Music Reviews



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Artist: WERCHOWSKA/PONTEVIA/BOUBAKER
Title: Glotosifres
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources
Rated: *****
"Glotosifres" is a quite short cd (three tracks, 28 minutes), and also one of the very few, in the Creative Sources catalogue, which could be still defined "free jazz" without much forcing. Nush Werchowska (piano), Mathias Pontevia (drums) and Heddy Boubaker (alto sax), here offering two live performances recorded in July and December 2004, are evidently a close and well assorted trio. Listen to the restrained storm of "Bribes", for example, with a climax of bowed piano chords, hysteric sax and menacing percussions, or to the suspension and dilatation of "Spires". Particularly appreciable is the mastering work, by Boubaker himself, which underlines Pontevia's inventive drumming.
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Artist: Snog
Title: Real Estate Man Plus
Format: CD
Label: Hymen Records (@)
Rated: *****
This new Snog CD on the German Hymen Records label features ten different versions of the same song, "Real Estate Man Plus", originally available on the "Third Mall from the Sun" album. If you are afraid that ten versions of one song might sound boring or excessive, rest assured that David Thrussell's infinite creativity's got you covered: altough overall you'll recognize many similarities between the different versions, you'll get electronica, rave sounds, short-spaced rhythmical edits of voice and vocal bits, an ebm version and even a folk version of it with a trashy vocal and an acoustic guitar. The CD also features a ROM track with the 2002 "Ubin mix" version (the opening track of this CD) video clip of the song, which brings us the political side of Snog that we are well accustomed to.
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Artist: YANNIS KYRIAKIDES
Title: The Buffer Zone
Format: CD
Label: UnSounds
Rated: *****
Some time ago I saw an intense live set of Kyriakides at electronics and Andy Moor (of The Ex/Dog Faced Hermans fame) at guitar, which accompanied the release of their duo cd on UnSounds. This work, however, is another pair of shoes, being the audio sum of an opera/installation dealing with the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus, dividing the Greek community from the Turkish one. Kyriakides, who was born on the island in 1969, just before the outbreak of the conflict between the two nations, has chosen as the main character/voice of his opera "a UN soldier (singer/actor) who guards the buffer zone and freely crosses from side to side. The central image of the work is of the inner psychological state of the UN soldier and how that is projected into the divided space". Rather than focusing on the war itself, the composer portrays the drama of boredom and alienation of an "outsider", lost in the absurd dimension of a no man's land. Judging from Akis Kyriakides' ghastly photographs of the buffer zone enclosed in the lavish informative booklet, it's easy to grasp that this is largely non-fiction, and indeed Kyriakides used interviews with UN soldiers as a starting point. As for the audio content, "The Buffer Zone" is performed by Tido Visser (baritone voice), Marc Reichow (piano), Nikos Veliotis (cello, known for his several solo recordings and collaborations, among them a very recent one with David Grubbs), Seamus Cater, Mara Tomanek, Mark Morse and Ayelet Harpaz at additional reciting voice, while Kyriakides adds discreet electronics and field recordings from the Zone itself. The score is based on the broken dialogues between scattered sentences, mournful singing and a kind of uneasy contemporary chamber music, not far from Cold Blue artists. Though the complexity and emotional impact of the original opera is obviously not fully represented in this audio document, "The Buffer Zone" remains a challenging and thoughtful reflection on the disasters of war.
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Artist: ECHRAN
Title: Echran
Format: CD
Label: Ebria/Small Voices
Distributor: Wide Records (Italy)
Rated: *****
As I wrote in my recent review of Ornament's "Unicorn Lullaby" re-release, Echran are the new project of its former main man Davide Del Col (here at Korg synth), teaming up with Fabio Volpi (laptop and voice), who has worked over the last few years with the Milanese audio/video collective Otolab. Echran's dark electronic soundscapes are not that easy to pigeonhole: there's a constant metronome-like pulse which could be compared to Pan Sonic or some Basic Channel-inspired minimal techno, but I wouldn't venture to define this "rhythmic electronica"; at the same time, though, it's not really ambient or droning. A track like "Monitor B", for example, has a skeletal dub throb floating in a mist of piercing frequencies which could remind of old school industrial, while "Formant", with its echoes of analogue cosmic music, could be an updated piece from a soundtrack by John Carpenter. The whole disc has an obsessive and stifling atmosphere, better fit for paranoia-tinged urban travels than for home listening.
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Artist: GLENN LOVE (@)
Title: Belle Epoque
Format: CD
Label: Sonic-X (@)
Distributor: SX Distribution
Rated: *****
Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Glenn Love is a sole underground musician and successful live performer at some dark raves in his home country. With this full length CD now released under the wing of the German Sonic-X label he presents his second official studio release. It is music based globally on Dark Electro themes which plays and combines with several different elements like Electronica, Trance or Ambient. Instrumental music more designed for some Chill-out areas than any straight dancefloors – I would recommend the use of a good pair of headphones. This CD features 11 original tracks done by Glenn Love plus two remix works constructed by ANTISTASIS and T.H. INDUSTRY to make sure a straighter and dancefloor-friendly attitude. The best tracks here are to my taste the more darker pieces like "Walking Dreams" because of the thick synth layers, and the easy-listening "Airships", which features some Trance elements. I like the own identity of the sounds and the ideas behind this project. This music is something special asides all hyped styles and trends. Congrats to the artist and Sonic-X for this courageous release – moreover because I think that any bigger commercial success will not happen in our "short-hair-rivethead" generation. I see it quite difficult to earn any recognition without the use of vocals – so is life and unfortunately an unwritten rule of the scene. Nevertheless it is nice and enjoying – I hope it will enter unforeseen success!
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