Music Reviews



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Artist: Hoofus (@)
Title: Several Wolves
Format: CD
Label: Exotic Pylon Records (@)
Rated: *****
Even if they're off-topic, when I read the title and analyzed the content of this bizarre and mottled record by Norfolk-based 8-bit juggler Andre Bosman aka Hoofus, some lines from the lyrics of a recent song by Massive Attack, supposedly inspired by the notorious myth of Psyche: "Gain the Wolf/Conjure me as a child/Slipping down a webside". On closer inspection and by means of stretching flights of fancy, the inner and somehow lopsided narrative plot that Andre manages to weave from a bunch of amazing manipulations of old-fashioned videogame regurgitations could be considered as an act of love to a shadow entity and its adventurous happenings within the plot of a programmer, which sound somehow mirrored by the short-lasting twenty tracks of this release. Besides some chaotic electronic clots such as the initial "Data Shunt '89", the flickering gangrenes of "Tangled", the vitriolic spurts of "Right Here, Over There" or seemingly awkard closed loops ("We'll Always Have that Time the Never Happened", "Black Butter"), there are many moments when the imaginary computerized verbosity of the above-mentioned platform hero got almost humanized or at least closer to human manners. You could almost feel an attempt of childish vocalization on the stammering rhythm of "We Used The Darkness For A Light", a sort of temper tantrum on the clashes of "Night Forage", a certain mechanical dejection on "Disorder" and a sort of temporary emancipation from its digital consistency on tracks like "The Instant", "Places" or "Nearly Was" - that's how a game boy cold sound after having been cracked by Boards Of Canada... - or even displays of compassionate pleading on tracks like "Power Lines Lament" or "Quicksand Then Tea". Very nice process-generated stuff.
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Artist: Marina Rosenfeld (@)
Title: P.A./Hard Love
Format: 12"
Label: Room40 (@)
Rated: *****
Formerly inventor of some interesting art and conceptual installations, New York-based whimsical composer Marina Rosenfeld manages to annex new stylistical territories by surprising phagocytosis in cahoots with Korean witty avamt-garde cello performer Okkyung Lee and notorious vocalist (and former collaborator of The Bug) Annette Henry aka Warrior Queen, who accepted the invitation by Rosenfeld to provide her warm vocals on the occasion of the album version of P.A./Public Address project that she nurtured between 2009 and 2011. The first performance occurred at the Park Avenue Armory, New York, where she successfully tested P.A., a quasi-scultural sound system, based on a series of customized subs and horns, which grabbed the noises from these wide location and exploited the sonic properties of the vast buildings where she used to perform, while the second performance was held in Renshaw Hall, Liverpool, an operating car park for the exhibition "No Longer Empty at the Liverpool Biennial". The adaptation for the album emphasizes the outlandish syncretism between electroacoustic, conceptual art, astonishing vocal manipulations, dub and reggaeton elements (more distinguishable on the "spacialized riddim" of the track "Hard Love"), which sound like particles fluttering inside an aural magma and flickering electronic clouds together with amplified external captures. The final mesmerizing, shifty and somehow elusive result could be considered a possible unheard-of declension of dub, whose various elements could sound like clues of intersecting parallel universes.
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Artist: Moskitoo (@)
Title: Mitosis
Format: CD
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
Biologists and many commendable inquiring minds know that mitosis or binary fission is the subdivision of a cell into two separate cells or I'd rather say the phases which precede the birth of two diploid cells, when the homologous "copies" still coexist within a single cell. Such a borrowing from biology perfectly describes the duality of sonic delights by talented Japanese sound-artist Sanae Yamasaki aka Moskitoo, which could sound banal if it got described as the typical and platitudinous dichotomy between human and artificial that many reviewers trout out when human voice and instruments got somehow embedded with electronics in symbiotic balances. Filaments of glitch electronics, feeble and warm sonorities, electroacoustic weaves, flickering tones and graceful vocals which seem to oscillate between delicate arias, exhaled breath condensate and childish hyphenations waves in flurries of daydreaming melodies, which could vaguely surmise some old stuff from Mum or Ruxpin. The above-mentioned process of cellular reproduction is just the conceptual starting-point as she focuses on "the ideas of division, expansion, the human body , and small particles of matter" by her own admission, but listeners will realize that she wisely managed to coagulate all those concepts in this elegant, inspiring and enchanting release, whose subdivision into twelve tracks and many astonishing stylistical pinnacles ("Vulpecula", "Trajectory", "Wonder Particle" and "Fragments OF Journey" are my favs) don't prevent listeners from savoring it as if it were one sole stream in one with nature, emotions and their arcane enchantement.
