Music Reviews



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Artist: The Young Mothers
Title: A Mothers Work Is Never Done
Format: CD
Label: Tektite (@)
Rated: *****
I sometimes have to classify a number of projects that deserves visibility which could be labelled in a different way under the wide and vague "experimental" definition, where the experimental aspect lies on the intelligent crossbreeding of known styles which manage to trascend definitions andand I have to do this unproper labelling for this astonishing brainchild of Norwegian-born (but currently based in Austin, TX) bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, who grouped many brilliant musicians together: Dallas-based vibraphonist and drummer Stefan Gonzalez, son of jazz master Dennis Gonzales; guitarist Jonhaton Horne from the amazing Austin-based band Plutonium Farmers, who got blessed by Steve Albini's knack; saxophonist Jason Jackson, one of the most talented member of Houston's improvised music community and former co-performer with Leroy Jenkins, Pauline Oliveros and William Parker; Chicago-based octopus-like drummer Frank Rosaly; Houston-based trumpeter and rapper Jawwaad Taylor, former collaborator of Jay-Z and MF DOOM, whose wiseful lyrics set the mood on the opening "The Wood", and a plenty of guest musicians such as Bob Hoffnar (pedal steel guitar on "Mole"), Carl Smith (tenor saxophone on "Ruth"), Ralph White (the kalimba player on "Ruth"), Mars Williams (soprano saxophone), Alex Heitlinge (trombone), John Elliot (tuba). Even if some free-jazz and even standard jazz could come to mind - for instance Ronnie Boykins and Sun Ra's "Cosmic Chaos" came to my one -, their style cannot be properly defined under canonical concept of jazz as their crossover embraces elements from hip-hop, psychedelic progressions (it's really astonsihing the one that Flaten tributed to Ingmar Bergman's genius on "Theme from Fanny and Alexander"), black-metal (check the amazing groove of "Wells, The Original" where vocal and guitar abrasions perfectly matches the wrathful saxophone), samba-jazz (some Rob Mazurek's Sao Paulo Underground stuff resurfaces from the depths of musical memories while listening the "frisky" movement of "Mole"), West-African musical hooks (particularly on "Ruth", a song which got derived from a traditional Ugandan song) and exotica and abstract branches of jazz, which features the ecstatic improv wandering of "Virgoan Ways". If mother's work is unfortunately never done, the work of these men is so shining that really slips from sun to sun.
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Artist: Mare di Dirac (@)
Title: Tupilaq
Format: CD
Label: Greytone (@)
Rated: *****
According to the linear notes Tupilak is "an assembly of various objects fabricated by shamanism for ritualistic chants" and this could be an hint that this relase deals with
a spiritual view of sound. The more evident aspect unifying the tracks is the methodic use of the resonances of the instruments so leaving the doubt if there's an electronic
manipulation or it's the use of extended tecniques.
The initial sharp notes of "Umlat" start this release with a drone, apparently from didgeridoo, that set the atmosphere of track upon metallic resonances. The opening sax of "Thecomposition" is the infrastructure for a complex texture made out of field recordings, string instruments and bells and gradually fades out to let a cello close the track. The resonances of the percussions of "Unhz" construct a piece of an impressive tension drowned in an almost quiet background that develops in an almost static drone. "Sintensi Aborigena" is on a didgeridoo, or at least it sounds like, dialoguing with the percussions, in the first part, the field recordings, in the second part, and, at last, it ends
changing his timbre, as with extended tecnique. "Granular Rite" ends this release with the juxtaposition of slowly changing notes from string instruments upon a quiet
soundscape, generating a dialogue between a quiet background and a menacing foreground.
This italian collective has released an amazing album full of demanding music for courious ears and lies in the threshold between mimimal, experimental and ritual music. Highly Recommended.
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Artist: Red Industrie
Title: Censored
Format: CD
Label: EK Product (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Mexico's Helder Camberos counts already to the veterans out of his country and presents now his second full-length album signed to the Italian EK Product label. After the well recognized last album 'Destroyer' and the short-time episode signed to Germany's Electro Arc label, this all new album can count on a lot of similarities compared to the predecessors. It's not only EBM presented on this with 18 tracks opulent offered silver-circle, Red Industrie intermixes with genre-bending styles like Futurepop, Electro-Clash, and/or Powernoise to hunt for attention of the international audience. Helder is also world-wide known for his talent to cooperate with international renowned artists for their influence on his compositions. This kind of work could be already noticed under his more Synth-/Electropop-oriented project Isis Signum (check for reviews here on our site'¦) in mutual compositions, remix contributions, or guest vocal appearances. So you can be assured to get a varied Electronica album from Helder with mostly danceable tunes while you should keep in mind that not all of his compositions end in a satisfying result. First of all the foundation is based on minimal EBM / Electropop structures on nearly every track. Guitars provided in a pathetic Rock-Music manner are seemingly an allowed music-instrument to use ('(D)ark Angel', 'Still Breathing'), but this element is seemingly a matter of taste. It also needs to be said that there are out there more talented vocalists and lyricists than Helder is actually capable to deliver. His 'messages' out of his lyrically content dealing with fetishes, control, censorship and rebellion are mostly slogan-likes shouts with a plain meaning. There can be at times extracted the tacky suspicion, that this album 'lives' from the guest appearances and their talents, because the best and most satisfying results belong to the collaborative tracks like the nice pads / bass-line sequences of 'Kathy's Song (Apoptygma Berzerk cover)', or the noise patterns of 'Fetiche Futuro (feat. H.I.V.+)'. As far as remixes go, the worlds' most hired remixer alive, Mr. Peter Rainman (People Theatre)' adds a post-modern outfit and adds his voice for a few parts on the already mentioned cover 'Kathy's Song', while Dark Control Operation know perfectly how to program a badass bass-line on 'Fetiche Futuro'. Also the further remixes of Tourdeforce, LA-X, Tecnoman SF, Neikka RPM, and Matsfer provide satisfaction and compensate for the almost average own compositions. 'Censored' as a whole album is a two-sided sword and it needs an open mind to accept the complete content. In the first instance it looks a bit like overkill to provide 18 tracks, but since this album touches a lot of diverse styles and offers a lot of Helder's talent to collaborate with musicians out of very different countries, it finally makes sense. If it comes to rate Helder's very own compositions it needs to be said that they aren't cooked with the freshest water available. There's a lot of space for development.
