Music Reviews



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Artist: Cool HipNoise (@)
Title: Select Cuts Showcase & More (Kingston - Havana - Lisbon)
Format: CD
Label: Select Cuts (division of Echo Beach) (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Select Cuts keeps driving their talent scout Volks Wagen green yellow red van down the roads of the worldwide dub nation, this time following the signs pointing to Kingston and Havanna and finally stopping in Lisbon, for a fresh new look on the international interpretations and accents of the dub language. Having shared stages with Mad Prof, Dreadzone, Zion Train, UB40, Lee Perry Fernanda Abreu, The Last Poets and having established and grown in and around Lisbon's Hot Club Jazz School, quite expectably Portuguese trio Cool HipNoise is heavily latino influenced and mixes dub with electronica, acid jazz, soul, reggae, African, Brazilian and Jamaican flavors, sounds and beats. This is a selection of tracks from their double-release third album "Musica Exotica I" and "Musica Exotica II" (previous albums, "Nascer do Soul" and "Missao Groove", were produced by UK's The Big Cheese Allstars Luke Williamson and by Germany's Mo' Horizons hip hop activist Ralph Droesemeyer, respectively) and it is produced and mixed by renowned brit Dj Manasseh."Select Cuts Showcase & More", as the title clearly suggests, is presented in a showcase fashion, meaning that there is the vocal version and then the same song in its instrumental dub version. And if you are wondering what the "more" in the title is all about, how about a cover of Nirvana's hit "Come As You Are" (those who followed the band through their first two albums and the re-release of their second, might know that they enjoy covering and remixing and have already done so with songs by Michael Jackson and Massive Attack among others)? Or how about collaborations of international artists such as The Last Poet, Marga Mungwambe and Orlando Santos?To be released at the end of this month as a CD and a five-song 12" EP with the Last Poets tracks and three non album cuts.If only Bush would find it in him to quote Cool HipNoise and say «Peace to you all. In Dub we trust» instead of thed shit he's been talking lately.
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anymore
Artist: Centrozoon (@)
Title: The Cult of: Bibbiboo
Format: CD
Label: Burning Shed (@)
Distributor: CD Street
First heard about Germany's Centrozoon in conjunction with one of their member's side project called Show of Exaggeration (cmp review on Chain D.L.K.). Centrozoon is a trio including singer Tim Bowness, painter/designer/musician Bernhard Wöstheinrich (synthesist and percussionist) and Markus Reuter (touch style guitarist). I don't know what Tim Bowness role is since I haven't heard one single word really (I do know that this CD, which is a real CD, not a CDR, was released under his own CDR label Burning Shed in the UK) but the work of the other two consists of intricate sonic textures of noises, free no-wave guitar improv and layers of synth-pads chords. As you can imagine the result is extremely unconventional and especially far away from what you might expect from traditional guitar sounds records. Discipline, research, experimenting and processing affect Reuter's guitar playing so deeply and radically that it's more like another keyboard that interacts with Wöstheinrich's generated sounds and manipulated waveforms. Ambient soundscapes performed with the ease, passion and fragility of real time experimental noise tweakers and intertwining lines of harmony and freeform fusion performed with the elegance, purity and casualty of a long forgotten jazz art that transpires from underneath the lid of vaporous electronics and artificial density. Only occasionally they resort to broken and slightly dirty beats. If you absolutely must have comparisons then I would say a mix of Torn, Fripp, Frohmader, Stockhausen, Roedelius, Hedges, Sverisson and Obmana should give you a pretty good idea.
The production process of "The Cult of: Bubbiboo" followed a pioneering and quite interesting route, involving Canadian guitar player Derek DiFilippo and group of people whose interactions and reactions were recorded in a specially created webforum. This is their third album as Centrozoon (a new album called "The Scent of Crash and Burn" has just been released too) and comes in a nice digipack with drawings and notes by King Crimson biographer Sid Smith. The beautiful blue-ish cover art work is of course by Wöstheinrich (also reflecting his composing work).
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anymore
Artist: Wolfsheim
Title: Casting Shadows
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (USA) Strangeways (Germany)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
After being introduced to Wolfsheim a couple of years ago via the Subout compilation, I started loving them immediately. But after buying Spectators’ and countless rounds of Kunstliche Welten" (Artificial Worlds) on my CD player, I sat wondering what would be in store on the next CD. More dance floor fillers like "Once In A Lifetime"? More ballads ala "Popkiller"? This one is a definite step forward, tossing away danceablility in favor of structure and disciplined playing, opting more for more subtle shifting sounds rather than the dynamic synth tour de force of past work. The way the synth patterns, along with bleeps and digital sounds, is one more to get your mind to dancing than your feet. And yes, classical "my baby hurt me" fare awaits, which normally I would complain about after 4 or 5 CDs of it, but it’s the one thing that can fit such music perfectly. "Kein Zuruch" is the high point here, an absolutely gorgeous song, with Peter’s vocals riding high and beautifully, using his charming style of German to carry just as much weight as the music itself. Their German songs always blow me back, such as "Kunstliche Welten" particularly their version with the Prague Philharmonic on the single. For those looking for another Spectators’ look elsewhere. For those looking for a group who may well carry the torch for a new generation of electro-pop, with an extraordinary sense of musical beauty, look no further than this CD. It is fucking marvelous, simply put, taking it's place with Alphaville's "Salvation" and Evil's Toy's "Silvertears" as one of my fave synthpop CDs. Rating: 10. If you can get your hands on a copy of the 2 disc copy of this CD, go for it! Also recommended are And One, Anything Box, Psyche, and of course Kraftwerk (to whom this is rather comparable).
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Artist: AAL (@)
Title: In Luce
Format: CD
Label: S'Agita Recordings (@)
This should be Davide Vallecchi's fifth release in a couple of years, and though the time span is short, the improvement in his music is dramatic. In the wake of his self-released cdr's ("Disc 1" and "Inherited and partially transmitted"), this new work seems to also incorporate the organic quality of his electroacoustic/field recordings-based compositions ("13" and "Dear Dead Days" on S'Agita), and this synthesis is a remarkable sign of maturity. "In Luce" is pure cosmic ambient for creatures of earth and breath. Vertigos of light (and Schulze's "Irrlicht" is the closest work I can think of as a paragon) and passages of shadows - never completely detached in the moments of ecstasy, nor desolate in the dark ones. And never static, turbulent in its suspension, in continuous mutation - to describe one single track would be like trying to pin down a cloud. As moving and enchanting as art (/life) should always be.
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Artist: KEY_ON (@)
Title: My body is a body
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Anaemic Waves Factory (@)
Incredibly good stuff released by AWF in the Minium series, which means 3" format and less than 50 copies around, which (in this case) is a shame - I do hope it gets reprinted sooner or later. Key_On is a multimedia collective formed by Piero Fragola (music, sound editing, computer graphics), Alice Ferrante (voice, translation) and Luana Visciglia (lyrics, photographs, voice on last track). I only know Fragola is also active as a noisician with the power-electronics project POSK (read the review of their recent split with Murder Corporation). But this ep is really brilliant and diverse. Imagine a tapestry of digital bleeps and frequencies, something between glitch electronics and ambient, and spoken female vocals reciting some hallucinated lyrics about bodies - which is also the theme of the haunting pictures in the multimedia part, with Flash animations adding a proper visual dimention to words and sounds. Believe me, it's actually much more rewarding to experience the whole thing than to sit here trying to describe it. A demanding conceptual work extremely accomplished in the final result, which shows a lot of talent and ideas. Fascinating... I truly hope the collective will release something more anytime soon.
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