Music Reviews



cover
Artist: Nytt Land (@)
Title: Fimbulvinter
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
As most project associated with tradition genres, bands as Nytt Land are relatively unknown until they were published by a label with some visibility. This Russian project is based on ritual Northern music using traditional hand-crafted instruments and their lyrics are based on the sources from Poetic Edda, performed in original Old Islandic. So, all tracks are named with the poem, usually Völuspá, perhaps to help the listener with his research. While this kind of music is associated with the lied, in western European tradition, and his dependance from the text, this album reminds how, in other traditions, music is a central part of rituals and so, in certain tracks, the rhythmic element, associated with the dance, emerges as a key element and in other the low frequencies of the jow harp are tied to the spiritual element of music as they are closer to the didgeridoo's one perhaps with the use of some effect.
The first track, "Dauði Balder (Völuspá, 31-35)", is based on a jow harp and a spoken word with a structure to the typical ritual music based on drones. "Gullinkambi (Völuspá, 42-44)" is instead a folk track whose rhythm is marked by the drum and the melody underlined by the tin whistle. In tracks as "Ár Var Alda (Helgakviða Hundingsbana I, 1-4)" emerge how there's electronics in the background to add a layer of modernity. "Fimbulvinter" is based on the dialogue between the jow harp and the cantle whose mystical attitude is balanced by a track as "Gjallarhorni (Völuspá, 46-48)" which is basically a dance track while "Fenris Kinder (Völuspá, 40-41)" and "Hittusk Æsir (Völuspá, 7-10)" try to juxtapose the two path of their music. Under a drone, "Sal Sér Hon Standa (Völuspá, 64-66)" is a return to the song form. If "Surtr Ferr Sunnan (Völuspá, 52,57)" oscillates between dance moments and the declamation of the text, "Bróðurbana Sínum (Hávamál, 89-91)" closes this release with a form that could be even defined as rock. "The Last War" and "Winter Day" are instrumental bonus track exploring the structure used in the title track which leaves the path of a traditional song.
Certain subtleties and the use of electronics create a release that, under the curtain of the traditional form, has some elements that create a bridge with other form as dark ambient or ritual music so it could be enjoyed by a wider audience than expected. A nice release.
cover
Artist: Vilde&Inga
Title: Silfr
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Sofa
The award-winning violin & double bass duo Vilde & Inga’s second album is an austere collection of ten short improvised and completely acoustic pieces. There’s a broad range of dynamics between the pieces- “Usynlig Flimmer” and final track “Skinnende Stein” have drone basses under a disconsolate and manic violin, “Sprø Glimmer” is tightly metered, scratchy and difficult, while “Fljóta” is mellow and spacious.

The production quality is very close, you can really hear the deep wooden tones of the double bass movement, so much so that in pieces such as the title track, these elements feel like additional glitched electronic layers, yet they aren’t. The players aren’t afraid of a little distemperate bowing to produce additional screeches and tones that your school violin teacher would tell you was a mistake, though it clearly isn’t… Pieces like “Røykkvarts” take this to extreme, focussing almost solely on the incidental sounds, while “Aurum” shows their capability at more ‘purist’ arrangements.

The experimental attitude pervading “Silfr” takes the sound of a violin and a double bass as far as it could possibly go from conventional music (at least, without breaking the instruments, or your ears), and it was probably wise to keep things succinct at 42 minutes. Yet this isn’t just avantgarde for its own sake. There’s a heartfelt and determined performance that shows through the emotional expression making “Silfr” a captivating piece of art music.
cover
Artist: Proc Fiskal
Title: Highland Mob
Format: 12"
Label: Hyperdub
Edinburgh-based Proc Fiskal puts out his first release, the 4-track EP “Highland Mob”, and it’s pretty distinctive.

Lead track “£” is 80bpm or 160bpm depending on how you want to dance to it, blending the swagger of grime with more frantic synth noises and a properly quirky Asian-ish plinky lead melody. Second track “Lamentation” has a similar make-up, slightly more aggressive skittish d&b beats rolling under a bouncing bassline that it’s hard not to nod your head to. The odd sci-fi sample, the sound of a cash register and even some random yodelling flit in and out on top, but sparingly enough that things never get silly.

The daftness does ramp up on the flipside though, “Skulka”’s 155bpm groove looping squeaky robot noises, gaming battle grunts and 80’s-era drum machine hits with gunfire while 8-bit melody and bassline run in parallel, it’s bordering on tongue-in-cheek. Completing the package is “Acidic Hoes”, a somewhat Luke Vibert-y track with squelchy acid noises, a strong and sparse edgy bass note, and a groove yet again bizarrely constructed from drums, coughs and telephone noises.

