Music Reviews



cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: INTRICATE MAXIMALS
Format: CD
Label: Audiobulb Records (@)
Distributor: Cargo Records (UK), Nexus (Europe), Coucjhblip (Australia), ITunes (Global), Audiobulb Shop (Global)
Rated: *****
Audiobulb Records is a UK label with a global artist roster specializing in glitch and groove, IDM, environmental ambience and microsound genres. They were kind enough to provide me with their critically acclaimed Switches’ compilation from 2003 and their newest compilation, Intricate Maximals’ which I will review here. As the ability and tools to create music becomes more readily to the average computer user, one has to look further afield to find more interesting artists and projects that transcend the pedestrian. (There are only so many different ways you can "reinvent’ Kraftwerk.) It is small labels like Audiobulb that should be commended for releasing new and different forms of music that think outside the electronic box’. While the overall impression I got from the Switches’ compilation was pleasant, I found Intricate Maximals’ more engaging, sometimes frustrating, but never boring. Some artist’s compositions just didn’t thrill me, while other had me wishing there was more. So let me give you my track-by-track impression:1. AUSTICI :"Nurture Nature" - buzzings& birds twittering over slowly falling skylight ambience, a very nice brief piece2. PRHIZZM:"New Teeth" – almost seems to continue where the first one left off, but here scattered & chaotic beats are introduced amongst the glitchy sound bits. The dominant tone at first is smooth, hollow, sustained synth sound that plays a slow repeating melody (maybe a little too predominant in the mix) but half-way through is replaced by a flange-crazy bass intro, then it all falls into place with a string section wash, subdued repeating staccato bass line in background and a wild glitch-rhythm section, By the time it really gets cooking... it over. 3. CALIKA: "Latticel Work" – The most cohesive piece so far, incidental acoustic guitar notes play against a repeating synth progression while a glitch-buzz & scratch rhythm section moves it along. Other sounds are introduced into the mix, all of them novel enough to sustain interest in this simple little piece. There are plenty of counter-rhythmic elements to enjoy that might be overlooked on a first listen.4. DIAGRAM OF SUBURBAN CHAOS: "So Gone" (Ventrimix) - "So Gone" started out with a lot of promise, nice ambient buildup with an engaging rhythmic aspect, and then a brief sampled voice byte is interjected as a rhythmic element that becomes dominant, and ruins the whole thing in my estimation. (I don’t care for that "Di –Di"__ "Di-DiDi- Di Di" stuttering kind of thing)5. TAAVI TULEV: "Tuhikl’I" – I really like this piece, reminds me of Future Sound Of London & Boards Of Canada. Engaging atmosphere over elaborate percussive patterns.6. CEDAR A.V.: "Song For A Republic" – Begins with a slow acoustic guitar melody pattern with an undercurrent of rapidly fingerpicked guitar notes with increases in rhythmic intensity adding various elements to the mix. A provocative piece.7. MARION: "Un Peopled" – A blipping and bleeping rhythm over echoey freestyle synth notes. The juxtaposition of the careening rhythm with the placidity of the electric piano-like free synth melody makes this structurally simplistic track highly appealing.8. CLAUDIA: "Pausing" (As If Unsure/Edit) – At 1:16, the briefest track on this compilation. Stray melodic sounds and hints of themes begin, get interrupted and begin anew. An aptly named transitional track.9. UNSCAN: "Ter Iara" – Begins with a burbling synth wash that works it’s way into a glitchy rhythm pattern overlaid with a sparse plucked synth melody. Somehow it’s just intriguing enough to make you want more.10. DISASTRATO: "Requiem Pour Une Feuille Morte" – The title means requiem for a dead sheet’ and in a small way, it heads toward Mynox Layh territory here, though perhaps less grandiose with a more comical bent. Starting with a low vocal wail, slightly off-kilter sampled stabs and jiggy rhythm, it mutates a number of times giving the overall impression of a broken, out of control cuckoo clock with sampled cartoonish vocal & noise sound bytes that skitter and careen humorously through most of the mix. Has a slightly disappointing finish that contrasts with the hyperactivity as short sheets of white noise pass like the turning of pages.11. EFFACER: "PONL MISC MOL MSC NYK OOCL UASC VROON YANG MING" - At 6:35, this is the longest track on the compilation and perhaps the most ambient selection with the