Music Reviews



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Artist: Il Segno Del Comando
Title: Il Volto Verde
Format: CD
Label: Black Widow Records
Rated: *****
November 2013... the come back. Almost ten years after from the last album, Il Segno Del Comando is releasing on Black Widow, the new one titled 'Il Volto Verde'. It is a frightening voyage, dark and distort which goes in the deepest drifts of occultism, with a great line-up that has many and important guests as Claudio Simonetti (Goblin, Daemonia), Gianni Leone (Il Balletto di Bronzo), Martin Grice (Delirium), Sophya Baccini (Presence), Maethelyiah (The Dance Society), Vinz Aquarian (Ballo delle Castagne), Freddy Delirio (Death SS) and Maurizio Pustianaz (Gerstein). People who are directed by Diego Banchero, one and only leader of the band. The new album is based on a theme that is based, as the previous one 'Der Golem', on a Meyrink novel. This time his second one, which was the writer's esoteric testament that was published back in 1916 and titled 'Il Volto Verde', has been used. The book is to be considered as a sort of manual of occult teachings and initiations to reach, ultimately, a state of higher consciousness to self and thus achieve immortality. Lyrics, which have been composed by Banchero, follow accurately the novel's chapters and they are particularly symbolic, malicious and evocative. Musically, this album recalls their first one and is balanced between dark-prog-experimental atmospheres, blinking an eye to horror movies soundtracks and could be seen as a tributo to bands of the likes of Il Balletto di Bronzo, Goblin, Antonius Rex and Jacula. In fact, tracks like "Chider Il Verde" and "Il Manoscritto" bring to mind sounds dear to the musical spirit of the glorious "YS" by Il Balletto di Bronzo, while " L'Evocazione di Eva" and the closing "Epilogo" pay homage to the great performers of Italian prog sounds of the 70s. The atmospheres of "La congrega dello Zee Dyk" are just beautiful and it has lyrics that are particularly evocative and esoteric. The ending is exciting as well, starting from the beautiful instrumental "L'Apocalisse" and the eerie track "Epilogue". This is a great album which has no flaws and it is to be recommended to all the fans of darker and cinematic progressive music.
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Artist: Pushy!
Title: Take It
Format: 12"
Label: Kiosk
Rated: *****
In this day and age, it's very difficult that some beat juggler manages to distinguish itself by adding touches of originality to hackneyed sonic languages, but Cristophe Bergeron aka Pushy! could have hit the nail on the head by a somewhat histrionic bass-based mongrel and the fact that he gained long-standing experience in a number of different artistic domains (cinema, theatre, contemporary dance and dance floor as might be expected) where he injected his own music played a part. Besides tracks like "Smoke Marijuana", which could be a perfect mapping and rendering of weed-induced sensamilia, the title-track "Take It", the funny breaks on "Neutralized" and "Geek Father", which all in all tag along trap music rising trendsetters, even if they sound more tech-ey and sometimes almost gabber-oriented than similar stuff from good guys like Dj Spinna or Dj Rashad, Pushy! outflanks himself when he contours delightful harmonics like plastiline as it occurs on electronic flute-like melodies of "Resident" and on the glops of chimes, distorted ruffled trance-like synth-brass and slapped kicks of "Road Trap", but I'm pretty sure that followers of different branches of bass and urban musical styles will grab the amazing fuel additive that Pushy! adds in order to enhance the (already) flooded Trap engine.
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Artist: Emmanuel Mieville (@)
Title: Concret-Sens
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
Named after a combination of French words - the word sens (meaning direction) and the French adjective concrescence that the living legend Francois Bayle, who also coined the term "acousmatic" and inventor of "Acousmonium", used to describe the concrete substance of sounds and its intrinsic impermanence and ruggedness -, this interesting release by Emmanuel Mieville keeps faith with its title as it sounds like an asymptotic approach to the core of musique concrete, as conceptualized by Pierre Schaeffer. While he focused on aural perception of specific environments and sonic "anamnesis" of different urban and wildlife locations on "Four Wanderings in Tropical Lands" that I introduced on this zine a couple of years ago, Emmanuel seems to develop the three sound structures of "Concret-Sens" by coalescing field recordings, other found sounds/objects, pre-recorded stuff and radio snippets without lessening listener's chance to phase them in possible narrative buildups: the lack of uttermost objectification of sound material is particularly clear on the central structure, "Locus Sonus", as the combination of field recordings with tapes and radio documentaries seem to evoke personal historical elements and educational memories of the composer, whose first learning steps as apprentice at Groupe de Recherches Musicales in the field of musique concrete got based on creative radio programs and live concerts and the boundaries between objectivity of sound objects and listener's subjective translation seems to be also quite veiled on the initial "Cillages", whose almost orchestral concoctions of recordings of neon lights and hums from electrical outlets manages to feed listener's imagination as the development of the track could let you think about the testing of an unknown Tesla deep fryer. The final piece "Solis Ortus" is an admirable assay of manipulation of field recordings by means of granular synthesis, whose resulting particles crams the sonic sphere by degrees.
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Artist: X-NAVI:ET
Title: Dead City Voice
Format: 12"
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release for this artist is presented as a concept album about the the theme of the city presented with the word of Win Wenders as the place that "leaves its stigma on [people] and deforms them to its own likeness." so he aims to represent as "the city by means of sound and vision is becoming an inward journey as well", according to the press notes. The musical output is however indistinguishable from most post industrial or dark ambient albums except from the focus in the timbre's development rather than in the noisier one, so resulting in a enjoyable listening.
The a side of this album is opened by the juxtaposition of a menacing and a bright drone in "1 + 1 = 1" that lasts until a noise enters to ends the track with a delayed beat. "Mutagenocidecadentia" is evocative with his use of various found sounds. "Schism" begins with a relatively low frequency drone and end with relatively high frequency noises, so justifying his title.
"Tinnitus Auris" is constructed upon the juxtaposition of wooden noises and metallic bells.
The b side features only two tracks: "Garden Paradox" featuring a static drone and a loop forming a structure without development and "Luna 369 Park" based mainly upon a slowly changing drone.
The curious thing about this release is that, being a vinyl, his format reveals his content as, if the a side reveals the good thing of this format, the b side is perhaps too static and underdeveloped. The a side worths four stars but the b worths two so the average is three. Recommended for fans.
Feb 11 2014
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Artist: Grand Mal X
Title: Life
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten (@)
Rated: *****
I have very few informations about Grand Mal X. I only know that two guys called Karl Rydby and Mattias Ivarsson are involved but I don't know if there's a manifesto of intentions or if they have previously played in other bands. The thing I know for sure is that they released a tape titled "Stealth Minds" on Black Horizons at the end of 2013 and that now I have in my hands their new tape "Life" which has been released by the Swedish tape label Belaten. The only thing that the presentation points out about the release is that if while you're listening to its six tracks you have the feeling that their aim is to raise a certain dark feeling and magic(k)al atmosphere dear to bands like Coil, you ain't that far from the truth. The release opens with "Units", a track in balance from ambient and electronica. Something in balance from later Anti Group and Demdike Stare. "Tricks Of A Trade" is more based on analog drum rhythms and sounds and this is definitely recalling me the Coil of the early period. "Late Night Call" and "The Crossing " are a little more static as they play around one arpeggio but they have nice sounds/vocals variations inserts. "Four Chambers" is the most cinematic of the lot and creates a nice tense ambience. "A Sudden Portal" closes the release playing around a nice melody and exotica rhythms adding cool synth analog sounds. You can check the whole release here http://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/life-ep
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