Music Reviews



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Artist: (r) (@)
Title: Under the cables, into the wind
Format: CD
Label: Important
Rated: *****
This' the solo project of Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo (current member of Larsen), the label is Important records therefore sit down and relax. Probably many of you have already heard Larsen and you know how skeletal they may sound, on his solo project Fabrizio goes even deeper to the bone, a real "x-ray experience". I've been tempted to label it as a "minimalist work", and probably it describes perfectly how the sound of Larsen here is reduced to its lowest terms (I think Fabrizio's solo projects can give an good idea of the importance he has in the sound of his primary band). On this cd many of his influences gets diluted into an oceanic calm: Swans, Bauhaus, isolationism, industrial music decomposed and melted together into a desolating new shape. Uniformed gray painted all over from the cover to the tracks, this' decadence in slowmotion or austerity in pills, I'm sure the depressed freak inside of everyone you will appreciate it. "Shining camels and rising anacondas" and "I'm with u" are my favorite episodes, I've asked myself how much "Under the cables, into the wind" could have been different if everything would have been equally guitar oriented as these two tracks. This' an unconventional release for Important but at last the label as an incredible rooster (from Merzbow to Noam Chomsky), anyhow there's this "trance-like-trip" not so far from other titles from the same catalogue: Genesis p-Orrige, Muslimgauze, Hafler Trio, John Fahey, are good examples of what I mean. Desolated, sad, obsessive and minimal music: live it or leave it.
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Artist: [1] KILO OF BLACK BONDAGE
Title: Fear the windows
Format: CD
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
This french band has been a nice surprise above all considering there's something that has driven my thoughts back to some years ago. [1] kilo of black bondage is indeniably near to some old projects involving Mick Harris, Eraldo Bernocchi or Laswell and for who's writing (read: me!) it already means "tip of hat" to the french guys. I can assume a good know it all will complain not everything in which the three artists mentioned have been involved was groundbreaking, but hell knows how deep and ass kicking have been some of the records featured by these three musicians I've mentioned. What reminds so much of Bernocchi and Harris? Above all the atmosphere: it's dark but not depressed, just mystical...shady to say it all. There's a dark mood, but there's rhythm in the hip hop/dub/ambient/rock/jazz "splinters driven in the body" of this cd. The front cover of this elegant jewel box shows the shadow of a man with a hat on his head, don't ask me why, but it reminded me of William Burroughs, not so far from that shadow in the cover of Sonic Youth's "N.Y. city ghosts and flowers". Uncle Bill would have loved a record like this, it's the result of a cut and paste process enriched by elements played with drums, guitars, vocals, bass, trumpet and many other things. "Fear the windows" also reminds me of some of the Sub Rosa's releases at their best. Are you dazed and confused enough? Ok, I'll add that the vocals have a baritone deepness similar to Ira Cohen that will cross your stomach/guts like you're getting screwed like a can. Cut up, good ideas and experience: this could be a know how in the making of a good record and [1] kilo of black bondage probably have learnt the lesson.
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Artist: FRANKLIN DELANO (@)
Title: Like a smoking gun in front of me
Format: CD
Label: Madcao/ File 13 (@)
Rated: *****
Their debut release was good, this one is way much better and is having a good resonance 'cause of the many u.s. connections it has. The italian readers of Chain dlk probably know this band has become quickly popular as "the band with the drummer of Massimo Volume", but for those who just know the last band, there's no other musical relation with Franklin Delano. The sound of this release brings near to those coming out on Perishable label and not just for the fact Rutili, Massarella and friends (Califone, Red Red Meat, Loftus, etc.) are appearing as guests here and there, but for the fact also Franklin Delano are reinterpreting american folk music to create something new. If on their debut Delano sounded really focussed on songwriting, on "Like smoking gun in front of me" the band has gone far away into an acid trip and started mixing elements from Califone, Jackie O' Motherfucker, desert rock a-la Calexico with fading drones that arise from the back of the scenario. Brian Deck was sitting behind the mixing desk giving it all an "american-sensation" as you can get from the title (the cd is coproduced with File 13 from Chicago). Differently from their previous album the band has put more emphasis on long instrumental passages cast into the framework of "folk ballads" with a good result. Everything is surprisingly good, let's say sometimes it works much better than many releases on Perishable, this cd is just a bit too long since sometimes it feels without a couple of tracks it would have been almost perfect. After their recent u.s. tour they've had some line up changes, I can assume the sound is probably changing again, but this' a good picture of their "lysergic" period: sometimes it sounds like a well done mix of Perishable's "folksters" and Kranky's "droners".
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Artist: NIELLERADE FALLIBILISTHORSTAR
Title: Halrum
Format: CD
Label: SNSE
Rated: *****
Sweden's NF are a mysteryous five-people collective whose first official cd, "Hackelsekista", was released last year on the black metal label Total Holocaust (proving that black metallers often have good taste and foresight for experimental music). "Halrum" is the result of four years of recordings and editings, and offers many impressive ambiences. NF mainly use junk metal pieces, scraping and banging on them, and adding manipulated environmental recordings throughout. The collective clanking leads to percussive pieces and moments of Dionysiac rapture ("Slusskammate", "Slaggvarp"), but the best parts are probably the creepy, droning ambient tracks of the core part of the cd, which really create a gut-wrenching atmosphere. The live scrapings remind of historical or more recent projects like Organum, The New Blockaders, Noise Makers Fifes and Lethe, but the pitch black atmospheres seem to be culled from Coil circa "How to destroy angels" or the "Hellraiser" soundtrack. Really a nice surprise from an up-and-coming name, and the cd actually gets better with each listen.
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Artist: IOVAE
Title: Civilization
Format: CD
Label: SNSE
Rated: *****
This is Iovae (aka Cincinnati's Ron Orovitz)'s second pro-released cd, after last year's "Quartervois" on Zarek, and a theory of limited run discs on Drone Disco, Chondritic, American Labels etc., including collaborations with Mammal and Burning Star Core. First of all, the cd looks extremely nice, with a b/w layout based on enlarged details of, I guess, an old engraving - minimal but very eye-catching. As for the sounds, Iovae is definitely a noisemaker - not overtly harsh and mean, but surely on the aggressive side of the spectrum. The recording is crisp throughout, but not much of the disc is really memorable for me. "Enlightenment" and "Grinder erupt", for example, are basically high end synth oscillations with some distortion, and that's it. Am I the only one to think that flat synth improvisations are a bit boring? All tracks sound like one-take recordings with minimum edits, and I guess they'd be nice live performances, but as they are they sound a bit unrefined. The opening "Formi", for instance, has some interesting shifts, but would have benefited from more layers or a more dynamic editing. My favourite track is the last one, "Ode to Schadenfreude", where turntable manipulation replaces the oscillators. Pitch shiftings, distortion and looping tecniques turn the original tune into a sort of menacing rumble - think of early Philip Jeck in a noisier version. Here the live feel is a plus and not a minus, and the piece definitely stands out from the more common noise tracks.
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