Music Reviews



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Artist: Spaceheads (@)
Title: Trip To the Moon EP
Format: 12"
Label: Electric Brass Records (@)
Rated: *****
When I introduced "Sun Radar", the first of a series of three EPs by Spaceheads, the vibrant duo by Andy Diagram and Richard Harrison last year, I cannot imagine that the second ring of this short chain would come one year after the first one, but such a wait got requited by another winning poker of gorgeous tracks. Named after and inspired by the notorious movie by Georges Melies, whose iconic and referenced image is the one of the capsule landing in the Moon's eye, this "Trip To The Moon" begins on the red-hot rails of the frenzied "Cosmic Freight Train" where chipper trumpet loops by Andy and compelling drum breaks by Richard got enhanced by long-lasting friend (since the times of Yargo and Biting Tongues) Paddy Steer, gains altitude on the title-track, whose melodic reprise of the theme of "Aquarela do Brasil" over more relaxed sonorties recalls more the atmosphere of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" than the present controversial soccer event in Brasil. Cinematic donnybrooks and pursuits got intertwined with funky break sonorities on "Dirty Planet", which precedes the final crescendo "Spooky Action (at a distance)", the possible soundtrack for an imaginary space-age-adapted blaxploitation.
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Artist: Re-DrUm / b°tong
Title: Hush! / Ascending in the Light of an Alien
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
When I was a teenager a split was one of the most common releases as it acts as a presentation of the bands using one of the best feature of the analog medium: the division in sides. So there was an intermezzo, even with autoreverse, of a bunch of seconds of silence that prepared the listener to the other band. In the digital age this is reduced of a cd package that emulates two distinct release: one from russian RE-DRUM and one from swiss B°TONG.
Hush! is the side from ReDrUm and starts with the gentle guitar notes of 'Mute' suddenly colored by the digital filters and resonances creating the noisy soundscape. 'Death Of The Flame' is, instead, an almost classic dark ambient track. 'Sehr Sehr Weit' starts with a bright drone and slowly evolves in quiet track based on small noises until a gentle drone closes this side with found sounds from perhaps a soap. Without any gap there's the sounds of the second side. 'Ascending in the Light of an Alien Sun' from b°tong, that, with 'Vision Of Ineluctable Destiny', almost immediately shows their sound using heavily reverberated voices upon a dark soundscape and this track alternate static parts with noisier one so resulting in an interesting listen. 'The Hierophant Prepares The Candidate' is, instead, besed on a sort of heavily processed field recordings. The evocative soundscape of 'Into The Schwarzchild Radius' closes this release with a sequence of drones and resonance that act as a mirror of the ones used by Re-DrUm.
The most curious tract that I've found in this release is, even if the musical difference of the two projects, this release sounds as a cohesive, and almost complete, album so it's seems as a question about the nature of split album in this age as it seems closer to the releases branded as '2 lp on 1 cd' than a proper split album. So, even if this bands constructed a good release that would owes a critical acclaim, this release is important as it states as a symbol of this time. Something to think about.
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Artist: Ego Scene ft.Dj Lighta
Title: Hold On/Aiden's Tune
Format: 12"
Label: Horrific (@)
Rated: *****
After the banging blast-off by the signature of Notthingham-based bigwigs of dnb scene like Julian "Dramatic" Flowers and James "Dbaudio" Maltby, Dj Jess, the go-getter behind the newborn vinyl-only dnb label that has been established in Bethnal Green, London, mde up his mind in order to keep on flying high by putting the second Horrific knock in the hands of another bicephalous signature, the one from Mancunian Dj Lighta and Ego Scene. These guys from the vibrant Machester, which is gradually becoming the real lighthouse of dance music in UK, radiate a pleasing liquid tune, "Hold On", by blending warming tones, a booming bassline, an hypnotic female vocal sample and housey shimmering clot of piano and synth, but the real surprise is lying on the flipside, where they easily bring old school jungle as well as some T(ips)'N'T(ricks) from 90ies rave-breakcore scene such as splashing hi-hats, cartoon-like chipmunk voices and other funny mnemonics over a spotless Amen break on the nice "Aiden's Tune".
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Artist: Monty Adkins
Title: Rift Patterns
Format: Download + iBook
Label: Audiobulb (@)
Rated: *****
A couple of weeks ago, we introduced the enchanting suite "Residual Forms" - you can download it for free on Cronica website - by the appreciated composer Monty Adkins, whose sonic poetics has heavily influenced by the experimental method of investigation around urban environments, known as psychogeography, which was originally developed by Lettrism and precisely defined by Guy Debord as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, whether consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals". On this new album for British label Audiobulb, who seems to prefer the definition that Wisconsin-based freelance writer and musician Joseph Hart gave on an article for Utne Reader ("'a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities '¦ just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.'), Professor Monty keeps on focusing on "derive" or "drift", the main technique of "psychogeographists", by unrolling deeply emotional clumps of electric interferences, organic clusters, warm and sometimes gloomy piano melodies, tonal dissipations and smudges over eight intense tracks which seem to draw an arc-shaped emotional blueprint from the opening "Tender Light Rising" to the final "Tender Light Falling" where listeners could costrue as a proper soulmapping rather than a psychogeographic implementation. Monty decided to making this album more meaningful by dragging the writer Deborah Templeton, video artist Jason Payne and photographer and graphic designer Stephen Harvey in and their collaborative feedback/back-propagations to Monty's music resulted into an amazing interactive iBook which is going to be sold together with the enhanced 16bit or 24bit digital versions of the release.
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Artist: Yoshio Machida (@)
Title: Music from the SYNTHI
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Rated: *****
Classical composers as well as many modern and contemporary musicians which are still devoted to single instruments often titled their composition with the name of the instruments that they play for a specific score and this is what happens with this release by inventive Japanese electronic musician Yoshio Machida, whose "Music From The Synthi", a collection of 13 extracts from a supposedly larger collection of tracks derived from a number of effected samples and loops from the legendary portable synth that Electronic Music Studios launched in the 70ies, which could be regarded as a proper classic composition by following generations of music lovers in a century or two. Such an act of devotion by Yoshio to Synthi, which was born in Putney in 1972 from the combination of the Synthi A, the portable version of notorious VCS3 synthesizer, and the KS keyboard leads listener over a sort of biopsy of this resounding machine and I'm not using the term "biopsy" by chance as you'll have the impression that this sonic dialogue between a man and his beloved synth stand on that somewhat controversial antinomy between organic and mechanical that often features such a kind of synth-driven music, where listeners sometimes could surmise that machine manages to translate complex emotions in a more concise way than any other human medium by means of "glitchey" sets of estranging whistles, bleeps, alien chirping, electric hiss, arrhythmic syncompations and bumps. All those listeners who are more familiar with synths will maybe appreciate the way how Yoshio manages to derive well-done oscillation from a sound machine, whose main imperfection is the difficulty in making oscillations indeed.
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