Music Reviews



cover
Artist: Cristian Vogel (@)
Title: Classics Remastered 1993-1998
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
The very first seconds of the very first track ("Machine") from the very first vinyl album ("Beginning To Understand" released by Mille Plateaux in 1994, following some releases on cassettes and the sudden landing on Tresor planet - he was the first and maybe the only UK producer to get welcomed in that legendary German techno community) by Brighton-based Chilean producer Cristian Vogel starts by that piercing Doppler sound, widely used as a starter in some tracks of that period (I could mention Bourbonese Qualk's "Traffic"), before the mid-techno engine of the track and its vaguely dystopian melody begun to flow. Filling the first part (four tracks) of this vast collection of remastered tracks, taken from the album mentioned above, has been a wise choice, as you can listen how original was Cris' sound in a period, when it was tough to state which producer and music maker used to be the "influencer" and which one was the "receiver". The chronological order of the track will give you an idea on the way how it evolved: a remarkable space has been granted to tracks taken from "Absolute Time", Vogel's debut album on Tresor (7 of the 8 original tracks have been remastered for this occasion), and attentive ears will notice how both the unusual combination of more danceable tunes and a considerably heightened touch of industrial sonorities sound could be easily played on contemporary techno clubs in a moment when (luckily) trance booster shots get gradually replaced by more "Detroitesque" and industrial ones. You could have the same impression of the studio-driven transplant of other tracks, mostly covering Vogel's evolution over the nineties: four tracks and a remix of "(Don't) Take More)" by Jamie Lidell extracted from the contaminated body of "All Music Has Come To An End" (1996, Tresor), two tracks from its follow-up "Body Mapping" (1996, Tresor), two from the abstract ambient-like album "Specific Momentific" (1996, Mille Plateaux), an impressive remastered version of "General Arrepientase" (1999, Tresor), the piercing sneaking distortions of "Sarcastically Tempered Powers" (1999, Loaded Records) and the experimental techno smashing of "Information:Power:Revolution" (1995, Force Inc.). This projection of Vogel's classics in the age of augmented "realities" is a wildly successful sonic surgery operation. Check it out.
cover
Artist: 75 Dollar Bill
Title: Wood / Metal / Plastic / Pattern / Rhythm / Rock
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: tak:til
New York duo 75 Dollar Bill introduce themselves like an avantgarde version of Seasick Steve; at its core, a combo of harsh bluesy guitar and wooden crate playing, but instead of snappy blues vocals in a baseball cap, instead we go on an instrumental journey of looping patterns, evolving repetitions and off-kilter time signatures.

Unlike previous releases, the duo also have guest appearances here- saxes, contrabass, viola, trumpet and floor tom- but these are mostly cameos, and not a sign that 75 Dollar Bill is a larger band now. Though the press release implies that I should say, ‘a larger band yet’.

The limping ‘aksak’ beat of opener “Earth Saw” is steady and tightly measured. Second track “Beni Said” is more ambitious, with guests arriving and more virtuoso guitar playing that wanders at points almost into King Crimson territory; more prog rock than post rock.

The tonality of “Cummins Falls” is an interesting hybrid of American blues guitar and Middle Eastern chords, frills and flavours, also a hybrid between spontaneous simplicity and complexity- one of those pieces which sounds deceptively simple, yet which is probably unfathomable on paper.

Final and longest track “I’m Not Trying To Wake Up” goes back to sounding a little like King Crimson again, this time with saxophone added and a lovely, almost funky 18-beat stepping pattern that again sounds utterly natural and effortless in its groove, but which must be nightmarish written down. The sheer confidence of it is relaxing in itself.

At 4 tracks and 39 minutes this release sits somewhere between an EP and an album. It won plenty of plaudits on its American release, and its European release should appeal to European fans of post-rock and the more introverted side of Americana.
cover
Artist: Philippe Lauzier
Title: A Pond In My Living Room
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Sofa
“A Pond In My Living Room” is constructed predominantly from multitracked bass clarinet recordings, layered and processed into steady beatless hypnotic ambiences. Sparing use of other noises- which may in fact be clarinet-sourced but are so processed it’s hard to tell- add a little sprinkle over what is otherwise a very pure and sincere expression of resonance.

I’m a sucker for a lovely clarinet, and while the sustains and thick reverberations here pull the tones far away from the traditional instrument’s sound, that rich timbre is still present. The hollowness of the production is a little alienating, and the resonant frequency responses are a touch metallic, making the overall feel of the album surprisingly inorganic.

The differences between the tracks are subtle and well segued. The first two track have distinct and different pitches of tone that sound not unlike tubular bells. Third track “On The Window Side” has a higher, more flute-like quality and adds a steady slow plucked light bass note, and occasional sounds like processed and distorted tap noises which increase the sense of homemade domestication compared to the other pieces. The final track has a more ebbing and fragile tone, almost like pitched wineglass playing.

Twisting bass clarinet sounds into melodious drones and super-slow looped chord patterns may not be an innovative concept in itself, but the straightforward approach and pure quality of this release make it a big success.
cover
Artist: Miguel Angel Tolosa
Title: Ephimeral
Format: CD + Download
Label: Sofa
Miguel Angel Tolosa has contributed to and mastered several releases on the SOFA label but this is his first solo outing- a tight, moderated collection of drones, washes and passive sound, fusing and filtering electronics with sound sources detached unrecognisably from their origins. It’s mostly windy and hollow, but sometimes sub-bass. Instrumentation and process both become irrelevant.

The result is for the most part rather familiar- the echo chamber effect of distant deep oscillations, the sense of being trapped in a large bleak room with a busy city outside, this is certainly territory that has been audibly walked through before. Everything here is washes and reverb, there’s no percussive element at all- just curves and rumbles with a fairly purist sensibility. Rain and thunder on “Sol de plomo y purpura” and a couple of bell chimes on “De un pais de hierro” are exceptions that don’t jolt you.

Tonally it’s not quite as barren as the artwork may suggest. The purity of some of the metallic tones is borderline optimistic at times.

Many of the pieces are surprisingly short (10 tracks span 41 minutes) which prevents almost any of the tracks from elongating into a mesmeric familiarity; just as you’re beginning to accustom yourself to the atmospheric tone, it stops- sometimes a little abruptly- and a new tone begins to creep in. I do wonder whether some of the pieces should have been segued into one another for a more immersive listening experience, or whether some of the pieces should simply have been longer. When the tracks are allowed to live for longer- on “Sol de plomo y purpura” and “Fragmentos de ti”- it works well.

It’s a bold and rather too brief musical statement as an album, not too steeply infused with any kind of unique sonic identity but certainly both pretty and polished.
cover
Artist: Luca Forcucci
Title: The Waste Land
Format: Tape
Label: Crónica
The title track of “The Waste Land” is an unusual example of soundwalking- strolling about gathering atmospheric found sounds and ambiences. While the process often leads to broad and relaxing soundscapes, this is a willful inversion, heavily processed, twisted and alienating. Strong gusty winds and heavy industrial noises of unknown origins lead to a scene that’s almost post-apocalyptic in its atmosphere. At times it sounds insular, almost claustrophobic, with noises akin to deep breathing noises recorded from underneath a coat. Over the fifteen minutes of the title track the sounds evolve fairly rapidly- at points there’s just a single layer, then before too long there are four or five competing noises.

“Voices From The Coal Mine” is an exploration of reverberation in a gigantic enclosed space- sporadic metal hits and scrapes fade into the distance with incredibly long echo tails which begin to layer and form their own, wall-and-material-born hum.

“My Extra Personal Space” is initially a slightly more typical and familar soundwalk- village sounds of gates, passing cars, church bells and birdsong- but as it progresses, further metallic hums and tubular resonance begins to cut through, as though something very sinister is afoot in the previously peaceful town. It all gets a bit “Village Of The Damned” in soundscape form. As it evolves further we move from Normandy to Paris, with more urban noises, metro announcements and suchlike, as though we’ve travelled more in time than in space.

“The Waste Land” is an unusual hybrid of found sounds and treatments, infused with a lot of energy. It covers a lot of ground in 37 minutes and is certainly an interesting, if not always comfortable, journey.
[ 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...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271] [272] [273] [274] [275] [276] [277] [278] [279] [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] [2081...2090] [2091...2100]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

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