Music Reviews



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Artist: Cristian Vogel
Title: Polyphonic Beings
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Shitkatapult (@)
Rated: *****
According to Karl Heinz Stockhausen, a unified time structuring, a wise splitting of sound, the multi-layering of spatial composition and the equality of sound and noise are the "Four Criteria of Electronic Music" in brief and such an eminent conceptualization of music seems to have inspired the last two astonishing releases by brilliant Chilean techno legend Cristian Vogel, who after he moved to Berlin, one of the sacred site of contemporary music of our planet, fulfilled a quantum jump to his already appreciated style by a sort of integration of those principles into eerie dub-driven sonic boxes, which proves the chameleon versatility of this producer after the ambient-oriented album "Eselsbrucke". Some nuances of techno pops up in just one of his eight "Polyphonic Beings" - the amazing "How Many Grapes Went Into That Wine" -, while some technoid residue flow like water snakes in water ducts into a few of them - "Spectral Jack", "Forest Gifts" and "LA Banshee" are the ones where are more audible -, but most of the tracks have a totally different approach to rhythmical structure and sonic textures as he manages to synthesize outstanding hybrid between dub-techno and acousmatics where bright stylistical spots unpredictably deviate from the continuity principle of techno stuff: the sort of elegy that suddenly surface from the above-mentioned "Forest Gifts", the analogue spit-ups that surface on tracks like "Spectral Jack" (vinyl exclusive) or "Lost In The Chase" or the melancholically entrancing piano micro-melody and the shamanic hooks on the final "Society Of Hands" are just some of the moments when Cristian could find the right way to the hearts of more demanding listeners which cannot be considered proper clubbers anymore.
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Artist: Kode 9 & The Space Ape (@)
Title: Killing Season
Format: 12"
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
Named after a verse of his song "Heart" that warns people about the dangers behind human heart, this EP, which reprised the forerunning collaboration by Hyperdub label boss Kode 9 and the late-lamented vocalist and poet The Space Ape and was eagerly awaited by all those listeners who loves miliar stones of UK dubstep and grime that came from this sparkling meeting of musical minds and souls such as "Memories Of The Future" and "Black Sun", has a particular meaning after the announcement on Facebook of the tragic death after an excruciating battle against a rare form of cancer by Stephen Gordon - Spaceape's name in family registry -. The lyrics got clearly influenced by the cognizance of his physical conditions that he angrily describes on the opening "Chasing A Beast", and above all of the imminent death in the offing, which fostered his last compelling poetic visions after having been just gloomy allusions in previous lyrics. Even if I can imagine he did them with tears in his eyes, the sonic inoculations by Kode 9 got perfectly synchronized and reaches the acme when visions and insights flow into heartfelt pleas (Stephen seems to warn listeners by really meaningful words in "Devil is a Liar") and resigned sighs such as on the touching "Autumn Has Come". Whether in heaven or in hell, I'm pretty sure that many listeners hope to meet Mr.Gordon again after their (possibly faraway) last hours. Stephen's family friends gets all our sincerest symphathy.
Nov 14 2014
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Artist: Deca
Title: Onirodrome Apocalypse
Format: CD
Label: Atom Institute
Rated: *****
I talked about the past of Federico De Caroli, a.k.a. Deca on my review to his latest release "Modulectron" which was a collection of unreleased tracks from the 80s, so you can check that one to have an idea about his past thirty years of activity. This time I'm writing about Deca because of his new CD album titled "Onirodrome Apocalypse". The album is part of a wider project that includes a novel having the same title which isn't published yet. The album isn't a soundtrack for the book, Federico sees it as his emotional description to it transposed in music. The only hints we have about the story and the atmosphere that we'll find through the pages of the novel can be found in the eight tracks of the album by reading the titles, by diving into the atmosphere created and by looking with care the booklet graphics. We have red skies, some skyscrapers with Deca wearing strange eyeglasses, another one with red skies and a view of a natural landscape which seems pretty much desolated, another one with an airplane flying through icy mountains, then there'a one that has a blood tinted corridor which is pretty anxiogenic. The last one is the one on the CD and it has and hanged man on a dead tree under a red blood sky. The titles paint a picture of a future pretty much fucked up where cities are changed ("Metamorphic Metropolis"), nature has been raped and nothing will be as usual ("Alba Obscura" and "Apocalypse") and time can be changed for some obscure reason ("Cronotorsione"). Musically, Federico, along his beloved vintage analog synths, used treated fields recordings and vocals that now sounds like synth drones. The tracks sound tense and atmospheric where dilated sounds paint fragile melodies while hisses, reversed synth pads ride lead sounds. The sound seems have a life of its own and evolves. This is a really good album and the first print is sold out. Check out Deca's FB page for the updates.
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Artist: Dave Tarrida
Title: Mesmerized EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Autofake
Rated: *****
Renowned Scottish techno producer Dave Tarrida comes back on his own label Autofake by means of this amazing sonic trinket where his bleeps sounds more nervous than many previous stuff by this veteran of the scene: the controlled electric rackets and the grind scathing of the opening title-track "Mesmerized" could let you think he decided to veer towards more industrial-spotted sonorities before he begins to flog his freak by a screching sound which is closer to the noise of train brakes, which features the following "Seek Destroy", while "Asinine", the last leg of this stink creature, gnashes a trapping analogue sequence that he wisely chop. The acid bath of "Mesmerized" by Barcelona-based Venezuelan Cardopusher, one leg of Classicworks label, drives the original track out of Detroitesque magnetic fields by reprises of percussive elements which are closer to Chicago acid-techno stuff.
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Artist: The Smiling Buddhas
Title: Latium
Format: CD
Label: base (@)
Rated: *****
Named after some places that a couple of Smiling Buddhas, the name of the bicephalous project by Fadi "Hun Fa-di" Dorninger and John Fitzpatrick which was born as a mail-art project between Austria and Hong Kong, visited all over Latium, the Latin name of the region surrounding Rome, in 2013, "Latium" is the fourth sonic travelogue (after the ones over Austrian Alps, Atacama desert and the hidden kingdom of Lo in Nepal) by these guys. If you expected to listen some crossbreeding between field recordings and unconventional styles or some assa of audiotourism, your expectations could get bitterly disappointed as it's really difficult to link the sonorities The Smiling Buddhas forged to the places they mention with no explanations about their source for inspiration, but it doesn't mean their aural translations are not interesting at all. For example, the opening "Fast Bikeride Down to Trevi Nel Latio" could paint a pretty picture of a fast and furious bike ride from the uphills of the place they quote by means of their bouncy and somehwhat breezy techno, but there are no elements which vaguely cross-refers to the town of Trevi nel Lazio and I can't find any sonic hook to Italian 50ies movies The Smiling Buddhas were chatting about during a high-speed motor drive - it came to my mind a sequence from a car cabin showing the placard of "Fior d'Alpe" in Rossellini's "Journey to Italy" as a possible link to their previous release - in "Cruising To Terracina". The quality of tracks is a little bit higher on the second part of the release - the final "Altipiani" is maybe the best moment of this travelogue together with the amazing Aphex Twin-like dripping detonation on "Palestrina" -, but despite some interesting ideas I think that these guys could improve upon their sound.
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