Music Reviews



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Artist: Download (@)
Title: LingAM
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
The most mischievous listeners with a vague knowledge of Hinduism or just Kamasutra are going to think that the title of the new incendiary album by Download, the amazing project by Kevin Crompton aka cEvin Key - mostly known as one leg of legendary band Skinny Puppy - and Phil "Philth" Western, could refer to the phallic symbol of Shiva and emblem of generative power as well as an idea which could echo something like a downwards load and if you think about a possible contemproary adaptation of that symbol in the guise of a 1/4 in phone connector, such a link could sound somewhat fascinating, but besides any possible display of virility, a title like "lingAM" made me think about a sort of self awareness of their intrinsic value and stylistical eminence since Download's technical mastery with frequencies and electronics, which sometimes are like part of difficult codes, could be more associated with oratorical skills so that they proficiently work on a lingo they perfectly know. They lower start up lever on the initial title-track where the first elements of this electrically boiled soup they serve resurface from the bottom of sonic hoards, which draw on many stylistical basins - techno, goa-trance, electro, abstract electronics, toytronics, IDM, broken beats, ambient... -, whereas any following movement earmarks sonic recipes for unexpected ascetic and ascending pleasing moments as well as listening reminiscences: from Chemical Bros., which sound evoked over the listening of the overcharged "AAARD", to Underworld's "Beaucup Fish", which could come to mind while listening to "Duppy", from psychedelic hooks of FSOL, which could appear in the electrical storms of "Saw Crust", to Skinny Puppy's first experiments, which come out here and there over the whole album. The tracks like "Yoni", Blotch" where beat-driven concatenations hack the listening sphere up by speading wisely inoculated meditative moments, as if rhythm acts like a battery charger for mental right ascension, and the lysergic activated sludges of "INAGE MAntra", "PiLLAR" or "JirAFFE from the planet Sanders" are maybe the most pleasing moments and the best propellers for listener's imagination.
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Artist: Novi_sad (@)
Title: Neuroplanets
Format: CD
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
The elective correlation between music, science and mathematics has already been widely canonized and this match has been an almost protocol conceptual framework for a plenty of electronic musicians so that many listeners and reviewers could considered it as a sort of cubbyhole; "Neuroplanets", the new project by Thanasis Kaproulias aka Novi_sad released for Sub Rosa's New Series Framework collection, seems to go beyond a merely conceptualen closure by focusing on the modeling of sonic raw material, which got provided by master craftsmen of sound like Bj Nilsen, Daniel Menche, Francisco Lopez and Mika Vainio, on the basis of applied data and numerical analysis of researches in the fascinating fields of neuroscience and astronomy. The unavoidable accentuation of the mysterious charm of the four resulting soundscapes intersects the outer reaches of these fast-forwarding and somehow psychedelic branches of human knowledge: the repeated sounds which have been rendered from audio analysis of strange meteorological phenomena on other planets (wind, dust devils and tornadoes on Mars, ghostly planetary plasma waves from NASA, a whistle of ultra-cold liquid helium-3, changing volume relative to the North Pole and the Earth's rotation and decametric noise and radio storms on Jupiter) could let you imagine that what you're listening by means of your headphones is playing on some very distant places at the same time. The initial project should have "sonically" detected only these strange events, but Thanasis decided to augment his excellent work by implementing data from functional anatomy of schizophrenic patients with auditory hallucinations (!), patterns of music agnosia associated with middle cerebral artery infarcts, rightward and leftward bisection biases in spacial neglect and neuroimaging with bipolar disorder and children with serious emotional disturbances. Both the uncommon references and transposition and the quality of sonic artifacts by Novi_sad, which reaches the noisiest peaks on the entrancing tracks commissioned from Lopez and Vainio, deliver many shocking frissons on listener's imagination.
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Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Sonopsies
Format: CD
Label: Cameras Animales (@)
Rated: *****
I've been putting off this review like the last pea on a plate from a dinner that was just too filling. My lack of comprehension of it will become clearer as you read on. 'Sonopsies' is a compilation CD from the French publishing house Caméras Animales, specializing in avant-garde poets, spoken word and multi-media artists, and on this CD, avant garde electronics. The title - Sonopsies = sound autopsies. (A sonopsy is to sounds what an autopsy is to body.) This is a diverse collection of works utterly lacking in any continuity; more like a smorgasbord or tasting party over 16 tracks of unusual, exotic sonic foodstuffs. Unlike food or wine though, where you can appreciate foreign cuisine or beverage without understanding the language, it would be very helpful to have a comprehension of French to get the most out of it. Unfortunately, I don't, which puts me at a disadvantage, and as such, a good portion of my impressions will be cursory and visceral.

