Music Reviews



image not
available
anymore
Artist: CLARK NOVA (@)
Title: so young
Format: CD
Label: Tube records (@)
Rated: *****
As usual I've been mislead by the cover and I was thinking it was "the average alternative soup", shame on my! I was damn wrong. Indeed Clark Nova can be easily filed under alternative rock but their real essence lays in psychedelic rock and tip of hat for the fact they’ve been able to mix the different influences in a really discrete manner. Bright melodic rock tunes with a strong american background, the first name I will mention is Dim Star (the band that featured both Richard Hell and Thurston Moore), but also Opal, Bad Seeds when they've started getting softer, Rain Sanction or some other psychedelic acts on Sub Pop (right after its grunge days). A Tight sound and a good mix help Clark Nova to reach the right mood quite straightforwardly, I think it has a lot to do with the touch of the sound engineer and with the studio (La Sauna). As I said before that’s late Sevenies early Eighties influenced alternative-rock with a depressed flavour that will make you daydream of sun down in the canyons. A good record with some intense rock ballads like "Hot wheels", "The poser" or the title track itself, the only possible remarks are the fact with less songs it would have been more cutting and the horn section of "Diagonal 461, Barcelona" that’s not always in the mood of the rest of the songs (but that's my personal opinion). If you think Dead Meadows and Bardo Pond had "that something you missed" but they’re "too happy", well probably here's something you may appreciate.
cover
Artist: Orbit Service
Title: Songs of Eta Carinae
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Distributor: Massive Music
Rated: *****
Songs of Eta Carinae, Orbit Service's BLRR debut CD, is dark rock that reminds one of a slower, quieter and murkier V.A.S.T., but with more thoughtful and interesting lyrics containing deeper poetics. A minor drawback would be Randall Frazier's vocal deliveries and intonation, in need of improvement in some places; on the other hand, there is good chord phrasing, with lyrical tropes and piano lines in a sort of loungey, torch-song vein, and some songs ("Sparrows") have appropriately added distorted guitar gloom. "Asphyxia" has echoey, reggae-dub accordion recalling old Bauhaus and OMD treatments, while "Halos" is an unabashed homage to early-to-middle Pink Floyd. The big prize goes to production quality, and this CD is arguably best listened to on headphones -- or on a really good stereo for an extended make-out session. The title, by the way, is named after a star in the southern constellation Carina, "the Keel". Steady as she goes, boys, stay on course.
image not
available
anymore
Artist: ELLEN ALLIEN & APPARAT (@)
Title: Orchestra Of Bubbles
Format: CD
Label: Bpitch Control (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****

BUY from  BUY NOW from AMAZON (Amazon.com)
A year has passed since the release of "Thrills" but Ellen Allien is always at work to find out new ways of experimenting with rhythms / sounds / emotions. This time she collaborated with Sascha Ring/Apparat (he also run the label Shitkatapult with T.Raumschmiere) to create ORCHESTRA OF BUBBLES, an album containing thirteen new tracks where the distinctive sound of the duo find a new expression. Apparat’s orchestrations of i.d.m. sounds and Ellen’s capability of creating a web rhythmical sounds match perfectly creating something that sounds new, fresh and deep. The album opens with "Turbo dreams", the single released on early April, that contains some of the principal elements present on the album: melody, rhythm and a certain sense of suspension given by the cyclic structure of the tracks. Some other surprises are ready to be unveiled already with the second track, because "Way out" (the single that will be released at the end of May) is a beautiful track that melodically recall me Marco Passarani’s "Criticize", with a delicate vocal line sung by Ellen herself. The following track "Retina" changes everything with an opening cello that duet with a bass line and some other layers (string orchestrations and several synth lines) that are added during its length. "Jet" is based on the same concept having a cyclic structure with brass sounds that duet with a pumping rhythm (I found amazing the effect of the guitar distortion that arrive suddenly creating a blast of a jet). Respect "Thrills", ORCHESTRA OF BUBBLES sounds more elaborated and generally with more melody (not melodic, because this isn't techno pop). The techno minimal experimentations dear to Ellen’s style are still present (see "Under" or "Metric") but Apparat presence worked really well and created tracks like "Edison" (where the glitch sounds create a delicate rain effect while a melancholic melody draw by a bass guitar lead you through its four minutes length) and "Leave me alone" (a track album where Apparat lightly sing on cut up violins while bass and drums sign the time of a broken heart). On the definitive version of the CD you can find two tracks that have been added just before the release of the album because the promo copy have been put on the p2p networks. Now you’ve the opportunity to find "Rotary" (a Detroit electro track really intriguing) and "Sleepless" (a beautiful song with Ellen’s vocals. I really dug the harp sound combined with the distorted synth). If you want some in depth info about the project check the website http://www.orchestra-of-bubbles.com.
