Music Reviews



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Artist: Venin Carmin
Title: Glam Is Gone
Format: 12"
Label: Seja Records (@)
Rated: *****
Venin Carmin is a newcomer in the scene of female electronic solo bands. Coming from France, she's releasing her first vinyl album through the Dutch label Seja Records. Influenced by 80s post punk and new wave, she's writing her songs from a female perspective and they talk about relationships, boredom, sex and violence. Listening to the ten tracks of her album it's coming to my mind an image as Venin Carmin could be an electronic version of the early Blondie but sometimes she lacks that energy that a track is needing to be remembered by a wider audience. So, instead, we could say that "Glam Is Gone" is more intimate and there's nothing wrong with that, also because the guitars on "July Ain't Summer" are recalling me a little bit The Cure. Anyway... Mixing electro pop and new wave, Venin Carmin has packed a nice album with catchy synth melodies, flangered guitar/bass guitar and melancholic vocals. You can check and purchase it here http://sejarecords.bandcamp.com/album/seja-11-venin-carmin-glam-is-gone
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Artist: Burning Pyre (@)
Title: Erotics of Aesthetics
Format: Tape
Label: Vanity Pill Tapes (@)
Featuring 5 pieces combining to create a harsh yet enthralling entirety, "Erotics of Aesthetics" by Burning Pyre (C. M. Owen) is definitely haunting, both in its use of atonality and essential tones. Its first track, "Mea Culpa" is kinda of a buzzer in terms of what you are about to listen to. In fact, this very first track might be your last chance to avoid getting wrapped in sounds to the point where you might feel as if you were slowly but painlessly drowning under computerized streams. As for the rest of the tracks ("Long Light", "Erotics of Aesthetics", "Hope Dutifully Resides in the Darkest of Times" and "The Evening Redness in the East"), they all seem to be forged from the same impenetrable tones, tones that also come with a growing warmth on the verge of reaching incandescence. Take "The Evening Redness in the East" for example, with its outlandish noises that could easily become the sound stripe for any richly saturated piece of cinema attempting to engage your every sense. Even if the commentary on this EP, provided by the musician himself ("is fundamentally about denying interpretation" and "it should be digested as a purely emotional experience, with each individual piece designed to elicit a specific emotional response.") may seem to narrow down the potential audience, the effect is likely to be quite the opposite as the audience, any audience, will ultimately be compelled to revel in the intricacy of these minimal and heavy tracks without applying logic too much. "Erotics of Aesthetics" comes on a 30 minute cassette housed inside clear case with card printed covers by Reece Thomas Green. Limited to 20 copies released by Vanity Pill Tapes, a small cassette label based in Kent, UK. The album is also available to listen to on the artist's profile on bandcamp.com.

