Music Reviews



Jun 14 2016
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Artist: Coppé (@)
Title: 20rpm
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Mango + Sweet Rice
Rated: *****

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Coppé is one of the most eccentric and eclectic electronic music artists to come out of Japan, although she might as well be an alien from outer space... and although you might not have heard of her or her species in the western world she is actually celebrating her 20th anniversary with a very beautifully packaged and ambitious release available as a double colored vinyl LP + DVD or a CD + DVD occasionally even packaged and delivered in a soft see-through netting-type cloth with pins that you can put on your clothes or bag.

"20rpm" starts out with her 45 seconds "happy anniversary" prelude opera and then goes into 20 tracks of mad bubbling electronica with her vocals (and occasionally some guest singer) and music that was created in with her collaborators, including Hilotoshi, Atom, Nikako, Luna 9, Kettel + Secede, Terry D, Plaid, Lentils + Senzafine, Tone, Camel Season, T'mouse, 666, D3PTHS, Takachie, Chibaty, The Kitchen Cynic, Nico, Dijkin, DF Tram, Taz, Christ, Jacob Koller.

It's hard to describe music when the music is so collaborative and contains the experiences, influences and inspiration of so many guest artists, but the overarching common thread is obviously electronica, one that dances around edm ("Beethoven in Antennae" with Atom), flirts with trip-hop ("Golden Crushes (Luna 9 remix)" with Luna 9 and Nikakoi), pays homage to jazz ("urmythrill" with Kettle+Secede, "Ajisai [disguise]" with Jacob Koller), visits the intersection of pop/r&b/urban/hiphop ("I fall in Luv remix" with Luna 9), fumbles in dark cinematic ominous ambient ("777" with Nico & Dijkin), entertains corky glitch electronica ("Illegal Lingo" with DF Tram).

Coppé sings in English and sometimes in Japanese ("Ajisai" and a few other tunes only), which I find cool and actually gives the music and even more unique aura when she does. The DVD contains multimedia menu with information on her 17 records to date and retrospective of 20 music videos (dated between 1998 and 2015) directed by a number of different, mostly American, directors which come in all sort of varieties and styles (from odd, corky, weird to experimental, from absurdly Japanese to very futuristic and high tech). The DVD also contains 4 video footage bonus clips from an album release party in Tokyo, and a few mini features.
She releases all her records on her own label Mango + Sweet Rice. Coppé is a mover and a shaker and she is unstoppable and independent. If you wanna know more about her crazy eccentric career check out her Wikipedia page.

If I had to describe Coppé in one short and easy sentence I would probably say that she is the Japanese Bjork, and just like Bjork she is super talented and not contained within or limited by one musical genre. She collaborates with so many artists that it is only normal every album, or even every track, that she releases sounds a little bit different and is a sonic world of its own that Coppé orbits around with her alien spaceship making contact and engaging with the other species of the planet.

This is intergalactic planetary music for the future!
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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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