Music Reviews



image not
available
anymore
Artist: Pausal (@)
Title: Avifaunal
Format: CD
Label: Dronarivm (@)
Rated: *****
Pausal is an audio/visual duo from UK which could be classifiable as drone music if they only wouldn't escape the construction of a flat sonic surface using a series of elements to obtain a musical movement.
The first part of this release is made out of "Murmuration", a piece in three parts developed from a performance in Pembrokeshire using new material crafted for the show and new equipment including voice microphones used, perhaps, for the insertion of the sounds recorded into the large hall where it was performed. The first part,"Murmuration I", is developed using violin samples, the crackles of a turntable and the overall structure is a crescendo obtained by the sonic space which add resonances and the synths that, in the second part of the track, construct a loud drones rippled by the violin line. The second part, "Murmuration II", is much more meditative and based on synth whose structure is based on the development of small sustained tones with the background of small sound cells. "Murmuration III" proceeds by accumulating drones and generating movement underlining one of them until, in the final part of the track, they begin a sequence of subtraction until the track ends in silence.
The second part is formed by three track obtained reworking the recording sessions of "Murmuration" and taking the musical material into different territories."Spiral", an impressive bustle of sustained tones that give a great variety to the track, "Scatter", based on small sound elements, which could be tones or small metallic beats or small noisy cells, interacting to obtain a complex audial space and "Soar" that closes this release with a quiet soundscape obtained with slowly moving drones and an almost inaudible background noise giving movement to the most static parts.
Even if it could be unfair to say there's nothing ground-breaking here, there's a lot of work of creating a personal sound from a well established musical framework and there's a lot of ideas developed in the tracks. Absolutely recommended for fans of the genre.
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Harsh Noise London #1: Parliament
Format: Tape
Label: Harsh Noise London
I wasn't expecting much from these brutally worked-over recycled cassettes, but the first couple tracks, a live set from Animal Machine, effectively grabbed my attention after a couple minutes. AM radio static-like landscapes, crunchy transitions, walls of deep-belly noise, and hooting high-frequency tendrils poking out of the mess once in a while.

PCRV, opens with a thick, all-lows pulse bomb that switches between sub-flub and feedback squalls, spacey delay creep outs, and surprising flashes of violence that get more intense as the track progresses. I found myself wishing for more clarity in the mix, since the performance was so exciting and seemed a bit coated in filter muck, but damage is damage, and I'm just happy there was so much to listen to.

Gen 26 moves slower than the first two artists, but dizzying stereo field alternations either from effected panning or clashing signals almost made me hold my head in pain/sickness. It's a deceptively simple presentation of a complex assault, but I'm not sure I'll be listening again anytime soon. Seasickness or vertigo-inducing malevolence. Making someone a bit ill with a harsh noise recording is usually regarded with respect, so kudos! Bleah. Like any slow-moving, monolithic piece like this, I eventually was lulled into a head-bobbing trance, but I'm still not interested in taking this ride again.

When the final track from Nryy started, I said, "Wow, this sounds Japanese!" Had to check to confirm, but, yeah, it's totally Japanese. That's not to say it sounded formulaic or stock, I just think Japanoise is always going to have a distinct flavor. The tip-off for me was the "WAAAH WOW WOW WAAAAH" Masonna-esque vocal delivery. A discernible pattern of push-pull tension/release develops as the piece progresses, sucking in with thick walls and lashing back out with squelching highs. Surprisingly, I still feel like the Animal Machine and PCRV tracks moved a bit more, but this is a solid track.

Overall a very tasty compilation. I'd love to hear the full-fidelity recordings of some of these fantastic performances outside of the recycled-cassette muddiness, but I suppose that would be defeating some of the purpose. I'm looking very forward to hearing the other Harsh Noise London offerings.
cover
Artist: LCC
Title: Bastet
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Editions Mego
Accompanied by a press release which shuns talk of performance or instrumentation in favour of discussing the Egyptian goddess after which this release is named, and with cover artwork that frankly makes me squeamish, Ana Quiroga and Uge Pañeda’s second album as “LCC” seems to be setting its stall out early as difficult and inaccessible. The audio behind it, however, is not nearly so harsh.

Almost purely electronic but with other ambient noises blended gently in, it’s a mixed bag of synth-heavy pieces involving washes and oscillations that gently ebbs and flow, backwards and forwards in a mostly very relaxing fashion. It’s sometimes arhythmic, but with tracks like the drum-heavy cinematic tension of “Ka” break it into distinct pieces.

