Music Reviews



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Artist: Nuaru (@)
Title: Like In A Dream EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi (@)
Rated: *****
The incipit of this digital tidbit that Nuaru, a Dutch - from Eindhoven - producer grown in the nest (or I'd say in the greenhouse, given Nuaru's love and interest for botany) of Basserk, could vaguely resemble the sonorities of a lot of stuff by Burial or Fanu, but the ethereal breathe, the sound of tapping raindrops, the crystalline melody and the puffed claps soon become gears of a pleasant rhythmical engine, whose fuel is what he called "nature bass" in "Like In A Dream", the first half of this sonic drop. The engine rolling beats in the second half "She Blends In With The Ocean" is even more energetic, but in spite of the fact the (h)earthbeat-like bass is more thunderous and concentration levels of percussive elements is higher, Nuaru keeps that breathe-like effect alive by a wise dosage of "organic" elements and playing on gain levels. Just nicely liquid!
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Artist: Hidden Reverse (@)
Title: Six Cases of Sleep Disorder
Format: CD
Label: Azoth
Rated: *****
Hidden Reverse, the name of this bicephalous project by Simon Balestrazzi (mostly known for his forerunning industrial project T.A.C., as most of our readers maybe know) and Massimo Olla - another appreciated artist of the experimental Italian scene -, could let you think of something related or referred to subliminal messages un-hidden by the reverse playing of some recordings. Well, it has nothing to do with this marketing gimmick by some bands, but it could somehow hit your subconscious. The source of inspiration, as you can easily guess, is the phenomenon of sleep disorders, but don't expect some therapy music or seemingly infinite bundles of narcoleptic ambient by these guys. Maybe fostered by the growingly notorious sleep concerts (Steve Stapleton's ones are a must), by a vast literature related to this interesting subject (eg.Jonathan Coe's "The House of Sleep") or by the narcolepsy or the sleeplessness (depending on individual reaction) often induced/inspired by sluggish cultural debates or by the the demeaning political and economic situation, the sleep, its deprivation or its disorders could be considered parts of a hot topic. More than narcolepsy or insomnia, Hidden Reverse creatures could inspire or induce nightmares, considering the matter Simon and Massimo focused on. A title like "Fatal Familial Insomnia" for the opening song, but above all its rising psychotic torsions, could let you think of some dreadful familiar dreadful crimes about parents, turned into killers by traumatic events reawakened by an infant's wailing or by stress. The slightly distorted barking and the siren-like crying are just some nightmarish entities resurfacing from the dumb drone-like movement of the following "Night Terrors", preceding the claustrophobic stealthy steps of "In That Liminal Space" and the scary "Obstructive Sleep Apnea", the track where Simon and Massimo get closer to that branch of industrial music, drawing inspiration from soundtracks of horror movies of the 70ies. The two raving minutes of "One More White Night" in between effete and hectic emotionality as well as the final "Entering The Empire of The Sleepless" let you guess they tried to follow a sort of plot in the sequence of tracks, that testify the amazing (and thrilling) chances of interaction between Simon's freaky entities and Massimo's creatures on his [d]Ronin tools.
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Artist: Die Tödliche Doris
Title: Sprechpause
Format: LP
Label: Fang Bomb
Digging out the source recordings for the final track of your 1982 debut album and reworking them into a new 15-minute EP for 2018 may seem a very self-indulgent thing to do. Add to that the overriding concept of ‘pause music’ and the fact the second side of the vinyl is completely blank, and it does seem quite conceited. But luckily the 15 minutes of audio has the merit to excuse that, if not justify it.

Heavily processed analogue tape recordings and found sounds are extensively reprocessed through both analogue and digital effects modules into a relatively warm, somewhat fuzzy bit of experimental electronic bathing with emphasis on low tones and fuzz.

