Music Reviews



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Artist: Argine
Title: Umori D'autunno
Format: CD
Label: Ark records (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
The new album from Argine is an album inspired by autumn the season of falling leaves and days becoming shorter. After "Dentro" a short instrumental which open the album there the first peak of the album "Risveglio" when a piano gives light to a sad and calm acoustic guitar riff (we are in pure neofolk territories). "Lontana" could well stand in a Death in June album, and this is a compliment. "Pioggia" drives us in war songs territories with a good choice of synths and the rage of the electic guitar and the filtered voice. "Distesa" yelds perfectly the band's idea of autumn with a wounderful description of a landscape and the melody of the violin. Then the album continues with two electical songs "umori d'autunno" e "insofferenza" and two acoustical songs "Ad una finestra" e "Parole e segnali conosciuti". "Dicembre" is almost a new wave songs with the lines of electic guitar and the fast rhythm. "Blu Luce" close the album with an atmosphere which recall the first light of the dawn after a long night. This band shows a solid idea of song structure and musical ideas of a variety unknown of most band of the neofolk scene. This album will end up in an end of the year playlist.
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Artist: Ufomammut
Title: eve
Format: CD
Label: Supernaturalcat
Rated: *****
A five chapter concept work for this renowned italian power trio and it's a forty five minutes single track divided into five different movements evolving around the concept of "Eve", the first woman on earth and the first rebelling to her creator. Ufomammut are quite well-known both for their live activity and for the fact two third of their line up consists of two on three of the members of the popular design/graphic company called Malleus. I'm sure if you know their graphic style you will agree their music is perfectly aligned with the subjects of their drawings, therefore if you're into vintage-seventies imaginary and into stoner-doom-sludge-slow shit I doubt you've never heard of them. This work opens with one of those post-neurotic track starting slow and slowly reaching the climax thru a crescendo to pass to a keyboard-driven (organ sounding) second episode that at the end of the song turns into a squared tribal drumming ritual where I know the most of you will find reminiscences of Neurosis. It's with the third movement you get you patiently awaited dose of stoner rock to which you can stick to your "live to ride, ride to live" tattoo and even if these mammoths quite down a bit the atmosphere passing to full blown psychedelia, the basic musical theme is the same also in the following episode (probably one of my favorite of the whole lot). The closing long song is the one where the structure is a bit less predictable and presents a solid riffing with a sudden insertion of drumming and some sudden slow and heavy breaks a la Black Sabbath which are a sort of trademark of the genre, at least like an acoustic guitar is the lowest common denominator in folk music. Thanks to some different and andante tempos this closing chapter is also the one that probably gets the easy-digestible status for its heterogeneity and in someway it sums up many of the feels of the whole recording. I can't say this' one of my favorite records of the band but I can bet it's one of the most accessible and consequentially sellable record of the trio and even if many of you will find them influenced by Isis or bands in the likes I think it has not that much to share. Power to Eve or as Kim Gordon used to sing: "Use the power of women...use the word FUCK!!!".
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Artist: BOLOGNA VIOLENTA
Title: Il Nuovissimo Mondo
Format: CD
Label: Bar La Muerte (@)
Rated: *****
Nicola Manzan is a trained Italian poly instrumentalist who studied classic violin but who decided to follow his instinct and to make a musical project that would blend his passion for B-movies where cynicism and exploitation are only a way to show the worst side of human race. IL NUOVISSIMO MONDO (which means "The brand new world"), is the first Bologna Violenta CD, released after some mp3 E.P.s for SKP records, Coreback Records and Sociopath Recordings. Structured like a concept where the 23 tracks are parts of the same drama (the album's subtitle is "Drama in 23 parts, about the fate of the world and the decay of the human being"), IL NUOVISSIMO MONDO finds Nicola writing short songs that are formed by grind guitar/drum machine parts mixed with recitative vocals recorded like they were movie samples. Even without listening to the music, the cover says it all: graphically made like it was an obituary the first lines says "Free from religious sacraments and political ideologies". "Nuovissimo Mondo", "Morte", "Trapianti Giapponesi", "Danze Cecene", "El Grindo", "Un Virus Terrificante", "Le Regine Delle Riviste Porno", "Il Sommo Fallo" or "Maledetta Del Demonio" are frames of the same picture as the album recalls mondo movies of the likes of "Mondo cane" or "Africa addio" (the most famous director was Jacopetti). Grind music isn't the only thing you'll find on IL NUOVISSIMO MONDO as many tracks have violin or organ intermezzos with vocals and Nicola paid a tribute to 70s Italian movies by covering "Blue song", a song written by the De Angelis brothers for the movie "Milano Trema". Let yourself be shocked by the naked truth of Bologna Violenta...
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Artist: VAN RAVESCHOT
Title: Eden East
Format: CD
Label: Pale Music
Rated: *****
EDEN EAST is the debut album of Van Raveschot, a band coming from Berlin but formed by people coming from different sides of Europe: Amelie a.k.a "Van Raveschot", French singer, composer and writer, arrived in Berlin at the end of 2006, Henrik on guitar, Hannes on bass guitar and Arek on drums. Their music alternates vibrant energetic post punk/wave songs like the opening the great "Comme des histoires" or the following "No matter what" (it has a really nice dark sounding intermezzo) and "Sexe" to dark mid tempos where Amelie's vocals incarnate very well the stories of tortured loves she wrote, sounding intense and passionate. Some tracks tend to lose their grip because the guitar passes on the background but it's a matter of few moments. Nice debut...
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Artist: Dmitry Mazurov (@)
Title: Creature on a Lavatory Pan
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock Records (@)
Distributor: Eurock Distribution
Rated: *****
This has got to be one of the most interesting albums I've received in the latest batch from Chain D.L.K. HQ. Dmitry Mazurov is an artist on the cutting edge Russian Electroshock Records label, and his eclectic album, 'Creature on a Lavatory Pan' certainly fits within Electroshock's roster. The title is much creepier than the music, which is a mixture of dark ambient, semi-classical and cinematic soundscape. Although Dmitry's artwork for the CD cover does show a bizarre creature on a lavatory pan (actually, it looks more like a toilet) I think it is more macabre and overt than the music, which is subtle and sublime. Opening with a brief piece titled 'Abyss' which sets a ghostly dark ambient tone, more light is shed in 'Luminos' which follows, as medium tempo piano arpeggios play over a sustained nebulous background of strings. It adds an aura of mystery. Sparse piano melody follow, accented in places by the string ensemble. Gradually, a theme develops through more orchestration. Way cool! It is like the soundtrack for a movie in the imagination.