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Artist: David Sinfield / League Of Nations
Title: Oblique Strategy / For A Moment / Music For The New Depression
Format: 12" + 7"
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
David Sinfield started in the early 80s as a solo act and released a tape album titled "Oblique Strategy". A year later he, along with Laurie Jean, formed League of Nations and released in 1982 the "For A Moment" 12" containing four tracks and, in 1984, an album titled "Music For The New Depression" for Glaze Recordings. All these releases from these Los Angeles guys have been really collectable (of League Of Nations' album there's also a bootleg) and Anna Logue Records can't believe when David approached them a couple of years ago offering them to reissue his recordings. Now, the label is proud to offer to the lovers of minimal wave the complete recordings on CD and LP 7" (note that on the vinyl version "Systematics Eyes", track coming from the 12", is missing but there's the version of the album). The seven tracks coming from "Oblique Strategy" span from uptempo electronic wave catchy songs ("N.Y. Two" is a real hit a la John Foxx) to piano intimate songs accompanied by synth and drum (check "Laurue" or "Canon") passing from minimal synth instrumentals ("Rosegardens" or "Sombre Whales"). The first League Of Nations' 12" opened with a version of "Fade", track also present on the album which blend nice cold atmospheres with romantic vocals and memorable synth melodies, and contains also "Thin Ice Door", a song that mixed minimal a approach to a post punk attitude (I hear a certain Joy Division influence). The album had only six tracks of which three were also on the previous 12". It opened with "Illuminous", a sort of psychedelic electronic song and followed with a cold electronic mid tempo titled "Overlord". On League Of Nations David dismissed the piano and the minimal ambient atmospheres just to stick on minimal wave ones (only the closing "For A Moment" has some parts of both elements). This is a treasure box for you minimal wave aficionados and if you would like to taste a bite of this "cake", just hit this link http://www.soundcloud.com/annaloguerecords/anna-040
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Artist: iVardensphere (@)
Title: Scatterface V3
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
The successful debut album "Scatterface" by Canadian mutant band iVardensphere got originally released by Synthetic Sounds in 2009 and re-issued by Danse Macabre in 2010, but after this band founded by Scott Fox and co-piloted by Yann Faussurier (Iszoloscope) since 2011 rallied their electric cables around Metropolis on the occasion of the release of "APOK", many followers of the scene might have bargained on a third re-edit of their bedrock. If you never heard about them before, you could imagine a corrosive tangle of techno-tribalism, banging hard-electro stretches, industrial inklings, which could vaguely resemble stuff from Xotox, Terrorfakt, Juno Reactor or Noisuf-X, but the harsh virulence of their sound has been so well amalgamated that you'll almost perceive there are no rifts on the smoothed surface of iVardensphere, which implemented many vocal robotic samples to enhance and feed listener's imagination of their nervous broken lines and grim post-apocalyptic suffocating atmospheres. The stop'n'go abrasive lines of "Diatribe", the menacing epiphany of "Box Of Monsters", the contagious "Virus (Outbreak)", the ravaging "Sentient Wave Form" and "Calibrating The God Machine" and the dystopian bittersweet wit of the final "A Massage From Our Sponsors" could be the highlights, but the whole album could be danced and listened with bated breath from the beginning to the end. Besides the 11 tracks of the original tracks, this V3 includes a couple of remixes of "Bonedance", an abrasive one by David Brauburger aka Blush Response and an amazing IDM declension by witch-house innovators 'Aimon. A lot of fake blood is oing to be shed yet...
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