Music Reviews



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Artist: PARANOIA INDUCTA (@)
Title: Gloria Laus (Lux mundi act I)
Format: CD
Label: Beast Of Prey (@)
Rated: *****
Headed by Anthony Armageddon Destroyer, Paranoia Inducta releases for Beast Of Prey his latest work titled GLORIA LAUS. Being the first part of the Lux Mundi trilogy, the album sees Robert Marciniak of Rukkanor and War Office Propaganda fame and eLL (Sui Generis Umbra), helping on some tracks at keyboards and voice respectively. Like stated the trilogy is "a tribute to all those people who died, were killed, deceived, humiliated or stalked by the Catholic Church. It's an homage for all those victims, to whom, instead of love, hope and brotherhood, blood, tortures and death was brought". The release is limited to 444 copies and has a special package as usual for Beast Of Prey. The eight tracks sound like dark ambient tracks with some industrial sounds and Gregorian chants here and there but generally Anthony focused his efforts into creating sonic wounds where magmatic layers of synth pads are ripped by metallic feedbacks, clanging sounds and various noises, like the music would reproduce the sound of inquisition's torture chambers and I must admit that he succeeded.
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Artist: CONVEXTION
Title: Romantic Interface
Format: 12"
Label: Arne Weinberg (@)
Distributor: Neuton
Rated: *****
After his previous releases on Frantic Flowers, Gerard Hanson a.k.a. Convexion lands on Arne Weinberg with four tracks of ambient techno. The first track "Translucent blue display" is driven by bass drum and a classic vintage drum machine sound, here ambient layers spread their waves like lasers while additional bleeps give an acid touch to the whole. "Laconic" is more "Detroit techno" with its looped structure and its dark atmosphere. "Salmo" sounds like a mysterious ambient oriental track but with a bass line coming from an electro funk song. The closing "Consumer identity" starts with an ambient layer with a bleeping background and soon after a cool bass line and a 4/4 rhythm join in making it sound like techno dark ambient track. Try it...
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Artist: KEVIN DRUMM
Title: sheer hellish miasma
Format: CD
Label: Mego (@)
Rated: *****
I think there's no need to introduce mr. Drumm, but recently I've found he appears on Wikipedia alas if you never heard his name that's a good opportunity to learn something more about this geat experimental artist. In the past I bought a couple of good records featuring this Chicago based musician, but this repress will help me and you to understand why he has become such a popular name for what concern experimental (and electronic) music. Being a Mego release realized in 2002 you know it's both top notch, smart, but at the same time muscular infact get ready because when Kevin is in for the explosion he’s gonna do it hard. This five legs journey begins with a buzzing drone that grows progressively screwing your ears even if you can’t but notice there a gloomy melody that drives the trip. "Turning point" moves the ground you walk upon by presenting a distorted noisy and altered electronical sound which gets deformed as if it was from Merzbow. This "deformed" digital sensation remains unaltered also in the next episode, this time it’s mostly based on high frequencies thus take for granted the listening is even more "painful" (for those who remember Massimo’s work on Mego, you know what I mean). What can you expect from a track titled "the inferno"? I can’t say if that’s the sound you’re gonna hear while crossing the doors down at "south of heaven", but to quote Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers: "Well, what about anarchy? Please don't ask it no more cos’ we're already living in it". It’s funny for I can imagine Kevin Drumm when choosing the closing track of the album probably felt fter all this "controlled digital violence" melted in "distortion" it was time for a break. Well, "Cloudy" closes this cd with a soft and odd dronical misty... hem... cloudy journey heading nowhere. Ladies and gentleman that’s Kevin Drumm: love him or leave him.