Pitched as an antidote to the slowing down of grime music, “Highland Mob” is an unusual hybrid, part grime, part d&b, part chiptune, with a sense of humour playing deliberately against the mean-faced grime stereotype. It doesn’t fit a genre pigeonhole- one for the open-minded audiences.
Artist: Deciduous Flux (@)
Title: Jupiter
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released


Colorado-based Deciduous Flux’s Jupiter is a theater-of-the-mind of sci-fi narratives from the netherworld of power electronics and early Industrial a la early Throbbing Gristle and Nocturnal Emissions. The planet Jupiter is the unifying theme of this album where each track excerpts major or B-movie films that mention, through dialogue, the largest planet in our solar system. One fun game is trying to guess which sci-fi movie or documentary is excerpted from each song. The only film excerpt I recognized was from 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Stylistically, this album is a refreshing listen. While Jupiter is electronic, it does not fit in any genre like ambient, dubstep or techno. There are drum machines, synths, chip tunes accents, acoustic instruments, and effects—especially on the film excerpts which are put through a lot of reverb and echo. Other close musical touchstones to this album is the work of Bryn Jones as E.g. Oblique Graph, before he became Muslimgauze, for its use of austere drum machines and reverb drenched instrumentals in tandem with treated audio samples. The major departure point between Deciduous Flux and other mentioned musical projects is Jupiter seems to embrace optimism and wonder, with a touch of humor. It took several listens for this reviewer to wrap his mind around the music because there are no conventional melodies here, rather narrative or soundtrack music to imaginary radio plays. The only exception is “Jupiter 8”, which is a quirky ode to hip hop meets illbient meets chip tunes meets sci-fi B-movie. As for the rest of the album, part of their netherworld quality can be attributed to Deciduous Flux’s creative process which they call ‘Automatic Recording’. Deciduous Flux member, Wesley Young explains, “(Our music) is similar to automatic drawing. Where you leave yourself open to your subconscious. Becoming more of an invocation or an evocation. Instead of having a detailed plan, one comes up with sounds on the fly at that moment and hit record. None of our music has been structured vocal samples. All of our tracks are raw instant creations with no rehearsals. You get lost in the process and there for it becomes more direct from the heart...As people grow and change, so many things will effect and possibly change those creations or the creating process. I believe automatic recording avoids this phase for the most part. When we are recording and we slip away, we become a single composition of sound and I believe there is a lot of channeling involved.” Deciduous Flux is music to get happily lost to and then eventually led to musical realms you would not discover otherwise.
cover
Artist: Graeme Truslove
Title: Intuited Architectures
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Crónica
Graeme Truslove’s sonic mosaics use glitchy, electronic sounds to create gently disquieting ethereal soundscapes full of synthetic bubbles, clicks and pitter-patters. Exploring automation techniques, Truslove generates music that seems to be disassembling and reassembling itself.

The opening “Suite II”, in three parts, is generally quite frantic. Tones and layers shift impatiently, never settling into one arrangement for more than a few seconds. It’s a sometimes unpleasant bath to wallow in, often abrasive, yet at other times pretty.

“Elements” is somewhat simpler and darker, with some John Carpenter-esque elements as low impossibly-sustained piano notes underlie ghostly noises.

“Concrètisations X” is mellower in tone and puts the emphasis back in the micro-cut noises, complex, mechanical and challenging the distinction where one person’s ‘deconstructed’ is another person’s ‘broken’. At the beginning and end there are crunching, biting notes, but the second half certainly returns to the underwater feeling, with waves of slow breathing and muddy, deep rumbles.

Longest piece “Strata” is more audibly dominated by strained and rapid sounds sourced from a guitar- objects being dragged up the strings, guitar bodies being tapped and pulled and so on. The energy of this appears to run out after five minutes so we move to an environment of light industrial drone, one that makes you realise the importance of the space inbetween which is sometimes a little bit overlooked in these arrangements. The manner in which the guitar, and other new elements slowly reintroduce themselves is the most beautifully controlled section of the album, before another drop after fifteen minutes with guitar tones bringing us full circle to a close.

The self-devised digital instruments and processing give “Intuited Architectures” a character that’s unique, yet not a country mile from the well-trodden paths of sonic experimentation of this kind. It’s a little too manic too often for my tastes but it does exude quality and care.
[ 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...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241] [242] [243] [244] [245] [246] [247] [248] [249] [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] [2061...2070] [2071...2080]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

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