Music Reviews



Apr 13 2004
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: MIAD
Format: CD
Label: Somia Music (@)
Rated: *****
Somia Music is a new born Miami/London based label which already has an ambitious schedule, 10 records due out in 2004, from artists like Subjex, Cliquetpar, Captain Marmalade, Osiris etc. Judging from this debut sampler, its chosen field is modern rhythmic electronica in its various facets, and "MIAD" offers a good show of that, from obsessive super-fast beats (Xanopticon) to glitchy melodies (Utrecht, Captain Marmalade's "Finding out that you're in love in the seventh grade": best title here!), from flirts with bubblegum pop singing (Cliquetpar) to Autechrian incursions (Subjex). If you dig IDM and electronica you'll surely find lots to sink your teeth into here.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Dielectric Records - Volume One
Format: CD
Label: Dielectric (@)
Rated: *****
Dielectric, which also released the excellent double cd by the Drone All-Stars (see archive), is a recently established label here collecting tracks from a series of 12" vynils and adding unreleased tracks to boot. Actually, only 6 tracks out of 16 are previously released; every artists is featured with 2 to 4 songs. This "Volume One" mostly offers bastardized rhythmic electronica, opening with Warp recording artist Sote (Ata Ebtekar) giving me a headache with brutal noisy electronics mixed with orchestral samples, all with skeletal beats. Sorry, I don't like it. Same goes with Virgox, which is Sote + Safar Bake and has more or less the same mix of junk electronics and obtuse rhythmics. If you like the extreme side of Warp or Rephlex you'll probably dig these. Carson Day offers more humane electronics, sort of a distilled Aphex with micro-beats and nostalgic melodies. Good, though I didn't particularly like his take on hip-hop ("Get hurt"). Die Elektrischen (aka Drew Webster, Dielectric main man and sound technician) is the best rhyddim dealer here, with an interesting use of samples and beats and a cool use of mix - the result is quite experimental while staying extremely physical in its approach. "Kurenai" is a good example of his technique, resulting in a tribal layering of percussions, while "Deaf with the record" manages to make a simple drum sample sound interesting. Karen Stackpole is the odd artist here, closing the compilation with four interesting tracks of cello and gong improvisations, nice tranquil instrumentals with a reflective beauty - ending up in a nice droning mix by Die Elektrischen himself. Can't say I loved the whole batch, but respect is due to a label which praises Scorn, Earth, Articles of Faith, Darkthrone, Low and Morton Feldman at the same time.
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Artist: TRUE COLOUR OF BLOOD (@)
Title: [absence]
Format: CD
Label: AFE Records/Eibon (@)
First official cd release for both True Colour of Blood (after two acclaimed cdrs on AFE and Soulworm) and AFE Records, here co-releasing Eric Kesner's new effort - an excellent step for both for sure. Kesner maintains processed guitar sounds as the only source for his rich droning textures, and while certainly obscure - often pitch black, actually - in nature, "[absence]" manages to avoid dark-ambient clichés - I do think that TCOB is often closer to minimalists like Main, Stars of the Lid and the Kranky-kin, or post-shoegazers like Aaarktika, than to the typical Lustmord clones. This is especially evident in the melodic drifts of "Anamorphoris", "[absence]" and "My favourite streetlight", but also in the strummed ghost track, which really sounds like an outtake from Slowdive's "Pygmalion". Though perfectly fitting in the ambient category, this album has its roots deeply immersed in indie/post-rock. Also considering Kesner's brilliant debut in the glitch/microsounds field as Rensek (see archive), I'm looking forward to hearing TCOB's further evolutions. Excellent layout, as expected from Eibon.
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Artist: ANTANAS JASENKA (@)
Title: An Artist And A Plane
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock (@)
Rated: *****
Antanas Jasenka is a composer coming from Lithuania. He's not only a musician, he also teaches composition in M. K. Ciurlionis Art School since 2002. His work comprehend a wide spectrum of music: contermporary, experimental, avant garde, electronic and chamber music. His latest work is titled AN ARTIST AND A PLANE and it represents his experimental / industrial side. The CD is divided in two long hypnotic suites "Artac" (which is divided into five different movements) and "Electronic Suartines". The first part sees Antanas experimenting with digital sounds where he creates a complicated but intriguing web of sounds and cyclic rhythms / loops. Sometimes it reminds me of some Boyd Rice and Coil compositions (do you remember the MLP as Sickness Of Snakes?) where long sounds hypnotize the audience while hissing sounds come and go creating disturbing moments. The second part of the CD takes its inspiration from the Lithuanian art of polyphonic singing. Some parts of the suite are made by the folk ensemble Trys Keturiose but Antanas mixed and treated them with electronic sounds and digital bleeps. As result you get a twenty minutes long suite which little by little encrease its pathos giving to the audience a growing sense of tension. An interesting work which will fulfill your experimental needs.
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Artist: Chance's End (@)
Title: Set Me Free
Format: CD
Label: Definite Plus Music
Rated: *****
Colorado-based violinist and producer Ryan Avery's second release "Set Me Free" (after his "Skyway") re-confirms him as a pioneer of the combination of violin and electronic music, even though in my opinion he should work and exploit that very combination more, to really make it his unique signature style, as opposed to use his classical instrument just on half or less of the songs as an accessory. When I initially read his press-release I was expecting something different, I am not saying that this is not good, on the contrary, it's ok, but considering the hype on the strings vs electronica concept, I was ready to receive a lot more of that and I was ready for some ground-breaking album that takes electronica to a new level, beyond stylistic barriers. "Set Me Free" can't claim to do that, but can still reasonably make a case for a good eclectic electronic music piece. The songwriting is quite ethereogeneous and guest musicians (vocalists) make it an even more dynamic and multifaceted album, that explores corners as wide apart as hip hop and classical music. The female vocals here and there give it that lush vibe of lounge-pop-electronica, but the instrumentals keep it pretty straight-forward. If you're into electronic music and appreciate somebody who experiments with non-electronic instruments and concepts definitely give this a try. Personally I am a lover of strings on electronic music and would love to see that concept taken to the next level by this talented musician sometimes in the future. I'll be on standby, right here.
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