Music Reviews



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Artist: RASAL.ASAD
Title: Asuna
Format: CD
Label: Thisco (@)
Rated: *****
Second release for the solo project run by Fernando Cerqueira, one half of long-running electro-dubbers Ras Al Ghul and mind behind the Thisco label/project. Possibly less "cosmic" than the debut "Space.Scape", but still pretty fitting in the ambient macro-category, "Asuna" is an album of soothing synth waves and slowly unbending rhythmic patterns - something between Steve Roach, late Labradford and a bit of Boards of Canada at their most abstract. Oddly enough, this serene, almost "new age" feel couples at times with samples of a political nature, and some titles of the cd seem to follow Thisco's more and more openly confrontational stance about modern culture and communication - from the "Fight corporhate music" tag on the back cover to tiles like "Coolture", "Simulacra" (with a sort of sermon sample) and "Vidiots". This is sort of puzzling, but it's also cool to see people putting back a bit of content and flesh in an often sterile and technocentric environment.
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Artist: BEYOND SENSORY EXPERIENCE (@)
Title: Ratan
Format: CD
Label: Old Europa Cafe (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Rarefied sounds and creepy ambient textures make of RATAN an experience to live. On the latest Beyond Sensory Experience's album silence and dilated sounds are the main elements. The first two tracks "The Last Operation" and "Observing The Invisible" form a long hypnotic suite creating a disturbing effect stopped only by the relaxed sounds of the first half part of "Inside Erasmus Head". Atmosphere turns tough again with "Future Directions", "Anthem For A New Tomorrow" and "Numbers Rule The Universe" but also on the following "Time - Travelers Dilemma", "Ratan" and "The State Of The World" things don't get any better because tension takes a hold and sounds are even more dilated. Trumpets of hell seem to call your name while "The State Of The World"'s percussion state that everything is over. Each track has got a visual counterpart inside the booklet. The b/w shots give an idea of desolation and they stop the time, expanding the universe where Beyond Sensory Experience is the only sound left. Does the world is calling it quit?
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Sick Twisted Individual Vol.1
Format: CD
Label: Pure Power Darkside
Distributor: Nightbreed Music
Rated: *****

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Energy is the key and this compilation, coming from Pure Power Darkside productions in association with Nightbreed, is full of it. The fifteen bands of the compilation sharpened their claws to present to the audience fifteen tracks really involving. From the opening "Enter The Dagon" by Killing Miranda to arrive to The Realm's "Pray" you'll meet Midnight Configuration (with their catchy "Adrenalin high"), Pro Jekt (with a remastered version of "Alien Reflection"), The Last Cry (their "Cry" remembered me a little Motorhead), Brother Orchid ("Crucified" is a electro goth track with metal guitars), Libitina ("Mea Culpa - Flagellent mix"), Jesus Fix (their "Cast a shadow" didn't convince me as it's based on two chords and the atmosphere doesn't never change), Zietgeist Zero ("Tombstone tourist" sounds like a electro goth metal version of Siouxsie & The Bansheees mixed with Silverfish), Uninvited Guest ("Cross My Heart - And Hope You Die" seems like a cool electro version of Dead Or Alive), Voices of Masada ("Flight" is a classic up tempo melancholic goth ballad), Cauda Pavonis (present the exclusive "Love Like Broken Glass" which recalled me a litte In Excelsis if you don't count the pompous refrain), Lupine ("Egyptian Paradise" sometimes recalled me the latest Play Dead), Nothing Sacred ("Girl Inside" it's too melacholic for my tastes and even if suddenly it turns into a goth glam tune it doens't catch my attention) and just before the closing band you'll meet Arkam Asylum with "Gundam High". To be honest I didn't like three or four tracks but most of the bands are worth your attention and some tracks are really cool. This is a good result if you think that most of the bands are relatively newcomers.
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Artist: PURE / DEKAM (@)
Title: Reqoil / Displaced /Peaceoff
Format: DVD
Label: Doc (@)
Rated: *****
The REQOIL/DISPLACED/PEACEOFF project born from the collaboration of the long time active industrial project called Pure and Johnny Dekam (video performer and creator of the video software VDMX). They created this DVD with the help of the Rennes' College of Art, the Visual Arts department of Rennes and the Collectif Jardin Modeme, which hosted a residency for the artists in summer 2003. The first time I watched "Reqoil" I found it very disturbing. I was sitting on my couch in the dark and suddenly white flashes were hitting my eye while a sense of pain grew out of my chest and I had to turn off the DVD player. At a second time the pain was gone but I wans't comfortable: the images run fast and the hiss of the first track made me almost loose my senses. It was like a neural blackout. The three tracks could be seen as audio/video installations as they are a sonic and visual experience. Talking about the musical aspect, "Reqoil" is a fifteen minutes long suite made out of treated noises of oil drillers (they are also the subject of the video which is shot taking inspiration from the early Russian cinema) and starts slowly, almost in silence, just to end into a sonic tornado after about thirteen minutes. "Displaced" is
more rhythmical and makes your heart throb with its loud bassline that runs free making its way through digital thunders. "Peaceoff" is the last one and it seems to be a digital cut up made out from distorted percussions which sometimes lose the synchronization just to turn into a digital and powerful version of the early Test Department. The visual part consist of b/w flashes for the first two tracks and a color collage of images shot inside a water purification plant for the latter. If I had to judge the three works as proper videos, I'd go for the third but, since they haven't be made like musical videos, you should live the experience of watching them without judging.
P.s. The DVD will be released on May the seventeen
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anymore
Artist: Kozo Inada
Title: Mort Aux Vaches - i[]
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Rated: *****
Limited hand-numbered edition of 500 copies housed in an outstanding, most likely hand-made, folded piece of what looks like some curtain fabric or table cover material or something, with many artistic holes in it... That's how Kozo Inada's new "i[]" (part of VPRO's series of live on the air recordings entitled "Mort Aux Vaches") presents itself to the buyer. Inada, pretty much a discovery of Staalplaat, considering that his debut came out on the Dutch label, is a drone noister, but in "i[]" he gets pretty gentle and you'll be able to appreciate his calmer and more meditational side, with occasional glitchy incursions and playful parts of silence to contrast the rumbling lows. The layers of sounds are kept to the bare bone and occasionally move forward towards you, like a distant approaching wave or a storm or an army of thousands, you name it, but then they sweep away with the same subtle brutality they came at you. For almost 50 minutes you get to deal with different intensities of sounds, mostly in the low and mid-low sound pressure level range, before he cuts the power and goes from drones and rushing hisses to absolutely nothingness... It's a game of perception, interpretations and expectations... go play if you dare...
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