Music Reviews



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Artist: NIGHTSHIFT
Title: Nightshift
Format: CD
Label: Antifrost
Rated: *****
Greek soundmakers as11 (field recordings and audio edits) and Thodoris Zioutos (sound generation and live electronics) have chosen a beautiful and suggestive name for their duo, here debuting on Antifrost, which had also released as11's solo disc some time ago. Divided into 3 tracks, but easily enjoyable as a long shifting work, their eponymous cd features a constant rumble of low-ends (treated field recordings?), above which the live electronics crackle, swirl and eventually roar, in the maximalist distortion of the third movement. As in many Antifrost releases, I definitely enjoyed the ride, but at the sime time I feel something is lacking. This one is a nice example of López-ian droning minimalism, but here and there - unlike for example Ilios' recent "Vento Elektra", to stay in the Antifrost roster - electronics are used in a quite crude and unrefined way. As it is, "Nightshift" could be a well-achieved live performance, but as a home listening it turns out a bit unbalanced and with some weak moments.
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Artist: JANE
Title: Berserker
Format: CD
Label: Paw Tracks (@)
Rated: *****
Jane is a duo formed by Noah Lennox and Scott Mon and BERSERKER is their latest release. Judging by the cover I was expecting something annihilating or extremely violent but the first moments of the main theme suggested me that something else was going on. Starting with a guitar loop (which recalled me the Boyd Rice homonymous album), the track present a throbbing background made out of feedback and various noises that come and go, while a distant litany build the main theme. "Agg report" is like a mixture of early Whitehouse (do you remember the feedback effect that remember the birds?) and ambient just to turn into an experimental / ambient tune where you find the chanting vocal playing with pads while a bass drum sign the passing time. "Slipping away" present a similar structure of the track before but instead of being ambient based is more electro. The track sounds like a musical litany which go berserk on the last three minutes thank to metallic percussions and variuos effects. The last twenty four minutes track "Swan" is available only on the CD version of BERSERKER and it is a sort of dark ambient track where a tone is the main structure and the vocals along with the simple synth lines tell us that the swan isn't feeling really well (if you pardon my sarcasm). To be honest the Jane's experimentalism didn't catch my attention that much. Maybe the lack of structure and the chant improvisations affected my opinion but I feel that something is missing. Sometimes "Swan" made me feel the sensation of listening to music made by two guys who were playing around with things and this ins't too catchy for my taste.
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Artist: CHEAPMACHINES
Title: Drone works # 8
Format: CD EP
Label: Twenty Hertz
Rated: *****
I don't know Cheapmachines' (aka UK soundmaker Phil Julian, who also runs the Authorized Version label) quite extensive discography, but from what I can gather it's a pretty savage harsh noise/concrete music thing. Not so with this ep, which is a sssslllloooooooowly crawling drone clocking in at 22 minutes. If I've not read wrong, its sources are treated voices and instruments, but obviously nothing you can recognize anyway, being trasformed as they are in a cloud of metallic vapours. This is minimal and obscure up to the point of sucking your physical and mental energies away. Another sinister gem in the Drone works series, and one that you could easily align with Paul Bradley's "Sepulchral" for a ritual self-choking session.
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anymore
Artist: HUM
Title: Ether Rider
Format: 7"
Label: Drone Records
Rated: *****
Surprisingly coming on "normal" black vinyl, with a b/w photo on the cover, this is a most surprising ep from Russian soundmaker Hum, after a few DIY tapes and cdrs, witnessing Drone Records' increasing interest in the blooming Eastern experimental scene. Declared sound sources are "tapes, tapeloops and analogue synth", and the style is... can I say "power-minimalism"? The title track is a semi-static, but powerful hum (sorry, couldn't avoid that), while "Crucible", on side b, is more rhythmical, with an obsessive use of looped sounds - both seem to merge the work of historical minimalists like La Monte Young or Charlemagne Palestine with the noisy heaviness of post-industrial, and create a strong, extremely promising visiting card.
Artist: PSYCHIC SPACE INVASION
Title: And the cows go mu
Format: CD
Label: Elvis Coffee Records
Rated: *****
Fourth cd for Welsh artist Ian Holloway, who I think has progressed a lot since his latest "Book of dreams". Not that anything has dramatically changed in PSI's palette, which is still mostly based on sideral electronics, with a considerable dose of musique concrete elements and a tribal-ish rhythmic backbone here and there; but this time Holloway just offers stronger, more mature and engaging material. Something could probably be mixed or arranged better, but the four lengthy tracks flow very well and the attention never flickers. Staying true to his name (and despite the silly title), PSI's music is spacey and trippy but in an entropic, and eventually paranoid way: no romantic stargazing is evoked here. Dark cosmic music which I'd recommend to fans of Elph/Coil or Monos' "Nightfall sunshine". Minimal but nice-looking packaging too, made of Chinese paper to be burned at funeral ceremonies (sic!).
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