Music Reviews



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Artist: Yasunao Tone / Talibam! / Sam Kulik (@)
Title: Double Automatism
Format: 12"
Label: Karlrecords (@)
Rated: *****
A solid bridge betwen generations of freeform-noise shapers with an incursion of an instrument - it won't sound so strange the moment you'll understand what I'm going to introduce - move the cogs of this "Double Automatism". The first connection is the one that the polymorphic avant-rock band Talibam! made when they invited the legendary noise-shaper Yasunau Tone, one of the most corrosive and evergreen (he's 80yrs old, folks!) footslogger of the so-called Fluxus neo-Dadaist movement, who shows a lucidity in destroying sounds off that could be compared to the destructive/deconstructive instinct of a baby. Talibam!, who have already hacked up many free-jazz and noisy blood on some of their past releases (the ones who know the sonic loose cannons by Ed Bear, Kevin Shea and Matt Mottel could imagine "Double Automatism" as a sort of digital transubstantiation of some ideas they collected on "Ordination Of The Globetrotting Conscripts") met the Japanese mastermind when they were asked to re-interpret Tone's graphic scores and game pieces on the occasion of the Japan 195570 avantagarde exhibition at NYC MOMA. Six months after that meeting, the trio invited Tone to record session and in order to accelerate the entropy of the possible final result, they also asked to trombonist Sam Kulik to join the session. Kulik's trombone sounds like the secret spice of the explosive fluid they made: on the first track "Op Apsis", the dampened tones coming from his instrument sound like an Alka-Seltzer in the devasted guts of someone who ate an entire buffalo who, in turn, ate contaminated grass growing over a landfill of computar parts, while it sounds like get up the guts on the following "Spome Trope" on B-side, a likewise corrosive track on the tight rope between wonder and total madness, where some electronics seem to make way for some phrasing by Sam Kulik. "Double Automatism" is one of those once-in-a-lifetime listening experience that should be tested by any kind of listener, a little bit like bungee-jumping! I assume no responsability for any permanent damage to your central nervous system. Terms and conditions apply!
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Artist: IKB Ensemble
Title: Rhinocerus
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
When I introduced "Monochrome Bleu Sans Titre", the first release by this supergroup of improvisational musicians, I tried to explain the possible conceptual connection with so-called "nouveau realisme", an artistic movement whose co-founder, the Frenck pinter Yves Klein, gave the name to the kind of blue (International Kein Blue) that this ensemble used to name itself. Even if rhino was one of the animal that often appeared on the artistic producetion of painters and sculptors which can be filed under that movement, some aspects of this 40-minutes lasting session that got recorded by Carlos Santos and Nuno Morao at Panteo Nacional during the "Escuta Profunda" festival in Lisbon on 25th May 2014 make me think of the notorious piece by Eugene Ionesco, maybe the most emblematic oevre of the so-called 'theatre of the absurd', where the sudden appearance of a running rhino in the main square of a quiet French town so tha it manages to have an inflence on the conversational matters of a group of friends which was sitting and drinking according to a social ritual that keeps on lasting till our days. Little by little, they will transform into that strange animal till the moment whe the only guest - a metaphor of free thinker - who was not turned into a rhino yet, asks himself if it was better to keep his own semblance or adapt to the absurd metamorphosis of his companions. This metaphor of the cultural homologation by totalitarian monsters becomes the stage where the extremely deep identity crisis is the real main charater of the plot. The connection between that great piece by Ionesco and IKB Ensemble's recording is simple: even if there are a great number of performers, including Ernesto Rodrigues (baritone violin), Marian Yanchyk (violin), Guilherme Rodrigues (cello), Miguel Mira (double bass), Antonio Chaparreiro (electric guitar), Yaw Tembe (trumpet), Bruno Parrinha (clarinet, alto clarinet), Nuno Torres (alto saxophone), Joao Silva (Shruti box, Tibetan bell), Maria Radich (voice), Armando Pereira (accordion), Carlos Santos (computer, speaker), Nuno Morao (percussion, objects) and Jose Olieira (pecussion, objects), each instrument sounds like having lost their identity and cannot be easily distinguished in the elusive and subtly pervasive evanescence of a constant resounding, which seems to annihilate their single voices...
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Artist: Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy (@)
Title: Sintetizzatrice
Format: CD
Label: Spectrum Spools
Rated: *****
A sense of disconnection, a certain depressed mood, an impetuous urge to give voice to the deepest cave of her soul which turns into astonishing metamormophosis, which often shows emphatically heartfelt memories of her native land or touching transmutations, are some of the main features of this excellent specimen by Italian vocalist Anna Caragnano, whose voice is the only input for electronic modelling by Spectrum Spools veteran Donato Dozzy. Her voice seems to resurface with grace from the chaotic cloud of the opening "Introduzione". The very first tracks are not so original: "Starcloud" is closer to some 90ies stuff such as Beaumont Hannat's manipulation of Lida Husik's ethereal vocals and the following "Luci" is more or less on the same wavelength. The listening experience becomes more and more interesting as you go along since "Fraledune", the moment when a certain disquiet and a bewildered mood, highlighted by a sad whispering, which evokes the image of a lonely traveller, makes their entrance. The guttural hiccup and the sinister murmurs of "Parallelo" feature the most "gothic" moment of the record, while the "rhythmical" acme got reached on the following "Parola" - my favorite track of "Sintetizzatrice" - where the almost obsessive repetition of some Italian meaningful words ("profondo" - deep -, "promessa" - promise -, "parola" - word -, "protetta" - protected -, "pensiero" - thought - and so on), which render an intricate verbal grid by means of the repetition of "P" and "R" consonants. "Festa (A Mottola)" refers to the smallest village nearby Taranto, where Caragnano and Dozzy's mother were born, by means of an interesting evocation of so-called "pizzica" sound, and precedes the stifling atmosphere of "Love Without Sound", the most depressed moment before the final catharsis of "Conclusione". Really good debut!
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Artist: Erik Friedlander
Title: Nothing on Earth - soundtrack
Format: CD
Label: SkipStone Records (@)
Rated: *****
The expedition in the enchanting Greenland by Mick Abrams and Aussie photographer Murray Fredericks was more intended to the research of the beauty that its nature can offer rahter than an adventurous challenge to its wildest forces on the geographical and thermal boundaries of our planet, even if long-lasting explorations of the frozen tundra of the Greenland Icecap are extreme experiences. The music that New York-based cellist Erik Friedlander made for "Nothing on Earth", the documentary that followed this expedition, manages to render such an aim as well as the attempt of focusing on the inhabitants of those regions and such an emotional rendering occurs in spite of the fact that listeners could sometimes confuse some tracks coming from the perfect matching of the masterfully strokes on cello strings by Erik, the touching accordion and the light-handed piano improvisations by Shoko Nagai as well as the soulful percussions by Satoshi Takeishi - they are performing together as Black Phoebe - as something coming from warmer regions: if it wasn't for some sonic clues such as the arctic wind which seems to blow over "Ryder" - all the titles have been named after places or villages in Greenland - or some reverberations which gives the impression the instruments got played in arctic rarefied air ("Ingia", "Nuuk"), it seems to listen some stuff by Badalamenti, Bacalov or even by some Mexican or Andalusian guitar players on the verge of freezing point. All those listeners who could expect Inuit chants in a record about arctic adventures could consider this aspect as a slight imperfection, but I think that some enjoyable similarities could rather serve as a beautiful warming coat or maybe as that instinct of human and animal nature which tend to find relief or maybe just some heating in extreme circumstances and a musical hug like the one by Erik and his musical companions can suit such an instinct.
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Artist: Rasmus Fisker
Title: Hydra
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: clang (@)
Rated: *****
Following a brief review about Danish producer Lars Graugaard, another release from that musically interesting region that has recently landed on clang's catalogue is the one by Rasmus Fisker aka Sykofant. The music by this guy, who already received some grants by Danish Arts Foundation despite his young age, gives "a nostalgic nod to the past", according to the introduction by the young label under the wise managing of Kaylee Wesley Pearson and listeners can easily notice some similarities with the sound of that kind of electronics in between downbeat, dub and glitch-idm coming from labels like City Centre Offices, Nonplace, Plug Research, Wichita, Obliq, Hydrogen Dukebox, WMF or Wichita at the dawn of the third millenium (you could check some stuff from Dntel, Static, Multicast, Metamatics, Nikakoi and so on) as well as the vaguely "wrinkled" nuance of some sonic clues such as the harpshicord on the beginning of "Hemis" or the piano melody over the noise of rustling film on "interlude", but Rasmus manages to avoid repeating gradient using detailed layers and a constant change of sonic palette, which sounds closer to the notorious glitch aesthaetics, based on the preservation of supposed mistakes or imperfections as a key element of the composition. This is the main hook which makes the listening experiences he speads on the ten tracks of "Hydra" really immersive - immersion is the leitmotiv and the keyword which inspired the eight compositions and the two improvisations of the album - and enjoyable for listeners who are looking for enthralling rhythmical patterns and sonic layers, which sound rich in variations and details.
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