Music Reviews



image not
available
anymore
Artist: FGFC820
Title: Urban Audio Format
Format: CD
Label: NoiTekk/COP Int'l (@)
Rated: *****
When Rexx Arkana sneers "these are the lies that we tell ourselves, the deep disappointment that we know so well" on Urban Audio Warfare 's leading "Children of Decay," he might as well be talking about the entire EBM movement over the last decade and a half. Once upon a time, rivetheads huffed and puffed (and stomped) their way through the scene like so many tyranosaurical Rexx-es, pun intended, laying claim to dance floors around the world, involving all in their rageful suffering. Then Wax Trax! released Psychosonik and like the dinosaurs before them, the gearboys vanished. Waves of wimpier techno, trance, synth- and futurepop ruled the world --- or at least the clubs --- until acts like :Wumpscut:, Suicide Commando and Hocico arrived to pierce the darkness with their beacons of angry electronics. Many heralded next-big-things followed, but too often thudded, their polished images and derivative musical incantations echoing like hollow whispers, to borrow from Rexx's other, better known Bruderschaft project.

On Urban Audio Warfare, FGFC820 may not break the mold, but they've surely dented the hell out of it. Their name is the only thing cryptic about this project, as their message rings loud and clear. Rexx and his DJ partner Dräcos, who contributed the best of the two dozen odd remixes on Bruderschaft's Forever EP, deliver face-pounding, riot-inducing beats, menacingly and unapologetically, in the form of 73 minutes of pure, hard EBM thunder.

On certain club smashes like "Martyrdom", "Society", "Perfect War", "Comatose" and "GBA", Rexx seethes distorted on the ideas of isolationism, nationalism, sacrilegiousness and the decay of modern civilization. If the subject matter sounds trite for the genre, it's no more cliché than human experience itself. After all, who hasn't ever felt angry, rejected or out-of-place in this world?

While they never quite abandon their traditional roots, it's clear that FGFC820 not only welcome change, but also advocate it, so long as a greater purpose may be served. "Existence" splinters off into a violent break beat style. "Anthem" drops the bass line in triplet form, while the instrumental "Resolution Number 5" can only be described as West Coast (the hip-hop connotation of the term) industrial.

Yet, nowhere on this record do FGFC820 forget where they came from or their reason for being here. Simply put, FGFC820 intend to cause damage of both the musical and intellectual sort and they are largely successful in achieving those goals on their debut release. If Urban Audio Warfare doesn't awaken the rivethead armies from their slumber, then perhaps they all really have deserted their posts.
Artist: Hollydrift
Title: Tochter
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
It's been a while since I heard from Hollydrift, but just as the year is about to turn, Wisconsin-based solo artist Mathias Anderson slips in his latest musical effort, one that departs from his previous style to evolve into and move towards a more lit up dimension made of quiet and intimate sounds and surroundings.

The "Tochter" (german for daughter) EP spills and sprinkles shades of light on rays of darkness, achieving a balanced and relaxed environment made of swooshing ethereal layers of panning atmospheric wind-like noises, field recordings of an old textile machine and probably of much other foggy Wisconsin ambiance, tamed and distant non-abrasive and non-intrusive feedback-type sounds, even a spacey synthesizer sound and a tiny hint to a drum machine... All this is surrounded and supported by shy but deep drones that signify the relation to his sonic past and maintain the connection with it alive, establishing it on a sub-liminal/-harmonic level.

The emphasis is on space, and although there isn't much of that between one sound and the next (only because they overlap each other in a complementary ambient-type setting) the impression of it is kept present throughout and an aural vision of that space is perceived by the listener, compliments of the subtle, toned down atmospheres that Hollydrift creates. The therapeutic and mellow soundscapes that are being drawn are as organic and as beautiful as the cover art work is. Mathias has hand-crafted three versions of a gorgeous old-looking sleeve made of rough brown recycled cardboard paper with hand-stamped ink lettering and a piece of 100-year-old pattern cloth attached to it. Each cover has been tea dyed for over a week and then dried in the Lake Michigan fog (Staalplaat used to put out such uniquely presented releases).

Another very interesting idea around "Tochter" is that the artist will mail a free copy to anyone that agrees to send him a snail-mail letter telling him about the town they live in. This lost (or almost lost) type of mail-based collaboration, a variation of which has often been referred to as mail-art, is what he is relating and referring to. Interestingly this is the second mail-art-related release that I review today (or in this decade, for that matter), so I guess, even though email took over, this collaborative-art spirit hasn't gone completely lost yet and some people are going back to basics.
This desire to hear about other people's living situations might just be early symptoms of reclusive mid-western isolationism (Mathias, are you telling us you want to move to a big city sometimes soon? it's ok, you know!) or maybe he's just ahead of the curve and is re-processing some of the leftist philosophies often attached to mail art and the early days of the artistic and political movements it was part of.

