Music Reviews



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Artist: Charles-Eric Charrier
Title: C 6 GIG
Format: CD
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
I don't really think that the very extended play - one untitled track which lasts more than forty-five minutes - of this self-named release by one of M.A.N.'s legs Charles-Eric Charrier is a blemish in spite of the fact that some passages could sound a little bit repetitive as I'd rather say that such a repetition favors the assimilation of his interesting approach to sound and emphasizes the somewhat ritual shadings that some sonic elements (particularly a sort of padded gong - almost permanently in the background -, which could vaguely remind the ritual halo of some stuff by Z'EV) evoke. The dropping initial metallic clicks, which resemble the lamellae of music boxes' steel combs, seem to prick the surface of the sonic sphere which bleeds poltergeists of deeply low frequencies and outlined arrangements by enlarging its pores till the moment when some purulences got occasionally lumped by unstable sonic equilibriums. The succession of deadening reprises, unpredictable interferences, gurgles of very low tones, spadeworks of dull thuds which seem to come from obscure recesses of different resounding elements and the scrupulous sound-design make this listening suite quite absorbing.
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Artist: Kid606 (@)
Title: Happiness
Format: CD
Label: Tigerbeat6 (@)
Rated: *****
His recent "Lost In The Game" could have concerned some fans, but whereas the following "Going Back To Kali Yuga" reassured many of them about Kid606's state of mind and temperament, this new full-length erases any doubts as in spite of some nostalgic nuance, "Happiness"' sonorities are diametrically opposite to the confused, depressed and somewhat psychotic ones of the above-mentioned "Lost In The Game", which could have marked the agony of the kid or the need for adult diapers at the very least. After he relocated from Berlin to Los Angeles, where the so-called brainfeeder scene togther with the changes which occured in the life of Miguel De Pedro (Kid606's name in civil registry), such as the end of previous liason (any kid tends to spread love and snuggle indifferently), L.A. sunsets, road trips, hiking and cuddling (any kid requires it), could have nourished his distinguishable wonky-oriented style and flair and daubed it with melodic ointments as terror beats which shaked most of his past production sound just like juvenile pimples. The clicking flangers and the percussive tethered helium balloons of the enchanting "Blood Stevia Sex Magik", the sugary aerostats of "Cloud Sculpting", the gladsome lunges of vocal chops on "Happiness is a Warm Kitten", the mesmerizing sonic watercrafts on "Smooth Sailing", the sweeping joyful pads of "Party Gambas", the amazing vocal cuts on bassy beds of "If I Am Allowed Only One Song On This Album With Cut Up Female Vocals Thn Thos Sing Is It", which reprise Kid606's knack for memorable track titles, and the whole sequence which starts from the perfect input current for this light-hearted journey on "Cute Never Dies" and ends with the more ruminative manifestation of adulthood "Man - the Failed Child (Thank You and Good Night)" inevitably resembles a lot of musical and sonic influences (first of all some juicy stuff from Rephlex, but also some other charming electronic acts such as Boards of Canada, Plaid, The Orb, Tangerine Dream and softer rockers like Toto or Christopher Cross), but the existential and emotional context where it bloomed from is the most meaningful source for inspiration. We cannot but be very happy that Kid606 keeps on feeling and rendering happiness.
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Artist: The House in the Woods
Title: Bucolica
Format: CD
Label: Exotic Pylon Records (@)
Rated: *****
Better known for his excellent analogue synth-driven project Pye Corner Audio, Martin "The Head Technician" Jenkins unclenches beats for the first full-length of his side-project The House in the Woods, which appeared just once on a split release with Coppice Halifax for Brian Grainger's Milieu Music. The denomination of this project, which reminded me of a solitary card game someone taught me when I used to live in UK, could let you vaguely envisage the sonorities Martin might have explored. If you're trying to render the features of this house, the first conclusion about its location you can draw while listening this release is that it should be a wind-blown place or interior designer made some mistakes while planning ventilation, as sonic space sounds permanently windswept so that it's quite obvious that the modulations of these drafts could let you surmise that this isolated place could be haunted by a number of resounding ghosts and arouse your imagination when Martin dilutes other thin sounds into this hazy soup. The listening experience, which could be linked to that kind of surreal ambient that Boards Of Canada, Loscil, Tear Ceremony and similar acts fed, is eerily luring and achieves the highest acmes when Martin disrupts the seemingly claustrophobic sonic cleft by unexpected padded sounds (such as on "Mountains Of The Sea", "Half Glimpsed" or "Bucolica") by paving listener's way to mesmeric moments or when he undulates the apparent static stillness by means of muffled dub pulses, which reminded me some stuff by Jan Jelinek, Pole or Kit Clayton, such as on "Favershell" and "Sunlight On Rusting Hulk". You could probably hope that similarly evoked poltergeists will cheer your next dwelling up.
