Music Reviews



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Artist: VULTURES (@)
Title: Vultures
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Self Released
Coming from Israel Vultures do their best to create an incendiary mixture of industrial techno with hard core vocals. The four tracks E.P. brings us seventeen minutes of "no hostages" music where driving distorted guitars duel with piercing synth parts and obsessive rhythms. Being a mixture between NIN, Alec Empire and Sick Of It All, Vultures are an interesting alternative to mainstream industrial rock. Listen to the two mp3 tracks from their website and surely you'll be convinced that I'm right.
Artist: ALEX M. OVER
Title: Postscript
Format: CD
Label: Self Released (@)
Alex M. Over is a musical project of Aleksej Maldorov, a guy coming from Russia who produced a couple of interesting works full of pathos and atmosphere. Thanks to the interest of an Italian guy called Luca Bionda, the last two work recorded by Alex are gathered in one CD and made available for Italy. POSTSCRIPT and ANOMALOUS ZONE are two particular works, which move from industrial/experimental tracks to neo classical movements really intriguing. The seventeen instrumental compositions give to the listener a strange sense of suspension because Alex alternate intense moments to light melodies (like on "Shadow Measurement" or the following "The White Pink" where he lightly paints rarefied tunes mixed with bleeps and distant noises) and to powerful rhythmical parts. I liked most the intense parts like "From Here To There" or "Goldsiana" where in my opinion he does his best creating intense pieces of music. The other parts (maily coming from POSTSCRIPT) sometimes sound a little too ambient/new age to me but the whole CD is for sure interesting.
Artist: Beequeen (@)
Title: Gund
Format: CD
Label: Plinkity Plonk (@)
Distributor: Forced Exposure & Solielmoon (US), These Records (UK), Metamkine (FR), Demos (IT), Rotor (SP), Coldlands (RU), Digital Narcis (JAP), De Staalplaat & Konkurrent (NL), Lowlands (BE), Target (D)
On March 1st one of the most important and influent staff members of Staalplaat and publisher of Vital Weekly, Frans De Waard, left Staalplaat to focus on other things. He told us that he will continue to make music but on an entirely different basis, and apparently he inaugurated this new chapter of his life cycle with the release of some older (1998) Beequeen recordings. This is one in two releases (the other one being "Aughton", to be released later this year by Beta Ring rec as a vinyl) that dig in the vaults of previously unreleased studio recordings and rare material. Frans and his pal Freek Kinkelaar get down to business with droning ambient music, shill sonic artifacts, prolonged atmospheres made of deep rumbling noises and mid to higher waveforms. The CD has been released on the band's private outlet Plinkity Plonk (it's the 11th Plink and there will be many more to come, they tell us, both by Beequeen and by other bands close to the De Waard/Kinkelaar duo). For those who have been following Beequeen for a while, you should know this is "old style" material, before the band re-defined their musical direction. But even if you prefer the newer stuff by the band, you might be interested to add this to your collection, considering that it contains material that was initially intended for vinyl releases that never saw the light. The first four tracks should have been on a 12" that was supposed to play at different speeds (16,33, 45 and 78 rpm) but allegedly it was too complicated to press such a vinyl. The sixth and closing track is the outcome of a collaborative experiment between Beequeen and Japanese noise artist MSBR. The label that was supposed to release the 10" album documenting this exchange of sounds stopped their activities while the two bands were independently working on different pieces so now you have the occasion to hear what MSBR did with Beequeen-supplied sources in 2001. As you may expect if you are familiar with MSBR's legacy, this track is much noisier than Beequeen's slow evolutions of droning ambient, but it is way less harsh than what MSBR might do on his own releases. It's somewhere in between, much like experimental glitch electronics, with lots of noises and underlaying layers of tense sound waves. "Gund" is available in 500 copies with a hand-printed sleeve designed by Meeuw.
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Artist: Philip Samartzis
Title: Mort Aux Vaches
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Forced Exposure & Solielmoon (US), These Records (UK), Metamkine (FR), Demos (IT), Rotor (SP), Coldlands (RU), Digital Narcis (JAP), De Konkurrent (NL), Lowlands (BE), Target (D)
Prolific Australian acoustics and sonics virtuoso Philip Smartzis has released a number of his experimental records on Korm Plastics, RRR, Dorobo, Digital Narcis, Staalplaat and his own outlet Gum, and has collaborated with the like of Inada, Muller, KK Null, Yamamoto etc. Through the three long tracks of the newest installment in the "Mort Aux Vaches" series you'll learn what is special about Smartzis' signature. In the opening track, "Variable Resistance", glitch electronics, frizzling and frying noises, whispered found sounds, cricket-like field recordings, statics, voice samples and other audio that sounds like a burning fire represent an excerpt from the "Ten hours of sound from Australia - A contemporary Survey of Australian Sound Culture" which Samartzis is curator of and which was presented at San Fran's MoMA last year and at Berlin's Transmediale Festival this year. "Deconstructed Windmills" starts like a hearing test with sounds in the range of 10-15k and other hi-pitched sonics that get quite unpleasing and disturbing after a short while. Fortunately Smartzis is not one of those boring artists that stick to one sound for half an hour and he soon adds more spices and lower frequency material to the spectrum of involved frequencies eventually even moving into the subsonic territories by the end of the almost thirteen minute long track (the shortest one!). And when you are ready for a revival of industrial-plants-like sounds of clashing metal scraps and other piercing, hammered, scratched and loud reverberated noises listen to track three, is ironically titled "Soft and Loud", even though there's not much softness, except for the (almost) silent spaces between the initial and recurring metallic pandemonium. One third into the piece it takes a sudden turn towards more musical information, weird vocal backward samples, found sounds, freakish collage music, sounds of water, synth-bass-like sliced and diced tones, bells, and other un-identifiable noises.His tracks contain a number of different states and different types of noises so at least dynamism is guaranteed. Of course you've got to have what it takes to embark in a 3 track 60 minute long release of hearing hostilities, but if you are one of those who's been tested, you'll be glad to find so many changes in these suites.
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Artist: Edwin Van Der Heide
Title: Wavescape
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Forced Exposure & Solielmoon (US), These Records (UK), Metamkine (FR), Demos (IT), Rotor (SP), Coldlands (RU), Digital Narcis (JAP), De Konkurrent (NL), Lowlands (BE), Target (D)
One of the greatest issues in accurately presenting sound installations that have taken place somewhere sometime, especially when it comes to specific multi-speaker installation, is the translation from the original acoustical environment to the mere two channels of the traditional stereo CDs. "Wavescape" for example uses two microphone's sources, when the original concept behind the project was to actually use a linear array of 24 hydrophones so to give a physical dimension to the movement and the sound taking place underwater. After Moby's "Underwater" record, 33 year old Dutch Sonologie-graduated Edwin van der Heide took it up on himself to try to define the sonics of Rotterdam's Nieuwe Maas river's depths on the waterside, not by simply amplifying what the hydrophones were picking up, but by also representing it linearly. To be considered is that sound in water travels faster than in air, but still the underwater sound space and the spatial shape of the waves can be re-created quite faithfully with this method. In one 20 minute long track you'll be able to hear slow and cumbersome container ships, speedy ferries, cab boats from the New York hotel and other water taxies. If you like what you hear the talented and creative Van Der Heide is also to be seen in the Sensorband line up (together with Karkowski), and in a trio with Boddedijk and Welmer.
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