Music Reviews



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Artist: ALFREDO COSTA MONTEIRO
Title: Épicycle
Format: CD
Label: Etude Records
Rated: *****
One of the most interesting radical improvisers of today's leftfield music, Alfredo Costa Monteiro has performed both as a soloist and as a member of duos and collectives (I Treni Inerti, Cremaster) playing accordeon, turntables and mixers in an unconventional way to say the least. Lately, though, his solo releases have shown an interest in digital manipulation and, my guess, more "composed" forms of mixing. "Épicycle" is a remarkable one-track work, clocking in at 37'37", where Costa Monteiro digitally alters samples of his own voice creating a frightening landscape. An ethereal drone is interrupted by abrupt granulated screams, as if black metal yells were processed by Peter Rehberg in the worst of his moods. The bathysphere of subdued frequencies is slashed and disfigured by layers of bestial laments, and words are slowed down to undeciphrable rumblings. If Henri Chopin's sound poems were turned into black mass summonings, they would probably sound like this. Play loud and never stop the madness.
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Artist: FOSSILS
Title: Waterboarding
Format: CD
Label: Unverified Records
Rated: *****
Hmmmm, my first exposure to Canadian weirdos Fossils and I must admit it's not really a memorable one. Seven tracks, 31 minutes of mostly outdoor recordings drenched in tape hiss. Some screech here, some loose string plucking there. If I'm not mistaken, there's also some dog barking, looped or collaged, which I've found enjoyable (barks on tape are always a must). But seriously, being a country guy, why would I ever want to listen to this again. This is a lo-fi aesthetic that I just don't get.
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Artist: KEPLERS ODD
Title: Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula
Format: CD
Label: Fractured Spaces
Rated: *****
Shame on me, I've missed on a couple of Keplers Odd releases (a cd on Desolation House and a cdr on Pas-83), and am now sobbing in self-contempt. Oh well, I'll make up for that. I also have to add that this cd was released in June, but, besides my awful review abilities, it seems only appropriate to run through it now that there's snow outside. KO are a Gothenburg, Sweden trio formed by Daniel Jansson (of mighty Deadwood, Europe's most underrated power electronics project, and STUG 218), Magnus Moilala (Crest, Crest 218) and Kristina Persson (Viper Trail). Though clad in a dark ambient-ish cover, "Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula (A New Year's Gift of Hexagonal Snow)" is a very physical disc of guitars+amps worship. Downtuned strings and bleeding feedback. What is nice is that, even in the only track featuring a doom riff and strangled vocals (VI), KO are far from being the nth Sunn 0))/Earth copycats which are breeding like rats. The album begins with clean acoustic guitars under which lies a flow of feedback lava, fully outleashed in the core part of the disc. Tracks II and III merge amp abuse with subtler elements (expanded pluckings, almost synusoidal drones) which vary the otherwise monolithic wall of the trio. Track IV is the harshest and arguably best one of the lot, and sounds like late Skullflower covering Organum with electric guitars instead of bowed metals and strings. The fifth piece is an out-there electric blues drenched in northern cold and darkness, as if Hototogisu or My Cat is an Alien were sent jamming among starving wolves. Closing the opus in an almost circular way is a strummed dirge which soon dissolves in electric mist. Out of the (often disposable) contemporary variations of "drones made with real guitars", this is one of those albums which deserve repeated listenings.
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Artist: Slave Auction (@)
Title: Learned Helplessness
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: 13 monden (@)
Rated: *****
Slave Auction is a brand new project by Eugenio Maggi (Cría Cuervos) and Nicolas Campagnari. This is their very first release on their own label 13 Monden (www.13monden.com) where they'll publish some of their next releases (a split cd with Demonologists + Metek and a split cd with Canadian mindphucker Women in Tragedy). Expect 20 minutes of ear-raping black-noise from the pagan backwoods. The track starts with repetitive low pitched sounds resembling Mammal's "quiet" moments; then things starts to get heavier and the central part is in the vein of Spanish power noise pioneers L'Akstremauncio. The final part is somehow near to Ahlzagailzehguh's ultraviolence with a lower volume, but a similar impact. It's a soul-hurt. Be prepared.
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Artist: Suspicion Breeds Confidence (@)
Title: The Fauna And Flora Of The Vatican City
Format: CD
Label: Gruen Rekorder (@)
Rated: *****
It took me some time to get used to it. The majority of this album is downtempo/illbient, featuring some experimental bits, some UK-influenced electronica and even some middle-eastern percussions and freaky sitar loops. Now, even if my references are obvious, do not think to Confidence Breeeds Suspicion as another useless 90s revival, as all the above mentioned styles are re-elaborated with a personal touch and this record belongs to 2008. The structure of the songs on this one is unpredictable, so expect swift style changes in the same track but not in the overall mood. I must say that I didn't like the Squarepusher-like bursts on "A Million Birds Should Know Somethint About Modesty" at all, as they don't fit with the other tracks, but maybe it was made on purpose. An interesting album, it may appeal to those into Residents more eclectic works.
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