Music Reviews



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Artist: LUKE VIBERT
Title: Lover's Acid
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Active since the early nineties also as Plug and Wagon Christ, Luke Vibert is at his first CD for Planet Mu. LOVER'S ACID is a collection of three 12" released by the label ("Luke Vibert", "Homewerk" and "Lover's Acid") and it gathers twelve tracks of acid electronic lounge music. Drum'n'bass, jungle and techno are the ground where the Luke's patterns are looped and if tracks like "Come on chaos" or "Dirty fucker" are a good example of electronic soul and acid house other tracks don't succeed into giving the same energy. It's like they lose themselves into the research of an excessive technism and for this reason they result less immediate. I want to clear out that they aren't rubbish but sometimes some tracks risk to work like background music into modern launge bar.
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Artist: ENCOMIAST
Title: Mers de Sommeil
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Rated: *****
I was not familiar with Encomiast, which, started as a trio, is now the solo project of Colorado musician Ross Hagen - and, by the way, US label Absolute Zero Media has just released his brand new full-length, which is his fourth one, I think. I'll surely want to dig deeper in Encomiast's discography, since this limited cdr, aptly titled "Seas of sleep", features some beautiful, trance-inducing drones. I venture Hagen's starting instrument is a guitar, or a string instrument, then streched and manipulated into slowly changing waves of sounds - mostly lulling and subdued, but with some well-controlled moments of billowing noise ("Somnebula"). Everything sounds carefully conceived and assembled (a big plus in times of instant records), shifting from darker metallic rumblings to passages of rarefied melancholy. Encomiast's approach to ambient minimalism reminds of Troum's, True Colour of Blood's or Moljebka Pvlse's best moments, and invites to frequent listenings.
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Artist: MATHIEU RUHLMANN
Title: Broken Vessels
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Distributor: Drone, Self Abuse
Rated: *****
Third release from Canadian soundmaker Mathieu Ruhlmann (after a cdr on S'Agita and a 3" ep on Ta'lem), "Broken Vessels" is a sombre, nocturnal soundscape which manages to achieve what many electroacoustic or ambient works lack, i.e. an emotional/psychic grasp on the listener. Based on the manipulation of a flow of natural recordings (possibly only water), the three tracks gurgle, scrape and echo throughout, depicting barren underwater territories and conveying the distressing feel of being stuck in the belly of an adrift submarine. What lacks in terms of variation - as all tracks are quite similar in their strategies - is easily made up for by the genuinely nightmarish listening experience. This is one of those (actually few) ambient records that you have to resist and eventually surrender to to fully appreciate them - and surely one of the darkest interpretations of Mystery Sea's night-drone concept.
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Artist: hl
Title: A449/19 (Work in Progress)
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: no ground-r
Rated: *****
hl is UK artist, and founding member of No Ground Processes label itself, Dan Hopkins, here creating an interesting soundscape out of the A449/19, which is "a road between Newport and Monmouth in South Wales. This road lasts for 19 miles, during this road you cannot turn around and go back to the place you have left. There is no access from one side of the road to another". Must be a cool place to visit, eh! Sound sources are not easy to detect at all, but there must be some heavily manipulated field recording of cars passing. The 20'30" piece is quite basic in its form, and maybe a bit more composition and layering could have helped - but it does hit the right spots and keep you interested until the end. Heavy on bass frequencies, the sound samples are looped and filtered (in real time?) throughout, with a good control of minimal variations, quiet parts and aggressive bursts. Quite nice for sure, and if this is a work in progress I'd like to hear its next steps.
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Artist: Centrozoon (@)
Title: Never Trust the way You are
Format: CD
Label: Resonancer
Rated: *****
Centrozoon is a trio based in Germany who caught my attention a few releases ago and who keeps developing their style into an ever more mature blend of artsy pop music, minimal electronic music, alternative use of loop structures and intimate and sophisticated vocal lines and lyrics. Altough the album has been recorded and mixed in the US, Canada, Finland and Germany, you can definitely hear Berlin's strong influence on these guys' music as something that goes beyond the mere fact that Resonancer is based in Berlin (which makes me wonder why Mute isn't on this yet). Echoes of Einsturzende Neubauten, Depeche Mode and David Bowie will keep you company throughout the 13 tracks. No-Man singer Tim Bowness' own style beautifully counteracts the David Torn-ish touch guitar style of Markus Reuter and the astonishing rhtyhmical patterns programmed by Bernhard Woestheinrich. The album also features the collaboration of King Crimson's Pat Mastelotto and beautiful b/w photography in purple art-work that comes in a clear jewel case with cardboard slipcase and an 8-page booklet. Impressive.
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