Longest track “Ba” is to me the most successful, blending some analogue synth noises with some sparse heavy percussive hits and wailing higher tones, and utilising the classic grandfather clock tocking sound for steady heartbeat regulation.

Pieces like “He” have synths that move more towards 1970’s Tangerine Dream territory, deceptively simple and slowly evolving, though sometimes cut a little short and deprived of the full prog rock experience, while final track “Us” is notable for its deeper and more mesmerising drone.

It’s a fairly familiar-tasting blend of elements that doesn’t really push the envelope, but as a dark synth work with a filmic ambience, it’s smartly polished. One of those releases that really benefits from good headphones and a darkened room.
cover
Artist: Saafi Brothers
Title: The Quality Of Being One
Format: CD + Download
Label: Liquid Sound Design Records
The sixth album from Saafi Brothers (five performers with different surnames) is a collection of up-tempo ambient dub (if that’s not inherently a contradiction in terms), a series of tracks infused with the energy of 1990’s crossovers when electronic music opened up to every multicultural influence you could think of. The result evokes memories of Dreadzone, Asian Dub Foundation, Afro Celt Sound System and the like. Rocksteady basslines, tight drum programming and plenty of Future Sound Of London-esque electronic sprinkles give the whole thing a lovely vibe that’s part blissed-out Ibiza daytime beach party, part chill-out, part wig-out, and if I’m being critical, at times part wallpaper.

Every track is a lengthy journey in its own right. “Catch Me If You Can” is an eleven-minute meander that mixes lazy spoken-word poetry over a dub beat that dips in and out. The vocoded vocal on “Hippies In Trance” is knowing and playful, and a funky wah-wah guitar oozes a kind of tongue-in-cheek class that’s rather infectious.

There’s a good helping of diversity too. “Joy Of Mystery” is a little more unusual, finding a slightly unsettling breakbeat and bouncing around some slightly harsher and lo-fi bass noises among the standard delay-laden keys and pads. “Out On A Ride” plays like a trancey reimagining of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” was the starting point. “Ta Tvam Asi” with its steadier, more techno-tinged beat is a highlight that mixes things up nicely, while “Dub No 9” and the beatless final track “Summer Travel” up the synth emphasis.

It’s no coincidence that every band I’ve referenced here for comparison is heavily associated with the 1990’s. Save for a bit of top-notch mastering, this album could have fallen through a wormhole from 1995 and the halcyon days of this genre and you wouldn’t have questioned its authenticity. It’s a very appropriate fit for a record label founded by Youth, with his associations with acts like The Orb. It’s not a classic (contemporary or otherwise), but for people with fond memories of those days and those sounds, this album will go down very nicely indeed.
cover
Artist: Moodring
Title: Cottage Mess
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Silber Media
After a brief hiatus, Silber Records make a welcome return with three-piece Moodring’s collection of eight tracks of energetic twisted dark shoegaze jazz. Long sustained keyboard chords and steady mostly single-note electric bass playing are the core, with live drums often allowed to cut free and loose among sound effects, samples, vocal wails and and other elements lifted from the more electric side of indulgent prog rock.

There’s a broad sweep of styles involved and every track has its own character. After the relatively straight-up prog rock of opener “Of Metal And Burning”, “Pete In A Cage” is unusually accessible, with a steadier poppier rhythm and an electric bass that’s borderline funky, while “Snow Shadow” centres around a plaintive piano over a swaggering bassline. Proceedings are equally unpredictable in the second half, with “Nobel Iron” flying closest to the song format before the chaotic avantgarde 70’s throwback sounds of “There Is No Last Word”. Final track “Thuja” showcases flitty, skittish and effect-heavy flute work over a warm drone and guitar pattern.

It’s a warm and tightly-constructed short album with atmosphere and energy, that finds a good balance between musicality and the deliberate repetitiveness that can be the strength of the genre. It’s one of Silber’s more accessible offerings and definitely worth checking out.
[ 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...200] [201] [202] [203] [204] [205] [206] [207] [208] [209] [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] [1961...1970] [1971...1980] [1981...1990] [1991...2000] [2001...2010] [2011...2020] [2021...2030] [2031...2040] [2041...2050] [2051...2060]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

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