Music Reviews



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Artist: Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy (@)
Title: Sintetizzatrice
Format: CD
Label: Spectrum Spools
Rated: *****
A sense of disconnection, a certain depressed mood, an impetuous urge to give voice to the deepest cave of her soul which turns into astonishing metamormophosis, which often shows emphatically heartfelt memories of her native land or touching transmutations, are some of the main features of this excellent specimen by Italian vocalist Anna Caragnano, whose voice is the only input for electronic modelling by Spectrum Spools veteran Donato Dozzy. Her voice seems to resurface with grace from the chaotic cloud of the opening "Introduzione". The very first tracks are not so original: "Starcloud" is closer to some 90ies stuff such as Beaumont Hannat's manipulation of Lida Husik's ethereal vocals and the following "Luci" is more or less on the same wavelength. The listening experience becomes more and more interesting as you go along since "Fraledune", the moment when a certain disquiet and a bewildered mood, highlighted by a sad whispering, which evokes the image of a lonely traveller, makes their entrance. The guttural hiccup and the sinister murmurs of "Parallelo" feature the most "gothic" moment of the record, while the "rhythmical" acme got reached on the following "Parola" - my favorite track of "Sintetizzatrice" - where the almost obsessive repetition of some Italian meaningful words ("profondo" - deep -, "promessa" - promise -, "parola" - word -, "protetta" - protected -, "pensiero" - thought - and so on), which render an intricate verbal grid by means of the repetition of "P" and "R" consonants. "Festa (A Mottola)" refers to the smallest village nearby Taranto, where Caragnano and Dozzy's mother were born, by means of an interesting evocation of so-called "pizzica" sound, and precedes the stifling atmosphere of "Love Without Sound", the most depressed moment before the final catharsis of "Conclusione". Really good debut!
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Artist: Erik Friedlander
Title: Nothing on Earth - soundtrack
Format: CD
Label: SkipStone Records (@)
Rated: *****
The expedition in the enchanting Greenland by Mick Abrams and Aussie photographer Murray Fredericks was more intended to the research of the beauty that its nature can offer rahter than an adventurous challenge to its wildest forces on the geographical and thermal boundaries of our planet, even if long-lasting explorations of the frozen tundra of the Greenland Icecap are extreme experiences. The music that New York-based cellist Erik Friedlander made for "Nothing on Earth", the documentary that followed this expedition, manages to render such an aim as well as the attempt of focusing on the inhabitants of those regions and such an emotional rendering occurs in spite of the fact that listeners could sometimes confuse some tracks coming from the perfect matching of the masterfully strokes on cello strings by Erik, the touching accordion and the light-handed piano improvisations by Shoko Nagai as well as the soulful percussions by Satoshi Takeishi - they are performing together as Black Phoebe - as something coming from warmer regions: if it wasn't for some sonic clues such as the arctic wind which seems to blow over "Ryder" - all the titles have been named after places or villages in Greenland - or some reverberations which gives the impression the instruments got played in arctic rarefied air ("Ingia", "Nuuk"), it seems to listen some stuff by Badalamenti, Bacalov or even by some Mexican or Andalusian guitar players on the verge of freezing point. All those listeners who could expect Inuit chants in a record about arctic adventures could consider this aspect as a slight imperfection, but I think that some enjoyable similarities could rather serve as a beautiful warming coat or maybe as that instinct of human and animal nature which tend to find relief or maybe just some heating in extreme circumstances and a musical hug like the one by Erik and his musical companions can suit such an instinct.
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Artist: Rasmus Fisker
Title: Hydra
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: clang (@)
Rated: *****
Following a brief review about Danish producer Lars Graugaard, another release from that musically interesting region that has recently landed on clang's catalogue is the one by Rasmus Fisker aka Sykofant. The music by this guy, who already received some grants by Danish Arts Foundation despite his young age, gives "a nostalgic nod to the past", according to the introduction by the young label under the wise managing of Kaylee Wesley Pearson and listeners can easily notice some similarities with the sound of that kind of electronics in between downbeat, dub and glitch-idm coming from labels like City Centre Offices, Nonplace, Plug Research, Wichita, Obliq, Hydrogen Dukebox, WMF or Wichita at the dawn of the third millenium (you could check some stuff from Dntel, Static, Multicast, Metamatics, Nikakoi and so on) as well as the vaguely "wrinkled" nuance of some sonic clues such as the harpshicord on the beginning of "Hemis" or the piano melody over the noise of rustling film on "interlude", but Rasmus manages to avoid repeating gradient using detailed layers and a constant change of sonic palette, which sounds closer to the notorious glitch aesthaetics, based on the preservation of supposed mistakes or imperfections as a key element of the composition. This is the main hook which makes the listening experiences he speads on the ten tracks of "Hydra" really immersive - immersion is the leitmotiv and the keyword which inspired the eight compositions and the two improvisations of the album - and enjoyable for listeners who are looking for enthralling rhythmical patterns and sonic layers, which sound rich in variations and details.