Either way, here you have the chance to escape the greed-based supplier/consumer chain and obtain a copy of this beautiful CD for free, just by writing a letter about where you iive and mailing it to the middle of nowhere, in effect contributing to the art and thought-process that lead to this melancholic and personal release. Be a participant. And look out for his next full length release on MannequinOddioMedia.com.
image not
available
anymore
Artist: VV.AA. / Luther Blissett
Title: Whatever happened to Luther Blisset? 10 1/2 Years Later - Che Fine Ha Fatto Luther Blisset? 10 1/2 Anni Dopo
Format: DVD
Distributor: Near the Edge editions / Wot4 records
Rated: *****
This is a commemorative DVD to celebrate the 10 and a half years of Luther Blissett. For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Luther Blissett is a multiple identity, a multiple singularity, used by a number of artists worldwide as a signature and an identification. This "project" finds its roots in social themes, literature and philosophy, like Guy Debord's situationist thoughts and anarchic beliefs such as for example that without names people are free because if they cannot id you then they cannot jail you (or control you, for that matter). Pier Mario Ciani, a firm believer, avid archivist and a Luther Blissett himself, died during the making of this, which lead to the scattering of resources and information and to multiple versions of this being released in different ways, all in memory of Ciani. This release is also taking on a life of its own in the sense that the original maker(s) always invite(s) any recipient to create her own version of it by adding, removing, cutting, pasting and remixing the one they got. In other words its back to mail art 101, in fact it presents itself as a mail art project almost. This DVD comes with a little magazine that contains articles, pictures, excerpts all cut and pasted, and modified... The DVD itself contains interviews, archival material, situationist street-theater performances, post-industrial noise music with experimental b/w and negative video collages, excerpts from UK television with interviews with or about the British soccer player of the same name and collages of images intentionally un-synched to speech and radio interviews about who Luther Blissett might be.
A very interesting project that a lot of artists have come out of the woodwork for. The version I have features in some way, shape or form, Charlie Holmes (UK/I) and Vittore Baroni (I), who manage the "aleatory distribution" through their outlets Wot4 records and Near the Edge editions, respectively. In addition to them, some other participants are: Al Ackerman (US), Galeazzo Acquabassa (I), Reed Altemus (USA), Lucio Balducci (I), Keith Bates (UK), Lancillotto Bellini (I), John M. Bennet (USA), Blancdesign (JAP), Luther Blissett (I) [of course!], The Blisset of Jes Crew (I), Ad Breedveld (NL), Fabio Bruno (I), Bruno Capatti (I), Servio Cascavilla (I), Charistos (A), PierMario Ciani (I), Jooel S. Cohen (USA), R.F. Cote' (CAN), Florian Cramer (D), David Dellafiora (AUS), Mike Dickau (USA), Duccio Dogheria (I), Luciano Ghersi (I), Ferruccio Giromini (I), Gruppo Sinestetico (I), Vanessa Holt (UK), Styn Huwels (B), Edberhard Janke (D), G. X Jupitter-Larsen (USA), Kiyotei (USA), Little Shiva (USA), Ruggero Maggi (I), Monomarc (NL), Emilio Morandi (I), Neuendeproject (I), Juergen O. Olbrich (D), Marlon Vito Picasso (USA), Steve Random (USA), Alberto Rizzi (I), Claudio Romeo (I), Luigino Solamito (I), Carol Stetser (USA), Emanuele Storti (I), Rod Summers (NL), Suzie 2 (USA), Wu Ming/Giap! (I) and so on... Doesn't get more international than this, really!
Although this is a limited edition of I don't know how many copies, it also happens to be free! So if you are into mail art, experimental video/theater/collage art, anarchism, situationism, palgiarism, Luther Blissett-ism or if you are Luther Blissett yourself, try to secure a copy and keep it circulating afterwards by creating your own slightly altered version!
signed, Luther Blissett
cover
Artist: Ascanio Borga (@)
Title: Bad Ground
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Italian mathematician and musician Ascanio Borga draws no line between harsh and subtle. His somber isolationist post-industrial experimental drone music plays with minimal light and maximal shadow in a way that allows for a deeper exploration of the dark-ambient soundscapes that his musical brush paints. He conquers and masters the ability to create and exploit space and does so with skillful taste. Sounds are few and far in between and only sometimes augmented by the coloration of an underlying background sound, your bad ground, possibly...
"Bad Ground" is a 47 minute long 2 piece suite sub-divided into a total of 8 separate movements, the distinction of which might not always be unquestionable, but aids in the development of an evolutionary thread of some sorts.
Unfortunately my choosy CD player disliked this CD-R release and I couldn't fully enjoy its entire duration, but before it became unbearably skippy, I actually got a glimpse of that random and seldom warpy light I mentioned earlier, a light that Borga might want to further pursue and chase to find an even more interesting dimension where he could possibly not draw a line between light and darkness, just as well as he doesn't between harsh and gentle. Definitely worthy of every dark-ambient-experimental-drone loving listener's attention.
cover
Artist: ERRATIC
Title: The Invisible Landscape
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Rated: *****
Behind Erratic hides Belgian soundmaker Jan Robbe, who is also active with different projects - both solo and collective - I haven't checked out yet (UndaCova, Duncan Avoid, xE Phalanx), as a talented disegner and as the runner of the Entity netlabel. This ambient/drone project was born as "a personal quest to unify sound with thoughts and imaginary visual landscapes", and those mind visions must be some pretty scary ones judging from the results. Robbe carefully manipulated concrete recordings (there are a lot of insects in here for sure) and alien drones to weave these highly immersive soundscapes. Blurred images crawl in and out of the shadows, and the whole disc plunges you in a sort of underwater lucid dream. A possible reference could be Andrey Kiritchenko/Nihil Est Excellence's brilliant and undervalued "Vizmilieu", or López's "Azoic Zone". Wonderful subterrean drones.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171...180] [181...190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371] [1372] [1373] [1374] [1375] [1376] [1377] [1378] [1379] [1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha