Music Reviews



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Artist: Claudio Parodi (@)
Title: Heavy Nichel
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
I could guess that Claudio Parodi was sitting in his room different from the one you are in now. If you know some past stuff (in particular a release on Extreme that he tributed to Alvin Lucier...) from this Italian pianist and composer, who decided to focus on free improvisation, you fully understood my opening word. This release on Creative Sources opens the "Sound is my shelter" series by which Parodi is going to apply his personal stylistical imprint on single instruments: "the only rule I will follow is to record when the kairos (ancient Greek for "the right moment") has come, in terms of practising and reflecting". There was a Turkish clarinet in the above-mentioned room and Claudio cannot but squeeze it in order to extract four long-lasting improvisations with an impressive number of variations, tonal choke points, muffled phrases, stylistical ramifications and some occasional hooks to makram and traditional jazz, even if it could give the impression it's an end to itself and I cannot exclude that some iterations could sound heavier than nickel to listeners who are not accustomed to this kind of experiments and sonorities.
Jun 25 2014
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Artist: Severed Heads
Title: City Slab Horror
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records (@)
Rated: *****
Second Severed Heads' reissue on Medical Records, 'City Slab Horror' was released in 1985 always by Ink Records. On this release the band increased the electronic parts they started to use on "Since The Accident". Now the loops and the treated vocals are used to enrich the rhythm texture. On the twelve tracks of the album, Severed Heads added melodic lines here and there but always keeping the overall dark atmosphere. After a quick intro titled "Spasm", we have "Spastic Crunch", a tune base on obsessive drum machine beats, razor like guitar riffs, industrial synth stabs and treated vocals. Someway it sign the new course which follows with "Spitoon Thud", where we have vocal chants over hypnotic three notes guitar loops along with industrial like rhythms. "4WD" almost has a song structure with vocals and all. Rhythmic experimentation come with "Ayoompteyempt" and on "The Bladders Of A Thousand Bedoin" turns into an exotic voyage that went bad. "Now An Explosive New Movie" with Garry Bradbury on vocals, it's a catchy dark industrial song and it pairs with another dance friendly oriented song: "We Have Come To Bless This House". We can find the highest point into dance attitude on "Goodbye Tonsils", which is a particular one with upbeat hard beats, vocal recitative parts and a melodic hook. As for the previous LP, this one has been out of print for a long time and for this reissue has been remastered by Tom Ellard form the original source masters. Presented on high-quality 180 gram heavyweight bone white vinyl. Features bonus LP insert compiled by Tom Ellard with ephemera from the time. You can check it here http://severedheads.bandcamp.com/album/city-slab-horror
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Artist: Severed Heads
Title: Since The Accident
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records (@)
Rated: *****
Slightly delayed due to pressing plant issues as for the other two Medical Records I'll review soon, "Since The Accident" is the first of the two reissues that the label is about to release by Severed Heads. Formed in Australia at the very beginning of the 80s from a previous project called Mr. & Mrs. No Smoking Sign, Severed Heads were formed by Richard Fielding (part of the aforementioned project) and Tom Ellard. The line-up changed during the years but Tom Ellard has been always the constant of the band. Their early recordings were characterized by manipulated tape loop experiments which assembled noises, voices and rhythms. After releasing tapes and few vinyls on labels like Terse Tapes, Conventional Tapes and Dogfood Production System, the band released in 1983 "Since The Accident" on UK Ink Records. The album represented a transition for their music as it contains industrial experimentations made of loops and dadaist solutions as well as catchy electronic songs like the famous "Dead Eyes Opened", electronic ones like "Godsong" (a melancholic song which recall me a bit the atmospheres of the early Chris & Cosey stuff) and "Exploring The Secrets Of Treating Deaf Mutes" or a mix of experimental cut ups and electronics ("Epilepsy 82"). The album sounds interesting and adventurous even today and after being out of print for a long time, it is now presented with original repro jacket. Remastered by Tom Ellard form the original source masters, pressed on high-quality 180gram heavyweight black and white vinyl it will be available soon. In the meantime you can check all its tracks on the band's Bandcamp page http://severedheads.bandcamp.com/album/since-the-accident
