Music Reviews



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Artist: Brutter (@)
Title: s/t
Format: 12"
Label: Hubro (@)
Rated: *****
Once upon time brotherhood in music was mainly associated to blues, rock and pop. This reunion between Norwegian sonic siblings Fredrik Wallumrod, who mainly borrowed his skills on drums and electronics to rock and metal bands such as Dog Almighty, Span and El Caco, and Christian Wallumrod, who became one of the most appreciated musician of the Nordic improv scene - I recently introduced the amazing output "Pianokammer" by this musician, whose name got mainly matched to his own acoustic ensemble and the quartet Dans Les Arbres - extends the concept to the more experimental side of improv music. Forget the piano tones, harmonic moulding and melodic mutations you met on the above-mentioned "Pianokammer", as Christian mainly works on likewise freaky sonic palettes over the three tracks of "Brutter" by a pile of percussive plugs, hits and filters according to evasive logical paths, where Frederik adds some electronic foil, whose amalgamation can't really provide a semblance of order to the resounding elements. The initial "Geigered" sounds like a set of false starts, where any "regular" rhythmical pattern got immediately disbanded within hiccuping and sometimes chaotic surges, which are the dominant aspect of Brutter's sound on the interplay "Radiopuls", an intentionally impossible attempt of matching between drum machines and live drums, which seem to be part of an impossible interlocking puzzle. Any possible synchronization between the two halves of the drumming got broken in the asynchronous slow syncopations of the final "Badminton Break", where you could imagine Wallumrod Bros dragging rhythm like the body of a drunken fool into a temporary shelter.
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Artist: [ówt krì] (@)
Title: Pilgrimage
Format: CD
Label: Erototox Decodings (@)
Rated: *****
[ówt krì] is the project name of Kenneth K. from Helsinki, Finland, and 'Pilgrimage' is the followup release to his 2013 debut, 'The New Seed'. 'Pilgrimage' continues the journey spawned by the prior release, a trip into humanity's inner world [ówt krì], that deep part of the psyche where spirituality dwells in the non-physical darkness. It's almost impossible to separate the esoteric from the mundane in the music of [ówt krì], as it is intertwined by virtue of having to actually "make" music than just imagine it. How well that translates we shall soon see. 'Pilgrimage' is comprised of eight tracks, beginning with "Static Continuum", not only the name of the track, but also a Finnish experimental ambient project that includes [ówt krì] - Keyboards, Synths and various oddities /Sounds From The Marshes - Guitar, Effects / and Quantum Prana - 7 string Guitar. It's the perfect opening to this strange journey, with free form electric guitar riffing over ambient pads and drones. No drums or percussion, just waves of rumbling sonics heralding what's to come; a chaotic (yet controlled in a way) fountain of effervescent sonics billowing forth. "From Shadows" somehow reminded me of the intro to the Stones' "2000 Light Years from Home," yet more abrasive with drone sounds filling in all the gaps. A tolling bell begins "Messe De Requiem", an eerie two-chord organ dirge backed with low orchestral drone and deep bass rumbling. It's vaguely reminiscent of Dead Can Dance, akin to their earlier instrumental works. Mournful, yet majestic. "Pilgramage 1" is the first piece that alludes to some conventional musical structure. When I first heard this, I got the impression of a band jam session in a basement, heavily influenced by krautrock and shoegaze. I'm still not sure about this one- it starts out fine with synth choral voices, but then sludgey bass, gauzy guitar, clattering drums all building on a simple theme never rise above the murk. Perhaps I'm missing something but repeated listenings did nothing to enlighten me further.

"Flight to Kailash" is essentially a drone piece utilizing a variety of instruments and sonics, and the chilling wail in the background adds a sense of anguish to the mix. "Pilgrimage 2" is quite different than "Pilgramage 1" with a lone voice singing over choral synth voices, which turns to drones, then simple chordal structure as the piece moves forward. The vocal (by Pod_9) is done almost murder ballad style, but it's difficult to discern the theme as the words aren't always clear. I'm reminded of Iggy Pop on "We Will Fall", the lengthy atmospheric track on the Stooges' first album. I'm also reminded of something on Tobias Lilja's 'Medicine Sings Triptych'. "Absurd" seems to be the most enigmatic and arcane track on 'Pilgrimage,' a gloomy dark ambient improvisation with a vocal recitation that seemed to recall early Mortiis. Ultimately atmospheric, this is certainly one of the highlights of the album. The finale, "Integrity/I Believe" is based on a slow, stately piano progression backed by drums (again played by MathGen) with a vocal recitation and drones. Although other words are spoken, the ones that will stick with you are "My Lord" echoed over and over again. The pseudo-orchestral ending has shades of King Crimson to it. A strange ending to a very strange album.

Some very interesting terrain explored on 'Pilgrimage', but I was a bit put off by "Pilgramage 1", and I still don't feel that it worked that well within the context of the whole. I might have dumped the drums entirely as I felt they significantly detracted from the piece. Be that as it may, [ówt krì] has produced something quite different in the improvisational dark ambient genre, and it sounds like a leap forward from 'The New Seed'. The label, Erototox Decodings, run by Jason Scott Furr and Chandra Shukla out of Asheville, North Carolina, has released music by a number of ecletic artists including White Stains, Andrew Liles, Steven Severin, and Xambuca, among others. You can check out all tracks on 'Pilgrimage' on the [ówt krì] Bandcamp page, then buy the CD from Erototox Decodings.
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Artist: Troum & Raison D'Être
Title: De Aeris In Sublunaria Influxu
Format: CD
Label: Essence Music (@)
Rated: *****
The meeting of Raison d'être, the industrial ambient brainchild of Swedish sound maker Peter Andersson named after a thought by Carl Gustav Jung - a major source of inspiration for the mental and introspective journeys that its listening could inspire -, and Troum, the well-known project by Bremen-based duo of drone architects Stefan "Baraka(H)" Knappe and Martin "Glit[S]ch" Gitschel that according to many listeners could be considered as the proper follow-up of their previous brainchild Maeror Tri, is one of those rare events, which can only deliver heady efflorescences and this sonic blossoming is so well accomplished that "De Aeris In Sublunaria Influxu", which required four years of making, has the potential to be considered the proper masterpiece of respective discographies. The opening "Folia" could let you imagine they get closer to the shamanic nuances of more ritual-oriented relics of the genre, but the dynamics of the following long-lasting suite "Alio Tempore", where the slow repetition of highly reverberating bell and a very low thundering frequency got gradually submerged in an ecstatic overflowing pad-synth, which fills the sonic space, pushes listeners towards cosmic primeval wanderings by a planing organization of sound, whose "cath/ar(c)tic" effect seems to get reprised in the shortest delight provided on "Flammae", which follows the mystical heart of the release, the almost 40 minutes listening offered by the triptych of "Oculum Mundi" - sounding like the sonic mirroring of the boiling primordial ooze, getting electrified by some superior being for the creation of some universe -, "Atmosphaera" - the harmoniously confused amalgam of shining and gliding elements that seems to give a voice to the admirable miracle of creation - and "Meditationum", whose 20 minutes of dilating harmonies evoke the making of each (known and unknown) physicochemical state, and precedes the final "Ad Infinitum", which cannot be considered a proper final act, but rather the necessary junction of a looping cycle which doesn't really have an ending moment...
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anymore
Artist: Wordclock (@)
Title: Self Destruction Themes
Format: CD
Rated: *****
Wordclock is the project of Pedro Pimentel and his new release is presented as inspired by "images of a world depopulated and of overgrown and dilapidated cityscapes". The first noticeable element in this release is the use of cello and piano so it borders territories closer to modern classical in the framework of the usual ambient structure of the drone texture.
The soundscape of "Here we'll be Gone" opens this release creating a canvas for the string instruments whose use generates a fissure. "The Fever of our Waiting" starts quietly and generate a sense of suspension partially resolved by the ending noisy drone. "It May Come" is a short and quiet track based on a couple of piano chords and sparse notes of cello. "When Indecision Strikes" is based on a couple of slowly evolving drones ending with a piano chord. "Something More" is instead based on texture rich soundscape and a string drone. "More often than not" is an interlude based on a loop and a string musical lines that is the base for "Every Shade" in a rich dialogue with the soundscape in the background. "Something Else" starts with the recording of a vinyl crackle and evolve with a synth drone. "32 Walls" features a beat and some almost inaudible voices to generate an evocative sound palette. "Lack of Language" closes this release with a beat and a catchy synth melody.
The peculiar quality of this release is the variety of musical solution so it spans to almost classic dark ambient territories to even synth pop in the final tracks. It's a release enjoyable for almost everyone.
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anymore
Artist: Council of Nine
Title: Diagnosis
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This new release is shortly presented by the label as a "release in the style Council of Nine is known for with a healthy dose of both beauty and sadness". The basic structure of all track is the sequence of drones shaped using filters to enhance space and resonance and this process underline the evocative character of the overall sonic spectrum.
"Rite of Passage" opens this release using the resonances of layers of synth generated drones. After a quiet start, "Memories are fading away" develops a sense of movement using the aural space to place the drones. "Sedation" is the most menacing track as it features almost inaudible voices in the background. "I can see the fear in your eyes" and "Void of Regret" are focused on a single drones whose tonic is slowly evolving while the effects are used to set a moving background. "Riddled with Guilt" use the drone as a texture while the development of the track is based on sparse noises and short melodies. "Fragments of Myself" closes this release with an emphasis on the resonances of drones and samples.
While there's a considerable craft in sound construction, a lack of writing has the effect that all tracks are based on a single structure so the overall effect is a little boring however the headphone listening reveals an exceptionally clear aural field. Received with mixed feelings.
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