Music Reviews

Artist: Christina Vantzou (@)
Title: N°2
Format: CD
Label: Kranky (@)
Rated: *****
Four years of pernickety efforts by Greek video artist Christina Vantzou resulted into a breathtaking release, her second solo one as you can easily gather from the title, which managed to delight my eardrum and titillate my mind even more than her debut. Although her main collaborators are the same of her "n.1" - Minna Choi, founder and music director of Magik*Magik Orchestra, who helped Christina for notation, arrangemnets and recordings with a 15-piece ensemble at Tiny Telephone studios in San Francisco, and Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid/A Winged Victory for the Sullen), Christina's former partner-in art for The Dead Texan, who premixed the album and added some personal sonic embellishments at his studio in Brussels -, "n.2" sounds more airy and mused to me: each track features a grandiose pace as if she managed to render the thickening of lightening insights or the gradual spiritual glimmer by peronsal moments of truth, even when the refulgence of her sound goes through dimmer transitions on tracks like "Going Backwards to Recover What was Left Behind" or "Brain Fog". Orchestral strings act like enzymes for this fainting enlightment, but the most astonishing moments of the album ("Vancouver Island Quartet". "Sister". "The Magic of the Autodidact") occur when Christina dilutes trilling mermaid-like warbles into expanding ethereal and emotional funnel clouds, which gently push dramatically cinematic pearls towards blissful transcendence.
Artist: Mivos Quartet
Title: Reappearances
Format: CD
Label: Carrier Records
Rated: *****
1. String Quartet No. 3 (Lift-Tilt-Filter-Split) - Alex Mincek:
This work is articulated with nervous, tense jabs and pops that portray the individuality of each instrument in an almost hyperbolic manner. However, that individuality occasionally - as if by accident - coalesces into a kind of frenetic harmony before ultimately and inevitably falling back into dissonant schizophrenia. It sounds like the entirety of each instrument is being used. One can hear alternate technical methods of bowing the body (for instance) which lends an interesting and unique visceral quality to the piece.

2. Quartettstudie - Wolfgang Rihm:
In a departure from the previous performance this piece is more contemplative - almost hauntingly Romantic in style. There is even consonance to be found in (what appears to be) the "development" section of a traditional Sonata form. Whether or not there is a true "recapitulation" may be debated, however. Like Schönberg, this piece rematins true to its classical roots - even if to the average listener it appears hyper-modernistic.

3. On Repetition and Reappearances - David Brynjar Franzson:
The depth of the viola and cello create a subtle, yet almost drunken or dreamlike atmosphere as they weave in and out of consciousness. Dynamically, the most innocent swelling climaxes into a sharp and explosive stab only to recede back into textural night. Perhaps this is where the idea of "reappearances" is derived'¦ culminating here as the spirit of this entire project.

4. Corde Vocale - Felipe Lara:
Apropos of its name, this piece embarks with a lyrical quality like a gypsy wailing with mystical fervor. Accompanying the trembling violins is a low moaning on the part of the cello that almost feels as if imminent danger is present-at-hand. This work by the younger composer Lara fits perfectly with the other as a bookend of extreme virtuosity as well as frank, soulful expressionism.

