Music Reviews



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Artist: Legendary Pink Dots (@)
Title: 10 to the power of 9
Format: CD
Label: Rustblade (@)
Rated: *****
This new Legendary Pink Dots' release is a concept album about, according to the linear notes, 'conspiracy, magic, and spirituality'. With their long career is obvious than their musical offering is based upon their usual psychedelic style. However, their inspiration gives a satisfying result as it's enchanting in some moments.
This album is opened by 'Ten o' er Nine' a track where the voice of Edward Ka-Spel quietly emerges upon the noisy background created by the instruments and the ethereal ending is an introduction to 'The Virgin Queen / Primordial Soup' based upon various lines of loops creating an hypnotic mood. The lean instrumental part of 'Your Humble Servant' is a canvas for the voice to color. 'Malice / Freak Flag' closes the first part of this release with the heavy filtered voice to enhance the methodic work on the soundscape.
The second part is opened by 'Feeding Time', a track based on sparse concrete sounds and the distant Ka-Spel's voice that, in 'Olympus 2020', theatrically declaims the lyrics upon an almost silent background. 'Open season' returns to the musical path of the first track while 'Room For Two' is an instrumental track acting as an introduction to 'The Elevator', the longest track of this release, featuring an evocative first track based on noises and spoken words and a quieter second track focused on sparse piano notes emerging from the background.
After all those years, they are able to publish an album better than most of the bands usually on the cover of alternative music magazine. Absolute respect.
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Artist: Alphaxone
Title: Altered Dimensions
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Alphaxone is presented as based on 'smooth frequency manipulation fitting for exploring the concept of altered dimensions'. This statement really means than it's something closer to a single track in eight movement rather than a collection of loosely related tunes. The most evident quality of this release is the constant development of subtle resonances that implies a rigorous listening to fully enjoy the work depicted in his development.
The detailed soundscape of 'Distances' opens this release and develops in an unpredictable manner when an almost dance beat emerges from the background. 'Human Frequencies' is, instead, a track based on the juxtaposition of various drones slowly drowning in the underlying soundscape. 'Passing Through' is based on small noises and a slowly developing drone and 'Midnight Waves' focuses on a drone that slowly develops to resonate with some elements of the previous tracks. 'Aftermath' explores the most subtle and dark aspects of this formula while
'Equilibrium' deals with microscopic, but constant, development of the base drone and so is 'Encounters'. 'From the Passages' closes this release in a bright way as it's founded on an higher frequencies' resonances.
Even if it's not formally ground-breaking, it's an amazing work of audio sculpting enhanced by the usually unexceptionable mastering by Simon Heath. Perhaps one of the best Cryo Chamber's releases.
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Artist: I.corax
Title: Kuilu
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Aural Hypnox, the Finnish label of Helixes collective, keeps on re-release some past outputs by I.corax, the obscure bicephalous brainchild by Anti Haapapuro and Jaakko Vanhala, that came out during the short life of Blue Sector. Named after the Finnish word for "abyss" or "ravine", "Kuilu" is the recording of the very first live performance that these sonic explorers held at Youth and Cultural Centre (NuKu) nearby Oulu on 2nd of March 2002: the opening circular metallic sound, the resounding of a distant thunderstorm, a sort of rubbing which could resemble the noise of someone who tries to start a fire by friction, a disqueting bleat and a noise which is closer to the one you can hear when locking a dor by means of a bolt before a thrilling sound and some gibberish murmuring heighten the emotional tension immediately catch listener's attention on "The Face Of The Sun", which properly sets the mood for the following nocturnal emulsions of "Menhir", the intriguing hibernated reverie and the controlled explosions of "Tephra" and the melted desolation of the final "Animus Desertis". Te mesmerizing sneaking movements of these four track got assembled by a balanced dosage of un-organic textures, field recordings that got grabbed on tape in the woods under a crescent mood - the genuinely ritual aspect of this kind of outputs from that scene are really important -, human voices, analogue synths and subliminal electronic triggering. Strictly limited edition of 500 copies (440 more than the first edition).
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Artist: Monty Adkins
Title: Borderlands
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Audiobulb (@)
Rated: *****
This new work from Monty Adkins is 'an extended meditation for multi-tracked cellos' that means that is the result of the juxtaposition of various lines of cello that develops a piece 'based on a text by Deborah Templeton that explored liminal states of consciousness'. The true quality of this piece is the full realization of the premise of his linear notes as it's a well planned and realized exploration of the spectral quality of an instrument, the cello, seldom used in an unexpected way.
This track starts with a quiet drone doubled by a cello whose sustained tones shifts from one channel to another. While the first part is on the lowest part of the range, the second is on a higher range and starts to develop a melodic line, meditative and quiet. The third is a slowly modulating drone exploring the resonances of the instrument while the fourth is based on a high range and sounds almost void as the absence of the lower frequencies implies a quieter soundscape that fully develops in the fifth part. The final part of this piece is almost static and based on the highest pitch of the cello and a low frequency drones.
This piece is, undoubtedly, a demanding listening as it's something closer to contemporary music than the average of today's releases but it's full of truly enjoying music. Recommended.
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Artist: Hieroglyphic Being And The Configurative Or Modular Me Trio
Title: The Seer Of Cosmic Visions
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Someone labelled it as "Outsider House", but it's an objectively misleading reference so that I prefer the labels that Chicago-based producer and founder of Mathemtics Recordings Jamal Moss aka Hieroglyphic Being aka IAMTHATIAM aka The Sun God aka IBM (cool acronym for Insane Black Man), the inventive pioneer of this style, coined by means of expressions that seems to quote Sun-Ra such as 'Cosmic Be-Bop' or 'Rhythmic Cubism'. Beyond the way its style could be named, the assemblage of Chicago house and EBM and spotty elements from industrial, noise and avant-jazz, which could sometimes render the way someone who temporarily suffeers clogged eardrums would perceive a record by Frankie Knuckles, Adonis, Fingers Inc., Ron Hardy or other legends of the 80/90ies underground scene of Jamal's vibrant city, or some variations of Chicago house by means of low-battery cheap drum machines or synths whose circuits got regrettably watered by corrosive chemical products or dj's favorite drink, is really amazing even if it could sound like a mere exercise in style. Anticipated by an exclusive 6 files digital release for The Wire readers, "The Seer Of Cosmic Visions" includes nine past jams and tracks from his catalogue, which got wisely remastered by Michel Kuhn at Berlin's Dubplates and Mastering: the unsharpened knives of "Calling Planet Earth", the nibbled Chicago-house of "How Wet Is Ur Box", the lop-sided computational sequence of "The Human Experience", the robotic stuttering over poofy sonorities of the final "Strange Signs In The Sky" and the gelatinous boiling of rhythmic noise on "A Genre Sonique" of my favorite ones, but the opening lukewarm psychedelia of the opening title-track, the opacified meditations of "Letters From The Edge" and "Space Is The Place" and the numb tribal funk of "134340 Pluto" are likewise amazing. Have a listen!
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