Music Reviews



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Artist: Bryn Harrison (@)
Title: Vessels
Format: CD
Label: Another Timbre (@)
Rated: *****
The inputs of this interesting apotheosis of repetition for piano by composer Bryn Harrison are a sequence of nine notes from a mode by Olivier Messiaen (I could guess he took it from ""Mode de valeurs et dintensites" or from some variation of his sixth mode) for what we could call tonal entities and Howard Skempton's "Tendrils", where the composer weaves lines by means of a number of transpositions of Messiaen's mode. The resulting almost imperceptile repetition of intervals and phrases and the somehow confusing tonal juxtaposition of the 20-minutes lasting original version got remarkably expanded on he version you'll find on this release, which recently reached my desk in spite of the fact it got released last year, so that its spellbinding powers got highlighted on the 76-minutes masterful performance by Philip Thomas (an honorable mention to the one who flipped through the pages of the score, who got captured by microphones). I'm pretty sure that even the rational filters of the most trained musical ears, which will presumably focus on computational aspects, will fade away in order to make way for imagination - some nightmarish settings such as disorienting woods, narrow dark tunnels or other mysterious places you could build by your own imagination could croos listener's minds - and emotions - I could guess you could match it with angst, sadness or suspense - till the moment when this labyrinthine repetitions could even provoke some physical reaction. I can't exclude that...
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Artist: Ernesto Rodrigues/Ricardo Guerreiro/Christian Wolfarth (@)
Title: All About Mimi
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Even more abstract and "astringent" than "Early Refractions" the collaborative release with alto-saxophonist Bertran Gauguet, this release of the consolidated musical partnership between Ernesto Rodrigues (viola) and Ricardo Guerreiro (computer) with the guest appearance of Swiss percussionist Christian Wolfarth on cymbals is even more abstract and overlapped to reductionist aesthaetics. I could guess the title "All About Mimi" could be a reference to same-named multi-modal interactive musical improvisation system, whose linear diagrams seem to get reprised by cover artwork. Its slightly crooked green lines could be the sonic representation of the skewed declension of minimalism that this trio play where you could have the impression that each instrumental emission sometimes claws, sometimes furrows, sometimes violently cannons the surface of the seemingly silent computer-generated barrier that amalgamates the other two (sometimes unrecognizable) elements and their mimicry as if they are trying to escape from their atonal prison cells by means of painstaking grinding of the wall.
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Artist: Richard Pinhas & Oren Ambarchi
Title: Tikkun
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Cuneiform (@)
Rated: *****
The brilliant phiosopher and musician Richard Pinhas, the man behind the legendary French rock band Heldon - when he founded Heldon in 1974, Richard was an assistant professor of philosophy at Sorbonne as well as a lover of science fiction, two branches of human knowledge which heavily influenced his musical outputs -, join his sonic forces with Australian ground-breaking guitar player Oren Ambarchi, a proper prodigy in the enhancment of guitar sound with equalizer and the stylistical flirtation with krautrock (have a listen to his excellent "Sagittarian Domain" in order to have a recent evidence of the fact my words are not shallow praises), for one of his two simultaneous releases. The complementarity between Richard and Oren techniques and aesthetics got already successfully tested on Pinhas' recent album "Desolation Row" and get enhanced by the contributions from drummer Joe Talia, Pinhas' son Duncan, Merzbow and Eric Borelva and perfectly express the theme of this release, which refers to the idea of Tikkun ha-Olam, one of the most important concept of the Kabbalah according to Pinhas' personal interpretation: "the concept of Tikkun is immense, very very big and important, not only in the original Kabbalah but in all the paragnosis "jewish" theoretical concepts. It is about the spiritual creation of our world...a kind of parable... to repair something deeply broken is the point...and Tikkun is the concept that this operation or this process can be named". The three long suites which harmoniously melt elements from progressive rock, krautrock, ambient, psychedelic electronics and dub mange to evoke the spiritual yearning of renaissance behind this esoteric concept by means of effected guitar rides, whose balanced sequences prop the groove up like sharpened spines, smooth stridencies, refulgent drumming, where the almost metallic layering of the initial "Washington, D.C. ' T4V1" and the gradual melodic decay on the centrl "Tokyo - T4V2" prepare the ground for the psychedelic acme of the release, the final "San Francisco - T2V2", where electronic gurgles and scraped guitars coalesce with the punctual appearance of Talia's drums, which boost the previous stridency up to an almost mystical experience.
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Artist: Drvg Cvltvre (@)
Title: American Psychosis (part one)
Format: 12"
Label: Shipwrec
Distributor: Clone
Rated: *****
Money management, media-driven mass manipulation, marketing could be considered the bedrock of contemporary socio-political and economical established "democratic" or "M-authoritarian" system as many people have already understood without getting high-brows. Once upon a time, some producers, who crossed techno zone and its neighborhood (I could mention Test Dept, Black Lung and many others), tried to translate their sonic outputs towards the building of such an awareness, but the massive media campaign, intended to demonise some kind of styles by means of the matching with drug abuse, reprobation and any possible kind of anomaly, quenched many pressure points. This poisoned drop by Vincent Koreman, a veteran of Dutch electronic scene - I still remember many of his releases on KK and Mighty Robot Recordings in the guise of RaX -, could bring you back to that interesting stage of 90ies techno, where some grey visions and technocratic paranoia (just another label/negative undertone...) from industrial scene got poured into basslines and drum machines like the glorious 303, the most audible entity in Drvg Cvltvre's sound, that managed to render this kind of IR-lighted dark adaptation to such an obscure perception of civilization. The first part of "American Psychosis" got ignited by "Acid Flash" - an eloquent way to describe what you are going to listen -, a collaborative track with Bournmouth's Chris Moss Acid, but what Shipwrec wisely calls Orwellian electronics reaches its acme on the gloomy sonorities and male voice, who ominuously repeats the title of the B-sided track "I'll Wear Your Face On A Chain".
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Artist: Spookshow Inc. (@)
Title: Visions of the Blinded World Pt. 1
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Hailing out of the deep, dark forests in Norway, here comes out a debut release well fitting into the Electro-Metal/Industrial genre. Spookshow Inc. is a 3-men collective consisting of Norwegian- and Lithuanian-originated musicians. When it comes to describe their music it is a bit challenging, because they can integrate quite different styles and influences to their arsenal. They definitively call 70s icons like Pink Floyd to their quell of inspiration, but also still active projects like Puppy, Prodigy, Paradise Lost, NIN or Rob Zombie got mentioned. Their often installed instruments and influences originated out of the Middle East maybe tend to astonish the listener, but it also confuse here and there. Their globally sound environment allows them to produce in an authentic manner and this album offers some directions seldom discovered before. First off, the awesome looking cover art is kind of brilliant. Themes presented in their lyrics like religion, art, war and post-apocalyptic scenarios of the modern world can be watched in their artistic valuable and eye-catching cover art. Also famous quotes of Voltaire, Edgar Allan Poe, Clive Barker, or Andy Warhol add the right mood and undersign the message to consume this album. But you'd be surprised if you expect the usual known Metal- / Coldwave-related formula to integrate roaring guitar riffs into the mix. Spookshow Inc. rather tend to play guitars in a classic Rock-/Pop-manner, mostly installed as an additional instrument to tease some nerves of the Electronica-only lovers. The vocals are kind of sinister installed, giving the whole mix a relative spooky outcome. The Electronica elements like synth-programming, chosen sounds, bass line sequencing, rhythm section, etc. could need a bit more dedication of the musicians behind. The tracks are suffering a bit under the fact that Spookshow Inc. definitely don't cook with the freshest water around. That's a pity because a bit more 'Industrial'-like influences would do well with their musically diversity. 'Falling Down Pt. 2' is definitely a highlight of this album with its scary voice-sample work. I tend to compare this album with the strange efforts of Noise Box meets Sister Machine Gun under the impact of a wider musically horizon. A fair produced album which needs a bit more-than-usual attention, but with a eye-catching artwork as reward.
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