Music Reviews



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Artist: BARBERÁN/GARCÍA/COSTA MONTEIRO/FAGES
Title: Octante
Format: CD
Label: L'Innomable
Rated: *****
Coming in a cardboard cover exquisitely designed by Jani Peternelj, "Octante" documents an improvised session recorded in Barcelona in July 2003, with Ruth Barberán at trumpet, Margardida García at electric double bass, Ferran Fages at feedback mixing board and pick ups, and Afredo Costa Monteiro at accordion. Those who know other projects involving some of the musicians, like Cremaster (Fages and Costa Monteiro) or I Treni Inerti (featuring Barberán and Costa Monteiro), or their solo or ensemble recordings on Creative Resources and Rossbin, can probably imagine what this sounds like. As for the others, to sum it up, this is pure scorched earth policy improvisation: all instruments are scraped and misused as side arms, with Fages' input+output electricity washing everything away in white noise. There are times where the physical stress of the improvisers (especially Barberán's compressed breathing) is almost unbearable. A harsh and vexatious performance, giving the perverse satisfaction of seeing everything collapse and crush.
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Artist: JGRZINICH
Title: Equal and Distant Lines
Format: CD
Label: Cloudmirror
Rated: *****
As in "Intimations", which was one of my favourite 2004 discs, Jgrzinich takes a limited set of environmental, site-specific recordings (here, stones and water, I suppose) and merges it with the prevailing element in his music, i.e. deep organ (or definitely organ-sounding) drones. Except for the metallic rumblings of the fifth track, everything sounds in constant suspension, as if bathed in the pure light of a mountain top. While working with a similar raw material (field recordings and drones), Jgrzinich is probably the most "ambient sounding" artist in the remarkable Cloudmirror catalogue. His form of ecstatic drone music is heartily recommended to everyone into the likes of Ora, Monos or Mirror, and this album proves him one of the best in the genre.
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Artist: SPIRACLE
Title: Iris
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Cloudmirror
Rated: *****
I don't know much about this Switzerland-based project, except that he's involved in Cloudmirror and is going to release a cdr on Mystery Sea anytime soon - but this mcd is surely enough to make me drool for more! Apparently inspired by an Eastern legend, this quite lengthy single track is a hypnotic power drone probably originated by manipulated string bowing. The repetitive playing tecnique is nerve-breaking but also exhilarating, creating a fine example of hardcore minimalism lying somewhere between La Monte Young and a less electronic Colin Potter.
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Artist: DES ESSEINTES
Title: Les Diaboliques
Format: CD
Label: Malignant
Rated: *****
After the recent appetizer remix-ep with Darrin Verhagen/E.P.A., here's the new anticipated album by Magnus Sunström's side project, while a new release by The Protagonist is in the works. Not that the kind of industrial music of the two names is that different: "Les Diaboliques" shares a similar heavily percussive style, which would be a perfect soundtrack for a suicide mission. The Ant-Zen/Hands-styled beat-oriented tracks are here limited to "Due", while the rest of the album maintains the same doom-filled mid-tempo, not far in its atmosphere from the structured industrial of Negru Voda's "Dobruja Region", which Sunström himself released a while ago. A disciplined, harsh but not overtly noisy record, though certainly not as sexy as the stripping lasses on the cover could suggest.
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Artist: DavidR-XV (@)
Title: Le Funeral Lounge
Format: CD
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
DavidR-XV seemingly comes from nowhere with the album Le Funeral Lounge, the second release by the obscure prodigy known only as DavidR; recording, mixing, and mastering this wonderful work of technoid IDM and meeting standards well beyond what I’d expect from a self-released artist. From the very beginning there is an uncanny sense of familiarity and comfort. Drifting ambient textures, grooving beats and an overall grasp of what makes a song enjoyableLe Funeral Lounge sounds and feels like a long lost album that I’ve always loved but never heard.

DavidR’s sound is very close to, and I’d venture to say heavily inspired by, early 90’s IDM. Le Funeral Lounge reminds me of Warp/Wax Trax’s Artificial Intelligence series, mixing the jazzed grooves of B-12 with the complexity of early Autechre, atmospheres of Polygon Window, and the perpetuating beats of Black Dog Productions. Le Funeral Lounge is the perfect compliment to this series, and a welcome return to more listener-friendly IDM. In Le Funeral Lounge DavidR manages to pay tribute to the strongest era of IDM while keeping his sound fresh and interesting.

DavidR-VX’s Le Funeral Lounge is the perfect IDM sound for anyone. Intricate and layered enough for the smart listener while retaining enough structure for the average ear. Le Funeral Lounge is an excellent album that, unlike many IDM releases I own, plays from start to finish every time I listen to it. If you have the means I strongly suggest adding this to your collection today.
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