Music Reviews



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Artist: The Twentieth Century (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: mosz (@)
Rated: *****
From the stylistical viewpoint, "The Twentieth Century" seems to begin like some sonic marks of the beginning of twentyfirst one as the very first convective movements of sound frequencies of this one-take recording that Wien-based duo by cellist Lukas Lauermann and guitarist Pieter Gabriel decided to record in an improvised pop-up studio in the workshop of an auto painter in the Austrian capital city with the aid of recoridng engineer Stefan Deisenberg could let you surmise some stuff by Stars of the Lid or William Basinski, which evoke sorrowful and somewhat aloof thining caps about chief systems and universal entropy. Little by little, the opening suite "A Slow Descent" whose airflows seem to delicately move the surrounding elements of the recording room such as windows and doors, which are listenable entities in the drone-like sonic stream, sounds like permeating any single particle of the environment by its radiant energy. The electroacoustic ingredient of their delicious recipe protrudes on the puckered chords and the ice scraping of the interstitial track "No Light From The Surface", which precedes the dimmer hues of the cathartic final "Pulled", where a breath of frozen air and a somber cell emphasizes the following sonic psychodrama by means of a warming symphonic clasp, which turns into a sort of flattening deluge. The sound of a snorkel at the end of the track sounds like a rescue, which could save listener from the emotional drowning these musicians managed to render.
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Artist: Austin Buckett (@)
Title: Grain Loops
Format: 12"
Label: Room40 (@)
Rated: *****
This collection of 30 electromechanical one-minute lasting loops could sound a little bit hyperbolic, insomuch as its continuous listening without showing any manifestation of temporary imbalance could be something miracolous: if uninformed listener emphatize with what is going to listen, I'm pretty sure he/she could feel like his/her head falled into an industrial laundry machine, a planing mill or a belt sander or maybe could feel a modish pleasure in feeling like a sentient grain of wheat while he got transformed into a crunchy flake - an industrial process, whose understanding is one of those childish unsatisfied morbid curiosity of myself! -. These bizarre "Grain Loops" actually got inspired by an introduction to the German word "rauschen" (a verb meaning "murmur", even if I'd rather say that Australian composer Austin Buckett meant to say "rausch", meaning "intoxication" or "ecstasy") by Austrian composer Peter Ablinger, who wote "Rauschen (White noise) is the totality of sounds - 'everything always' in its acoustic representation. Comparable to white light that contains all colours, white noise contains all frequencies, and - poetically speaking - all music.". According to such a perspective, these 30 loops, whose building comes from some sonic aggegation of techno and hip hop. could be thought as the physical output of a series of meaningful compressions, which got built by means of four snare drums, sandpaper and close mics, where each cluster of noise is like an exercise in control and repetition as well as an interrogation to listener's perception.
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Artist: Hadamard
Title: The Ass In Bass
Format: 12"
Label: Solar One Music
Rated: *****
Active since mid 00's Janko Bartelink released since then eight 12"s and two digital albums under his Hadamard moniker for labels such Transient Force, Bunker Records, Mighty Robot Recordings, Black Montanas and Last Known Trajectory. On this new EP, Hadamard bring three old tracks that we already had the chance to check on the "Love Songs" digital album ("A Walk In The Park", "All I Think About" and the title track "The Ass In Bass") which was released by Transient Force back in 2010, plus "My Cool". If you had only the chance to check the "We Go Into Space" album or the first releases, well, since then Janko turned his sound into a mix of electro funk with a robotic approach. Try to imagine an harder version of Egyptian Lover with in front bass lines and beats with badass filtered vocals. On this EP he sounds like a 70s pimp who has been shot from the streets of New York right to the outer space and from there he shouts his needs for girls. The lyrics might piss off feminists as we have lines like "A beat with no basses is like a bitch with no ass", "I got titties and asses reflected in my glasses, bitches going crazy when the master passes" or "Every time I see you, you turn me on. Every time you walk in, until you're gone..." but I see it as a recreation of an era more than an offence. You know, it's like a blaxploitation movie on vinyl. Hadamard's "Ass in Bass" EP is the third part of SolarOneMusic's "Elektronische Werke Series", after Dynarec and Q-Chip and... it kick asses! Check it here https://soundcloud.com/solar_one_music/hadamard-ass-in-bass-ep
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Artist: Xumla
Title: Statix
Format: CD
Label: Audiobulb (@)
Rated: *****
According to the press notes 'Xumla likes to produce naivety within sound' and, instead of being a catchy phrase for marketing purpose, is the most pure definition for this release. His musical outcome is similar to the ones released by artist like Sawako that remains in a fragile balance between experimental sounds and an outcome similar to the heritage of watercolor paintings.
The small sounds of 'Morni' introduce the listener in a quiet environment and 'Neverphone' continues the journey with grace and 'Dancin' dust' sounds like a form of avant-garde carillon. The drones of 'Statix' mark a development in the release so 'Roof talks' continues the search for a musical model where calm doesn't mean static. The rhythmic noises of 'