Music Reviews



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Artist: Attrition (@)
Title: The Hidden Agenda
Format: CD
Label: Two Gods (@)
Rated: *****
The reissue of Attrition's vast discography keep on being issued by Two Gods and that's the time of one of the most interesting ring of their long chain of releases. Previously released on the glorious Hyperium in 1993, The Hidden Agenda is maybe the album of maturity, the first one completely assembled in the Cage, Martin Bowes' personal recording hyper-technological studio where he begun working as remixer and producer, which could be considered as a sort of bridge between the past (oriented to industrial and dark styles) and the future (whose imprinting is definitively gothic-oriented) of Attrition's sound , which begun to appear more orchestral and based on a guessed balance between voice sharpening (Julia Waller's consolidated collaboration and her ethereal whispering voice heavily influenced this peculiar direction taken by Bowes' exquisite project as well as the tenebrous and narrative one by Martin) and electronic layering of cold sounds. From those four walls, which Bowes symbolically baptized with fire naming it The Cage, a lot of innovative sounds came to the scene.

You could easily recognize its refined hits on some UK projects and bands coming later (Vomito Negro, Full Dynamic Range and even Bourbonese Qualk) in the perfectly razor-cut percussive sounds of The Silent Mind, whose lyrics seem to forerun a certain techno-pagan nihilism which was going to inspire a lot of artists today, or in the orchestral deviations on the industrial-infected declinations of The Cage and The Mercy Machine. An important transitional album and a precious dowel not to be missed if you want to better appreciate Attrition's great artistic mosaic rich in nuances. Other highlights of this re-release are the trance-inducing A Wing and a Prayer, the re-visitation of The Next Day and the creepy repreise of the introductive Lip Sync.

Kneel to the Mercy Machine!
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Artist: MIKKEL MEYER
Title: Bacon
Format: CD
Label: Statler & Waldorf
Rated: *****
Like a menu based on Danish dishes, Mikkel Meyer named his tracks after his grandmother recipes. Forty years ago, before the 70's immigration, Danish cousin most important spices were: salt, pepper and bacon and from this we have the album's title. "Tatar" is the first course then followed by "Tunge" (feat. Non from Shadowhuntaz), "Dyreryg", "Kotelet", "Kokostosca" (feat. Chidi Benz from Tanzania), "Bananasplit" (feat. Lufu), "Ostetærte", "Flødebudding" and "Jordbærkage". Musically, Mikkel Meyer's ingredients are dub, ambient, dubstep, grime (I love those grinding synth bass lines) and hip hop (when he has guests on vocals). Sounding atmospheric the tracks are able to build a kinda mysterious halo where dubstep rhythms duet with layers of ambient distorted sounds. I enjoyed all the tracks and I just loved the Swahili vocals on "Kokostosca" and Lufu's vocals (he's also from Tanzania) on the following "Bananasplit".
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Artist: KARJALAN SISSIT
Title: Fucking Whore Society
Format: CD
Label: Cyclic Law (@)
Rated: *****
Released on CD by Cyclic Law and on vinyl by German label Eternal Soul Records, FUCKING WHORE SOCIETY is the forth Karjalan Sissit album. Since the A5 sized cover of the CD, where you see two photos of what it seems to be a drunk guy (I checked the band's myspace and saw that he's a guy called Martsi) preparing to and then mooning, I was thinking I had to wait for something special and I wasn't wrong at all. The ten new tracks of the album have been produced by Peter Bjärgö (Arcana / Sophia) and sound just great: soon after the start of the opening "Javla Psykopat Karring (Varre Än En Horunge)" I was already convinced to give to this album four stars 1/2 because the mix of dark ambient orchestral atmospheres, industrial blasts and spoken word vocals (filtered like a phone has been used), leaved me speechless. Those five minutes are able to sum years of great sounds where tension and hate make your speakers bleed. Also the following tracks are good ones and they sound in balance from dark ambient spoken word (like the following "Asuntovaunussa Hhuoraamassa" and "Sloddret Maste Bort!"), martial industrial with distorted vocals ("Loppuun Nussittu Avioliitto" or "Har Du Horat Runt Pa Campingen?"), orchestral martial industrial with vocals ("Nyt Tulee Kirvesta, Perkele!" and the following "Nyt Tulee Kirvesta, Perkele!") or without vocals ("Skitfolk"). For forty minutes you're hostage of a sound that is incarnating society's madness/sickness and you'll risk to like it. Try if you dare...
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Artist: BLEEDING HEART NARRATIVE
Title: Tongue Tangled Hair
Format: CD
Label: Tartaruga Records (@)
Rated: *****
TONGUE TANGLED HAIR is the second Bleeding Heart Narrative full length album and for this one Olivier Barret (sometimes helped by other seven people who played violin, cello, saxophone, drums and guitar here and there) mixed the cards a little bit if you paragon this album with his first one. If "All that was missing we never had in the world" was tense and dark, TONGUE TANGLED HAIR is a multifaceted album where you find all the distinctive elements of the previous one (strings, piano, guitars and the atmosphere that was switching from the relaxed melancholy of "Blueskywards" - only available on the Cold Spring reissue - to the throbbing wall of sound of the opening "Bhn") plus an expanded song attitude (many of the twelve tracks have vocals and melody) that will please all the post rock lovers. If part of the tension is gone, the gloominess and the thick sound effect is still there. Strings build a kind of droney sound (only on "Tilted the wall" we have a sort of chamber quartet with pizzicato cellos and all) while piano and vocals paint a tormented melancholic picture. Personally I prefer tension but I have to admit that also TONGUE TANGLED HAIR is capable to build a great atmosphere. You can download "Colours Turn Colours" mp3 from Tartaruga Records website.
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Artist: Jennifer Choi (@)
Title: Violectrica (Music for Violin and Electronics)
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

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Jennifer Choi is one of the most active and talented violinists in both New York's classical and downtown music scene. Her style is adventurous and grounded at the same time and her knowledge and understanding of the music and of the instrument position her as one of the leading virtuoso violinists on the scene, but also as one of the most open minded and daring players out there. She has played in countless places and on numerous records by improvised and classical music composers and luminaries such as Susie Ibarra, John Zorn (check her out in Zorn's latest master[card-]piece "Femina") and many others... Her latest work is a solo CD featuring interpretations of pieces by Alexandra Gardener, Randall Woolf, Padma Newsome, Susie Ibarra, Annie Gosfield and Ikue Mori, who also appears on the record as a guest and with whom Jennifer recorded three improvisations. As you might except from the sub-title, there is plenty of electronics (from ambient textures, to industrial-ish sounds, from soundscapes and layers to glitches and buzzes, from field-type background noises to sampled material). Her eclectic playing complements such eccentricity with passion and innovation, moving well beyond the standard bowing and the pizzicatos and experimenting with a whole new slew of sounds and noises that the instrument is capable of generating when in her hands. Highly recommended to those who want to hear some masterfully executed solo violin pieces but who aren't afraid to find out that there might be more than just violin after all.
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