Music Reviews



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Artist: Innode
Title: Gridshifter
Format: 12"
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Have you ever thought that grid could be one of the apterrepresentation of the point of intersection between human and non-human, organic and inorganic, natural and artificial? We drive on grids of asphalt, we grab energy from electricity grid, we delimit properties (one of the most artificial and intrusive human inventions...) by grids, we are nothing but points on grid lines to the peeking eyes of a satellite, we adore our favorite actors and actresses over grids of pixels, we listen our favorite musics throughout grids, we live into grids of steel and reinforced concrete and so on. We even eat grids if you think about Belgian waffles! Jokes aside, grids could be considered as the visual display of ordering human-like principle and its almost unavoidable imperfections as its intrinsic phallacy. The above-mentioned bugs could be the conceptual framework, the nous or maybe the cognitive compass of this project by Radian and Lokai co-founder Stefan Nemeth, which blends silence and noise, electronic and acoustic, human and not-human together with the support Bernard Breuer (Elektro Guzzi, Tumido), whose mechanical drumming overlaps the geometrical drum machines and the sudden crackles by Nemeth on the two parts of "Dedispersion" and Steven Hess (Locrian, Pan-American, Cleared), who extemporizes impressive drumming sets by hitting objects within clumps of granular sounds and raw waveforms on B side. There's not a really audible discrepancy between instruments and electronics over the ten tracks of this wisely titled "Gridshifter" even when the sources are clearly distinguishable so that this elemental amalgamation of rhythm and noise, where the knitting of electronic and human seems to slacken the illusory rigidity of the grids, sounds cohesive and somehow intriguing, paricularly on tracks where this sort of sonic deixis and noisy epistrophe is more accentuated such as the above mentioned "Dedispersion I" and "Dedispersion II" (all titles are somehow related to navigation systems), "FS Revisited", "Gridshifter 05", the burnt hypnotic circling saturations of "Cumbre Vieja", the oblique glossy sonorities of "Skatterakt" and "Peano". Nemeth himself describes the idea behind Innode in his description of the cover artwork: "These arrays, or biochips, are samples of DNA laid out as a series of microscopic spots bound to a small glass slide. Corresponding images look highly organized, but show a lot of tiny imperfections at the same time...this fact makes them especially interesting for me". That's a quite fascinating way to contextualize Innode's catchy sonic dynamics.
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Artist: The Unkindness Of Ravens
Title: Virus
Format: CD
Label: Sonic Fire
Rated: *****
After releasing several singles, the duo formed by Ben Raine and Nina Wagner a.k.a. The Unkindness Of Ravens, released their debut album in May 2012 on digital format. Now, one year after, they are releasing that album titled "Virus" on CD thanks to a distribution deal with Pale Music International. Formed in 2009, the duo, decided since the early days to go minimal and to use only a bass and a drum machine as weapons to help the charismatic voice of Nina. Mixing garage rock and post wave, the nine tracks of the album recall bands of the likes of The Kills and The White Stripes without sounding like those. Having a sound formed by few elements, it's obvious that they had to find a way to fill the tracks with interesting elements and to catch such a target they used different way of filtering the bass guitar and used more than a melodic line here and there, pumped the drum beats (it sounds compressed and powerful), filled the tracks with catchy melodies and, last but not least, using Nina voice which is really expressing and sounds right for rock and blues atmospheres. The album sounds fine and powerful but I think that they may sound best live as on record the songs sound rich but I think that on a gig they could sound more dynamic.
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Artist: Huminoida
Title: Mystic Summer
Format: 10"
Label: Out Of Range Records (@)
Rated: *****
After two years from the release of Huminoida's first album "Whiter Album", Kimmo Karjalainen is back with a new 10" EP titled "Mystic Summer". Available as a limited run of 200 10"/CDr set, the EP contains three new songs ("Waves", "She Said" and "The Boatman") plus a new version of the "Whiter Album" closing track "Time And Space" and a remix of the same re-worked by Flux Fin (you can find this one only on the CDr), project of Ville Brusi, guy who collaborated with Kimmo when he was in Neuroactive. The new version of "Time And Space" is pretty similar to the original one and the remix is sounding like a mix of synthpop and 90s e.b.m. (do you remember Apoptygma Berzerk?). It mixes dance attitude, melody and bouncing 4/4 rhythms, creating a nice contrast with Kimmo's deep vocals. "Waves" is the first unreleased song and it's a mid tempo electronic wave with in front vocals, drums and lead synths. "She Said", in my opinion, is the best track of the EP, thanks to it's early John Foxx atmospheres, its dark touch and the alternation of synth lines which underlines the catchy moments. "The Boatman" is a dark atmospheric tune with synth and piano and with its particular dissonant passages, seems a synthpop version of a John Carpenter's track. Eerie synthpop could be a nice new thing and Huminoida would be perfect for this! You can check all the tracks and purchase the set or the digital release at this page http://huminoida.bandcamp.com/album/mystic-summer-ep
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Artist: Francisco Lopez + Luca Sigurtà
Title: Erm
Format: CD
Label: frattonove (@)
Rated: *****
The very first minutes of the first acousmatic 27 minutes lasting suite by renowned Spanish sound-artist Francisco Lopez smacks of summer more than those summer hits some phone company or some brand which produces suntans or ice creams seasonally inoculate or impose upon people (or I'd rather say targets or potential customers...) in order to strenghten their visual branding: the initial red-hot summer breeze, the death throes of whirring mosquitoes or other flying insects after getting entrapped in the killing electrified web of those killer racket, the noise of a ceiling fan, the boiling water in the radiator overflow, the fading hubbub of a crowd which looks for good bargain prices of floral clothes an leisure suits, the electric hiss of a power line, which crosses a forgotten land and getting confused with chattering insects come into eardrums before the sudden withering appearance of a ghostly metallic sound (supposedly from an air-conditioning system...) stops the idyll. All kidding aside, the Spanish composer confirms his reputation as a talented sonic director by means of a wise plot of attacks, pitches, decays and delays. The peculiarity of this "split" release is its starting poitn, as both Francisco and young Italian sound-artists Luca Sigurta' assembled their sonic buildings from the same building material, but whereas Francisco preferred a sort of batch processing on "Untitled 294", Luca dissolved each samples into a sort of amniotic fluid on his "Eaves" and suffocates any source of noise into a rising silence, which gradually floods in the whole sonic space. Two different and very interesting strategies of filling sonic sphere unfold from the same inputs.
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Artist: Mampi Swift
Title: Soldiers/The Silence
Format: 12"
Label: Mampi Swift Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Philip Anim, better known as Mampi Swift, doesn't really need any introduction as he's a living legend of drum'n'bass scene since the times (early nineties) when he forged proper sonic pearls in his little studio inside Lucky Spin record shop, where he used to work together with in house enginnerr Pete Parsons aka Voyager. On this first release for his new self-named imprint, which ideally adjoins his other notorious labels (Charge Recordings and Blade Recordings), his touch or I'd call it better his style he described as "plain rolling" is quite distinguishable, but his notorious hooking twist of simple bashes, dry hits and heavy distorted basslines got refurbished by a more epic and somehow apocalyptic aura on the warlike tune "Soldiers" where a dark organ appears and even by a sinister gothic spark on "The Silence", which features a dulcimer together the other drilling sonic elements who take part to the fast crazy race of this amazing tune. Keep an eye and an eardrum on big Mampi!
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