Music Reviews



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Artist: MORCEAUX DE MACHINES
Title: Estrapade
Format: CD
Label: No Type
Rated: *****
With the demanding reputation of "B-Boys of musique concrète", A_Dontigny (prepared cds, turntable, effects) and Éric d'Orion (computer, live electronics, effects) have concocted an interesting, often exhilarating work, helped in the live tracks by precious guests like Diane Labrosse (sampler) and turntablists Otomo Yoshihide and Martin Tétreault. They make noise which is often brutal and rabid, but are wise enough to make it more varied than a continuous feedback squeal. "Onanisme" is autistic techno, "Triple fermentation" is drum'n'bass which needs a serious dose of Ritalin. Bits and pieces of other people's music are thrown in and trashed with a mocking smile AND an ethic, after all. Listen to the 14-minute tour-de-force of "Trépanation", where crazed beats pave the way for a jazzy delirium, like a Peter Brotzmann record via effect pedals. If anybody remembers the AMK/Hands To/PBK disc on RRR, this sounds like its digital update.
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Artist: ADAM SONDERBERG/PAUL BRADLEY
Title: Anoxia
Format: CD
Label: Twenty Hertz/Longbox Recordings
Rated: *****
Coming in an exquisitely designed dvd case, this single track, 38-minute work is the result of the mail collaboration of US musician Adam Sonderberg (of Dropp Ensemble and Civil War fame) and UK drone expert Paul Bradley, which should be well known to ChainDLK readers by now. Not much information is given on how the project developed, except that the former sent sound sources which were altered and mixed by the latter. Once again (as heard on his works with Darren Tate and Monos), Bradley reveals his amazing ability and taste for flowing, detailed soundscapes. As suggested by the title, "Anoxia" is a brooding, sombre experience. The initial sources (guitars? strings? field recordings?) are stretched and manipulated into fibres, shades, drops of sounds: any detail is widened until it becomes blurred and unrecognizable. As the piece progresses, the deep reverberating drones make it sound more and more like a dirge. Think of Mirror's hypnotic live sets and turn the already scarce light out.
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Artist: DAVID WELLS
Title: Drone Works # 9
Format: CD EP
Label: Twenty Hertz
Rated: *****
UK artist David Wells is quite a newcomer, with only a 3" cdr on The Locus of Assemblage which I haven't listened to yet, but his contribution to the Drone Works series is a very successful and mature one. Unlike most of his predecessors, who opted for a slowly (often painfully slowly) evolving track, Wells juxtaposes different movements and atmospheres, in a sort of oneiric gallery. The menacing start, with massive, buzzing metallic drones, gives way to more suspended fragments (à la Monos/Mirror), leading to the serene ending of far-away seashore sounds. Definitely a name to keep a look out for, especially for his forthcoming collaboration with Paul Bradley.
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Artist: COLIN POTTER & PAUL BRADLEY
Title: Live
Format: CD
Label: Twenty Hertz/ICR
Rated: *****
Limited to 200 signed copies, this pro-replicated cdr shows how the alchemy between these two frequent collaborators works at its best even in a difficult situation for drone/minimal sounds like a live performance. The two lengthy tracks document the concerts of 21st October and 18th November 2004, and, while being as refined and cohesive as a studio work, they show a more open and "psychedelic" side of the Potter-Bradley partnership, closer, say, to Monos' wanderings than to the oppresiveness of "Confluence". Using the usual array of (my guess) treated guitars, synths, softwares and field recordings, they weave shifting, suspended soundscapes, at times so static that they lull you in a state of ecstatic concentration, then suddenly waking you up with the urgency of an epiphany.
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Artist: Stratis (@)
Title: Herzlos
Format: CD
Label: Temporary Music
Rated: *****
As the years go by the importance of an electronic musician like Antonios Stratis comes into perspective. Although the role of Stratis in the 80’s was obscure in commercial terms, the ambassadorial significance of his self owned label Temporary Music was vital in introducing Northern American artists to what has now grown into a flourishing German electro scene and vice versa. "Herzlos" is a 23 track self produced, manufactured, and distributed collection of the best of Stratis. The music here ranges from raw or "anti-tech techno" to an amalgamation of robotic synthpop and traditional progressive German electronic music from the Tangerine Dream school. Imagine a marriage of international or world music sensibility to analogue German electro. Yes, it is as cool as it sounds. Collectors of obscure electro will surely have to have a copy of this. But it is the new listener that is unfamiliar with this work that will simultaneously fall into something exciting and of historical weight. Which ever the case, the music of Stratis stands the test of time and "Herzlos" is the document that proves it.
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