sparsest percussion. The minimalist approach used here gives the impression of extra dimensional spaciousness, and an environment stretched to capacity. Towards the end, an early Kraftwekian synth rhythm emerges and guides the piece towards its inevitable conclusion.12. OCHRE: "Shiverbox" – A jumble of disparate glitchy sound bytes bounce chaotically off a repetitive sequenced synth melody that struggles valiantly against the multitude of elements hurled against it and sort of emerges victoriously. As a modern parallel, within the audial context of our daily lives, we are constantly bombarded by sounds from electronic devices and external sources, without even conscious realization of the intrusion. Yet somehow, we manage to maintain our own sense of rhythm and emotional patterns of existence.13. ROOM: "Percule Extract" – Another brief track, this one beginning by spewing small gouts of steam over a surreal and somewhat ethereal ambience. An enjoyable diversion.14. ANOTHER ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN: "Qualm" – So far, the most cohesive and accomplished track on the compilation. A simple rhythm pattern forms the basis that moves the piece along through LFO and ring- modulated FM tones and synth ambiences. Sometimes there’s a bass pattern, sometimes not. Sometimes a lot going on, sometimes very minimal. Everything halts midway, then continues. I get the feeling this one isn’t just "Another Electronic Musician".15. BUILD: "You Can Get There From Here If You Don’t Mind The T Left Over" – A slow lullaby-like dreamy atmosphere with what sounds like a carelessly played harmonica in the background. A frenzied rhythmic sequence imitating that harmonica sound, like some electronic toy for children takes over and more gitchy, buzzy sequenced elements emerge in contrast to the placid ambience. It disappears for awhile, but the ambience and harmonica remain. A more organized glitch rhythm sequence emerges, but this too ends before the conclusion of the track. I m not sure why, but the overwhelming image I got from the music here was that of a playpen.16. RODOLPHE KUFFER: "Question" – There is a lot happening here, many competing elements; blips, buzzes, bloops, plinks, notes, zizzes, whorls, zips, you name it. It’s almost like an aural trip through a primitive video game arcade. A off-kilter rhythmic background ties it all together nicely. Possibly the most inventive piece on the compilation.17. ROBIN JUDGE: "Fall" – Might be the closest thing to a dark ambient’ piece on the compilation. With a queasy ambient background, it sounds like insects may be chewing their way through your computer. I imagine this to be what the virus MyDoom might sound like. 18. OTI: "Little Tummies" (For Sinead) – A rezzy wash of synthetic strings dominates this track whose only other sonic diversions are a whispered female vocal sample and some electronic chomping sounds.All in all, a wide variety of compositional techniques and results within the framework of glitch dub n groove indietronica. . Some you will definitely want to explore further and Audiobulb is an excellent place to begin.
image not
available
anymore
Artist: Chris Fortier
Title: Balance 007
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Stomp/EQ (@)
Rated: *****
Coming out in a month, on May 10th, Crhis Fortier's new double CD "Balance 007", is among his most daring and least commercial-friendly releases ever. Fortier's pedigree includes extensive touring with Digweed and on his own, residencies at The Cross in London and the long gone Twilo in NYC, releases as Fade under his own Fade records with Neil Kolo, remixes as Fade Sanctuary (among which the chart-topper "Silence" by Delerium, featuring Sarah McLachlan) and a contribution to the Bedrock "Compiled and Mixed series (reviewed on these pages). The Australian has got a lot of steam in himself, but he doesn't compromise and keeps putting out barrier-breaking mix CDs with tracks that he edits for his own needs and re-assembles in a way that might sound hostile at first but that really is nothing but pioneering and tempting. Delays, extreme panning, filter sweeping and many more technological artifacts make this record a groovy blend of house, electro and techno in a practically unprecedented way. Includes tracks and remixes by Carl Craig, Hardfloor, Bent, Slam, Rabbit In The Moon, Anthony Rother, and Agoria, Lucas Rodenbush, Kobbe & Nitro, Alex Smoke, PJ Davy and many others. You'll have to acclimate yourself to this, so make sure you try before you buy, just in case you are after commercial bullshit as opposed to admirable experimentation of sounds.
Apr 14 2005
image not
available
anymore
Artist: CODE MACHINE (@)
Title: No Time
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Frédéric Hélière is the man behind the Code Machine project and NO TIME is his first album. The thirteen tracks of the CD present a good powerful sound which is a blend of future pop and e.b.m. which mix classic '80s e.b.m. solutions with the melody of modern electro pop. The resulting sound is throbbing, danceable and sometimes it seems a fastened version of the old Die Form (if you know "Autolyse" you know what I mean), where synths are used like razor blades. Sometimes distorted guitars come by just to add some rage. Most of the tracks are good enough to be released by a label (with a little production re-tuning) and it isn't a case if Frédéric is looking for someone insterested enough into his project. He's already preparing new tracks for a new album. Give them a try by visiting his website.
image not
available
anymore
Artist: All Scars Orchestra
Title: New Scars 2004
Format: CD
Label: Bosco / Ludmila / Into my Bed
Rated: *****
The All Scars Orchestra is a Northern Italy operating small and ever changing all stars orchestra of noisters, including the local hero Daniele Brusaschetto, Mirco Rizzi from Ashtool, Luca Valisi & Paolo Bianci from Ludmila, Paul Beauchamp from Gullinkambi and a bunch of other people involved in this fringe scene. The 12 tracks running at a little over an hour define the experimental noise genre in all of its aspects, from the somewhat electronicly-influenced, to the more industrial-ish, to the most freeform of 'em all. Given the diversity within, some of these pieces are truly outstanding and touching, while others go by less remarkably. Personally my favourites are the opening "La Cosa Piu' Violenta che Fai" (the most violent thing you do) which really sounds like Daniele's early band Mudcake's sound dueting with Diamanda Galas and Trent Reznor and "Distoguitars" which sounds, uhm, I don't like, like Sonic Youth meets Entombed, but with no drums and no vocals... Anyway, rest assured, the whole record is much more industrial than my two favourite songs description's would make you think it isn't... catch my drift?
cover
Artist: Division Six (@)
Title: The Age of Industry
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
The Age of Industry is the first release of John Seput (Murder DK and Severed Headthump) and David Kizzia (Murder of Crows) working together as Division Six. With this release Seput and Kizzia manage to take an already accessible genre to the next level, pulling in influences from all over the alternative map and spanning the last two decades of underground guitar-themed sounds and styles. Unsurprisingly, some of these styles work better than others. What works definitely works, and what doesn’t work definitely doesn’t work.

The Age of Industry picks up where coldwave left off, integrating crunching guitars, melodic vocals, catchy beats, and a healthy dose of synthesizer. Seput’s vocals are surprisingly diverse, as he manages to sound not only like himself, but also like Tim Skold, Godsmack, and even Ozzy Osbourne. Some of these variations work to their benefit but confuse the overall direction of this release, which sometimes seems more like a festival compilation than the offering of a single band.

Overall, The Age of Industry is a catchy, upbeat album that I find myself singing along to more often than not. Some songs catch my attention more than others, some I really enjoy, and some I don’t. While most of this album is pretty well done, especially the songs with slower themes, some tracks seem to have trouble holding together. I honestly think that if the recording quality and production standards were higher the album would be much better. As it is, The Age of Industry comes across sounding more like a really appealing demo than an officially produced album. Division Six has a lot of potential, and I believe their sound has the ability to catch on. I expect that after touring and more time together as a band, both in and out of studio, their next release will be an accomplished one.
[ 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...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661] [1662] [1663] [1664] [1665] [1666] [1667] [1668] [1669] [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]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

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