Music Reviews



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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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Artist: Nobile
Title: Soundwaves for the Masses
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Klanggold (@)
Rated: *****
Most of the times, the way by which a language labels reality is profoundly influential on the way speakers could perceive the reality itself. One of the most interesting writing about this matter of fact is "The Bath" by Germany-based Japanese writer Yoko Tawada, where she analysed the words to say 'I' for females and males in Japan and focused on the fact that the nuances of meaning of the female 'I' portray a woman that cannot be other than cute or polite. The reflection about this radical linguistic injustice inspires the author's high claiming of the self-determination and the freedom of every woman to decide their nature without any more or less subliminal conditioning by language. One of the oldest member of Klanggold's family, Nobile - another moniker of label owner Andreas Usenbenz -, had to occasion to turn this mental and spiritual "sanitation" from languages when he had to make some sonic stuff for a dancing performance by the trio liquid_eMotion, inspired by Tawada's "The Bath" and intended to interpret the psychological turmoil and the relationship with the mirror and her beauty of the writer in that entertaining novel. "Soundwave for the masses" includes two 10-minutes lasting ambient tracks - the almost daydreaming flatness of "Little Insults" and the glimmering staticity of "No Room For Imitations", where he seems to have rendered the typical reverberation of a comfortable bathroom...! - centered on sonic hypnotic dilutions and amniotic sonorities. A good sonic soak.
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anymore
Artist: Kayaka
Title: Sonic Kitchen
Format: CD
Label: ADAADAT (@)
Rated: *****
If you might fancy the sound of a piano coupled with that of frying eggs, Kayaka's "Sonic Kitchen" may be the not-so-subtle mockery of cultivated musicianship you've been looking for! Not to insinuate that it's in any way contrived or orchestrated to lampoon the pretentiousness that surrounds experimental music, or that it is overtly gimmicky. Though it does have a neoteric snobbery about it, the short (29 minutes) album is playful, joyful, and is seemingly unfettered. Sonic surrealism, indeed!

Many tracks on the album feature solo piano, and I am left to ponder if they are all samples (which is what I suspect), or composed and/or performed by Kayaka herself? Numerous compositions marry solo piano ('Hungarian Rhapsodist' & 'Tropic of Cancer’) or a small ensemble ('Pickled Tango') with various 'living-life-noise' sounds, such as the aforementioned culinary exploits, as well as echoed footsteps, apparent rapid page-turning, and voiceover morsels.

I was left pondering where the numerous voiceover and thematic samples may stem from, though in this case decoding all of the ingredients in any one recipe is likely to miss the point. Better to quietly masticate and savor what you can of this smörgåsbord.
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anymore
Artist: DunningWebsterUnderwood
Title: Bleed
Format: CD
Label: ADAADAT (@)
Rated: *****
"Bleed" is the debut release from DunningWebsterUnderwood, an improv trio that staves off a so-called traditional treatment of their instruments (tuba, baritone saxophone, turnable) as much as possible. Throughout the album, tonality routinely functions merely as an agent to create spontaneous, discontinuous, noise-like sounds. To put it another way, during melodic and harmonic moments, the sounds are more akin to drone metal without any of the typically-associated instrumentation (distorted guitar/s and drums).

The soundstage throughout the LP is similar: Underwood's tuba is left, Webster's bari is right, and Dunning's turntable and effects down-the-middle. With only three players, there is great capacity for sonic exploration, and the spatial configuration allows for maximum definition. Lengthy album opener 'Dustbleedblip' is beautifully malicious with swelling simultaneous drones in both channels whilst the edginess stems from the turntable's static, vinyl-crackle-like roar, which almost acts as a distorted guitar of sorts. It's immediately followed by the terse 'Lavaeclustercore' complete with horse lip flap sax and turntable swells similar to that of ocean waves breaking. This is surely next-level unconventional use of instrumentation, and a fair amount of it is both intriguing and palatable.

It's no surprise that I gravitate toward the longer tracks on "Bleed". They sound perhaps a bit more thought-out, and also tinker with intonation and harmonic-minor movement. At nearly six minutes, 'Tarnlavadust' is probably my favorite. Along with sustained droning, Dunning's incorporation of what sounds like a field recording of many voices in a hall of sorts is perfect. The listener is unable to discern what is being uttered, the result of which is one of my favorite types of audible subterfuge: a sound that beckons the listener closer to decipher the message, but there is none.
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