Music Reviews



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Artist: Adam Gołębiewski (@)
Title: Pool North
Format: CD
Label: Latarnia (@)
Rated: *****
The first question I asked myself when I received this record was quite obviously related to those unidentified tools on the cover artwork. What are thy? A full torture equipment of mad dentist? Primitive fireplace pokers? Mysterious tools for the cleaning of furnaces? Whatever they are, they supposedly landed on the table of the Poznan-based musicologist, sociologist and experimental drummer Adam Gobiewski, who wisely used them to forge one of the most extraordinary sets of really experimental percussive tracks that recently titillated my eardrums. Even though listeners, who cannot really understand this extreme experiments, could tag "Pool North" as the artifact of a sadistic sound artist, this output by Adam, which can not be considered a rhythmical exercise at all, is the exploration of a huge pack of remarkable percussive effects that quickly reaches the threshold of pure disturbances. In the seven tracks of the album, Adam melts over-amplified noises, somehow cacophonous drones, violent scrapes and other bizarre resounding strategies to squeeze intense listen experiences, that unavoidably stimulates the imagination. You could imagine the crazy attempt to hybridize a snare drum, a triangle, a trumpet, a doorbell and who knows what else on the clashing "Decay" or you could experience what a woodworm could feel when his humble abode got turned into toothpicks on the ironically titled track "Ellington Tradition" or you could even think that a hellish monster looking like an elephant seal is trying to enter in your house by forcing an old door and its rusty hinges, while listening to the scary "Manner and Timbre". Some ears could bleed, but it'll be worth.
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Artist: Christian Fennesz & Jim O'Rourke
Title: It's Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry
Format: CD
Label: editions Mego
Rated: *****
Two gentlemen of electronic and experimental music like Christian Fennesz and Jim O'Rourke don't need any introduction. If you never heard about them, you should definitively revise your knowledge of contemporary music. Pairing them in a release is a pure act of devotion to high-quality music, and they fully meet expectations in a record where they interbred their own sonic arts. One of the most interesting aspects of this release is the fact that both cover artwork and the titles unveil some features of their output. Gently pitched guitar glide over great harmonics, electronic droplets sound like watering the mute hisses of the machines, balanced sounds occasionally mirror lukewarm beams of light that got deformed when meeting uneven surfaces, seemingly different intersections seem to find peace into blossoming ethereal cells. They manage to sound experimental without being too intrusive, and their deviations from some standard could look like the action on the artwork, where the tenderness of that lovely pet is so overwhelming that you can stand for its nibbles. The perfect symbiosis by Fennesz and O'Rourke in this release results into an involving emotional listening experience, that is going to talk to listener's soul: the second half "Wouldn't Wanna Be Swept Away" is more "nocturnal" and lulling than the first one "I Just Want You To Stay", but both of them are wonderful alternations of becalmed moments and huge sonic waves that succeed in flooding the whole sonic sphere. This simply beautiful release got already published by Commmons, the imprint founded by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Max Matsuura (the Japanese edition includes the bonus track "Encores" as well), but it should be available on Rehberg's Editions Mego since 24th June!
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Artist: Gregor Tresher
Title: Quiet Distortion
Format: CD
Label: Break New Soil
Rated: *****
Three years after the last album "Nightcolors", Gregor Tresher is back on his own label Break New Soil with "Quiet Distortion". Born as a DJ in Frankfurt in the early '90s, Tresher has constantly worked on his own sound, starting in the '00s when he was making music under the Sniper Mode moniker. Tresher fame risen with two EPs released by Datapunk: "Still" and "Neon". Also his remix of Sven Vath's "Komm" and his contribution to the Cocoon compilation "Full Range Madness" helped him getting a wider audience. This new album "Quiet Distortion", contains twelve new tracks that mix techno and electronic music in a great way. Gregor worked really well by building rhythm layers with pounding kicks and syncopated beats which enrich so much the tracks mixing them with catchy melodies that make of this a release to enjoy on a wider palette. If "Numb" opens the album with a dark mysterious atmosphere, "Consistency" blink the eye to the dance floor with its crescendo and the in levare bass line. If the main title is a electronic dance tune, the following "Safehouse" is a minimal soft one with dry beats that create a nice contrast. "The Kraken" is another dance floor monster and it's followed by other two similar ones: "Riot Gear" and "Depend". "Decades" is one of the tracks that along with "Numb" and the closing "Give It All Away", will be able to catch the attention of the audience that is less keen on techno (maybe the people that are into Warp Records). I really enjoyed "Quiet Distortion" and with different listenings you'll be able to catch all its qualities, starting from the nice cover made by 3D-artist Dennis Richter.
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Artist: Clara de Asís (@)
Title: Uno todo tres
Format: CD
Label: PiedNu (@)
Distributor: Metamkine
Rated: *****
The music composed by Clara de Asís in this release is based on an idea of space that is triggered by sound. The text accompanying this release titled "some ideas that produced this music" reveals, apart from the explanation of the process in composition and performance, how she considers space not as the environment where sound is diffused but as a property of perception. It's an idea of sound as an object rather than an abstract entity.
The track starts quietly with a quiet drone which varies slowly and seems to move along the aural field; his second part uses the same structure in a lower range but it slowly evolves into an accumulation of drones creating a sense of fullness reminding at the cover picture with branches piled up on a road acting as a metaphor on how this release is developed. At the end of this part, the initial drone returns creating a sonic circle ending in the same silence where the track has begun.
Whilst this work evolves there's a constant shift in some parameter of the sound that creates the perception of someone generating the musical event rather than contemplating the result of an experiment. Every fans of EAI will truly enjoy this release. Recommended.
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Artist: Jacob Kierkegaard (@)
Title: Arc
Format: 12"
Label: Holotype Editions (@)
Rated: *****
Despite the religious theme, his nationality, and the surname, I don't think Jacob Kierkegaard is descendent of the famous Danish philosopher, but his sound features the same power of a mystical experience as well as a strongly haunting one. Formerly commissioned as a soundtrack to Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent movie "The Passion of Joan of Arc" (dating back 1928... many fans of poet and actor Antonin Artaud maybe knows he played the role of the confessor and drew inspiration by the movie for developing the so-called Theatre of Cruelty), the version coming out of Athens-based label Holotype's catalogue is a 36-minutes lasting LP-sized re-edition of that work and shows the skills as a sonic portrayer of Jacob. He managed to render that sad story where a spiritual light got eclipsed by the darkness of rational thought or maybe by the incommunicability of religious experiences that often transcends the limitations of human language, but above all the way by which Dreyer decided to develop the trial of the French heroin - it's no accident that many reviewers considered it as the real last masterpiece -. What should have initially been a movie in historical suites was turned into a masterpiece of the so-called photogeny as the plot got wonderfully rendered by astonishing close-ups of human faces and thanks also to the talent of Renee Falconetti, the actress cast for Joan of Arc - it seems she came up psychologically exhausted -, Dreyer turned it into a real cinematographical poem, where camera managed to expand the imaginary places where the sense of confusion and pain of the main character got masterfully rendered by amplifying a similar sense of uncertainty in the spectator, as there are no real clues about the places where all the action happened. The most surèprising aspect lies in the fact that Dreyer made a masterpiece by a sort overturning of the typical cinematic rule, aimed to grab and render movements instead of a staticity that contemporary audience could find odd. Jacob's outcome for this commission by INMUTE '14 is an immersive listening experience where the slow evolution of overstretched choral symphonies sound like continuously flowing between darkness and light. Even though it got released at the end of November, I think that some of the 300 copies, masterfully mastered by Nokis Lavdas at Kiwi Studios, could be available yet.
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