Music Reviews



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Artist: AUS DECLINE (@)
Title: Retrospettiva 1981-1984
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Active during the first half of the eighties, Aus Decline are part of the Italian musical heritage. Most of Italian bands those days were influenced by what was going on in England but they were able to re-process it in a particular and personal way. Bands like Gaznevada (recently Astroman Recs reprinted their first LP and MLP on CD), Neon, Diaframma, Victrola, Frigidaire Tango and many others produced rare perls if you think about what the nowadays music industry offer. Most of the bands produced only one or two records (Victrola only a 12" for Electric Eye and Frigidaire Tango an LP and a MLP) and many others only a song into a compilation and Aus Decline was one of those bands. The "First Relation" compilation was released by Man Mask records on 1983 and if I'm not wrong that one has been the second and last release of that label, run by Lisfrank. The first one was his MLP titled "Man Mask" which has been released in 1982. Anyway, let's talk about Aus Decline again... After twenty years from the split the band members decided that it was time to edit their recordings into a CD. RETROSPETTIVA (Retrospective) contains their whole studio sessions plus five live tracks (four of them aren't included into the studio sessions tracks). At a first listening the English post punk influences are evident but each time you listen to the CD the sound become each time more personal and capable to catch the listener. The live tracks show a band more mature, talking about the writing process and tracks like "Auburne", "City House" or "To Lead The Van" are energetic and personal. There isn't a track I prefer most as each one has got its own charm. It's sad I had to discover this good band twenty years late but I'm glad I did it now thanks to this CD. Recommended!
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anymore
Artist: FRANCOIS TESTORY
Title: Sarrazine
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
SARRAZINE is a particular project sponsored and produced by Von Magnet and focused on the person and personality of François Testory. Who was Sarrazine? On the notes is reported: "We find Sarrazine in a novel by Balzac: in Rome, at the beginning of the XIX century, a young sculptor is in search of perfect beauty. He finds it one evening on a stage, in a theatre, it’s a castrato". Now, who François Testory is? He is a former star dancer and actor of the Lindsay Kemp Company (choreographer of Kate Bush and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust). He now sings in operas as well as cabarets and he regularly tours the States, Japan and Australia. For this project coordinated by Phil Von and Def, François gives his voice to fourteen tracks orchestrated by different Prikosnovenie artists: Phil Von, Wild Shores, Lys, Mimetic, Negative Stencil, Def, Stocha, R.B.B., Sigmoon and Jose Barinaga. The tracks are originals or covers of famous tracks of people like Frank Sinatra, Ginsberg/Glass, Marc Almond, etc but revisited under a trance/middle eastern key. Most of the tracks have got ambient influences with some excursions into distorted rhymths realm contaminated by classical music. I must admit that this CD isn’t of immediate assimilation as you’ve got to be into the right mood and you’ve got to let yourself loose just to be ready to listen to one hour of floating sounds.
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anymore
Artist: HALO MANASH (@)
Title: Par-antra I: VIR
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Formed in 1998 Halo Manash initially was a personal project of A. Haapapuro who initially wrote only few tracks. During the 1999/2002 period the project grew and involved other two members: Iwo Hoccuc and R. Kadin. PAR-ANTRA I: VIR is their second release (their first has been "Se Its En" released the last year by the Blue Sector label) and at the same time it's the first release of a new label coming from nothern Finland: Aural Hypnox. PAR-ANTRA I: VIR is the first part of the Par-Antra trilogy, titled ’VIR’ and it contains nine ritual tracks. The main difference from the other bands who play this kind of sounds is that Halo Manash use mainly real instruments like e-bowed guitars, shamanic percussions and cymbals along with analog synthesizers and samplers. This helps into the creation of a surreal and real involving music which is the incarnation of the band's research of parallel forms and primal pathways. The tracks, for the band, are like aural and visual sigils which should help to promote the understanding the innermost and ultimate meaning of the "VIR". On the booklet you can find a description about how you should use these recordings and along with the first 200 copies of the CD you can find a personalized "VIR wallcanvas" (50cm x 40 cm) made by using color removal technique. Since the motivation that forced the band to record these tracks I find difficult to judge only the musical part of the CD (for this reason I won't give it a rate). Only to give a little hint, I can tell you that the multi layered tracks form a long suite based on whispered chants, effected instruments and hypnotic drums which reminds me some moments of the first Christian Death album.
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Artist: SOSTRAH TINNITUS (@)
Title: Les Debris De L'ete
Format: CD
Label: Beyond Prod (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
What is the point where isolationism and ambient music turn into a dull moment to pass, searching for something like a sound or a rhythm that could be interesting to follow? This is an hard question and sometimes I found myself questioning it while I was listening to this Sostrah Tinnitus first release. Fortunately I decided to give it a second try because I know that this kind of albums need the right moment to be listened to and maybe yesterday evening wasn't the right one. This morning I was thinking about what to writing about this one and I wasn't convinced into writing a negative review. You know, it could be easy to write few negative words just to move to another more entertaining album. Fortunately this morning I decided to put on my best headphones on and to listen to LES DEBRIS DE L'ETE a second time. Well, first of all I have to admit that this isn't my favourite album of the month but it's also true that after Lustmord's "Paradise Disowned" it's hard to redefine the dark ambient genre. Maybe I don't dig that much long static suites as I was used to. Now I find hard to listen to few looped sounds repeating themselves for ten minutes. We've got to admit that is also hard to create ten minutes of interesting sounds without falling into the trap of the abuse of effects. Sostrah Tinnitus' album in my opinion stand in the middle between an interesting album and an excercise of dark ambient. Sometimes it seems they used low bitrate samples and this is disturbing when you try to listen to an ambience which should involve the listener. Of the lot of ten tracks I prefer the first five as the remaining ones tend to repeat too much the atmospheres already explored. All in all this is a interesting first release and the first solo project of a Tvmvlvs Seraphim's member but in my opinion this is not enough to make of it an indispensable album of my discography.
Apr 19 2004
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Artist: RUNES ORDER (@)
Title: The Hopeless Days
Format: CD
Label: Beyond Prod (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
It's a long time I hadn't the opportunity to listen to Runes Order so when I received this promo, I was curious to listening how they sounded like nowadays. You know, I was used to their improvised suites (we played also a concert together in Bologna in 1994. I did that gig as Gerstein as usual) and I knew they changed line up several times (at the time I saw them they were a duo) and that their suites turned into something more structured on albums like "Winter" or "The Land Of Nothing". Since the last line up change (Daniele Magarelli and his wife Paola, respectively on keyboards and vocals, left on 1999), Claudio Dondo (the original member who started it all) deciced to focus the project on dark emotional analog suites which seems to be structured like soundtracks. For this one seventy minutes length album, Claudio has been helped out by Trevor (Camerata Mediolanense and Northgate member) and they collaborated during the last two years to record the fifteen tracks of THE HOPELESS DAYS. Musically the CD sounds like a mix of various genres. Listening to it you can hear echoes of Ennio Morricone's soundtracks, Goblin, Tangerine Dream and tons of other musical sources. Fortunately the result isn't a musical pastiche as it sounds like a mature and honest work. Innovation isn't the main thing about this work but I think that Runes Order wanted it to sound like something personal and full of emotions. This is the effect that the listener has got while the CD lasts so I think that Claudio hit the target.
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