Music Reviews



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Artist: DER FEUERKREINER (@)
Title: Der Feuerkreiner
Format: CD
Label: Runes and Men/Misty Circles
Der Feuerkreiner are a relatively young duo formed by Federico Flamini (music and voice) and Valentina Castellani (voice). The former has already been active with the symphonic death metal band Lumen Moritur and the solo-projects Kunst Mork (industrial-techno, see review in the archive!) and Commotus Ingenio (dark-ambient), while the latter comes from classical studies in polyphonic singing. This official debut, co-released by Runes and Men and Misty Circles, follows a 4-track promo which, if I'm not wrong, featured some of the songs of this cd. Der Feuerkreiner mostly play dramatic martial symphonies in the vein of Der Blutharsch, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud and The Day of the Trumpet Call. Tracks 1, 4 and 5 perfectly represent this style, with grand, tragic atmospheres and a feeling of impending doom in the air. Proud and desperate at the same time. Track 3 and 6 are more tranquil, with Valentina's singing hypnotic litanies in a melancholic and austere way that reminded me of some Camerata Mediolanense's works. Track 7 starts with a folkish string sample soon massacred by a storm of looped noises, percussions and siren-like wailings which do create a sense of panic; again, Blutharsch or A Challenge of Honour come to mind. Tracks 2 and 8, on the contrary, are full-on, :Wumpscut:-sounding electro-industrial with amphetaminic beats, harsh loops and fierce filtered vocals; while this style isn't my cup of tea at all, the two tracks are well-done and, most of all, fit well in the work, without breaking the overall atmosphere. Lyrics are possibly one of DF's most original characteristics - they're inspired by Christian Morgenstern's poems, but their German is de-composed into a hypothetical, purely phonetical language. The cd comes in a luxurious horizontal cardboard booklet - looks like a photo album from a hundred years ago... All in all, an excellent release worth several listenings, and it's a pleasure to see a new Italian project with such a strong debut. Interview soon, hopefully.
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Artist: DER FEUERKREINER (@)
Title: Der Feuerkreiner
Format: CD
Label: Misty Circles (@)
Der Feuerkreiner is an Italian band formed by Federico Flamini (vocals and melodies) and Valentina Castellani (vocals). On the six A5 pages booklet there ins't any information about the band which by the graphics presents themselves as a dark industrial combo fascinated by Germany of the end of 19th century (I presume so because the writings which come along with the pictures are in this language). Musically the eight nameless tracks are evocative and could remember something like a mixture between In The Nursery, Death In June and some Cold Meat Industry early stuff with sometimes cello inserts and the costant presence of percussions. If you are into this kind of stuff you can find the Der Feuerkreiner's sound interesting and catchy.
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Artist: GIUSEPPE VERTICCHIO (@)
Title: Distant Skylines
Format: CD
Label: Self-released
Born in 1965, Giuseppe Verticchio began composing ambient music in the first half of the '90's, and over the years has been releasing a remarkable series of cds, both as a solo performer (under his real name or with the monicker Nimh) and as a member of the trio biaSthon, with Adriano Scerna (also known for his project Anofele) and Marco Ramassotto, musicians who also collaborate to the first two tracks of this amazing work. Verticchio's also active with Oltre il Suono, an excellent website for ambient and electronic artists which released an equally good sampler called "Beyond the Sound" this year (see archive).
"Distant Skylines", composed and recorded in 2001, is a superb work. The main sound sources are ethnic instruments (mostly Thai percussions and strings) and voices; both are sometimes digitally processed and transformed into unrecognizable, eerie sounds. "The Market-Place", "Village Feast" and "Children Memories" share this pervading presence of voices, which, mixed with the metallic sounds of the instruments, and a thick subterrean layer of noises (first two tracks), constitute a mind-numbing whirlpool: field recordings of common voices and chants are mixed into layers, looped and processed with an incredible ability and care for detail, and the effect is stunning. "Late Afternoon at Wat Phra Yai" is a beautiful droning piece: xylophones, cymbals, gongs, mantra-like chants... the most ethereal track of the work. "Keota's song" is a short (just a bit more than a minute), sweet track with a baby singing an alphabet song with background windchimes sounds.
Verticchio shows an excellent taste in composition - the cd assembles different materials but never loses its coherence and the long tracks (3 out of 5 are around 13') are never boring. Moreover, sound quality's extremely high, every detail is clearly audible and there are no flares in the mix - absolutely professional also in this aspect. But possibly the main merit of this work is that it starts with ethnic sources and does give the idea of an "outer" dimension without falling into cheap exotism or new age naiveté. This is, for real, a sonic experience of the senses and of the soul...
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Artist: ERNESTO DIAZ INFANTE + BOB MARSH
Title: Rags and Stones
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
Ernesto Díaz-Infante at prepared guitar and Bob Marsh at violin and cello for 50' of extreme improvisation. Strings are plucked, beaten and caressed without any kind of structure, rhythm or progression. I could honestly say I've found this cd-r incredibly tedious. I guess it's a matter of gut-feeling, these sessions left me without any kind of emotion, suggested no image, and my general impression was that of a casual (in the negative sense of the word) string-plucking - probably appealing to the players but sterile to my ear. I hate to write this as I generally like improvisation and noise, but this is just what improvisation should avoid being - boring.
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Artist: ASP
Title: Der Schwarze Schmetterling, Teil II, :DUETT
Format: CD
Label: Richterskala/Trisol (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
I'm not really sure I got the name of the band and the title right, but oh well. ASP play a blend of electro, wave and rockish, radio-friendly music with great care for arrangement and details. No wonder they play live with an extended line-up with non-electronic instrumentation, since all tracks have distinct melodies and are arranged like "real" songs - thus, though rhythms are exclusively electronic, they skillfully avoid the classic feeling of monotonous repetition which plagues most electro acts. But the song structure itself seems to be based more on melody than on rhythm, and tracks like "Maybe" have those catchy pop lines that could guarantee proper airplay. Really not my cup of tea, but definitely better than most EBM stuff I've listened to over the past few months. Uh, comes in digipack with booklet (good layout).
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