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Artist: ISOTHESIS (@)
Title: Cocoon Of Red Light
Format: CD
Label: Beast Of Prey (@)
Rated: *****
Heading from France, Isothesis has released his third album in a limited edition of 200 copies for the Polish label Beast Of Prey. Divided into five industrial dark ambient suites COCOON OF RED LIGHT has been "built" using live recorded drones and sounds. The different movements create slightly different ambience which differ because of the kind of drones and by the use of industrial distortions. The first track begins with gentle bells sound and slowly it turns into a nightmarish soundtrack with humming reverbered vocals and pads joined by grinding digital noises. The second track is focused on distant marching rhythms overwhelmed by layers made out of synth pads. I appreciated the vocal distorted part on the end which gave to the track a personal touch. The third movement is a classic dark ambient track with medieval style chants on its ending. The fourth track expand the atmosphere of the third one focusing on the vocal parts creating a good effect. The final track is the most musical one and starts with a relaxing ambient synth sound which soon meets the sound of hellish hordes with noises which seem of the devil's cavalry. The chaos and the creepy effect grows as the track reach its final minutes. A good album which needs to be listened with attention and at a high volume to be fully appreciated.
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Artist: Mahlon Hoard
Title: Slicnaton
Format: CD
Label: New Music Solutions (@)
Distributor: New Music Solutions
Rated: *****

Okay, here’s the deal. When I received this CD to review, I popped it in the player without any pre-conceived notions of what kind of music I was getting into , began to listen to it, and absolutely hated it. Just what the hell is this- a squealing sax over some vaguely experimental electronic ambience? I took it out, put it away and decided I’d save my cutting remarks for another day. I’m glad I did.

After getting back to it in a couple of weeks, I began to understand what was going on. What we have here is a rather unusual experimental premise- an avant-garde saxophonist improvising (on first takes no less) over some rather strange experimental/ abstract backing tracks. When it comes to the avant-garde, I tend to grimace a bit, because I really have to be in the mood for it, especially avant-garde free jazz. Although I used to think this stuff was the domain of intellectuals who were much further out in the planes than I'd ever care to be, I came to the realization over the years that this kind of music is much more about feeling than thinking. Pop music is soulless compared to it, when it’s done properly. This is music from the gut, and a good player lays out his very essence before you in the often-twisted fashion that unrehearsed expression takes. So... how does that jive with electronically created ambiences, ala Ornette Coleman meets John Cage and Brian Eno in a dark alley kind of thing? You’d be surprised.

"Slicnaton" opens with what sounds like film ticking through an old projector and some subtle, soft and low horn burblings. Warped melting strings with light ghostly arpeggios from some kind of keyboard morphing into something else... ? provide the next backing tracks, while sparse, restrained overblown notes play sporadically. Something akin to a thumb piano on speed offers light melodic percussion and the sax meanors into jazzier territory. I can even recognize a few riffs now.
The weirdness kicks in on the 4th track, "Operator" where a sample and hold bit of electronics mixes with light random percussion and the sax begins to get wiggy. The following track, offers multi-tracked sax over a drone-tone... interesting how it all sounds so far away...

"Dron" has the most overtly electronic ambience, like a barrel-full of tiny bells, while the sax plays stray notes. I think I had given up by this time on the first listen, not knowing that the best was yet to come.

Next something completely different was happening, and it seemed like the sax and the ambiences were working together. Still an odd combo, but better integration. On "Whorgan", a track evocative of Phillip Glass in his abstract phase, the sax seemed more comfortable flitting around weaving emotion, rather than just random notes. It’s the ten+ minute long track, "Ishe", where the experiment really begins to pay off. It evokes a lonely, cry of desperation in an environment of dark isolation, a fruitless struggle against hostile elements, like birds caught in a black tide of oil. It’s tragic, painful, and full of woe. This is where the emotion really grabs you.

"Hey Sarah" is almost upbeat in comparison, but in spite of percussive elements, there is no beat. Maybe now is a good time to mention the backing tracks were created by Nic Slaton. I’m sure though, that some of the percussive sounds I’m hearing on this track were produced by rapid fingers over the sax keypads. The playing grows more frenetic matching the rapid percussive sounds, then adds a few poignant suspense notes. This is actually turning into quite a showcase of what Mahlon Hoard is capable of with minimal accompaniment. The playing is restrained, and a lesser skilled player could never have pulled this one off. It’s interesting, even if every track doesn’t ultimately work. If avant-garde sax, or experimental music with tendencies toward the minimal toot your horn, give it a listen. This isn’t one for the masses, but I doubt Mahlon Hoard was even remotely shooting for that.
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