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Artist: Brett Carson (@)
Title: Quattuor Elephantis
Format: CD
Label: Edgetone Records
Rated: *****
Quattuor Elephantis is the work of four musicians: Brett Carson on keyboard and compositions, Robert Lopez on drums, Mateo Lugo on electric guitar, and Scott Siler on vibraphone and percussion. This gives some indication of what we're in for. The label description seems a bit pretentious. 'A project of pianist Brett Carson, Quattuor Elephantis represents an intelligible entirety, dynamic and volatile, perceived through the kaleidoscopic effluence of the Four Cosmic Pillars. A brew of primeval energy is parsed and made available for consumption. Four musicians navigating constructed worlds. Psychic debris accumulates in corners of sound-space and crystallizes into intricate compositional/improvisational structures. Creation appears to organize itself, only to return once again to the Void.' Let's see if it holds up. After a long fade in, 'The Crater' unleashes a chaotic piece where different instruments come to the foreground at different times. The one that really shines here is the vibraphone, while the drums come in short bursts and everything just barely holds together. So far, we're off to a good start. 'Aluminum Elephant Machine' provides a 48 second intermission where they play a staccato piece generally in unison. 'Death Drives A Porsche' brings back the dissonance as vibraphone gives way to grinding, distorted guitar. But there is a lot of variety here, as everything goes quiet, with sparse, dreamy tones before taking off again. Next up, we have the radio-friendly title 'The Silver Amoebas Were Silent Yet Lovely in Their Exquisite Passion,' which is more sparse than the previous tracks, with bits of guitar and drums. At times musicians seem to jump out, play a bit, then recede into the background. As a drummer, I was happy to hear an honest to goodness drum solo toward the end. 'Inside Darkness / Wet Fins' is the most 'normal' composition on the track, and continues to illustrate the ease with which these musicians shift styles. The move seamlessly between dreamy, contemplative drone to spastic improve to some funk. 'And Thus The Fuzzy Trapezoid Was Born' finishes it off with sparse, staccato stabs in unison, which eventually opens up toward the end. So what do we make of the label's description? Perceived through the kaleidoscopic effluence of the Four Cosmic Pillars? Perhaps not, but they definitely fit the bill of 'an intelligible entirety, dynamic and volatile' with 'intricate compositional / improvisational structures.' If you like experimental jazz, this is one to check out.
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Artist: Oa (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Edgetone Records
Rated: *****
Oa is the work of Hugh Behm-Steinberg and Matt Davignon, who are assisted by a host of individuals who provided spoken word for this release. The label describes the album as such: Oa 'uses spoken stories, phrases, words and phonemes as the building blocks for improvised experimental music. Matt has been electronically manipulating sounds for over 20 years, including building an organic voice for drum machine,' and 'Hugh's poetry has been published in [various] books... Oa's debut CD compiles improvisations for samplers and digital turntables, mixing all the voices into a musical soup with ebbing and flowing narratives.' Sounds promising ' let's get into the music. We start with 'George,' which features spoken word about a 7-year-old, non-verbal, autistic boy. When it begins skipping, I first thought that it was a problem with the disc, but as it became increasingly glitch I realized that this as intentional. The voice slowly becomes enveloped in drone and vocal tones as it drags you into its disjointed narrative. 'Horsehead' features a different voice and a more processed, less lucid feel. Buzzing drone wash over overdubbed voices that tell a vaguely sinister story in which we find that she gave a horse head as a gift. 'Travel' continues this trajectory toward noisiness with a pulsing, repetitive melody over a story about a cat which becomes processed beyond recognition. The rest of the album follows a similar track between these extremes of clarity and noise, all with stories that you wish you could hear the end of. Overall, this was an interesting album and the stories, which range from the typical spoken word already discussed to the distorted answering machine messages of 'I'll Wait' provides a nice thread of continuity throughout. Well worth checking out.
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Artist: iVardensphere (@)
Title: Dark Science Trilogy - Part 1
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
Almost synchronized with the recent release of their awesome album "Fable", Canadian duo iVardensphere, the brainchild of Scott Fox and Yann Faussurier,tries to scout different stylistical area and sonic declension on this relatively minor release - the first part of Dark Science Trilogy -. Both some obscure references - there are many similarities with the framework of the above-mentioned "Fable" - and the heavily scorching industrial wire drawing of their sound endure this skin-shedding output, but forget any grasp by means of what could resemble the form of a song as well as furious tribal drumming and EBM shredding and grating: even if the guessed voiceover, which is similar to the ones of more or less tendencious video-documentary or educational videoclips for science classrooms, is an element they used in Fable, the dirty metallic sounds of initial "Aether" move towards a sort of distorted dubstep and the disquieting choirs on "Blight" are similar to the ones you could hear in "Millian Year Echo", the opening track of "Fable", whose trait d'union seems to be the dystopian vision both tracks evoke, but those choirs sound like a disturbed interference in between the harsch distorted electric buzzes of "Blight", a track which prepares the ground for the gargantuan burp of "Lapse". I'm curious about future steps of the forthcoming chapters.
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Artist: Blitzkrieg Baby
Title: Cannibal Commando
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten (@)
Rated: *****
One year and half after the previous EP "Kids' World", released on Belaten, Blitzkrieg Baby are releasing, always on Belaten, their new tape EP titled "Cannibal Commando". Containing five new songs repeated also on side B, the EP sees Kim Solve's project reaching a perfect mix of industrial, electronic and a special "vision" of pop. Focusing the lyrics on a crude vision of reality made of cannibalism, war crimes, pre-pubescent murderers, world domination, and the end of civilization, the tracks sound balanced and powerful. The intelligible clean vocals are working as a counterpart to the drums and all the distorted blasting which are giving the rhythm. So... where's the pop stuff? Well, the pop element could be found into the small melodic parts which are able to work as a hook for the listener. A great comeback which you can check at this page! https://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/cannibal-commando
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Artist: HATI (@)
Title: Metanous
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Distributor: Alchembria
Rated: *****
In this release, based on recording made in 2011-2012, HATI performed as a trio with Robert Darowski and this change from the usual duo formation permits the insertion of wind instruments with the usual barrage of percussions. As RafaÅ IwaÅski and RafaÅ KoÅacki are now the only members of HATI this album is mainly a document however it's an hypnotic release as the insertion of Dabrowski's drone creates a particular musical configuration.
When "Cascades" starts, it's almost clear that the rhythm is the basic elements of this release but, instead of being a fixed element, it's slowly but inexorably moving. "Thalu" is instead based on a didgeridoo used as a canvas colored by the metal percussions. "Passage" is an almost silent track that uses resonances of the bells and quiet rattles. The flute and the didgeridoo of the first part of "Alpha at Omega" are mirrored by the cymbal and bells of the second part. "Fusion" is a dialogue for didgeridoo and percussions. "Wangga" is a dialogue for didgeridoo and flues in the first part, for didgeridoo and rattles in the second part and for percussions and horn in the third part. "Purga" is an exploration of the resonances of metallic percussion above wind instruments.
An hypnotic and charming release revealing how percussions could create a sort of spiritual music environment and escape the feeling of repetitiveness with the use of flute and the didgeridoo but mainly treating the rhythmic pattern as something to evolve rather than something to follow. A must for fans of the genre.
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