Music Reviews



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Artist: Jojo Hiroshige, Pika, Paal Nilssen-Love, Lasse Marhaug
Title: Osaka Fortune
Format: 12"
Label: Premier Sang
Rated: *****
The Norwegian half of this new sonic explosive on Premier Sang has already been sprinkled from my headphones and loudspeakers: Paul Nilssen-Love collaborated with a remarkable number of free-jazz oriented and experimental collaborative projects - I remember the ones with James Plotkin and Mats Gustafsson, but I'm pretty sure that I could find something else if I check my overcrowded archive -, while I found the name and the noisy mark by Lasse Marhaug on some releases by Smalltown Supersound, one of my favorite Norwegian label. Both Paul and Lasse recently co-signed a tip-top release with Jim O'Rourke, "Love Robots", which is going to meet the taste of noisy jazz-spiced stuff lovers. On the other side of the boxing ring, we find a veteran of Japanese noise scene, Jojo Hiroshige, founder of the seminal group Hijokaidan and Alchemy Records, and the young Japanese drummer and vocalist Higashi "Pika" Mineko, whose shouts sound like yells of a child while going hog wild for a slide or an amusement ride during the hyper-energetic stuff that this quartet recorded at Osaka Chika-Ikkai on February 10th 2011 and delivered to the French label. On the first half of this session, listener have to weather the storm that drummers generated by trampling on their instruments where they perform different tasks: while one drummerviolently clobber the skins, the other one finishes drum off by subtleties which are close to jazz drumming techniques. "No Drums This Time" is the first part of the second half and as you can easily imagine, both drummers take a rest, but the scorching distorsions that Lasse and Jojo gave off are too tempting for Paul's and Pika's fuming sticks so that they keep on hitting by pushing the blazing fire ball towards savage directions, which sound less jazzy and more acid-rock steered this time. Thats's the most blistering pace that I can even see fit to a snobbish jazz club.
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Artist: Empire State Human
Title: Futura
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: House Of Analogue
Rated: *****
Inspired, touching and cinematic... This is the best way to describe the new Empire State Human album "Futura". Released eight months after their previous album Soul Of The Machine, "Futura" is the newest band's effort and this time Aidan and Lar decided to take a challenge and to write an instrumental album. During their career they already wrote instrumental tracks but they composed "Futura" with a different spirit, because writing an album which could be seen as an imaginary soundtrack it's different than dropping few instrumentals here and there. The duo composed the album paying homage, as they say, to Sci-Fi soundtracks, art installation music, film scores, ambient and electronic layered bleep music, that the band has loved all their musical lives. The ten tracks of the album mix a sort liquid atmosphere to melodic moments and synth effects. We pass from the hard beats of the opening "Into Futura" to the digital ambient sampled vocals based "Wire Tired", passing from the robotic rhythms of "Drop Inside A Beat". Futura sounds like Empire State Human never sounded and, as Aidan Casserly states: "Working purely on music that was never intended to have a voice on it, really helped us throw away the perceptions of who we are as a band, to not only ourselves but also to how others see us too. Very refreshing experience. It was also a brilliant learning curve and a great journey to make so soon after the last album". While digging these tracks, prepare yourselves to the next band's album "The Dark", coming anytime soon. You can check the tracks at the label's Soundcloud page.
