Music Reviews



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Artist: CHEFKIRK/IVERSEN
Title: split
Format: CD
Label: XV Parówek (@)
Rated: *****
A split cdr released by Polish noisemaker XV Parówek: Chefkirk, who I've never hard of before, offers 11 short tracks, Iversen one longer one. The former delivers some digi-noise assault, obtuse crackings ("(R+M)/2 Method"), some glitch ("Megaceryle Alcyon"), some short ambient loops... bust it's mostly harsh noise, nothing spectacular but savage and varied enough to entertain. A shame that the more atmospheric parts are just fragments, without much composition. "Being boiled hurts" is a great title. Iversen (also in Koff Koff, Kredi Dubi, Origami Klassika and TIBprod label) offers his "Caligula symphony d" which is, like the parts on other releases, a collage of loops, synthetic drones, and (real-time?) digital manipulations - distortions, pitch-shiftings etc. I don't like it, I'm sorry but I find it just boring, under-produced and tiring. It has no grasp on me.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Thiscotronica. Sample mind
Format: CD
Label: Thisco (@)
Rated: *****
A new sampler from Thisco, again devoted to Portuguese projects, which is a nice thing - this label/collective is definitely struggling to give Portuguese electronica some exposure. "Thiscotronica" (co-released with the Fonoteca Municipal de Lisboa) is a special release for Spanish Margen magazine, with mostly unreleased or demo tracks; the subtitle "Sample Mind" is probably a pun on Simple Mind, as they've previously done with Bauhaus. Following Thisco's main orientation, the cd features Warp-ish IDM/electronica/breakbeat, with good projects like Ghoak, L'Ego (with some ethno influences, à la Von Magnet), Com.Gen., Mikroben Krieg and Sci-Fi Industries, all offering successful tracks. Variety is added by Rasalasad, with his electronic ambient, The Ultimate Architects (crossing electro-EBM and wave), Low Pressure System (electro-dub), and Oxygen (something like electro meets Tricky-influenced vocals). Check this out for a show of Portuguese beat-oriented electronica [and please count how many times I've written "electronica" in this review!].
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Artist: IVERSEN/GUIGNOL DANGEREUX
Title: Reconstructing Mechanical Bacteria
Format: CD
Label: TibProd (@)
Rated: *****
A split-remix project in which Iversen (Norway) and Guignol Dangereux (Italy) remix each other's sounds. Guignol Dangereux actually sound a lot like Iversen's releases, with a flow of broken electronics - not really noise, not really ambient, it sounds like sound samples granulated through some software. Possibly in a live improvisation? Which implies that there are interesting sounds but also equally boring parts. Not bad, but definitely lacking coherence (even in chaos). I don't know to what extent Iversen uses or changes GD's sounds, as I haven't heard this Italian project before - though I think they play rhythmic electronica. Which is actually the deal here: mostly analogue sounds, beats and loops, "Dangereux Elements" being the most successful track - the others are a bit dull, which is a crime for rhythmic stuff. Again, not repulsive, but not exciting either. You can also download 4 more tracks from the TibProd site.
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Artist: NON
Title: Live in Osaka
Format: DVD
Label: Caciocavallo / Soleilmoon (@)
Rated: *****
Boyd Rice, a.k.a. NON, released his first ever DVD, which is also the first DVD release by the funnily name Soleimoon sub-label Caciocavallo. This DVD includes a live performance of NON in Osaka, Japan, where Rice recites his war anthems and other mostly military related lyrics in his SM57 while four drummers hammer and bang the skins of four oil-can-shaped cattle drums (the only other instrumentation was an ancient tibetan horn and pre-recorded sounds such as bell tolls, various recordings and lots of samples of speeches and movies). Unfortunately the quality of the video is very bad. Although the camera was on a tripod above the crowd and occasionally the operator moved the lens back and forth to close up on Rice and them zoom out to get the whole stage, the bad (as in almost absent) lighting doesn't help at all and the overall quality is just terrible (pixel effect). In spite of all of this, the importance of this performance is undeniable (and the dozen of bootlegs that were made of it in the past 15 years is proof of that) mostly because it was the first time that such a star-studded line up came together: Michael Moynihan (Blood Axis), Douglas Pearce (Death In June), Tony Wakeford (Sol Invictus) and Rose McDowall (Strawberry Switchblade), who sings one short piece and who at the time was living in Japan and was extremely popular thanks to her band.
The DVD also includes two short movies by Rice: "Invocation (One)", which shows a black and white masturbation of a she-male; and "Black Sun", which is an occult color-patch-art-work of svastikas and was premiered at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1996.
Finally "Live in Osaka" makes up for the poor video quality of the show with an interesting commentary by Rice (recorded specifically for this DVD and containing lots of useful info and funny stories) as well as shots from Japan and Europe showed as slides with terrible music.
This DVD is region-free (so you can play it all over the world without restrictions) and also contains a tour diary written by Rice during his 1998 European tour with the Austrian band The Blutharsch.
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Artist: The Hafler Trio
Title: Normally
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Soleilmoon (@)
Rated: *****
Hafler Trio's fans are accustomed to limited editions and special packaging, and their latest double CD "Normally" doesn't escape the pattern and presents itself in an astonishing Andrew McKenzie-designed folding cardboard package with diagonally cut folding paper sleeve notes and additional booklet with quotes... Very hard to describe, you pretty much have to see it. As for the musical contents of the two CDs, they are both based on the voice of Neubauten's mastermind and singer Blixa Bargeld. His voice has been used as basic source all resulting sounds have been elaborated from. Unfortunately we never get to quite hear Blixa's signature voice because the processing is so radical and total. Once we get over this major disappointment, we can try to enjoy the controversial and provocatory stillness and tranquillity of the two CDs. Minimal, subtle, subsonic, deserted and icy monotone sounds, slowly (very slowly!) but surely evolving and rising in volume across their entire duration. You'll have to sit through an entire 10 minutes before you even realize you've been listening to the CD and it's been happening all along. And it keeps going down that route for the entire duration of both CDs, so except for two short stages in the first CD where the sound gets piercingly loud (at least in comparison to the rest), between both the discs you'll never get any real "action" happening, so to say. While the former disc ("Normally") is said to be based on the three characteristic styles of the EN leader (whispering, hysterical and ordinary), the latter ("Sphotavado") instead arranges three vowels according to certain Sanskrit rules. The statutory meaning of this CD goes beyond the mere appreciation of tone and assertion of source and dips deep into the subconscious realm of psychic vibrations. Equally powerful and silent, at the same time.
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