Music Reviews

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Artist: Gilles Gobeil
Title: trois songes
Format: DVD
Label: Empreintes DIGITAles
Rated: *****
It took me a while to review this dvd, but as you can imagine it's one of those releases you need to "understand" and that needs to be listened to really carefully and ma'am, I swear I did it! . Don't misinterpret me thinking it's too weird, for even those who are not deeply into contemporary music and into modern electronic compositions can give it a listen quite easily. In some way the music is really close to some ambient pieces, but that's quite obvious since ambient music has its origin right there in modern classical music. The first composition "Ombres espace, silence" (2005) offers four movements, the opening is quite soft and evocative and I'd add relaxing, but it's right with the second section of the work the "music concrete" nature of the effort really makes the difference with the average and becomes explicit: sudden and unexpected sounds will make your heart stop while you were waiting for a gradual tension-building, the third "act" of this "drama" is nothing but crepuscular, but Gobeil while remaining deeply suggestive closes this suite in a soft and oniric way. While the first part of the work is close to something many ambient listener my dig, with " Entre les deux rives du printemps" (2006) the classical training of Gobeil is much more overt; I'm probably saying something he may disagree with but even if I can't say exactly why this one reminded me of some late compositions of Steve Reich, just brought to their extreme consequences, not necessarily odd or depressive since the music has its relaxing moments, but when Gobeil goes for creating a "hole in the scene" take for granted you won't find ground to walk upon. Every once in a while the composer changes suddenly everything by breaking the continuity of music with some really violent and high volume explosions that made me jump on the chair while my headphones blew apart the few neurons I had left. The closing composition is not that far from the previous two in a sense you don't have to consider this as one of those dvd featuring different works by the same composer where the style is considerably different, this canadian composer works with a clearly distinguishable method thanks to which the music is homogenous. The sound definition is great, that's why this label puts out such releases on dvd and obviously I suggest you to give it a try playing it in your home-theater.
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Artist: ZIBIR
Title: Life Begins
Format: CD
Label: Haunted House Records (@)
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
"Life Begins" for this UK-based solo-project of the Electronica-musician Mat Howlett, but since he has already released a debut EP entitled "Electrodes" on Haunted House Records before, would it not making sense to name this album "Life Continues"? However, it’s good to see and hear that there’s still musically activity asides the – let’s call it so – main label act CREATURE. Mat has collected 14 different tracks to offer his first full-length album and it can be seen as a kind of showcase of his programming abilities as well as his dedication to analogue produced synthesizer sounds. The music can’t be completely sorted into a strict genre-drawer, too often the tracks do leave the known paths. Between smooth and melodic harmonies ("Expectations") and typically mid-80ies synth-programmings ("Life Begins") heavily infiltrated with that romantic Pop/Wave attitude, this album fulfills all of your expectations, if you can find yourself familiar with this styles. Not EBM, also not at all Pop music, I like to place it very generally in the wide field of Electronica music – at least this vague description can mean anything. This seems to be quite intentional for Mat, as he produces his stuff far away from any hypes, maybe mostly for his own entertainment. Quite interesting sound design and mostly tastefully arranged, just give it a try.
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Artist: Teckno Killers
Title: Teckno Killah
Format: 12"
Label: Industrial Strength Records (@)
Rated: *****
As seldom that this happens, but the Brooklyn-based label Industrial Strength Records (among others TERRORFAKT) still has its own ideology and tries hard to take part in the international renowned Techno club-scene. Although quite expensive from its production, the release of real vinyl 12 " records is so typical and still that state-of-art sort of working tool to all relevant DJ’s. But there are also some people out there still following the idea that vinyl thanks to its warm and analogue sound output can offer more "life" than the cold silver circle hidden in jewel cases. I too think it is still an enjoyable alternative idea for most electronic-driven music genres to reanimate the good ole vinyl for some special releases. TECKNO KILLERS, well, the name announces is, is a sort of Hardcore-Techno project consisting of a collaboration of some international renowned club DJ’s. Lenny Dee, DJ Randy and the Italian duo Neo Genesi have united for this release and giving their dance-addicted audience the needed drug: speedy Hardcore-Techno, which reminds to the huge "Terrordrome" CD compilations released in the mid-90ies. Musically surely not the new invention of a bulb, it pretty much follows the statement written in the info sheet of this release: "Let the people dance not think". Indeed, to start to think on this, or only to take a deep breath is hardly possible if this 150 bpm + - assault storms louder than hell out of your home entertainment. No stuff for some weak-hearted though, this one will be out accomplished with a video clip.

