Music Reviews



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Artist: APOPTOSE (@)
Title: Schattenmädchen
Format: CD
Label: Tesco Organisation (@)
Rated: *****
Despite the cover's showing a little girl (the CD title means "Shadow girl"), which wasn't making me suppose to find the kind of music I'm going to talk you about, Apoptose's SCHATTENMÄDCHEN is a well done mix of dark ambient / electronic music with great sounds (you can also find some industrial sounds here and there) and a very deep and involving ambience. The album collects old reworked tracks (the opening "Asche" was titled "Eichensiechtum" on "Infernal proteus", "Ba-137m" was originally titled "137Cs" when released on the "Statement 1961" compilation while "2wei sonnen" had its original version released on "Solaris collaboration" as well "...und null sekunden" which originally was released as "Null" on "...in the crystal cage") and three new tracks ("Violet silence", "Schattenmädchen" and "Karla") which with the new version of the old tracks form a strong work which is taking you through hypnotic places made of drones, humming loops, rumbling noises and spoken word vocals. Concerning the spoken word parts, we have Kenji Siratori (this is the third CD I received this month which sees Kenji's participation) as guest on the main track. Getting back to the music issue, I have to tell you that also synth pads have played a large part on this album and they create a dense layer which help so much into the creation of the sound-scape created. Tension also is a great element onto Apoptose's music and is good to see how it has been used. Check "Ba-137m", for example: see how the tension/noise grows during its nine minutes just to be released on the last two minutes, here the noise decrease but there's always a certain feeling of disturbance in the air. You can find some excerpts on Apoptose's website. Check them out...
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Artist: The Club of Rome (@)
Title: Full Fathom Five
Format: CD EP
Rated: *****
Amazing 6-track cdr-ep by Atlanta's Club Of Rome, a band whose music could be described as a lo-fi mayhem halfaway between Nervous Gender's hysterical synth punk and the more fucked up side of Black Dice. "Sunday Gospel" is the first one on the ep and reveals all their twisted sense of humour, it is a real gospel recited with a distorted and emphatic voice. "Let's Go USA" is a depraved rock'n'roll rant washed in meth and alcohol, and resembles early Chrome (!!) with floating tapestries made by cheaply distorted electronics. My favourite here is "The Ballad of Phil Spector" that seems a perfect 00s update to Suicide's lesson. That being said, you just have to look at the pictures on their myspace (http://www.myspace.com/theclubofrome) to know that COR are the perfect people to hang out with. And hey! They share the name with one of the many alter-egos of Asmus Tietchens'... but I doubt they bother.
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Artist: Flutwacht / The Sounds Of Earth (@)
Title: Poltergeist
Format: CD
Label: The Tourette Tapes (@)
Distributor: Theremin Noise Club
Rated: *****
What we have here is a split album capturing live performances (without audience as specified on the booklet) of Flutwacht and The Sounds Of Earth (both with 33:33 minutes of music). Fluchtwacht's gray ambiences are significantly harshened by sudden rhythmic noise moments often accompanied by a diabolical panning - the result is not far from the less chaotic moments of his album "Creta" (see review). The Sounds Of Earth, which I haven't heard before, offer a long straightforward journey to bleak and icy landscapes topping the composition with disquieting vocal loops (probably taken from horror movies I couldn't recognize). Somehow, it seems that the tracks of both artists work fine togheter creating a sort of continuity.
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Artist: KORBER/WEBER/YAMAUCHI
Title: Signal to Noise vol. 2
Format: CD
Label: For 4 Ears
Rated: *****
Here's the story around this cd: in 2006, a group of renowned Switzerland-based improvisers (Jason Kahn, Tomas Korber, the ex-Voice Crack Norbert Möslang, Günter Müller and Christian Weber) toured Japan, playing in different combinations and sometimes interacting with local musicians. The starting point was the creation of the Signal Quintet by Jason Kahn in 2004, to record his graphical score "Timelines" (later released on Cut); the ensemble then continued living on its own. Out of the Japanese tour, you can now listen to the "Yamaguchi" album by the Quintet, on Cut (review soon), the "Signal to Noise vol. 3" on For 4 Ears (by Kahn/Möslang/Müller), and this very "vol. 2". If you're familiar with Korber's and Weber's production, especially in the Mersault trio with Christian Wolfarth (get their 2005 release on Quakebasket), you can start guessing what this sounds like. In the first track, Weber's contrabass thumps a slow cadence, while Korber's guitar+electronics set blends with Yamauchi's sax strains, to the point that it's actually hard to distinguish which is which. Track 2 increases the tension with a faster plucking of the strings, with a rolling effect, while the other two players erupt a flow of white noise frequencies and hisses. As in all recordings involving Korber, this is a fine piece of intense and subtly menacing improvisation, where sounds are stretched and then held just before they could finally explode.
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Artist: Artesia (@)
Title: Chants D'Automne
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
After one year from their debut Artesia, a young French female duo, go back with their melancholy and suffered chant. They produce a sort of neo-classical sound, sad and arioso. On one hand the lesson of Dark Sanctuary, but less ponderous, on the other sound like Arcana, Trobar de Morte, The Moon And The Nightspirit, and sound tracks inspired by films like "The Lord of The Rings" or "The Last of the Mohicans", in which you’re surrounded by very impressive landscape and live epic adventures. Their music is a mixture of neo-classicism, gothic and fairy atmospheres, and obviously over the entire work hangs the shadow of the stainless Dead Can Dance. Compared to the debut this work is mature and less repetitive, and all seems more satisfactory. Maybe some songs lack of personality, but the final result is quite good.
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