transmission / Moan (@)
Title: Collaboration 1
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Distributor: Alchembria
Rated: *****
As usual for this label, the reissue plans for selected artists are carefully done: this time is the turn of Genetic Transmission and his collaboration with Moan. This release was conceived as a sort of split release were they contributed their own sonic vision and their track even if they conceived together the sound sources and exchanged their results.
Track 1,3 and 5 were arranged by Tomasz Twardawa (GT) and the first one disposes the sound in the audial spectrum in such a way to properly define a space were an environment unfolds while the second one is more concerned with the sound details and their evocativeness and the third evolves by accumulation of sounds until a more sparse framework closes this release.
Track 2 and 4 were arranged by Rafa Sdej and the first one is focused of the surrounding of the listener with the construction of thick drones upon which small noises generates movement and became the focus of the second part of the track and this framework is further developed in the long other track where this form is expanded not only in time but also in the depth of the musical elements.
An impressive release were especially the Moan's track reveal the level of craft involved in the release of such masterpieces of experimental music. It's not the writing involved in this release, but the manipulation of the sound until the listener has not to follow a sort of discourse but he's placed in an environment in which his mind can move. Truly recommended for fans of the genre.
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Artist: Entropia
Title: Live at Electric Cirkus
Format: CD
Label: Eclectic Productions
Rated: *****
There no introduction to this release except from the line up of the band (Dr.Lops: keys, modular synths; Ugo Vantini: electronic drums; Amptek:b synth guitars, analog sequencers; Carlo Micali: sound engineer) and the liner notes stating that this live was recorded on two tracks i.e., no overdubs. However Entropia's music could be roughly described as techno with a splash of ambient.
The release is divided in two parts: the first one is composed of four solo track: "The Great Escape From The Holographic Sanitarium" and "Fight The Winged Dragon" are from Ugo Vantini and they are minimal tracks based on the manipulation of the rhythmic sources and so they are more atmospheric than hypnotic. "Modular From Cassilde Hell" is from Doc Loops and is a crossover between a noise track and a sci-fi oriented synth track. "Supercluster Blaster" is from Amptek and it sounds as more oriented towards kosmische musik as the sound of the guitar is so effected that it's closer to a synth.
Then it starts the part featuring all the band and, instead of being the mere juxtaposition of the elements of the solo tracks, there's some elements emerging from the interaction: the rhythmic cages reminiscent of certain techno, with convincing results especially in "Memories Of An Electric Circus" and "Dance U Sob", which moves the result from the relatively meditative territories of the first part to more danceable one until "Nasty Tales From The Maudit Stage" marks a final part with a more attention towards the sonic construction until "Inner Spooky Universe Paraphernalia" closes this recording blending all the elements of the previous tracks.
This is a release oriented towards a very defined audience that could appreciate the craft of exploring this clearly defined genre while the others could be a little disappointed by the absence of any deviation from the canon. A nice release.
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Artist: Stuart Bruce
Title: 3 Quintets for Treated Guitar
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Outside Records
First of all, let me state categorically to eagle-eyed readers that this is NOT my work. The fact this reviewer’s name matches the artist name on this release is one of life’s little coincidences. We really, genuinely, aren’t the same person. Google it. This Stuart Bruce was engineering Do They Know It’s Christmas while I was still in primary school.

But this solo release, on Stuart’s new label, falls well within the realm of the experimental sonics that I’ve reviewed plenty of on ChainDLK. Soft, mellow drone tones and pad-like sounds unfolding slow melodies complemented by lush and languid sustained and processed guitar notes, this is top quality avantgarde soundscaping with a strong pedigree.

After the smoothness of “Stillpunkt”, with its dusting of gentle percussive twinkling like gentle wind chimes, “Klangfarben” as the name somewhat implies is a little more raw, with slightly harsher hits and percussive hits that may have been derived from pulling guitar strings in unexpected ways, though it could also be synthetic, it’s hard to tell. Halfway through “Klangfarben” the sense of unease and alarm builds somewhat, it’s decidedly the most sinister of the three pieces, and it’s the reason why this release won’t end up on my going-to-sleep playlist.

Final piece “The Moon In Your Head” is the most melodic, and the most akin to a conventional-sounding quintet in some ways, with separate and panned instruments complementing and counterpointing within an environment that still has the bass notes underpinning it, but yet overall is a little brighter and more optimistic, particularly in the near-euphoric patterns at the end.

There’s quite a classic feel to it at times, a confident simplicity. When the synth bass drone ebbs forwards joined by careful use of delay it can sound like a particularly mellow Tangerine Dream track at points.

I did not make this (honestly I didn’t), but I wish I did.
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Artist: Chvad SB
Title: Structure
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Silber
Apparently this is Chvad SB’s 80th release in about 27 years, which with some artists might imply that they’re knocking them out without much thought. And on the surface, the bold simplicity of the layered drones, strung-out notes and heavily processed guitar noodling in the two 22-minute pieces that make up “Structure” could imply that it didn’t take long to formulate. But scratch a little deeper and you find that, like strong minimalist art, the exceptional balance and control of this release is what makes it really strong.

Supremely long synthetic tones, some imitating strings, others their own form of steady tubular or sine wave beds, loop and loop. Six minutes into opening track “Column” we begin to hear the first elements that could be described as notes, playing out glacially slowly like the melody of a slow ice melt, before with admirable patience we are finally introduced to the reverb-soaked electric guitar sounds, which strum away with a surprisingly happy tone.

“Pillar” is a more echoey affair, with a hall-like ambience and gentle waves of electrical hum and interference sounds being cut through by spontaneous percussive tube hits and single strained guitar notes. Hints of American twang just creep into the guitar work at the end.

It’s yet another really strong bit of guitar drone from the very prolific and consistent Silber label.
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