Music Reviews



cover
Artist: Frank Meyer | Roman Leykam
Title: Nebbia
Format: CD
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
Rated: *****
The title of this new collaborative album by Frank Meyer and Roman Leykam is the Italian word for 'fog', but there are not so many tracks that I'd label as 'foggy', maybe due to the habitual clarity of the sound that characterizes most of the releases coming from the imprint of Frank Mark. I sometimes griped about a lack of innovation of the sonorities explored by the label as well as other stylistic choices that could sound old-fashioned, but I have to say that this "Nebbia" includes many intriguing moments and very good tracks by this "run-in" artistic collaboration, in spite of the fact that some distinguishing marks have been kept such as the centrality of electric guitar in the line-up and a "new-ageish" coating of the sound. Even if many tracks keep on being very similar to previously composed material by these musicians, I appreciate the attempt of dusting their style down that can be perceived in many tracks over this retro mists... Lovers of supposedly mystical and meditative music (...and there are many more than someone can imagine, following the explosion of DIY or copy'n'paste religious beliefs and a rich assortment of "spiritual bundles" in the times we're living) won't really look after these details and they could appreciate it as a nourishment for the reaching of some enlightenment as they appreciate some brand new soy-based beverage or any other healthy goop, but a music reviewer can't but highlight that some outputs by these guys are excessively pleonastic and so repetitive that they could bore more demanding listeners. Fortunately, some of the sphere they forged (I'd rather match them to giant soap bubbles that explode just before the listener realize they're enveloping its aural sphere...) feature a different approach to compositions. I particularly enjoyed the ones where they added more beats (even if rhythmical patterns are quite simple) such as "Auxiliary Truth" or "Creative Hostility" as well as the ones where one of the two electric guitars dictates the pace, while the other one rambles on some melodic motif. Have a check and a comparison against other outputs by Frank and Roman.
cover
Artist: Francois Bayle
Title: Tremblements
Format: LP
Label: Editions Mego
“Tremblements” re-issues two experimental electronic works from the end of the 1970’s, when the synthesizer was well on the way to stepping out of the avantgarde and the Radiophonic Workshop and into mainstream and pop music. But this arrangement of oscillators, sparkling bleeps, tweaks, bells and found sounds (footsteps, radio noises etc.) is firmly in the former category, with a certain air of theatricality in the deliberately rise-and-fall, stop-and-start performances.

“Tremblement de terre très doux” is a cycling 28-minute series of “climate”, “transit” and “landscape” elements, each one building from a flat soundscape- sometimes silence- into more frenetic sections of layered and high-pitched electronic waves that sound at times like a 70’s TV spaceship computer bank in turn launching, running smoothly then threatening to crash.

There’s less of a sense of revelry in second piece “Toupie dans le ciel”, which is described as containing 27 interconnected ‘cells’ each with a different theme of scientific measurement (distance, pressure, density etc.) though compared to the previous piece this distinction is much more arbitrary- the sound itself is a 21-minute continuous series of meandering, ‘blinking’ oscillators which switch constantly between two slowly changing minor chords, sometimes tending towards surprisingly high, tinnitus-and-dog-whistle level pitches. After eleven minutes we begin to hear lower, more metallic, scratchy tones, but the alarm-like bleeping promptly re-engages and never strays too far away. Things get a little warmer towards the end.

Speaking only for myself, I much preferred the first track, which brought with it a sense of fun, to the harsher and more immersive second piece. Neither track provides a particular ‘missing link’ in the history of electronic music, but fans of this stripped back, in-depth analogue electronic experimental tone will certainly find something to engage with in this.
Mar 10 2018
cover
Artist: DJ Taye
Title: Still Trippin
Format: LP
Label: Hyperdub
Though branded as a relatively straightforward hip-hop electronica album, as you’d expect this offering from Hyperdub is a bit smarter than many of its peers. The groove and the swagger are definitely there, but the tempos are more varied and the drum programming is complex, the melodic synth work is smart and ambitious, and the fast-cutting production touches are quite deft, allowing the subbass to shine and offering something really different to listen to.

