Music Reviews



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Artist: Gerwin (@)
Title: Against The Clock/See Thru My Eyes
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: IM:Ltd (@)
Distributor: Triple Vision
Rated: *****
One of the top scorers of renowned hyperkinetic French dnb label IM:Ltd, Bordeaux-based dj and producer Gerwin, outdoes himself by signing another great release, which is arguably his cutting-edge at the moment together with the collaborative track "Lying Portraits". The atmospheric introduction, lying on trembling suspenseful sonorities, ends with a sharpened sine wave, which often recurs on this ideal fight against time on "Against the Clock" and ignites an engaging breakbeat-oriented stride, which got strengthened by a minblowing ultra-low-pitched sub-bass, metallic suctions, stretched clicks and a vocal sample, which will make you think about the strain of such a tiring struggle. On the flipside, "See Thru My Eyes" sounds equally winsome by means of hypnotical sliding bass tones, vocal fragments, cavernous effects, slamming hits and temporary "exotic" intervals, but it seems that Gerwin preferred to emphasize the cinematic aspect, which could you let think about the fighter of the previous track, who ask his imaginary opponent or maybe the listener to inspect his soul thereupon he absorbed all shocks of last-gasp fight. Did he win? Who knows! In the meanwhile, just enjoy this contagious last ditch effort. This release is just digital at the moment, but I could surmise that vinyl will follow.
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Artist: Lord Tang (@)
Title: s/t
Format: 12"
Label: Alarm (@)
Rated: *****
This self-named debut release by Lord Tang, the recent brainchild from Dominic Cramp's recording studio, jacks in vintage sonic equipment, which he uses to squeeze some juicy arrangments whose aftertaste recalls old glorious dub stuff as well as some electronic declension, and some elements (pleated and singed sonorities, obscure electronic entities, seemingly aimless vocal interferences of paranoid ramblings and field recordings), which could be clasped to Cramp's other projects (in particular Borful Tang) and similar sonic mounts, which combine a taste for modern compositional strategies and aged hooks (Digital Mystikz, Zomby, Demlike Stare), but Lord Tang hushes samples up and prefers to grate delicious melodic lines from old synths and catchy rhythmic pattern from drum machines. After the initial shining "Fog", he jogs on reversed groove by the caustic "Defections", drags shell-shock atmospheres, which could resemble some stuff by Future Sound of London, towards gluey jellied sludge on "Thang" - one of my favorite track -, fries ping pong balls into boiling soup of dub pieces of meat, sinisterly gnashes claps and bleeps on the dour "Friends" (featuring Gollum on mic?), frothes narcotic suds on "Slumberer", injects entrancing organ-driven tearing melodies in the veins on the beautiful "My Dub Uncle" - another highlight of this release - before suppurating pure dub nostalgia and plangently warm heavyweight bass in order to propel mental spacewalks as a good strategy to dissolve physical and spiritual restrictions of "real" world on the final "Smalls". That's a good release to remove muck-up out of dubster's ears.
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Artist: Jacob Kirkegaard (@)
Title: Conversion
Format: 12"
Label: Touch (@)
Rated: *****
The spreading of crossbred genres like the so-called narrative ambient must not let you think about a new branch of ambient with relations to philosophers, as some people could envisage after reading the title of this release and the name of its author: it's possible that the notorious religious author, theologian, philosopher and poet Soren Aabye Kierkegaard could be an ancestor of Jacob Kierkegaard as they both come from Denamrk and Jacob's maverick sonic research could recall the definition of genius by his possible forefather, who wrote that "geniuses are like thunderstorms ­ they go against the wind, terrify people, cleanse the air", but this album has nothing to do with his conversion or any other religious theme, even if any possible hidden meaning of "Conversion" could be considered as holy to a certain extent. Jacob's aesthetics and compositional methods are quite outside the box indeed and this release with converted version of a couple of bizarre projects from his previous releases confirms his eccentricity. He decided to translate "Labyrinthitis", a piece which was the recording of oto-acoustic tones generated from Jacob's ears (...have you ever imagined to listen the ear of a musician?), into musical language with the help of Scenatet ensemble and the resulting "inverted" canon, which sounds not so different from some works by Gyorgy Ligeti such as "Lontano" or "Atmospheres") is so catchy that it could be considered a sort of enrapturing tribute to the intimate and mysterious wonder of hearing. A similar process of refurbishment has been applied to "Church", a track built on the sounds taken from an abandoned church within the contaminated area of Chernobyl: the first part of this second version is quite close to the original one, but the instrumental ensemble gradually rises and blends into the heady radioactive organ-like drone as if it were the chant of some spiritual inhabitant of that holy place after mutation.