'Burevo' plunges the listener into a fantastical environment where many subtle elements (both musical and noises) coalesce into an other-worldly soundscape, a subterranean hive of activity and elemental movement. I could imagine this as background of a mysterious (not your 'shoot-em-up' type) video game. 'Depths' goes even deeper with very low frequency drone, subsonics and bubbling liquid. One gets the impression of a number of aliens creatures moving through this environment, although what they may be up to is oblique.

On 'Surovitsa' you get the impression of something slogging through some type of pebbly terra, finally reaching an area where strange lifeforms hold sway. There is such a collage of different, yet purposeful sounds, some acoustic, some electronic. An eclectic guitar (by Jury Starosotnikov) plays a suspenseful sustained tonal rise (think Pink Floyd in Umma Gumma days) that culminates into a brief resounding 'BLANG' for lack of a better description. Frenetic string scrapes on the bridge leading into a wailing entity while low, slow moving orchestration fills in the background.

'Lethargie' puts the listener on more solid footing, as a melancholic slow-moving theme plays out with higher strings accented by the occasional chime. Very classical sounding. There is a sweet and sad feel to this piece, and understated drama. 'Mask for Delicate Aesthetes' is the longest track on the album at 14:35. It begins atmospherically, but soon a rhythmic sequence comes into play. It comes and goes as synth ambience fills in the background. This may be as close as it come to anything conventional (and I use that word loosely) in the realm of IDM, more Autechre-style than anything else. Eventually the sequence disappears and is replaced by more ominous electronics'¦think Klaus Schulz being kind of 'out there'. An Enoesque melodic passage follows, and I have come to realize that this album is absolute cinematic genius. I don't think I have ever heard anything like it. A stronger melodic theme develops toward the end with some phantomesque violin courtesy of Oleg Huhua while sporadic noises erupt in the background. Magic, pure magic.

'Oblivion' uses a subtle industrial loop and floating sustained chords and electronic pads to create an atmosphere that is both cosmic and tremulous. 'Reminiscences' puts the piano upfront again with supporting orchestral elements, developing a theme, then playing a fantasy on it. I am reminded of Harold Budd. Then dramatic percussion kicks in for effect. Sometimes I hear strains of Satie, sometimes Wojceich Kilar, surely other soundtrack composers too; you are bound to come up with your own parallels.

The final two tracks on the album, 'Awe' and 'Sisters of Gloom' are no less enthralling but I am running out of descriptive adjectives. If you're not checking into where you can buy this CD by now, I suppose there isn't anything more I can say about it. But you should buy it. It's that damn good.
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