Music Reviews



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Artist: Ovod
Title: Between The Days
Format: CD
Label: Ovodmusic (@)
Rated: *****
The night brings rest for most of people and inspiration as well as a wide set of things to some insomniac artists. The Russian sound artist and musician Ivan Lavrov, the man behind Ovod, collected some of the recordings he made in between the days, as the title suggest, before glazing them in the studio - Taylor Deupree provided a really good mastering - and forging this interesting album, which slightly differs from the amniotic prophylaxis of some ambient releases. The structure of each track is quite simple, as most of them lay on the combination of a carrier melody, textures - often made by overlapping of effected lenghtening of the above-mentioned melodies, which could surmise some sonic treatment by late 80ies cosmic or prog rockers - and more or less manipulated field recordings. These nocturnal emission are not always relieving even if its nebulized symphonies slowly evaporates, as you can guess by the opening "Flashback voices", inspired by those gripping headaches which can inspire the resurfacing of supposedly sorrowful memories, or other moments of the album, such as the following "Night at Port", where the synth-piano sounds like piercing icy splinters, a jarring note against the attempt of rendering "the greatful pleasure of evening loneliness" according Ivan's own words to introduce the track, or "Swamp Helicopters", where Ivan seems to have grabbed the sound of an helicopter from within the belly of a sated alligator before the final guitar dissolves it. A certain malaise resounds from "Kolomyazhsky" - a sonic description of a person, who observe the lights of an avenue from some height - and the final "When rails are not alone", whose perfect rendering of an insomniac and melancholic night within a train is so catchy that I can say it's my favorite moment of the whole album, and that malaise doesn't seem to fade away on the more relaxed moments of the album - the memories-driven "Afterglow" and "Butterfly day" as well as "The tale of time lost", a track by which Ovod tried to describe the feeling of an adult while reading a book for children! The nice cover artwork by Ekaterina Topal perfectly describes the emotional frame of Ovod's output.
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Artist: ADMX-71
Title: Coherent Abstractions
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: L.I.E.S.
Rated: *****
Adam X started his adventure in the musical world on early nineties, as founder, along with Frankie Bones, of Groove Records, which later became Sonic Groove Records, one of the main American techno shops. In the mid nineties he started his own label and he's still running it. As a musician, actually he has several solo side-projects: ADMX-71, Traversable Wormhole, X-Crashed & Mass-X-odus. My review is dealing with his ADMX-71 moniker, as, on mid October, L.I.E.S. Records will release its third album "Coherent Abstractions". Containing eleven new tracks, the album shows Adam's industrial techno downtempo side which is made of menacing atmospheres, electro intuitions and now obsessive and then minimal rhythmic patterns. If the opening "Virtuality Continuum" is a repetitive track with smooth industrial noise loops and drums, the following "Arrival Into Uncharted Territory", will please the lovers of Der Zyklus' most glacial side (like some tracks you can find on "Biometry"). Also lovers of early e.b.m. could find some satisfaction thanks to Adam's melodic loops mixed to pounding drum sequences. If I would have to find a small weakness, is that, besides having interesting sounds and structure, the overall atmosphere is the same. There are no hard tracks alternating dark/ambient ones and this, in my opinion, would have helped a lot appreciating even more the album which is a good one, anyway.
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Artist: Oiseaux-Tempête (@)
Title: Ütopiya?
Format: CD
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
The journey of these "storm birds" - a translation of "Oiseaux-Tempete", the evocative name of the project that was born from the collaboration of Frederic D. Oberland, Stephane Pigneul - both of them are members of Farewell Poetry and Le Reveil des Tropiques - and Ben McConnell - former drummer and percussionist of dream pop duo Beach House - begins a couple of years ago from the open wounds of Greece , emblem of the capital-driven decline of Old Continent, on the self-titled album, whose notorious mural "Praying For Us" by Greek artist Pavlos Tsakonason the cover artwork summarized the emotional framework of that release, which deeply focused on the country, where the storm is tearing the Greek people apart. The birds decided to scatter over closest parts of Mediterranean for their second journey, whose travelling companion get the brilliant bass clarinet player Gareth David - we met his name when Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek spoke about Shivers to us -, who managed to blow a jazzy breeze into the updrafts and vortices of this output. The atmosphere is maybe even gloomier than the one of their debut and its menacing black clouds keep on piling up on the listening experience, but the addition of more diversified stylistical layers on post-rockish improvisational molasses makes their journey far more powerful and visionary. The inner harmony and the somber gracefulness of the session they render could give listeners the impression of gliding over a decadent reign, where a certain sense of detachment get more and more empathetic to understand the sorrow without a proper reliance. Have a listen.