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anymore
Artist: Athana - Werner Cee
Title: Toxic Skies Orchestra NO:DE
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: http://waprod.no/?release=toxic-skies-orchestra-node
Rated: *****
Every time I receive a packet from Alf Terje Hana, it's a surprise to find what will be inside the new Athana's release as his way of experimenting with guitar sounds has already traveled through many territories such as jazz, experimental, ambient, industrial and improvisation. This time he teamed up with the German composer Werner Cee, who enjoyed the project playing his electronic ch'in, a pentatonically tuned seven-stringed solid body zither, adapted from the chinese qchin. The release is divided in two CDs called NO and DE, because on the first one we can find the recordings mixed my Athana (who's coming form Norway) and on the second one, the same recordings mixed differently by Werner Cee (DE). All music was recorded during live studio sessions in Stavanger and other musicians collaborated playing other instruments: Torgeir Nes (electronic, realtime sampling), Oyvind Grong (bass, voice, valce trombone), Astrid Kloster (vocals) and Christian Hovda (spoken words). The theme they took as inspiration is represented by the toxic poisoning of the weather by human being. As they explain: "in the course of the past few decades, weather has gradually been losing part of its 'wildlife' character. Scientists are experimenting with interventions in the climatic system, and massive manipulations have become regular practice. The shamanistic rain doctor of yore has evolved into an inventor of latest high-tech weaponry. The Toxic Skies Orchestra provides the soundtrack for this scenario: acoustic ambient manipulations, drones, iridescent atmospheres, sounding chemtrails, bizarre soundscapes and roaring sound cascades. The Toxic Sky Orchestra creates phantasmagoric visions of sunsets and apocalyptic thunderstorms, it creates nightmares . sound pictures / psychedelic drones ' with lots of mood from the Sixties. Meet you on the dark side of psychedelic ambient." So, on the first CD we have a really experimental mix version of the recording where we have different layers of treated guitar sounds which clash creating a white noise effect that raise from an experimental ambient core of lava. Sometimes there's a stop where rhythm and melody break in creating a pause just to prepare the listener to a new electric storm. The second CD is much different compared to the first one as we have a meditative atmosphere where the electronic ch'in and the guitar are the main instruments that create the right atmosphere for the spoken word. On this one the experimental ambient guitar improvisations are joined by the rhythmical phrases of the picked ch'in strings and it's like the two CDs represent the moment during and after a storm... maybe a toxic one! You can check the release here: http://waprod.no/?release=toxic-skies-orchestra-node
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anymore
Artist: Florestano
Title: Noh
Format: CD
Label: Kowloon
Distributor: Rubadub
Rated: *****
Available the next July on vinyl, CD and digital, "Noh" is the first release for Florestano's personal label Kowloon. Florestano is the producer and multi-instrumentalist Leonardo Salvaro. Originally from near Verona, Italy, he spent the last five years traveling nomadically through Asia, Europe and South America. The experience of finding himself alone for a lot of time, influenced his creative process and allowed him to focus on the emotions he wanted to express with his music. The album title "Noh", is underlining the fact that Leonardo wanted the listener to be freed from any influence as happen on the noh theatre, where emotions are primarily conveyed by stylized conventional gestures while the iconic masks represent the roles such as ghosts, women, children, and old people (thanks Wikipedia for that). Musically, the eight tracks of the album remember me a mix of CN, Dmx Krew and Aphex Twin with a pinch of German techno. Rhythm is the main element on the writing and often breakbeat textures are mixed with melodic synth patterns and cutups which intrigue the listener and help giving a melodic structure to the tracks which, by the way, are instrumentals. Florestano succeeds into stuffing the tracks with enough interesting elements which are capable to keep the listener cool about what he's listening to. Also, he's great at breaking the mechanic and apparently cold complex rhythm patterns with melodic bridges which help creating an intriguing atmosphere. Follow Florestano's website for further news!
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