Music Reviews

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Artist: OLHON (@)
Title: Sinkhole
Format: CD
Label: Eibon Records (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Olhon is a project conducted by Zairo (research, on-site recordings and treatments) and Massimo (technical assistance, treatments and mixing) and SINKHOLE is their second album after their CD released back in 2001 titled "Veiovis". Olhon isn’t properly a musical project because their main activity consist of treatment of field recordings taken into particular places. For this release the duo chose a sinkhole called Pozzo del Merro, located at few Km from Rome. Hidden by a dry part (where there’s some luxurious vegetation) and by a little lake, the sinkhole goes deeply into the ground for a total of 1016 feet. The hole is also divided into four different parts named after the various explorative immersions. The recordings have been taken at different depths of the Pozzo del Merro thanks to particular microphones and software. The original recordings then have been treated into the recording studio avoiding the incidental creation of musical structures. The final result is an obscure ambient album that will scare the hell out of you at each noise. These are the sounds of our mother earth and I can tell you that she’s mad at us!
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electronic Revolutions @ Movement 2004, Detroit
Format: CD
Label: Alley Records (@)
I could not find anything about this album on the label website, which seems to be a CD duplication and recording house. The website that produced this festival,, has been down for at least a week or two for server migration. Overall, this compilation is not bad, but there is nothing on here that I would consider essential. There were only three bands that I recognized before getting this disc, so a lot of new artists here. Unfortunately, many do not seem to have a distinct voice and sound virtually indistinguishable. So let’s move on to the specific tracks. Entluften opens the compilation with decent techno with synth new wave feel and Backspace continues the dance-friendly music with lush synth and a heavy beat that reminds me of old school industrial dance music (in a good way). Chiasm creates a weird dissonance between growling and ethereal female vocals that was not really my thing, but interesting. Some beats mixed with atmosphere but not quite as dance friendly as the previous tracks. Life Toward Twilight lays down some heavy, slow, metallic tribal sounding drumming mixed with noisy atmosphere. I don’t know what the dancers were thinking when this happened, but I like it. I reviewed their disc in this batch of reviews and it was really good (it’s free for download, so the price is right). Delien is the first of several on this disc that graduated from the Venetian Snares school of spastic noisy beats. They do this style very well. Iszoloscope delivers the expected Ant-Zen style noisy beats, but with a heavy synth undercurrent. A little more old-school techno than I expected. He builds layer upon layer until it sounds like 4 songs going at once. Di_sect lays down some complex beats with some slowed down voices, but overall, this track just didn’t really stand out. Xanopticon provides more music from the Venetian Snares school of spastic beats. Not bad, but a bit thinit sounds more like a drum machine that is dying than a track. A bit too minimal for my tastes. Blaerg layers spastic beats over a flowing heavily processed acoustic guitar that would be at home on a Durutti Column album. Oddly peaceful and disconcerting at the same time. I liked it. Syne_lapse_variate is also a bit thin, but the beats are interesting. Not quite as spastic, but has some other elements weaving throughout that keep it from getting boring. OK, but not too engaging. Phallus Uber Alles provides one of the tracks that stood out. A nice groove with samples of a woman talking about being the future homemakers of America that shifts to heavy social commentary. The beat remains consistent – rather than the music shifting, it is the samples. Larvae’s track was also a bit too stripped down for my tastes, more like the foundation of a track than the track itself. Sound Extraction X lays down a nice groove with old school sounding beats but it went on too long. It sounds like a warm up track for a band rehearsal or a connecting track between two stronger tracks on an album. Necroplastic offers a short minimalist track with some light beats and a piano line. EclecticLiquid’s track is muddy, noisy, and distorted. It’s glitchy, like a techno track that has been completely overloaded, but it doesn’t really seem to fit on this compilation. Ghoulie ends the disc with an odd combination of bass line, cheesy casio synth, drum machine, and rapping. Not really my thing. Overall, this compilation is OK, but nothing on this disc makes me want to park it in the CD player for a long period of time. I’m sure that for those who were at the festival, it would be a good souvenir.
