Music Reviews



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Artist: FLEUR (@)
Title: Magic
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Coming from Ukraine, Flëur started as a duo formed by Olga Pulatova (piano and vocals) and Elena Voynarovskaya (guitar and vocals). They released a couple of CD before joining Prikosnovenie (as it seems from their unofficial website at http://www.fleur.kiev.ua) and re-releasing their debut CD and this new one titled MAGIC. Anyway, let's consider this new release their second album as it doesn't matter being too picky when you've got to focus your attention on what's inside their new release and when you'll listen to this new CD, you'll agree with me. Flëur's music is joyful and inspired and sometimes remember Cocteau Twins because of the use of the voice but I found them really personal and intriguing as their melody is simple but their song's structure it isn't. The musical virtuosity of the various instruments (piano, acoustic guitar, flute, etc) form thirteen pleasant moments full of melancholy, joy and atmosphere. Flëur as many other label's bands wants to create a certain dreamy atmosphere but instead of basing their sound on synth pads they let their acoustic instruments do the talking and this pleased me, because they did it using melody. My preferences go to "The Ballad Of White Wings And Scarlet Petals", "Medallion" (this one is the most Cocteauish song of the lot), "Never", "The String" and "Legion". This isn't goth, neither new wave or folk... it's Flëur.
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Artist: Muslimgauze
Title: Return of Black September
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Rated: *****
Second in the series re-editions of older Muslimgauze music released by Staalplaat, "Return of Black September" (which is also the name of one of the most notorious palestinian terrorist organizations) presents yet another face of the artist's eclectic production. Originally released in a limited edition of 500 copies, the year 2004 will offer 800 lucky people (make that 799, I got my copy already!) the possibility to taste Muslimgauze's interpretation of what sounds like a deep, droning and disturbing ritual made of soft finger-tipping Darbuka percussion skin patterns, single hits of both delayed and unprocessed drums, loops of stringed wide-range instrument, field-recorded noises and voices, or just breaths and whispers. Quite alienating and scary at times, "Return of Black September" goes about its business in a continuous fashion, divided into five parts, totaling more than an hour of music. Experimental dark electronics meets tribal and ethnical mantras of ancient and distant culture creating a new breed of electrified world music. Altough the middle of the record portrays the most inspirational and every day life sounding part of this record, the darker and nastier side takes the lead at the top and the tail of the record, with increasingly predominant and saturated rhythmical grooves. Bryn Jones was so far ahead of its time, you can't even begin to comprehend if you don't know at least one tenth of his discography, totaling almost 200 titles so far.
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Artist: Muslimgauze
Title: Azzazin
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Rated: *****
First of a series of four 800 copies limited edition re-releases of Muslimgauze's older material, "Azzazin" features 13 songs from the nineties and draws a picture of the artist that is different than the one we got to know. Surprisingly this album contains no trace of percussions whatsoever and instead presents a dry and claustrophic minimal electronics that sounds more like a Warp band or a project by some S.E.T.I.-inspired laptop artist than a Middle Eastern-inspired band. Outerspace sci-fi sounds meet with found sounds and human-made noises, isolationist experimental knob tweaking and mostly hi frequency material loops playing at random. Interesting art work, inspired by the logo and the lettering of one of the giants of gas and oil distribution in the (not so) free world. Due to its incomplete and almost too homogeneous nature, recommended only for die hard fans of his.
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Artist: GERSTEIN (@)
Title: Here comes sickness
Format: CD
Label: AFE Records (@)
Rated: *****
A sort of anthological cd by our own Maurizio Pustianaz/Gerstein, one of the prime movers of the Italian industrial/experimental scene, besides being co-founder of our beloved ChainDLK. One more Mudhoney quote in the title ("Chain the door", his fanzine which later merged with "DLK", was titled after Mudhoney's "Chain that door"), and 15 tracks from 1990 to 2001, collecting unreleased songs, four from the "A kindly method of living" tape (1990), and "Rise" from "The Bliss Compilation" (1999). It's always been hard to pigeonhole Gerstein's music, which has shifted, or rather rolled back and forth, from noise & ritual industrial to wave, from dark ballads to electropop - always with a distinct personality and a touch of originality, not as a schizophrenic or, worse, a trendy clone. Pustianaz has always played what he wanted to, as he wanted to. "Here comes sickness" mainly features his heartfelt mix of electro-fuelled rock ("A fly in my eye"), cold wave ("Dust", "There's something on my back", "Bright light, bright life"), minimal dark folk ballads ("The puke they are", "Warmth", "Frozen"), quasi-psychedelia ("They blind me"), dark electronic symphonies à la Coil ("Metal on metal", "Rise")... All with an inner coherence (though it's an anthology) and with the distinctive trait d'union of Maurizio's deep and soulful voice. "How I feel", the most recent track, is definitely more electro/synth-pop oriented, and should prelude to Gerstein's new releases, one of which - a split with Cold Kluster - is already due on AFE. Now that using drum machines and playing wave/post-punk has become trendy again, who knows if Gerstein will get the credit and exposure he deserves.
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anymore
Artist: AMIR BAGHIRI/NIMH (@)
Title: Entities
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Superb ritual ambient gathering the talents of well-known artist Amir Baghiri and Giuseppe Verticchio/Nimh, author of some excellent works, mostly, and sadly, self-released. Not that diy is bad, quite the opposite, but Verticchio is the typical case of underestimated artist, when even "serious" labels print tons of useless plastic garbage. And this collaboration should absolutely see the light in an official edition, because it's some of the best ritual/ethnic ambient I've listened to lately - pure drifting beauty and trance-inducing drones woven with synths, didjeridoos, percussions and field recordings. If you dig Steve Roach, Visna Obmana, Robert Rich... look no further because this might well be one of the best releases of the year. Colour cover by Lance Green and top-notch sound quality.
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