“Need It” is particularly unusual, cutting up jungle rhythms and bending them into a subdued multi-tempo affair that turns the vocal into something oddly stalker-ish. The tracks collaborating with DJ PayPal, such asl “Bonfire”, are equally jittery in interesting ways, with “Pop Hop” taking a surprising turn towards acid gabba (to a small extent). Fabi Reyna’s bass guitar playing and vocal on final track “I Don’t Know” give it an unusual vibe as well.

Lyrically it’s a mixed bag, with some unusual cultural and political lines at points, but also a fair share of the usual tedious testosterone-fuelled bragging and rapping-about-rapping that gets quite dull quite quickly.

Across sixteen tracks, mostly around three minutes each, there’s a breadth of ideas that keeps things running smoothly, but it is perhaps lacking enough real dynamics and highlights to make this a repeat-go-to album.
cover
Artist: Robin Schaller | Roman Leykam
Title: Interferences
Format: CD
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
Rated: *****
Most of the releases from Frank Mark Arts that came into my headphones or amplifiers are (synth or electric) guitar-driven, and focus on long-lasting abstract progressions or meditations with a strong influence of retro synth electronica. This collaboration by Roman Leykam - a "dino" of this independent label - and Robin Schaller - a newcomer in Frank Mark Arts, handling synths and programming beat patterns - succeeds in adding something different to the catalog of this imprint. I wouldn't say this collaboration distinctly put that retro touch aside, as you can easily catch since the listening of the first part of "The Shades of the Own past", the first of the 13 tracks of Interferences, but they forged a more rhythmical album. The 4/4 beat of the opening track I mentioned, for instance, gets dragged by a pumping kindof heartbeat and by other rhythmical grafts as well as by abstract git digressions, which are closer to Asian sonorities, instead of Western ones (a sonic transplant consistent with the contemporay geopòolitical framework?). It seems that most of the material of Interferences "was recorded without pre-rehearsals as the result of improvisations acted on impulse", as highlighted by the words attached to the release, but most of the tracks seem to get built on a static loop, which they inflated through aptly improvised git lines or additional sonic items. There are many tracks (such as "Wrap of Strangeness" or "Unsolvable Riddle"), that doesn't really differ from previous (solo or collaborative) outputs by Leykam, but the beat programming by Schaller permeates most of the work with many interesting moments ("Sound of Everyday Life" or "Submerged City"), even if the whole sonorities keep on resembling tons of outputs coming after many musicians get addicted by the intensive usage of synths like Ensoniq SQ-80 or Roland JD-800...
cover
Artist: Zoë McPherson
Title: String Figures
Format: LP
Label: SVS Records
Zoë McPherson offers up a 7-track (sorry, 7 “chapter”) mini-album that blends together moody digital electronica with organic found-sound elements, emotive vocalisations and multilingual whispered spoken word layers, rumbles and atmospherics. A variety of natural-sounding and geographically broad percussive rhythms (mostly contributed by Falk Schrauwen), occasionally underpinned by soft techno patterns, quietly keep things ticking along without ever wandering to the forefront.

Throat singing has arguably become one of the clichés of experimental music in the same way birdsong has become synonymous with ambient, so when the press release opened with a description of the field recordings of Inuit throat singing, I feared it would be entering that cliché space- but it doesn’t at all. The throat singing is just one element, often used as a substitute for dark electronic bass almost, and certainly not the general highlighted feature.

Longer pieces like opening track “Sabotage Story” have their own internal unfolding progressions, as layers come and go, sometimes purely atmospherics, sometimes harder and more percussive. In the latter half of the album shorter tracks are more single-idea affairs like the gentle pseudo-harmonica (or possibly actual harmonica) of “Hardingfele.”

It’s richly-toned, introspective, sombre electronica with a few quirky twists that don’t break the sincerity. It maybe falls between several stools in terms of purpose and effect to the listener but it’s undoubtedly an interesting listen.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151] [152] [153] [154] [155] [156] [157] [158] [159] [160] [161...170] [171...180] [181...190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960] [1961...1970] [1971...1980] [1981...1990] [1991...2000] [2001...2010] [2011...2020] [2021...2030] [2031...2040] [2041...2050] [2051...2060] [2061...2070] [2071...2080] [2081...2090] [2091...2100]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha