Music Reviews



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Artist: E.Doctor Smith (@)
Title: Quantum
Format: CD
Label: Edgetone (@)
Rated: *****
Besides the blending of a pile of complementary styles, this collaborative release by inventive drummer and percussionist E.Doctor Smith, former collaborator of big names such as Brian Eno, Madonna's co-writer Stephen Bray and the bassist Edo Castro, is an appreciable parade of guitars and remarkable tools for sound synthesis. On "Quantum", which mainly focuses on the declension of progressive rock by skilled guitarist Jack Wright (such as the two parts of "Progress" or "PsychoBilly", taken from Quantum Kids' past repertory together with other tracks of this release), Smith's mate in the band which got named after his percussion controller Drummstick, as well as on guitar-driven celestial ambient mellow suites ("Ambience for the Active Subconscious Mind", the final "Blue Moon" or "Kodo", which features the heavenly trumpet by Eric Dahlman and String Rickenbacher basses by Tom Shiben) and "funkier" spurts ("The Eight", "Test Drive" or "Angular Momentum"), Smith embellishes each track by means of the enhanced drumming dynamics of the brand new Zendrum EXP MIDI percussion controller that David Haney of the Zendrum Corporation provided to him by enhancing a model, whose design got inspired by notorious Jimi Hendrix's Fender Stratocaster he already designed. Even if he mainly explores genres which could sound a little bit out of context in regars to the ones we usually speak about, the contribution of this additive by Doctor E.Smith, which sometimes seems to chase tonal acceleration on guitar strings, is quite recognizable and the coalescence of otherworldly sounds is so brilliant that it managed to draw our attention. Check it out!
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Artist: Lemures (@)
Title: Lemuria
Format: 12"
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
Not to be confused with those lovely primates living in the island of Madagascar - Lemurs in Po Valley could be an oddity for zoologists indeed -, even if the name of this album could be puzzling as Lemuria is also the name of the hypothetical "lost land" where lemurs came from and the first field recordings of natural sets could let you imagine lemur's habitat, Lemures is the name of the collaborative project by Venetian sound artist Enrico Coniglio and Ravenna-based photographer and field recordist Giovanni Lami, who supposedly named it after the so-called "spirits of the night" of the ancient Roman religion, which can be considered as forefathers of vampires, as they were souls of dead people who cannot find peace after death as they didn't receive proper funeral rites, burial or any devotional remembrances by the living, a lack of respect which justified their malevolent or even vengeful behaviour. Lemuria or Lemuralia was actually the name of the feast during which Romans used to perform some rites to exorcise these evil spirits. I apologize in advance for such a smart aleck-like premise, as you don't have to follow it in order to appreciate Lemures' release, but the intensive recording session they held in a semi-abondened building in the countryside outskirts of Ravenna results in a blending of well-done stereophonic field recordings by Lami and remarkably piercing (particularly in the track named "I") sinewaves by Coniglio, which could let you thik about haunted places where inanimate objects came alive as they were pranks from phantasmagorical shadowy entities, who burst on the scene by perturbing the illusory ordinary nature of recorded settings or objects. so that each of the four tracks (six if you consider the freely downloadable EP, which anticipated the release of the album) will appear more like a (somewhat confusing or nerve-racking) proper sonic adenture than a creative crossing of sound techniques.
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Artist: @c (@)
Title: Ab OVO
Format: CD
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
The conceptual framework of the play OVO by the Puppet Theare of Porto (Portugal), which started from a sparkling idea by Eric De Sarria, pivots on the contemporary declension of everlasting crisis of mankind and supposedly those abstract and sometimes enticing ideas of progress or evolution that nourish collectivism or alternatively individualism till their gradual dissipation. The nihilistic premises of this play - the human collapse, the dispersion of the notion of future, the automatic reurring of the past - could maybe sound like the nubbin of many hackneyed scripts, but the thespian ploy to render such a precipitation is somehow original as the man got represented almost like a puppeteer (not a puppet!) who has to rein four different character in a so tight spot that the sole certitude is the fall itself. The soundtrack by Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais - a somewhat scary succession of almost improvised electronic aggregates - doesn't disregard those fences and focuses on the sonic rendering of this somehow hyperbolic hyperreality: the initial magmatic cauldron where even sturdiest sonic entities got melted, unceasing maelstroms where any electric lunges and darts got pulverized, resounding cones of oblivion, where hesitant poltergeists, limp melodies and even spoken thoughts seems to fester. Every element falls into new crevices anytime it touches a bottom and blunders into a dimension whose vagueness seems to be its dungeon...
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anymore
Artist: Sebastian Melmoth
Title: In Ruins
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten (@)
Rated: *****
Taking their name from an Oscar Wilde pseudonym, Sebastian Melmoth are a collective of people coming UK that self released different albums (CDrs and tape) for their own Feline Vomitus. For this release titled "In Ruins", released on tape by belaten, they were Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and Jan-Carl Raspe. Their sound can't be described with few words, because they move their sound from post rock to psychedelia passing through experimental rock, cosmic music and folk. They sound like a Britpop version of Velvet Underground filtered through everything rock saw during 70s, 80s and 90s (think that the final part of "Elvis Honey" has also some dub inserts, while it started like a "happy" Velvet Underground tune). The digital edition of the album has three remixes by DTT (Tomoko Matsumoto remixed "Elvis Honey" starting it like being played by a camera orchestra just to turn it into horror theme with dissonant strings and piano), Jonas Golland (he did "Prosopagnosia" turning it from a psychedelic trip into a weird dub/breakbeat track) and Bass Clef (he also did "Prosopagnosia" but he focused his tune on house ambient atmospheres). Check the whole releases here http://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/in-ruins
Mar 05 2014
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anymore
Artist: L'Avenir
Title: L'Avenir
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten (@)
Rated: *****
Jason Sloan has many years on his back as an electronic musician and sound artist as well as being a Professor teaching full-time in the Interactive Arts department along with being the founder and program coordinator for the Sound Art concentration at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. L'Avenir is his "synthpop" side project which debut album has been released the last year on the Spanish label Cold Beats Records. Now, he's releasing his second work under that moniker on tape on Belaten. The self named album contains eight new tracks in balance from minimal synth and synthpop. If you want me to make few comparisons, take Martial Canterel and Sleep Museum as references. The album opens with "Aral Sea", an instrumental focused on a simple synth sequence where filters and rhythm are the main element. This one serve to set the atmosphere of the lot, which is in balance from dreamy and cinematic ones. "Fallen Like The Snow II" is an upbeat minimal synth wave song with cold vocals and synth sounds that come and go. All the tracks have in common the fact that melody is something that seems to be an optional element as it is present but the songs aren't "built" to be catchy. It takes time to get with the mood as you have to catch the right wave that carries you away with it. This isn't a bad thing but it couldn't happen as fast as you'd think it would. Jason is good at making a multi layered structure of synth sound and that is the "white rabbit" you have to follow. Anyway, you can check the whole release here http://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/lavenir
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