Music Reviews



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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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Artist: Rudolf Eb.Er
Title: Om Kult: Ritual Practice of Conscious Dying - Vol. I
Format: CD + Download
Label: Schimpfluch Associates
“Om Kult” is a collection of 31 short atmospheres built out of electronic drones and noises that are garnished liberally with a broad collection of dark, gothic audio imagery- found sounds from monks chanting, maggots feeding on carcasses, the sound of digging and scratching in dirt, human and animal growling, scream in pain and so on. Eb.er describes it as “a glimpse into occult techniques for the transition from life to death”. It’s fair to say this isn’t a comedy album.

Does it stand up as a sonic work out of its compositional, or de-compositional, context? Not wholly. With many of the tracks under two minutes long it sounds like a sketchbook of sonic ideas, many of which begin and end abruptly as though samplers of longer works. The digital processing certainly throws up curious effects. The pieces are rarely long enough to have the kind of mental baseline-shifting effect that some drone and noise works are capable of. At times it just sounds like the blackest of sound effects CD’s.

The six parts of “How To Die” are perhaps the strongest section, adopting a structure that feels more scripted and ritualistic, especially with the slow unrelenting kick sound that begins in the first part. “Licht (Unborn Light)” is notably theatrical, with more overt vocal noises and wailing. “Beelzefest” is notable, for maybe the wrong reasons, because it’s difficult to tell whether you’re listening to pitched-up human screaming, or the sound of seagulls who’ve spotted your sandwich.

There’s a rich underground history of dark noise work like this, and while this release increases the size of that oeuvre, it doesn’t really expand or push it particularly far. If you like your extremely dark noises in bite-sized easy-to-digest chunks, then this may well be very palatable for you; if not then you may find it to be one of those challenges that doesn’t offer enough reward.
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Artist: Andreas Lutz
Title: Binary Supremacy
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Kasuga Records
Although framed in thoroughly artistic terms of abstract aesthetics and exhibitions instead of performances, “Binary Supremacy” as an audio product fits quite nicely into the category of downtempo electronica and soundscaping. A thoroughly artificial collection of treated noises, clicks, glitches and synth pads over sparse and regular breakbeat kick drum patterns, this is minimal techno put through the wash, cleaned and tumble dried into art.

After the initial overture of “Nulled Fields”, the kick sounds become urgent for “Restructuring”. Some tracks segue into one another, so the cut-up lo-fi vocal samples of “Analog Read” creep up on you, as does the rumbling synth-bass that provides that track’s main focus.

Rather Kraftwerk-esque speak-and-spell lyrics on “Super Constructor” are the closest this short album gets to a vocalised message, instead generally settling for abstract atmospheres and gentle melodic elements that roll calmly over the lightweight beats. Kraftwerk pop to mind again in “Transmission Heap”’s sharper, curt beat patterns.

Despite seemingly not being at home either in an art space or on a dancefloor, it’s a fresh-sounding bit of very cerebral electronica with a nice character.
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