Music Reviews



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Artist: THE SAME GIRL
Title: Spare Parts & The Ideology Toolkit
Format: CD
Label: Schraum
Rated: *****
Some months ago I reviewed a very nice cd titled "Chessmachine", by Torsten Papenheim (guitar, also playing in the Kainkwatett trio, on Schraum as well), Antoine Chessex (sax) and Gilles Aubry (computer). Here the latter teams up with Nicolas Field at percussion, and while being more disjointed and sparse than the "Chessmachine" sessions, i.e. more typically "improv", their performance features the same physical intensity. I still wonder if Aubry samples and filters what his mate is playing, as what we hear is often a sort of throbbing noise pulp, sounding like a digital chewing of acoustic inputs. Aubry surely works with field recordings and looped music samples as well, adding odd counterparts to Field's frantic drumming. Quite an intense record throughout, one that I'd surely recommend to those into labels like Creative Sources and Charizma.
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Artist: MAN
Title: Helping Hand
Format: CD
Label: Sub Rosa
Rated: *****
French duo Man, formed by François Rasim Biyikli (piano, Rhodes, guitars, melodica, noises) and Charles-Eric Charrier (acoustic bass, guitar, toys), are surely not afraid to experiment with different genres and inputs, naming influences as diverse as Satie and Labradford, Morricone and Arto Lindsay... Their third full-length release opens with a bizarre (and not entirely successful) rhythmic, and sung, track, but don't be deceived: most of "Helping Hand" is slow, delicate and painfully melancholic. The slo-mo heartbreak of "Drifting" merges the delicate atmospheres of Chaveau, Tiersen or Comelade with the vigorous post-fusion instrumentals of "TNT"-era Tortoise. Hectic euphoria sparkles here and here, but Man surely work best with autumnal soundscapes like "Separation" or "8mm", which closes the disc with a powerful crescendo. Their pieces are often daring, and not always balanced - sometimes the different elements just don't match that well, and end up being more distracting than fascinating - but "Helping Hand" is surely worth repeated spins to catch its different nuances.
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Artist: THE FLUX COMPLEX
Title: Lost Illusions
Format: CD
Label: Trinity Records
Rated: *****
The Flux Complex is a duo featuring Karsten Hamre, better known for his various projects in the dark ambient/industrial field, like Arcane Art, Dense Vision Shrine and Penitent; but here, along with Ioan B'rladeanu, he explores quite different paths, namely trip hop, electronic dub and techno. "Terra Mater" opens the disc with repetitive slow-motion pulses, while "Lux Aeterna" and "Mind Over Matter" add some catchy melodic patterns, and "Camera Obscura" pushes harder on the rhythmic side. "From Time to Time" is a liquid jazzy piece, complete with real drums and double bass, and possibly makes for the most interesting track of the album. Three tracks are then remixed by Defraktor, which is one more alias of Hamre's, but his versions don't seem to add much to the originals... they were ok, they remain ok. As a whole, this is a honest album of smokey late-night music, not very original nor groundbreaking,but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.
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Artist: DANIEL LENTZ (@)
Title: on the leopard altar
Format: CD
Label: Cold Blue Music (@)
Rated: *****
Who's Daniel Lentz? judging "the book by the cover", ergo, by the high standard of the cd (plus a visit on his personal website), I guess this composer is in the midst of his composing-maturity. "On the leopard altar" begins with a contemporary composition that probably pays tribute to the minimalism-serialism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass, above all that's the impression given by the "loop effect" of the keyboards and vocals connection. If that association is for real when analyzing the first and the fourth track, the mood brings close to Glass' Koyaanisqatsi. "Lascaux" maintains an enchanted tone but the astonished listener is immediately forced into a minimal-ambient-"new age alike" (!?) environment...and don't worry, here "new age" doesn't stand for "relaxing and boring". Indeed the music is quiet but I'd say it goes much deeper sounding: "karma-relaxing" and therefore not just your average "after-work-music-to-calm-the-nerves-of -poor-white-upper-class-big-town-citizens". The title track has the shape of a real song, at last isn't it true that many minimalist composers speak about a common pop/folk root?. The requiem is really inspired, but it happens quite often when classic musicians deal with the "final departure" I don't know Debussy enough to say if it's true this music is so influenced by his works as they write, the only thing I know for sure is that the sound is contemporary for real. Giving a look at his personal website I've noticed Lentz's canvases paint rightly his music: warm, simple and relaxing.
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Artist: MONOID (@)
Title: Crowd Control
Format: CD
Label: Invasion Wreck Chords (@)
Rated: *****
Active since mid 90s, Monoid is one of Martin Steinebach musical projects. In his first decade Monoid released two tapes, a couple of CD-Rs and several CDs ("Totalausfall" and "Schnittstellen" to name a few). CROWD CONTROL is his latest CD and it has been released by Ambassador 21’s Invasion Wreck Chords. I don’t know if you are updated about the political situation in Belarus (it seems that the political elections haven’t been really democratic and it seems that someone cheated) but you’ll realize just by looking at the cover of this CD that CROWD CONTROL seems to be the perfect soundtrack to the latest social news. Anyway... Talking about music, Monoid gathered in this release fourteen tracks where Martin tried to diversify the sound giving to some of them a rhythmic harsh industrial treatment and to the others a sound more based on distorted melody. In this way sonic assaults (see "Fall" or "Crowd control") duet with the primitive e.b.m. sound of "Crushcraze", "Firewall", "Software" and "Rote lippen".
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