Music Reviews



cover
Artist: Takamovsky (@)
Title: Sonic Counterpoint
Format: CD + Download
Label: Etymtone (@)
Distributor: Ordis
Juergen Berlakovich’s “Sonic Counterpoint” is predominantly a solo acoustic guitar performance, but with the most delicate of glitchy and atmospheric electronic production touches, clicks and minimal beats, which complement and modernise its organic, classical core.

“Sun” is one of the more active, upbeat pieces, with a more regulated beat that drifts slightly towards house music, and more noticeable verse and chorus loops that might lend it credence as part of a lounge or chill out compilation. “Proton” is the track that feels most like it’s an instrumental pop ballad, calling out for an aching soulful vocal to be dropped on top. Other pieces like “Ice” and “Cinescopi (Notturno)” are somewhat more abstract by comparison.

Ostensibly there’s a JS Bach connection, with patterns derived from one of Bach’s Cello Suites, but the gentle looping and slowly evolving progressions feel like they have more in common with a Steve Reich work and the result is both modernist and minimalist.

The seventh track “Running In The Background” is the only vocal track, with sinister, whispered stalker-like lyrics that unfortunately play completely at odds with the relaxed atmospheres that the rest of the album invoke. Unfortunately the decision to add a vocal was a mistake here- a completely instrumental album would have been stronger.

It’s a thoroughly engaging listen. Thirty-six minutes races by and reaching for the ‘play’ button again once it’s done. It’s a genuinely beautiful work, not to mention a valuable asset should you ever find yourself trying to introduce electronic music to an elderly grandparent who still thinks that you can’t make proper music with machines. The only exception is, I won’t be bothering with track 7.
cover
Artist: Magic Moments At Twilight Time (@)
Title: Flashbax Ω Ultimate
Format: CD + Download
Label: Klappstuhl Records (@)
Rated: *****
This release is a compilation is a compilation of the best tracks of Magic Moments At Twilight Time and aims to create a detailed picture of the band using tracks from all their releases so featuring all their members. Apart from this CDr, the release features an additional download with other tracks and a booklet. The music is something that could be classified as post punk but the tracks reveal a more multifaceted nature as they sometimes expose an experimental aim instead of a more typical pop attitude. Courageously the label decided to let the sound closer to their time so it doesn’t sound as most remastered edition exposing a modern sound instead of the sound of that time.
The musical framework of "State Of The Art" is as outdated as nostalgic; it’s not something sounding old, it’s really old and it triggers a sense of lost time. "Story X" is almost irresistible in his dancey attitude. "Pandora" deals with dub oriented sounds while "Traveller II" is a real pop tune. "Blitzkrieg!" is probably an homage to a band as the title suggests. "Psychojolting" and ”Get Into The Dream Cream" are essential rock tracks with an electronic sound while "Shades Of Purple" tries to remove the rock ingredient from the recipe. "Bewitched" is instead an example of their more experimental output while "Spirit" is even an acoustic track and "Acidic Heaven" is an algid track based on guitar and synth. "Magic Moments At Twilight Time" closes this release blending all characteristics of their sound: a punk attitude, a new wave sound and a pop writing.
The booklet available as a download include a full introduction of all tracks and is a must to enjoy this release which is more a nostalgic postcard from the past than a path for the future but it’s a release that shows what kind of gems are forgotten to remember some old dinosaur. A must for philologists.
cover
Artist: N.M.O.
Title: Nordic Mediterranean Organization / Numerous Miscommunications Occur
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Diagonal Records
A tongue-in-cheek silliness runs throughout this rather ungenerous release, which despite being described as a “2LP”, clocks in at only 35 minutes, with many of the tracks being sample interludes of thirty seconds or less, and essentially only 4 full-length tracks. It’s a deliberately daft blend of bouncy Dutch techno noises with mechanical percussive beats played against speed changes, unexpected jumps and false starts.

“New Bulgaria” is the closest the album comes to a solid, straight-faced seven-minute techno journey, slightly reminiscent of some early Josh Wink tracks, but even that track grinds to a halt and closes with noises that wouldn’t sound out of place in Looney Tunes. “Double Arm” is notable for its jazz elements and text-to-speech commentary.

