Music Reviews



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Artist: CLAUDIO PARODI (@)
Title: A Ritual Which is Incomprehensible
Format: CD
Label: Extreme (@)
Rated: *****
With his second release on Extreme Claudio Parodi has introduced some consistent changes for what concerns instruments and style even if I find there’s a "trait d’union" linking this one to the previous release. Parodi is a complex and weird musician and I think the interview you can read here on Chaindlk may be of interest if you need a concise introduction, by the way after having approached Alvin Lucier, Parodi’s homage goes to Pauline Oliveros. We have another fragment of Tiziano Milani’s music sampled on this recording, but this time Parodi is really far from the dronical sound of his debut on the australian label, add to this for the first half of this work you have two almost "parallel" Turkish clarinet writing the whole narrative plot. I think in someway the composer has tried to play mimetically adopting some peculiarities of the "old lady" to which this recording is dedicated but at the same time he wanted to avoid losing his own identity and there’s no doubt the result is obtained. As I’ve said at the beginning of the review the instrumental sound is nothing but one of the changes, the whole style of the music bring much more in a contemporary classic territory if compared to the debut album. I’m sure if you appreciated "Horizontal mover" you’ll find some similarities not just related to Milani’s samples but pertinent to the whole atmosphere of the work and to the fact Parodi’s music in both of the recordings brings the mark of stillness. In the middle of the second fragment of "A Ritual" you have a sudden and unexpected break where silence gets heavier than a ten tons hammer and I don’t say that just from a compositional point of view, if you put yourself in the shoes of the listener as I’m sure you will you can easily imagine how much it feeds "apprehension". It’s basically in the third part of this cd and in the coda that abstract electronics grow dying everything in such a nightly tonality I’m sure Nurse With Wound wouldn’t have despised. Strange work... unquiet... the coda alone makes you feel lost in space.
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Artist: BACIO DI TOSCA (@)
Title: Der Tod Und Das Madchen
Format: CD
Label: Curzweyhl
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
Taking the name from a Puccini's opera (Tosca was the title and a character of one of his operas), Bacio Di Tosca, bring to the lovers of fascinating female vocals the first chapter of their work. Based mainly on Dörthe Flemming's (on ex Charitona) chant, DER TOD UND DAS MADCHEN (Death and the girl) contains ten tracks which lyrically take inspiration (and also uses excerpts) from the works of Heinrich Heine, Mathias Claudius and Karoline von Günderrode. Musically she finds her influence into Schubert's works. We have piano and orchestral songs that can be enjoyed by Dead Can Dance/Sopor Aeternus lovers with some exceptions (see "Sheidung", an electro goth mid tempo where Dörthe sings like a deadly femme fatale or "Helena" where electro sounds meet orchestrations). Some tracks may have a lack of homogeneity because of the mix of opera chants and electronic sounds but after a couple of times you'll listen to them probably you'll find them more interesting compared to the classic sounding ones (which are good on their genre).
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Artist: HISTORY OF GUNS (@)
Title: Acedia
Format: CD
Label: Line Out Records (@)
Rated: *****
Third album for History Of Guns, ACEDIA (it means "total absence of spiritual light") is a granitic example of how a crossover punk (English 77 punk in this case)/industrial band should sound to me. The first time I listened to tracks like "Born, brutalised, bought then buried", "Exhaust fumes" and "What have they done to us" I thought to a mix of Killing Joke and Bauhaus and I liked it. For sure Del Alien and Max Rael aren't afraid of bastardize their sound by blending sounds and influences (in fact their previous stuff was less guitar driven and more electronic): if the sound is powerful and personal no matter if now it sounds punk (like on "Never forgive you", just to name one and by the way I wasn't expecting to find in the mix a sound similar to the Hammond organ!). "Empty eyes", instead, sounded to me like an updated version of old Batcave sound. Do you remember early Alien Sex Fiend? Well this one is more punk but the overall atmosphere remembered me those melodies. If you are free from sound/genre boundaries History Of Guns is a good band to check.
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Artist: Ezekiel
Title: Songs Of Love And Hate
Format: CD
Rated: *****
Trained pianist, multi-instrumentalist and philosopher inspired by Crowley, Ezekiel sent us his debut album titled "Songs of love and hate". The CD opens with the beautiful "The sea" (the most convincing song of the lot), a track where you can fully appreciate his skill as pianist performing a suite full of phatos and cinematic atmospheres. The various tracks paint different kind of atmospheres passing from the epic tones of "The sea" or "Lass" to the romantic dreaming ones of "You" or "My heart". The characteristic of Ezekiel instrumental suites is the piano (where he gives his best) which on most of the times is accompanied by strings orchestrations. Unfortunately sometimes some midi sounds (the piano seems to me a real one) ruin a little the atmosphere because Ezekiel's music would deserve a whole orchestra because to me SONGS OF LOVE AND HATE sounds like a dramatic movie soundtrack. On Ezekiel's website you can check high rate samples of his album and then you could decided if his music is the soundtrack of your movie called life...
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Artist: Blanketship
Title: Teen Sounds
Format: CD
Label: Gigante Sound
Distributor: Gigante Sound
Rated: *****
Teen Sounds is a pretty remarkable album. It's contradictory in many ways. The sounds and songs are often somewhat dissonant but yet very pleasing to the ear. They are quite dark yet also uplifting and enjoyable. Finally, the album is somber but comedic at the same time.
I was thoroughly impressed with the subtlety and complexity of this album from the first listen. The songs are composed by use of sampling, manipulation of tape reels and vinyl records, and also live instrumentation. The sounds are manipulated, distorted, arranged, and mixed in such a way as to make it almost impossible to tell where a sample ends and live instrumentation begins. The term "sound collage" falls short of conveying the sophistication of Teen Sounds, but is probably the most appropriate description.
Teen Sounds is full of memorable and haunting melodies, absolutely bizarre sounds, and distorted samples that you can't quite place. Blanketship, aka Jared Blum knew exactly what he was doing and where he was going with these songs. At no point does the album lose its way. The songs move in a clear direction. Blum's composition and arrangement skills are apparent throughout. Teen Sounds is extremely well crafted, original, and surprisingly accessible.
The mixing, by Blum, serves each song individually and the album as a whole. It's quite dense, with a powerful bottom end, but with clear highs that give the album a spacious sound. There's so much going on in these songs it would have been easy to end up with a muddled mix. But Blum makes excellent use of reverb to give the songs the width and depth required.
I had the pleasure of mastering Teen Sounds, a very unique, experimental, and rewarding album.
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