Music Reviews



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Artist: DARREN TATE/PAUL BRADLEY
Title: Sometime today
Format: CD
Label: Plinkity Plonk
Rated: *****
2004 was an incredible year for the Twenty Hertz/ICR partnership, as witnessed by an amazing series of solo and collaborative cds. "Sometime today", released by Beequeen's Plinkity Plonk, closes the circle with the only missing combination, i. e. Darren Tate (Monos, Ora) and Twenty Hertz's own Paul Bradley. A perfect companion to Monos' "Landscapes", "Sometime today" is a lengthy, multi-layered and shifting track where the two UK soundmakers weave the best meditative drone work I heard last year. As expected, sound sources are stringed instruments, electronics and field recordings, in the best Ora/Monos tradition - but once again, what is really astounding is the organic cohesiveness, and the emotional power, of the resulting sound mass. The piece harmonically shifts from an initial blissful suspension to the final startling vehemence of low-end drones and scraping recordings. Not a minute is wasted or redundant. Pure droning bliss.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Syndrom # 6
Format: CD
Label: Syndrom produktion (@)
Rated: *****
An assorted noise sampler from Syndrom produktion. I really loved Some Asian Female Bodybuilders' (aka Crypt Vihara from the Spanish harsh noise duo Hinyouki) opening tracks. SAFB modulates high-pitched, ear-piercing feedback as if he were a Toshimaru Nakamura without the zen and the onkyo (and probably with a lethal dose of PCP). Disturbing noise which is not harsh noise, which on the contrary is the main dish of the other artists, being Toni Kandelin (Finland), o. m. s. - n. m. a. (Belgium) and Guttural Strap-On (Sweden - Syndrom produktion's boss as well), all delivering more standard slabs of distorted electronics. Nothing to complain about, but also nothing to rave about, just decent noise. o. m. s. - n. m. a. are probably a bit more structured and varied, Guttural Strap-On has some nice bass-heavy death ambient atmospheres. If you like noise you'll dig this.
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Artist: MILITIA CHRISTI
Title: Non Timor Domini, Non Timor Malus
Format: CD
Label: Cursed Land (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
Born in 1209 the original Militia Christi is a well known association that gathers baptized people who want to live in an active way their being catholic. Musically I can't tell you who Militia Christi members are but they are coming from Rome and they have just released their second album through Cursed Land. I don't know if the band is taking inspiration from the catholic movement but I really doubt it, since on "Verax Vitis" you can find samples of Aleister Crowley's recording of him reading his poem "La gitana" (if I'm not wrong it is that one). In my opinion they wanted to create something mysterious just to spice up things. Anyway, since we've got no elements to judge their faith, let's talk about music. Well, if you want me to tell the truth, the first time that I listened to NON TIMOR DOMINI NON TIMOR MALUS I thought "Oh my, it is so much time that I don't listen to Madre Del Vizio!". To be more specific, try to imagine an electro and up to date version of Christian Death / Madre Del Vizio passing through the '80s Roman band called Carillon Del Dolore with also an e.b.m. attitude (to be honest there are also tracks that are kinda industrial like " Cogitata Malus", "Verax Vitis" or the closing "Pater noster" where organised rhythms and melodies leave the place to litanies, chants and samples creating dark ambient tracks). All in all the result is kinda catchy and if you don't mind about the fact that on the lyrics Jesus Christ/ God or the cross are named a hundred times you can dig their music.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electronic Thisturbance
Format: CD
Label: Thisco (@)
Rated: *****
The new sampler from the ever active Portuguese label Thisco is largely based on the interaction between sound and the human voice. Most artists, like Von Magnet, Rasal.Asad & Sci-Fi Industries, Wild Shores, Phil Von and Telepherique combine spoken words and vocal samples with lightly rhythmic electronica. On the other side of the spectrum, GX Jupitter-Larsen (The Haters) offers a nice track of heavily crushed moans ("Her moans were grinding against his utricle"). Terre Thaemlitz and Jarboe (of Swans fame) are those who stick more explicitly to the spoken words formula, the former offering a kind of cover version of Rod Mckuen & Anita Kerr's disquieting "Nightwatch" (previously used by Boyd Rice/Non in "Music, Martinis & Misanthropy"). Finally, Francisco López is oddly featured with a noisy piece (in a harsh-noise style, actually!) based on contact mics and feedback, but (quite predictably for him) with no vocals at all. I have mixed feelings about this sampler: on the one hand, it's quite nice and flowing, but on the other hand I'd have expected more thrilling or daring contributions considering the very inspiring starting concept.
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Artist: DANIEL LENTZ
Title: Los tigres de Marte
Format: CD EP
Label: Cold Blue (@)
Distributor: Allegro (USA), RSK (UK), Silenzio (Italy)
Issue # 2 in Cold Blue's recent series of mini cds, Lentz's piece is also the most agitated and least explicitly minimalist one. Played by Marty Walker (clarinet), Brad Ellis and Lentz himself (electronic keyboards), Peter Kent and Robin Lorentz (violins), Maria Newman (viola) and Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick (cello), "Los tigres de Marte" is indeed a powerful, exhilarating and bright composition, which tends to ravish rather than lull you. Lentz himself talks of "tight clusters, glissandi, and even some bebop-driven rhythms". Quite a beautiful work, but when it comes down to personal tastes, also one I find less emotionally engaging than other Cold Blue titles.
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