Music Reviews



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Artist: DALGLISH
Title: Ideom
Format: CD
Label: Record Label
Rated: *****
Dalglish is the new moniker of choice of Chris Douglas', previously known for his activity as O.S.T., with releases on Phthalo, Emanate and Qliphotic (and, just recently, Ideal) and a tour support activity with Autechre. A bit of namedropping which could hint at what you can find in "Ideom", i.e. angular, dark-tinged and experimental rhythmic electronica. When the pulse gets more regular and upfront, as in the tracks "Sach", "Morder J" and "Narpado", Dalglish could be loosely associated with those revolutionary minds that transfigured techno and dub into a much more obscure and cerebral headtrip: Basic Channel, Scorn and Plastikman, for example, all came to mind while listening. However, Douglas seems to be more interested in blurring and fragmenting any regular pattern (even alien and obsessive ones), leading to the collapsing architectures of "Tishm", "Damlicht" and "Amhain", a sort of post-human stare on beat-driven electronica.
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Artist: SEMPERVIRENS
Title: Dirge of the Dying Year
Format: CD
Label: Stellar Auditorium
Rated: *****
Estonian artist Margus Mets has allegedly recorded at least 6 full-length albums, but I guess this is the first one to receive public distribution, thanks to the newborn Stellar Auditorium imprint. Despite its gloomy title, "Dirge of the Dying Year" is a shady and elegiac, but not entirely bleak ambient disc, and for once I've found the press sheet suggestions (Biosphere, Northaunt, Brian Eno) totally appropriate. "Grey Skies above Us" opens with a low droning lament, layered with natural field recordings; then, an organ-sounding melody, full of nostalgia, rises from this more abstract tapestry. While the album is mostly based on obscure, a-melodic atmospheres (see "Sunken Consciousness"), Mets is not afraid to add some more openly musical passages here and there: the guitar picking of "Sails Engulfed in Fog & Fire" even has a '70's psych-folk feel, and "There Will Come Soft Rains" is a lullaby of refracting backward melodies. The not-so-exciting moments are limited to the jarring decayed tune of "I Rembember Everything", and a certain monotony if you take the whole album in one go; but "Dirge of the Dying Year" is good enough to leave you wanting to hear more.
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Artist: AIRCHAMBER3
Title: Crumble
Format: CD
Label: Amirani
Rated: *****
Airchamber3 is an expandable trio formed by Andrea Ferraris (also in Ulna, Ur, Luminance Ratio, etc.) and brothers Andrea and Luca Serrapiglio, improvising with a variety of instruments (cello, guitars, voice, pedals, sax, objects, etc.) and coming off with a fresh take on the often stale schemes of improv jazz. "In a Foreign Land" opens the disc with a rather turbulent electroacoustic storm of hisses and crackles, which could foresee a much more hostile album, loosely in the lines of the Creative Sources roster; but the following "The Jaw..." starts adding some unexpected spice, with jack noises structured in rhythmic loops (memories of Pan Sonic?), battling with Ayleresque sax contortions. "Standing by the Shell Sea mit Giacinto" (you gotta love those word plays, eh) is a liquid still life of almost Kranky-styled suspensions, highlighted in its desertic reprise, while "Silence Makes a Dangerous Sound" gives its cosmic gitar drones a backbone of kraut free-rock pushed into digital realms. The track which best shows the trio's potential is "An Unsafe Ground to Walk Upon", with its smoky jazz blurred and dissolved by electronics into a psychedelic mist. Out of a pile of clichéd "radical" improv discs, more or less interchangeable (and disposable), this is one that truly dares to experiment something new.
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Artist: DUCHESSES
Title: Estupet
Format: CD
Label: Apop Records
Rated: *****
Now, this is a truly interesting record which incidentally proves how Apop may well be today's Skin Graft in its choice of outrageous no-wave bands. Duchesses are allegedly a young all-female quartet, mentioning Art Bears, Poison Girls and Sex Gang Children as influences. Which could sound deceitful, but only to a certain degree, as this is artsy, schizophrenic and "gothic" music indeed. "The Virgin Monkey" shreds two voices, one half-reciting, the other screechy and monkey-like, in a vortex of guitar and drums reminding of Arab on Radar at their most violent. "The Fox Hunt" and "The Pit Bulimia" share a similar frenzy, but adding some morbid wave sickness like in the good old days of Gravity/GSL art-core (Antioch Arrow, VSS). "The Lazer Poney" is more AOR-styled sandstorm, while in "The Laughing Faina/Wacko Jackal" the instrumental mess is transfigured in a crazed electronic carousel. The cd also features a series of remixes which are unexpectedly well-done and creative. I'll mention Weasel Walter's take on "The Fox Hunt", where he manically pushes on the rhythmic aspect, on one hand, and on the gothic/atmospheric one on the other (almost Goblin-esque in the keyboards, and with an unstoppable guitar solo to boot), and Qulfus' black/no-wave transfiguration of "Pit Bulimia". A very promising and unpredictable record by these youngsters - let's hope they keep on playing and never lose the sickness.
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Artist: HATEWAVE
Title: Sexual Healing 2
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Apop Records
Rated: *****
If you're familiar with Hatewave's great eponymous album on Tumult (featuring Weasel Walter of Flying Luttenbachers fame), well, just partially forget its ferocious, technical math-death-grind, here we go back to the bands' early no-wave roots with a 13-minute demo of hilariously ugly music, recorded "in 1995 on bad equipment in threadbare conditions on drugs in the Midwest in winter". Featuring a trio playing drums, guitar, Casio SK-5 and vocals, "Sexual Healing 2" (or is that "Free Ringtones!"?) as a sort of demented scum-black thrash with metal-can sounding beats and "atmospheric" parts played with cheap keyboards. "Shitlist" and "Insomniac" have some gruff cookie monster vocals reminding of Spazz-ish power violence, and "Mutiny" even seems to attempt at some Crossed Out-style break. Everything falls apart, however, in "Sexual Healing 2", "An Hatewaves" and the 8th untitled track, which are pure, unadulterated no-wave garbage. Add some out-there and truly disgusting visuals and you'll come off with a much more extreme Hatewave than the later tech-death incarnation ("Fuck metal", the liner notes say).
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