Music Reviews



Artist: CHRONIC REMORSE (@)
Title: THE SHORTWAVE RADIO APPRECIATION SOCIETY (1992-95)
Format: CD
Label: Apogee Recordings / The Ceiling (@)
Distributor: The Ceiling + Wreck Age
THis wonderful little CD packaged in a simple yet highly effective (and postage-friendly) pouch concists mainly of of older recordings, originally released on "The 731 Doorways" cassette, from The Ceiling (ex-DDT). One piece ("Sonic Recourse") was previously released on the "Xcreteria volume one" compilation tape, and another ("Basements") was released both on the "Anathemata" compilation tape and later as a re-worked version on the band's "A Grainy Shade Of Ambient" 12" EP. One piece ("Bubonic Horse") is previously unreleased.

Essentially, those who missed out on the limited print run of "The 731 Doorways" cassette can get up to speed with this CD, while those who were lucky enough to get a copy of the original tape will find that the sound quality as well as the "bonus material" on this CD is superior to that of the original cassette. Perhaps the mixing was performed slightly different, affecting thus the final sound.

CHRONIC REMORSE was Paul Verman and Jim DeJong. If I'm not mistaken, they both decided to release "studio" material after a few live performances which prooved the dynamic between the two was right. In any case, "The Short Wave Appreciation Society" offers the listener very eerie and dark oscillating sound waves, textures, and alot of noise processing and, yes, radio transmissions. A difficult listen but well rewarded with originality and energy. Much harsher when compared to the "A Grainy Shade Of Ambient" EP, yet the movement and audio texture push this release beyond the realm of pure harsh noise, yet will please fans of the later who are open-minded about their noise.
Artist: DELPHIUM (@)
Title: DARKFLOOR EP
Format: 7"
Label: THE CEILING (@)
Distributor: THE CEILING + WRECK AGE
Although the one-maned project known as DELPHIUM is usually categorised in the dark-wave experimental slow industrial rhythm section, the "Darkfloor EP" (released by THE CEILING) represents a new turn in the band's already varied discography.

This EP features three seperate pieces, each with its own clour and flavour, if you will. "Green Lane With Delphium" features very oddly cut-up drum-n-bass / jungle beats, with some phat and freaky synth lines and sequences to add more rhythmic dynamic to the mix. Slightly too off the edge to be anywhere club friendly. The other two pieces ("Bleep 27" and "Kill.All.Scooter.Riders.") feature more weird cut-ups and keyboard manipulation, but the techno-influenced beats are somewhat more straightfoward in their delivery. Yet, even with a rather "simple" and repetitive drum track, the songs can't be played in normal discotheques unless the DJ wishes to clear the room of all house-music lovers.

In essence, this reviewer can't really think of any other category to put this little gem into, but I have faith that people into a different, more edgy techno D&B will find this release to their liking. I certainly did!
Artist: LENS CLEANER TRIO (@)
Title: C.D. + Lens Cleaner
Format: 12"
Label: THE CEILING (@)
Distributor: THE CEILING + WRECK AGE
This odd vinyl record LP comes courtesy of THE CEILING records, one of Canada's buisiest and more interesting independant electronic-oriented labels. The LENS CLEANER TRIO is Jose Marchi on guitars, Marcelo Aguirre on drums and voices, and finally C.D. who provided the synthesis and montage for this release.

"C.D. + Lens Cleaner" is a very different and hard to categorise release, even for a label as diverse as THE CEILING. As far as this reviewer's ears can make out, live improvised sessions were first recorded, then heavily processed and mixed in the studio, creating thus a very experimental and electronic-sounding record, even if the main instrumentation consists of drums and guitar. Perhaps the best and generally safest way to describe this record is a very heavily 70s space-rock influenced record which also plunges head first in today's modern noise and illbient textures.