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Artist: Jim Haynes (@)
Title: The Wires Cracked
Format: 12"
Label: Mego (@)
Rated: *****
A sudden crack of a gas-filled tube, the resulting high-pressure spurts, the gradual reaching of saturation level and the activation of the alarm system on the initial track "Oscar" introduces this release on renowned Austrian label Editions Mego by San Francisco-based versatile artist Jim Haynes, who already applied the principles of his artistic research, which he summarize by the formula "I rust things", focused on graphical experiments of "corrosion" of photographic images and investigations into rust and decay. He explains such an interesting multimedia transposition of his work, he said: "I have focused on how decay parallels and relates to the perception of time when cycles of activity dwindle toward stasis. While I still incorporate much of the visual sensibilities from those aforementioned processes, sound has emerged as a central medium for my current installations and performances. Drawing from shortwave radio static, electric field disturbances, controlled feedback manipulation, and numerous textural scrapings, I manifest a broken minimalism whose magnetic drones give the impression of timelessness, when in fact the environment is quite active. This engineering of disparate materials and media seeks to evince the unpredictability of decay, to manifest its potential for a rough hewn beauty, and to bare witness to its inevitability.". Based on some recordings he made in a couple of weeks in October 2012, the following long-lasting track, "X-Ray" and "November", could be imagined as the after-shock sonic description of the above-mentioned explosion: static cold hisses, frozen gearwheels, spectral death raffles of withering machines, asphyxiating obfuscations, mist-shrouded beeps utter the atrophy of an imaginary industrial giant in unison and implicitly forewarns listeners of the rising hope for renewal...
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Artist: Pavla Mikulasova (@)
Title: Mirror
Format: CD
Label: Decadance Records (@)
Rated: *****
Even though I cannot say it's original at all, this debut release by Czech-born and Italy-based singer and pianist Pavla Mikulasova is quite palatable and the main reason is the element the entire album has been focused on, Pavla's voice, which sounds mellow, emotionally intense and evocative enough. She decided to graft her vocal cords on a stylistical soil which is not virgin at all and this is maybe the main defect of this record, despite the fact that she manages to resemble some worthy past experiences, such as some stuff from the most seraphic part of the repertory by In The Nursery or Ophelia's Dreams (for instance, songs like "Black Out", "Anonymous day" or "The little angel" could evoke ITN's songs like "Poema", "Hallucinations?" or "Duality"), and sometimes smoke music with blurry reminiscences of folk from Eastern Europe. The persistence of themes like the obsession for the passing of time, which has often been recalled by samples of clockworks and various references in the lyrics, the ephemeral essence of beauty, the melancholic coziness of memories (one of the best song has been dedicated to her grandmother, like the whole album) wink at typical listeners of the genre, but walk on the dangerous edge of hackneyed cliches and even the contribution by guest musician Roberto Conforti (Pulcher Femina), who duets with Pavla on "Overdose" and additional vocals by notorious actress Nastassja Kinski on the meaningful song "The Magic Mirror" don't downsize the above-mentioned risk. Anyway there are both premises and skills for further improvement of the musical framework and I'm pretty sure that many musicians who will discover Mikulasova's voice by means of this record could pursue her for a musical partnership.
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