Music Reviews



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Artist: Skinny Puppy (@)
Title: Mythmaker (Deluxe) - remastered
Format: 12"
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
Almost simultaneously to the remastered version of "Greater Wrong Of The Right", the first album that followed the reunion of cEvin Key and Nivek Ogre, the twin pillars of Skinny Puppy, Metropolis decided to re-release the second album astonishing album of that cycle. Fans of the anointed forerunners of industrial rock maybe knows the difficulties that Nivek experienced while working on it and the way they influenced the "simplified" sound of "Mythmaker", an epithet that Ogre himself described in order to highlight some changes of the archetypal Skinny Puppy sound by the integration of elements from modern electronic music and rock. Some critical voices in the press tried to resize the scale of these variations, but it seems that this matter didn't really concern their fierce fanbase as some occasional blinking to more cinematic stuff - some tracks of this album got included in the soundtrack of the fourth chapter of "Saw" - didn't really put dents in their creative energy and I'm pretty sure that some fans will acknowledge that tracks like "Jaher", "Politikil", "Ambiantz", "Lestiduz" or "Ugli" are some of the best songs that Skinny Puppy had ever made. Anyway here it is a window of opportunity to rooll this album up again...and again!
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Artist: Oelki
Title: Roadrunning
Format: CD
Label: Uncoiled Loops (@)
Rated: *****
Some weeks ago I received a selection of very good releases from Uncoiled Loops, a small label which gained some visibility for its wide stylistical range in electronic music on some specialised forums on Internet, and even if most of them date back to 2013, their quality deserves attention. I'm not a great fan of progressive house, psytrance or tech-house, but the sound that Munich-based producer Oelki leaks on this release is so fetching and heady that I can overlook my personal scale of preference. The opening "Silver Lane" is my least favorite track as the influence of hackneyed sonic strategies that featured techno-trance and comparable styles is too emphasised, while the unpredictable change on the following "Roadrunning", whose initial playful pops slips on a diluted synth-organ which adds an ethereal charm to the track, reroutes Oelki's craft towards more interesting shores. The concise micro-tech intro of "Experimental No.1" could let listener imagine the umpteenth derivation of Detroit micro-house before he wisely inoculates other sonic elements such a wrapping padded clap and an alien tweeting that makes it more attractive, while the lubricated grooves of "Phase 320 (V2)", the precise clip-marks of "Pluto (2nd Edit)" and the numb nimbleness of the final "Quantensprung" could be the perfect soundtrack for an extra stage of some racing videogame set in an imaginary planet. In spite of its title, Oelki suggests to not listen to "Roadrunning" while driving as its hypnotic sound could let you forget how you reached the destination you could be when cd-player stops.
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Artist: Opjk_3
Title: Algebrica
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Another amazing release that the excellent Portuguese hyperproductive label Creative Sources recently sent to us comes from Opjk_3, a brilliant Italian electroacoustic threesome of musicians whose musical background is quite different: some listeners could have already meet the name of vocalist Andrea Reali in the notes of a record by the under-rated project I/O, a stylistical meatloaf where tinges of Can, while the first and only time I've seen the ones of Fabio Martini (clarinet, electronics) and Danilo Sala (drums, percussions, objects) was on a release from the huge catalogue of Leo Feigin's improv jazz label Leo Records. In spite of some edgy moments such as "PHW", "Bad Manners" or the weirdly sad final "Lamar", most of tracks churn an awesome whirlgig of computational cave-in over tonal scribbles on clarinet, vocals that sounds like coming from mythical creatures of Celtic folklore, rhythmical overlaps and limping melodic struts that merrily tickle listener's imagination: you could therefore imagine they managed to render the imitation of abird by a sleeping chimp on "Dada", the lonely walk of a misunderstood childlike pixie on the same-named track, the adventures of a saltpetre inside a water filtering system on "Monomorph" or the resounding nightmare of a young mathematician on the title-track "Algebrica". Opjk_3's one is very weirdy declension of free-jazz spotted improvisation.
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Artist: Corrado Altieri | Gianluca Favaron
Title: Decomposed Days
Format: CD
Label: 13 (@)
Rated: *****
One year after "The System Of Objects", their first collaborative release inspired by French sociologist and cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard, Corrado Altieri (synthesizers, electronics, tapes) and Gianluca Favaron (microphones, loops. effects, computer), two of the most brilliant electronic sound-artists from Italian scene joined their sonic arts again on Silentes' sister-label 13's "private sounds series", even if I could say that this release features a possible special guest, Tulse Luper, the fictional ornithologist whose 92 suitcases told his "story from 1928 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, sketching not so much the biography of one man as the story of a century related through some of its key events" according to the words of his own inventor, the brilliant film director Peter Greenaway. The opening "Time And Space" looks like a fusion of the mentioned two dimensions by means of a sequence of aural elements which render a train journey, distant radio transmissions, an otherworldly ticking and a binaural amalgam that sound like the sonic equivalent of Kuleshov effect in film editing, while the numbering to 121 is the first clear hook to "Vertical Features Remake", the absurd fake documentary/movie that inspired this album. Even if listeners who know or deepen that movie could understang some possible references to that movie, it's not an essential condition for enjoying the drift between abstract noise and pure sound as well as between matter and vacuum of sound, whose dual nature got permanently switched in the five explorations by these wise producers.
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Artist: Tundra
Title: Tajnie i Głębie
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This is the first full-length release from an electroacoustic project present as in balance between improvisation and composed works. In fact, their style lies in the intersection between EAI and ambient as, even if carefully constructed, is more adventurous in nature than the average of this genre's releases.
The deep drone of 'half moon' opens this release and slowly develops in bright one that introduces the listener to 'werdrujace kamienie' a track focused on the contraposition between the drone and the rattles creating an almost religious athmosphere. 'Powtot CZ.1' is based on a peaceful and solar drone, sparse noises and a voice sample of stunning evocation that ends with the drone loops of 'wrzosowiska' and 'krill lasu' that acts as an introduction to 'Powtot CZ.2', the longest track of this release, based on a menacing drone whose resonance are colored by a female voice chanting, instead of the spoken word of the first part.
This is an impressive debut album that, using a well known form, is able to develop his most evocative properties and to provoke an emotive reaction. Truly recommended.
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