Music Reviews



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Artist: Muslimgauze
Title: Sandtrafikar
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Rated: *****
The fourth installment in the series of Staalplaat re-editions of older Muslimgauze recordings, is an 800 copies limited edition of a 1997 production entitled "Sandtrafikar". Its seven tracks further explore the realms of murkier percussive suites and introduce the spoken language element (middle eastern languages) as a narration that accompanys part of the record. Another recurring element in this album (and in many others) are the bells. Electronics moves from the back to the front in several parts, and ranges from simple noise floor to predominant rhythmical part, while maintaining a pretty minimal approach. In fact, "Sandtrafikar" is a nice effort in combining ethnic ambience and flavors with electronic layers and patterns as it sneaks from percussive parts with udu, darbuka and the like to electronic suites, like the second track, where real (and saturated) percussions are only used as embellishments on top of a pulsing minimal electro-beat.
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Artist: Muslimgauze
Title: Zuriff Moussa
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Rated: *****
These 1997 recordings re-released this year in 800 copies, sort of give you an idea of the transition from Bryn Jones' atmospheric ambience electronic period into the distorted percussion loops period. The signature sound of his later production starts emerging among the 24 tracks of "Zuriff Moussa", which maintain some of the characteristics of his older music, in terms of underlaying sound floors and real life samples spread across drones and other layers of disquieting sonics. Definitely a good purchase for those who would like to get a general and overall idea of what Muslimgauze sounded like throughout the years.
Artist: VENETIAN SNARES
Title: Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
It's difficult to describe Venetian's Snare music and if you want to make it simple you could only name his bleeping sound with thousands light rhythms and melodies. Maybe the right way to approach HUGE CHROME CYLINDER BOX UNFOLDING is to stop questioning and to open the three panel cover in front of us (it represents a 3d futuristic digital paint) and let us slide within the slight melodies built by Aaron Funk. The construction of the fourteen tracks is based on wild rhythms which apparently seems to go nowhere and on long chords which like melodic seeds, leave their trace here and there. If you focus your attention on the tracks' structure you'll notice hundreds of micro sounds/rhythms which create an interesting web which at a first listening could provoke chaotic emotions into a superficial listener. This album desn't needs an altered state of mind to be appreciated and if you let yourself lose your senses, you'll discover a new world made of hidden melodies. Try it!
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Artist: FLEUR (@)
Title: Magic
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Coming from Ukraine, Flëur started as a duo formed by Olga Pulatova (piano and vocals) and Elena Voynarovskaya (guitar and vocals). They released a couple of CD before joining Prikosnovenie (as it seems from their unofficial website at http://www.fleur.kiev.ua) and re-releasing their debut CD and this new one titled MAGIC. Anyway, let's consider this new release their second album as it doesn't matter being too picky when you've got to focus your attention on what's inside their new release and when you'll listen to this new CD, you'll agree with me. Flëur's music is joyful and inspired and sometimes remember Cocteau Twins because of the use of the voice but I found them really personal and intriguing as their melody is simple but their song's structure it isn't. The musical virtuosity of the various instruments (piano, acoustic guitar, flute, etc) form thirteen pleasant moments full of melancholy, joy and atmosphere. Flëur as many other label's bands wants to create a certain dreamy atmosphere but instead of basing their sound on synth pads they let their acoustic instruments do the talking and this pleased me, because they did it using melody. My preferences go to "The Ballad Of White Wings And Scarlet Petals", "Medallion" (this one is the most Cocteauish song of the lot), "Never", "The String" and "Legion". This isn't goth, neither new wave or folk... it's Flëur.
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Artist: Muslimgauze
Title: Return of Black September
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Rated: *****
Second in the series re-editions of older Muslimgauze music released by Staalplaat, "Return of Black September" (which is also the name of one of the most notorious palestinian terrorist organizations) presents yet another face of the artist's eclectic production. Originally released in a limited edition of 500 copies, the year 2004 will offer 800 lucky people (make that 799, I got my copy already!) the possibility to taste Muslimgauze's interpretation of what sounds like a deep, droning and disturbing ritual made of soft finger-tipping Darbuka percussion skin patterns, single hits of both delayed and unprocessed drums, loops of stringed wide-range instrument, field-recorded noises and voices, or just breaths and whispers. Quite alienating and scary at times, "Return of Black September" goes about its business in a continuous fashion, divided into five parts, totaling more than an hour of music. Experimental dark electronics meets tribal and ethnical mantras of ancient and distant culture creating a new breed of electrified world music. Altough the middle of the record portrays the most inspirational and every day life sounding part of this record, the darker and nastier side takes the lead at the top and the tail of the record, with increasingly predominant and saturated rhythmical grooves. Bryn Jones was so far ahead of its time, you can't even begin to comprehend if you don't know at least one tenth of his discography, totaling almost 200 titles so far.
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