Music Reviews



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Artist: Russ Young (@)
Title: Common Pond
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Audiobulb (@)
Rated: *****
I've recently read on an essay by a philosopher who tried to analyze the consequences on personal life of somehow dramatic changes of labour market that one of the few positive aspects should be the corroboration of the so-called sense of community. Even if some cantankerous people taking part to rooftop garden committee or council meetings could invalidate such an idea, it's partially true. The reason of my premise comes from the sonic strategy that Russ Young followed on this nice release, which could be filed in that branch of ambient music that focuses on the attempt of dunking field recordings into a pool of smoothed frequencies as the source of Young's field recordings are mainly familiar sounds that he grabbed from daily events, objects and places, which could be considered as the closest elements of Young's sonic community that he amalgamates and coagulates in his pond. He seems to take them back and "ennobling" by means of the sounds that he manages to extract from them in order "to create a kind of holographic image with sound", according to his own words, so that listeners could stand entranced by the remote and somewhat emotional rendering of Hewson Road in Lincoln, Russ' hometown, on the track of the same name, or by the hypnotical reverie inspired by the radiation from the nearby Belmont transmitting station on "Belmont Transmitter" as well as by some of Russ' neighbours such as John, whose bike he uses to go to workplace every day gave inputs for "John's Bike", or Phil, whose 8 upright pianos he kept in his house are the main "voice" of the amazing "Phil's House" where Russ imagined they got played by driving rain. The mastering by Taylor Deupree is a sort of guarantee quality as usual.
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Artist: John Kannenberg (@)
Title: A Sound Map of the Art Institute of Chicago
Format: CD
Label: 3Leaves (@)
Rated: *****
While I was having a tour with a friend inside Museum Fur Modern Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany, after getting hell-bented on visiting temporary exhibition by outside glacial winds more than its introduction, I noticed a dust-up nearby a sort of tube with no description of exhibiting artist so that I apprised security that someone could have left some rubbish. You can imagine my amused astonishment when the well-built woman in a faded grey suit haughtily replied "Das ist Kunst!" (That's art!)... That sketch was so fun to me that I thought that it could be recorded to share the fun with friends. I don't think this release came froma similar experience, but it's really interesting anyway. Following a conceptually similar sound mapping of Egyptian Museum in Cairo, John Kannenberg assembled an interesting sound map of the Art Institute of Chicago, which become the largest museum in the United States after the addition of Renzo Piano-designed Modern Wing, by means of an Olympus LS-10. The idea behind its field recording is what John refers to s "the active sounds of history", where contemproary visitors interact with "authentic historical objects to create new sonic contexts", but its path follows a concept which is completely different by interactive digital as it's not linear, but rather chaotic. The 52 sketches that John assembled to render his personal tour inside Chicago Art Institue could be considered a proper memory map as it doesn't really follows a prearranged route, even if it departs from the recording of bucket drummers outside the museum on Michigan Avenue and ends with the sounds he grabbed while walking from Modern Wing Ground Floor bookstore to street exit and such a personal cut can be easily grasped by the inclusion of "ordinary" moments such as alarm sounds, crowd disembarking from elevators, maintenance workers, conversations as well as personal clues such as footsteps or slap on the wrist by security guards which could sound peculiar or somehow bizarre in that specific context.
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Artist: Neel
Title: Phobos
Format: 2 x 12"
Label: Spectrum Spools (@)
Rated: *****
The synth-driven chiselling of sonic space wanderings by Pete Namlook, some isolationist ambient masterpieces by Robert Rich and other knights of so-called space-ambient as well as the nuances of other electronic musicians such as Lagowski or Biosphere whose imagination cruised over distant galaxies and constellations could come to mind while listening to this interesting release by Giuseppe "Neel" Tillieci, Rome-based producer as well as one half of experimental techno bicephalous project Voices From The Lake together with Donato Scaramuzzi (Dj Dozzy). Neel seems to have drawn inspiration from Phobos, the almost invisible Mars satellite which got named after the Greek word for fear and quite notorious for the dramatically irregular surface, which sounds mirrored by the "shape" of the sonorities of "Phobos" inasmuch you focus on finely detailed layers which are not just overstretched frequencies due to the disturbances and the notched blurs that Giuseppe moulded. Besides facts, legends and interesting references to this mysterious Martian satellite in literrature and mythology, you could even envisage metaphorical meanings due to the almost narrative trend of this record from the opening "Post Landing", the most desolate moment of the album which could render the momentanoeously nonplussed feeling that could follow the first moments of a completely desolate and wild environment, to the final "The Secret Revealed", the "brightest" moment of the album after a series of interstitial explorations such as the slightly disquieting oscillations of "Storm In Stickney" and "Crater Chain Observations", the claustrophobic thrilled compressions on "The Gravity of Litmoc" as well as the tracks - "Travelling on Kepler Dorsum" and "Life on Laputa Regio" - when Neel seems to get out of spaceship's cabin to provide more soothing auricular stimulations as if that solitude on Mars' moon and the feelings that its sole name instills turned into pure bliss.
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Artist: Kink Gong (@)
Title: Gongs
Format: 12"
Label: Discrepant (@)
Rated: *****
The series of wonderful sonic reports from South-Eastern Asia by French sound artist and aural explorer Laurent Jeanneau whose King Gong project trascends pure exoticism as I already underlined while speaking about his recent release "Voices" keeps on growing. On "Gong", Laurent assembled the two long-lasting tracks by combining field recordings and traditional instruments that he grabbed during one of his frequent audiotouristic journeys in Cambodia and Laos and later edited and re-arranged in Dali, Paris and Berlin; even if he focused on the entrancing sound of gong, he managed to evoke the vibrant life of those distant countries as if gong had the same function of bells in many Western towns on the first half of the record, while the second part seems to interiorise its sound on a sort of syncope where gong becomes the clock of vital functions and heartbeat likewise it was the clock of forgotten rural communities in the first one. The whole atmosphere of the record could be even linked to some avant-garde composers and artists with many similarities with the traditional music of South-Eastern countries - you could have a listen to Baudouin Oosterlynck's "Incantations Simultanees" in order to have an idea of what I mean -, while the wise insertion of field recordings (particularly in the first track) turns it into the most attractive postcard which doesn't really need wide shots or photo-editing.
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Artist: Halo Manash (@)
Title: Se Its En
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Previously marked by the almost unknown underground label Blue Sector, "Se Its En" (2003) is the first emanation by Halo Manash - even if it was formerly started as a solo unnamed project by Anti Haapapuro in 1998 -, which follows the recent re-release of "Caickuwi Cauwas Walkeus", another miliar stone of their sonic research within an almost metaphysical, rather than just stylistical, field that they preferred to label as "elemental noise" instead of just dark or ritual ambient and the reason of such a seemingly snobbish differentiation was clear since that record. Besides cryptic overstretched sounds they squeezed from bowed instruments and analogue synth, the electrical shock that seems to resound in each of the seven minutes lasting seven tracks could let you imagine they are playing with a mysterious device which can open dimensional doors that got overstepped otherworldly entities who took possession of their voices and their instruments and such a figment of imagination coherently fits their intent of "bridging the worlds of being and non-being" and "journeying to the depths and heights", accordign to their own words. The most entrancing moments of the album are the ones when they inflame their mysterious rites by means of tribal percussions in particular in the central stages of their protocol such as "I Lure Rot", "Devourer" or "Ulterior", but I suggest a continuous listening from the initial "Solar Horn" to the final "Lunar Horn" as it were a proper rite in order to experience a more immersive listening. Another ecstatic lulu for the lovers of the genre which got added to the Stellar Mansion series.
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