Music Reviews



cover
Artist: Oren Ambarchi
Title: Quixotism
Format: CD
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
A persistent, relentless and other than obtrusive pulsation, which could remind the clatter of a diesel engine, opens the first part of this lovely workout by Australian multi-instrumentalist Oren Ambarchi and its hiccuping that gradually let resurface melodic traces or single eveanescent tones from John Tilbury's piano, Eyvind Kang's strings and Iceland Symphony Orchestra under the wise conduction by Ilan Volkov as an upwelling from the sea bed, might listener fantasize about the sudden onset of a hunch during an unexpected eureka moment. This tapping pulsation, that permeates this return to minimalism by Oren Ambarchi, comes from Thomas Brinkmann whose electronic drums has been wisely linked to an application to Hilbert's Entscheidungsproblem (German for "decision problem") that should well-known by mathematicians and computer scientists and sounds like a mighty fancy clockwork whose form got altered on the following four parts of "Quixotism", which could be perceived more as an assay of musical mechanics than just a minimal composition even if it stains different stylistical shores - smooth jazz ones on Matt Chamberlain's drums driven Part 2, progressive techno-dub on Part 3, abstract electronics on Part 4 and pure synth music on the final wonderful fifth part (featuring U-zhaan on tabla and Jim O'Rourke on synths) -. Beyond more or less poetical interpretations, this rarefied amalgamation of computational time processing, minimal flaws and phantasmagoric melodic entities provides a sort of guideline to the aesthatics of this brilliantly imaginative composer.
cover
Artist: Machinery of Joy (@)
Title: On the Verge of Sleep
Format: CD
Label: Target Records (@)
Rated: *****
Machinery of Joy is a band from Copenhagen, Denmark formed in 2010. The group consists of Laura Noszczyk (vocals, synth); Jan Kromann (synth, programming); Dennis Nicolaisen (drums); Kenni Moller (guitar). 'On the Verge of Sleep' seems to be their first full-length release, although there was a self-titled LP in 2011. The album is seven tracks with two of them being over 10 and over 9 minutes respectively, so you're not getting shorted in the least.

When I listed to the album the first time (and yes, this was the first recording I chose out of the huge, overdue package I received from the Chain D.L.K. review distribution dept.) I found myself liking it quite a lot. On the second listen, my opinion has not changed, but I hear better now where the group is coming from. It's a moody electronic trip that beings into play elements of krautrock, shoegaze, dronepunk, and psychedelia, but cannot be pigeonholed neatly into any category.

Opening track "Neophytes of Love" begins with wavering electronic drones with Laura's wordless vocals floating over it. When the bass and percussion kick in, I am immediately reminded of the Velvet Underground and Suicide. Her swathed in reverb vocals are somewhere between little girl waif and alien space chick. Music is very simple in its changes, minimal but effective. Second track "Limbo" is reminiscent of the British band Broadcast with its burbling electronics, organ tones, and simplistic but effective guitar which turns shoegazey towards the end. Laura's vocals aren't exactly similar to the dear departed Trish Keenan, but her melodies aren't far removed.

Further on down the line, the band finds its footing and gives you nothing but good stuff with an air of psychedelic melancholia. "Comotose Puppet" stirred up memories of Nico, perhaps because of the "You wanna die" line sung by Laura, but Laura's voice is at least an octave higher than Nico's. Kenni's noise guitar is the perfect foil here, adding a neat ambience. The repetitive piano figure that begins "Solar Storm" humanizes the 'lost in space' elements that come afterward. It's beautifully sad, and doesn't even seem the 10+ minutes it is. Here, everything works together in a way that builds on the simple, repetitive progression to carry it to the edge of the universe. Dennis's drumming is always spot on, carrying the rhythmic impulse exactly where it should be. Last track "Lamia" reminded me a little bit of band called Area, perhaps because there is more guitar on this track, and Laura's vocals are a little like Lynn Canfield's on this track, but perhaps more in the register of ex-Sneaker Pimps' Kelli Ali. Towards the end there is a fair amount of vocal and guitar noise squall, and isn't that a harmonium doing the chordal progression? It all ends with a larger noise squall.

Machinery of Joy (name based on a Ray Bradbury collection of short stories) has indeed put something special together with 'On the Verge of Sleep', and I highly recommend it. I'm stoked to hear what they come up with next.
cover
Artist: Plus Instruments (@)
Title: Trancesonics
Format: 12"
Label: Blowpipe Records (@)
Rated: *****
It's always a delight to get vinyl to review, and although my stereo isn't what it used to be, the warmth of a record still beat the digital format hands-down, even with electronic releases. Plus Instruments is basically Truss de Groot (with occasional help from Jimmy Virani on theremin and moog here), with here quirky electronics and vocal stylings. Truss is from Holland (or, the Netherlands, if you will) which should seem obvious by her name. Plus Instuments has been around since 1978, and 'Trancesonics' is her 5th release, 11 tracks of eccentric, eclectic, electronic fun.

