Music Reviews



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Artist: HA¤KU (@)
Title: Synthese
Format: CD
Label: Parametric (@)
Rated: *****
Haïku's new "Synthese" is a nine track CD that launches the new collection of Parametric artists (after the successful compilation "qfg", which also featured music by Haïku). The sounds contained herein are mostly IDM/electro. A fine research in sounds and a thin veil of lush layered sounds matched by an interesting exploration of beats and rhythmical structures, creates an organic and floaty texture of ambient electronica with a dark overall vibe. Haïku's sound has been compared to Iszoloscope, Displacer, Larvae. Their new CD comes out in a nice metal box with a red sticker on it. Very beautiful packaging. The CD also includes a ROM track featuring mp3's and beautiful video-clips by Remy Pelleschi of Mlada Fronta that further enhance its vision of molecular and orgnic nature.
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Artist: CHEFKIRK/IVERSEN
Title: split
Format: CD
Label: XV Parˇwek (@)
Rated: *****
A split cdr released by Polish noisemaker XV Parówek: Chefkirk, who I've never hard of before, offers 11 short tracks, Iversen one longer one. The former delivers some digi-noise assault, obtuse crackings ("(R+M)/2 Method"), some glitch ("Megaceryle Alcyon"), some short ambient loops... bust it's mostly harsh noise, nothing spectacular but savage and varied enough to entertain. A shame that the more atmospheric parts are just fragments, without much composition. "Being boiled hurts" is a great title. Iversen (also in Koff Koff, Kredi Dubi, Origami Klassika and TIBprod label) offers his "Caligula symphony d" which is, like the parts on other releases, a collage of loops, synthetic drones, and (real-time?) digital manipulations - distortions, pitch-shiftings etc. I don't like it, I'm sorry but I find it just boring, under-produced and tiring. It has no grasp on me.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Thiscotronica. Sample mind
Format: CD
Label: Thisco (@)
Rated: *****
A new sampler from Thisco, again devoted to Portuguese projects, which is a nice thing - this label/collective is definitely struggling to give Portuguese electronica some exposure. "Thiscotronica" (co-released with the Fonoteca Municipal de Lisboa) is a special release for Spanish Margen magazine, with mostly unreleased or demo tracks; the subtitle "Sample Mind" is probably a pun on Simple Mind, as they've previously done with Bauhaus. Following Thisco's main orientation, the cd features Warp-ish IDM/electronica/breakbeat, with good projects like Ghoak, L'Ego (with some ethno influences, à la Von Magnet), Com.Gen., Mikroben Krieg and Sci-Fi Industries, all offering successful tracks. Variety is added by Rasalasad, with his electronic ambient, The Ultimate Architects (crossing electro-EBM and wave), Low Pressure System (electro-dub), and Oxygen (something like electro meets Tricky-influenced vocals). Check this out for a show of Portuguese beat-oriented electronica [and please count how many times I've written "electronica" in this review!].
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Artist: IVERSEN/GUIGNOL DANGEREUX
Title: Reconstructing Mechanical Bacteria
Format: CD
Label: TibProd (@)
Rated: *****
A split-remix project in which Iversen (Norway) and Guignol Dangereux (Italy) remix each other's sounds. Guignol Dangereux actually sound a lot like Iversen's releases, with a flow of broken electronics - not really noise, not really ambient, it sounds like sound samples granulated through some software. Possibly in a live improvisation? Which implies that there are interesting sounds but also equally boring parts. Not bad, but definitely lacking coherence (even in chaos). I don't know to what extent Iversen uses or changes GD's sounds, as I haven't heard this Italian project before - though I think they play rhythmic electronica. Which is actually the deal here: mostly analogue sounds, beats and loops, "Dangereux Elements" being the most successful track - the others are a bit dull, which is a crime for rhythmic stuff. Again, not repulsive, but not exciting either. You can also download 4 more tracks from the TibProd site.
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Artist: NON
Title: Live in Osaka
Format: DVD
Label: Caciocavallo / Soleilmoon (@)
Rated: *****
Boyd Rice, a.k.a. NON, released his first ever DVD, which is also the first DVD release by the funnily name Soleimoon sub-label Caciocavallo. This DVD includes a live performance of NON in Osaka, Japan, where Rice recites his war anthems and other mostly military related lyrics in his SM57 while four drummers hammer and bang the skins of four oil-can-shaped cattle drums (the only other instrumentation was an ancient tibetan horn and pre-recorded sounds such as bell tolls, various recordings and lots of samples of speeches and movies). Unfortunately the quality of the video is very bad. Although the camera was on a tripod above the crowd and occasionally the operator moved the lens back and forth to close up on Rice and them zoom out to get the whole stage, the bad (as in almost absent) lighting doesn't help at all and the overall quality is just terrible (pixel effect). In spite of all of this, the importance of this performance is undeniable (and the dozen of bootlegs that were made of it in the past 15 years is proof of that) mostly because it was the first time that such a star-studded line up came together: Michael Moynihan (Blood Axis), Douglas Pearce (Death In June), Tony Wakeford (Sol Invictus) and Rose McDowall (Strawberry Switchblade), who sings one short piece and who at the time was living in Japan and was extremely popular thanks to her band.
The DVD also includes two short movies by Rice: "Invocation (One)", which shows a black and white masturbation of a she-male; and "Black Sun", which is an occult color-patch-art-work of svastikas and was premiered at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1996.
Finally "Live in Osaka" makes up for the poor video quality of the show with an interesting commentary by Rice (recorded specifically for this DVD and containing lots of useful info and funny stories) as well as shots from Japan and Europe showed as slides with terrible music.
This DVD is region-free (so you can play it all over the world without restrictions) and also contains a tour diary written by Rice during his 1998 European tour with the Austrian band The Blutharsch.
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