Music Reviews



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Artist: DOXA SINISTRA
Title: Conveyer Belt
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
Doxa Sinistra, band that have already been covered on the two Trumpett compilations released by Enfant Terrible, made ring a bell on my head, so after a little research I discovered that ADN, a label coming from Milan, that released stuff from F.A.R., Kino Glaz, Sigillum S, Tasaday, etc did an edition of CONVERYER BELT back in 1985. Originally released on Trumpett, CONVERYER BELT was a great example of how experimental/industrial music was sounding like back then. Using melodic lines and electronic gear, Doxa Sinistra steered their wheels toward obsessive compositions based on rhythms, treated sounds (see the backwards work on "Branoff 4") and creativity. Each track creates a whole different atmosphere that makes sound the band like coming from an alien industrial galaxy. Sounding like a blend of early Coil and early Test Department (a bit less percussive) the band had a rich and particular sound for that era. An era that had into the multi-track tape recording the key to freedom of expression for hundreds of kids. If minimal industrial and early experimental music is your way to go, give this album a try!
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Artist: Gianni Mimmo, Xabier Iriondo (@)
Title: Your Very Eyes
Format: CD
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
Presented as a a journey with an overt sacred/religious approach "Your very eyes", as you can guess, here and there won’t betray your "transcendental music" expectations and will creepy inside your agnostic little hearts, but on the other side I also think "religious" would be misleading definition cause the global work in my opinion goes really well with "documentaristic". I think the strong personality of Gianni Mimmo has had an heavy weight in the sound characterization of the duo, that’s why even if they’re considerably far one from the other I believe there’s a continuum between the Kursk sonorization this saxophonist did with Contini and this work with experimentalist Iriondo, at last it would be a logical step considering Iriondo at the time of the sonorization had been directly involved in the work as a sound engineer. You don’t have to consider it as the extension of a solo work, it just shows a light and well pondered intervention of the Italo-basque guitarist here mainly involved with singular chord instrument and as sound engineer, his incursions most of the times are non intrusive, but somewhere else he’s able to pierce the audio space firmly. Thought they’ve been recording in an old church and the sound is really influenced by the audio refraction caused by that particular kind of stone with which the church has been built, don’t think of it has that horrible "hangar like" feel, the sound ambience is clearly defined and you can distinguish easily everything without drowning in reverb. In some episodes the atmosphere gets really intense, somewhere else the musicians "resigned" to something really melodic and I’m sure it will have a great appeal for a "jazz/classic" crowd of listeners since without falling into cheap solutions it brings some traditional music in the backpack and it’s damn easily digestible, which is never to be taken for granted from a recording like that. Sorry for being boring but more than filmic I’d put the emphasis on "documentaristic music", you know it’s different for in documentaries most of the times the soundtrack has more of a continuum and is more central for the story plot, it reminded me so much of those old documentaries based on road trips on the life in some deserted, ancient areas, "music for discovery channel" or in the likes? Maybe and that’s ok for me.
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Artist: Building Seven
Title: The Time Has Come
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Inimitable Records (@)
Distributor: iTunes
Rated: *****
I have to admit that when I received the latest batch of CDs for review I was less than impressed with the look of the two CDs from Inimitable Records. They sent CD-Rs, usually the mark of the amateur in my book. But when I realized their prime distribution outlet is iTunes and there is no physical product, I understood completely. In this age of digital distribution, it makes a lot of sense. Inimitable is a small label and they only have three releases- this one (Building Seven), Delenio, and Ryan J-W Smith who happens to be one half of Building Seven (along with Michael Schofield, aka Micro).. Building Seven also has a MySpace sight, and their own website, which may still be under construction.

