Music Reviews



Artist: Himuro
Title: Clear Without Items
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Couchblip
A little blippy, a little sci-fi-esque, highly textured yet minimal, experimental yet fairly accessible, the music of Himuro on "Clear Without Items" is surprisingly infectious for electronica that skirts the fringes of the scene (though it is fully musical and not experimental in the "non-traditional" music sense). Blippy: The mid-/down-tempo beats feel like electronic guitar strings strung loose and thunked at by a competent player. I mean that in a good way. Highly textured: There's also a bit of crisp distortion to the proceedings that add to those blippy beats and make for nice textures and layers in what is actually somewhat minimalist. Experimental/accessible: The music is unusual and far from mainstream but is pretty infectious and catchy. Oh, yeah, and at times it's quirky enough to feel a little science fictiony. These are all good things. The music is quirky and offbeat and, most important, quite listenable. Interesting ...
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Artist: AAL (@)
Title: Disc 1 + Inherited and partially transmitted
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: AFE Records (@)
Rated: *****
A couple of years ago, Davide Vallecchi self-released these two cdrs, both recorded in 2001, and already reviewed in this mag (search the archive). This is a welcomed reprint by the ever diligent AFE Records, in a limited run of 150 copies, coming in a really beautiful and fitting layout - sort of abstract figures looking like bindrunes or crop circles. Listening again to AAL's more ambient and droning production, I sense that it is much darker than I recalled. While I'd still use the references to Klaus Schultze or Coil in their cosmic incarnations, tracks like "Unsealed" (on "Inherited...") have a menacing feel, with their obsessive and self-devouring structures which reminded me of Koener or Lull. The sound quality fits very well with these atmospheres - I wouldn't call it "lo-fi" (it's probably not), but rather "dusty". It's like an old sepia-print. The other remark I'd add is that there's an evident growth between one release and the other, though recorded in a short span - "Inherited..." is more mature, with a better - and at the same time more extreme - use of sounds and repetitions, notably in the majestic, relentless emotional crumbling of "All that fall".
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Artist: WURT ORGANUM (@)
Title: Perception2
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
New demo (5 tracks, 21 minutes ca.) from this Italian solo project, named after Jeff Noon's novel, or so I think. The layout is quite horrible, but luckily Wurt Organum knows how to make some nice noise. "door_57l3sd69" opens the work with corrosive frequencies, but the rest of the cdr is wisely based on disquieting ambiences rather than boring all-out distortion. The harsh elements crawl in from time to time, and they DO contribute to the paranoid atmosphere without ruining it. At best, like in the glass-shards torture of "Ghost", Wurt Organum gets close to John Waterman's "Calcutta Gas Chamber" - a sort of malevolent industrial/electroacoustic. Something still needs to be focused (sounds are sometimes a bit repetitive), but this is really enjoyable and promising material.
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anymore
Artist: INCANDESCENCE (@)
Title: Chapter Two: The Replacement Phase
Format: CD
Label: Raw Nerve Promotions
Rated: *****
As I wrote in the review of Incandescence's "Chapter One...", this one is a new release featuring all new material, 12 tracks, 53 minutes. The sleeve notes state it was "written, recorded + mixed between March 29th + April 9th, 2004". What, ten days?? Alas, that's no good thing for me. All I can say is that IT SHOWS, and not in a positive sense. Basically, the main defect of these songs is that they're terribly basic and boring. They're mostly just loops, with some primitive effect thrown in. No proper programming, no proper ambiences. Some beats you just don't know why they've been put there, many many sounds are just lame. I don't mean to be rude, but this is not even tolerable as background music. If this was meant to be minimal in an Aphex Twin way, it falls short. This needs lots of work and, for God's sake, some second thought.
Artist: Dimension Zero
Title: Replica
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Dimension Zero's "Replica" is a pleasant surprise in the form of a 2-song disc. Sure, only 2 tracks, but they're good ones. DZ has managed to cram a little Smashing Pumpkins attitude into some somewhat gothy industrial that takes the electro side of the genre and adds some guitar to fill out the sound. The electro element avoids the easy-to-generate boredom of a lot of electronic industrial acts and the guitars add a thickness to the industrial sound that I like. The vocal/lyrical approach for some reason, at least on the second track, "Static Space", made me think for some reason of Billy Corgan. But that could just be me. At any rate, "Replica" is certainly a good introduction to an artist that has a good grasp of what industrial's about.
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