Music Reviews

Artist: Attaché
Title: Edinburgh EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: International Day Off
Distributor: DBH
This is a really polished, layered EP from the Polish-or-possibly-Czech Attaché. Whilst the press release makes a point of referencing the house sound of '90's UK, I don't agree- this is bang-up-to-date deep progressive 4/4.

Opening track "Atoll" is a measured, quite leisurely stroll across techno's more daytime side. The Blazej Malinowski remix brings it back into the darkness, with a slightly sinister twist, though the remix does end up feeling like the most ordinary track of the pack.

"Berliner Blast" is a beautifully-handled eleven minute journey, mesmeric and captivating. It's always a class piece of work when an essentially repetitive form like this can turn tricks and progressions that make eleven minutes of a single track not feel in any way repetitive for a second. It's the stand-out track.

Title track "Edinburgh" is more discordant and faintly jarring, with its offbeat and seemingly off-key, almost jazz-like cut-up groove samples. It's a little harder to make friends with this track. The PLEBS remix of "Edinburgh", however, with its thick rolling tribal kick drum patterns, that's a whole other story, where everything makes sense. I would love to hear the remix on a big system.

Not every track is brilliant, but it's worth the price of admission for "Berliner Blast" alone and the other tracks are all strong too.
Artist: Denite
Title: Everything I Know And Will Ever Know About You
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Denite's album on his own Redlight Music label is electropop masquerading as deep moody, occasionally-vocal techno. It may seem to fit the mould of the achingly cool Berlin temperament, but there are times that you feel like it's only a few extra BPM and a bit of house piano away from being shameless electropop. Not that there's anything wrong with that, whatsoever, but there are times when the album feels like a sheep in wolf's clothing.

It's hard to pin down but there's also something about tracks like "Berlin" that feel just a little like they're going through the motions, really than bringing out truly emotive electronics. The synths are too warm and the vocals are too unchallenging.

"Namura" is a strong track, with its crisp gentle breakbeat and faintly acoustic-sounding elements, but it's followed by "Going, Going, Gone" which initially seems very focussed on a one-chord progressive journey, yet somehow manages to lose its way by the time we get to what sounds like an improvised stylophone solo in the middle. "The Art Of Letting Go"'s saw-wave-heavy pads and slightly fuzzy bassline sound like an attempt to arrange 2016 techno using 1990's technology. "Every End Is A New Beginning", apart from the vocal sample towards the end, takes that even further and sounds like an extract from an unreleased soundtrack from Knight Rider where David Hasselhoff is creeping round a warehouse talking to his watch.

At three and a half minutes, "Lost Connection" is almost an interlude rather than a track, yet with its open-air soul vocal sample and piano chords, there's more than a whiff of Moby's "Play" album about it. Cutting-edge it might not be, but it's an example of how a bit of diversity and experimentation can really lift proceedings.

All the elements are all in the right places, and some tracks like "When You Lose Yourself" are borderline beautiful, but too many tracks on this release are not quite one thing or another- not quite filmic, not quite minimal, not quite pop, not quite house.
Artist: Slobodan Kajkut
Title: Terrible Fake
Format: 12"
Label: God Records (@)
Rated: *****
According to the linear notes by the label, this output by Slobodan Kajkut - the brilliant man behind GOD Records - "explores rhythmic relationships between drums and piano in the context of the somewhat crippled art of trip-hop". Maybe tagging it as "trip-hop" could be deceitful, but this exploration is somehow trippy. The very first seconds could perhaps resemble the exercises on piano (played by Anton Polk) and drums (hit by Istok Klemen) of someone who never played them before with a vague (almost unexisting) sense of rhythm and melody, but the deeper you get into it, the more pleasantly unsettling us the listening experience he offered. The above-sketched element - the supposed musical illiteracy of the composer - could be the very first fake one of this release, as Slobodan studied composition with quite a renown Austrian music theorists and academic teachers such as Clemens GadenstÄtter, Gerd Kühr, and Georg Friedrich Haas. The most genuinely controversial aspect lays in the fact he artificially unmatched piano and drums, which are considered two "harmonizing" instruments in a composition (their presence could let a listener perceive even a bunch of nonsensical noises as something appropriately musical). Piano and drums got turned into two entities, whose sparse and disarticulated voices seem to mirror the lack of communication as well as their intimate isolation. By reprising the explanatory linear notes about the first of the two 20-minutes lasting part of this release: "[Terrible Fake] is mostly based on irregular beats to create kind of fragmented groove. Different characters are also emphasized through mostly chromatic movements of the piano in various registers, producing either undefined tonal system or droning wall of sound". The presence of compositional elements in the second part, titled "terrible Dub", are even more rarefied, as it "is nevertheless a "dub" version of the piece which minimizes Terrible Fake to its fundamentals regarding time and pitch, where both parameters are stretched. A slow movement based on the core of dub music itself, which are bass and drums...". The crippling sense of detachment, which oozes out of the first part, is remarkably stressed in this second half by every single rarefied percussive or tonal blip to the extent that a listener could be not so sure these resounding entities could be accurately labeled as tones or beats.
Artist: X-NAVI:ET (@)
Title: Dead City Voice / Remix Project
Format: CD
Label: Instant Classic (@)
Rated: *****
As some of our readers maybe know, I have my misgivings about remixes album or remixes project. In this case, I should have better put them aside, even if I received it after months of its official release. Moreover the source for remixers - all prominent names of the underground scene - was so good (the astonishing album "Dead City Voices" by HATI founder Rafa Iwaski a.k.a. X-Navi:Et - maybe his real masterpiece -) that could belong to that kind of stuff that doesn't really need any further treatment. Apart from the delay, I think you should be able to find this collection of six remixes (one for each track of the original album) yet. Maybe the most predictable choices for the makeup of the original tracks were made by Peter Votava aka Pure on "Mutagenocidecadentia" - even if his way of saturating the void a drone of an almost flat frequency by noisy particles is brilliant - and Stara Rzeka (alias of Polish multi-instrumentist Kuba Ziolek and member of Alameda Trio together with Iwaski), who rerouted the obsessively pleasing "Tinnitus Auris" towards 70ies-like guitar-driven psychedelia territories (anyway a sensually fitting choice). Another interesting re-routing is the one by Yannick Franck, who inoculated "1 + 1 = !" (one of the highlights of the original album) into the claustrophobic confinement of an entrancing dark-industrial drone, which is consistent with his sonic researching, but maybe quite far from the sound of its source. The most slamming tracks of "Dead City Voices" ("Schism" and "Luna 369 Park") have been respectively handled by Z'EV, who dissolved the original track into a sort of mesmerizing aural fog, and Mirt, who turned the corrosive properties of the source into a catchy jewel of analog ambient, whose ethereal sounds gradually mutate into a sort of fainting thunder. Last but not least, the additional recipes (distorted field recordings and other encrypted - more or less sinister - resounding entities) that Rapoon put in the hallucinatory and slightly disquieting spleen of "Garden Paradox".
Artist: Isabelle Duthoit, Alexander Frangenheim, Roger Turner (@)
Title: Kochuu
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
I follow Alexander Frangenheim's adventures in the sonic universe with an individual interest, so that after having introduced some of his stuff (and more recently his solo album "Talk For A Listener") on this webzine, here it is another awesome collaborative output. The title "Kochuu" refers to an idea belonging to Japanese architecture: it means "in the jar" - ...and there's no whiskey into it! - and relates to the tradition of creating small physical spaces to create a sort of detached universe from the surrounding environment. If you are interested in this kind of subjects, I could recommend a documentary by Jesper Wachtmeister, dating back 2003. The sound that Alexander on double bass rendered together with percussionist Roger Turner and the amazing French vocalist Isabelle Duthoit (performing on clarinet as well) manages to develop such a concept using guessed stylistic choices. Full of unpredictable twists and turns that could remind that branch of Japanese theatre, where nothing seems to happen all over the play before that dramatic moment that disrupts a supposedly stable balance, the seven tracks on this album got titled as parts of an imaginary agonizing body: since the opening "Blind Stomach", where Isabelle'0s voice seems to emulate the voice of a starving stomach, whose almost soul-breaking need for food and unuseful discharge of gastric acids match the piercing instrumental and rising dramatic instrumental parts, to the final "Dark Haunch", a visionary crescendo that seems to portray of a prisoner on its last legs, the sound on "Kochuu" evokes a scenario where an imagined confinement got easily turned into a sort of sonically acceptable madness. In many moments of the album (particularly on "Deaf Heart" and the almost disturbing "Loose Liver"), the style this trio explored (the release is a recording of an improvisational session they performed at Berlin-based Frangenheim's studioboerne45 in April 2013) sounded so subversive that even some of the boldest free-jazz improvisations could look like stuff for weenuses.
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