Music Reviews



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Artist: Machinefabriek
Title: Measures Taken
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Rutger Zuydervelt was composed for a dance performance by choreographer Alexander Whitley where the dancers interacted with the visual projected by Marshmallow Laser Feast. So the question is if the theme of man vs/with machine is evoked by the music in the absence of the visual side.
The small clicks of "Introduction" introduce the listener in a quiet musical universe where, obviously, the rhythm has a particular place as it's fundamental for dance movements. "Part I" starts quietly with drones and trumpet like samples and quietly evolves with noises and samples in an hypnotic track. "Part II" is made out on juxtaposed lines creating a mood of cinematic tension that is released in "Part III" where the soundscape created evoke a brighter, even optimistic, mood. Almost sadly, "Part IV" closes this release with a mood of melancholy and lost.
It's certainly grueling to rate this release without seeing the choreography referred by this score, as it's arduous to realize the theme of the project without the press notes. However it's as evocative as a good soundtrack. It's worth a listen.
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Artist: Masayuki Imanishi (@)
Title: Type
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Japanese sound artist and performer Masayuki 'Imany' Imanishi, whose name appeared on Liddikoatight, a collaborative project with Kouhei Matsunaga, for Finnish (post)industrial label Some Place Else by Niko Skorpio, piled a number of disturbances, processed field recordings, white noise from dead radiophonic frequencies, quantic interferences and paper (!) for the eight untitled tracks of this mesmerizing release, which significantly differs from the predominant stuff on Portuguese label Creative Sources, even if it could be considered as a sample of "electronic" improvisation. Tracks like the fifth or the sixth ones could let you think that Masayuki intercepted mysterious alien transmissions or broadcasting from robotic grasshoppers, while other ones are closer to more "conventional" abstract experiments such as the second one, where he separated a series of metallic flicks on right and left channels, or the opening track, where he intersected croaking noises from supposedly singing circuits, an hypnotic piercing sound clip and other disturbances, as well as the estranging 16-minutes lasting suite he assembled on the seventh track, but the resounding material of "Type", which often surmises a sort of hybrid between abstract industrial and those experiments on noises that got grabbed on tape from electronic circuits before further processing, which engaged many performers in the 80ies, is really interisting overall.
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Artist: Ernesto Rodrigues, Guilherme Rodrigues, Gianna de Toni, Christophe Berthet, Raphael Ortis
Title: Trees
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
It would almost appear that while small tonal leaves detach from their axis, the quintet of improvisers were getting into the act of collecting helical wood shavings, scraping the trunks out, breaking some spines, clearing the deadwood away, piling sawdust and exploring other bizarre dissonances by means of their own instruments: Ernesto Rodrigues (viola) and his son Guilherme (cello) - well known to our readers -, Gianni De Toni (double bass), Christophe Berthet (soprano saxophone) and Raphael Ortis (electric bass and objects) planted five improvisations in between layered stillness ("Moonlit Trees"), shady poised harmonies ("Whistling Trees") and resonances on the edge ("Tree of Life", the track - I think it's not accidental -, which sounds more mysterious and somehow dizzying), which gradually become elements of a soundscape where extended techniques and the unusual clippings that they produce are like giant trees within an open spot.
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Artist: Dreadmaul (@)
Title: Blood Magic EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Boundless Beatz (@)
Rated: *****
The words of the opening "Voodoo", which seem to have been taken from the first chapter of a novel I found on an electronic community, set the mood for the listening of this awesome and somehow gloomy release by German young dnb producer Dreadmaul: "There descended once upon our land a time of darkness and chaos. Fires destroyed our forests, the Oceans went wild, and the heavens forgot how to make rain. Pregnant women gave birth to goats and not babies. Waterholes dried up. The ground became like stone. There was no harvest. Mothers went mad watching their children die of hunger. Fights broke out among our people. Everyone looked for someone to blame for the disasters. The Elders gathered desperate for a solution. They found none and the suffering continued. One day a woman appeared. She was a wise woman guided by two leopards. She looked upon our land of darkness and chaos and told our king 'Your suffering will end only when you worship as we do, the gods of voodoo.". Such a preface could let you foretaste the style he digs, where Upbeats-like dark atmosphere perfectly matches fireballs of haunting tribal drums, sinister low frequencies and gothic sonic entities that reappear on the following "Bloodbath", whose title could let you imagine the content of the words by another voice-over, which speaks over stunning bass-driven thunderclaps, but the real percussive pearl of "Blood Magic" comes on the following "Volcano", whose hitting vibe got built according to a technique that its forger called 'reverse sidechain' - he just increased volume on every hit of the sidechained signal instead of reducing it -. The final "Shutter", whose sonorities could vaguely surmise the thrilling combination of breakcore and IDM that came from another (inactive at the moment) old German act, Beefcake by Gabor Schablitzki and Volker Kahl, is the last menacing black cloud of this excellent release.
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Artist: Porya Hatami (@)
Title: Arrivals And Departures
Format: CD
Label: Time Released Sound (@)
Rated: *****
The theme of the sonic journey by Iranian-Kurdish self-taught soundscapist Porya Hatami could be easily guessed by its title as well as the fine hand assembled artwork that Time Released Sound label boss Colin Herrick made for the limited version edition, which could be unavailable at the moment as just 75 copies came out from label's workshop: inset within vintage outer hadback cover is an antique glass airplane identification slide and you'll find pages of runway identification diagrams, vintage airport photos, flight instructions manuals and handwritten actual pages from old pilots logbooks, avintage pencil and a unique aeronautic snapshot, while each factory pressed disc is slipped into an old airmail envelope. This aural delight mainly focuses on air travel with an impulse on the emotional aspect of flight, where the well-known hybrid of minimal ambient drones and field recordings got bundled by daydreaming dilutions and emotional filters: the opening "Farewell", where singed frequencies float around gentle piano phrases, distant echoes of soft melodies and supposedly nostalgic reminiscences, is the most "cloudy" moment of "Arrivals and Departures", while the following "Homecoming" is maybe the moment when Porya evokes the beauty of his native region - he lives in Sanandaj in the mountainous environment of the Northern West side of Iran -, where you don't realy need an airplane to "feel the sky"; the above-mentioned signs of old aviation vividly speak on the recorded transmissions of the following (soft) "Landing", whose peaceful fluffy pads are going to disperse any possible traces of fear of flight before mitigating the subtle yncope of reversed piano tones and tubular sounds of "Terminal" and getting gradually imbued with dazzling beams on the final "Sunrise Pylon". By Hatami's own admission, a perceptible influence on his sound comes from Taylor Deupree's 12K sonic material.
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