The album owes to electronic pioneers such as the Silver Apples, Suicide and perhaps even a little early Kraftwerk. You might be familiar with the term "minimal synth", a categorty somewhat obscure (and in some cases defunct) bands like Adult, Crash Course in Science, and XEX fall into, and to some degree Plus Instruments is part of that, when the synths aren't maximal and totally chaotic, which they often are on 'Trancesonics'. One of the main differences though is the vocal style, which for minimal synth bands is often cold and robotic (owing somewhat to that New Wave herky-jerkiness) but Truss subscribes to a more organic vocal presentation. There are times her voice reminds me of Dani Siciliano (not a bad thing), a singer not adverse to the experimental. Sometimes vocals are spoken, sometimes sung, but always effective within the context of the composition. There is even a hint of Siouxsie Sioux in places, but nothing ever seems dark and gothy.

There is plenty of rhythm in the tracks of 'Trancesonic' and it strikes me as dance music for the 21st century...maybe even the 22nd. Songs are hypnotic (as this much repetition would dictate) but ultimately quirky, even wacky at times. This is music to do your own thing to, whether it be spazzing out, bopping along, or just grooving to its peculiarity. The chaotic, yet controlled synths are a brilliant brew concocted by a mad electronic scientist, something that goes well beyond anything DAF ever dreamed up, yet ultimately playful. If this album came out in the 80's, it would have blown any other electronic band away with its raw energy. 'Trancesonics' is also available on CD, but if you're thinking of getting it from Blowpipe, LP is the way to go. Weird, but worthy.
image not
available
anymore
Artist: Red Asphalt
Title: Red Asphalt
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows (@)
Rated: *****
Formed in San Francisco in 1979, Red Asphalt lasted only for years and officially released a four track 7", in 1981 participated to the compilation LP "Live at Le Disque" (Jump Records), and more recently they were featured on the cd compilations "High Road to Obscurity Vol.1" (Grand Theft Audio), and "Homework #2'²'² (Hyped to Death). The original line-up didn't include a singer nor a keyboard player but their line-up that lasted longer was including: Ron Hanik (guitar), Ted Johnson (drums), Scott Davey (synthesizers), Trina James (vocals), Bruno De Martis (bass). Besides the above, Megan Mitchell sang with the band (she's heard on the EP) and Andy Anders and LX Rudis played bass. Synthetic Shadows with this album collected all the band's songs, including the ones of their unreleased album which surfaced in 2008 on CDR. The fifteen songs of the album shows a multifaceted band that pass from post punk to proto hard core (on "Nuclear Judas" I hear musical intuitions that Dead Kennedys developed on there same period), passing through no-wave (like on "White Meat, Dark Meat"). They were able to be dissonant and melodic at the same time and this album finally give them justice as not only contains most of all their songs ("Humungulous" from "Live At Le Disque" isn't included) but also they were all recorded in a studio and it isn't like listening to a crappy bootleg recorded in hell!
cover
Artist: Edvard Graham Lewis
Title: All Over
Format: CD
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
The second album by brilliant Wire bassist Edvard Graham Lewis that got simultaneously released with the just introduced "All Under" is a collection of songs which has been composed over ten years (from 2003 to 2013) in Uppsala, the lively Swedish city where he lives at the moment. In spite of the song form and the deviant pop core, Mr.Lewis unleashed his willingnenss to experiment by awesome bastardization of that form by means of more or less melodic trips over dark, industrial, synth-pop and electronica territories and meaningful lyrics where Edvard, to paraphrase the lyrics of the song "We've Lost Your Mind", lubricated his flicking tongue and occasional entrancing loops by means of delayed pale blue songs like "It's Hard" or "Straight Into The Corner" where he got closer to John Foxx's style or some stylistical refinement on "Bluebird" (the Twitter's one?), whose melody could remind the bassline of Wire's "Being Sucked In Again", the molten post-industrial raving of "Quick Skin" or the dark-ambient drifting on "Prism Buzzard, the one which has more similarities with the style that Edvard explored on "All Under". Contributions by many different artists such as Jan Lundquist, Andreas Karperyd, Howardamb, Linda Dahl, Jim Ascoft, Fabrizio Clemenza, Giovanni Romano and P.T.Kirk, maybe gave a certain heterogeneity to the album without puckering the delightful mood which sounds like a bridge between the past and the present of this musician.
[ 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...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411] [412] [413] [414] [415] [416] [417] [418] [419] [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] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960] [1961...1970] [1971...1980] [1981...1990] [1991...2000] [2001...2010]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

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