Music Reviews



cover
Artist: Aritomo
Title: Kowai Komorebi
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Aritomo is yet another artist I had not heard of, but for good reason. It seems that his earlier releases were issued mainly in small edition vinyl. Here’s how the label describes this album: "Aritomo's fragile debut release may just out-psych the freak folk patrol, however, with subtlety. . . . There is an almost naive quality to the way Aritomo's whisper of a voice plays out against his softly lolling acoustic guitar chords. The resulting atmospheres wink at the quietudes of Nick Drake or Ryusuke Seto, though Aritomo is clearly coming from a place all his own. Simplicity is the key stone with Aritomo. His technique slithers between standard chord progressions and more organized Jandekian dissonances." However, I think that Aritomo himself sums it up nicely when he states for his influences: "I like beautiful voice." Certainly, if Hyperium were still doing the "Heavenly Voices" compilations, this album would be right at home. His voice lilts over the acoustic guitar providing more atmosphere than meaning. In fact, the voice is the central element of the music, with the guitar being strummed mainly as a way to keep the music structured. In short, the main feeling that Aritomo seems to be going for is peacefulness, but there are moments of dissonance that keep the music interesting. For example, on "Fearful sunshine filtering through foliages," there is a recorder or flute that is playing a bit stridently, but not enough to make it unpleasantmore as a way to add depth. And it is not all just guitar and voice – "Hakanairo," incorporates some light hand percussion and "In the white shadow which the lily drops" uses the flute to complement the guitar rather than antagonize it. If you are looking for a comparison, the main one that comes to mind is some of Current 93’s more acoustic work like "Of Ruine or Some Blazing Starre," but not quite as structured and much more sparse. This album has an ethereal quality that makes it seem like someone has broken down music into its component molecules and transformed it from a solid to a gaseous state. If this sounds interesting, there are samples on the label’s website and on his myspace page. The first edition of 500 is housed in a custom made book bound sleeve and printed inner sleeve and the first 25 copies include an original drawing by Aritomo (which I assume are long gone by now). This disc weighs in at 40 minutes and there are 10 tracks on this disc, but only 9 are listed.
cover
Artist: CJ Boyd Sexxxtet (@)
Title: Fleur du Mal
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Like many of the discs I review for ChainDLK, I had not heard of the CJ Boyd Sexxxtet. However, with the cover art featuring people holding string instruments and the credits listing people who played not only cello and double bass, but also singing bowls saw, and trumpet, I had an idea of what I was getting in to, expecting something along the lines of Kronos Quartet. The website describes it as "Music for the bacchanal" and an "orgy of sound" that is "at the same time passionate and pensive, sensual and meditative." Here’s how the label describes the disc: "Fleur Du Mal's’ transcendental mixture of high-lonesome and chamber classicism soundtracks a bit like The Assignation of Andrew Poppy by the Minimalist Terry Riley. . . . The compositions chunk along with quiet thunder and building textures; juxtaposing dramatic tension against fluid looseness, not unlike some of Moondog's more formal string works." Neoclassical music is hard to describe. Luckily, there are samples on both the artist’s and the label’s websites. This album consists of three longer tracks, ranging from 15.40 to 19.12. Overall, this is peaceful string chamber music that really doesn’t push the envelope like Kronos Quartet, but it is pleasant listening. Perhaps my favorite part of this album is the sheer lack of violin. I much prefer the lower register and am not a huge fan of violin music, even when done well. This gives the compositions a kind of warmness that I often find lacking in sting ensembles. The first track, "At the End of Breath" combines staccato rhythms with long drones that seem pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle, over which members seem to take turns performing as soloist. "Here’s to Thanatos" has a bit more of a tribal feel compliments of the percussion, which then melts into a legato section with muted trumpet, seeming more like two different tracks. "And Indeed There Will Be Time" begins interesting enough with percussion and strings in a syncopated staccato rhythm and electric guitar and bass. Halfway through the band breaks into chanting in some language that I cannot place while a minimal rhythm is played on one of the instruments. This eventually becomes more involved, but I must admit that the chanting began to get boring after 5 minutes. Overall, this is pleasant stuff, but not really too experimental. I could see this being played at any of the nicer concert halls across the country, but looking at where they have played, this is unfortunately not the case. This is a very skilled ensemble and I’m sure they would be quite a nice experience live. The first edition of 600 copies comes in a custom made full color book bound cd case. The disc weighs in at 53 minutes.
cover
Artist: Brunnen
Title: Swoon
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of Brunnen, but I had certainly heard of Freek Kinkelaar’s other project, Beequeen. Evidently, this was originally released in 1993 in a vinyl edition of 215 copies. Most of this was recorded between 1991-1993 and some of the tracks were featured elsewhere (According to the website, tracks 13-14 were part of the EP single "The Honey Button," track 12 is a previously unreleased track from the "Swoon" LP sessions, and track 15 was found hiding on top of a shelf and suitably dusted off). The info sheet that came with the disc describes the album thus: "Swoon features a series of hushed songs of love and lust with a twist played on his trusty (and now long retired) Ensonic keyboard." For once, I completely agree with the promo package. This is really soothing music. The singer’s voice sounds like a cross between Tim Freeman of Frazier Chorus and Edward Ka-Spel of the Legendary Pink Dots, which makes it all the more peaceful sounding. Kinkelaar does not so much sing as speak in a sing-song kind of way. As such, the album has the feeling of a long lullaby. There are the occasional noisy elements that get thrown in. For example, "Forever in White" has just a bit of feedback that imposes on the slow moving warm synth washes that play over soft singing and "Hattrick" incorporates bird song into the music. "The Wolf Hour" sounds like the voice was done with appletalk, but it doesn’t really seem out of place. These are the sounds of a dreamlike carnival, and you can check out samples at the label’s website. Some reissues are not really welcome, but Beta-lactam Ring Records picked a gem to bring out of obscurity. This is limited to 300 numbered copies, so if you want it, you’ll want to act fast. The album weighs in at about 44 minutes.
cover
Artist: LSD March (@)
Title: Uretakumo Nakunarutorika
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Rated: *****
LSD March is one of those bands that are difficult to describe. Here’s how the press sheet that came with the disc describes them: "These ever indefinable Japanese psych monsters have coughed up a syrup-soaked album of broken tribal psychedelia. Their distended view of plunderphonic percussion gurgles like a drum n’ base-jump into a vat of psilocybin wine. And then things get weird." I can go with this, but an easier way to describe it is that this is essentially an experimental jam session. The first track, "Kumoitachikumo" starts to grow on you after a bit with repetitive chanting and percussion. "Kumoitachikumo Version 2.0" ends the disc with a reprise of the opening track, with a nice electronic tribal feel that ends by cutting out at random times. Most of these tracks feature what sounds like bongos and sparse guitars with other noises and sound source added in as needed. For example, "Uzunisase" and "Hotumori" both have a nice grove to them, with "Hotumori" consisting of bongo improvisation and a standard 4/4 beat on a drum kit. "Ubena" sounds like it features an abused guitar that is having its strings stretched beyond its comfort level. Some of it gets to be a bit boring though. For example, "Tawayagana" and "Warehavaenu" are both simply someone playing a drum set, but not in a terribly interesting way. Buddy Rich could make just a snare drum sound compelling for 10 minutes. At 1.39 and 1.19 respectively, I started wondering when it would change because it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Overall, I get the feeling that this album as a whole would be much more interesting in a live setting. The only place I would take issue with the promotion of this album is the assertion that this would appeal to fans of Pink Floyd – not really, in my opinion. I just can’t see this getting much airplay on a station that would play Pink Floyd. Samples are available on Beta-lactam Ring Records’ website. The first edition of 500 copies comes in a full color custom made book bound sleeve and insert. This disc weighs in at around 48 minutes.
image not
available
anymore
Artist: Jalan Jalan (@)
Title: Traditional Music Recordings (collected by Jerry Lloyd)
Format: CD
Label: Urck Records (@)
Rated: *****
I love world music and records that bring us sounds of distant cultures and far away places (something Urck specializes in). This is one such record, and with 34 tracks featuring field recordings from 9 countries, it does a great job at portraying the sounds of Southeast Asia and the Middle East. It took Jerry Lloyd 10 years of travels through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, India, Morocco, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sumatra and Bali to capture this 79 minute long audio document. It's like a sonic travelogue with liner notes that put things into perspective and give you some background information. Unfortunately the audio quality is pretty poor (I read that some of it was recorded on a portable cassette recorder) and the mastering (or lack thereof) and editing is not top notch either, which is kind of a pity. Nevertheless the cultural importance of such a release is prominent and offers a very interesting and enthusiastic look at the differences in the traditional music of all of the portrayed peoples.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171...180] [181...190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161] [1162] [1163] [1164] [1165] [1166] [1167] [1168] [1169] [1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960] [1961...1970] [1971...1980] [1981...1990] [1991...2000] [2001...2010] [2011...2020] [2021...2030] [2031...2040] [2041...2050] [2051...2060] [2061...2070] [2071...2080] [2081...2090] [2091...2100] [2101...2110]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha