Music Reviews



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Artist: Luc Ferrari - GOL / Brunhild Meyer-Ferrari
Title: Tautologos III / Havresac
Format: CD
Label: Éditions Piednu (@)
Distributor: metamkine
The third part of Tautologos (1969) was the conclusive moment of a creative process that Luc Ferrari, the co-founder of Groupes De Recherches Musicales as well as one of my favorite representative of that forerunning circle and maybe the less hard-shell of the forefathers of the so-called musique concrete compared to more elitarian opinions like the one by Pierre Boulez according to which all those who approached the genre cannot be philistine improvisors with any notions of composition or musical scoring, started in 1961. On its text score, Luc Ferrari just gave some performative instructions and explained the meaning of this process: the performers or the Tautologuers, as Luc wrote, may use their own instruments, contact or traditional microphones or any other object, which could be just amplified or transformed in a different way so that there is no real limitations to the number and the kind of instruments; each Tautologuer must choose an Action, whose length should be shorter than the silent moments, whose alternation is almost endless and manages to generate a proper loop according to a diffeent combination of seven features ("duree, registre, dynamique, caractere, timbre, evolution, vitesse), but each loop should not be like a "mechanical construction" so that each musician/Tautologuer had to focus on a sort of communicational instinct. According to Luc's own words: "C'est seulement cet etat de concentration-communication qui creera un climat ayant une signification, et qui illustrera le phenomene tautologique comme un phenomene issu de la vie ; et, tautologiquement, votre...'¦qu'il y ait un tel nombre d'elements tautologiques dans les domaines les plus divers et avec des moyens les plus varies, que s'ecroulent pour un moment les murs absurdes que la "civilisation" nous impose". This concept got perfectly interpreted by very special Tautologuers like Brunhild Meyer-Ferrari, former Luc's wife, who manages to evoke a wide range of emotional states by her own voice, and GOL, the electroacoustic trio by Jean-Marcel Busson (charango, Luxonic and Metacrakle), Frederic Rebotier (male voice saying that "da da da" you are going to hear, clarinet, metallic candy box and torn paper) and Ravi Shardja (electric mandolin, bass, transverse flute, sanza): the sudden appearance of occasional toytronic cymbals which surmise those cymbal-banging monkey toys and the general dynamics with many sonic entities which soulds like been coughed could let you imagine a journey inside those fun-fair haunted houses, but the alternation of sonic sketches is really psychotropic as well as in line with Luc's rules. They also included another amazing improvisation hat got titled "Havresac" (French foir "haversack", but also a reference to the city where it was recorded), where the role of electronics and resounding objects on the sonic set got somehow highlighted. An unmissable release for all those who love musique concrete, electroacoustic improvisation as well as for all those who are just neophytes of this creative wellspring.
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Artist: Koolmorf Widesen
Title: JX​-​EP
Format: Tape
Label: Wil-Ru Records
Rated: *****
Koolmorf Widesen is the musical project of Leonardo Barbadoro, a guy who lives in Florence who has released in the latest seven years two albums "Koolmorf Widesen" and "Melodies Fork Now" for ECG and EVES respectively. "JX'-'EP" is his latest release and it has been issued by Wil-Ru Records on tape. Influenced by IDM, glitch, ambient, electro, breakcore, jungle, acid techno and experimental music, Leonardo on "JX'-'EP" offers five new tracks that mix all these elements into a energetic mix that would excite every fan of electro music. Just to name few names that popped up into my head while listening to these tracks, I can name Aphex Twin (the analord EPs), CN or DMX Krew. "Zeleny Acid", "Natt", "7", "Night147" and "PS-5" are based on melodic sequences that are enriched by chopped rhythmical complex patterns, analog chirping sounds, soft pads and dark atmospheres. I like the way Leonardo build the tracks with those melodic lines leading the listener while other rhythmical inserts "attack" the core creating a controlled chaotic effect. Check yourselves what you shouldn't miss, here http://koolmorfwidesen.bandcamp.com/album/jx-ep
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Artist: Factory Acts (@)
Title: Thirst
Format: CD EP
Label: AnalogueTrash Records (@)
Distributor: Trashdigital / Bandcamp
Rated: *****
This new 4-track EP-release by the Manchester-based Electronica-label AnalogueTrash continues with the label policy to sign on unusual, but artistically remarkable music-projects with an edgy mind. The female/male duo Factory Acts out of Salford surely counts to this rule and provides us their label debut. Both band members, Susan O'Shea (vocals, synths) and Matt Davies (bass, beat-work) provide us their colourful mutation out of sinister Dark Electro arrangements with the euphoric inventions of the Post-Punk influenced New Wave culture. 'They exist at the edge of the analogue-digital divide, sometimes dreaming, always dancing', so a well-fitting phrase taken out of their info-sheet. So this isn't at all the usual growling Puppy-an Dark Electro you're maybe familiar with, it is more an exploration of darker, analogue synthesizer sounds, which transport the nostalgic mood of the early 80s. Susan O'Shea's vocal performance stands for an extra remarkable point in the music of Factory Arts. She doesn't provide that faceless, Pop-dolly-like Mainstream-format suitable for the MTV- / Viva-youth, but rather surprises with an emotional, at times haunting performance. The mood of the depending track matters a lot and since the music of Factory Arts is more alternatively oriented, it shouldn't surprise that Susan's timbre turns out differently. The signing on Factory Acts and as far as this only 4 tracks allow a valid judgement is a courageous one for AnalogueTrash Records, because this project can not be sorted into one single category. So maybe diversity is their game-winning attitude? It's a promising and a good 4-track-starter EP, but let's wait and see what they can do for our entertainment with a hopefully soon to be released full-length album.
