Music Reviews



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Artist: Map 71
Title: Void Axis
Format: CD + Download
Label: Fourth Dimension Records
The fusion of Lisa Jayne’s Essex-tinged spoken word poetry and Andy Pyne’s drums and electronics results in a raw, sometimes abrasive album that expects attention. Over steady non-evolving electronic patterns and aggressive snare-heavy drum work, Jayne reads freeform lines full of abstraction and idea collisions that suggest this is what Karl Hyde would sound like if he was simultaneously both very tired and very angry.

There’s a strange nostalgia element at points that seems to be harking back to the political and musical dissent of the 80’s, not just lyrically in pieces like “The Prefab” but sonically as well at times- and even in an odd way in the artwork. Themes are deeply physical and confrontational but not devoid of moments of self-doubt and at times self-pity.

“Nuclear Landscapes” is one of the strongest tracks, particularly dark and distorted electronics and rumbling drums underpinning more sparse words. The multi-layering of the vocal on “Armour and Ecdysis” combined with drumming that steps towards freeform jazz also makes it more intriguing, with more depth than some of the other more one-note offerings like “Neonsignquietlife”.

It’s a rough-edged and challenging listen at times from a duo that might be more watchable and engaging in a live context than on a recording. It didn’t really float my boat but if you’re looking for the punkier side of avantgarde, here’s some worth sampling.
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Artist: Lesa Listvy (@)
Title: Way Home
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
Lesa Listvy is a Moscow based quartet which makes a large use of analogue tools and this it mirrored by the liner notes of this album. The history of tribe which return home, after a shaman persuaded them to go elsewhere, only to find nature fused with technology is a rather naive metaphor of a project which try to resist to the current trend of a genre plagued by the heavy use to digital technology used to create impressive sonic effect.
The first track, "Sunny Side", uses field recordings effectively in such a way drones merge in a cohesive whole bordering symphonic territories while "Reflection" uses the same framework in a more meditative way. "Evening by the Lake" is a more canonical crescendo based on drone's juxtapositions and "The Hedge" seems to follow the same steps when the introduction of a beat takes the track and reveals ambient house influences confirmed by the elaborated layers of "Obelisk" which create an evocative track and this musical direction is further confirmed by "Swarm" with its dub-like structure. The thick drone masses of "Lost Compass" mark a return to the dark ambient form and "Way Home" alternates ritualistic moments to ethereal ones. "Mechanism" closes this release with deep drones layered in the most canonical form of the genre.
This is a release which alternates canonical moments to more personal ones and reveal a project which is searching his own voice and it's a release that will be enjoyed by many with his variety. It's really worth a listen.
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Artist: Macronympha (@)
Title: Battered, Crushed & Stripped
Format: Tape
Label: Bizarre Audio Arts
If you are unfamiliar with Bizarre Audio Arts you are missing out on one of the most prolific noise labels for the last 23 years. Leo Sabatto has run the project Armenia and has done splits with so many well known and several lesser known noise artists over this time period. Over the last several years Leo has worked with the original Macronympha front man Joseph Roemer to reintroduce their version of this project onto the scene. Also contributing to this release are John Grimaldi and Henry Mallard who bring even more sonic chaos to this album. Both of these artists are two noise makers from western PA who are doing some awesome work in their own right.

The A side of this album clocks in at 20 minutes over three tracks and is a sonic throbbing loop which does not give way for much of the side, although it does shift on occasion. The repetitiveness of this loop is pretty disheartening and with the side of this tape being given the name “Terror” I can see why. Macronympha has really never been about pleasing the ears there has always been a sense of unfriendly nature to the songs and this release is no difference.

Side B is titled Chaos and it starts off with the track Horrifying Scars of Mismanagement, it is actually a little more laid back to begin with, a similar style on the first side with the repetitive loop starts the first track but this time there is more disruptions to the tracks with what almost seems like the side is skipping or slowly degrading, I think I prefer the Chaos over the Terror because it doesn’t make me feel as uneasy.

The second track on Side B is titled Plundering Overlords and is probably the best track on the cassette with classic harsh noise textures more quiet than the other tracks but excellently produced.

Overall this is not the best ever Macronympha album but it does not disappoint, I haven’t heard a bad one yet out of the bunch when it comes to the Bizarre Audio Arts releases so I highly recommend you dig in where you can and get uncomfortable.
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Artist: Frore & Shane Morris
Title: Eclipse
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Spotted Peccary (@)
Rated: *****
Frore & Shane Morris we’re both new to me and after reading the press release I was a bit curious to see how well they would do because of comparisons to Vidna Obmana, Robert Rich and Steve Roach. That is some pretty big shoes to fill but o do have to say they succeed in walking those same paths while still standing out.

Eclipse is filled with 8 tracks most running right around 8-10 minutes a piece and lays down some excellent slow tribal drumming with some beautiful ambiance. It is very easy to throw the album on and zone out for the hour plus that this album runs and just enjoy the ride.
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Artist: Three Free Radicals
Title: Travelogue
Format: CD
Label: Improtest Records
Rated: *****
This album is described as a collection of free improvisations. I will start by saying that it is a pair of talented individuals and the music on this album is quite enjoyable. The only issue I have with it for my own personal tastes is that it is all over the place, it is good but it doesn’t have a consistent theme.

Experimental music should be challenging and this is for me because I often look to either chill out or put on something heavy when I’m listening to this genre of music and this goes back and forth. If you listen to this type of music and can switch back and forth between repetitive drones and guitar strums to noisy guitar fuzz then back again then this is a great album for you. I just could not find a consistent pace to get into it for myself.

I guess reflecting back this isn’t a bad review, and maybe this just wasn’t the right space for me at the time. I recognize the talent and effort put into this album but I felt slightly uneasy going through it.
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