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Artist: Tiziano Milani
Title: Materia (storie da ciò che rimane)
Format: CD
Label: Setola di Maiale
Rated: *****
The impressive writing by Luca Rota describes this album as created by someone who returns home and let his musical past resonate with the present. This release sounds as closing point of almost 10 years of releases as well as a development based on the idea of a sonic architecture that is open to external sounds rather than overwhelming them. The recording level and the sonic spectrum are usually quiet and low so the metaphor of "Tiziano doesn't close the door at our back but rather he spread out the window" is perhaps closer to reality than one can imagine.
This musical journey starts quietly with "Appartamento 119/I ' in evolution" whose first part is based on a floating drone mottled by cello's samples and sparse noises while the second one is based on a succession of sounds and silences. The noisy beats of "Rifugio ' questo è il presente" create an hypnotic atmosphere until a cello line marks the start of the second part focused on string samples upon a quiet static noise resolved by notes of a glockenspiel, or it sounds as such, setting the path for the final soundscape. Conversely, "Materia ' solo con la natura", starts loudly with samples located in a given channel whose underlined texture gradually emerges in a static second part developed in a part focused in flute notes and a silence leaving space for the closing drone. The quiet, but rhythmical, initial samples of "A proposito dell'oggettività dello spazio ' pensare genera pensiero" are dialectically opposed to the longer and sustained samples of the second half of a track closed by a sort of carillon samples from an old movie.
In this release what is played cannot be separated from how it sounds as this release seems focused on the property of an ambience to shape his musical type and disclose his hidden resonances. Honestly, it could be difficult to follow all the details which are the base of this release but it's worth the effort particularly with headphones. Truly recommended.
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Artist: Jim Haynes (@)
Title: Scarlet
Format: Tape
Label: The Helen Scarsdale Agency (@)
Rated: *****
I could begin from the artwork to explain the sound that Jim Haynes, who properly defines himself as an investigator of the properties of decay, whose investigations began "into rust and decay as a means to detour my shortcomings as an oil-painter", according to his own biographical words, from its artwork. Pretty and somehow seducing eyelashes of a closed eye evokes an artificial beauty that doesn't cast a glance at its observer and sounds like like a subtle invitation to introspection. Scarlet is the color that gives name to the release as well as the filter of the package, as if it was painted by means of dry blood, and it could vaguely surmise an artificially aged reprise of the red profile on the cover artwork of self-named Martin Rev debut album on the legendary label Infidelity, one of Charles Ball's tentacle which forged the so-called No Wave sound, one of the closest sonic stuff to this intruiguing artifact by Jim, which sometimes surmise the enigmatic industrial experiments by Werkbund as well. The reiteration of drilling electric sounds, field recordings which seem to be modified by means of tape manipulation and other entities that resurface from rough noisy scrabs can disclose unforgotten nightmarish vision as it occurs on "Alizarin", the seven minutes lasting second track, which sounds like rendering the secret laboratory of a mad butcher, the piercing friction of "Acrid", the dead radiophonic transmission of "Mordant Red 15" or the hypnotical strobes of "Racine To Vermillion", where mysterious entities make sudden and somehow disquieting appearances in between radio shortwaves, industrial noises, asynchronous clicks and psychotropic intermittencies. The typical hissing sound of the tape helps to make this release a little bit more scary, as if this cassette was found in the cellar of an abandoned haunted mansion and got recorded by its previous boarders or possibly by its poltergeist!
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Artist: YobKiss (@)
Title: The Light
Format: 12"
Label: Grond Records (@)
Rated: *****
This is a relatively easy review for me, and a rather enjoyable one too. YobKiss is a music project by Paul Borchers, originally from the Netherlands, now based in London. Paul is an illustrator and musician (as well as a DJ). His illustrating style is along the lines of vintage comics and it's said that he's working on a graphic novel too. There's more back-story to his visual art, but we're primarily concerned with the music here, so I'll leave you to check that out on your own time. Musically, Paul started out as a drummer, but was inspired to get involved with synthesizers. Borchers started the YobKiss project in 2006 as an excuse to tour Japan as a solo act. The other party on this EP, vocalist Yuko Hazama aka Fuzzy, from Tokyo, didn't join Paul until 2013 and the collaboration was a long distance one trading tracks online. The result was this EP, 'The Light', only three tracks, but what an amazing little work it turned out to be!

YobKiss describes their style as Electro, Gothic Disco, Synth Rock, Acid House, and Kraut Rock, but what we really have here is a Cold Wave gem- minimal vintage synths and drum machine, with Yuko's whispery vocals. It's simple, but incredibly effective. Title track "The Light" consists of a repetitive synth line over which an echoed blippy, arpeggio plays, and a dense synth pad (reminiscent of early Tangerine Dream) creates a nostalgic aural atmosphere. Then there's Yuko's singing- wispy with childlike innocence, yet strangely sensual. Although the words aren't clear, the ambience leaves little doubt she was an amazing find. There is simple but effective (yet uneffected) guitar too adding an interesting component. The beat is steady, danceable and hypnotic with unwavering drum machine rhythm. The song is sort of dark, but in a dream-like surreal way. Vocally, Yuko is a little reminiscent of Martha Schwendener from Bowery Electric (I wonder what she's doing now) except a little higher. Second track, "Dancing Ghost" gets into even weirder territory with Yuko using her voice rhythmically at first then interjecting a phrase here and there. The synthwork consists of an ominous repeating bass line over the rhythm track with a beat and the occasional synth pad and other stray electronic burblings. Yuko comes up with an ironically happy little melody line she repeats a few times and the effect is...uncanny to say the least. Before you know it, it's over. "Black Void" is undoubtedly the darkest (as well as longest) track on the EP, using a gothy chord progression over sequenced bass and bare bones beat. While Yuko's voice is nearly buried in the mix, it is as if she is some ghost in the machine. The mode of the music changes a little getting deeper and darker, but no less hypnotic drawing you in. This is bloody simple stuff, but oddly compelling. Yuko resurfaces at the end with breathy wordless vocals. Sort of like an orgasm in the black light room of a psychedelic party scene in some art film; no words can easily the atmosphere created here. It leaves you wanting more, and I certainly hope this is only the beginning of this collaboration. Worth checking out and worth owning. I had to settle for the CD version of 'The Light', but you can get it on 12" vinyl while the limited supply (of 500 copies...less now I'm sure) lasts. Highly recommended!

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