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Artist: Huminoida
Title: Intoxicating Spring
Format: 10"
Label: Out Of Range Records (@)
Rated: *****
After last year's "Mystic Summer EP", Huminoida a.k.a. Kimmo Karjalainen, is releasing a new 10"+CDr for his own Out Of Range Records. The new release brings us seven tracks: "The New Springs", "Aerial Demons" and "Half Light" are great new tracks where Kimmo is offering us strong synth wave sounds with a dark twist, "Electrocute" is a version of a song that Kimmo wrote with J.Kotkanen from the Finnish electropop band NYX which will be included on their first album, "Ruptures" and "Even Shorter Springs" are two two minutes short bridges that carry us to "Aerial Demons" and "Half Light". "Intoxicating Spring", this is the title of the new EP, convinced me at the first listening because it sounds direct and powerful. The opening "The New Springs" has an epic opening on the riff which is explored further on ""Even Shorter Springs", where thanks to orchestral synth sounds, Kimmo shows its dramatic side. "Ruptures" is experimental and trembling and prepare the listener to the "doomsday synth semi-metal with delightfully bleak lyrics", as Kimmo describe it, of "Aerial Demons", a dark synth wave tune with a furious riff. "Electrocute" is a catchy song which is sounding a bit 90s e.b.m. but with the use of 80s synth sounds. "Half Light" is a tune that musically I can describe as "arioso" thanks to the synth arrangement of sounds that interact by coming and going. The CDr contains the remix of "1000 Light Years", a track coming from "Whiter Album", remixed by J.Kotkanen. He gave to it a 90s e.b.m. dance treatment but he didn't change its soul. You can check and purchase the release here http://huminoida.bandcamp.com/album/intoxicating-spring-ep
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Artist: Lupi Gladius
Title: Veritas
Format: CD
Label: SPQR (@)
Rated: *****
Coming from Lucania, Basilicata, Italy, Lupi Gladius born on early 00s and they could be considered the electronic wave band Hidden Place's side project as on the line-up we have Fabio Vitelli (synth), Pietro Burzo (vocals and bass guitar), Antonio Losenno (vocals, synth and percussion) e Giampiero Di Barbaro (vocals and acoustic guitar) and Hidden Place's singer Sara Lux guest vocals on "Gli Ultimi Bagliori" and "Nel Vento" (which is the acoustic reprise of the other track). Same line-up but music isn't, at all, as Lupi Gladius' music is neo-folk rooted on Italian early '20s iconography. After the 2003 demo reissued the last year by Castellum Stoufenburc, Lupi Gladius released their first proper album "Veritas" for SPQR. The album contains eight tracks (the opening "Sulle Rive Del Basento" is an instrumental traditional song played with an accordion) which are coming from the heart and this is the first thing that you realize by listening to the album but the real surprise for me was to read that there was another guest on the album, besides Sara, but he isn't playing any instrument as Diego Banchero (Egida Aurea, Il Segno Del Comando, etc) wrote all the lyrics. As for Egida Aurea's lyrics, on "Veritas", Diego underlines the modern world's contradictions and he does it with honesty. Lupi Gladius honored this participation creating an album which is powerful, melodic and melancholic at the same time. "Veritas" is a good album which has also a bit of new wave influences on it: check the synth arrangements on "Agone", "Gli Ultimi Bagliori" or the cinematic atmospheres of the closing "I Figli Del Tramonto".
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Artist: B/B/S/
Title: Coltre/Manto
Format: 12"
Label: Midira (@)
Rated: *****
The "draft" of this great album by B/B/S, the awesome collaborative project by Aidan Baker, Andrea Belfi and Erik Skodvin, comes from an idea by Midira label-owner Dimitri, who organized a concert at Christuskirsche, Bochum, an evangelist historical church, whose specific acoustic features made it an imaginary part of the line up as well, and wisely asked to Christoph Scheidel a live recording of the concert, which provided the sonic material for later studio mastering by Martyn Heine in Berlin. The two long-lasting tracks of this astonishing record depart from ambient drones which gradually advance by turning into a crossbreed between primordial krautwave and improvised soundscapes, but whereas the sharpness of electronic fibers by Erik, guitar artifacts by Adrian and vivacious tribal-like augmented drumming by Andrea sound like moving and joining together like ethereal exhalations on "Coltre", they got fledged before getting warmly cathartic and somewhat mystical on the beautiful "Manto" on the flipside. The relaxed but intensely vibrant atmosphere that this record manages to render could let you envy the lucky people who spectated B/B/S concert, but it had been a good thing that someone had the idea to record it!
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