Title: Coh Plays Cosey
Format: CD
Label: Raster Noton (@)
Rated: *****
At first I was thinking that COH PLAYS COSEY was a sort of tribute album, instead, Ivan Pavlov (active since nineties with his project and also as a Coil collaborator) isn't covering Cosey, he's playing her. How? Well, let's start from the beginning. Everything took form from e-mail discussions Ivan and Cosey had about things like human vulnerabilities, their perceptions or reactions to situations, etc. Ivan suggested to Cosey to create a diary of voice sounds that represented and exorcised the clusters of emotional responses to events over a period of time. Ivan took all these sounds and reworked them producing nine tracks. "Closer", "Crazy", "Mad", "Sin-king", "Lost", "Near you", "Fuck it", "Inside" and "Lying" are intimate moments where the listener is taking the role of a peeping Tom due to the personal nature of the recordings. The voice of Cosey has been dismembered and reprocessed and these sounds have been used like a functional background where Ivan pasted Cosey's phrases. Only on "Lying" we have the add of Cosey's trumpet (which can be seen always as a vehicle since it can't work without Cosey's blow) but everything else has been made from sounds produced by her mouth. Musically the album sounds minimal and glitch and silence has an important role. Rhythm is used with parsimony and mostly at the end of tracks when Ivan makes the sound grow. This is the fist chapter of an ongoing project and it is possible that we'll soon see the "Cosey plays Coh" album.
Artist: VV.AA
Title: Radio Rivendell Vol. 2 - The Book of War
Format: CD
Label: Waerloga Records & Radio Rivendell (@)
Rated: *****
This compilation might be the best one ever to be released in the genre of fantasy music not to a movie or game.
The album fits somewhere between the classical Hollywood soundtrack music to dark ambient.

Waerloga Records and Radio Rivendell evolve from their earlier collaboration which resulted in the appreciated first volume in
the series of compilations. The first was all about the new artists (almost at least) and with not as much exclusive material.

On "The Book of War" we got some established names such as Za Frûmi, Ataraxia and Unto Ashes but also some of the artists on
the volume 1. I should mention that some of those latter named are really talented in their own niche if you will.

Honestly, most of the artists on this compilation could do good soundtracks to movies, games or even regular albums.

When it comes to the music Dråm stands out a bit from the grandiose sound of most of the 17 artists.
They represent one niche which is the traditional folk music. Both members of the band are "Official Master Musicians of the Realm",
the finest honor bestowed upon a performer of traditional music in Sweden.
I loved the track even though I would have a hard time listening to a whole album only sounding like that.

Dimitrij Volstoj together with Lost Kingdom also stand out as both their tracks are slow and kind of low. They are both
extremely good and suits perfectly on the album.
Dimitrij is a classical composer and has conducted orchestras in France, Italy, Norway, Austria, Hungary,
the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Russia, Lithuania, Mexico, the United States and Canada.
Lost Kingdom are two guys from Sweden debuting (the same day as this album was released) with very good neo-classical music
released on Waerloga Records.

Sibelian stand out as the only one using metal in the music and also opera.

Erdenstern, Peter Szwach, Anabasis, Gargrim the Liar, Markus Holler, Encryption, Sean Beeson, Sully Koba and A Journey of the Mind all
sounds like more or less high class soundtrack music for a video game or movie.

Za Frûmi and Ataraxia bring some darkness to the table (other too but these two do it best) and also a lot of spirit.

Radio Rivendell and Waerloga Records have approached the project in a new way: they wrote a story of a war
between the dark lord Vojvod Szadrin (with his fearful troops of undead, demons and dark champions) and the heroic captain Angus (with his reiters, knights and infantry).
For this story (which is presented very well in the booklet) they made chapters which they later on named. These names became titles as the 17 artists/bands went into the project.
The artists had the titles to choose from and were only told a bit of the story.
Almost all the artist made new songs for this compilation.
Some songs will later on appear on albums and others will be exclusive for this release.

I love the idea and the way the story unfolds and how it is presented is stunning!
The writing really gets me into the story and the fine artwork and good packaging really make this release feel refreshing!

I am blown away by the brilliance of Gargrim the Liar who possesses the tools and the knowledge of everything in the world
of fantasy music. Za Frûmi is always great and shows it once again so no suprise there.
Erdenstern are strong, Ataraxia great, Markus Holler very cinematic...

I could go on and praise all the artists, producers and people behind this release forever!

This is a gigantic album from an extraordinary new genre called Fantasy music. The collaboration of the leading label and the
leading radio station in the genre is just great!
As always one might argue about a certain track or whatever but this album is not going in 100 directions as many
compilations do even though they are unified by a certain theme. This is more like having 17 acts making one story alive.
It´s a collective work that promise a follow up! I cannot wait for a third volume.

The album is just perfect.

Absolutely essential listening for anyone who loves fantasy. An important new thing has arrived!

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