Music Reviews



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Artist: JIMMY BEHAN (@)
Title: Days Are What We Live In
Format: CD
Label: Elusive Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Even if he is a music producer in Ireland, with DAYS ARE WHAT WE LIVE IN, Jimmy Behan present to the audience his very first album. Electronic music is the main element of the ten tracks. You can also find acustic sound of drums and guitar but the main structure is built with electronic layers. Jimmy focused his writing on melodic parts (many tracks like "Granby row", "Deeper than heaven" or "Complete" are real songs with female vocals and electronic arrangements) and on rhythmic concatenation of sounds which at the end form a melodic pattern. While I was listening to the album I had the sensation of being suspended and this made me remember the album Graeme Revell did using only sounds coming from insects. You know, even if Jimmy used piano, drums and guitars, a big part of his sound is made by the web of minimal sounds you find on each track. "Hanover", especially, is a good example of "growing" track where layers of sound are added just to form a complicated and complete texture. I admit that sometimes I lost the attention because of the extreme relaxing atmosphere of the album but if you are into these sounds, this album is worth your attention.
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Artist: BLUE BIRDS REFUSE TO FLY (@)
Title: Anapteroma
Format: CD
Label: Decadance (@)
Rated: *****
Blue Birds Refuse to Fy is the personal project of Kyriakos Poursanides, keyboard player of the greek indie band Wasteland (1990-1998). "Anapteroma" is their second album and while their first "Give me the wings" (released in 1998) saw on guest vocals Cristina Mihalitsi and George Priniotakis (she also wrote all the lyrics) this second sees on vocals George Dedes (leader of Illusion Fades for more than ten years). The switch of singers wasn't the only change that Kyriakos did, because while the first album was more mellow and focused on dreamy vocals, "Anapteroma" is more of an electronic/goth album. Most of the tracks are well crafted with nice melodies, sounds and they have got the right amount of dance ingredients (catchy bass lines, good rhythms). If melody and a certain care about sounds are a costant for all the tracks, musical influences are wide and pass from the goth of "House of sex" to the e.b.m. of "After dark" or "Quasi stellar II - Give me the wings", passing through a mix of both in "Play with me". You know I'm a fan of musical cross over (try to figure out a mix of VNV Nation and Fields Of The Nephilim) and Blue Birds Refuse To Fly did a good job creating an album you should check out!
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Artist: OSSO BUCCO/LJUDBILDEN & PILOTEN
Title: split
Format: CD
Label: Nosordo
Rated: *****
A nice split of introspective electronica, packaged in a tender surrealist layout. Greg Kowalsky, aka Osso Bucco (what a lousy name, I love it) is the author of a hypnotic and emotional mix of drones and digital deconstructions, both intimistic and slightly sombre. It reminded me of Désormais, Tim Hecker, etc. Even better, Ljudbilden & Piloten (Kristofer Ström) plays delicate watercolour instrumentals with guitar, trumpet, strings, rhodes, melodica, etc. The emphasis is on acoustic, non-filtered instrumentation, though electronica is wisely used in the arrangements. Emotional tunes for late fall afternoons, in the wake of F. S. Blumm, Tapes, Gastr del Sol, etc. A very well conceived split, with strong material from both projects.
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Artist: WHITEBASS
Title: Depth of Field
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Distributor: Drone Records, Self Abuse
Rated: *****
I was not familiar with the works of New Zealand artist Clinton Watkins, who has collaborated with Richard Francis (Eso Steel/CMR label) in the DOE project and released solo stuff as Three - and I regret not knowing more, because his debut as Whitebass is absolutely brilliant, surely one of my favourite drone works of 2004. The night/ocean theme behind Mystery Sea is powerfully conveyed by this 40-minute track, mostly based on amp-cracking bass frequencies: heavy, thick low-end drones, best enjoyed with headphones or in a very silent environment. The track evolves at a glacial, but steady, speed, and when you feel you've reached the bottom of the ocean, your eardrums imploded for the pressure, a menacing pulse painfully brings you back to breathing. The whole work is incredibly powerful and cohesive, even when indulging in silent territories. Its mind- and time-bending quality reminded me of Lull's masterpiece "Cold Summer", but take it as a feel more than as a direct reference. One of the most engaging ambient works I've listened to this year.
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Artist: CORDELL KLIER
Title: Traces
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Distributor: Drone Records, Self Abuse
Rated: *****
A prolific and eclectic electronic musician, Cordell Klier now contributes to Mystery Sea's always remarkable night/ocean drones series with this 3-track, 40-minute work. A scary and brooding album to say the least, "Traces" features Klier in a definite dark ambient mood, assembling layers and layers of metallic frequencies and subdued, disquieting noises. Klier's ocean seems to be plagued by unkown monsters and upsetting memories, and he certainly delivers no shelter to rest by. The underlying oppressive force of the work reaches a peak in the third and final track, "...right?, I'm still here!", with an epic climax and possibly a sort of final purge of inner demons.
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