Music Reviews



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Artist: BRIAN AND CHRIS (@)
Title: 3
Format: CD
Label: Dielectric (@)
Rated: *****
Some months ago, I reviewed Brian and Chris' "Palimpsest" 12" ep, which was quite nice. But this full length (featuring "Crossing", which was on the aforementioned vinyl, and 5 more tracks) is way more stunning, and definitely one of the best instrumental post-rock albums that I've listened to in a while. Switching a theory of instruments (the "rock" ones plus organs, pianos, Russian dulcimer, electric tanpura, pan pipes...), this impressive duo writes, to put it bluntly, memorable songs. Arrangements are complex and refinate, but melodies and rhythmic patterns always emerge as prominent features, while the electronic programmings (which were more evident in the 12", I think) are used with taste and skill. I know that the term is abused, but "cinematic" came to my mind quite often (ok, note that the project was actually born to score a friend's movie). Brian and Chris are gitfted with the one true standpoint in all good post-rock bands, that is, visionary synthesis: the result is a sort of modern easy-listening rock, and the main reference would be Tortoise circa "TNT" and "Standards" (though "3" is far more successful than the latter). Two thumbs up for this one.
Oct 17 2004
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Artist: PAF (@)
Title: Only our cars
Format: 12"
Label: Kohvi Records (@)
Rated: *****
Estonian label Kohvi is a particular electronic label and it was kinda normal receiving a particular record from them. Paf's "Only our cars" is an example of refined electronic music which gathers elements of lounge music along with '80s and '90s emotions. Vocals are scarce and are used only in a treated form, just like an instrument (see "Daisy"). Musically the 12" remember me the Nordic electronic bands (like Röyksopp) even if Paf sound is less focused on melancholy. The six tracks like little pieces of ice melt into light drops, leaving your ears wet with their essence. What I mean is: being instrumental track is difficult to sing them after a first listening, but like water their passage will leave a trace that you'll remember. As water their will refresh your foggy morning while your are pleasently feeling the warmth of you house. Try it!
Artist: Arctic Beard (@)
Title: The Circus of Shit Contributions+
Format: CD
Morose beats, ambient tunes and textures, odd bits and pieces from left field, sci-fi weirdmusic and quirkily altered vocals (from time to time) squiggle against your ears as you listen to Arctic Beard's, uh, distinctive audio compositions. AB's experimental personality reaches out like a sad child exploring this and that, picking things up, looking at them, putting them back down, moving on to something else, and sometimes coming back for a second look at a sound or odd bit of music. Without giving you a technical blow-by-blow of what each track sounds like from start to finish, peculiar segue to peculiar segue, I can only provide you the sketchiest of descriptions for this music/audio construction. For said description, see above. For reaction, keep reading. "The Circus of Shit Contributions+" is capable of being both meditative and unsettling. Meditative because it does provide for a unique metaphysical listening experience. Unsettling because ... well ... just because. It isn't that it goes from quiet to some really loud bit of strychnine audio strafing across your ears (like Pink Floyd did to me on "Ummagumma", the bastards ... I was trying to drift off to sleep to that CD). It's just that there's a certain sense of mental oddity that takes you to really strange places. Of course, some of us like to go to really strange places ...
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Artist: GENITOR LVMINIS
Title: Virgae
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Stateart (@)
Rated: *****
VIRGAE is the newest release by the Swedish project Genitor Lvminis. It is a 5" MCD and it brings to the audience two beautiful instrumental track. Without titles the two tracks enchant the listener with their slow growing of musical layers. The first one is based on acustic cyclic sounds which like a mantra hypnotize adding violins to the bass sounds which function as a metronome for the track. The 13 minutes seem to pass in an instant and at the end you are speechless and you don't know if playing the second one or skipping back the CD. "Virgae Pt.2" is shorten and ideally continue the ending of the first one as it has a darker sound. This time the main part is played by a louder rhythmical sample while the background textures (sounds of treated acustic guitars) thiken the sound adding new layers to the main one. A beatiful postcard package and a good new release thanks to Stateart, make it worth checking it out!
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Artist: L.E.T.O. (@)
Title: Underwater Circus
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
We already met L.E.T.O. months ago when I reviewed the "Noizzze.just do it" double compilation. This time I've got a whole demo, with four tracks, to review. UNDERWATER CIRCUS opens with "Nonsenseland", a track full of jazzy electronic sperimentations which turns into a cool movie soundtrack at the end. Since the first track L.E.T.O. is convincing me but with "Iridescent" atmospheres thickens a little bit bringing us a track based on dark ambient solutions which turns its experimental side with light noises and free improvisation moments, soon. "Underwater circus" is more focused on rhythms and melodic improvisations with some moments of calmness while "Strange ways to say goodbye" is a sort of melancholic track with weird sounds and melodies. It is a really way to say goodbye, indeed. Listening to L.E.T.O. seems to listen to a version of Jean Michel Jarre on acid and that's so cool. Watch out for his "Burn all the bridges down" album which will be released at the end of 2004 by DTA Records.
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