Music Reviews



Artist: JOY ELECTRIC (@)
Title: THE TICK TOCK TREASURY
Format: CD
Label: Tooth and Nail (@)
Distributor: Tooth and Nail
Listen to this cd, you'll get nothing but JOY and happiness. All of your frustrations, pain and worries will fade away. "The Tick Tock Treasury" is JOY ELECTRIC new release. An inspiring album. This synth-pop actis known for using vintage synth and moog sounds. If you have the earlier releases "Autobahn", "The Man Machine" and "Radioactivity" by Kraftwerk, well, this is what JE music sounds like. Apparently every song is very positive. I admire JE alot. For those who don't know who they are, they're a contemporary electronic christian group, who entered the music scene with their first debut release "Melody" back in 1994. I only saw two videos by them on TBN (Trinity Broadcast Network), a christian program that shows christianity programs for adults and children, including music videos. As for I know, there's not too many electronic acts doing spiritual contemporary music. Nothing's wrong spreading the gospel in songs, no matter what type of music it is. One thing that always puzzle me, every album JE release, no drum machines, samplers, computers, and polyphony are not used. And I wonder how in the world do they make good electronic music. I don't want to be picky about which tracks are good on "The Tick Tock Treasury" disc because all of them are. The songs that stands the album out I recommend "Such As It Was", "St. Glockenspiel's Science Faire", "(I Am) Made Of Wires", "J.E. Picturephone (Reflect You, I Connect You)", "(Design) The Blueprints Of Joy", and "(Play Each Note) By Metronome". If you are a Kraftwerk fan, trust me with no doubt, JOY ELECTRIC is the closest band that resembles their complex technique sound.
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Artist: AGHIATRIAS
Title: Epidaemia Vanitatis
Format: CD
Label: Integrated Music Records (@)
Czechia has always been a mysterious land for me even if my ancestors were coming from Hungary. I know few things about that people and that country in general and musically I've heard only few bands coming from Czechia. The only band I know that now live in Prague are Autopsia but they are coming from Jugoslavia. Anyway... Aghiatrias is a project conducted by Vladimir Hirsch and Tom Saivon which were collaborating also under the name of Skrol. Aghiatrias was created as a mutual musical experimentation of two people and the result is a mixture of classical orchestral sounds and noise landscapes. The four tracks "Semen", "Epiaemia", "Invocatio" and "Terror" are structured as industrial suites really suggestive and full of pathos. Even if the shorter track lasts nine minutes and half I never had the impulse of stopping my CD player as the listener is catched and projected into Aghiatrias' sound since the first minute. If you are into early Laibach and early Autopsia don't miss this release!
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: In Memoriam Tarkovsky
Format: CD
Label: Isofar Vapor Bulk (@)
Especially considering that Electroshock label owner's father Edward Artemyev has composed several soundtracks for his movies (and that therefore the label also released for example Victor Cerullo's homage to Tarkovsky), this is not the first time I come across a CD that was either inspired by or dedicated to the memory of Russian film maker Andrei (1932-1986), whose renowned works include "Stalker", "Ivan's Childhood", "Solaris" or "Mirror". Moscow-based label IVB decided to pay him a tribute with a four-track CD compilation limited to 500 copies and with a CD booklet cover cut in the shape of an envelope. Roger Doyle, Christian Renou, Michael Prime and Stanislav Kreitchi were the four artists chosen for this project and each and every one of them offers his very own personal and extended contribution.
Prime gets the lead and keeps it on the quite side throughout his ten minutes of liquid abstracts and only sporadically resorts to louder expedients such as processed voices and other signals.
With the shortest song of the batch (eight and a half minutes!), Ex-Brume Christian introduces the listener to the more artistic and dark side of the CD with his very nice suite of low-end slow-pace time-scanned sounds, Russian monologues, occasional static-like distortions and other feedback artifacts and over-driven manipulations.
After Renou's climax, Kreitchi gets to carry the flame into the obscure ambience. Electronic composer for over forty years and now making music for experimental theater, Kreitchi was among the designers and is now the keeper of the only ANS synthesizer in the world, therefore you better believe he uses it for his piece called "Water, Water, Water Everywhere" (which believe it or not was composed just weeks before Europe was flooded last year) and which, besides the watery sounds and the ANS' ambience also features what sounds like metallic re-processed sounds.