“Armchair Evader” is the strongest track for me- it’s the one where they get the balance right between esoteric noises and unusual sound sources, and a groove which shifts and adjusts in interesting ways, not always sticking to even bar counts, but without behaving like it’s trying to throw the listener off the train.

Overall though it’s a package that sounds like it was more fun to create than it is to listen to. It’s daft, and it’s not without merit, but it doesn’t quite convince.
cover
Artist: Reisebüro86
Title: Platform 12
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
“Platform 12” opens as though it will largely be an ambient field recording of a slightly barren, windswept Hungarian railway station, and while that it certainly the opening line of the premise, it quickly morphs into other shapes. Unexpected spot sounds are looped into various rhythms both simple and complex.

“Day II” seems to have involved the microphone being snuck into a station office- is that a dot matrix printer? And in the second half of “Day I”, is that the sound of a station urinal flushing, timestretched to within an inch of its life? It’s a playful and wilfully random affair in some ways, but there are sinister, windy undertones as well.

The mechanical insistence of “Day II” is a transient, found sound techno. “Day III” throws electronic equipment warning beeps together like they’re having a melodic bar fight. “Day IV” creates a debate between different hydraulic machines. A train station this may be, quiet it is not. Interestingly, there’s no evidence of people here either; somehow all evidence of human life has been carefully expunged from the recordings, leaving only the machines with a voice.

“Platform 12” is an engaging and well-executed 20-minute concept EP.
cover
Artist: Dean De Benedictis (@)
Title: Salvaging the Present
Format: CD
Label: Spotted Peccary Music (@)
Rated: *****
The second Spotted Peccary release in today's reviews comes from Dean De Benedictis, an artist with rich and varied credentials going back to 1990's. He's the son of TV series music composer Dick De Benedictis (Perry Mason 1985-93, Columbo, Rockford Files, Matlock, etc.) and has been releasing his own recordings since 1996. With a background in jazz fusion and progressive rock bands (he performed with Brand X on tour in 2004), Dean gravitated toward electronic and techno-tribal, influenced by such artists as Tangerine Dream, Mark Isham, Steve Roach, Robert Rich and Loren Nerell. He's had releases under the alias Surface 10 as well as under his own name. De Benedictis is the founder of both Fateless Records, and the Fateless Flows Collective, a Los Angeles group of electronic composers. Dean is also the co-founder and producer of Cyberstock, an outdoor music concert and visual arts display held in the Santa Monica Mountains. With all that in mind, it's a wonder that 'Salvaging the Present' is my first experience with his music.

Seldom does a one-sheet (the promo text accompanying the release provided by the label and/or artist for the review) do much more than hype the release, and I usually hate quoting them, but in this case, it's quite relevant. "Through the creative use of musical instruments and sound design tools, De Benedictis scores an emotionally deep, aesthetically appealing and technologically sophisticated triumph, blending organic and electronic expressions into a compelling panorama of music and sound." That just about nails it. But he didn't do it entirely alone - guests include Percy Jones (bass), Alexey Gorokholinskiy (clarinet), Peter Ludwig (cello and voice), Lisa Claire Mitterer (vocals), D'von Charley (native flute), Jim Goetsch (sax) and Angelo Elonte (violin). 'Salvaging the Present' is so far removed from what we've come to think of as ambient, that it is "sui generis," something entirely in its own genre. Yes, there are deep ambient passages, some techno-tribal, a nod to classical, world music, experimental, and more, but it has a special vibe to it that can't be pigeonholed.

It's grand and spacious, yet well-grounded. Sometimes heavenly, sometimes rhythmic, sometimes both simultaneously. The album has nine tracks, all of them over six minutes and under ten. The first track alone, "To the Ends of Elation" is a minor masterpiece with a richness and musicality that rivals anything in the cinematic ambient realm I've heard in a long, long time. It only gets better from there, and I'm actually awed by what I'm hearing. An incredible variety of moods and motifs that enthrall the listener, this is the kind of ambient that you want to pump up the volume for, not relegate to the background. So in that sense 'Salvaging the Present' is much more than just ambient; it is symphonic ambient without the strictures of classical music, or any traditional musical format. Yet, there are elements that will be familiar, and the way they are blended within the context of these soundscapes is indeed remarkable. This is really a beautiful album through and through, worthy of its lofty rating, and highly recommended.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171...180] [181...190] [191] [192] [193] [194] [195] [196] [197] [198] [199] [200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha