Music Reviews



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Artist: Dee Ellington & Rob Sparx
Title: So In Love
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Migration
Rated: *****
Long lasting artistic collaboration between renowned dubstep producer Rob Sparx and brilliant singer Dee Ellington (former back voice for Tricky and climber of Uk charts by means of the single "Burnign Noise") turns into musical love on this release on Sparx's imprint Migration by this soulful romance in between soul, drum'n'bass, downbeat, jazz and dubstep. The title-track "So In Love" is an easily chewable soul song that I honestly prefer to the jazzy house version they included in the release, but my listening satisfaction remarkably rises by means of the other tracks that embellish this romance: the honeyed dubstep of "Lose Control", the wise inoculation of nu soul and jazz elements (Dee's lovely vocals could be considered so as well) in the liquid drumfunk fast-rolling (around 170 bpm) movement of the uplifting "Give U My Love" and Dee's voice on "Passing By", the enjoyable d'n'b tune by Migration new signing Soulful Nature could make your day. They are convincing evidences that this couple won't never get estranged...
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Artist: Developer
Title: Olympian 01
Format: 12"
Label: Olympian
Distributor: Triple Vision
Rated: *****
Adrian Sandoval, better know for his nom de guerre Developer, became very popular as a pusher of legendary techno releases (including the ones from glorious labels such as Plus8, Reload, Axis and many other labels from vibrant Detroit and Chicago techno scenes) on West Coast by means of the very first distribution company (Entity Music Distribution) in Los Angeles, a city that he managed to shake by a plenty of dj sets in famous clubs side by side to other big names of djing. He seems to focus on more technical issues of sound processing nowadays and while ke keeps on pushing his label Modularz on, he decided to start a new label up in Netherlands: its name, Olympian, clearifies its intent of spreading powerful techno tunes and the opening release of its catalogue fully meets expectations by means of four hard-hitting steroid tracks (even if "Volume 1.2" sounds like a re-shuffled variation of "Volume 1.1"), where he shattered basslines and inoculates well-forged sounds that sometimes get closer to more grinding industrial techno stuff. Mainly intended for (raving) champions.
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Artist: Sendo
Title: Absent EP
Format: 12"
Label: Sino (@)
Rated: *****
Spanish producer and remixer Marc Ramirez aka Dosem recently launched the moniker Sendo like a shuttle by which he would like to translate his passion for sci-fi into sounds. I'm not really sure of the fact that a listener could match the three tunes of this debut on Honk Kong's imprint Sino, parent label of Technasia Records, to sci-fi themes, except for the title track, whose peacefully mechanical sliding could let you think to the epic rotation of toroidal space stations like the one that Kubrick took from an idea of Werner Von Braun's idea for "2001: Space Odissey" or Neill Blomkamp's Elysium, but all tracks (including the more trance-oriented "Rising" and vaguely tribal "Legacy") could be useful for many techno djs for the opening of a set. Apart from this point and the fact is a quite good deep-techno/techey house item, the working on rhythical patterns is nothing out of the ordinary, to be honest.
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Artist: Natasha Barrett (@)
Title: Peat+Polymer
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: +3dB
Rated: *****
Even if spacial relations between sounds as well as the relation between organic and synthetic sonic spheres are the main cornerstones of the stylistical research of multi-awarded British-Norwegian sound-artist Natasha Barrett, this huge collection of her works shows different aspects of her amazing sound art, which often deployed sipport and ideas by scientists and experimental sound designer that Natasha managed to involve. The "artificial" side of her sound got mainly poured into "Polymer", the part of the release where Natasha establishes or, I'd rather say, sculpts relations between sounds by means of really interesting and somehow weird themes. The initial acousmatic piece is a sort to ode to umbrella, where her voice seems to look for a shelter from heavy rain, and opens "Hidden Values", a tryptich dedicated to supposedly minor inventions - completed by a track dedicated to optical tubes and a really funny one to key and lock, where she stages a sort of fight between female voice and percussive elements that should mirror the fight to keep power or ownership hidden by means of this invention or the separation between people (in and out) on opposite sides of the lock -, that she explores by letting drama and metaphor collide. She applied a similar triple partition to "Kernel Expansion", where she exposes the kernel of sounds that are connected to her own memories (from outddors, from inside and from imagination, realities and dreams), and "Reality and Secrets no.2", where she tried to match everyday sounds as compositional parameters and patterns to shape and control two sonic materials (children sledging downhill and some performances by cellist Tanja Orning) by means of the "score" she derived from a set of analysis tools. The second cd is more "earthbound", but not less imaginative than the first one as the way by which she assembled (really realistic) sounds that she grabbed in three locations for different purposes is really brilliant: the first track is the Route No.1 of Oslo Sound Space Transport System, a 3d-sound mapping of the beautiful Norwegian capital, whose sonic architecture becomes surprisingly surreal. The seven short sets of "Sound Exposure in Peru" slightly differs from typical audio postcards as Natasha tried to focus on the way how nature and culture reflect contrasts in space and place, while "A Soundwalk through Shangai", a time-compressed sonic collage of recordings she grabbed in Shangai's backstreets on her way to Expo 2010, is closer to the idea of traditional audio postcards. She inserted a couple of untitled tracks at the end of each part: she unsuccessfully tried to find a title for the first one (maybe some listeners could suggest a possible title after listening), while the second untitled track has a subtitle at least, 'Flight of the Bee', as well as a localization - a sandy island off the south east coast of Norway - as the other tracks of the second part.
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Artist: Mai Mai Mai (@)
Title: Πέτρα (Petra)
Format: 3 x 12" vinyl
Label: Corpoc (@)
Featuring 3 boiled down pieces, 'Petra' by Mai Mai Mai feels as if you were hearing a sound transmission that is about to break down and actually feeling relieved once the final frequencies collapse. But this will soon turn out to be just an illusion as its sonics creep only to become stronger and the first track, 'Bassae', stands as proof of this fragmented soundscape mapped by a genuine sense of closeness. It's the kind of closeness that makes you feel insubstantial once you are projected against such throbbing sound explorations as you may end up feeling that you have no other choice but to listen. Listen to it and be totally enthralled by these 3 sonic exercises playing with intrusiveness and acuteness that seem bound to tickle your most claustrophobic traits but without (necessarily) making you laugh. Backed by stirring vocals and ingrained drones, these tracks sound more as inner field recordings. Maybe in stark contrast to its abrasive content, 'Petra' is gracefully delivered on 300 white vinyl copies with artwork by Andreco and photos by Ilaria Doimo.
For more from this artist, you can check his bandcamp profile: https://maimaimai.bandcamp.com/
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