Maybe it was because I didn’t have to unwrap anything that I decided to give Building Seven a listen first. On first impression, if I had to categorize the music, I’d call it softside-downtempo with touches of the eclectic. It’s electronically based as you might expect with an occasional atmospheric guitar groove. First track, "Pangea" (which used to be the band name) is a little dreampop gem that sounds like the ethereal side of The Church with the pop sensibility of Radiohead and the guitar noodling of Durutti Column. Frothy and spacey with a cool memorable chorus hook. A bit of female Middle Eastern ululating in the background. Nice touch guys. Definitely an opening track intriguing enough to prompt anticipation of the rest, and probably will end up being a favorite of college radio djs into dreampop. Also probably the best track on the CD.

Ryan has a pleasingly understated voice perfect for this type of material. Even if the next couple of tracks are a little blandish, his voice adds to the feeling of the music, becoming part of the ambience. Then again, I think Building Seven were striving for an overall dreamy atmosphere rather than producing commercial pop hits. Sometimes Building Seven get the groove right-on, such as on the 5th track, "Good Afternoon", a sort of nod to Boards of Canada, with some innocuous sampled dialogue set against a pleasant little melody. And sometimes not so right like of the preceding track, "Calliope", which has a bit of an awkward rhythm for a love song.

The mood breaks from the previously languorous drift on the track "Sentir", with a ponderous deep synth and string section opening, and a bit more of a driving Delerium-esque rhythm track. It crosses into that darker terrain mined by projects like Enigma, Deep Forest, Delerium, Conjure One, et al, primarily instrumental The rest of the tracks seem to be less "song oriented" with vocals sparse to non-existent ands melodies breaking through the haze every now and then, like rays of sunlight on a could-filled summer day. It effectively maintains the mood- kinda chilled, stirred but not shaken.

All in all, this is a nice debut for Building Seven. Too bad there are about five other bands with the same name. But when you name your project after a popular conspiracy theory, it’s bound to happen.

Artist: vv.aa. (@)
Title: DTrash Records 2007 New Releases Mix
Format: CD
Label: DTrash Records (@)
Rated: *****
DTrash Records is a Canadian based label formed in 1998. The label’s mission is to create an international network of extreme electronic music. This compilation is meant to represent the label’s releases in 2007. This compilation is a single track composed of 10 artists and 18 songs. Most of the artists on this compilation are represented twice.

First, let me say that a single-track compilation is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I was forced to listen to every second of this compilation, and was not allowed to make snap judgments. The curse is that I cannot easily return to the tracks I enjoyed.

Second, the music: Since this compilation is various artists in a single track, I will write all of my impressions in a single sentence. The music represented by this release is akin to Atari teenage riot meets mochipet with hints of mindless self indulgence and the riot grrl movement, and major digital hardcore and gabber influences. This release is, much like the label’s mission, extreme electronics. The highlights for me were the works of Hansel, Babylon Disco, Heartworm, Mind Disruption, 64 Revolt, and Contra. Honestly, I enjoyed almost everything I heard.

DTrash Records’ 2007 New Releases Mix is a very aggressive mix of heavy electro-percussive sounds and angry post-punk vocals. The compilation kept me on my toes for the entire hour it played. If this release is any indication of the quality output from DTrash Records, I would sincerely recommend anyone with an interest in progressive electronics to check this label out.
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Artist: BJ NILSEN & STILLUPPSTEYPA
Title: Passing Out
Format: CD
Label: Helen Scarsdale
Rated: *****
After "Viking Brennivin" and "Drykkjuvisur Ohljodanna", the three Icelanders' studies on the effects of fiendish alcohol use come to an end, quite obviously "passing out". The cd features a hour-long track, titled "Scandinavian Tourist", embodying several fragments, or movements, with a constant sullen haze. Sounds get blurred just like the sight before collapsing into unconsciousness, and as in a drunken trip, not everything is memorable, probably not much will be remembered at all, but a vague feel (and the hangover) is there. Out of the grey droning mass, a few more recognizable sounds emerge now and then, like Oren Ambarchi's maracas which give a sort of ritual feel to that passage, or some detuned voices (Leif Elggren's?), hisses and grinding loops. Thirsty and miserable.
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