Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Parasomnic records presents "Describing Paranoia"
Format: CD
Label: Parasomnic records (@)
Seattle's Parasomnic records presents a limited edition 4-way split CD-R with music by Anaphylaxis, Hollydrift, Kava Project and The Devouring Element. With three tracks each, these 70 minutes of oniric illbient/experimental sonic avantgardism unravel atmospheres that go from largely reverberated cold soundscapes to nightmarish moods of uneasiness, from disturbing and disquieting drones to eerie and entrancing minimal rhythmical structures. Anaphylaxis (www.geocities.com/anaphylaxis1) get caught up in the most oniric aspect of this record and with their witchy and at the same time ancient/distant/tribal sounding interpretation definitely get very close to describing paranoia. Hollydrift (www.hollydrift.com) try to capture the scariest and most hidden fears in our brain, with uncanny dialogues and vocal samples blended with distortion and a windy sensation of loneliness, all hovering in thick layers of sleepy reverb. The prolific artist behind the Kava Project (www.ampcast.com/oddio) mix in distant tibet-type choirs with other voices and slow down-pitched industrial machinery-sounding beats or other minimal rhythmical structures that scan the pace of his slowly evolving and warping sombient sounds. Geoff Dargan's The Devouring Element project (www.mp3.com/TheDevouringElement) is the most rhythmical of the four, still keeping the sick outlook of dark-ambient/industrial sounds that characterize this release. I dare you to fall asleep listening to this record.
Nov 25 2003
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Artist: Monolith (@)
Title: Sub-System
Format: CD
Label: Daft records (@)
While we go about our daily lives, Belgian Daft records keeps releasing fine records by people who keep making fine music, people like Eric Van Wonterghem (ex Absolute Body Control, the Klinik, now with Insekt and Sonar) who's been doing it since 1997 as Monolith (the early '80es with the names I mentioned before). Producer, mastering engineer, musician, Eric has been around a lot of industrial music, power electronics, noise and the like, and Monolith reflects that. After four albums (three CDs on Daft and one 10" on Triton), the new "Sub-System" still pumps up the crowds with powerful distorted beats, saturated electronics and, what maybe differes from label-mates' similar productions, Eric also plays around with layers of synths, calmer sequences of electronica, vocals samples, less distorted rhythmical structures and arpeggiators... What is interesting to know is that the whole album has been created on the amazing Propellerheads Reason software (so people get down to business and make music already)! Two of the songs feature Dirk Ivens of Dive and Johan Van Roy from Suicide Command on vocals. Interesting evolution!
Nov 25 2003
Artist: the Silex (@)
Title: Dimentia
Format: CD
Label: self-released
The Silex is Jason Straw, a Gainesville, Florida based musician whose declared influences range from Sasha, Oliver Lieb, Man with No Name to T-Power, Photek (U.F.O.), Ed Rush, Panacea, Aphex Twin, Autechre, Cylob and include a large collection of sci-fi and horror movie samples. The result of all of these influences sounds like ambient-electro with a dark vein and a cerebral outlook. Straw's indeed hopes to bring listeners a cerebral experience and he manages to do so with enticing atmospheres of warping sounds, distant sometimes un-intellegible vocal samples, simple sequences and minimal rhtyhmical structures. The thin sounds combined with the hints of more complex beats and the fat bass lines all work together in achieving this uncanny and eerie blend. The album is pretty varied and encompasses a number of the above-mentioned influences, but only to a certain extent as the choice and manipulation of sounds is not quite at those levels yet. There's work to do but he's on an interesting lane and the combination of those influences with his brain-cells-frying weird experimental approach make it unique and quite unpredictable. Also available in vinyl.
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Artist: JACK WRIGHT & BOB MARSH
Title: Birds in the hand
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
A beautiful impro jazz tour-de-force from this experienced duo. Playing together since 1986, Jack Wright (alto & soprano saxophone, contra-alto clarinet) and Bob Marsh (cello, violin and processed voice) really convey how theirs is an "improvisational music that reflects and celebrates the mutual dependence of the players", to quote the liner notes. There's an almost physical feel of strict interplay between the instruments, though in a realm of sonic cubism, with broken lines, abrupt changes and jigsaw dialogues; and the key word must be joy, the joy of creative jamming bewteen two long-time friends. Something claerly audible even if you're not a jazz expert.
Artist: Coppe' (@)
Title: Nauru
Format: CD
Label: Mango + Sweet Rice
Distributor: Strictly Confidential
Eclectic Japanese female singer Coppe' moved to Arizona a few years ago and then, this time in Hawaii, she started her own label Mango & Sweet Rice. Her debut album "Nauru" breaths through the cosmopolitan outlook that a globe-trotter like her acquires and is enriched by the contribution of musicians from all over the map, both geographically (Tokyo, Arizona, San Francisco, London and Hawaii) and stylistically (lounge music DJs, electronic music producers, jazz players etc). Lyrics in japanese and in english and a lush, dynamic and delicate voice that will remind you of Bjork, CryBaby and many jazz singers, build around fifteen tracks that range sonically from chill out lounge music to electronica, from nu-jazz to trip-hop. The album is not very direct (requires a few listens) and a few songs seem like fillers, but the overall concept is really something and brings a lot to the table. Again, I would mention CryBaby as a valuable comparison for how varied the material is and for the general approach and of course the countries involved. The album is produced by No U Turn founder Nico, programming is by Terry D and Ryan Breen and Dr. Jacobson is on keys. Also included is a remix by Warp artist Plaid. A splendid and ethereal blend of solar and happy world-ambient for you to enjoy and chill with.
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