Music Reviews



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Artist: MIHA CIGLAR (@)
Title: A piece for two instruments and a saxophone player
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Young Slovenian composer, musician and sound engineer Miha Ciglar studied saxophone, musical pedagogics and sound engineering in Maribor (Slovenia, his native town too) and Graz (Austria). "A piece for two instruments and a saxophone player" (a contribution to the "Open Cube series", Cube, Institute of electronic music, Graz) is a 26' improvised piece recorded live to two tracks, and is an interesting real-time interaction between the wind instrument and digital manipulation. It begins with a kind of swarming drone, similar to Hafler Trio's use of string samples - then it breaks into a mess of digital crackles, pitch-shifting, loops and (barely recognizable for the most part) sax roars and sputterings. If you wondered how a Peter Broetzmann recording could sound in an glitch-electroacoustic mix, this could be an answer, and this work definitely could appeal to those into radical Japan improv or Nmperign. There are a lot of interesting passages, but at times the performance suffers from repetitiveness or let-down moments: "no overdubs, no mixing" is not always the best choice, especially if we're to hear an improvised session. I still feel this kind of material should be HEAVILY overdubbed. Still, an interesting experiment.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Sensitive Sampler #1
Format: CD
Label: Sensitive Records (@)
Rated: *****
SENSITIVE RECORDS is a new label with a real open-minded attitude: from rock to avant-garde, to classical music. This sampler shows 14 tracks taken from four forthcoming albums, whose red line is the high quality of music and the capacity of mixing different styles in a charming way.
About NICK GREY & THE RANDOM ORCHESTRA, the ensemble is an international music collective leaded by the Rumanian artist Nick Grey. In these tracks, taken from "Regal Daylight" album, they continuously combine different influences, using soft drum machine, distorted guitars and classical instruments. I'm totally shocked by the first track "thievesamongthorns": starting with a classical intro, with the collaboration of the famous tenor Vasile Moldoveanu, soon shows a soft, sweet and melancholic atmosphere, with a wonderful clarinet leading to a land of memories. "Intruders" reveals a more strong attitude, alternating a powerful electric guitar with piano and violin, while "Parachutes Drops" is a darker song, gloomy with its strings and glockenspiel-like carillon.
EMPI (L’Eglise du Mouvement Péristaltique Inversé – The Church of Reversed Peristaltic Movement) is another project which involves Nick Grey, a French speaking ensemble now releasing the second album, a totally mad and distorted mix of romantic landscapes and visions of pain. While listening to their "V" I’m submerged by an atmosphere a la Debussy, with a moving and desperate duo piano-violin. "Pression", instead, with a pulsing beat and a repetitive clarinet is like being closed in an asylum, with people whispering everywhere, knocking at the walls and far machinery noise. "Haiku" is a long walk between moist walls and "Pédagogie du tremblement" is your final arrival to Hell, a nightmare on Earth. PINKERTON & GREY is a collaboration between the Nick Grey and the Armenian pianist and soprano Jasmine Pinkerton. The tracks, taken from forthcoming album "Dress Rehearsal" show melodic and really listenable compositions with piano and voice. "Wheelchair lovesong" is a sad song with some Pink Floyd’s "The Wall" echoes, while the wonderful "Song 6" brings you to a sunny and drowsy Spring afternoon, in the last decades of 800, lay down on the grass reading Verlaine’s verses. "Israël" starts softly, bringing me to memory the best songs of Ashram, to increase in a crescendo that involves the listener in a vortex of emotions and passion.
At last, unusual for CHAIN DLK’s readers, are two tracks from VASILE MOLDOVEANU’s "Arias": this is the reissue of an opera arias album by the great Rumanian tenor. Surely I cannot review the music: the two tracks in the sampler are the wonderful Puccini’s "E lucevan le stelle" and Bizet’s "Agnus Dei" and they need no additional words by me. What I can say is that Moldoveanu is a really great interpreter, with a deep and powerful voice, revealing that classical music has not yet lost its charm and that you can find it only in real artists, far from TV-business "Three Tenors" or "Pavarotti and Friends".
It was really a long time I hadn’t listened to a so touching compilation. Every artist is a must and I’ll wait anxiously the release of their albums.
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Artist: ANDRE HARDANG BORGEN (@)
Title: Barokken (1600-1750)
Format: CD
Label: TIBprod (@)
Rated: *****
Norwegian artist André Hardang Borgen (involved in several other projects, including the Norwegian Noise Orchestra) collects here ten tracks recorded between 1997 and 2003. As the time period is quite relevant, I wonder if they're presented in chronological order. Anyway, Borgen is into glitchy muzak, very often reminding of Oval in its half detached half obsessive use of minimalist loops and clicks. Rhythms are there, though not obtrusively - "sjSkft" sounds like a crazed videogame, "666+888" is almost "regular", and "just a mouse-click away", one of the best tracks, is hypnotic and tribal. The main problem is that there are good ideas but they almost always remain sketches, which can put off the listener after a while. The last track, "Kunst-hus", is definitely the best one, and a promising direction if it's the most recent by Borgen's: a recognizable, nostalgic (guitar?) melody, gentle crackling electronics and a sweet whispered voice. More "song-like" than everything else in the cd, and surely more engaging for the listener.
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Artist: TOMAS KORBER/KAZUYA ISHIGAMI
Title: Mistakes
Format: CD
Label: Neus318 (@)
Distributor: C.U.E. Records
Rated: *****
Composed between 2002 and 2003 as a mutual manipulation of sounds, "Mistakes" is an album of (mostly?) electroacoustically processed guitar sounds. The inputs, whatever their original form may have been, were de- and re-composed into a sort of primitive idea of guitar: just metal and electricity. Kazuya Ishigami (aka Daruin, Billy? member and Neus318 owner) offers two tracks: the first one is made of several fragments, minimal scratches and autistic granular sounds. Track 2 begins with a gentle arpeggio (the only recognizable guitar playing in the whole disc!), soon to be smashed into digital particles, loops, drones, reverses and delays. More varied than track 1, but not as cohesive, and unfortunately ending with abused harsh noise. Swiss impro-guitarist Tomas Korber opts for a much more subdued approach: his track opens with almost lowercase low frequencies, to gradually rise up to a droning mass (circa isolationist ambient), and then fall again into silent ashes. An interesting record, with several fascinating moments (especially in Korber's), just not that cohesive throughout.
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Artist: MARUFURA FUFUNJIRU (@)
Title: Fragile
Format: CD
Label: Neus318 (@)
Distributor: C.U.E. Records
Rated: *****
I know absolutely nothing about Marufura Fufunjiru, except that this cdr is released by Kazuya Ishigami's Neus318 - but what a nice surprise it is. Fufunjiru's music is a moody, solemn flux of ominous droning frequencies and soft digital ashes, at times nearly silent, at others building up menacing walls of sound (though not with a brutal harsh noise aesthetic). As this music is obviously nothing new or unheard by now, Fufunjiru's strength lies in his taste and in the care for every single sound particle - there's a lot of discipline behind these free-flowing sonic clusters. I can't compare it to anyone in particular, but an artist who has experimented with a similar drones+glitches sound is Cordell Klier; but you can also think of a mix of performers as diverse as Lull, Asmus Tietchens, Akira Rabelais and Mika Vainio (circa "Onko"). A truly enjoyable release, with a definite emotional impact: glass is fragile, but it can cut deep.
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