Music Reviews



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Artist: Loss (@)
Title: You Are What Eats You
Format: 7"
Label: Spectre (@)
Rated: *****
It's not often that one is able to so clearly trace the evolution of an artist, but in this 7' release, we can hear the missing link between 'A Letter That Will Never Be Sent' and 'I Kill Everything.' Gorgeous symphonic synth? Check. Distorted vocals? Check. The label says that these two tracks are 'abrasive, eroding, mindblowing and emotionally very intense. Maybe they're even more mentally disturbing as his earlier material.' Intense, yes; disturbing, no. This is what I like about Loss. His pain is real, and yet he has somehow managed to turn lead into psychological gold. If you can track this down (since Spectre seems to be no more), it's worth getting. This comes pressed on heavy transparent yellow vinyl in special sleeve with a vellum insert and is limited to 252 copies.
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Artist: Blodfet & DJ Lonely
Title: Erasuremade and Dissolved
Format: 12"
Label: Das Andere Selbst (@)
Rated: *****
The lo-fi cover gives little indication as to what we're in for, and the song titles provide no more clue than the cover ('Synth won...Oasis & Heavy Metal are gone!' and 'From Smersh for New Jersey,' for example). But the artists' names seem to be a misnomer, as this project is the work of one person: Amsterdam-based artist Jonas Ohlsson. The label describes the album thus: 'His sounds rummage in upper & lower music traditions, from musique concrète through favela bootie beat, industrial noise and synth pop. . . . From laconic loneliness to caricatural anger, Erasuremade & Dissolved delivers dysfunctional songs and a really unique approach to electronic music and song writing.' OK ' we're still no closer to knowing what this will sound like, so let's get into the music. This is pretty weird stuff. Imagine a collaboration with Wesley Willis on vocals, The Residents on music, and sampling provided by Negativland. There is a lot of digital beeps and synth with spoken word thrown in for good measure. For example, on one track we get a dialogue between the artist and a woman discussing the qualities of shadows ('Do you have a good shadow?'), and on 'Synth won...Oasis & Heavy Metal are gone!' he discusses the importance of electronic music ('We thank Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder...'). There are some recognizable samples (as in the slowed down and distorted beginning of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody') and a statement that 'I've got two synthesizers and a microphone.' It's clear that Ohlsson is having a good time with the music and not taking himself too seriously. This makes it fun for the rest of us who may listen in on his merriment. If you like your experimental music weird, this is definitely one to check out.
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Artist: Ame Zek (@)
Title: Rostfrei
Format: 12"
Label: Keep it Business
Rated: *****
Before we even get to put the album on the turntable, you'll notice that the back of the album cover points inside, stating 'sick mirrors see.' There are words printed on the inside of the sleeve, such as 'mercy,' self-confidence,' and 'purity' printed backward and upside down. I'm not really sure what they are supposed to mean, but they seem positive for the most part. As for the music, the label describes his work thus: 'One of the biggest challenges of electronic music is to give a unique voice to the machinery that is used to create it. One must dive deep down into the hidden possibilities of hardware and software, learn to understand their functions, and discover the peculiarities of each tool and how each device interconnects with others. Ame Zek has gone down this route, developing his own deeply-personal musical language through years of experimentation.' Putting it on the turntable is a challenge, as the only clue as to which side is which is in the etching on the vinyl, which also informs the listener that it should be played at 45RPM. Had I not seen this, I would have thought it was a mistake, since the first track was filled with static and was nice and glitchy. Indeed, this is the hallmark of Ame Zek's work, as everything is covered in a thin layer of hum and buzz. But this is not really noise; rather, it uses the digital static as just another layer of sound. The synths themselves seem to have been circuit bent beyond recognition. Digital tones and buzzing are deliberately added, so as to appreciate each one in its isolation. At times (e.g., track 4), Zek seems intent on irritating the listener, but not in a heavy handed way. Rather, it is in the choice of tones and the heavy dissonance. Still, this is interesting work and well put together. This album weighs in at around 26 minutes. It's pressed on 180 gram vinyl and limited to 300 copies.
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Artist: Colin Potter (@)
Title: Rank Sonata
Format: 12"
Label: Hallow Ground (@)
Rated: *****
The quasi-pastoral echoes, the festively electric intermittencies, a rising march-like ascension fuelled by a straight 4/4 beat, a popping set of wood sticking and the surprising suspension that all those flowing elements reach at the hands of their wise director on the 19-minutes lasting deranged techno track "A Wider Pail of Shale" could be ideally matched more to the buds that blossomed from stylistical territories where artists like Four Tet, Gold Panda or Fuck Buttons browse on than the ones where the name of the legendary Colin Potter, well-known pal, producer and collaborator of Nurse With Wound, Organum and Current 93, and miliar stone of the whole indipendent UK post-industrial scene since late 70ies by means of his appreciated imprint ICR - a stylistical laboratory where The Instant Automatons, experimental composer Trevor Weshart, Chris & Cosey, Bryn Jones (better known as Muslimgauze), Darren Tate and others begun to vanish the fences between contemporay electronica, post-punk experiments, crude pop and Krautrock-inspired drone music -, got commonly matched to.Colin's skills in fostering hybrids between two seemingly different sonic sets, as shown on the above mentioned suite where soundscapes intersects beats, got confirmed by the shortest tracks on B-side: the abstract start of "And" sneaks in nearby dub frontlines and field recordings got cycled as if they were part of an industrial process on "Knit Where?", before the initial mechanical loop of the suite on the other side got reprised and centrifuged on "Beyond The Pail". After years of DIY strictly limited editions on cassettes and digital, Potter's solo circuits got finally imprinted on vinyl!
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Artist: Halo Manash
Title: Haudattujen Valvoja
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Springing liquids that sound coming from some unknown cave, an icy breathe from a mysterious entity that seems to possess the body of the performers, slow stroking low tones opens this new output by Halo Manash, the audiovisual and performative group that keeps on linking a certain creativity in making hand-crafted instrumentation (or other addressed into service tools, as their own introductory words say), that got more or less heavily modified by means of amps, amplified speakers and cabinets, and ritual archaic paths, which mange to evoke (or awake) somehow forgotten elemental forces. The first three of the seven tracks /the above-mentioned opening "Wesieni Wainajat", Aavet" (a moment which could surmise a kind of dornes close to some obscure outputs by Lustmord and Djinn) and "Swri Syvyys" (the moment when the low tones of the first two tracks seems to get annihilated before merging into a sort of shining obscure balance) were performed on live stafe in Finland, Germany and Russia during 2013, while some lucky people in Austria, Finland, Sweden and USA, who joined Halo Manash's private Temple Hwaar, intercepted the entrancing remaining four tracks of the second half of "Haudattujen Valvoja" between 2013 and 2014, whose igniting sparkles are the field recording of their own steps venturing into some unknown sacred wood, where you could almost feel the rising of natural spirits and forces that gradually begins a sort of entrancing choir, on the awesome "Kanto", a sort of wooden vibraphone on the title-track "Haudattujen Valvoja", very low tones that could surmise a cello on "Uhr-a-Usva" and a really hypnotical web of trembling subterranean bass frequencies and catchy ethereal sonic entities on the 14-minutes lasting final "Avanto". It could awake energies that contemporary schemes, rational and logical sedations and invasive worries anesthetized.
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