SÃomulçi' Gonn'¥c (pseudonym of Jme Gugginø, founder of Awkwardist Productions) opens 'Sonopsies' up with a piece utilizing scattered percussion, some sparse electronics and a computer generated voice reciting a nonsequitious poem in English called 'Cylindricals' but it still comes across as oblique. M. Savant Stifleson (another musical project of Jme Gugginø) offers 'Agglutina,' a chanted phrased in a language I'm unfamiliar with accompanied by trip-hopish percussion and cymbal tones. Kinda neat, more for its tribal sound than any comprehension of it. Méryl Marchetti's 'Impro 1' sounds like a manic story rant in French with chimey things in the background. I'm clueless about this one. R3PLYc4N (Mathias Richard - voice, harmonica, computer) incorporates light repetitive electronic sequenced phrases, breakdrums and other percussion, and barely there vocals to create a surreal dream-like ambience. It totters on the edge of sanity. Flatline Skyline is R. Scott and J. Kemp, and their contribution 'Be Good To Them Always' is trashy 80's, maybe what you'd get if you mixed The Cure and PIL. So far the most comprehensible track on the album, even if the tortured vocal in English is a bit wacked. ElFuego Fatuo is a French-Spanish poetic collective from Barcelona. Their 'Il paraît' incorporates ambient electronics and female spoken word (sometimes electronically processed) in French. I'm lost, for over 9 minutes. M. Savant Stifleson returns with 'epricooprio Prek,' a rhythmically quirky pop tune that sounds pretty cool, often using the title words in the vocal. Mushin offers 'Manifeste Mutantiste' ' female spoken word in French over a varied electro-acoustical soundscape. Would have been meaningful if I knew French, but the soundscape was interesting. Long track at over 10 ½ minutes.

Ichtyor Tides employs dual male/female spoken word (in French, of course) on 'loss/ANGLE\less' with Varèse style electronics and a subtle drone running though it which grows louder towards the end. M. Savant Stifleson returns again with 'bobbledred'd Nature's pre-grim rims, you've prissy inSeenshpí,' another peculiar electronic tune with female vocal that repeats the title over and over. Awkwardist (Jme Gugginø) warps electronics, loops, tapes, and who knows what else in 'jufamil N or N-O'. Forakte begins a western bluesy electric guitar improv intro before launching into an incomprehensible song with vocals somewhere between Beefheart and black metal with some squalling electronics in the background. Just painful. Sun Thief is the ritual drone and atmospheric project of Adam Wetterhan (from Columbus, Ohio) and offers a magnificent track titled 'Saturnalia (Lights Return)'. It begins as a cosmic soundscape and evolves into something more melodically musical with electronic organ leading the way over a percussion track. It's a rich pastiche of black light stoner music. Pass the bong please. Méryl Marchetti reprises with 'Impro 2' which is similar to 'Impro 1' although less manic and just spoken word this time. 'Any Elk' is yet another kooky electronic pop tune by M. Savant Stifleson, and of course, 'Any Elk' appears plenty of times in the lyrics. Last track is by Thierry Théolier who recites his diatribe (yes, of course in French) over a percussion loop laced with staticy and distorted noise elements.

Jme Gugginø seems to dominate the compilation purely on the amount of tracks, which in a way, turns out not to be a bad thing as they are some of the most inventive ones. Still, there is enough interesting material on 'Sonopsies' to make it a worthwhile purchase for those looking for something blatantly off the wall, mais si votre français est vraiment rouillées, you might want to opt for a Rosetta Stone program.
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anymore
Artist: Hunter Complex
Title: Heat
Format: 12"
Label: Narrominded (@)
Rated: *****
Narrominded publishes the new LP from Holland's Hunter Complex presented as "a strange mix of Moroder's film scores and '81-'82 era" so the songs collected in this release are based on the classic synth pop structure. So, musically speaking, they are pop songs with synth instead of guitars and reveals as sound exploration has given to pop an entirely new musical palette.'¨"Heat" opens this release with a '80's sound clearly recognizable but with the '90 experimental attitude while "serious glas" deals with classic synth pop musical structure without seem a bad copy of it. "Atlantic" seems something taken from some strange oat featuring a sort of exotic mood vaguely resembling of some japan tunes. "Space" is clearly influenced by the '70 disco sound made by Giorgio Moroder. "Daylight" features dreamy synth. "Highway hypnosis" opens the B-side of this album, released on vinyl, and is a track with one of the best hook heard this year. "China rain" is a slow ballad and "room" almost a dance track. "Stations" and "hours" close this as classic pop tunes that use synth to obtain a layer of modernity to the classic pop musical development.
This album is really well written and glamorous, it features declaredly nothing ground-breaking, and is a sort of modern postcard from a distant era (the '80s) that seems better than ever. Nice without nostalgia.
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Artist: Ese
Title: The Deep Side Of Synthetiko
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Amarcord Record
Rated: *****
Born as an evolution of what produced by Ad, Eso is formed by Daniele Mastracci and features Allegra Lusini on vocals. Mixing English and Italian language the album contains six long songs plus a remix of "Follow Me". Influenced by 80s Italo Disco and electronic music, "The Deep Side Of Synthetiko", also takes inspiration by modern electro dance music as well as a little bit from electro pop (take as reference bands like Little Boots or La Roux) and witch house. It's like a big short-circuit where influences from the past make the nowadays sound which is mixed again with retro influences. The sound of Eso is characterized by the use of analog gear. Melodic catchy tiny melodies are alternated to synth arpeggios and 4/4 beats with upfront bass lines are the core of the songs. Vocals sometimes are sampled and used as an instrument as the original tune was a remix but this isn't a bad thing as it enhance the creative process.
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