Music Reviews



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Artist: BRIAN CARES
Title: FINGERPRINTS
Format: CD
Label: Bar 25
Rated: *****
Born in the 80s in East Germany Brian Cares is an artist or the Bar 25 roster and after several years of 12"s and E.P.s the next February he will have his full length out. Teaming up with Justine Electra, Raz Ohara and Jake The Rapper and Howard Katz, whom helped him on vocals, Brian's album is also the first release of the FINGERPRINTS series. The project is inspired by the format of a radio-show playing songs of no particular style but held together by the "fingerprints" of the producer and the participating artists. The nine tracks of the album are fitting really well the original intentions of the project: Brian made tracks that span from the jazzy house of the opening "Conclusion" followed by the electro soul of "No more play" just to pass through a particular electro latino spoken word titled "Saysay" with the charming vocals of Justine Electra. "Trust" instead is a mix of shoegazer pop song and house while "40 degrees" and "Dissolve", thanks to Raz Ohara vocals, seem a minimal techno soul cover of Prince songs: sensual and electronic sounds for you to dig. Electro/hip-hop is on with the cool Jack The Rapper performance on "Hey dj!". The bonus track "Sensational" is an electro mysterious one while the closing "The beginning" is a particular blues track with Howard Katz singing on treated beatbox samples. You can preview some songs on Brian's myspace page.
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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.