Music Reviews



Artist: Disinterested
Title: The Past is Never Far
Format: CD
Label: Skean Dhu (@)
Rated: *****
Disinterested is Matthew Brown from Trespassers William, a guitar player whose sonic focus is ambience and soundscapes made of lush loops, reverb washes, bowed swells, drones, noises, pad-like layers, distant distortions, tons of long delays etc. His approach to guitar playing is radically distant from traditional strumming and soloing, but unlike other radicals of the six strings, such as noise-experimentalists Diaz-Infante or Forsyth, Brown goes for the wide open spaces and the long ethereal heavily effected notes and chords. The album goes by pretty much without any beats and towards the end breaks out an acoustic guitar for what I guess you can call a very nice few minutes of sweet strumming dreamy ambient-folk... For those who have been reading Chain D.L.K. or who like to learn about new artists, I might say that Disinterested sounds like somewhere between Carol Blaze, Cathari, Lycia, Love Spiral Downwards, Centrozoon, Laudanum, Roman Stolyar, Caretaker, Bourbone Qualk, Bethany Curve, Lopside and maybe even Boards of Canada. The album features collaborations with ambient group Ma-Chan and classical vocalist Dino Palazzi, as well as a cover of Trespassers William. Nice record.
Artist: Mabou
Title: Summer Artifacts
Format: CD
Label: Skean Dhu (@)
Rated: *****
Mabou's "Summer Artifacts" is a beautiful record by Cleveland based experimental musicians Stephen Copley (guitar player) and Steven K. Smith (installation artist, also with Skye of Daye and Dolmen, the latter being a duo with Baltimore based Jason Sloan, with whom he released the long distance collaboration ambient record "Ritual Awakening" in April 2002). The two engage into dense and sophisticated layering of drones, samples, percussions, guitar effects, voices by slowly adding, to build up a climax, or substracting, to reverse back to minimal sonic isolationism. The tribal percussions, coupled with the effected guitars and the bass lines, sometimes seem to be echoing Bauhaus, but there is more to this that just memories of the past... An intense spiritual approach and vision seems to underpin the record in its entirety (sound wise and graphically as well) and the feeling of naked ritualism warps and wraps your perception of time and space. Nonetheless the ritualistic dark soundscapes and the ethno-sciamanic percussive tribalism make this close to a masterpiece in ambient music that lovers of Lycia, Lopside, Rebro, Steve Roach, Vidna Ombana, Bethany Curve and similar acts will surely appreciate. Very impressive.
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Artist: Bigga Bush (@)
Title: BiggaBush Free
Format: CD
Label: Stereo Deluxe (@)
Rated: *****
BiggaBush's "BiggaBush Free" is probably one of the most out of the ordinary sounding dancefloor friendly records I have ever heard. After working for a long time with Rockers Hi Fi, mostly during the '90es, BiggaBush has developed his production skills spitting out remix after remix for the like of Morricone, Tosca, St. Etienne, Ella Fitzgerald etc... This solo production of his is a hardly classifiable blend of chic chill out electronica with sparse and feeble elements of dub, trip hop, dancehall, acid jazz... Deep, but not intrusively annoying bass lines, reverberated rhythmical patterns, lush strings, ambience keyboard sounds, layers of synthhetic pads and otherwise unlikely and unexpected bits of sounds (such as sax, harpsichord, pluccked pizzicato strings, jazz guitars) all work together, blending into each other to achieve ultimate satisfaction... Maybe not pumping hard enough for the actual sweaty and light spotted dancefloors and maybe (at times) a little too dancey and groovy for the VIP chill out couches, I guess this album will probably best work as a perfect transition from the former to the latter, or to close the evening, or at the bar. Either way, you "flick-of-the-wrist decknologists" out there should make sure to bag a copy of this for your next spinning performance. Come in a nice zodiac-themed shiny digipack.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: XII Ceasars
Format: CD
Label: Somnambulant (@)
Rated: *****
Altough I understand the financial constraints today's small indie noise labels have to work under, it doesn't help us much when we receive a unpackaged review copy of a release, such as this one, which is heavily based on imaginery and iconography (in this case Roman iconography; a series of original graphite portraits of the Caesars on heavy cardstock by Chris Donovan is enclosed to the retail version of this CD-R), so I am not gonna be able to tell you how nice the art-work is, nor will I be able to comment on what was indeed the very source of inspiration for the artists on this compilation. All I can tell you is that "XXII Caesars" is a 67 minutes compilation based around and inspired by the Roman empire's 149 years long lasting succession of twelve Caesars, from the popular Julius (49 BC) to the young Domitian (96 AD), as immortalized by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus. Every emperor was assigned to a musical project, along with a Suetonius text excerpt for additional inspiration. Musically the involved parties stuck to dark-ambient, death-industrial, noise and oneiric music and include: Exsanguinate, Tugend, Murderous Vision, Bestia Centauri, Post Scriptvm, Survival Unit, Ond, Axone, Marspiter and The Great Despisers (a new project by members of Axone and Marspiter themselves).
Artist: SANdBLASTING (@)
Title: El Paso Sound-Wall
Format: CD
Label: +Belligeranza
Rated: *****
SANdBLASTING, from Turin, Italy, is back with a new album entitled "El Paso Sound-Wall", a noise CD on +Belligeranza records, a sub label of Sonic Belligeranza. This sonic terrorist's second release (after his 1999 "I am I" and his collaboration with Daniele Brusaschetto on "Scassatolive") is a concept album based on the sound manipulations originating from a live session (track one is the raw recordings all other tracks derived from). The "rmx" versions of the raw material explore the original frequency orgy from different angles, inserting rhythmical concepts, frequency modulations, filter sweeps, vari-speeding, cut-off tweakings, cut and pasted sound bits and so on. Harsh industrial noise blends with power noise, but the crossfading points are blurred. Only for true lovers of noise materia.
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