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Artist: Kevorkian Death Cycle
Title: God Am I (European Version)
Format: CD
Label: Juggernaut (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
17 years after the demise of a glossy German print-magazine entitled Vertigo here comes the return of one of the biggest revelations we could be proudly presented on the pages (issue 03-1996). KDC always fascinated me in my young years and the hunt for tape releases of them far before their signing to RAS DVA with their debut "Collection To Injection" was the stuff which ruled a day. Those days without email, internet, and downloading procedures light-years away have been nevertheless satisfying, especially if a few sounds from oversea have found the way to Germany. Their Metropolis years have been fairly recognized although I generally wasn't too much impressed with their smoother, more mass-compatible form of Industrial and how it has turned out. Now they are back and have joined their forces with Micah Skaritka to reanimate the US-cult label Negative Gain Productions. This makes sense if you remember the great success of the HxRex project of Roger Jarvis. This album can additionally count on a European-based partner with a license agreement to the uprising British label Juggernaut Records. Especially for this European Edition, 'God Am I' comes out with new artwork plus 2 additional remixes on one of the main tracks, 'Mind Decay'. Musically this new album brings back the portion of bruises and edges in their sound-outfit which may has been missed especially on their Metropolis-releases. 'God Am I' is the purest reincarnation of the Coldwave-sound related with those veteran idols like 16 Volt, Hate Dept., Acumen Nation, SMP, Society Burning, but also influenced with those more Electro-based projects like Xorcist, Contagion, or Non-Aggression Pact.
After the instrumental intro 'Star Chaser' the action starts with the already mentioned 'Mind Decay', a typical KDC-smashing-tune with grinding guitar riffs, roaring synthesizer bass-lines and straight-forwarding kick-and-snare works. 'Children Of Chaos' is more electronically-based and features more of those typical Euro-Dance-like elements. Their preference to cover some classic 80s top-hits is unbroken; this time it's on 'It's a Sin', originally a world-wide Chart-breaker by the Pet Shop Boys. This one should save them ongoing club-play with a musically realization in expected courses: pounding guitar-riffs are leading the scenario over the electronically foundation. 'Destroyer Of Worlds' then continues rather more in the style of 'Children Of Chaos' with pummeling bass-line sequences and it features some vocoder effects on the vocals for the chorus. The title-track and 'Shadow' then share the rather more guitar-driven Coldwave-/Industrial-sound and there's at least nothing I would tend to complain on. No doubt - the heroes are back and better than ever! They keep it varied and rawking, so let's keep the fingers crossed that the gentlemen Gribbin and Jarvis continue in this kind without internal dissonances. Congrats also to Juggernaut for the license deal and good luck - it won't be that easy to score with this Crosser-outfit on the still more Electronica-minded European market. As for the US-market released by Negative Gain: both CD version as well as limited vinyl version are already sold out...
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Artist: Spaceheads (@)
Title: Trip To the Moon EP
Format: 12"
Label: Electric Brass Records (@)
Rated: *****
When I introduced "Sun Radar", the first of a series of three EPs by Spaceheads, the vibrant duo by Andy Diagram and Richard Harrison last year, I cannot imagine that the second ring of this short chain would come one year after the first one, but such a wait got requited by another winning poker of gorgeous tracks. Named after and inspired by the notorious movie by Georges Melies, whose iconic and referenced image is the one of the capsule landing in the Moon's eye, this "Trip To The Moon" begins on the red-hot rails of the frenzied "Cosmic Freight Train" where chipper trumpet loops by Andy and compelling drum breaks by Richard got enhanced by long-lasting friend (since the times of Yargo and Biting Tongues) Paddy Steer, gains altitude on the title-track, whose melodic reprise of the theme of "Aquarela do Brasil" over more relaxed sonorties recalls more the atmosphere of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" than the present controversial soccer event in Brasil. Cinematic donnybrooks and pursuits got intertwined with funky break sonorities on "Dirty Planet", which precedes the final crescendo "Spooky Action (at a distance)", the possible soundtrack for an imaginary space-age-adapted blaxploitation.
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