Music Reviews



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Artist: Thilges 3 (@)
Title: Polka
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
16th Thilges 3 release and 6th release in Staalplaat's "Material Series" (please read the review of Heimir Bjorgulfsson's record "Machina Natura" in this section to understand what this series is all about and how it is presented to you): this one uses thin polystyrene sheets as the main material for cover and inlay card (so that is way the cover picture is simply white, cause so is the cover, just a plain white thin sheet of polystyrene!).
Thilges 3 is an Austrian trio that started performing live in 1996 experimenting with "live performance electroacoustic installations", which basically is a technology that uses analog synths instead of MIDI to allow different results, such as focusing on quadrophonic performances (instead of stereophonic) where the venue's size, walls, materials and other acoustical parameters define a new environment that, coupled with the listeners position and relative movement, allow for a new way of conceiving sound and rhythm patterns. All their performances are recorded and archived and only recently have they decided to make them public through a CD series consisting of 10 releases with similar 4-colour covers presenting a different concert (unfortunately narrowed down to a stereophonic recording); plus some other individual releases on different labels, among which "Polka". "Polka" is instead their first studio recording and the only instruments used to record it are a Doepfer analog synth and a Moog Prodigy. Like you may have expected they also are into visual arts.
Artist: Transgenic (trans-JEN-ik)
Title: Transgenic
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
What at first sight may seem to you as post-core band Biohazard's new record, is in reality the newest work by the American project Transgenic, which is packed in a cool red safeguard specimen bag with a big biohazard symbol on it. So what is there so dangerous about this record? Well it is packaged with a sheet of prescriptions (common uses, how-to's, cautions, side effects and the like). It is supposed to be «used to treat symptoms of postrock malaise and other conditions such as extended drumsolos, jazzwank, shoegazing and studiotan». As by doctor prescription, you should also «not take sounds containing verse and chorus within 2 hours of taking this sound» and «not take 2 doses at once». Anyway... while I am going through my first Transgenic morning dose, I can tell you that it all comes down to pulsing experimental music with disturbing low and mid freq loops that serve to the purpose of trans-inducing beats and turn into obsessive repetitions with layers of sounds and other loops (vocals, noises) on top of it. 17 edgy hard-core experimental noise tracks with a sub-electronic soul and patterns of insanity (or sanity willing to cure to verse-chorus-verse insanity of modern popular music).
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Artist: Akira Yamamichi
Title: Semilogie (de la metamusique)
Format: CD
Label: FIRE.inc (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat, Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Fire Inc. (Staalplaat network) put out japanese Akira Yamamichi's second record this year. Besides working with Roji Ikeda between 1990 and 1993, this 63-class jap engineer and film editor (graduated at the Institute of Sound Techniques) is also known for his work as Montage, a breakbeat/jazz outfit whose influence you can probably detect on "Semilogie" as well. In fact it all makes sense when you listen to these eight tracks. Even though they are based on experimental sounds, hi-pitched digital noises and percussive elements, there is a inside "force" trying to escape the rules of pure experimentalism to, maybe, move into different realms (if you look at it this way, then the last reverberated piano-only piece would almost seem like the chant of liberation and freedom, even considering it is digitally and intentionally audibly cut and edited to make it keep a certain unconventional breeze)... But I hardly thing that Akira is trying to escape his own barriers, in fact I believe he doesn't have barriers, and he proves it with an open-minded record playing with up-beat pulsing rhythmical patterns and minimal electronics relying on mainly mid, but also high and very high frequencies... The heart of "Semilogie" is really the "beat"... The essence it all comes down to, varying from turntable-like popping-noises to brushed snare (and hi hat) loops, from drum machine patterns to sticking percussion sounds. I enjoyed this record a lot.
May 11 2002
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Artist: Antenne (@)
Title: #1
Format: CD
Label: Korm Plastics (@)
Distributor: Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Danish Kim Hansen (formerly with Institue of the Criminally Insane and Grind) has put out a new full length CD entitled "#1" under the moniker of his current one-man-band Antenna. Released by Korm Plastics (Staalplaat network), this beautiful CD presents you with eight groovy trip-hop electronica compositions with female vocals. The label keeps using the word techno, but I believe that would likely and highly mislead almost anybody... Minimal melancholic electronic music with occasional experimental sounds that turns into state-of-the-art trip-hop or maybe even trip-pop when the rhythmical grooves step in and the lead is taken by the female vocalist: that's what it is! Her voice is gorgeously lush, mysteriously sexy, harmonically whispered. She can very easily remind of Jane Siberry (probably closest comparison - remember her astonishing breathtaking closing performance on "the Crow" soundtrack), Bjork, Portishead, Massive Attack, Kirlian Camera (just on the "Something Not to Do" track) and the like (when she gets all hot and seductive I would even dare to mention Marylin Monroe!). After the opening jazzy "Here to Go" (of which an extended CD EP exists too - cmp review on these pages) the rest of the "#1" tracks take a dip into more experimental territories, but every now and then going back to the warm and laid back trippy ballads that are just absolutely brilliant and amazing... Very convincing stuff!!! I would DEFINITELY go out and get myself a copy if I were you!
PS: If you would like to see the fastest-loading and most minimal and simple website out there check out Antenna's website!
May 11 2002
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Artist: Antenne (@)
Title: Here to Go
Format: CD EP
Label: Korm Plastics (@)
Distributor: Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
As much as I enjoy experimental music, after a full immersion afternoon of listening and reviewing weird sounds a CD like this is almost like breathing in fresh air ;-). Extremely smooth and beautiful jazzy sounds create a lush laid back washed ambience where brushes on drums, hi-pitched whispered female singing (by Marie-Louise Munch), lazy distant easy hammond chords and lonely, dreamy, floating and ethereal atmospheres catch your attention and convince you all the way through. What a pleasant and pleasing listening experience! The "Here to Go" extended AB/2 CD EP (which means a 31 minutes long CD with a transparent outer part) is basically sort of a maxi single of the award winning song "Here to Go" (from their other full lenght CD "#1" - read review elsewhere on these pages). After the opening radio edit of the single, the other 5 versions of the song are remixes by techno producers Full Swing (former Stol drummer) with Stephan Matheiu, Zammutto, prolific Chris Jeely aka Acclera Deck, Matematics (also known as Lee NOrris, Norken, Tone Language, Small Medium and Nacht Plank) and Geiom (collaborator of Skam, City Center Offices, Hem and Small Medium). These remixes are not techno though, most of them are sort of trip-hop... They keep the slow laid back motion and make it more exciting by stepping into the fields of electronica, pop, ambient and, like I said, trip-hop (I can't seem to stop thinking about Portishead...). The design is green and immediately reminds of their blue main release "#1". Ladies and gentleman this is a GREAT CD that I strongly recommend to anybody feeling the whole uk-style jazzy/trip-hop/electronic vibe... Get in the groove... extend your Antenna!
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