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Artist: Ben Jacov
Title: Transalp EP
Format: 12"
Label: Doumen Records (@)
Rated: *****
The traffic of promotional releases on my desk and inside my hi-fi system sometimes mulches and hides some sonic pearls like this ep from Berlin-based young producer Ben Jacov. His biography on Soundcloud which quotes the 14th paragraph of Pessoa's "The Book of Disquiet" could turn up the noses of all those ones who knows the poetics of the Portuguese poet as its evolution is more "linear" than cyclic, but it could fit the crepuscolar framework as well as an abstract malaise that Ben manages to pour into his loops. His style squeezes both some bordeline sonorities that masters like Burial injected in their own music and the instantaneous emotional hooks that some contemporary electronic knights such as Trentemoller or Moderat exploited to harpoon mainstream: the tubular organ-like cement as well as the electronic metallophones on "Ipsaa" and "Notturno Lucis" - a song whose intensity got highlighted by graceful voice of Nada Aiko and a sort of resounding howling - smell like the above-mentioned possible influences, while the title track is maybe the less surprising track - it could be good for the empteenth Buddha Bar compilation, but it's nothing particularly original -. Traces of tech house spots the clockwork of "Weeg", the first track of B-side, while "Yelltu Riekk" dunks Ben's supposed disquiet into a somewhat transcendental pool and the final "Tessera Lepta" sounds like the rendering of some enlighted brainwave or uprising resolution by means of sounds which are close to struck matchsticks, occasional claps, uplifting pads and quietest atmospheres. Regarding my delay, this release got launched last spring, but its melancholic nuances could be better for an autumnal playlist.
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Artist: Lean Left
Title: Live at Area Sismica
Format: CD
Label: Unsounds (@)
Rated: *****
I guess that if a seismologist listens this live recording (the second one on Unsounds catalogue after the one at Cafe' Oto, London) at Area Sismica, a nice place in Forli', Italy, where the noisy collision by The Ex former guitarist Terrie Ex and Andy Moor, the hectic drummer Paal Nilssen Love and the brilliant jazz composer Ken Vandermark, who played a baritone saxo, a tenor saxophone, a bass clarinet and a phone, held the final incendiary date of a very long tour on 22nd September 2012, the day when Ken celebrated his 48th birthday, he would include their opening tuning as possible earthquake precursors together with radon emission, variations of the ratio between the velocity of seismic primary and secondary waves, electro-magnetic variations, fits of pique by barking dogs and nervously croaking frogs! Four minutes of somewhat menacing tuning precede the moment when Lean Left begins to frack the grounds of free jazz on "Traitors Head", whose lava flow and lapilli placidly merge into "Moti", where you can almost envisage and smell the smoke from charred underbush, volcanic ashes and the slow fiery run of lava rivers which etorts the first clapping by lucky audience. The clapping sounds more enthusiastic at the end of the two following long-lasting eruptions that they conveniently named after two volcanoes, "Terpuk" - the moment when their technical skills reaches the acme - and "South Sister", whose churning explosions are so intense that a chilling break on "Cleft Segment" is almost a necessity before the final fury of "Gada Ale". Really incandescent live-session!
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