In summation:
This entire album is a wonderful sampler of relevant composers that even the relatively uninitiated can appreciate. It is the emotional range and honesty that is conveyed so as the listener never grows bored with mere exercise in radical technique and pure conceptuality. There seems to be a kind of youthful playfulness that can be felt in the entire album that resuscitates a genre that should always remain current in its timelessness and healthy in decadence.
Artist: Poemss
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Even if some sonic glint vaguely keeps a certain percussive ruggedness and the cover artwork could be a reference to "Songs About My Cats", listeners who mainly know Aaron Funk and his hard-edged outputs in the guise of breakcore sorcerer Venetian Snares could be surprised by his epiphany on this collaborative project with Toronto-based producer and music artist Joanne Pollock. They mainly recorded and created the music of Poemss in Aaron's house in Winnipeg, but the dwelling of their music has no walls and nophysical location at all: according to their own words "this record seems less rooted in a particular place or time, and seems more to be born out of out thoughts, dreams, and reflections" as it's clear since the beginning when the hoarse voice by Aaron and the gently pitched one by Joanna sing about the "hair follicle of an ancient pony, who was once known to save the children in distress" on "Ancient Pony". A delicate and somewhat childish reverie drenches the first part of the record and reaches the top on the fluffy whispered lullaby "Bedtime", which follows "Heads on Heads" where their music sounds like bouncing between IDM and Human League-like synth-pop within a zero gravity nursery room. The bouffant synths of "Moviescape", one of the most cherubic moments of the album, vividly mark the doorway into Poemss daydream, which carries on proper musical pearls such as the lovely lasing into the ecstatic rapture of "Miles Away", the sweet duet of "Gentle Mirror", where you're not sure if Aaron and Joanne sings "I could be your lie" or "I could be your light" as if they rendered the intimate duplicity that got evoked by the title-track, the analogue edulcoration on "Think of somewhere Nice", the metronomic heartbeats and their knotting to dream states of astonishing songs like "Losing Meaning", Hall Of Faces" and the intense emotional warmth of the final track "Think of Something Beautiful". After this master stroke, which follows Heterotic, the project by label boss Mike Paradinas and his partner-in-life and partner-in-art Lara Rix-Martin, I could conjecture that Planet Mu proved the point that the combination of masculine and feminine musical souls and their reciprocal "levelling" can result into really good outputs.
Artist: DivIder (@)
Title: Minimal Distraction
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Basic Unit Productions (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Basic Unit Production isn't a new established label but both haujobb.-protagonists Daniel Myer and Dejan Samardzic are using this name to publish their very own musically efforts. Relatively new is the fact that they have recently decided to open the gates to foreign music-projects and to release some goodies in both formats, limited physically editions and of course to service the growing digital market. The first activities have been the release of a compilation entitled "Frost" in early 2013 as well as a debut-EP by DSX, the Experimental Electronica solo-project by Dejan Samardzic. Also DivIder isn't at all a bloody newcomer project, but a US-based Experimental EBM-project already active since the mid-90s. Actually they have been existed pretty much under the radar of higher recognition and could release, as I had to learn, three physically albums. As being kids of times when EBM/Industrial has had meaningful heydays, it shouldn't wonder too much, that DivIder's music is obviously infiltrated with a strong dedication to those nostalgic days. This digital-EP consists of two original tracks plus some fair remix contributions. The sound outfit already presented on the main track "Minimal Distraction (feat. Jasmin Yas)" reminds on some early-90s projects like Johnson Engineering Co., Electro Assassin, or FLA to their "Gashed Senses" era. Also positive to hear, that all remixes of this main track are trying more or less to pick up the vibe of the original, while they also include attractive ideas of their contributor. The 'Holm/Mirland Remix' for instance pushes the speed of the track to a higher level and adds a mind-blowing snare-drum. A second track entitled "Relentless At The Heart' featuring Martin Sax (T.W.A.T.) on the main vocals got featured too and is available in the 'Radio Edit' as well as in a remixed version by the prominent Aghast View follow-up project Aesthetische. While the 'Radio Edit' forges the steel through nailing old-school EBM-like bass lines, the Aesthetische-remix adds a post-modern vibe through fresher sounding, very dancefloor-compatible rhythm- and bass line parts. If I said this often enough to their predecessor project Aghast View in the past, this also counts for Aesthetische: the remix-abilities of this Brazilian project are always exciting and hit the nail! Even if this is meant only as an appetizer of things to come from DivIder, it is mouth-watering and filled with many ideas reflecting the often pronounced better days of EBM. Attention got awoken in high amounts for the upcoming album!
Artist: XI-VOX (@)
Title: A New Beginning
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I should have known it, I really should have guessed that Donovan Tate was behind this. When I last encountered Mr. Tate, it was a few years ago with his 'Scrapbook' album. At the time, I recall saying ' I can tell this guy has some talent; it's just a bad mistake to not distill the best of what one is capable of into a few well-composed and well-recorded tracks'¦it may be time to get a new 'Playbook'. Apparently did get a new playbook, and that playbook is'¦the Bible. Yes, Donovan Tate has found religion (or maybe it found him) and he injects it whole-heartedly into 'A New Beginning'. Arrgghh! I have nothing against people worshiping at the church of their choice but for the love of '¦..please, please, leave it out of the music.

Tate's vocal warbling has not improved, making this a difficult listen even for the devout. No amount of electronic processing can improve it. Synths and keys employed here are strictly old school with a heaping amount of noodling. Also, a hip hop influence has crept in, making it even weirder. Gregorian chant ('Glorify, Purifty') can't save this, sampling Gang of Four and Depeche Mode ('Two Strangers') can't save this, and getting your kids to sing ('You Ain't Getting In') certainly can't save it. This is just a mediocre bedroom recording made even worse by Tate's vocalizing and religious prattle. It's a shame really, but all you can do is accept or move on. So I'm moving on.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171...180] [181...190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361] [362] [363] [364] [365] [366] [367] [368] [369] [370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890]

Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha