Music Reviews



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Artist: Bionulor (@)
Title: Vexations EP
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: sqrt (@)
Rated: *****
The '100% sound recycling' method, that Polish sound artist Sebastian Banaszczyk a.k.a. Bionulor described last year on the occasion of an interesting chat we had after his album "Erik" on the label Oniron, got applied again on "Vexations", the longest composition by Erik Satie, his favorite source of inspiration and composer. Far from reflecting its notorious length - the disputed composition by Satie is known as the longest composition in music history (according to interpretes, the 152 tones on five staff which should be repetead 840 times should last between 9 and 24 hours....)...a couple of years ago French pianist Nicolas Horvarth performed a non-stop solo version which lasted 35 hours! -, this EP consists of seven short pieces, whose seemingly abstract nature could be inappropriately labelled as ambient, as it has more intersections with acousmatics and electroacoustic experiments: some of the field recordings, which feed the process together with excerpts of Satie's "Vexations", sounds unprocessed so that Sebastian tried to peek into a somehow ordinary side of Satie's universe. Each tone or phrase seems to have been transformed into a set of test tubes, beakers and whatnot, while sonic clues of ordinary world (noises of locking doors, distant cuckoos, metallic pins, aspirations, electric interferences and so on) got wisely embedded in amaneer which sounds really surreal. "Vexations" is the last act of a series of 3" CDs by Warsaw-based label sqrt (mainly focusing on experimental and electroacoustic music) to celebrate its ten years of existence.
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Artist: Ryuichi Sakamoto / Illuha / Taylor Deupree
Title: Perpetual
Format: CD
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
The sound artists, who co-signed this release on 12k, shall be sufficient to guarantee the quality of the listening experience that got embedded into this plastic disc, whose only defect is the fact that it could inspire envy in those audiophiles who didn't took part to the event where Ryuichi Sakamoto, Taylor Deupree and Illuha, the duo of Tomoyoshi Date and Corey Fuller, shared food, words, exploration and stage (their first time together) in the wet heat of Japanese summer on the occasion of a series of events for the 10-years anniversary of the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media. The specification with regard to moisture level and temperature are not minor details as when these masters begun to shape frequencies, they wisely tuned in to weather conditions s you can immediately catch from the first of the three movements this improvisation got splitted for the release: a sort of wet venner seems to wrap the thin layers and the blurred sonic elements (including some voices) that sounds like lanterns in dense fog and the presence of sonic elements is even rarest on the second and the astonishing third movement, where each isolated tone sounds like thrown into a dark pit. No wonder the lucky audience of this concert, when these masters wisely manipulated field recordings, crackling found objects, guitar tones, lulling piano and silence (!), got ecstatically breathless while listening to this performance that fortunately got recorded (in high quality DSD) for the listening pleasure of all those ones who missed this rare moment of sublime sonic art!
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Artist: Fabio Orsi
Title: Just For A Thrill
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
Since the delicate repetition of a piano melody and the "aquatic" whispers that got fluttered into the daydreaming pristine fluffs of the first untitled movement, Italian sound-artist Fabio Orsi dives into out-of-time minimal ambient sonorities that will let listeners slacken onto an entrancing atmosphere, where any small somatic variations of each sonic element that he wisely dissolve manages to render emotional states and changer without any specific purpose, except of pouring thrills into eardrums and souls. His extraordinary ability in communicating through wordless sonic waves, supposedly fostered by his fascination with artistic photography, got revealed by the eight movements of this release, which also includes a booklet of 16 snapshots by the artist: sober electroacoustic explorations, sudden twinkling tones, gently giddy loops, mildly mesmerizing ringing cycles and hovering sets of microtones, that reaches their acme on the 20 minutes of the last movement as well as on the catchy crescendo of the third one and the soothing shadows of the sixth one, are the enzymes of the charming thrills that Fabio wisely instill. The package of the 500 copies of this release comes using locally cultivated materials including handmade 380gsm washi outer wrap, while the 16 pages booklet that collects 16 polaroid shots by Fabio got printed on recycled card.
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Artist: Giulio Aldinucci (@)
Title: Spazio Sacro
Format: CD
Label: Time Released Sound (@)
Rated: *****
The sizzling noises of the opening track "The hermit" by brilliant sound artist Giulio Aldinucci could let you think he's frantically unpacking boxes or picking the lock of a casket where he kept sonic traces of memories and sonic clues from a number of sacred places of his native land, before he discloses his "Spazio Sacro" (italian for "Sacred space"), a release where the intimate recesses of religious experience meet the architecture and the lovely landscaping of Siena (Tuscany, Italy), where the alternance of void spaces and modelled solid matter meet the empty and rich places of a soul during its spiritual quest over painful remembrance ("Ricordo"), trascendental and somehow dizzying meditations ("Sator"), stunning contemplative moments where the dialogue of mind and soul cross the blurred lines of external sonic entiies which seems to be signs of a previously unknowable truth ("Come un immenso specchio d'inverno" - meaning "Like a wide mirror in wintertime"-), ecstatic reverie ("The liquid room"), intuitive perception of universal greatness ("Mountain") and recovered piece oif mind and intimacy ("Camino" - Italian word for 'fireplace'). Many field recordings that got manipulated by Giulio have been wisely placed in this perpetual ascension towards ethereal regions of composer's feelings and memories and the summit of the sacred (both artificial and natural) places which features his personal and sensorial history.
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Artist: Dexta (@)
Title: Mini Rave (James Bless RIP)/The Bunker ft.Gaunt
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: None60
Rated: *****
Sometimes they do come back. If I had to introduce an horror movie, you would think I was referring to zombies, vampires, aliens or other kind of monsters, but even if the comparison might also be appropriate, this is clearly not the case. Those "they" was referring to some old sounds that Chris Boyle grafted in this new couple of tracks for Bristol-based label None60 by which he confirms to have a great talent in building steadfast sonic bridges between past and future of bass-driven music as it occurred on his previous release "Tempest Dub/Mukky Riddim", which included many hooks to old grime sonorities: the first track by Diffrent Music label boss, "Microrave (James Bless RIP)", rests on easily recognizable sonic pillars of old-fashioned British Acid Rave 90ies sound such as triplet hi-hats, looped pitched vocal samples, trancey chords and so on, but its crossbreed with new grime-step sonorities is pretty amazing as well as the grimey-dubbey tune "The Bunker", which features the collaboration of Finnish guitarist Mika Aalto aka Gaunt, whose pillar is old school jungle and drumfunk sonorities. A tidbit for your eardrums to check.
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