Music Reviews



image not
available
anymore
Artist: Astral & Shit
Title: Divo
Format: CD
Label: Black Mara (@)
Rated: *****
Astral & Shit is the prolific project of Ivan Gomzikov from Russia. This release is presented with evocative words hinting a sort of gnostic inspiration behind it and this usually means that it's a dark ambient release. In fact, the music of this project is a canonical dark ambient but there's a more structured writing behind it i.e., it's not a simple drone but there's a more layered approach to sound using evocative samples.
The first track, "Riphean Mountains", has a quiet first part based on sparse samples on a pulsating background, a second one based on a sharp drone and third one based on a sort of hum. "Ursa Major" is a crescendo which surrounds the listener. "Polota Crossing" has a first part based on evocative foley sounds introducing a more canonical second part which evolves in "Mugodzhar", static track based on a too slowly evolving drone while "Taganay" make an effective use of noise to generate the illusion of movement. "Beryls Eyes" closes this release with a moving drone carefully constructed and developed.
While not exactly ground-breaking and somehow trivial in some solutions, it has good moments when the sound construction has the lead instead of a too contemplative drone. Only for fans of the genre but they will enjoy the release.
cover
Artist: Matawan
Title: We Lingered In The Chambers Of The Sea
Format: Tape
Label: Midira Records
Gareth Chapman and Barclay Brennan, as Matawan, release a turquoise cassette (and thankfully a download) of a single 31-minute melodic ambient piece in which various chord patterns and soft melodies in interesting and counterpounting rhythm patterns wash back and forth in gradually adjusting, quite thickly-applied layers. Repeating synth-string pads and organ-like synths and reverb-bathed piano sounds meld with slightly harder-edged tones, and a subtle whiff of processed guitar, to give the “full bombastic synth-orchestra” version of relaxing ambient music.

In the latter third, multiple layers of synchronised arpeggio melodies (from a “basic 90’s keyboard” apparently) add a pulsing rhythm that was absent before, tending at times almost towards synthpop chord changes, but deferring from assembling into any larger form or structure.

It’s a dense and straightforwardly emotional listen where changes happen a little more rapidly than you expect, almost as though a longer work has been compressed in time here because the duo found a stock of turquoise C60’s. It’s quite bold, but perhaps lacking in dynamism inbetween sections, and too relentlessly full-on, bordering on bombastic, for it to really strike an emotional chord. “Needs more light and shade”, as they say, but certainly a rich luxuriant carpet of symphonic-style ambient.
cover
Artist: Eric Maltz
Title: Pathway
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Flower Myth
New York-based Eric Maltz describes himself as a producer and pianist foremost and is a relative newcomer to techno, but from this 3-track 12” you wouldn’t tell. Here are three confident if straightforward bits of gentle techno that sound like they’ve come from somebody who’s been working in the genre for many years- in fact, if anything there’s a suggestion of lethargy and going-through-the-motions about these.

The title track is the strongest, with a simple slightly-sawtoothed synth melody dancing back and forth over a steady groove. 808-ish style rapid clapping and a bassline sounding like low piano notes give proceedings a decidedly late 80’s flavour.

“Ah-Shu-De-Ohu” revolves around some stuttered vocal samples looping round, which personally I’m not that enamoured with, I’m all for stuttering and experimentation but there’s something about this result that just doesn’t grab me. For the first three minutes it feels like it’s building to something, but that something never really arrives.

On the B-side, “Line Through” is a mellower affair of slightly balearic chords and gradually ebbing plinky chords swimming through reverb and delay over a steady-as-clockwork rhythm.

It’s smooth, quite satisfying, but it won’t really stand out in a crowd- a sort of everyday techno.
cover
Artist: Markus Eichenberger & Daniel Studer
Title: Suspended
Format: CD + Download
Label: Hat Hut Records
Eichenberger’s clarinet and bassclarinet collaborate with Studer’s double bass for a 45-minute album of sombre, sparse notes, drones, rumbles and grumbles from the furthermost experimental edges of jazz. Occasional hammering or other gentle abuse of the instruments adds an occasional percussive layer to something that is otherwise a very pure and focussed sound.

After the baldness of opener “Walking Harshly”, there’s a few more spontaneous flourishes in “Pausing Reluctantly” which roll nicely into the more percussive “Staying Numbly” and “Glancing Loudly”. By contrast “Listening Sideways” is more plaintive, allowing the long clarinet tones to breathe expansively first, gradually joined by some properly lush low double bass timbres.

With some vocal inhales and creaky-door bowing noises, “Gliding Upwards” feels a bit more theatrical, with some ‘tread carefully in the haunted house’ notes that roll elegantly into the lighter but still sparse final piece “Aiming Anew” that wraps with a flourish that remains in character.

It’s a very clear work with a single-minded approach, consistent throughout and engrossing without being challenging. The Hat Hut label is releasing some very fine bits of experimental modern music, nicely if slightly modestly presented as CDs in slim gatefold card sleeves (that won’t take up a lot of space on your shelf!) and this is another quality example.
cover
Artist: Amandus Schaap & Evert Kramer
Title: Done
Format: Tape
Label: Midira Records
Amandus Schaap and Evert Kramer stick to a fairly well-trodden path of piano-led ambient music with “Done”, their first release as a duo. Many familiar elements are in play here- gentle piano themes with subtle tape warbling, electronic constant-rain-meets-vinyl-hiss-meets-digital-wind atmospherics, long synthetic and melodic drone pads, ghostly vocal noises.

But while harshly I might say it plays well and truly by the ambient book, it’s certainly not an unpleasant listen. Pieces like “Aftermath” are strongly emotive, centred around sombre piano that ebbs into and out of synth-symphonic melodies. The piano work on tracks like “Drowning, Surface Reflections” is very strong, neither complex nor minimalist yet cleverly imbued with both melancholy and optimism.

It’s available on green transparent cassette and to download, and I’d recommend the latter- the subtle low-level rumble sections of this release are of the kind really quite unsuited to the hissy, whirry cassette medium. Going off on a tangent here but whoever decided that cassettes are cool but CD-Rs aren’t needs their ears examining- but that’s another story.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171] [172] [173] [174] [175] [176] [177] [178] [179] [180] [181...190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960] [1961...1970] [1971...1980] [1981...1990] [1991...2000] [2001...2010] [2011...2020] [2021...2030] [2031...2040] [2041...2050] [2051...2060] [2061...2070] [2071...2080] [2081...2090] [2091...2100] [2101...2110] [2111...2120]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha