Music Reviews



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Artist: AIN SOPH
Title: Ars Regia
Format: CD
Label: Athanor (@)
Much awaited re-release, in the usual Athanor quality packaging, of Ain Soph's masterpiece, released by Zero Kama's Nekrophile on tape in 1986, then in cd in 1992. Still in their ritual/exoteric period, AS conceived "Ars Regia" as a sound document of alchemical rites and studies, and the 36-page booklet of this new version features short essays about magick, cabbala, sorcery, etc. - the "theoretical part" that was actually an important side of Ain Soph back in those days. Also featured are a historical interview for Maelzel magazine, by our own Maurizio Pustianaz, and a more recent one by Marco Deplano (Foresta di Ferro), the editor of this reprint. Sound-wise, though the cd has allegedly been remastered, the quality remains pretty much the same, with raw under-produced recordings; but the substantial beauty of the work is indisputable, with immensely solemn hymns like "Credo" or "Honorii ponteficis evocatio" or the ritual-ambient abysses of "Lapis niger", "Gradalis" and "Apathanathismos", gems only equalled by the contemporary works by Zero Kama and putting to shame most of today "industrial". This mandatory cd is completed by an up-to-date discography of the project.
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Artist: CLAUDIO ROCCHETTI
Title: The work called Kitano
Format: CD
Label: Bar La Muerte
Definitely one of the most interesting and mature releases to have come out of the Italian experimental electronic scene this year, "The work called Kitano" is a rich and tasty cd which could equally enthrall fans of impro-jazz, electroacoustics and turntablism. Rocchetti (with a background in straight edge hardcore and in digital terrorism dj'ing as a member of the Sonic Belligeranza collective) manipulates clusters of upright bass improvisations ("Existenz"), samples loops and cd skips ("Burned"), concrete noises ("eleven AM"), quiet piano passages, merging them in complex collages which seems to be run through by some strange fever. I believe the main strength of this work lies - besides its show of taste and compositional ability - in its evocative power, passing from nostalgia ("Petra von Kant") to all-out paranoia ("Lovesong") to subcutaneous anxiety ("eleven AM", "my love was sitting on the mortician's knees"), more often than not within the same track. There's often a sense of dusty past, of things forgotten suddenly re-vitalized but in a kind of ambiguous "detournement" - something I often feel when listening to Jeck's or Schaefer's turntablism tours-de-force. This ability to suggest atmospheres and emotional views prevents the experiments to become dull and self-assured, the state of tension is permanently kept. Even in its quietest moments, a sudden, concrete intervention - even minimal - comes like an unexpected crack to suggest that even that peace was a façade. And memory is like the main, uncredited instrument of this work.
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Artist: MASON JONES
Title: The crystalline world of memory
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
A solo release for Mason Jones, member of Subarachnoid Space and Culper Ring, based on live guitar solos later edited and reconstructed. Strangely enough, it could be one of the "least weird" releases in the crazy Public Eyesore catalogue. Jones seems to draw his influences from '70's psychedelia with some roots in blues and rock as well - so these live improvisations are somehow "recognizable" even in their more spacey and abstract moments. At times ("...It’s all final?") it's like listening to a freak version of Ry Cooder, at others ("What if...", "The difficult life of the interstellar loner"), as the opposite end of the spectrum, the sound matter gets more obscure and paranoid, with noisy passages and psych delays. Still, a kind of "retro" aftertaste creeps in.
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Artist: DAVANTAGE
Title: Broken influences/Remnant
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Black Rain (@)
A double cd reissue of Davantage’s first cd (1999-2000) and earlier demo cdrs (1996-1999), back by popular demand. "Broken influences" still sounds quite good (ok, only 3 years have passed, after all), with its minimal but catchy electro-EBM in the typical Davantage gloomy style - medium to fast beats, cold keys programmings, and a dark, soulful voice which sometimes reminded me of good ole Clock DVA. I actually think some of these tracks are better than more recent stuff of theirs... whatever. The demo tracks are along the same lines, some of them were remixed or re-recorded in the vocals department for this rerelease - let’s say they’re logically rawer and less focused, but will probably please their die-hard fans. Horrible layout all the way.
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Artist: POLYSPACE
Title: Tactual Sense
Format: CD
Label: Funkwelten (@)
Decent pseudo-Warp electronica from a collaboration between Polygon and For a Space. "Somewhere inside" inserts some Buddhist chants sample, "Latenz" has some breakbeat hint, "Grown out" and "Heaven" add some simple piano melody – but the core of it all is the usual, over-used rhythmic wallpaper electronica: nothing too jarring to the ear, but nothing memorable either. Anyway, better than other even more static Funkwelten releases. Boring layout.
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