Music Reviews



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Artist: Pietro Riparbelli (@)
Title: Vacuum
Format: CD
Label: Dirter Promotions (@)
Rated: *****
After his latest conceptual efforts, most notably the cathedral series of release, Pietro Riparbelli returns to the format of a proper album with a cohesive release planned as a single piece in six parts. The concept of vacuum is a complex one as it's related to the absence of perceptive experiences as gravity or resonances and also to the human condition of solitude.
The quiet noises of "Senza forma" which could be field recordings or object are doubled by a slowly moving synth line vaguely reminiscent of an old OST as it uses sounds which, for historic reason, are related to some old sci-fi movie, a genre based on the concept of void. In the first part of "Primo percorso" the role of the noises and the synth is reversed as the sample is in the foreground and the synth is in the background while the second part of the track features only the synth. "Distacco" is based on the strong reverb of the musical elements and this creates the sense of being immersed in an empty place. "Deserto meraviglioso" juxtaposes lines of synth and "Emanazione" further develops this direction until it border the field of some kosmische musik but with a stronger sense of the psychological element rather than the space one. "Secondo percorso" closes this release with the return of the radio signal that was central in past Riparbelli's releases so it creates a link with them.
This album shows a narrative element that was absent in previous releases by this artist and, with the use of synth, marks the beginning of a new musical phase. In times when music is consumed in small song bits, it's a release that has to be listened in full and this means something really important: it was planned prior to be performed. An impressive release.
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anymore
Artist: Autistici (@)
Title: Temporal Enhancement
Format: CD
Label: Dronarivm (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Autistici is described as "a sonic exploration of the perception of time". This concept is realized placing every sound first in a particular place of the stereo field and then repeating changing his place or slightly modifying it. The result is a sort of narration of how something is remembered, and changed, during time.
The sample opening "Feeling Before Thinking" is repeated until the reverb change it into a texture and this operation generates a moving soundscape for the noises in the foreground. "Opened Up Too Quickly" is instead developed from strewn samples panning in the stereo field. "Habituation Of The Heart" is a complex track starting quietly with a still tone until a noisy drone fill the sound canvas and his end let emerge sparse samples; this structure is permuted until, in the final part of the track, a gentle drone emerges upon an heartbeat. "The Grotesque Physicality Of Waiting" is a dialogue for rhythms and tones and "Thinking Before Feeling" focuses on resonances and reverbs of some samples; here the rhythm part creates a strong sense of movement. The first part of "Slowing Down Before You Stop" sounds is developed upon a single sample filtered to generated isolated elements whose interrelation creates a sort of sonic diffraction.
It's impressive how David Newman creates a cohesive but various release upon a limited palette of samples but it's the cure for the details that makes the difference from a typical minimal release. This approach is mirrored by the cover by Paul Bilger generated by sparse tones of pencil, or so it seems. Truly recommended.
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anymore
Artist: Father Murphy (@)
Title: Lamentations
Format: 10"
Label: Backwards (@)
Rated: *****
This new Father Murphy's release on Backwards is a rather short EP closing the Trilogy of The Cross and following Calvary and Croce. As the title suggest, the sound of the band is focused on a sort of repetitive and almost religious palette using spare element chosen with care.
The obsessive organ lines opening "Lamentations" are juxtaposed for the creation of a thick sound mass doubled by the vocals of the band closed by the final part based on the guitar drone. "Mercy and Truth" is instead a quiet track based on sparse beats while the vocal and the organ develops quietly their musical path and the guitar is replaced by the trumpet.
With his short duration it's a release for fans and collectors which perhaps would appreciate its connection with the previous parts of the trilogy. The others could be disappointed by a far too predictable musical development diluted by the evocative quality of their sound.
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Artist: Jos Smolders (@)
Title: Modular Works 2015Q1
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
The name of Jos Smolders should say something to many followers of the most hidden recesses of electronic and experimental music, as you could have met it as the signature of some articles on well-known Vital magazine or less recently on EARLabs.org, a label he made that turned into a proper webzine and one of the most updated source of information for electronic community by focusing on many aspects of the expanding netaudio scene (online services, net labels online magazine, social media functionalities and so on), but besides the editorial activity, Jos is primarily a sound artist, who knows modular synths like the back of his hand and this release is the most convicing proof of his knowledge. This digital release came as the attempt of combining together isolated sonic objects that he made while mastering and restoring 10 albums by Pierre Henry into a proper composition as Jos himself said: "I composed these works during the first months of 2015. They are clearly defined constructions, built in a modernistic fashion. The sounds have a character of their own but I force my will onto them and thus create a composition. [..] The theatrical approach of henry is clearly audible in these works. I started with a certain mood in my head and worked from there. First collecting the initial sounds (objets sonores), reworking and editing them and in the mean time placing them in a timeline". Three of the four works got dedicated to Robert Hampson ("an inspiring conversationalist on the subject of Musique Concrete", in Smolders' own words) and features really amazing sonic entities: I particularly enjoyed "light" and "debris", the second and the third composition, as they sound like sonic translations of mental states that someone could experience during prolonged working in isolation, where ordinary noises like the crackling of a wooden floor or a chair ("light") or a clock("debris") got somehow defomed by senses, as well as the 12-minutes lasting "TomTomTomTom", where a breathe and a ticking into a set of impressive modular sounds gradually render a really oblique listening experience.
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Artist: Wintermute (@)
Title: Convergence EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Boundless Beatz (@)
Rated: *****
The amazing tune "Convergence", where a mysterious voice talks about the recognizing of immortal alien creatures over likewise cryptically fascinating sonorities and bouncy rhythmical elements that could let you flow like an alga under minimum sea currents, is the iciest way to warm the listener up that Leipzig-based dnb producer Florian Forster aka Wintermute could choose for the release he dropped on Boundless Beatz, the label whiich mostly gives voice and plastic grooves to the interesting scene of that gothic corner in the heart of Old Continent. Beats-per-minute rise on the following tracks "Proximity" and the awesome "Shattered Crystlas", whose dynamics - driven by catchy bass tones, which got so perfectly moulded that are not nagging at all (imagine an alcohol drink which cause euphoria without causing headache during hangover!) - could be the same ones that play inside the mind of gamer playing on the thrilling fantasy of Tom Clancy. "Euler's Disc", the collaborative track that Wintermute wisely crafted together with Cues - starting like a typical dnb tune and turning into a dirty hardstep movement -, is another highlight of this release, which lands over the popping liquid ripples of "RWD".
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