Music Reviews



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Artist: TRANSMISSION
Title: Sublimity
Format: CD
Label: Malicious Damage Records (@)
Rated: *****
It has been a surprise to me to receive a packet from Malicious Damage. I knew the label to be the personal Killing Joke label they founded for their debut 10" "Nervous system" and I wasn't aware they were active with non Killing Joke releases as well. The first CD of the packet is Transmission's second full length album SUBLIMITY and it will be available for purchase on October 27th. Anyway... Transmission is a quartet formed by past and now members of Killing Joke (Youth and Paul Ferguson), Simon Tong (already active with Verve and Gorillaz and with The Good, the Bad & the Queen always with Damon Albarn) and Tim Bran (who plays with Subsonar and The Orb). With such experience of all the band members it could be difficult to think about what they created for Transmission and since the first track titled "Albion" the band is able to make you forgive all their previous experiences because this is sounding like any of them. The nine tracks of the album are in balance from post punk and psychedelia and the sound produced fluctuates back and forth bringing to your ears echoes of vocal lines as well as powerful guitar riffs. Youth plays bass guitar but he's also on production so you know that you can expect a powerful sound with pumping bass frequencies. Most of the tracks gave me the impression to be structured like post rock suites where improvisation played a good part on the composition process. Vocals are mostly used as choirs to strengthen the sound and to add a catchy melody but there are also song structured ones like "Opium head" (the whispered vocals blast into the main refrain creating a good effect) or "Confusion". If distortion and fluctuating sounds are your cup of tea and you aren't afraid of a little of rock approach into your post punk meal, then you can check out the latest Transmission's album. While you wait for its release you can listen to some old songs at their myspace page.
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Artist: OLSEN, TAROCHER, MAYAS, NUTTERS
Title: (hail satan)
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Good, there’s no trace of Satanism here thus if you were wishing to hear this portuguese label deranging toward dark ambient, black metal or esoterism...well you’d better leave your expectations back home. Much more than to pentagrams and upside down crosses these musicians are probably devoted to irony and in someway this could be reflected by their music too, infact if you give a listen to nine tracks of this work you’ll notice while their music is dead serious the atmosphere is never too heavy immersed in that hyper-intellectualizations that makes half of the work coming out from this circuit heavier than death. To clear up your doubts I’ll say immediately the scenario is that of electro-acoustic improvisation in someway it’s quite similar to many works from the same area, but the recording is damn good and they apply an interesting use of some sounds like hisses or percussive part. From their improvisational style I’d say they have a foot in the grave of jazz and thumbs up for it but also to the fact they’ve been alternating tracks quite smartly so you won’t get bored by this or that silence for they play, for jazz’ sake!. It’s good to hear they kept fun not just in the title but also in the way they interact and that’s why their music is not the heir of a frigid idea above all in the most animated tracks. But before closing this review I wonna show you what an unreliable reviewer I’m (c’mon who can you trust nowadays?..."disappointed a few people" like John Lydon...you can bet it!) the best song of the record is "pitch IV" which is the result of two dark minutes deeply immersed into contemporary classic music that creates an intense odd atmosphere that builds up some anxiety.


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Artist: SPARKS
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Holy shit "hardcore lives" used to sing Freddy from Madball... and this duo hailing from New York city resume the same concept in the opening track and if you can’t trust my word than you will be convinced by the piccolo trumpet of Peter Evans and by the "chainsaw-like" bowing of Blancarte. Be it the recording or the emphasis with which they’re playing ( like if they’ve been in the middle of a brawl) but you can’t even compare this way of performing with the average "hey I’m a dynamical improviser" way of playing. I think the difference sometimes is still in the purity of the spirits and even when the duo is calming down the atmosphere you perceive there’s a subtle tension, I think when Sparks play less neurotic parts really bring to mind a nervous boxer on the edge to explode. Some may define it Brotzmaneque music (he’s played with them so find your easy conclusions... ) and maybe that’s partially true, but the combination is great: Evans sometimes makes me think he’s possessed by some voodoo demon and Blancarte is a good shaman for he drives the ceremony right where possession over the redline. I think the world is still full of good musicians and decent improvisers but even playing something that we can also label as "standard improvising" this duo is able to fly ten feet higher than the ninety percent line-ups playing this style and the funny thing is that they’re doing it without even using a drum kit that could be one of the easiest solution for a project like that in order to have those beloved loud explosions. I’ve read they’ve also been teaming up with Bennink which makes me wonder how could it sound like with him banging the drum but from this recording you don’t think they need any additional player believe me. Loud music for loud people or I’d better speak about intensity?..mm..maybe, infact I’m sure they can be much more softer, but it’s New York city speaking: Cro Mags, Suicide, Cop Shoot Cop, Taxi Driver... am I allowed to expect something like that?. "Free jazz in your face".




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Artist: LARYTTA
Title: Difficult Fun
Format: CD
Label: Creaked Records (@)
Distributor: Cargo Records
Rated: *****
Formed in 2004 by two Swiss guys called Guy Meldem and Christian Pahud, Larytta already produced some particular songs, also included on this album, like "Ya ya ya" or "The money" (included on their first self titled 12"). Those songs increased the interest regarding their first album and Larytta didn't delude the expectations. The thirteen tracks of the album have many influences which go from the 60's (see "Love love odyssey" and "Filthy Jim", songs that sound just like coming from a Beach Boys album of the "Good vibrations" period), tribal music (many songs have percussions and tribal rhythms), hip hop (see the main vocals on "Baunch amp" and "Is this cheese"), techno (see the rhythmic/melodic bleeping section of "Spoiled kids"), just fun (don't tell me that "Souvenir de Chine" is a serious one with those trembling silly synth melodies), funk ("The city walls" has a bumping bass line along with catchy vocal duets), Brasilian folk ("Tout mes amis" sounds like a particular samba tune). The whole album is permeated by a certain dancey atmosphere and for sure you'll find more than a catchy tune but you have to be musically open minded to fully appreciate this. If you are into Metronomy try also Larytta...
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Artist: Integral (@)
Title: Rise
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Rated: *****
On "Rise" the German duo Integral develop a very balanced mixture of ambient and IDM that is both touching and unsettling at the same time. What is really great about the album is that Integral are not afraid to let the ambience drive the tracks, as opposed to a lot of IDM that goes to a bit too overboard with the complex multi time signature beats. And indeed the strength of Integral is its tasteful use IDM beats and effects, as opposed to artists like Otto von Schirach whose music sounds like a rhythmic mess of break beats and bodily noises. For me the standout track on "Rise" is "Doors" which utilizes screeching sounds to create a beautifully evocative effect that I must admit lifted me from the doldrums. All I can say is that it is one of those rare tracks that makes the hair on your arms stand straight up. Similarly, "Back Here Alone" is another beautifully done track that shifts from violent bursts of power to simplistic moments of silence. These two tracks are only a few of the highlights of what is an extremely solid album from start to finish. When listen to "Rise" you get the feeling that this is going to be one of those albums that ages very well and will probably sound as fresh in five or ten years as it does now. Additionally, it’s probably one of the best uses of crustacean on a album cover that we will probably see for a while.
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