Music Reviews



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Artist: Lee Gamble (@)
Title: KOCH
Format: 2 x 12"
Label: PAN (@)
Rated: *****
No dice: when a producer gained experience over years, the quality of music dramatically rises and Lee Gambler is one of them as he shows a remarkable familiarity with bass-driven music on this astonishing album, which is going to be launched from PAN pad on 12th September. The opening track resembles some psychedelic atmosphere by Future Sound of London as well as the intros of some 90ies jungle stuff by means of the hypnotical sirens choir and the narcotic effects he inject, which come back on the first of the four faces of this release on "You Concrete", whose rarefaction follows the saturation bombing of "Motor System", where Lee combines dry mechanical hammering (closer to Riou's industrial techno) with deep techno vaporiuzed sonorities, and precedes the pneumatic pressures of "Nueme". A subtle pad-synth which gradually becomes more audible after bumping knocks seem to generate metallic crumbles that got scattered over deep outer space on "Oneiric Contur" opens B-side, which features the more sidereal abstractions of the whole album with the exception of the sci-fi computational techno of "Hmix" and finishes with the six narcotic minutes of "Frame Drag", a track which let me recall stuff like Experimental Audio Research's "Phenomena 256". The gelatinous electronic clots of "Voxel City Spirals", the agglutination of sparkling metallic hits, muffled sonic spurts and a sort of mechanical heartbeat on "Yehudi Lights Over Tottenham" and the planetary keepie-uppie of "Jove Layup" fill C-side, while the computational chirping of "Ornith-Mimik" turns D-side on. The alien technoid bleeps of "Caudata", which seems to render a possible exercise on a terrestrial Detroit techno tune by a Mars inhabitant, the abstract medley of "Flatland", the gnarling torsions of "Gillsman" and the martial stomping beats of "6EQUJ5-7", which could be the OST for an imaginary battle between space dreadnoughts, complete this amazing record.
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Artist: Candida Kandinskij
Title: Premature
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Candida Kandinskij is a one-man-band by Giovanni De Benedetto from Udine. The project falls under the big umbrella of 'industrial rock'. On his website, Giovanni De Benedetto cites many influences, such as Nine Inch Nails, Placebo, Death in June and Einsturzende Neubauten. 'Premature' is self-released and it is a 11-track album. I have to be honest'¦this album is pretty bad. All the tracks are sloppy and boring, except for Obliquium, Dobermann and Hill. But why exactly is this album so bad? First, the rhythmic section is sloppy, uninteresting and the single sounds selected by Giovanni De Benedetto are pretty bad. I know how it is difficult to find nice drum sounds, but doing something more than the sounds of this album should be mandatory. Second, the voice. The tone is coarse, sometimes inappropriate to the music. However, one may say that such a tone could be a stylistic choice, so that my remark may sound a little bit out of the line. But there is a bigger problem with the voice: the English pronunciation. As pronunciation sounds really bad to me that I'm italian, I cannot imagine how this may be perceived by a native speaker. I think it is important to cure this aspect because the voice sounds really really botch. Synths (except for Dobermann) are badly arranged (if arranged at all), and I am also skeptical about the choice of sounds. The only decent aspect of the album are probably guitars, but this is not enough to save this piece of work. I'm afraid Candida Kandinskij has still to find its own way.
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Artist: Gaap Kvlt
Title: Void
Format: CD
Label: Monotype (@)
Rated: *****
The man/woman behind Gaap Kvlt curtains managed to keep his/her identity conceiled for the moment as no one knows anything about him/her except, I surmise, Polish label Monotype which released his/her first complete album. As I am adverse to the cult of personality by nature, I cannot but praise such a choice, even if it could be consistent with the mysterious halo of the sound and the whole evoked atmosphere you're going to explore: the quotation of the Golem on the opening highly hypnotical track "Birth of Golem", who became famous for the notorious novel by Meyrink, but above all a style which melts dark ambient, cinematic industrial-like poltergeists, field recordings which seems to come from obscure recesses of some haunted building, abstract electronics whose low frequencies which gradually entwine and smother the sonic sphere (particularly on tracks like "Inquieude", "Poix" or "Far") and sinister knocks could be described as a possible crossbreed between Flint Glass, Emptyset and Vidna Obmana even if some occasional lacquering of Arabian sonorities (mainly percussions on tracks like "Ritual" or "Peganum Harmala") could resemble some stuff from Muslimgauze. Some moments of the album certainly render a sense of vague and suffocating emptiness, but a title like "Void" clashes against the thickening coagulations of visionary sonic injections and the fascinating polarization between icy sounds and the scorching heat which emanates from this fascinating release. Mind the Gaap...I said...mind the Gaap!
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Artist: Skinny Puppy
Title: The Greater Wrong Of The Right - Reissue Remastered
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
Ten years after its release, Metropolis decided to reissue and remaster "The Greater Wrong of the Right", the album which sealed the reunion of Canadian band Skinny Puppy on Synthetic Symphony, for the pleasure of all those ones who missed it, but I could guess that such a decision could be justified by the fact that the slight mutation that a plenty of collaborators such as Otto Von Schirach, Omar Torres or Statik injected into the veins of the puppy could be better understood after the release of the acclaimed album "Weapon". The "profanation" by means of the reversal of the typical relationship between a fan and a cult band which resurfaces from the opening song "I'mmortal" ("you take my picture a portrait prize behind my image your father's eyes just looking for something"), the contemporary assumptions of political elite where even dissent or needs belong to a carefully controlled process as if they got deliberately tested in a social laboratory on songs like "Pro-test" or "Neuwerld", the awareness of the overwhelming hypereality as a consequence of similar processes that shows through lyrics ofsongs like "Past Present" or "dOwnsizer" and other topics which punctures the musical wraps of breakbeat, electro-industrial, cyber-punk and freaky IDM, whose spikes cannot curb Skinny Puppy's woofs or growls, sounds tragically actual and in spite of some smudges, the more contaminated moments of the album such as "Use Less", "Empte", "Daddyuwarbash" or "Goneja" reach the highest stylistical peaks of an album are the ones where the transition to current style is more appreciable.
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Artist: Oiseaux-Tempête (@)
Title: Re-Works
Format: 12"
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Oiseaux-Tempête's 2013 debut album weaved through a number of different styles a humourless thread of disenchantment in the face of contemporary European political and economic problems. For angst and despair, po-faced post-rock or stoner rock with titles to match ('Opening Theme (Ablaze in the Distance)', 'Ouroboros'). For wistfulness or otherwise more contemplative moods, airy ambient arrangements and field recordings ('Sophia's Shadow', 'Outro (for the following)'). In-between these, some full-on swelling, droning grit for good measure ('L'île'). For all its sincerity, dramatic prowess and genuine musical strength and appeal, the problem with post-rock is its histrionic wilt, its gesturing seeming overstated after a certain amount of exposure. It has a tendency to sameness that quickly loses appeal, so when it only fringes compositions rather than absorbing them altogether, the results are usually considerably more interesting - 'Sophia's Shadow' and 'L'île' are good examples of this.

