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Artist: Circa Tapes
Title: Adam & Eve
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Romance Moderne
Rated: *****
Adam Killing was a member of the Chicago band Kill Memory Crash (dunno if they are still active, since their latest release for Ghostly International has been released in 2008) and recently he started his own musical project under the Circa Tapes moniker. As far as I know, even if he has on his soundcloud page more than twenty tracks, "Adam & Eve" is his first release. Present also with the main track on the Romance Moderne vinyl compilation, Circa Tapes with "Adam & Eve" is offering to the lovers of electronic wave four convincing tracks which mix finely cold atmospheres, dry drum machine beats, cool bleeping synth sounds and some pounding bass guitar lines (like on the opening "Simple And White"). Vocals play hide and seek with the robotic sceneraio created sounding like an haunting ghost. Post punk atmospheres, new wave aesthetics and some dance intuitions (like on the closing "Enntenna") make of this release a good debut which you can check fully here http://romancemoderne.bandcamp.com/album/adam-eve
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Artist: Matthew Collings (@)
Title: Splintered Instruments
Format: CD
Label: Fluid Audio (@)
Rated: *****
Idiophones (match-boxes or supposed maracas) and frenzied strokes on piano single-note played by Australian composer Ben Frost on the initial "Vasilia" starts the engine of the unsettled and catchy sonic storm by Matthew Collings, who seems to cast the net of emotional blankets over electronics and instruments in order to render the shattering eruption of emotion over compositional schemes. All tracks mirror this more or less explicit intent and it's quite interesting how this dynamic energy Matthew tries to steer into his songs finally manages to damage and corrode the sound of each instruments and melodic structure as if it resurfaces like an emotional burst, which got sedated and unspoken for long. Even though I think his arguments against electronics, which he uses just as he needed to cobble all different parts of his songs, is quite anachronistic, an opinion which maybe comes from the fascinating places he lived (Iceland and Edinburgh), its approach results into very good tracks (I particularly enjoyed the cinematic rise on "Paris Is Burning", the entrancing sonic honey-pot of "The Meet On The Subway" and the absorbing grip of underlying symphonies on "Crows"). I don't really think that a possible use of electronics could spike it, if I think about musicians or bands who explored adjacent stylistical and "poetical" territories such as Efterklang, Digitonal or Galaktlan (even if they are bands). Anyway I cannot but recommend to have a listen to sonic whirlwinds and flames, which is going to persuade many listeners about Matthew's remarkable skills.
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Artist: United Bible Studies (@)
Title: Spoicke
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Fluid Audio (@)
Rated: *****
The strictly limited edition of 77 physical copies, which included handmade Larch Elder Futhark rune with burnt symbols of Three Principles, Four Elements, planets and metals, finished with natural bees' wax, fire resin incense, fine drawing represented the life and the death of a magician, double sided luxury postcards, black envelope and mini cards into homemade sewn fabric pouch, is already sold out, but the last release by experimental and improvisational folk Irish band United Bible Studies, recorded on the occasion 2009 VPRO festival in Amsterdam, is still digitally available. Their contemplative self-building musical discourse on stillness continues over the four sonic chisellings, which evolve by themselves on the basis of an ideal medley between dark-tinged gloomy folk, stylistical hints at Scarborough-Fair minstrelsy, acoustic purism and occasional electronic flurries, where the dialogues between Richard Moult's piano, Aine O'Dwyer's harp and acoustic guitars, lap steel guitars and electronics by Gavin Prior and David Colohan on the initial "Black Matthew 1" and delicate moody ballad of "Hazlehurst Requiem", which manages to combine ballad form with celtic and Indian folk music particles, seem to be the real highlights of the recording. The vocal interpretation and the briny celtic glows of "The Shore That Fears The Sea" is also a very evocative peak from the beginning to the final repetetion of the verse "something comes quietly", which pours the listeners into the above-mentioned "Hazlehurst Requiem".