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Ignoble Vermine - A Tribute To Ptose
Format: CD
Label: GAZUL RECORDS (@)
Distributor: Musea Records
Rated: *****
When I first listened to this CD, I thought it was just one band called Ignobile Vermine. Since the text on the CD cover is all in French, I admit I wasn’t paying too much attention. My first thought was, wow, kind of a diverse band here. After doing a little Internet digging, I found that this was a compilation CD of FIFTEEN different bands over nineteen tracks, all doing a tribute to some band I never heard of called Ptose. (There’s a long line over the "o" in Ptose, if that makes any difference.) My second thought was, "so who the heck is Ptose, and why have I never heard of them"? A little more digging, and I come to find that they’ve been around since 1979, and they’re France’s answer to The Residents, although they seem to have more musically in common with Renaldo and the Loaf than The Residents. That explains a lot of what I thought about the music I heard on the CD. Similarities to The Residents abound. Okay, but since I’ve never actually heard Ptose, all I have to go on is what I think of the music in general, and not how well these bands are "tributing" Ptose. That being said, let me tell you what I think. My sentiment on The Residents has always been mixed. I’ve heard and owned a number of their albums. I’ve seen them live. Some of their stuff can be great, and some amateurishly awful. The tracks on this CD seem to mirror my sentiments to a tee. Rather than go into the track titles, I’ll just focus on the bands. First up, LES HAUTS DE PLAFONDS. Their track is kind of a pop-pourri of a little melody and some schizzy backing tracks over a rhythm machine rhythmic background, which morphs into a different minimal melody with a little spoken word over it. Likeable enough, perhaps one of the more "normal" tracks on the CD. Second track by BOSCO really reminded me a lot off The Residents "Fingerprints" album. More intense drum machine (The Residents as I recall in their early days tended to use played percussion) a buzzy repeating synth bass line, and call & response vocal chanting with a chorus of lower vocals vs. a higher falsetto vocal. Nonsensical perhaps, but still kind of engaging. This may be one of the better tracks on the CD. Has a real vintage Residents feel. LAURENT PERNICE & PAKITO BOLINO are up next with a chaotic noise-driven piece of insanity with some pretty wacky loops avant piano, and a slew of changes that get more interesting each time you listen to it. I’m no real noise fan, but it’s well worth wading through. These guys pack a lot into 3:46. KLIMPEREI have three tracks on this CD. The first begins with a melancholic guitar based melody just seems to peter out once it gets going. The second is a bouncy little circus-style number that reflects Residents style whimsy in the melody with harmonium and guitar juxtaposition. Nice little piece. The last track by them is just a 46 second idea, is cute, but lacks development. Next band, LA SOCIETE DES TIMIDES A LA PARADE DES OISEAUX begins their track with an odd glockenspiel melody, some low woodwinds and ominous guitar staccato picking and scraping. Over that a raspy voice intones, "Here come the boogey-man, he’s going to call you... .". Drums come in and the guitar beefs up, the vocals get more intense and frenetic as the song gets progressively stronger and louder. Very much like Tuxedomoon on a rock-bender with Winston Tong fronting on vocals. Avant rock enthusiasts may like this track very much. I thought it was a little derivative. SERVOVALVE follows with a long, repetitive sequenced synth track that throws some odd percussive elements, processed spoken word, other synth sounds, etc. There just wasn’t enough here to sustain my interest over six minutes. Following that comes LEFDUP ET LEFDUP. This is a pretty cool track, maybe the closest thing to Industrial rock on the entire CD. Real drums (as far as I could tell, or great programming) saxophones, intelligible spooky sort of goth vocals, goofy melody line, but very likeable. I’ve changed my mind, may THIS is the best track on the CD. DELETED follow, and they have two tracks on the CD. Their first track sounded like a melted down jazz orchestra from the 20’s playing some melodic blues riff. Their second track is bit more avant rock in instrumentation and unfortunately ends too soon. They have potential. NORSCQ have the longest track on the CD at 8:23, but not the best in my estimation. I never was much of an "experimental guitar" fan, but if you are, you might enjoy it. To me, it tends to sound like an endless tuning session, and someone that just can’t play. I admit that I just ended up skipping ahead on this track, and it did develop into something with guitar squawks over a bass riff, but for me it was just too much, too little, too late. PIERRE BASTIEN ET MECANIUM was up next, with a creepy, creaky, wheezy little track about a ghost. I wouldn’t doubt the majority of the sonics here were made from violin and saw. Quite inventive. PALO ALTO featuring EMIKO OTA follows. It’s probably what you might expect from a Japanese experimental music artist. Ota has a fair amount of credentials on the experimental music scene, and although the track comes off with a lot less whimsy than the bulk of the material on this CD, it makes for some diversity. Some nice juxtapositions on this one. CHAZAM is up next with a percussion heavy track, thrumping bass line, silly synth lead and chanted vocals in French. Some overdriven lead guitar adds to the mix. Nothing special here. PHONEME offers an eerie little downtempo instrumental synth ditty punctuated by white noise stabs and a low processed vocal at the very end. Nice. TOUPIDEK LIMONADE use a kazoo throughout their track along with recorder, bass, guitar and percussion. Although it sounds like one of the less developed tracks on the CD, it at least brings back some Residents-style whimsicality. DRAGIBUS do the same song as BOSCO did earlier with less effective results. The CD closes out with NON FINITO ORCHESTRA doing a medley of Ptose songs and it certainly sounds like an appropriate ending for this CD. Extremely well done insanity. Maybe THIS is the best track on the CD. Maybe I should go back and listen to the whole CD again. No, on second thought I think YOU should listen to the CD. Available through Musea Records and definitely recommended to Residents fans and fans of avant rock.