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Artist: Dat Rayon / FOQL / RNA2 / Gaap Kvlt
Title: Circuit intégré Vol. 1
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Distributor: Alchembria
Rated: *****
Based upon Philips' "Prospective 21e Siècle", a series of albums documenting electronic music, this new project by Zoharum wants to document new young polish projects. This first volumes present tree projects: Dat Rayon, a project of the post-club electronica; NZLD.pl, represented by FOQL and RNA2, a project of analogue electronics (a music in the tradition of '90 electro); Gaap Kvlt a project mixing ambient and drone.
The five Dat Rayon's tracks could be described under the term 'minimal': "PrÄdkoÅÄ Dopuszczalna" is based upon sparse, carefully constructed, samples; "Droga krajowa 7" stays suspended upon the beats; "Wypadek na A1" is almost a techno track; "Inne Ograniczenia" is dub oriented with his echoes; "Bez tablic" is an ambient track.
A sound more focused on the dance floor is the FOQL's: "Not Lost Till It's Gone" features a catchy melody upon a danceable beat and "Poseur Face" is even closer to synth pop. RNA2, as FOQL part of NZLD.pl, is a similar project but is more focused on methodically developed drum parts: "Cycle Of Functioning", "Magnetic Cores" and "Lonely Man with Sick Mind" are closer to EBM as the main loops are juxtaposed to repetitive beat of undoubtable impact.
Gaap Kvlt sounds as the most sophisticated project: "Visitant" is ambient track based on subtle variation of sounds; "Nebula" is an ambient tracks developed upon drones; "Huun" is based on small noises; "Rise" is focused on synth.
The overall rating is an average of a bunch of factor: the youth of the project with their evident influence; the heterogeneity of musical output, a choice of the curator Michal Porwet, which escapes boredom; the perceptible quality of some musical intuition. It's not ground breaking as the projects stand into a sort of tradition of their genre but, in the near future, Gaap Kvlt could present something remarkable. An unripe release.
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Artist: Heitor Alvelos (@)
Title: Faith
Format: CD
Label: Touch
Rated: *****
The first interesting aspect of this release by Portuguese media researcher as well as longtime Touch collaborator - he provided stage visuals and photograpy for Fennesz, Biosphere, Rafael Toral, Philip Jeck and BJNilsen - Heitor Alvelos, who decided to sign it by its own name instead of one of his quite known aliases (Antifluffy, Autodigest) to highlight the fact it's an autobiographical output, is the long time span - from 1972 to 2013 - during which the (more or less processed) field recordings got grabbed, so that I won't wonder if he managed to grab some noises of his cradle by his parents as well. The second one is simply related to listening perception, as the way by which he manipulated frequencies show skills as well as that kind of aural intensity that could cause molecular or biochemical reactions into listeners or matter (electronic music lovers could understand that my opinion is not an excessively kowtowing overstatement...) that could be matched to experienced sound artists such as Mika Vainio or Alva Noto. Such an aspect is maybe the most relevant to listeners, as I guess it's not easy to infer biographical details from the listening of white noises, deeply low buzzes or whatever Dr.Alvelos encapsulated in his twelve tracks, but I can surmise that sharing pages of his spiritual path or personal schedule, in spite of titles which could have some connection to religious matters ("Vicarious Solace", "Peirasmos", "The Way of Malamat" or "Exodus"), doesn't belong to author's purposes, as you can infer by his viewpoint on the relation between technology and personal freedom when asked about that during a recent interview, so that a certain indecipherability behind the listenable stuff seems to be intentionally reached. Besides my personal interpretation, have a check just for your listening pleasure.
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