Music Reviews



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Artist: KURSK (@)
Title: the truth in the head
Format: DVD
Label: Amirani (@)
Rated: *****
Wow, I think I deserve some respect here since before writing the final review of this dvd I've been watching it at least three or four times which in my book means I've given it lot's off attention!. The fact is the work and the concept behind it is to say it all: majestic, I dunno if you remember the whole tragedy of the russian sailors left choking in the dept of the sea but I've seen a couple of documentaries on it and I remember quite well the whole disaster. The other reason why it took me so much to digest the dvd is that not only the project is ambitious, but the final result is equally complex, infact the dvd featues some extras where Mimmo explanes how they’ve approached this work. To prevent you from thinking this’ gonna bore you to death, I’ve to say according to my personal taste that's one of the most interesting releases on Amirani. While most of the original sources for the visual part are well assembled I'm not completely convinced about all the effects used in the process of elaboration of the images, but that doesn't mean it won’t leave you dry. Though the primary "voices" involved in the realization of this soundtrack are soprano sax and trombone, the electronic insertions are really well calibrated and help dying neutrally every act of what sometimes has the feature of a theatrical play (a drama indeed). There’s something beautifully old fashioned in the music played for the score and surprise, surprise: differently from what one may expect it’s not sad or dark, but that’s also what I find it’s really personal of this work. With the exception of the electronic parts of the record, which usually are non intrusive and discrete, our "horn" duo ranges from abstract melodies to barely classical movements eluding the jazz background of Contini and Mimmo. Funny cause what initially could be a dangerous choice reveals to be the most unconventional decision and at the end of the dvd I’ve happened to think that they’ve given much more power to the images and to the story plot. The music has its autonomous life even when separated by its soundtrack essence and that’s good, by the way the majority of the "movements" are subsequential thus it’s quite different from those soundtrack where you have a recurring theme or songs that can be isolated from the whole musical context. Good work and above all music wise an enchanting release.
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Artist: LUCA FORMENTINI (@)
Title: Tacet
Format: CD
Label: Extreme (@)
Rated: *****
After Australians, Americans and Japanese, Italians are doing their best to increase their ethnic weight between the ranks of Extreme records and Luca Formentini follows Claudio Parodi, by the way even if both those country fellows can be ideally filed under "drone" music, the nature and the final result of the two works are quite far one from each other". Formentini has an candid old school ambient/visionary approach that I’m sure many of you (me included) will appreciate. While remembering you "old school" doesn’t imply always: "surpassed", Formentini’s refined effort will kill those who loved the most inspired Eno, David Torn (minus some of his old fashioned fusion reminiscences), the most sober Laswell and many beautiful documentary soundtracks you may have (or have not) heard once in your life. I’m tented to say this could be a sophisticated atmospherical release with a ECM, Axiom cut (no, it’s nit dub). Don’t worry, I know for many of you ECM (and Axiom) has become just a synonym for "chic music for pretentious bourgeois intellectual wonnabes", but I’ve to admit myself they still put out interesting records every now and then. For what it’s worth Luca has some celebrities featured on this cd: Markus Stokhausen (son of such a father but great musician himself!), Sylvian’s own Steve Jensen that surely have enriched what already was an intense release just to name the most famous. By some means I wish I’ve been able to express this guitar driven songs are in some way close to "classic ambient" but scout’s honour: if that’s the so called classicism is more than welcome! The fact is Formentini has simply exploited a pre-existing "language" but he manages to be both lyrically evocative and touchy thar makes the difference. "Tacet" is warm and has the undoubtful quality to make you feel relaxed both when the mood of the track is sad and when we have something close to the softest/diluted evolution of Miles Davis (Nordic jazz anybody?). While many of his contemporaries fall while looking for the coolest sound, Formentini is more absorbed in the search for interiority and you can hear it. I know I may sound dumb for writing this but after many listening I couldn’t but think how Wenders’ "Until the end of the world" wouldn’t have been such a bore with a soundtrack like that. Nothing can better describe "Tacet" but relaxing.


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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: SCHLAGSTROM "Krrrbrrrtztzkrrr 02"
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Rusblade (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
Second chapter of the SCHLAGSTROM saga and released for the fourth edition of the festival, this new double compilation shows all the highs and lows of nowadays industrial noise scene. If most of the tracks are good at creating a rhythmic web of sound where your senses are tested by torrents of distorted noises and are able to change the atmosphere in a moment being able to catch your attention (the best of the lot are Empusae, Sonar, Insekt, P.A.L., Muckrackers, Hybrids, "Bahntier and Desdemona), most of the remaining ones tend to stuck their sound into a pure "Sturm und Drang" style where the nihilistic approach wins on the creativity. This approach brings you tracks based on the repetition of few sounds distorted as much as possible which personally don't convince me that much. Fortunately the highs are many and most of the tracks are exclusive to this release, so if you are a lover of the genre there are many interesting points to check...
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Artist: Erdenstern (@)
Title: Into The Dark
Format: CD
Rated: *****
After three very interesting releases, covering each a specific color and theme, it was about time Erdenstern explored the dark. When I heard speak about a 4th album of the band I was not all that thrilled to be honest. Small weaknesses on the other releases have been the lack of variation. Even though it has been but small holes in the otherwise magical armor, it made me not so thrilled.
Going into an album that way as a journalist is a good thing. What I hear on this new Erdenstern album is the without a doubt best Erdenstern album up to date. As the other releases have been very good this album put the band in the top of the food chain!
The pure darkness, variation, wonderful choirs, good horror mood, great chants, rituals and atmosphere is what make this album so alive. This even though it´s an album about death.
This time the melodies have taken a step back and instead made way for more experimentation and pure good old horror feel. Still with a freshness and high standard as Erdenstern is known for.
At times this wonderful album tend to be a little too much background music for my taste but as the band wants to do music for RPG games that is intentional and it works!
The artwork is high class but I did not like the pictures of the members. Nothing against them as persons at all but the photos and the way they were inserted is not so good. Comments on the back about being a small label and telling people to not "rouge or pirate".
What I really love with this album and band is the precision which they keep within a set out border! Sometimes with Erdensterns releases you think it is music to a film. They even work with themes or at least very similar melodies. That could be a bit too much but here it is done with more skill than before and with more care to details. I really enjoy listen to this album and if you like fantasy music you should check this one out. You should also (for the first time maybe) get a really good kick out of this album if you like dark ambient. A band such as Shinjuku Thief comes to mind.
Good work Erdenstern!
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Artist: HERO WOUTERS (@)
Title: Muziek voor Leven en Dood
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
Hero Wouters is a music composer (movie or theatrical soundtracks) who mainly worked solo but during the years he also worked with Dada di Musica, The TWO, Angelos Obscuros (with Legendary Pink Dots-singer Edward Ka-Spel) and Nul Kelvin. On this record (limited to 515 copies) you can find soundtracks originally recorded in 1982, 1984 and 1986 mostly for a Dutch film ("Een zaak van Leven en Dood") and a theater play (Laios). Some tracks have been previously released on Hero's own label Herophone but this is the first time that they are available on vinyl. The ten tracks of the album span from analog tense ambient tracks (on "Beginner's Guide" you also find sax inserts along with chants and electronic loops) to semi electronic pop ones (like "Ismene", the only sung track of the lot) passing through electronic experimentations which recalled me Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze or Vangelis. I really appreciated the whole atmosphere and if you are into the past futuristic vision a la "Blade runner" you'll find more of these atmospheres on MUZIEK VOOR LEVEN EN DOOD!
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