Music Reviews



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Artist: TRISTRAUM (@)
Title: Grey
Format: CD
Label: Section 44 (@)
Rated: *****

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After several years of work, Tristraum finally released on early February their debut album titled GREY. Containing also their previous singles "Shiver" and "First embrace" the album include also a cover of a Gary Numan song: "Walking with shadows" (track that is coming from his previous album "Pure"). Gathering ten songs for a length of fortysix minutes the album shows the different faces of the band: the synthpop influenced by goth melodies (see "Eyes wide open", "Shiver" or "I’m under no one"), the sensual electro pop (the Fixx cover "Chase the fire" is a good example of this style and it is the one that convinced me most even if also "Toothing" is a good one), the introspective ambient electro with celtic melodies (see "Gray"), the good Gary Numan cover of "Walking with shadows" reprocessed by the band being true to the original version but playing it with their personal style and finally the ballad "Before it’s gone" which contains a charming orchestral arrangement that make the creepy effect created by the song rise in an impressive way. In my opinion half of the album is really good and it gathers different influences that have been richly personalized by the trio. The synthpop goth influenced tracks are the ones that impressed me less because on those I found Krystyna voice less expressive respect the other ones where she changes her voice coloring, in this way, the different tracks in a beautiful way.
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anymore
Artist: MUSEUM OF TRANSIENT LIGHTS
Title: Dream a Little Dream
Format: CD
Label: Trinity Records
Rated: *****
"Dream a Little Dream" features exactly the same line up of Penitent's latest "A Shapeless Beauty", i.e. Lucian Olteanu and Karsten Hamre, and it's no wonder it reminds of that album in many ways - one could actually mistake it for the other in several passages. As regards to this aspect, the opening track, "The Way We Weren't", is probably the most individual one, with its suspended rhythmic electronica bringing to mind some atmospheric moments of Coil's "Love's Secret Domain". The other two, the 29-minute title track and "Out of Your Mind", are much closer to Penitent's above mentioned work, with many of the features I can't personally stand, like pompous synths, uninteresting drum machine programming and a very flat production. It's standard rhythmic electronica crossed with over-the-top symphonic ambient, and I honestly don't think much of such a mix.
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Artist: SPIRACLE
Title: Ananta
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Rated: *****
Japanese multimedia artist Hitoshi Kojo, who has recently moved to Switzerland, has collaborated with artists like mnortham (as Kodama), jgrznich and Loren Chasse, besides running his own label Octpia and actively collaborating with the remarkable Cloudmirror project. With this very label he released one of my favourite pieces of 2005, "Iris", which was a powerful beast of a drone (see archive). "Ananta" is a 62-minute single piece, and, while not as mind bending, clearly shows how Hitoshi is able to build massive soundscapes out of a limited number of layers. I don't know which sources lie at the basis of the work, but the high-end tones remind those of a gigantic organ, much like a grittier version of his fellow Grzinich's pieces. 62 minutes of it could be a bit overwhelming if you're not in the right mood to go through it and emptying your mind along the way, but a disciplined listen will surely reward you with a small scale ecstasy.
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Artist: JOE COLLEY/JASON LESCALLEET
Title: Brombron 09: Annihilate This Week
Format: CD
Label: Korm Plastics
Rated: *****
How can you go wrong when you quote Black Flag in your title? While Colley is a favourite of mine, I was not familiar with Lescallett's works, and these collaborative sessions, which took place in Nijmegen as a part of the Extrapool/Brombron project, surely make me want to investigate that further. There are no details on who played what, but I guess the two shared a plethora of broken elelectronic equipment and filtered field recordings - ear-piercing bird squeaks and, possibly, a didjeridoo are the only barely recognizable sound sources here. The rest is a mass of metallic drones and pulses which easily reminds of Colley's past work as Crawl Unit, or his less destructive compositions in masterpieces like "Desperate Attempts at Beauty" or "Psychic Stress Soundtracks". A no-frills, non-conciliatory approach to minimalism, full of truly unadulterated tension.
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Artist: THE BEAUTIFUL SCHIZOPHONIC
Title: Hyperblue.Hydrophonics
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Rated: *****
Last year I shared a cd with Portuguese artists Bio and Jorge Mantas/TheBeautiful Schizophonic (by the way, another 3-way split cd of his, with Pawel Grabowsky and the John Eeck Ripple/Paolo Raposo duo, has been recently released by Crónica), and I think he has a really interesting, stripped-down approach to drone music. First of all, Mantas usually comes up with shorter pieces than most of one-sixty-minute-track dronemakers, then he also adds a gritty, real time feel to them. I'm sure Mantas would probably be able to reproduce his style in a live performance without much loss in terms of impact and details. This 9-track, 39-minute release on Mystery Sea is no exception, though TBS is also refining his tecniques as time goes by. "A night at the ocean" starts the work with barely audible water recordings, filtered with Mantas' typical understatement (on a side note, I noticed that walking with his recordings in your headphones has a nice underwater-like effect). "Hyperblue.Hydrophonics" is made of mostly elusive soundscapes, occasionally rising to more metallic and noisy frequencies with great effects ("Gothic cathedral under the sea", "Shiny inner beach"), and is definitely the punkest (ahem!) release in the Mystery Sea catalogue to date.
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