Music Reviews



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Artist: KOJI ASANO (@)
Title: Final Insurance
Format: CD
Label: Asano production (@)
Rated: *****
Believe it or not it's "Asano-time" again, the more I give a look at his discography the more I think he's probably one of the most prolific and eclectic artists coming from Japan nowadays. These sessions see Koji playing the protagonist role mainly behind his beloved laptop and I think that's his most congenial dimension, the range of the recording goes from 1992 to 1994 and the locations are/were London, Tokyo and Saitama. The final result is really good, but considering the fact most of this recordings are ten years old, honestly some of them are incredibly ahead if compared to many of his contemporaries then. The first couple of tracks based in London is laptop "pushing till it gets almost distorted" music (imagine those "ass kicking" Mego releases) while the rest of the british compositions is mainly oriented toward "experimental laptop rumorism" versus ghosts of melody underneath. The following "songs" located in Tokyo have own much more to "electro acoustic music" or to "concrete" music that vaguely reminded me the 3"mcd on Metamkine ("Corridor" could be a composition signed by Chion). The closing session of the cd is the one recorded in Saitama, the oldest one (1992) but the also best: it reminded me of the cd "Sanctuary" where Asano was manipulating one of his classical composition through a computer, the minimalist feeling is the same even when he's not working with a piano and what a good taste!. If you never heard anything by Asano maybe this could be a good way to introduce your ears to his polymorphous musical dimension.
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Artist: XOTOX (@)
Title: [PSI]
Format: CD
Label: ProNoize (@)
Distributor: Broken Silence
Rated: *****

BUY from  HERE
To produce rhythmic Powernoise with all included ingredients like endless monotony and redundancy in music and composition still drags the black-dressed masses to the dancefloors of all dark clubs. German one man act XOTOX consisting of Andreas Davids returns here after two not expected successfully releases to present the newest effort [PSI]. The success of the previous releases made it also possible that the label Pro Noize decided to release next to the normal jewel case edition of [PSI] a special and limited DCD in a digipack. The normal CD (and so the part of this review) contains 17 new rhythmic sound manipulations, mostly integrating with steady distorted, sometimes destroyed rhythm patterns. The mood is hard, rough and disturbing, a real feast for the noise junkies. Some pieces stand out here, the opener "[Xo]toxic" presents a not to often heard diversity in the rhythms programmings. "Winterblut" does surprisingly add "real" vocals, hard and cold performed by Jan Lehmkämper from the German Electro/Industrial act X-FUSION. "Bohrung 25" earns as well a good rating for not depending on the overrated distorted Tekkno-like bass kicks and can submit the real Powernoise feeling. On the other hand I have noticed some tracks here which cannot convince by using of too ridiculous samples ("Tote Bäume", "Lass Mich", "Roboterkrieg") or they do not offer anything interesting because of the lack of inspiration ("Fieber"). Anyhow, as long as the distortion goes there will be a public form and an interest in this stuff. XOTOX can and will not reach the throne of some highly acclaimed acts like CONVERTER or IMMINENT. But this project also doesn’t need to hide its talent. An acceptable release for this music genre.

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Artist: KOJI ASANO (@)
Title: Takoyakikun
Format: CD
Label: Asano production (@)
Rated: *****
Koji Asano it's back and of course here you can get again some unconventional music, but could you imagine Asano in his "rock version"?!. This time Koji is not behind his usual laptop but he's playing the role of the "guitar-hero" in a rock (prog-rock) band. Prog music in Japan has always had a big resonance and that's the last of many exhibit to prove this old theory, infact this trio (based on guitar ,keyboards and drums) plays "old fashioned" songs with some "japanese extravaganza" here and there. Don't think of Boredoms, Yoshimi or Optical* 8, it's more "traditional-prog-rock" stuff, it sometimes reminded me of a free-reinterpretation of the early Crimson or a minimal new edition of the early Soft Machine even if the jazz element in this case is irrelevant. I think this release have a complete japanese use of melody and rhythms but just in a few particular moments (Ruins had the same sort of influence). But with "weird japenese music" (and you can bet with Asano the experimental element is always behind the corner) you always have to wait 'till it's really over. When the sixth track starts you'll be immediately cast somewhere else...Faust? Amon Dull?..hard to say that but whitout any doubt the song is more "experimental rock" oriented (the way Kraut founders meant it): a classical piano, a light drum and a definitely "odd" guitar melody, weird..damn weird! But my favorite track of the whole record. This' not ordinary rock, not even ordinary prog-rock, the result is partially good and sometimes interesting, honestly I prefer much more Asano behind his laptop but there's no doubt this guy has a lot of ideas and energy and of course talent.
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Artist: PFM
Title: pre FM tracks
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: No Ground (@)
Rated: *****
For all of the "prog/fusion lovers" out there: this is not Premiata Forneria Marconi, the famous bestseller of italian fusion-prog rock italian combo (together with Demetrio Stratos' Area) from the seventies, PFM stands for Poor Father Material. The music is even more different, Myk Thomas could be filed under "ambient music", sometimes the keyboards reminded me of the best works recorded by mr. Eno, but this' not another "music for airport wonnabe". While the first track sounds really "old school" ambiet, "Prophet making" owns much more to movie soundtracks and to minimalism while the keyboards at times sounds like they've been stolen by some records came out on Warp during the Eighties. But mr. Thomas probably loves being heterogeneous and the final track is again different, this time his "calm and rural" (?!?) soundtrack get fused with "shoegaze" music and its like hearing Swerverdrive or Bark Psychosis diluted into an "empyreal-echo". This tracks should be nothing but an extract from an album from 2000, sincerely I can't imagine if in the economy of a long release it could be boring, but on a 3" mcd it's really good (damn I'd like to listen to the whole record). If ambient and shoegaze for you mean something I think you will appreciate this 3"mcd.
Artist: WURT ORGANUM (@)
Title: vaqum
Format: CD
Rated: *****
Lately every time I come into releases like the last work signed Wurt Organum I'm kinda surprised how the quality of some home-made cdr can be so good. It seems like Cold Meat Industry got popular almost everywhere in Europe (and not just there). In a previous review you can find searching in the pages of this webzine somebody wrote this guy was "promising"...well: it's true and I think he's slowly taking shape in the best way. I think he reduced the distortion from the past works anyhow now it "focussed a bit better his musical target", cyclic drones and mechanical resonances with some distortions crossing the "sea" like ships. Some sharp noises makes a difference in the tracks six and one, but honestly I think the best thing of this cdr is the structure of its track-list and it's also good it ends without getting boring (for patience' sake!!...since lot's of dark-death-ambient releases are deadly boring). A good improvement from the past, even if there's a lot of work still to be done, but future will tell if Wurt Organum will empower his writing skill.
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