Music Reviews



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Artist: Uncodified / Wertham (@)
Title: Vindicta II
Format: CD
Label: Old Europa Cafe (@)
Rated: *****
Four years ago, the brilliant noise sculptor Corrado Altieri (Uncodified, Chandor Chasma) and Marco Deplano (Wertham, Caligula031, Foresta di Ferro) started "Vindicta", an announced trilogy focusing on the somehow exciting and extremely ferocious history (and codes) of Sardinian criminality (the so-called Anonima Sarda, even if it was not a properly organised band of criminals) by means of an impressive hybridization of corrosive power electronics and industrial into audio files from archives, which documented this obscure side of the sunny Tyrrhenian isle, which keeps on being pretty unknown to the masses. Codes...according to unwritten ones (consisting of 23 main rules according to an essayist, who studied its history), "Vindicta" (meaning "vengeance") is a sort of right that a family or a clan could use a series of "offensive" behaviour (ranging from a banal insult to libel, defamation, homicide or more commonly rustling). The second chapter of this collaborative process seems to focus on a particular aspect of this phenomenon, the imprisonment or the confinement of bandits and their legendary escapes (one of the most famous bandits, Matteo Boe, the so-called "icy-eyed bandit", managed to be the first one to escape from the top-security prison in the island of Asinara), but translates other aspects into sound or I'd rather say by means of really acute and ear-drilling noise (an emulation of the typical way that bandits used to intimidate the family of the people they kidnapped to ask huge ransoms, the cutting of ear parts that were mailed to parents?). The concept of justice, openly opposed the one of the bourgeois one, got translated into abrasive noise in the track "Justitia (Justice)" and its extremely brutal declension got transplanted in the harsh tunes of "Veridade (Truth)" or the wild idea of life and social codes inspires the ferocious pulsations of "Comente sirbonisi, comente margianisi (Like boars, like foxes)". Besides the use of samples, all tracks got extensively explained and described in the attached booklet of the release. Corrado/Uncodified and Marco/Wertham wisely intersected superb noise-shaping and social and historical themes, where human instincts and wildest (and sometimes hidden) side of human nature got somehow mirrored by likewise sharp frequencies.
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Artist: Artificial Memory Trace (@)
Title: Interception V
Format: CD
Label: attenuation circuit (@)
Rated: *****
This new recording by this project of Slawek Kwi is presented as using some field recordings by Porya Hatami, so the listening is done with a clear mind and this is a long release full of elements.
The barking of a dog introduces a first part based on field recordings and some filtering, or maybe samples, generating some resonances so while the source is clear e.g., the dripping of the water, there's a sense of something added but not immediately evident; so the track evolves in an hypnotic way as the resonances became the main element of the track until the samples and noises start to emerge and converse with the underlying element of the track until the return of the clean field recording of the dog marks the start of the second part of the track. The juxtaposition of the sound sources generates a thick mass of sound in which some element is put in the foreground and, when the dog's recording marks the third part of the track, it's unpredictable an expiration of sound details immersed in a quiet soundscape where all elements of the first two part return creating a sort of abstract narrative.
As his length is not properly compatible with times where listening is so parceled out in small excerpt, it's something not recommended with listeners with short attention span but the others will find moments of inventive sound construction. Nice.
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Artist: Absent Outfit
Title: Untitled
Format: Tape
Label: Canti Magnetici (@)
Rated: *****
Absent Outfit is the duo of Matthew P. Hopkins, an artist working in the realm of musique concrète, and Tim Coster, a musician using synthesizers and cassette; their music is something that could loosely fit the electroacoustic genre as it's more abstract than musique concrète but it's less free form than EAI.
The first side of this tape oscillates between field recordings and tape music as sometimes the sound of the cassette player prevails while sometimes it's the synthesizer in the foreground. The emergence of some noises breaks the quietness of the track and reveals the sense of exploration instead of being a mere playback of samples. The opening piano of the second side seems to hide the underlying drone from the listener attention but the silences between the repetition of the phrase gives space for the background to emerge and start his development into a sort of juxtaposition of the synth and the field recordings. A short silence introduces the quiet second part of the track where all sounds, including the piano, seem in a relation with the underlying quietness and then the piano returns to close this work.
It's a work which tries to escape the boundaries of an already codified musical scheme revealing the subjective nature of tape manipulation rather to achieve an iperreal listening. It's really worth a listening to remember it.
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Artist: Akira Kosemura, Megumi Shinozaki & Kimihiko Nitta
Title: For
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Schole (@)
Rated: *****
"For" is a charming combination of different forms of art: the delicate musical style by Japanese composer Akira Kosemura, that should be quite known to our readers and focusing on the research of an enchanting balance of minimal piano melodies, close to French impressionism, gentle electronic breezes and emotionally intense alternation of tonal phrasing (sometimes resembling childplay piano of music boxes) and silence, meet the skills and the vision of two other Japanese artists, who already tried to push the boundaries of their own form of expression. We're referring to the flower artist Megumi Shinozaki, who is always searching for possible developments of decorating flowers, including garden design, fashion design, overseas villa landscape design and visual for department stores or fashion brands, and Kimihiko Nitta, a fashion and portrait photographer, who is trying to develop the concept of "moving photography" and a narrative dimension of photography since 2014 by short filming and an editing technique, which attempts to capture the portrait's "tremor" by using the natural light. The release includes a CD - featuring nine lovely tracks by Akira, who got joined by drummer, four string players and a mallet percussionist, ranging from the well-known piano melodic patterns that clearly marks his touch, and some "experiments" such as the frail trip-hop-like tune "gene" or the lovely minuet of "Waves of Light" -, a DVD and a photo book (including a short poem that highlights the concept of the album), where the former seems the animated version of the latter, featuring mostly natural sceneries and occasional urban ones, where the almost hypnotical beauty of the settings got often emphasized by the model Shin Lee, which looks like diving into nature with a naive harmony. I wouldn't say that her teardrop in the last scene of the movie found inspiration into sadness, but it looks like inspired by a sort of mixture between emotional pathos and aesthetic rapture.
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Artist: Exposure
Title: Delicate Lives ft.Sula Mae/Sacrifice
Format: 12"
Label: A R Records (@)
Rated: *****
A new incendiary sparkle recently joined the ring of fire of the drum'n'bass scene. The firestarter is Bristol-based drum and bass producer Exposure, who dropped a couple of exquisite tunes to ignite his imprint A R Records (the awesome launching party occurred some days ago - 3rd October - at Coroner's Court in Bristol) and sign an impressive debut. I'm not sure if the sound he explored is aimed to define the one that A R Records is going to spread throughout its imprint as the label was launched as a "Drum and Bass and Jungle label", but the setting itself should feed such a supposedly wide stylistic range: all bass-driven music lovers know that, besides authentic gems of dub and having been the nest of trip-hop, Bristol saw the rising of d'n'b legends such as Krust, Dj Die, Roni Size and keeps on getting wisefully shaken by other great masters of the genre such as DLR, Dj Mako, Total Science, Break or S.P.Y.. The tune on B-side, "Sacrifice", is my favourite one as it shows the focus on detail that Exposure forged during intensive sound modelling sessions in studio, sometimes requiring huge amount of time, a worthy "Sacrifice" in his admission departing from an orchestral sample and getting more and more frenzy and corrosive, but I'm pretty sure that the tune on A side - "Delicate Lives" - has all the features that are going to find the way to dnb lovers' heart by a fantastic vocal tune, featured by the talented folk singer Sula Mae, and a perfect balance between jumped-up beats, gentle harmonies, and nervous sonorities. Big ups for this Bristolian guy!
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