Music Reviews



cover
Artist: Merzbow
Title: MONOAkuma
Format: CD + Download
Label: Room40
Masami Akita as Merzbow has been a big name on the experimental noise front for decades and “MONOAkuma” continues to grow the discography without pulling any surprises. It’s almost exactly fifty minutes of extreme noise, distortion and grind, blending analogue and digital elements into an affronting wall.

New elements arrive with varying levels of abruptness throughout to keep you on your toes, most notably the more structured pulsing that comes and goes quite abruptly from around the 32-minute mark, and the almost quirky foghorn-like feedback sound that flits briefly across the plain a few minutes later.

Somehow it manages to carry you along with it, transforming the baseline of your sonic perception throughout. It leaves you, at the end, feeling like you’ve just had a nearly-hour-long sonic bath in electrified gravel- an experience that ought to have been horrible but which in practice is inexplicably gratifying.
cover
Artist: Pin Up Club / Conga Fever
Title: Zehn
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Mireia Records
This is a shared release, with Pin Up Club offering up “Dilapidated”, with the original and two remixes, and Conga Fever offering up “Chihuahua”, with the original and one remix, making a strong half-hour bundle of laidback instrumental house that’s got shades of electro.

“Dilapidated” ticks along around 120bpm with a mellow, synth-bass driven groove that’s quite jazzy. The Lauer remix adds a degree of drama and ups the synthwave just a touch, while the RSS Disco’s playful synth guitar leads a version that’s more lightweight and relies on the simplicity of the bass for its appeal.

“Chihuahua” is in similar territory, a nice perky walking groove with a strangely infectious high-pitched slightly squeaky melody that’s rather feel-good. As with the remixes of Pin Up Club, the remixes don’t fall far from the tree, with the Jacob Korn remix sticking with the same basic groove and making the whole thing a bit clappier and synthwave-ing it up just a touch.

A steady, middle-of-the-set and arguably middle-of-the-road collection of relaxed instrumental synth-house with a nice fuzzy warm feeling that’s hard not to like.
cover
Artist: Jibóia
Title: OOOO
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Discrepant
Óscar Silva’s Jibóia project reaches its fourth album, and SIlve is joined by Ricardo Martins and André Pinto. Although the concept behind it is described in relatively high-art terms, referencing Pythagoras’ Musica Univeralis and the limbo between fiction and reality, what you actually get on record is the sound of a free jazz trio enjoying themselves and wigging out in a moderately disciplined manner. The musicality and the production quality is top-notch but this is is a release that recalls the music of the ‘70s more than it cuts any edges.

The first side contains the atmospheric opener “Diapason”, then the much more upbeat and waving-your-arms-about-friendly “Diapente” that reminds me of Silver Apples. That comparison holds firm for “Diatesseron”, where the long sustained melodic high notes give a more alarmist feel.

The second side is given over to single 16-minute track “Topos” which has a more journeyman structure to it and just a faint dose of what you might label funk or groove, as well as a tonality that is just a shade more Eastern.

Forty or fifty years ago a release like this would have praised to the skies by jazz and Floyd fans, though they may have found it too upbeat for late-at-night horizontal listening; as it is, it stands sounding more like a tribute piece, but at the same time, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that and it’s a fresh and bright-sounding bit of work from the rockier side of jazz.
cover
Artist: Hanno Leichtmann
Title: Nouvelle Aventure
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Karlrecords
Some of the biggest names in ‘new music’ are associated with the Darmstadt school- Stockhausen, Cage, Boulez, Ligeti, Messiaen and many more. The school’s Summer Courses for New Music have a recorded archive stretching back 70 years, and in true ‘new’ fashion, instead of drily reissuing archival recordings ‘as is’ and making them seem stuffy and no longer avantgarde by context, instead Hanno Leichtmann has been let loose on the recordings in order to not collate them but sample them, twist them, create homages to them and generally freshen them up into a work that’s both old and new.

Sometimes we revel not in the lectures but in the music itself. The theatrics and bold tape manipulations of the 1960’s are most notably on display in tracks like “Substanzsuche”, with pieces like “Klangfigur (fur Klavier, Stimmen und Regler” openly melodic. There are elements of spoken word recordings dropped in, as short snippets or as elements looping into abstraction, in a manner that strangely recalls the Monkees movie “Head” (a reference that may seem obtuse but which will become apparent to people who’ve listened to both), especially when the accents are American.

At other times, pieces like “Einheit von Maß und Zahl” are more faithful to the lecture format, inserting a large chunk of spoken word explanation about feeding a music score into a computer and underpinning it with drone and spontaneous percussion in a manner reminiscent of Johann Johannson’s “IBM 1401”.

It’s a very refreshing way to revisit and rework an archive. A movement of artists whose core work involved challenging preconceptions would, I presume, be generally satisfied that their work has been reappropriated in such a manner. What we have here, in effect, is an intriguing and high-quality bit of music history that’s also brand new.
cover
Artist: Monty Adkins
Title: Still Juniper Snow
Format: CD + Download
Label: Huddersfield Contemporary Records
In this short concept piece, Monty Adkins “paints over” acoustic pieces performed by Sarah-Jane Summers and the Bozzini Quartet. The original performance was inspired by Norwegian landscapes, and Scottish and Norwegian folk traditions. Adkins has stripped away the performance elements, smothering them in processing and reverb, stretching and washing them until only the atmospheres and broad tones remain.

After “Hollow” and “Distant Waters”, two pieces of slightly more generic cold-yet-positive drone from which the origins would be very hard to guess, it’s in third piece “Spiral Paths” that more of the original source material is exposed and the unique reworking approach really clicks. The plaintive violin work rolling across the melodic slow bass drone in a much more cinematic fashion.

It’s a curious concept piece that feels like it’s not given enough time to really breathe as a drone work, and in “Spiral Paths”, just hints at what award-winning soundtrack album could be conceived if this area was delved into more deeply.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171...180] [181...190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960] [1961...1970] [1971...1980] [1981...1990] [1991...2000] [2001...2010] [2011...2020] [2021...2030]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha