Music Reviews



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Artist: Thomas B
Title: Augmented Place EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi (@)
Rated: *****
When I introduced the debut EP by Onism QI - the collaborative project by Quentin Hiatus, Ghast and Thomas B -, I omitted to say that a remarkable fingerprint on the sound of this project has been given by the last of the guys listed, Thomas B (real name: Tommy Brinson), as you can easily guess while listening to this recent output on Free Love Digi. Even if its dynamics don't show the same dynamics (particularly in tempo variations) of Onism QI, you could notice many similarities of the sci-fi sonorities explored in this EP. This aspect is mainly noticeable on the more experi/mental (and my favorite ones) tracks of the four ones included in this digital EP: check the opening "Significance" - its pattern based on claps and finger snapping and the way by which melodic elements gradually rises - and the closing "Augmented Place" - where you can notice that any ring added by Thomas B on the sonic chain makes it more and more involving -. Besides its sonorities, the hip-hop (or I'd rather say ill-hop, to use a label which was popular to describe this kind of experiments on hip-hop tempo in the late 90ies/early 00ies) oriented tracks, both "Straat" and "Tangible" are maybe too predictable and 'static' than the other half of the release.
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Artist: Onism QI
Title: Null Explodes EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi (@)
Rated: *****
One of the main advantage of digital releases lies in the fact that even if new stuff is added to a discography, some release doesn't become totally unavailable, so that even if a new EP (title "Intelligent Life") by the collaborative project Onism QI (grouping together Quentin Hiatus, Thomas B and Ghast) has been announced, the one I'm going to introduce is not really obsolete. The opening track of this EP ("Null Explodes" is the debut release by Onism QI), "Fear Death Love", is a sort of electric mantra, boosted by a sort of otherworldly moaning, snapping fingers and a mid-tempo, that becomes more and more hypnotising, whose magic get highlighted by the amazing playing on pitch by these guys, who increase BPMs when the listener could expect a deceleration and vice versa. The tempo got stabilized on mid-levels on the following tune, "Patroller", whose dynamics is based on menacing sonic entities, crackling percussive noises and occasional computational stirring, and a mid-tempo features "MB", the lovely song sung by Matthew Cassidy, whose voice could vaguely resemble the (computer reshaped?) modulations by Sascha Ring (Apparat, Moderat). Last but not least, the amazing sci-fi cracking of "Meta Realm", which makes you think that there's a more serious just than a drum N bass project behind Onism QI... maybe the foundations of a newly enlighted mankind! Check it out!
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Artist: Quentin Hiatus (@)
Title: Out Here EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi (@)
Rated: *****
2017 has been a very intense and prolific year for Quentin 'Hiatus' McFadden, who added a lot of good releases in his rapidly growing discography - I warmly recommend the tripartite album "I'm Neither Quentin Not Hiatus"if you missed it in the huge cloud of digital releases of bass-driven music -. "Out Here" is the EP, by which Quentin rides off into the sunset of this triumphant creative gallop over the year, that is drawing to a close. The first track of the five included in this EP winks at Juke and Trap sonorities in the first seconds, before unrolling mellow tunes. I'm not sure if the vocal sample that can be heard after a couple of minutes got grabbed by some radio shows or interviews of Dean Edell, a broadcaster and physician, who became very popular in the late 70ies/early 80ies for his radio show on KGO radio and his well-argued opinions against magical beliefs, pseudoscience related to healing methods and some surgical and medical practises (he was against circumcision, hysterectomies and so on). He was also one of the earlier supporters of the medical use of marijuana and other psychedelic drugs. The balance between liquid sci-fi pads, the slightly nervous beat and the title repeated by a soulful female voice on the following "Find Out" sounds like an invitation to the base to acquire an explorative mindset. The way by which Quentin organizes sounds in "Born Woke" looks like a dribbling between a sci-fi melody, electronic fibrillations and percussive elements that he manages to slot into the previous ones. The futuristic hip-hop and the meaningful lyrics of "Kryptomedic Rejection" (a link to the initial Edell (if I guessed references) precede the amusedly alien entrapping game of "Unexpected Guest".
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Artist: Stefano De Ponti | Eleonora Pellegrini (@)
Title: Physis
Format: CD
Label: manyfeetunderconcrete (@)
Rated: *****
With his now considerable output, Stefano De Ponti is perhaps one of the most interesting composers around. Physis, more than his proper new release, is the completion of a project with Eleonora Pellegrini born in 2011. The basic idea of this work is a body and sound performance about the evolution of Nature in an historical line from the beginning to the future.
The first part of this release, "I", quietly starts with "Non dèi invocar" a drone broken by the voice of Eleonora Pellegrini whose intensity increases as time goes by and is underlined by the soundscape in the background until a crash introduces the second part of the track, "Physis", based on stone's noises, or so they sound, upon a quiet resonating background. As the concrète source of the sound emerges, with "The Fishing Ape" the listener is closer to a part based on sharp high tones, "Seirn", paving the way for a song, "Canto", closing this part in which the voice seems at a distance and the noisy background gradually overwhelms everything.
The second part of this release, "II", is based on two movements and it's a more static part: "Grey Desert", a quiet and meditative positioning of sounds generating the sense of being into a primitive but cinematic environment and "Oracle" where the concrète element returns and the voice of Eleonora Pellegrini closes this release without the accompaniment of any sound.
While the first part of this release takes his character by the interaction and the mutual support of voice, words and sound and it one of the finest moments of the year, the second one sounds more like a questionable coda or a sound mimic of the cover than a fully developed piece; it's like it needs a visual counterpart to be effective. As a whole it's probably something than every fans of experimental music should hear.
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Artist: Jeremy Keenan (@)
Title: Scripts
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Forwind Press (@)
Rated: *****
While he's a relatively (un)known sound artist, this is the first audio release I heard of by Jeremy Keenan. Most of his output is an exploration and an actualization of the processes used by the avant-garde of the '60s, so his focus in on generative music process and the properties of sound rather than on melody and harmony. To fully appreciate this release it's quite recommended a proper setting e.g., headphone and the concern that a listener should place his attention on sound movements in timbre rather than pitch.
The short drones that open "Scripts" introduce the listener into an apparently static sound field, even if the three parts of the track are sharply delimited, which exposes his form when the listener is aware of the movements either in frequency than in space. "Intone" continues on the same path but with a process of addition and subtraction of the layers of well defined frequencies of the drones. As the elements of "Zapffe" enter and exit from the listener's perception, there's a sense of writing along with the construction of the timbres and this is further confirmed by "We Were Supposed to Drown" which is completely focused upon a single drone which is slightly but continuously modified to escape even the smallest moment of stasis.
This release with his impressive movement to be based mainly on drones is a sure pick for all fans of ambient music and with his wise choice of concision (it lasts only 29 minutes) it could be appreciated also by the casual listener of the genre. Recommended.
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