In conclusion Doyle brings back the sombre and tranquil atmospheres of the opening track and haunts them with samples of female voices and all sorts of sinister waveforms that surely end this on a murky key that leaves space for thinking and remembering.
Artist: psi (@)
Title: The ___ who had begun his career as a useful ___ of the ___ court later became the ___ of ___ and the ___ of ___.
Format: CD
Label: Evolving Ear (@)
Distributor: Drimala
It's always nice to find out that you have interesting neighbors you've never met who are doing the very things you write about. That's the deal in this case. The Brooklyn, NY based experimental trio psi sent me this CD from not far away from where I live and introduced me to their individual activities as electro-acoustic sound sculptors. Jaime Fennelly (electronicist, improviser, composer) has been working with a choreographer/dancer on various shows and was involved in many collaborations as well as recipient of the 2002 Artist Exploration Fund from Arts International; Chris Forsyth (guitar player) established his name in the international experimental improvisational scene through collaborations with Ernesto Diaz-Infante, All Time Present, W.0.0. etc and was curator of the Bunker Annex Series at NYC's club the Knitting Factory and co-organizer of the yearly four-day Williamsburg, Brooklyn "Improvised & Otherwise Festival of Sound and Form"; Fritz Welch (drummer, percussionist, visual artist), previously with Wi77!6, Reel-Speed-Artist, Bushwick Trip, Irritating HorseEye, Poppycorn and Dioclese, Naval Cassidy, Hands of Orlak, organizes shows and festivals such as the Humansacrifice presents @ Momenta Arts 2002 and 2003 Brooklyn Free Music Festival. As you may gather, these fine folks are really and deeply into what they are doing so it should come as no wonder that by mixing their experience you'll likely get an out of the ordinary piece of weird and found sounds that would perfectly fit on Staalplaat's or Electroshock's catalogues. Screeching, sheer and sinister noises alternate with found sounds possibly result of field recordings (sound like a household) and with acoustical recordings of improvised free-form electric guitar. The whole thing is layered on top of subtle electric floor tones that turn into other static-fashioned material. It's all extremely random and yet planned out.
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Artist: KOJI ASANO (@)
Title: Absurd Summer / Piano Suite Vol.1 Fitness Club / Gondola Odissey
Format: CD
Label: Solstice
Lately I'm appreciating more Asano's work because, even if he deals always with abstract or concrete music, his latest works make me feel different kind of emotions when I listen to them and this is what a record should be. In my opinion the old ones were based mainly on intuitions or sound experiments, while the new ones are always based on experimentation and research but they've got their own soul and are more expressive respect sixty minutes of hisses. Over creative as usual, this time Koji sent me three CDs which compose the "spring 2003 collection". The respective titles are ABSURD SUMMER, PIANO SUITE VOL.1 FITNESS CLUB 1÷20 and GONDOLA ODISSEY. Let's start with what I've got into my CD player now: PIANO SUITE VOL.1. The work is divided into twenty short tracks (the longest one is two minute and half) for a total of about nineteen minutes and I have to admit that in such a short time it's able to create a thik atmosphere full of expression and feelings. Isao Otake, which plays piano in this CD, paints nice moments of apparently improvised music which are able to make you relax and join the flux of notes. The titles are absurd (I think they are like a joke) and describe the various moments of a few days visit to a fitness club (it should be a Japanese one because I don't know if you can find "Wheat Noodles" or "Broiled Eels" in other countries). For ABSURD SUMMER we've got to talk about his old works as this CD is based on treated sounds and it's structured on eleven movements for a total of thirty one minutes. The tracks are various and pass from metallic percussive sounds to over dubbed layers of treated noisy / ambient sounds. Here Koji create a sort of alien landscape where a noisy piano (most of the sounds seem coming from a distorted piano) is its soundtrack. GONDOLA ODISSEY, instead, contains four long tracks based on organ sound layers which change slowly. To appreciate this one you've got to get your senses loose and follow the flow. You'll find yourself into a disturbed state of sleepiness where creepiness grows each minute more. I don't know how Koji could describe it like a "landscapes of romantic voyage" but you know...different people, different tastes. Anyway, these three new works cover a wide range of feelings and sounds and you've got only to pick up the one you prefer most.
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