Music Reviews



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Artist: Canaan (@)
Title: A Calling to Weakness
Format: CD
Label: Eibon (@)
Eibon records' Mauro Berchi's own band Canaan get darker and more melancholic with every release and the most gorgeous moments of "A Calling to Weakness" are probably actually the most mournful pages of the book. The record starts out (and ends, for that matter) like a dark mystical world music work with hovering lyrics in what sounds like a middle eastern language (in the opening track) and a east European language (in the closing track), but by track two they go back to the formula consisting of grand drums, effected guitar arpeggios and intertwined harmonies, slow passages and chord progressions, deep minimalist vocals in Italian and English with poetic words of ancient wisdom, string pads and long ceremonial distorted guitars. From time to time they gladly depart from that core of songwriting to engage in various offshoots that are noisy, haunting, rumbling, morbid in nature and that pause the record's pace here and there, bringing the track count to seventeen, among other things. Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Lycia, Nephilim, Mission could be thought of, but Canaan has been working on their own personal definition of style and with "A Calling to Weakness" their signature is defined as one with smooth traces, ritualistic shapes, thick lines, harmonious curves and dark, very dark, shades. Of a higher nature as we are used to.
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Artist: MICROSTORIA
Title: Invisible Architecture
Format: CD
Label: Audiosphere
Distributor: Audioglobe
Performed live at the Kaaitheaterstudio in Brussels on the summer of 2000 by Markus Popp and jan St. Werner, INVISIBLE ARCHITECTURE is without a shadow of a doubt a minimal experience. The tracks are based on a "structure with monochromes on reports of the golden number 1.618033989". Searching the web I've found that " The golden section is also called the golden ratio, the golden mean and the divine proportion. It is closely connected with the Fibonacci series and has a value of (5 - 1)/2 which is 0.61803... which we call phi. It has some interesting properties such as 1/phi is the same as 1+phi and we call this value Phi= (5 + 1)/2" (for more see http://www.mcs.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/R.Knott/Fibonacci/fib.html or http://jwilson.coe.uga.edu/emt669/Student.Folders/Frietag.Mark/Homepage/Goldenratio/goldenratio.htmlif you want a mathematical explanation of it). It would be interesting to know if the duo followed some particular way correlated to the Phi to perform the seven tracks of this CD as it would add much more to the whole work. Instead we've got only seven titles that keep up the mistery about the creation of the tracks. "Performal", "Quit Not Save", "Glocky Bit", "Artik", "Flexen", "Soso Sound"and "Endless Summer NAMM" are eight deconstructed tracks based on sounds collage of crackles, synthetic sounds and treated samples. The result is a sort of static suite which moves slowly producing calm melodies. Check it if you want to find a intimate moment where you can float into the deepness of your inner self.
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Artist: Jeff Kaiser & Brad Dutz (@)
Title: The Order of Her Bones
Format: CD
Label: pfMENTUM
In the same type of packaging (folding cardboard with a rope holding it together) and the same free and improvisational spirit that characterizes Jeff Kaiser's other release "17 Themes for Ockodektet" (cmp review elsewhere on these pages), comes this "The Order of Her Bones" in tandem with Mr. Brad Dutz. 60 minutes and 12 songs and an incredibly impressive array of utilized instruments (Kaiser is content to play trumpet and flugelhorn but Dutz sports a humongous list of instruments in the range of 40-50 something, going from traditional acoustic ones to unpronounceable and exotic ones) make up for a record that knows no horizon in time and space, covering moods and grooves that if pinned on a map would extend from north to south and from east to west, eventually covering all the bases from traditional folk or tribal music all the way to what could be a mellow version of a Zornian trumpet concert or an experimental extravaganza of some minor collage noise artist... Most of all I keep thinking of some of Gregorio Bardini's records, or more like what a Bardini record would sound like if he was a percussion player... This record has all the answers it is set out to ask. Abstract and exotic, local and global, percussive and trumpetering, pioneering and heritage-conscious, rooted and way out there! Find it all out yourself and especially don't even try to miss out on this one if you are into weird percussion or anarchic brass instruments.
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Artist: Jeff Kaiser (@)
Title: 17 Themes for Ockodektet
Format: CD
Label: pfMENTUM
When Jeff Kaiser turned 40, he celebrated inviting a bunch of friends (including Ernesto Diaz-Infante - cmp review elsewhere on these pages) and letting them jam under his supervision at Ventura City Hall, in Ventura, California. He also taped the whole thing to DAT so that we all can be invited to that party as well. Besides conducting and trumpeting, woodwinds, euphonium, valve-trombone, tuba, acoustic and electric guitar, electronics, organ, theremin, drums and percussions were also involved. Freeform, free-style, free-spirit, free-jazz, it's all free, it's all good. If you are into acoustic explorations, experimental music, concrete musique, the russian electro-acoustic school or the Netherlands' Staalplaat more accessible discography and stuff like that this is your cup of tea. Sophisticated, intellectual, down to earth, beautiful, tense, relaxing, visionary, soft, frantic, frenetic, aleatory, rapturing. It's all these things together... And if the music isn't innovative enough to you try the nice and simple unfolding cardboard packaging with a string.
Apr 22 2003
Artist: Utopia Banished (@)
Title: s/t
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: selfreleased
Utopia:Banished is a Deutsch one-man project spitting out some angry ass distortion-loaded music with screaming vocals and straight forward industrial attitude. It all starts out like a Sonar or Dive thing but then adds down-pitched sampled metal guitar riffs (that for the pleasure of those who hate guitars are kept low enough not to bother anyone and pretty much act like added pressure), frantic electronics, industrial beats, treated and over-driven vocals. Myself, on the other hand, I love guitars on electronics so when the second song is about to start (with an equally exciting power electronics intro as in the opening track) and the scratching 6-strings get a little more dominant and pounding, I enjoy myself in the reminiscence of some of my favourite German old school aggro-industrial bands, like Die Krupps. The constant EBM-ish screamed vocals contribute to the violence and make sure (if need be, not that it did) that reminiscence is never confused with copying. When the short riff mayhem is over Chris moves on to Reznor-like whispering, soft disturbed electronics, padded beats and aleatory tension in the air. It's foreseeable that he's just gathering forces to launch the next sonic assault, a more down-tempo song big on analog sounds. More KMFDM/F242/Cat Rape Dogs/Borghesia can be found here and there but Chris shows his skills in never being redundant and instead moving on to a frenetic drum'n'bass beat that will make you remember what year you are in. When the piano wraps it up it gets darker and holier, with choruses, big chords, treated vocals and samples working up against his usual screaming performances. I hope that with my references I didn't give you the impression that there's lots of nostalgia involved, it's just a matter of feel. This is modern sounding stuff and it's good stuff, which carries around a certain national vibe that you'll like and recognize only if you were around for the glorious days. If you weren't give this a listen and prepare for the re-birth.
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