Music Reviews



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Artist: DVAR
Title: Rakhilim
Format: CD
Label: Monopoly Records (@)
Founded in early 90's, Dvar produced several releases but they haven't been really prolific as RAKHILIM is only their third full lenght album after "Dvar", "Raii", the retrospective "Piirrah" and several mini. I never heard of them but their is a particular style as they mix darwave, classical music orchestrations and something that could remember circus music. The result is really theatrical and the twenty tracks form an ipotetic soundtrack good for a freak show. Vocals are the most strange thing about this album as it seems there aren't proper lyrics or an usual use of vocals, most of the time is like there's a child crying and this underline the most dramatic passages. The titles of the tracks add some mystery to the whole work as I can't imagine what "Rakhilim", "Ieroh", "Naakhiil" or "Tavirim" mean. Doing a search on Google I found that Dvar is related to Torah and hebraism, so this could be a clue: a russian band interested in Kabbala which write their lyrics using yiddish language... If you have a chance and if you are looking for something particular in the Sopor Aeternus' vein, check this out!
Artist: TRESPASSERS W (@)
Title: Sex And The End Of It
Format: CD
Label: Somnimage (@)
Trespassers W are a Dutch band with too many albums under their belt, we lost the count. Trespassers W travel across labels, they are crafty and intelligent trespassers. They sing mostly in English, they use all the instruments they deem useful for expression, a true variety orchestra. They not only engage with music, they engage with ideas and should be not only heard but listened to. "Sex and the end of it" delves into some choice moments and icons of 20th century sexuality, both legendary (Josephine Baker) and everyday, mundane anecdotes of sexual pleasure: Fifties’ Dutch housewives ogling at the ice-cream man passing in the street while their men are at work, barmaids ready for a pick-up in the sexually-charged male bar culture, sexual escapades among ordinary, un-heroic couples in ordinary Halifax... Trespassers W have a talent for accurate detail and look at everyday culture (especially their own, or European and Western history in general) with an ironic consciousness of its historical fragility. Maybe this explains also their loving, sometimes nostalgic glance at our past. Sex not only tangles men and women in all combinations, but also men and women with objects and representations sexually filled with pleasure and imaginary anticipation. Therefore we have songs on sex toys ("Newly in stock"), bananas and double-entendres ("Bananalities"), fetishes ("Stiletto" click-clacking with high heels), sex jokes, visual images (a nude painted by Tamara de Lempicka of a woman reclining in a green Bugatti).Was this the sex that gave birth to us, too? Are we the children of this 20th century sex? If this is so, Trespassers W are right to be curious and enquiring, because after all we were born, happily or unhappily, out of those fantasies. "The end" of sex might mean both the purpose of sex, and the end of a certain history of sex. "Cyberporn revolution" hails a potential new era of pornography: "Porno was a man’s boot on a woman’s neck ... the solution is for women to make porn of a better sort". Having said that, what does the music of Trespassers W sound like? "Sex and the end of it" follows different styles as usual, according to the atmospheres suggested by the songs: there are rockier moments, but the overall impression is one of flexible eclecticism, complex moods. You can take it as a film score, with different songs as in a musical. Sometimes it is sung, at other times half-spoken half-sung. It is not an album that overwhelms you, takes you in, rather, if you are disposed to listen to it a few times.
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Artist: COLOR THEORY (@)
Title: Color Theory Presents Depeche Mode
Format: CD
Label: 11th Records


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This is the first time I've listened to an album of Depeche Mode covers without constantly comparing the original to the new version, and I don't think that in this case the reason is because Brian's voice is similar to Martin's. Instead, I think that the only thing we are dealing with in this case is: talent. The fact that Depeche Mode has always been a reference point for Brian's music isn't a mystery (his "Ponytail Girl" has been taken as one of the Exciter songs on Napster and it's still present on some Basildon boys bootlegs) but in this case it's like the opposite has come true: it's like there's Color Theory into DM tunes and this is an amazing effect, as the eleven songs take a deep breath of fresh air living a new life with Brian's arrangements. Everywhere you can find new melodic lines, different intros ("I Want You Now", "Sister of Night", "I Am You", "Surrender", "One Caress" and the dance version of "Leave in Silence" are the most evident cases) and everything sounds so natural. It's like the songs had been written originally that way. This isn't absolutely an album for fans only but it's the evidence of the value of this project. Brian did it right and if you want to do yourself a pleasure you'll get this gem!
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Artist: Hans Teuber
Title: Oil
Format: CD
Label: Jackson Street records (@)


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Seattle-based duo of Paul Rucker (cello/bass) and Hans Teuber (alto saxophone) chose the path of improvised music for their new collaborative effort entitled "Oil" and featuring 9 reverb-dipped compositions made of calm atmospheres, canonical playing and freely performed melodies, various noises generated with the cello's strings, neck and body or the percussive sounds made with the sax's keys. Stockholm-based NY-er double-bass player Jair-Rom Parker Wells has some similar material out, while the brass reminds me of some of Gregorio Bardini's or Parts' experiments with breath instruments. For lack of a better category I had to file this under experimental/avantgarde but it is really an album of free-jazz, maybe with a touch of ambient philosophy, for the type of relaxed soundscapes that it generates. A healthy dose of experimentation is to be found either way though, thanks to the two's continuous pushing the envelope with their instrument and because of the fact the the whole thing allegedly hasn't been rehearsed, so even more so interesting and deserving.
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Artist: Paul Rucker
Title: History of an Apology - the Tusekegee Experiment
Format: CD
Label: Jackson Street records (@)


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Composer and bass player Paul Rucker's "History of an Apology" is a free-jazz avantgarde classical musical project featuring some really fine musicians from the experimental, jazz and fusion scene of the Northwest (including Bill Frisell, Julian Priester, Michael White, Hans Teuber, Jay Roulston, Jeff Busch, Jovino Santos Neto, Bill Horist, Amy Denio, Elizabeth Pupo-Walker, Jeff Hay, Neil Gitkind, Erik Anderson, Isaac Marshall, Jacques Willis, Farko Dosumov, Flora Mcgill, Josephine Howell).
The Tuskegee Experiment is that infamous and scandalous experiment conducted on 600 black men between 1932 and 1972 by the US Public Health Service to "study" syphilis. The poor men were never told what they were suffering from nor treated to be cured, instead they were left to die so that data could be collected about their disease. A movie was made about this too. This CD has a ROM track that will give you all the info (facts, photos, audio and more) about these horrendous facts.
Mostly horn-oriented, the atmospheres are chilled and almost claustrophobic, oscillating like a lullaby with Paul's hypnotizing bass lines and dense melodic parts by the horns and a swingy drum set that provides for fluidity across the spectrum. People who loved Moe! Staiano's work but need some degree of "normailty", so to speak, mind find this appealing.
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