Opening track “Sendepause” is a strangely impenetrable array of detuned radio noise and electronic bubbling. The dark sinister sci-fi rumblings of “Payment Pause” are a highlight, with the lo-fi rhythmic proto-techno of “Acht-Jahres-Pause” of definite note as well. “Schweigeminute” sounds like an unearthed bit of 1960’s BBC Radiophonic Workshop off-cut, invoking images of clunky black-and-white robots slowly approaching. Final track “Pausenmusik” is predominantly just a wall of random noise- not actual white noise, something more shaped with occasional ghosts cutting through, but essentially a noise wash to round it off.

It’s audio with a distinctly dated and lo-fi feel as far as electronic experimentation goes, but the middle tracks are certainly worth checking out if you’re in the mood for something analogue and raw on the electronics front.
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Artist: Massimo Olla (@)
Title: Structure 1-7
Format: CD
Label: Azoth
Rated: *****
Following four (really interesting) releases as Noisedelik, the solo-project through which he also tested many self-built instruments (grouped by the [d]Ronin general name, referring to different instruments, based on amplified sets of strings, metal plates and chords as well as to a sort of table-set that generate somehow scary hyoer-reverberated drones) between 2012 and 2016 and established many collaborations (the ones with Gianluca Becuzzi is maybe the one which had more visibility, but interesting outputs came out of the ones with Dream Weapon Ritual, sc9, Lyke Wake, Uncodified, Moreno Padoan, Paolo Bandera and Maurizio Bianchi), Massimo Olla signed his first album by its own name on Simon Balestrazzi's imprint Azoth. Such a change isn't only a matter of signatures, but it's also stylistic, as Olla's strategy sounds like mirroring the austerity law of many social and economic current systems: maximizing the outputs by minimizing the inputs. The inputs are mainly raw materials and found objects mainly made of plastic, wood, and metal, while the process to maximize the outputs gets supported by his amplifiers and wisely trademarked instruments. Most of Olla's seven structures are built by sinister resounding entities, grasped into likewise sinister ultra-low frequencies-driven substrates. Each entity could potentially evoke images, nightmarish situations and other creatures belonging to the cream of the crop of the industrial (or post-industrial) Italian scene (Sigillum S, Nightmare Lodge, T.A.C.), but also to many other contemporary amenities: for instance "Structure 3" resembles many outputs by Phurpa or by some output by Aural Hypnox/Helixes collective, "Structure 4" gets closer to some scary sonic freaks by Pierre Henry, while "Structure 6" is something in between some recent outputs by Zeitkratzer and the abstrast side of so-called rhythmic noise, whose ritualistic declensions get sidelined on the sevent structure.
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Artist: Kraz
Title: Lonely
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Basserk Records
Amsterdam-based band Kraz’s “Lonely EP” is a bold 4-track collection from the darker and more melancholic side of guitar-driven electro-synth-pop. Bright arpeggiating synth patterns and melodramatic drums underpin a pained, rocky male vocal.
The title track is the most radio-friendly, an expansive and quite filmic song conjoined to a slow post-dubsteppy groove with full-on production mixing, while the other three tracks dive a little deeper. “Here” is an interesting mish-mash of a surprisingly acid-house beat and squelchy bass with a quite Rob Dougan-esque pained and evocative top end- certainly the track with the greatest remix potential.
Longest track “Forced To Faith” has shades of Depeche Mode about it, with extra time to breathe both vocally and in the synth patterns that are allowed a little further exploration. “Make Him Disappear” has the most prominent guitars and a more raw and organic drum arrangement, and sounds like a rock band with a synth player rather than a synth band that happens to have a guitar, especially in the final third when things take a decided turn towards sounding like an electro-heavy version of The Doors.
The one thing missing from all four tracks is the infectious hook. Dark and brooding this may be, but ultimately it’s still pop music and it still feels like we’re heading towards choruses and crescendos that never quite arrive to fulfil the promise that the verses offer. Predictably it’s the title track that gets closest to a really memorable, singing-it-after-it’s-finished chorus. If that ingredient could have been sprinkled on top, what you’d have here is a very strong EP indeed.
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