Music Reviews



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Artist: Studio Pagol (@)
Title: The Rest of the World
Format: CD
Label: Maboul Prod / Team for Action (@)
Distributor: Benelux : Hysterias
Rated: *****
After "Serendipity", the Belgian collective Studio Pagol is back with a new full length album that carries on the tradition of giving birth to a heavily europeanized but clearly indian- and eastern-inspired magmatic and magnetic mixture of pop and electronica, fueled by great musicianship and live instrumentation. The thirteen tracks once again prove that they know exactly what buttons to press in the Pagol Studio. Female vocals. If you like Von Magnet, Radio Derwish, Mimetic, Mlada Fronta, Young Gods, Asian Dub Foundation, Muslimgauze, Chemical Brothers but also more extreme stuff you'll feel right at home with this action team!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Epitaph for John
Format: CD
Label: Korm Plastics
Rated: *****
John Watermann (1935-2002) was an influential, if underestimated (mainly due to limited distribution of his discography, except a couple of more famous discs), experimental composer, and also a writer, painter and sculptor. Diagnosed with incurable myeloma in 2000, he got in touch with Frans de Waard (Freiband, Beequeen, Korm Plastics, etc.) and they started working on a field recording based piece, which was never finished. When Watermann passed away in 2002, de Waard thought of this special tribute, featuring artists Watermann had collaborated with (Ralf Wehowsky, Asmus Tietchens and Merzbow) re-reading his final piece "Toowong Cemetary", here aptly left as the last track. De Waard, present as Freiband, uses as a source for his piece both Watermann's recording and all the other contributions. The result is a heartfelt and artistically successful farewell (no track is less than good), and also a quite varied one, though the original field recordings act as a sort of fil rouge throughout, from Tietchens' electroacoustic experiments to Merzbow's noise bath to Freiband's microsounds. Wehowsky, incorporating sounds from "Toowong Cemetary" in a composition with sitar and "handorgel-manipulation", is probably offering the most challenging and layered piece, but the quality is consistent throughout. Besides its commemorative intent, "Epitaph for John" is an excellent and much recommended cd. More tribute pieces, based on the same sources, are available here: www.microsound.org/watermann; and don't forget that Cold Spring is about to reprint Watermann's masterpiece "Calcutta Gas Chamber".
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Artist: TISHA MUKARJI
Title: D is for Din
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources
Rated: *****
Recorded at Copenhagen Royal Art Academy last April, "D is for Din" is a solo piano improvisation, but don't expect anything even remotely close to typical piano notes. Judging from the sounds he utters, Mukarji plays a square piano frame directly on the chords, with his fingers and, my guess, a variety of objects like e-bows, brushes etc. Depending on your preferences in terms of concrete sounds, there could obviously be exhilarating passages and less interesting ones, but the continuous scraping and screeching of the chords is vigorous and detailed enough to keep you captivated throughout. One of the best releases in the new Creative Sources overflow.
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Artist: FATHER MURPHY (@)
Title: Six musicians getting unknown
Format: CD
Label: Madcap collective (@)
Rated: *****
"C'mon brothers and sisters, it's sermon time with Father Murphy!!", don't worry this' a band and their only religion is music, for God sake it has nothing to do with any kind of church. "Six musicians getting unknown" is full of indie/alternative folk influences, when playing acoustic they have a lot of Modest Mouse (track 6) or remind their side project called Ugly Casanova. As you can imagine the equation is: "folk-rock", "alternative-rock" with an eye open on american roots. The songwriting sometimes is incredibly good and arrngements such as backing vocals, violins, keyboards don't hide too much the genuine "acustic-rock" style of the tracks. Father Murphy (aka Federico Zanatta plus some boys and girls from the Mad Cap collective) knows pretty well where he's coming and above all where he's headed, despite the songs pass from the depressed ballad to the rock hit, the sound is tight and homogeneous. Probably I'm boring but one of my favourite track of the lot is the last one (I'm talking about the hidden one) that's probably the weirdest track of the record: a real acid pearl a la Radiohead (Pink Floyd!?), that means an effected vocals that floats on a of single note reverbed drone with feedbacks fading distantly. Father's sin is indie music.
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Artist: STUNT ROCK
Title: This is Stunt Rock Vol.3
Format: CD
Label: Cock Rock Disco
Rated: *****
Stunt Rock incarnate musical craziness and geniality at the same time. The tracks, as usual for this kind of electro/break core music, are built using cut ups and loops but, always as usual, the result depends on the use the band does of the original material. William Flegal picks up loops of drum, guitar and movie dialogues and he opens a funny and dramatic window on people mediocrity. The most funny part is that into the package you can find a booklet with the lyrics of the tracks but them are made out of the samples. The other peculiarity is that the tracks are titled as "Audio selection number..." and as subtitles William wrote a sort of explanation to the track. So, if "Audio selection number 5" is reported as "I will make up for a lifetime of fucking chicks poorly by having the most diverse cd collection in the world", "Audio selection number 14" is "Please don't stand behind me and make those stupid noises with your mouth that you seem to think indicate to me that you are thinking". Everything has been mixed like there was a drunken schizoid at the desk but he did a damn good work! Break rhythms meet daddies voice, country guitars, lounge extracts and other thousands of sounds / emotions. This is fun!
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