Music Reviews



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Artist: David Toop
Title: Lost Shadows: In Defence of The Soul - Yanomami Shamanism, Songs, Ritual, 1978
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
This huge audio-documentary collects a series of recordings that Wire journalist and sound artist David Toop made on the occasion of a fascinating journey in Amazonian jungle in order to meet the last Yanomani shamen in late 70s. Compared to previously released edition on David's personal defunct label Quartz Productions, this edition is much more extensive and exhaustive. The main mistake a listener could make is considering it as an exotic caprice for radical chics or an exploration of primitive cultures, as according to Toop's words, who begins his reflection on the 40-pages booklet (including Toop's diary, other interesting cultural matching and some snapshots that Toop took) by the interesting report of a novel by Swiss-born Cuban writer and ethomusicologist Alejo Carpentier and states that he was initially fascinated by the "almost total lack of musical instruments in Yanomami culture", where body, voice as well ideas, rituals and cosmology are the real instruments of their "music", "the Yanonami seemed to me not an ancestral throwback (as scholars such as Stephen pinker and Jared Diamond like to believe) but a contemporary society that had made choices about how to live, that moreover lived in a world defined more by events than objects". Each part of this 'katabasis' in Yanomani culture, which include ancestral shamanistic ceremonies and ritual songs, which mirror and imitate voices of the natural phenomena, secret spirit language, animal familiaries and a deeply symbolic language linked to shmanaic trance, which got compared to the sleep langage of Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" by Toop, closes with nocturnal field recordings that render Yanomani's "unique audiosphere". Highly recommended listening experience.
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Artist: Hanno Leichtmann (@)
Title: Unfinished Portrait Of Youth Today
Format: 12"
Label: Karlrecords (@)
Rated: *****
One Lexicon LXP-5, one Sony WM-D6C Modular System and Telefunken EQs as well as a huge source of old tapes are the equipment that German music producer and drummer Hanno Leichtmann (many listeners could maybe know his wonderful releases in the guise of Static for Berlin-based well-known label City Centre Offices, one of most suffered discographic loss of recent years) used for this interesting release, whose title "Unfinished Portrait of Youth Today" give some clues about what you're going to listen. It collects a number of snippets (lasting around 1 minute and 30 seconds each) that he took from more than 30 cassettes that he recorded by above-mentioned modular system, which were influenced and tributed, according to his own words, to "John Oswald's "Plunderphonics, Stock, Hausen & Walkman's "Me" 7inch and above all Yasuaki Shimizu's "Music For Commercials"" (...and I would have included some stuff from Mouse On Mars as well as the most psychotic microtunes by Boards Of Canada to this exhaustive list of sources for inspiration...). Delightfully hypnotic microgrooves that often conk out like stalled cars, smudged tape hissing, playfully hiccuping clocking sounds that act like flashing neon bulbs, adorably repetitious simple melodies feature the 29 tracks of this biopsies from his young epithelial tissue. Previously release on strictly limited tape edition, this album version got masterfully impressed on vinyl by Kassian Troyer.
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Artist: Goreteks
Title: Secrets EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi
Rated: *****
Tyler Schroder and Tracy Strode aka Dj Baloo and Dj Strode respectively are the lads behind Denver-based project Goreteks, which recently landed on Quentin Hiatus' imprint Free Love Digi. Their brilliant and nervously cinematic four tracks sound like mirroring more or less imaginary reports from some undisclosed battlefields: a threatening bassline roars on halftime movement, banging snares and vocal snippets they supposedly took from some unidentified movie on the opening "No Mercy", which sets the ground (or I'd rather say the minefield) for following tracks. "Silence Is Gold" is everything but silent and after a set of sinister breathes in a cryptic environment, it frees furiously energetic percussive beats and distorted basslines up, that keep on resounding inside the cathedral of martial beats and metallic hits of the following "Secrets", whose suddenly buzzing electric shock could resemble some stuff by Evol Intent and The Upbeats. The final assault comes on "Louder", where the shaking elements are tribal percussions, dubby torsion and echoed splinters that highlights the threatening bomber flying over listener's sonic sphere.
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Artist: Dee Ellington & Rob Sparx
Title: So In Love
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Migration
Rated: *****
Long lasting artistic collaboration between renowned dubstep producer Rob Sparx and brilliant singer Dee Ellington (former back voice for Tricky and climber of Uk charts by means of the single "Burnign Noise") turns into musical love on this release on Sparx's imprint Migration by this soulful romance in between soul, drum'n'bass, downbeat, jazz and dubstep. The title-track "So In Love" is an easily chewable soul song that I honestly prefer to the jazzy house version they included in the release, but my listening satisfaction remarkably rises by means of the other tracks that embellish this romance: the honeyed dubstep of "Lose Control", the wise inoculation of nu soul and jazz elements (Dee's lovely vocals could be considered so as well) in the liquid drumfunk fast-rolling (around 170 bpm) movement of the uplifting "Give U My Love" and Dee's voice on "Passing By", the enjoyable d'n'b tune by Migration new signing Soulful Nature could make your day. They are convincing evidences that this couple won't never get estranged...
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Artist: Developer
Title: Olympian 01
Format: 12"
Label: Olympian
Distributor: Triple Vision
Rated: *****
Adrian Sandoval, better know for his nom de guerre Developer, became very popular as a pusher of legendary techno releases (including the ones from glorious labels such as Plus8, Reload, Axis and many other labels from vibrant Detroit and Chicago techno scenes) on West Coast by means of the very first distribution company (Entity Music Distribution) in Los Angeles, a city that he managed to shake by a plenty of dj sets in famous clubs side by side to other big names of djing. He seems to focus on more technical issues of sound processing nowadays and while ke keeps on pushing his label Modularz on, he decided to start a new label up in Netherlands: its name, Olympian, clearifies its intent of spreading powerful techno tunes and the opening release of its catalogue fully meets expectations by means of four hard-hitting steroid tracks (even if "Volume 1.2" sounds like a re-shuffled variation of "Volume 1.1"), where he shattered basslines and inoculates well-forged sounds that sometimes get closer to more grinding industrial techno stuff. Mainly intended for (raving) champions.
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