Artist: Kraken
Title: Amore
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Spectre (@)
Rated: *****
My first exposure to Kraken was on the sadly now defunct "Eyespark’s All Night Album Replay." I liked it, but it didn’t make a huge impression on me. This album, on the other hand, was pretty impressive. Nicely packaged as well. On to the music, beginning with disc 1. "Kamer 354" has some disembodied beats that only hint at rhythm with some spoken word woven throughout. These spoken word elements will continue through the disc to tie together the tracks. Much of it is in a language that I do not understand, but it seems as if there is a conversation taking place that is interspersed through the disc, which gives the album a sense of coherence. "In De Regen Gaat Het Ook" layers some spoken word and heavy drone. Elements such as male and female screaming and voices are just within the realm of audible perception. Sounds like it would be right at home in a horror movie soundtrack. Some clanking of metal interspersed through the drone. At 16:23, this is the longest track on the disc and there is plenty of time to build up an atmosphere. Shifts gears toward the end to bring in voices speaking a language I don’t understand that continues briefly into the next track. "Verraad Van Rijovego" has a lot happening, with sweeping noises, voices, traffic noises. Atmospheric sounds and the sound of something resonant being struck tie this together. Also ends with conversation that continues briefly into the next track. "In De Diepte Is Alles Goed" has what sounds like a processed trombone is the main element of this track with some clanking metal in the background. As with the other tracks, ends with converstation continuing on. "Drie Wegen Naar De Dood" seems more like an interlude track from the others, with bubbling electronic sounds that wash over what sounds like a couple making love and laughing. "Alles Wordt Wit" layers tape hiss and looped female voices. About halfway through the hiss ends and looped voices become male with pleasant, slightly shifting drone. Fades out nicely into "De Hoorn In Je Hoofd" that layers drones, voices, and a woman singing. This is one of the standout tracks on the disc for me. The track becomes noisier toward the end with brass instruments layered and distorted. Overall, this disc has a variety of sounds and styles, but toward the end, I found it to be a bit repetitive, as if I was listening to earlier tracks reworked.

Disc 2 is mainly one long track of almost 70 minutes and a shorter track of 0.49 seconds. Song titles are not listed for this disc. I really like this disc. It is a lot more subdued, with an almost subterranean feel to it. Deep drones with elements constantly surfacing, only to become submerged again. At about 18 minutes in, there is a man describing the mechanisms of the AIDS virus. From here on, voices in various languages come to the forefront. At times, an ethereal female voice sings and at other times, a man is speaking about cellular function. Track 2 is a nice short melancholy track done with what sounds like an autoharp. Overall, disc 2 is far more smooth and flowing than disc 1. Although the spoken word segments are interesting, I almost wish that they weren’t there because it intrudes on the atmosphere, but this is minor. If you like your ambience a bit more chaotic and noisy, disc 1 is for you. If you like it smooth, disc 2 should be up your alley. I liked them both, but disc 2 is the one that will be spending more time in my CD player.
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Artist: Life Toward Twilight (@)
Title: We Waited For a Subtle Dawn
Format: CD
Rated: *****
The artwork on the album gives you a good idea of what the music will be like. The artwork would be at home on a Cold Meat Industry release. The photography for the release was done by Laura Frances Purdy, the recently deceased fiancée of the main person behind the project, Daniel Tuttle. Tracks flow into one another, providing a sense of coherence throughout. This is like a soundtrack for your mind. Elements of dark ambient, neoclassical, and noise flow together. Sometimes the shifts are a bit jarring though, for example, when flowing ambience abruptly shifts to staccato strings in "Time,’ she points again." Some high points on this album include: "Time,’ she says," which has nice elements of ambience and noise with a ticking clock in the middle of it all. "This Peculiar Phenomenon," which combines crushing metallic beats with strings, synth pads, and spoken word samples. "Eclipse II" combines operatic female voice with noise to create a nice sense of discordance. "A Tide, Confusion" layers drones over audible, but barely decipherable voices. "Reluctant Memories of Conquest" is good dark ambient that reminded me of Lustmord’s album "The Monstrous Soul." The best part about this album is that you can have it for free by downloading it from their website, complete with cover art. And it is well worth downloading. This is a good mixture of sound, not quite noise, but not quite ambient. Highly recommended.
Artist: Bunker Soldier (@)
Title: The Debris Field
Format: CD
Label: Neo Cultural Front Records (@)
Are you feeling nostalgic for 80’s synthpop? But not quite like the 80’s bands did it? This is your album. First, a bit of self disclosure. Like the man behind Bunker Soldier, Tim Tyran, I remember the 80’s from the first time around and I like 80’s music. But this album didn’t quite work for me. I think part of the reason is that this is a bit too poppy for my tastes. What I like about 80’s synthpop is the fact that hidden behind the cheery pop sounds are some pretty disturbing lyrics. After all, have you ever heard a happy Gary Numan song? The one song on this album that comes close to having that kind of feeling is "Disappoint." According to the press package that came with the disc, CMJ will be pushing "Close the Door" on college radio, which makes sense. It’s catchy and memorable. For me, two songs stand out on this album. "Infection" has a bit more complexity than the other tracks on the album, with both male and female vocals. Good driving beat and a bit heavier than the other tracks on the album. "Full Circle" is catchy and has nice harmony in the chorus. "Drive Me Home" is probably the low point of the album. Think female voiced adult contemporary pop - I can see this on a Buick commercial. Stylistically, this album is all over the map. "Flying (I Want to Go)" is like poppy techno and "I am Complete" would be at home in a movie soundtrack. The consistent thread here is the pop element. This album is a bit short at 37.36. With no song over 4 minutes, this is an album well geared toward college radio airplay. And I must admit that it will probably do well. The songs are catchy, which is the coin of the realm where pop music is concerned. I had "Darkness Falls" stuck in my head for two days after listening to this disc. Overall, this is a pleasant listen, but despite the multitude of styles that are represented, this album doesn’t really seem to push the envelope.
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