Music Reviews



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Artist: Havenaire (@)
Title: Rabot
Format: CD
Label: Glacial Movements (@)
Rated: *****
Havenaire is the ambient musical project of John Roger Olsson which is also a pop musician as The Grand Opening and this is also audible as, even if this is a proper ambient release, instead of relying on the use of drone, a melody is a building element of all tracks. The title and the theme of this release is inspired by old photos taken in 1910 by Fredrik Enquist, a Swedish geographer, and one is in the cover artwork and his aesthetic fills the overall ideas behind the releases published by Glacial Movements.
As "Rabot" starts, the listener is immediately introduced into the sonic framework of this release: two drones juxtaposed one as a background and one slowly developing in a sort of pale melody which evoke the landscape of the cover artwork. "Enquist Photo 1910" is a crescendo where small details and nuances are introduced as the track evolves. "Sylarna" is a quiet track whose loop in the background hypnotize the listener. "Calving" seems a crescendo but, as it seems to reach a peak, it slow down to quiet drone to start again. "Tarfala Valley" is a quiet sonic rest as "Sarek (Part 1-2)" closes this release with a first part which seems static as all his development is in small details and resonances while the second uses small noises moving in the sonic field as the background exposes a looping melody in the background.
While someone could reasonably states that this release is deeply rooted in a canonical form, the impressive quality of the writing, the craft in sound construction and the ability to catch the listener places it to the status of half masterpiece. Truly recommended.
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Artist: Silent Chaos (@)
Title: micro
Format: CD
Label: Eclectic Productions (@)
Rated: *****
Silent Chaos is the project of Marta Noone and Ugo Vantini whose first output is a release influenced by "the archetypes buried in the collective unconscious". By the way the musical structure, heavily relying in the use of electronic tools, is deeply rooted in a sort of Raster Noton oriented minimalism so, even in his austere elegance, seems not so tied to the premise of the liner notes.
The first track, "Odysseus's Journey", starts quietly and evolves using circular phrases and progressive accumulations until a beat introduces the second part of the track more static as based on drones. "Ab Origenes" starts as a noisier version of the final part of the previous track until there's a change of direction towards the disposition of sparse sound elements in a quiet background noise. The synthetic sounds of "Technological Monk", even if places in a structure a little too predictable, are carefully chose. The movement of "Insania" is enhanced by his relatively short duration and "Eleusi" closes this release creating an evocative atmosphere alternating quiet moments and rhythmic ones in a cohesive soundscape in the background.
Even if it's a little underdeveloped as the tracks seems too long for the musical material on which are based, there's a certain craft in the sound elements revealing the abilities of the artists involved. Nice but only for collectors.
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Artist: Sebastiano Carghini (@)
Title: tpeso
Format: 12"
Label: Kohlhaas (@)
Rated: *****
This new release by Kolhass is a single sided LP with a composition by Sebastiano Carghini which is presented as a work developed mainly with concrète objects whose sounds explore velocity and movement.
The track starts exposing noises as rhythmically denoted as sounding as placed in a particular place; this metallic barrage of sounds is not the representation of the movement of a clock but it's instead the environment among the listener. While it's more a sequence of small track, a sort of musical blog, than a coherent whole to the point that the central part is close to certain reductionism, as they borders silence, while the others are trying to fill the spectrum even if in a spartan way.
In just 15 minutes he packs more ideas than most ambient project in a full length release, a little too demanding for the casual listener but it's truly rewarding. Recommended.
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Artist: Mock Grandeur
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Wide Ear (@)
Rated: *****
A green square on a brown cardboard without any ornament and titles which doesn't really describe anything (except of the ones with the initial letter of the names of the playing members of this fourtet) could let you think to a devotionally minimal project, but the 25 (it's not a typo, they really packed 25 tracks in this release) mockeries can be rarely matched to minimal jazz. They asymptotically tend to saturation in many of their debunking recordings, indeed. What they primarily seem to desecrate are the stylistic fences that often delimit the fields of many musicians and this is clear since the opening "TS" (involving T - Tobias Backhaus - on drums and S - Sascha Henkel - on guitar), an almost cacophonous loogie between noise and punk-jazz. The second mockery (titled "#4") desecrates the role of some instruments in typical jazz line-up: the absence of a bass gets partially replaced by the repetition of two tones on guitar, that doesn't really lead the melodic patterns, which lacks in the raging parade by the two alto saxophonists of the line-up (Benjamin Weidekamp and Christian Weidner). These are just two samples, but any of the other mockeries are somehow adventurous, unpredictable, intentionally flippant and often clumsy. Do not expect something soothing or banal music for likewise banal backgrounds, but an alternation of massive zits and small pimples, whose popping could eject quite odd combinations of tonal and instrumental outputs.
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Artist: Wagz
Title: Exile / Zodiac
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: none60
Rated: *****
One of the well-respected lady of drum'n'bass, the legendary Dj Storm, quoted the name of this Sheffield producer as a next big thing in an interview in 2015. She foresaw (and listened) very well, as Dan Wagstaffe aka Wagz dropped a (not really high, to be honest) number of good tunes (I particularly recommend the elegant emotionality of his EP "Last Breath" on Santorin). He recently dropped a couple of tracks for the catalog of none60, by which Silent Dust's label confirms to be a little, but appreciated sanctuary of atmospheric bass-driven music. Wagz made a couple of tracks for the 24th ring in none60 chain: the first sonic sparkle of "Exile" is a triumphant synth-brass, soon followed by gusts of computational breezes and artificial hi-hats, that he keeps on saturate anytime he adds a sound till the moment (after one a little bit more than one minute) he ignites the clapped pattern, featuring amazing clutches at the end of the fourth beat. In spite of a relative shortage of sounds, Wagz makes a warming track, that could be good as a starter, and transfuse more or less the same feature into the following track "Zodiac" by shuffling elements and adding a quite hypnotic vocal sample, some amazing knocks over a wisely programmed drum pattern.
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