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Artist: Tangent
Title: Transience
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Tympanik Audio comes up with a Netherlands-based project. After their debut release signed to the hard working people of the Dutch Mindtrick Records, this Dutch duo presents us their second full-length album to the US-based No. 1 institution for demanding Ambient/IDM/Electronica music, Tympanik Audio. Label-mastermind Paul Nielsen has had again the right nose for talent, as 'Transience' easily approves. Both band-members, Robbert Kok and Ralph van Reijendam, present us their eclectic and eerie form of post-modern Ambient-Electronica music, which turns out lesser 'powerful' than mentioned in the accompanied label info-sheet. This duo concentrates to produce icy and filmic sounding Electronica-/Ambient-soundscapes which got supported by abrasive and at times noisy rhythmic elements which can be found in several related IDM- / Glitch-productions. That doesn't mean that Tangent have to be reduced to be a copy-cat. It's rather the opposite, but Tangent stands for another example that it is nearly impossible to search out the true pearls out of the mass of mediocrity when it comes to point on the rhythmically part of a production. A track like the opener 'Drifting Frontiers' lives essentially of its ongoing addition of those experimental sound collages until the scattering percussion set joins the scenario. 'Sublimated' is more accessible rhythmically, it even offers linearity, but it too points out, that Tangent's music scores the most with their crystal-clear produced Electronica- / Synthesizer soundscapes. Also worth a mention is 'Shattered' with its plain starting lo-fi synth-drops and the ongoing abrasive percussion set until the Gridlock-like, ice-cold pads drive this track. To follow the lost piano drops produced under large hall reverb-effects in 'Radiating Singularity' is another thrilling experience worth to discover. With the track 'Bloom' there came up hopes that the whole sound-environment would change to a warmer, friendlier tone, but also this bloom rather acts like an ice-flower. So the whole album is not at all a new collection of more or less rhythmically Noise-tracks, which would work well in the clubs. It is rather a precisely and fascinating produced album of futuristic, icy soundscapes which need a bit free time to catch the whole content. It is definitely not the soundtrack for plain background entertainment, but throughout an enlightening album and an ideal addition to the Tympanik-roster.
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Artist: The Smiling Buddhas
Title: The Alps
Format: CD
Label: base (@)
Rated: *****
I could guess that Austrian composer Fadi Dorninger aka Hun-Fa-Di, one of the men together with John Fitzpatrick behind the curtains of The Smiling Buddhas, could have an instinctive penchant for the research of something above the lines and the challenge against altitude sickness that he gushes on this release both under the musical viewpoint and the "conceptual" one, where elevations of his native country got linked to the attempts of overtaking stylistical fences by flavoring his sonic explorations (or I'd rather say his sonic translation of a journey in the native region of Austrian Alps) by means of the audible impressions of his experience in the field of OST and music for theatre: for instance on the opening track "Snow Melt and Wet Avalanches", he turns an imaginary xylophone-like sound that could come from crystal drops over icy keyboard into a dub-oriented dance of electronic bleeps, where the majesty of Alps peeps out of a mellow drumming before getting compeltely unveiled in all its scenic splendor by sturdy synth-boom on the contemplative "Wintersun". The Smiling Buddhas renders the vertigo and the excited palpitation which precedes a ski slope into sound on "Seconds Before Skiing Down Steep!", the concern for intense electrical activity and a vague sense of disorientation nearby the safe mountain refuge of Studlhutte on the cushioned techno song of "Thunder and Lighting near Studlhutte", the creaking of wooden celing of an isolated hut under heavy snow drifts on "Snow Snow Snow", a thrilling skydown with Firngleiter on "Skiing Down Grosser Sonnblick (9941 ft.altitude)" and the rocky behemoth of Eiger notorious northface on "Nordwand", whose choirs and acid techno lines evoke its mortal shadows - many climbers died after they fell from its steep walls - , while the final track "Falling" is a soundtrack of Fadi's only fall into the rope experience, where you can vividly feel his levels of adrenalin!
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