cover
Artist: Dolmen
Title: Terra Firma
Format: CD
Label: Skean Dhu Recordings (@)
Distributor: Skean Dhu Recordings
Rated: *****
Sometimes it’s difficult to categorize certain types of music, even when a cursory listening yields familiar impressions of other artists within the plethora of genres and sub-genres that milieu of our known musical universe. Let’s take the Ambient category, for reference. A purist might believe that in order for a recording to qualify as "Ambient", it should be quiet, unobtrusive background sonics. Brian Eno, the pop step-father of Ambient music is quoted as setting these parameters: " Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting. " Vague, but precise in and of its own accord. Ino order to accommodate forms that deviate from this definition, sub-categories were developed- Organic Ambient, Nature-Inspired Ambient, Dark Ambient, Industrial Ambient, Isolationist Ambient, et al. But when an artist mixes elements from these very fifferent sub-genres, how do you define that? Even more, how do you describe or even compare to known artists within the sub-genre, without giving a false impression of what music is really like? That is the dilemna with Dolmen’s "Terra Firma". It never really stays put I one subcategory, and perhaps that’s the reason for its eclecticism. Dolmen is a collaboration betweeen visual/sound artist Steven K. Smith and ambient/ installation artist Jason Sloan. Smith is from Cleveland, and Sloan from Baltimore. Just the fact that this project came together over the distance is amazing. (I also discovered they had a prior release in 2002 called "Ritual Awakening". As to the music, you will hear a LOT of different influences, yet "Terra Firma" comes off not as a melange of styles, but as a fairly cohesive whole work. The title track opens the CD, with a soundtrack-like quality that sets a mysterious, oblique mood. It does almost seem like it’s going to conform to the Eno definition of "Ambient", until the intense drumwork rises out of the echoey netherworld they’ve created. Once the percussive barrage begins about half-way through the track, its evident we’ve shifted gears into Industrial Ambient. As it continues to rise, just when you thought it couldn’t get more intense, it does. Sort of like Pink Floyd’s "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" without any concession to rock or pop music, in fact without any restraint at all. Probably not the best thing to listen to after dropping a tab of LSD. Then again, maybe that’s the kind of intensity you’re looking for. The next track, "Wishes That Weigh" is quite a different story. Mild percusion with breath-like drones and a subtle, simple series of notes, perhaps on muffled guitar. Very nice chillout from the intensity of the first track. "Bleedingbeginbegone" offers more in the way of drone, and encroaches on Robert Rich/ Steve Roach territory. Not a bad thing at all. It does reach a point of intensity, then subsides. Smith and Sloan are very adept at creating thick soundscapes that don’t just drift aimlessly along. A definite plus. "Heaven Smells Like Sulfer And Static" explores some of the nuances of lower frequency vibrations, and gradually morphs into a noisy, congested miasma that squeezes you through to the other side of a parallel universe. Maybe I’m being a bit too imaginative here, but I don’t know how else to describe it. You’re certainly not where you began with this one. The title "100 Miles From Home" treads into the "Nature-Inspired Ambient" subcategory, with the sound of a stream, birds, wind and the sustained, modulating moaning drone of some distant horn. There is also a little muffled guitar in the background. No description of the components of this track can really illustrate how sonically effective it all is. Marvelous. That track easily slides into "Red Stained Lips", a lazy little number that really might remind you of early Steve Roach. Not content to drift, Dolmen quadruple-time the percusion half-way through the piece adding some sonic variables that enhance the journey. By the conclusion, it all calms down on a could of filtered resonent synth drone."Love Tonight Today" is perhaps the most tribal/ ritual piece on the CD, due to the percussion. It’s medium-slow with a most interesting mixture of thickening sonics off this duo’s pallette. It could have gone on for another ten minutes and I’d still be happy. Final track, "White Blood Of Blind Wisdom" is almost like too much of a good thing. The atmosphere gets really thick and noisy. The percusiion stops dead in the middle and it really begins to sound like a hellacious shitstorm. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does. Obviously, my least favorite track.; I’m sure the artists had their reason for it. In spite of the last track, I’d still recommend this CD to the sonically adventurous. This CD has been compared to Zoviet France, Sigur Ros, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, Rapoon, etc., but it goes places none of them have ever gone before. The only question is, is this YOUR destination?
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171...180] [181...190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591] [1592] [1593] [1594] [1595] [1596] [1597] [1598] [1599] [1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960] [1961...1970] [1971...1980] [1981...1990] [1991...2000] [2001...2010] [2011...2020] [2021...2030] [2031...2040] [2041...2050] [2051...2060] [2061...2070]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha