Music Reviews



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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.
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Artist: METHADRONE
Title: Sterility
Format: CD
Label: Foreshadow
Rated: *****
Methadrone is a US solo project of Craig Pillard's, who also plays bass in the renowned doom metal band Evoken. "Sterility" is a somber and mostly subdued album based on guitar strumming, keyboards and some drum programming here and there. As a whole, it reminded me of a less ethereal incarnation of Lycia, which seems so be fitting as David Galas sings the only two tracks with vocals ("Self Relinquishment" and "Continuum of Decline"), besides mastering and editing the album. Oddly enough, though, the sung tracks, with their epic and despondent vocals, are closer to Neurosis, A Storm of Light and Swans in their more "gothic" phase. The grey-tinged tonality of the cd is eventually shaken by "Final Transmission", an industrial metal tour-de-force which alternates light and shadow not unlike Methadrone's label mates Nadja.
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Artist: Matamachete
Title: Tanin No Kao
Format: CD
Label: D-Trash records (@)
Rated: *****

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My heart warms up when I receive music from Swiss bands. Aside from the fact that I was born there, a bunch of great electro/industrial bands come from there (Young Gods, Sybreed, Apollyon Sun, Swamp Terrorist) ...not to mention one of the earliest electronic instruments (check out 120years.net)!
Anyway, Matamachete is a 5 piece industrial-metal grounp from the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. With the Canadian label D-Trash (always open and focused on what's new in the world of digital hardcore) they found a home for their second full length record "Tanin No Kao" (The Face of Another, a 1966 japanese movie). Less glitchy and more structured than other D-Trash releases I've reviewed, Matamachete borrow equally from the cyberpunk and the aggro-industrial worlds. Their brilliant production work (by Nino Mauro) is clearly of electronic matrix but their sonic attack and attitude is much more in-your-face punk-rock. As you might have guessed, luckily their singing style escapes the used & over-abused EBM tradition. Instead they go all the way with their two singers, and if anything, they sound more like an Organge 9mm-type post-core band. Matamachete dirty distorted bass lines, wild drumming and hardcore singing remind me a lof of a band called RSU (Rifiuti Solidi Urbani, from Italy) but you can also detect several metal influences and everything in between: Unsane, Pitch Shifter, Dope Stars Inc. (also from Italy), Lard, Mysery Loves Company, Nailbomb (especially on Matamachete's last song sung in Portuguese, when you can't help it but to be reminded of Sepultura's Ratamahatta days), Atari Teenage Riot and so on and so forth...
All of this is packaged with great art work (by Andrea Todaro) featuring a hot local model, some s/m leather fetish hints and some Japanese Kanji. What more could one possibly want? Great record for you to check out!
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