With the above in mind, this remix collection from Oiseaux-Tempête's post-rock polemic introduces an electronic edge to most of the pieces. The outcome is a less consistent but, to this listener, rather more gratifying listening experience.
Leopard of Honour's remix of 'Nuage Noir' opens the record. The sparse, predictable slow-core plodder becomes a Burial-esque electro shuffler, with looped motifs, rounded subterranean bass and woodblock strikes lingering beneath the main rhythms. It's very satisfying to hear the song's elements arranged this way and this well. It's worth noting that this is one of the more striking transformations; for the most part, the original pieces are given atmospheric filter treatment, usually with rhythms removed or obscured - or, in the case of the Scanner and Colin Johnco remixes, added. This relatively limited formulation is possibly out of respect to the spirit of the original album, centred as it is around protest and political discontent.
However, not straying too far from the source material has its troubles. Unfortunately, Dag Rosenqvist's reworking of on 'Opening Theme (Ablaze in the Distance)' feels more like a discarded alternate take than a remix, picking a single isosceles crescendo and losing some interesting dynamics as a result. Machinefabriek's reinterpretation of 'Kyrie Eleison', while a total conversion of sorts (rather tempting the term 'post(-processed)-rock'), nonetheless differs too subtly to feel like much more than an original outtake.

Among more appealing contributions, Wixtes' remix of 'Buy Gold (Beat Song)' discards the titular thudding beat, resulting in a grainy cloud of sombre guitar work gusting around sampled speech. Similarly, Saåad crop but engorge 'La Traversée' into a solid dark ambient/drone piece. Scanner introduces as a textural focus a varied, stuttering rhythm range to 'Calling John Carcone' and manages pretty well to retain beneath it the tempestuous post-rock anguish of the original. 'Nuage Noir' also features a second time, with Greek thereminist May Roosevelt at the helm. Besides cropping the length, she leaves the song largely intact, instead adding a rich, effective harmonised theremin accompaniment.

Like most compilations and particularly remix compilations, it's a mixed bag. But it is impressive how earnestly the present personnel endeavour to preserve the themes and tone of their source material. When it works, it does so very well.
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