Music Reviews



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Artist: Roger Mills
Title: Antipodesia
Format: CD
Label: UnCatalogued Music Production
Rated: *****
The album Antipodesia contains dimly lit soundscapes of earthly and alien origin, many of which are being serenaded or illuminated by Mills' seductive trumpet off in the distance. Intermixed are manipulated samples of a variety of sonic impulses and instrumental performances, most of which are driven by groove-oriented beats and percussion.
The use of voice is dispersed on occasion, as are loop-style programmed sounds amidst live recordings. The melodies are often simple, which becomes effective and evocative over the course of the album. "Brightlands Avenue" is an example of what can result from a captured improvisation that is later touched up and through composed like a soundtrack to a scene in a film.
Many of these scapes strike a balance between natural and surreal environments, acoustic and electronic soundworlds, and often times include layered field recordings from disparate lands. "Zagreb" is a nice example that incorporates industrial or transportation sounds juxtaposed with a drifting and lyrical, Dvorak- style melody. The closing epic, "Sawtooth" commences with a droning pad with granulated noise particles that weave in and out of the foreground. When Mills’ trumpeting reappears it is one of the most thought-provoking and interesting moments on the disc.
For those into audiovisual aesthetics, there is a fine booklet included in the liner sleeve which contains some photography that one might imagine themselves inside while listening to the music. Recommended to fans of abstracted world music, manipulated world instruments mixed with groove, and those on the lighter and hemp-friendly side of Miles Davis’ electric period.

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Artist: Kevin Shields (@)
Title: The Death Of Patience
Format: CD
Label: Entropic Tarot (@)
Distributor: Deathbomb Arc
Rated: *****
Ok - you're not hallucinating and this is NOT the new solo record by the genius, but an ear-shredding blast of uncompromising noise as I haven't heard in a while. Eva Aguilla is the one and only person beyond all this - and she surely knows how to deal with pedals and painful frequencies - but sometimes she stops the carnage adding some psychotic moments with treated instruments (can't say which instruments though). All the tracks are well composed (don't laugh ...) and your attention is kept focused by some slightly changes in the loops between the walls of white noise. "Catholic Guilt" and "Nothing's Never Ending" are loopy and somehow hypnotic. I'm not into such violent stuff anymore but this one stands above many of the records I've heard of the same genere. Judging from pictures on her myspace (http://www.myspace.com/kkevinsshields) her live performances must be really something. This cd is a joint effort between three cult labels: Entropic Tarot (http://www.entropictarot.com/), Deathbomb Arc (http://deathbombarc.com/) and Emr Records (http://www.emr-records.com/).
Artist: ROBE
Title: the third cinder
Format: CD
Label: Snip-Snip records (@)
Rated: *****
Some months ago while on the web I've come into Robe's myspace page and I've been positively impressed both by their sound and by the most of their song structures. This release came out on Snip-Snip that's David Reed's own label and let's say there's a sort of connection: actually Robe' sound, from what I've heard so far, in most of the cases is darker and heavier if compared to the music of Reed, but here it all has become more "foggy" and confirms the impression I've had they like to dissolve the drones in a magmatic scenario. It all makes me think to the movies of John Carpenter or David Lynch, but at the same time differently from many of their previous releases "the third cinder" paints a more abstract portrait of this band from Columbus. A simple selection of sounds and mainly drones surfacing and disappearing in suspension as shadows sucked in the mist, if some of the first noises may give the impression they've been influenced by some of the early experimental industrial masters (I was thinking to Death in June when leaving folk back home), I guarantee later the environment develops into a bad dream gone worse. Beside the peculiarity of having this deep cinematic feel, Robe have an interesting approach to dark ambient and post-industrial music that I don't find in that many bands of the genre. If you've never heard anything of this band from Indiana, remember they're quite heterogeneous thus you have releases where they've heavy guitars revealing Justin Broadrick/Final reminiscences and other recordings you could easily file under dark ambient. "The third cinder" is probably one of their most ethereal work but there's no doubt from what I've heard it doesn't betray Robe's identity and offer a good way to be introduced to the sound of this band.
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Artist: ENSEMBLE 0 (@)
Title: Music of wheel
Format: CD
Rated: *****
I've just come back from the cinema and this' the second work I review where piano is central or at least primary for the evolution of the narrative plot, but at the same time it's not played like that of a soloist. I'm sure Ensemble 0 will crucify me for this first consideration I've written but for most of the tracks It do mke sense, this is contemporary music to the bone but differently from many others they haven't left emotions back home, so take for granted they're really suggestive beside being interesting or "simply" brain stroking. Piano, cello, glockenspiel, toys a little bit of trombone and the guitar of Sylvain Chauveau (shame on me since this' the only musician I already knew) which rears its silent accent to make you feel its ethereal presence that's probably what you're gonna perceive if what you expect is a "normal" guitar. The fifth element of the band is silence, but differently from many quartets jamming in the contemporary area, this french people follows a straight tempo line, be it hidden or manifest usually they move faster then most of the quartets playing this game, it makes the soup even more tasty. This consideration focused on their relation with tempo is interesting since I already liked the of most of these extemporary compositions but this in someway shows one o the most Interesting peculiarities of the quartet beside the fact you can discern the influence but they still have their personality. Funny, from the early seconds of the cd I was thinking it would have been a journey a la Bablicon meets Rachels, but in the blink of an eye they disincarnated the song living some elements to counterpoint the silence with a few chords. This last thing in general represent their modus operandi together with the fact in most of the compositions they parsimoniously leave no more than one or two instruments duel with pauses. Interesting and in some way really suggestive.

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Artist: GOD'S BOW (@)
Title: Follow
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Lyre Studios
Distributor: Soul Food
Rated: *****
Six years after their second album titled "What's Beyond The Suns" the duo God's Bow is back with FOLLOW. Agnieszka Kornet (lyrics) and Krzysztof Pieczarka (music) on this album created a mixture of electronic goth music with classical and trip-hop influences. FOLLOW opens with "Empathy", a short dreamy track based on strings and Agnieszka's chants which introduce one of the best songs of the lot: "Tomorrow". This tune (along with "Mosaic") made me remember of some early Dead Can Dance atmospheres (see the use of percussions and the dreamy vocals) but mixed with new wave arrangements. The following one, "I know", is a bit more electronic and is able to create a sort of goth electronic mixture which sounds nice. "Helpline" is the main track of the single released before the album (the MCD contains different versions of the main track and of "This perfect time" but no unreleased tunes). The song is a mid tempo electronic goth tune with a strong refrain but to me it sounds less sensual paragoned to "Tomorrow". "Wave awakes" play with slow percussions, synth pads and Middle Eastern melodies but it doesn't sound that catchy to me. "This perfect time" is a bit more melancholic paragoned to "Helpline" and it fluctuate between synth pads and Agnieszka vocalises. The album somewhat follows with this scheme and along with "Mosaic" I'd point out to you "Under heavy sky". On this edition of the album there's a bonus CD with ten other remixes of "This perfect time" and "Helpline" (six and four). Of the lot I appreciated the ones which heavily reworked the tunes, these are: "This Perfect Time – remix by C.H.District", "Helpline – dead air mix by Weave", "This Perfect Time - remix by The Frozen Autumn" (not their top notch work, but a nice one) and "This Perfect Time – remix by Dark Territory".
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