Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Diamanten Und Raketen
Format: CD
Label: Klang Elektronik (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Minimal but not too much: this is the essence of the new Klang Elektronik series called DIAMANTEN UND RAKETEN. Just as the compilation series "Famous When Dead" released for the sister label Playhouse, DIAMANTEN UND RAKETEN, presents tracks released the last year on 12" as well brand new tracks. The eleven songs of the compilation pick up the best minimal techno tracks of the label bringing to the audience attention cool tracks like the opening "Tear" (performed by Avus), Johannes Heil’s "Freak R Us" or Destillat’s "Cabrio". Each track play around a melody or a rhythm and by modifying them slightly the performers are capable to build cool tracks good for the dancefloors as well for a home listening. Some of them create a trance atmosphere (check out "D.O.S. by Hieroglyphic Being) but if you want minimal some electro emotions, check Destillat’s track and you’ll find satisfaction.
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anymore
Artist: TIDAL/PETER DUIMELINKS
Title: Ablution
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Alluvial
Rated: *****
A collaborative one-track mini-cd from US Tidal (aka David Brownstead, ex-666 Volt Battery Noise, and currently involved in the militan zionist project Barzel) and Dutch Peter Duimelinks (known for his activity in THU20, Kapotte Muziek and Goem), clothed in two splendid photos by Alluvial's own Kevin Wienke. The work is inspired by the Jewish purification ritual, but as the cd gives no further information about that I will stick to the music - which by the way is excellent. "Ablution" features a powerful low-end drone probably created by mixing field recordings and some filtered instrumentation. Nothing new under the sun under this aspect, if you're familiar with the works of López, Meelkop, mnortham, Nehil, etc., but this surely ranks among the best in the niche. The soundscape is obscure and even frightening, but not bleak - which is probably the perfect way to portray an intense spiritual experience.
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anymore
Artist: AIDAN BAKER
Title: Dog Fox Gone to Ground
Format: CD
Label: AFE Records
Rated: *****
I can surely spare commentaries on Canadian experimental guitarist Aidan Baker, since his solid (and much deserved!) reputation is growing more and more, thanks to an uncommon mix of talent, prolificity and quality. Over the last few months (those that I have spent waiting to eventually write this review, that is), he has released a disc on Small Voices, one on Gears of Sand, one on Die Stadt, plus new material of his other projects ARC and Nadja, and surely a lot more I've missed. This cdr on AFE Records, coming with the usual nice cardboard cover, is limited to 100 copies (most of them will be gone by now, so hurry up if you're interested),and is surely no leftover material. I would even say that as a whole this is the best disc I heard from him, and I do like his other records a lot. The five untitled tracks, clocking in at 50 minutes, were recorded using only an acoustic guitar and a set of effect pedals, without any further overdub. Well, Baker must have been in a true state of grace, because this is one of his most hypnotic, but also varied, works. The first track starts in an almost percussive way, with the use of looped clusters, reaching a dramatic crescendo with the layering of bowed strings. Tracks two and three explore the more serene and intimistic side of his playing, with minimal but effective gestures: plucking, strumming, some delay... Track four, with its vertigo-inducing repetitions and noise bursts, and the fifth and final one (starting subdued and melancholic, not unlike some Ambarchi, then reaching a climax with a very intense bowing), plunge you back in the ecstatic mood of track one. Everything is powerful and physical (you do realize this was played live, which is not always a good thing for ambient/drones records), but also very cohesive and focused - witnessing more than ever Baker's uncommon talent and vision.
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anymore
Artist: SKY BURIAL
Title: Spectrehorse
Format: CD
Label: Audio Immolation Industries
Rated: *****
I've hailed Sky Burial's eponymous cdr on Housepig as one of the most interesting and fresh debuts that I listened to over the last few months, thanks to its ecstatic mix of mostly string-originated drones, hypnotic loops and minimal percussion. Right from its grim cover, its follow-up "Spectrehorse" shows that Michael Page has decided not to replicate that formula, which he could have easily done ad nauseam - so kudos to him for that. This second disc is a definitely more obscure, heavy and merciless beast, evoking barren ghost villages rather than lush landscapes. It would be far too easy to write that this sounds like a spin-off of Page's main project, Fire In The Head, and it would be also untrue. Sky Burial has maintained the droning, atmospheric element but plunged it in a midnight black tinge. The pitch-shifted guitar (or bass?) sounds on the title track add a twisted industrial doom sound, while the similar use of rhythmic loops in the following "Smoke Sky Horizon" has a vague dub feel. The album, however, tends to get darker and even more abstract as it progresses, with low-end drones submerged by a feedback crescendo ("Down and Down and Down"), wailing distortion ("Straightjacket Sonata"), spiralling drones ("Justice, Just Ice, Just Us") and the gaping chasms of "Chroma Polaris". It is not surprising that the only glimpse of vital reaction (ahem...) comes from the remix version of "To Mock a Killing Bird", the best track from the debut disc and, in my opinion, the best one here as well. As a whole, I must admit I still have to make up my mind about the disc - it is very good in itself, with a welcome physical approach to the dark ambient style, but now and then I've missed the variety of the Housepig release. On the other hand, it wins in terms of construction and layering, which show how Page is getting more mature and complex with Sky Burial just like with FITH. He probably hasn't found a perfect balance of his epic side and his depressive, darker one yet, but the album surely gets a thumb up from me.
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Artist: UNTER NULL (@)
Title: Absolution EP
Format: CD EP
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
The second chapter of the new UNTER NULL twin EP set is only limited to 1000 exemplars – and I really must ask why? So only 1000 people world-wide will be able to unite the "twins" here and can get the fully special artwork. Come on, which sense does this make? So one thing is for sure – this EP will be sold-out soon, if you think on the unexpected success Erica Dunham could earn with only one EP and CD released before. This "Absolution EP" features like the twin 8 tracks in all, 3 originals including the marvelous "Prophecy" and the both pieces "Disgrace" and "Endtime". "Disgrace" features again (and again, and again...) the ominous synth layers, which get more and more to a special trademark in Erica’s music. The magically "Prophecy" is again featured in its original version, While "Endtime" can be called as being the main track here, because this one receives here 3 very different remix works by MNEMONIC, SCHLAUT and XP8. The MNEMONIC remix has a special IDM feeling while offering the scary mood of the original version. This marvelous remix seemed to impress also the responsible people at Alfa Matrix, because it got placed to the first position to open this EP. I have never heard before of a project called FIRST BLACK POPE, but their remix on "Prophecy" brings another interesting element to UNTER NULL’s music with some heavy guitar sounds turning it almost into a Metal/Crossover piece. Well, the well done original tracks do it again for me, although there’s no really need to include the original "Prophecy" again. Of course you now have to hurry up to pick up both EP’s, because especially this "Absolution EP" should be soon a hard-to-get item.
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