Music Reviews



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Artist: OSMAN ARABI
Title: Burning Sigils
Format: CD
Label: Fractured Spaces
Rated: *****
I was not familiar with Lebanese artist Osman Arabi, who's also involved in other more obscure, industrial-tinged projects like 20.SV and Seeker. Well, you wouldn't really tell after listening to "Burning Sigils", which is a great one-track, 38' album of strongly percussive minimal music. Electronic pulses and drones introduce the composition, but soon the hand percussion steps in and will practically constitute the backbone of the whole track for 35+ minutes, only streaked by minimal melodies or slightly distorted drones. A risky choice if the meddling of the elements wasn't this good, but Arabi is skilled enough to make it work throughout, creating a sort of extended ethno-ambient-dub piece. Obvious comparisons would be Muslimgauze and some ambient artists like Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana (at their best), but I'm sure that many fans of Appleblim and Shackleton's ethno-dubstep would find a lot to sink their teeth into.
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Artist: ROLLERS/SPARKERS
Title: Hames
Format: CD
Label: Lazybird
Rated: *****
Rollers/Sparkers are a Dublin based collective creating rhythmic tracks out of improvised and re-edited sessions. "Hames" features 16 tracks of their bizarre loop-based collages, where every kind of source seems to be good to create a repetitive sequence, from vocals to mouth harps. Comparisons can be made with freak entities like Black Dice, (some) Boredoms and Fuck Buttons, but Rollers/Sparkers seem to lack their complexity and epic proportions - their tracks eventually reduce to sketches with few to no development, nor a real trance inducing force. As it is, "Hames" displays some flashes of creativity, but isn't exactly a memorable record.
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Artist: MIGUEL A. GARCÍA
Title: Armiarmak
Format: CD
Label: RMO-OPEN
Distributor: Arto Artian
Rated: *****
Basque musician Miguel A. García has chosen the risky path of skeletal, self-generated sounds: a feedback mixer, a couple of microphones capturing the performer's gestures, and a sine oscillator. Over the years, the improv recordings based on no-input gear have varied from exhilarating to utterly disposable, and after listening I can easily put García high in the first group. With recordings like this, suggestion is everything, and "Armiarmak" luckily creates some fertile emotional short-circuit with the listener. The frequencies in the opening "Suge arrosa", for example, eventually structure themselves in grating loops, reminding of string plucking, then the composition boils down to a static unrest, with sparse fog-horn wails. "Acuphenos" is melting ice and mist, rich in bubbling, muddy basses. "Eve" accumulates electrics shocks in a bruitist crescendo, leading to the glorious "side b" of the cd (yep, there's a flipside, apparently), featuring the painfully high frequencies of the title track, and the heap of audio debris, hisses and feedback of "Suge gorria". When, in the final "Itapoa (for Rafael Flores)", the sampled guitar of former Comando Bruno adds a more recognizable musical quality, it has an almost surrealistic effect, lost as it is in García's swarm of electronics.