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Artist: Michaela Melián
Title: Monaco
Format: CD
Label: Monika Enterprise (@)
Distributor: Indigo/Morrmusic
Rated: *****
Whether the title "Monaco" refers to the principality on French Riviera or the Bavarian capital city, this new release by Michaela Melian, co-founder of F.S.K. (standing for "Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle", the name of the West German self-censorship institution), one of John Peel's favourite German bands, ideally completes a trilogy of geographically named releases after "Baden-Baden" and "Los Angeles" on an elliptical mark, where the lack of verbal clue as the only proper song is the stentorian cover of David Bowie's "Scary Monsters", whose no-frills structure along the lines of previous cover version of Roxy Music's songs by Michaela, got balanced by a plenty of references to places and other works from other arts (particularly literature and cinema), but what counts more is the way she manages to inspire mental images without words by means of a limited set of tones and a lavish instrumental expressiveness (rendered by a wide set of instruments, including zither, banjo, kalimba, glockenspiel, Spanish and electric guitar, organ and so on), which could be vaguely associated to music for movies due to the reminiscent power, the presence of sonic features such as hisses and crackles of magnetic tapes, old celluloid or vinyls, which emphasizes the heart rending blues which mark many tracks out. Sucha connection with music for movies is just paradigmatic as the soundscapes she composed sound more like emotional cameos where flourishing memories weave together fading images. The sober piano-driven rumination of the initial "Delta Of Venus" (a reference to Anais Nin's well-known book of erotic short stories?), where a sort of beeping signaling system for queue and a flowing ticking move along the set, digs a groove which got reprised in many following moments of the record, whose somewhat suffered knots seems to disentangle on the final dignified plainnes of "Geometrie der Liebe" and the lukeworm mild sedation of "Jardin Exotique".
Nov 08 2013
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Artist: Paul Nelson
Title: Vortex
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records
Rated: *****
Originally released in 1981 for Paul Nelson's own label Optiman Systems Inc. (which released only that album), 'Vortex' is about to be reissued by Medical Records on mid November. The album has been the only Nelson's release and it's a great example of space disco mixed with progressive electronic music. A sort of crossover between Jean-Michel Jarre and early Moroder but without vocals, as Paul used a vocoder filtered voice only on the opening 'Automated Man'. Anyway, if you are fond about France cosmic music of bands such as Space, The Droids, Bernard Fevre, etc, this record is for you! Growing up around Portland and with a strong background in music and music theory, Paul built a PAIA synthesizer when he was in junior high and developed a keen intuition into analog synthesis. Later he purchased a MiniMoog and was very influenced by Alan Parsons, ELP, and ENO. At the time of his album he owned also Sequential Circuits 600 sequencer an Oberheim DS-2, etc and he used them with good taste and on my humble opinion he deserved a wider exposure. 'Automated Man' gather a space electro sound with a new wave melody that can recall Tubeway Army. The five parts of Vortex move from electronic sweeps and experimentations a la Tangerine Dream with no rhythm section ('Vortex 1', 'Vortex 3'), to space disco arpeggio based tunes ('Vortex 2', Vortex 4') passing through dark moments which recall Carpenter on 'Vortex 5'. 'Labyrinth' is a cool tense arpeggio based tune with rhythmic section and warm pads. If you love Steve Moore tracks, you'll go insane for this one. For me this release is a must and I hope that you won't miss it! You can purchase and listen to all the tracks here http://medicalrecords.bandcamp.com/album/vortex-mr-024
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