There are portions of this release which are stronger than others, but if the weak spots are indeed making themselves present, they usually don't last for very long. My personnaly favorite moment is somewhere towards the middle-end of the second side, where a very dense yet relaxing atmopheric wall is created and manipulated.

Printed on black vinyl and with a total playing time of about 35-40 minutes, this release is sure to please folks looking for something different and unclasifyable.
Artist: THE INFANT CYCLE / DRONAEMENT (@)
Title: KLAB (phonorecord)
Format: 12"
Label: THE CEILING / NAUZE MUZICK (@)
Distributor: THE CEILING
Those who have followed the evolution of the defunct Canadian label DOOMSDAY TRANSMISSIONS will most probably already be familiar with both THE INFANT CYCLE and DRONAEMENT. Even after DDT became THE CEILING records, one could just as easily accept older catalogue items to familiarise themselves with the sound.

"KLAB (phonorecord)" is a split release for both projects, as well as each project's respective label. Don't think there is any kind of studio intervention here preventing the bands from releasing their true sonic art. In fact, "KLAB (phonorecord)" is quite a treat to folks who may or may not be fans of either labels/projects.

The first side of this vinyl LP features the main sounds of DRONAEMENT (Marcus Murkes), with some added material by TIC (Jim DeJong). The two long tracks on this side ("ER-9 Noise Transmission.wav" and "33 1/3 rpm Acoustic Transmission.wav") flow easily and indiscernably into one another, creating thus a 20 minute audio soundscape of soft-like and textured digital ambience, with some semblance of rhythms poking in here and there for good measure. Perfect late night sleep when there's not too many other noises happening in the vicinity.

Side two is credited to THE INFANT CYCLE, yet the line-up also prominently features DRONAEMENT contributing as much sound sources as TIC. "I-Meant-A-Drone.pop" features more hazy smoke-filled audio soundscaping, but a cut-up funk beat gets the foreground. This repetitive and somewhat hypnotic rhythm is apparently crafted from "manually altered vinyl", which brings to mind what these "D.J."s in club and hip-hop music are supposed to do... except there is nothing DJ or hip-hop about this piece, and the final result is another late-night jam listening experience, but with a bit more beat to keep thing moving.

If you have access to a vinyl/record player and can play it without having too many interuptions, this release is a winner, with top-notch production and great sound quality. Printed on clear vinyl.
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Beyond the Sound
Format: CD
Label: Oltre il Suono (@)
This sampler, subtitled "new ambient-electronic music from Italy", is the physical compendium to the excellent website Oltre il Suono, gathering several Italian underground projects and artists working in the fields of ambient (from dark to ethnic/ritual), experimental electronics and electroacoustic/concrete music. While the site has been constantly expanding, the cd-r, compiled by the trio Biasthon, features a selection of 11 artists, of whom I only knew Amon/Andrea Marutti. I guess that all tracks are exclusive/unreleased. Now, talking about the sounds, I really think it's hard to find such a well-assembled sampler. Music ranges from oppressive dark ambient (Amon, Maath, Nefelheim... ) to field recording manipulations and electroacoustic (Car, Logoplasm), from cosmic music (Regivar) to mesmerizing ethnic atmospheres (Ku), but these "tags" are often oversimplifications, since most artists seem to actually cross boundaries and opt for oblique approaches – see for example Anofele (who also collaborate with Car), Alessandro Fogar and Nimh (alias Giuseppe Verticchio, main responsible for Oltre il Suono, here offering a mix of live sounds from the streets of Teheran and abrasive analogue synth patterns). Throughout the whole compilations, emphasis is focused on pure sound experimentation, with almost no melody at all, except for a really brief hint at the end of Regivar's "Visioni" and the more "humane" approach of Ku – so expect gloomy atmospheres and often alien, disquieting sounds. A must if you're even remotely interested in deep listenings and aural experimentation, and a healthy portrait of Italian underground... Check this out and visit the site, where you can find lots of info about the artists, with sound clips provided. I hope a second volume of the cd will be compiled soon.
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