Music Reviews



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Artist: Rothkamm (@)
Title: FB02: Astronaut of Inner Space
Format: CD
Label: Flux Records (@)
Rated: *****
Coil has noted that their equipment is just as much a member of the band as the people. They called the entity that inhabited their equipment ELpH. Now imagine that ELpH met Erasure’s studio and they started dating. This is what their courtship would sound like. The promo sheet that came with this disc proclaims, "A new vision for American Music." Maybe not, but certainly interesting. Warm drones and analogue blips mesh to make a satisfying whole. "Silence of Mute" is a track that would be right at home in some futuristic Bugs Bunny cartoon - whimsical, with moments of action. "Triumph of the Analogue Age" begins chaotic and noisy, as if someone was completely misusing a Prophet 5, but then becomes a bit more subdued. After the more sedate tracks, this one makes you sit up and take notice. There are only five tracks on this disc (the unlabeled ones are just 4 seconds tracks of analogue blips and silence). In general, they all would sound at home in 1950’s Sci-fi movies (I would love to see a collaboration between Rothkamm and Stelladrine for this). An interesting disc but how could we expect anything less from a self-proclaimed polymath (person of great or varied learning; one acquainted with various subjects of study) who has, according to the bio sheet, appeared in Playboy in 1991, playing an instrument of his own creation (IFORMM), which, according to the CD notes, is "tuned to 768-frequencies-per-octave, a scale so delicate that you may be able to detect the silent architectures of a parallel universe"? We couldn’t.
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Artist: Masonic Youth (@)
Title: Going Down
Format: 7"
Label: Smittekilde Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had never heard of this band, but the name is clever. The first thing you notice is the DIY artwork, but the best part about the artwork is the defaced Chick tract about Masonry. I especially liked the way they replaced the Baphomet sigil with the McDonalds golden arches and added Mickey Mouse ears to the hat. On to the music. Because the sides are not labeled, I’ll just call them "Male" and "Female" because of the pictures on the album but the tracks are called "Mind Control" and "Going Down." The Male side begins with a slow scraping sound that goes throughout the piece. There is a repetitive melody/theme that goes through the music. Toward the end, there is feedback that becomes increasingly more intense, then suddenly stops. It is oddly soothing. The Female side features processed samples of what sounds like a talk radio show blended with a piano theme and random crackling and tapping that takes place just beneath the surface. The track suddenly switches gears to thudding beats and slightly distorted music. I wouldn’t call it noise – more like lo-fi. Slows down and suddenly stops. I don’t quite know what to make of this album. It was fine to listen to, and enjoyable, but not something that will spend a lot of time on my turntablenot because of any problems with the music, but a matter of taste. I’m reminded Abraham Lincoln’s statement, "For those who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they like." But this is something to take a chance on if you’re looking for something that doesn’t fit into a specific mold.
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Artist: Daniel Smutny
Title: Telehors
Format: CD
Label: Normoton
Rated: *****
Daniel Smutny's "Telehors" is the first electronic effort for this avantgarde composer and rivals with the best glitch-ambient releases in 2006 along with Machinefabriek's "Marijn", Tim Hecker's "Harmony in Ultraviolet" and Mathieu & Schaefer's "Hidden Name". Smutny works with piano fragments and heavily processed field recs and all these loops are then repeated and layered after they are given their place in the track giving a sense of motion that resembles the work that Taylor Deupree did for the unrivalled "Still". I do not agree with the microscopic sticker on the cover that mentions Gas and Fennesz as references, a good reference point other than Deupree would be
Philip Jeck's more "melodic" stuff. Truly an exquisite record with a nice foggy mitteleuropean artwork.
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anymore
Artist: MARKUS REUTER
Title: Trepanation
Format: CD
Label: Lotuspike
Rated: *****
When somebody thinks of good ambient music he should figure out something like this release by Markus Reuter. Following the notes of his profile this guy should have done a lot of works and honestly it's easy to believe it since the production is great in every sense, not to say perfect. Sure, you've keyboards, synths and laptop like many other release of the genre, but in a work like the one we're talking about the difference stands in the work to give an interesting silhouette and colour to the sounds. As you probably have argued the sounds and the melodies generate the basic framework of this apparently (and I underline the word: "apparently") simple music, infact there's no real rhythmical skeleton (apart from a couple of episodes) and everything gets ethereal as it should be. There's a strong melancholy coming out from the music of Reuter but it’s still far from being depression. "Trepanation" can be unquestionably filed under ambient music but on the edge of electronica, for example just give a listen to tracks like "beat". For those aficionados of the "dear 'ol’ school" of soft electronic music, someway "Trepanation" could pay an inspired homage to some Afx "Selected Ambient Works" while dressing a brand new expansive suit. Tip of hat to the tailor then!.

Artist: FHIEVEL
Title: Preghiera per una stella
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Afe (@)
Rated: *****
I’m so late in reviewing this small gem but while I'm late in my duty scout’s honour that I've been listening to it many time since I've it. Fhievel is not a newcomer at all since I think you probably heard him with some previous solo releases or with the Pocket Progressive trio (a cd out on Creative Sources) which besides him includes Claudio Rocchetti and Luca Sigurtà. Ok, forget the electro-acoustic skill of Bergero and leave space for a drone oriented 3" mcd where Fhievel shows an incredible talent. The basic sound reminds of an organ keyboard, but it’s well mixed with some other sounds in a really soft manner so that you'll probably simply swim into it. The funny thing is that Bergero probably likes making the drones/sounds fade right after he thinks the natural climax of the single sound it's reached alas don't expect the typical ambiental, neverending psychedelic sound going on forever and ever. The only thing materializing underneath from the pool of sound is a soft foam made out of barely audible noises. Somebody in the past has compared Bergero to Eliane Radigue probably that’s true by the way for the boring I may sound keep in mind minimalism is not "poor" at all and above all it implies strength and self control, Fhievel is another good example of what I’ve just wrote.
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