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Artist: Mergrim
Title: Intersect Landscape
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Moph (@)
Rated: *****
Sprouted from his acclaimed debut album "Invisible Landscape", Tokyo-based Takahisa Mitsumori aka Mergrim gives worldwide listeners the chance to know many interesting Japanese artists and musicians (mainly unknown on this side of the planet), who have been involved in the remix project "Intersect Landscape". All remixers managed to keep the miscellany of glistening crispness, daydreaming vibe and aerodynamic forces of the original sonic mold by means of wise chromatic variations without omitting their stylistical mark: I found particularly catching the sobbing glitches of swishes by m-koda on "Beautiful Corruption", the entrancing jazzy gliding of no.9 on "Soft'n Poetry", which could make you think about an imaginary crossbreed of some tracks by dZihan & Kamien ("Homebase", "Drophere") by Sakamoto or viceversa, remix of Arch by Go-qualia, whose title, "Chemistry of a dream and a spring breeze", is the proper description of what you're going to experience, the delicate piano expansions of moshimoss on "Senkyou" and Lycoriscoris on the melancholic "Ideal That Fade Out", miaou's remix of "Noir Noir", which could be associated by many Western tasteful listeners to an airy variation of Cornelius' music, saccharin folktronica resins of agraph on remix of "Dry Aesthetic", the chirping childish vocal interpretation of Cokiyu on her remix of "Step Of The Flakes", the frothy electronic tunes of Ametsub on "Shdwgrph *Grain", the sleepwalking casting of electronic honey by Geskia! on "Absentminded Drowsiness", the enthralling electronic-house flying over by Dj Sodeyama on his reinterpretation of "Beautiful Corruprion". The fact I quoted all of them at last could be indicative of their respective quality, so that it's really difficult to make a rank. The second cd of "Intersect Landscape" includes some live-tracks that Mergrim recorded during his tour in Japan and China, where his music got rocketed over the clouds by the precious collaboration of talented drummer Kazuya Matsumoto. If you like jazz-spotted glitch airy electronics, you'll find this listening experience really blissful!
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Artist: Manuella Blackburn (@)
Title: Formes Audibles
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
A breath of fresh air over electroacoustic and acousmatic scene wafts from renowned Canadian label emprintes DIGITALes, which recently released the very first album by young English sound-artist Manuella Blackburn, whose remarkable curriculum isn't frankly the one you could expect from a newcomer: she completed her musical studies at the University of Manchester with a Master's Degree in Electroacoustic Composition with composer and director of Manchester Theatre in Sound (MANTIS) David Berezan and a Philosophiae Doctor with Ricardo Climent, her music has been performed all over the world (Brazil, Canada, Italy, Cuba, France, Germany, USA, Canada, Sweden, Portugal, Costa Rica, Japan, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and so on) at concerts, conferences, gallery exhibitions and festivals and won many international awards and prizes such as Grand Prize in the Digital Art Awards in Fujisawa, Japan, in 2007, two first prizes at Concurso Internacional de Composicao Electroacustica Musica Viva in Lisbon (Portugal) and many more. The feature which makes Manuella's sonic emissions so interesting is the bizarre blitzes of tonal music in the midst of electroacoustic lumps, particularly in the first two tracks of this album, "Vista Points", built on different interactions between electric guitar sounds and processed material, and "Switched On", which sounds focused on chimes, laminar flows, switches and mechanical devices, where bubbles of tonal music seem to emerge from the depths of deep ponds. Another distinguishing feature of her sonic organisational set-up is the alternation of moments of intense activity and breaks or temporary inactivity, so that it seems that dynamics follows an inner respiratory drive as if each sonic entity is somewhat alive. In addition to the above-mentioned recordings, this feature is clear in the following ones: the engaging automaton of "Japanese" sounds in "Karita Oto", the amazing flatware and kitchenware powered "Kitchen Alchemy", the following "Cajon!", which combines the timbre of the Cajon, a Peruvian percussion instrument, "palmas" claps (a clapping technique of flamenco) and other percussive material and the spellbinding gargles of microsounds and onsets of "Spectral Spaces".
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