Music Reviews



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Artist: Pharmakon
Title: Bestial Burden
Format: CD
Label: Sacred Bones Records
Rated: *****
I think I'm falling in love with Margaret Chardiet. The first time I heard about Pharmakon was last year. Listening to 'Abandon' a myriads of thoughts came into my mind, but the core message was 'this is fascinating'. Now Pharmakon is back with a new album called 'Bestial Burden'. For those who don't know, Pharmakon is the power-noise/death-industrial/whatever project of Margaret Chardiet, a woman from NY. This album, as far as I understand, has been conceived during Margaret's long stay in a hospital, for some medical emergences occurred just before her first European Tour. Somehow the album has an aseptic touch, distinctive of hospitals. The structure of her songs is actually very simple: a monotone sinister pad, an essential almost-martial drum section, another pad doing a macabre and, again, essential melody, some noises here and there, and finally her voice. The expertise of this amazing girl are vocals. She screams, she speaks, she laugh, she cries, she vomits. Rarely I had the fortune to listen to such amazing pieces of screams. It reminds me a perfect integration between Roger Karmanik and Marco Corbelli. This album is a masterpiece of death industrial, and I can't wait to listen to future Pharmakon's developments. Highly recommended.
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Artist: Aquavoice (@)
Title: Nocturne
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
According to the linear notes this album is 'more dreamy, low-key and soothing ambient textures' than his predecessor 'Grey'. The musical style of this project is something between glitch and ambient as it features field recordings, noises and drones but, instead of repeating the same musical palette in all tracks, tries to change continuously the weight of the single elements.
The small noises of 'Pneumatic Sequence' opens this release evolving in a drone while 'In the Night' is focused on sparse synth notes. 'Black Silence' is a quiet soundscape and 'Fish Dreams' is a gentle evocation of a geometric movement. 'Sleep Well' features a lyric line of a violin and a female spoken word, probably a sample. 'The Secret Life of Insects' has the first part focused on insect noises and the second on layers of notes and drones. 'Lunapark' could even sound as pop track with his childish, in the evocative meaning of the word, loop. 'Endless Enigma' is an evocative track based on drones and spoken word and 'Nebulous Dawn' is a carefully constructed sounscape. 'Stargate' starts as a dark ambient track and ends in an almost dance mood with his jazz oriented charleston and sci-fi spoken samples. 'Sunday Afternoon' ends this release with a synth melody closer to certain filed of synth pop.
The key point of this album is the variety of musical solution adopted that reveals a project of great musical depth. An excellent release.
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Artist: Desiderii Marginis
Title: Thaw
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This release for Desiderii Marginis is a collections of tracks published in various compilations presented in a chronological order aiming to depict the evolution of this project. The tracks reveal a project starting in a style closer to the Lustmord one and evolving with more complex musical structure and a different sound palette.
The aggressive pulse of 'Chaos Undivided' opens this release and evolves in a quiet and evocative soundscape. 'Latency' is a dark track based on a bright drone and sparse noises. 'Animation' evolves around a noisy and rhythmic loop while 'Muffled', 'Forlorn' and 'Compression' are closer to a canonic dark ambient track as they are focused on carefully shaped layers of drones. Instead 'Untitled' is focused on a piano and guitar musical canvas that takes the listener in territories closer to a certain new age. 'Dead Men's Choir' starts as a prosecution of this sounds but evolves in an hypnotic drone that closes with a quiet guitar melody that act as an introduction to 'Deadbeat I Remix' based on a guitar strumming. 'Equinoxe' and 'Equinoxe II' are based on juxtapositions of drones and samples that creates an evocative soundscape. 'The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters' closes this release using the piano resonances in a dialogue with the drones.
Even if this a compilation, it sounds as cohesive work that could serve as an introduction to one of the historical names of this genre. Recommended for all fans of dark ambient.
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Artist: Break, Mako, Fields & Villem / Chromatic
Title: Shadowlines / Found You
Format: 12"
Label: Utopia Music (@)
Rated: *****
A single track where Break, Mako, Fields and Villem combined their sounds and samples is like a planetary conjuction whose gravitational waves manage to win gravitational forces keeping any falling object or person on the ground and this is what happens on the smashing tune "Shadowlines", a track where besides the fact the heaviest element is Break's strained breaks, listeners will enjoy the traces of each producer as well as one of the best tune of the year. On the other side of this new dnb little treat by appreciated Bristol-based dnb label Utopia Music, you will keep on levitating on warmer sonic uplifter by Uk-based super trio Chromatic, whose "Found You", whose mellow vibes and entrancing keyboard-spiffed haze got enhanced by nestled crispy percussions and delicious vocals. Red-hot tracks like the ones you'll hear on this drop should not make you fear of forthcoming glacial wintertime by keeping freezing point low.
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Artist: Marc Sabat (@)
Title: Les Duresses
Format: 12"
Label: Care Of Editions (@)
Rated: *****
I won't dwell on the technical aspects of this release by Professor Marc Sabat as in spite of its strong connection with Morton Feldman compositional techniques could inspire many theoretical subplots by many meticulous scholars and high-brows, as I'm pretty sure that Marc himself would focus on emotional aspects more than technical ones. Morton Feldman would be grateful for the fact that a brilliant connoisser of his precious contribution to contemporary music explicitly dedicated two long intonations to him after he tributed some of his notorious compositions to a number of artists he met during his life and understood the function of duration of his music, which has been erroneously connected to improvisation or minimalism over years. The opening "Intonation for MF 1" could sound like dilutions of some Hilmarsson's dirge-like seraphic symphonies, the second intonation as well as "Duas Quintas" could vaguely resemble the stretching of some idyllic compositions by Hindemith and I'm pretty sure that some football followers could even think about Tony Britten's variation of coronation anthem of Handel's Zadok The Priest (better known as the UEFA Champions League Anthem) in the first minutes of "Two Commas", but whether you are erudite or not, you could vaguely foretaste a temporary fading of time perception which seems to be the aim and the meaning of Feldman's extreme lengthening - it's no coincidence the more he got older, the more his composition lasted till reaching more than six hours non-stop performances... -. The performance on violin by Andrew McIntosh as well as Sabat's "disguised" tonal echoing play a remarkable part for such an interesting listening experience.
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