Music Reviews



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Artist: Poisonblack
Title: EscapEcstacy
Format: CD
Label: Century Media
Distributor: Century Media
Goth metal/rock project from the vocalist of Sentenced (who in turn has a good bit of heavy goth sound to them), running a line between early Paradise Lost ala Icon’ and early Type O Negative a bit ala "Origins Of The Feces" (and women go gaga for Peter Steel after a title like that. Go fig!). The vocalist sounds very classically trained and quite bassy, singing along with dark organ lines and goth rock guitars alongside. My favorite track would be "The Exciter" with it’s smooth combo of groovy goth metal and cleverly placed synth lines contrasting it. The CD could stand to be a bit longer but it does stand pretty solid, especially in a field of cookie cutter Norwegian goth metal bands. Rating: 9.
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Artist: GOR (@)
Title: Phlegraei
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Third CD for this Italian artist which with PHLEGRAEI reaches his highlight talking about medieval and ethnic music. Francesco Banchini which plays also with Ataraxia here plays percussions, guitar, clarinet and many other instruments to give to his music a wide range of flavors and atmospheres. Obviously we are always talking about a man who is paying his tribute to medioeval culture and who studied deeply the music he's playing. See for example the different kind of performances that he's able to offer: a medieval performance with traditionals from 1000 to the 1300 (the show as includes the games and fire eaters). One with ethnic music and original songs, sailing across East Europe and Middle East and last but not least, one focused on ecstatic music close to Sufi and Arabs sounds. For this album Francesco met the Roms in the fields of Naples and made yiddish dancing songs with bewitching croatian choirs. The Gitanos of Pozzuoli aided him playing different kind of traditional instruments and all the twelve tracks of the CD are permeated of a sensual feeling characteristic of the Mediterranean culture. If you are into medioeval traditional music and ethnic music you'll find in this work something different to discover, less dark respect his previous album but certainly original.
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Artist: Par Thorbjornsson (@)
Title: Genophonics
Format: CD
Label: Multimood (@)
This is the kind of record that would most likely come off as a little boring especially if you aren't in that right mood. It's a different story if you know what the record is all about and what the process of its creation involved. And believe me you do wanna know, 'cause in cases like this, it makes all the difference in the world and changes the entire perspective!Basically P酺 Thorbj顤nsson pushes the envelope of musical creativity with what he called "Genophonics", or the construction of music based on genetic information. In other words what you are listening to is inspired, controlled and created by human DNA. It all started from his idea of "structured randomness", or the desire to find a balance between thought-out music and unexpected events. After analyzing various sources that meet these criteria (spiral galaxy, Jupiter's red spot, the earth's atmosphere, a whirlpool, a sea shell and a DNA molecule) he decided to go with a computer system that would simulate the ribosome translation that takes place in our bodies converting genetic information into music score based on decimal figures. Like in MIDI program change (for you knob-tweakers out there!), several sound properties (decay, attack, note, temporal position, channel etc) were assigned to the numbers crunched by that computer. By experimenting with different ways of treating the temporal occurrence of the sonic events Thorbj顤nsson has created a unique piece of ambient music and probably a milestone in the history of experimental music, pushing the boundaries, breaking the barriers and zeroing the limits. And if you are not excited enough by the idea of listening to music created by what you are made of, then you might wanna add to that, that the chosen genetic sequences where those of the human X-chromosome, the chromosome of sex. Strictly musically speaking, if I was to hear this without knowing what it is and where it comes from, it would probably sound a little too subtle and placid and would make the easing and the loosing of the focus almost inevitable. Of course if you are in the right spell (and I had one listening session like that, after about the 5th time playing this) you can grasp and really appreciate such passionate and harmonious music. You will hear lovely ethereal ambience punctuated by occasional acoustic instruments such as strings, piano, guitar - all of course triggered by what you are, nothing but pure DNA, dissolving...
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Artist: Gregorio Bardini & Carlo Cantini (@)
Title: The Cosmic Milk
Format: CD
Label: Multimood (@)
I remember receiving Gregorio Bardini's debut wind-instruments-only solo CD "Eurasia" back in 1995 and after that I haven't heard any of his new material but I do know he has kept himself busy working with the like of Alio Die, Vidna Obmana, Death in June's Tony Wakeford, Lounge Lizard's Steve Piccolo and of course Tuxedomoon, Kino Graz and the italian group T.A.C. in the past.His mastery in ancient and modern wind instruments from all over the world coupled with the violin playing of italian Carlo Cantini (one of Italy's most appreciated violinists who played with Stevie Wonder and Franco Battiato among others and who manufactures his very own line of electric violins that you can see at cantini-strings.com) translate into a majestic sound experience where expertise, knowledge, mysticism but most of all good taste, great musicianship, great composing skills and great sound are the ingredients of a first-class elaborated and sophisticated, relaxing and enchanting masterpiece. Bardini's wind instruments (flute, nay, kena, ocarina, didgeridoo, bulgarian flute) and Cantini's electric violin and viola are hovering over grand anthems of celestial and folkish flavor made deep by skillfully composed electronics (Cantini) and made big and pulsing by dynamically performed percussions (by the both of them) that go from the soft accent to the humongous and deep tribal ceremonial-like drumming. Quiet and isolationist at times, in tune with the visions of nature's most spectacular scenarios, dragging, releasing and convulsed but harmonically representing the folk heritage of the drum's very own history and geographic origin, "The Cosmic Milk" is the ultimate blend of ambient, world music, tribal music and electronica. Cantini's fine recording and engineering only further enhances the artistic value of such a great work of love, unique in its art and absolutely desirable in its form. Go get it right now!
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Artist: Figure (@)
Title: Exhaling Ammonia
Format: CD
Label: Multimood (@)
Downtown New York guitar player Brannon Hungness a.k.a. Figure has been a busy guy for quite some time. He is currently playing with Kill Myself on Monday but his previous performing experiences include the Glenn Branca Ensemble (replacing Helmet's singer/guitarist Hamilton), Hammerhead (yes the rockin' Amphetamine Reptile band!), Oblivion Ensemble, Zeena Parkins, Elliot Sharp, the Virgil Moorfield Ensemble (that would be Swans' drummer). From such an active, prolific and eclectic artists you could expect anything, really. For example, how about a highly experimental album with a dark aura surrounding the subtle ambience and driven by an intimate touch, like if the artist is pouring his heart into the essence of these compositions? That is what you get. And if the pieces mirror Hungness' soul then of course you understand the hypothetical disclaimer which would state that you'll be dealing with harmonic beauty and disturbing ferocity, and all the stages in between.Being a guitar player, occasional acoustic guitars are almost a must, but the main sounds sources are to be found elsewhere. Sampling, tweaking knobs on synths and playing back field recordings is probably part of it. Very atmospheric disturbances made of chaotic noises building up and almost silent passages of tranquil melody all characterize this album, which I guess well represents the name of the label who released it too: Multimood, as in many different types of moods created with different types of approaches and instruments. Even vocals are occasionally to be found.I wouldn't recommend this album to somebody that knows Brannon from his tour with Hammerhead or to somebody that isn't prepared to question the way they have listened to music so far, but of course if you are part of that readership of ours that daily deals with loud experimentalism and eclectic audiophile arts you may very well find something that you like in here.
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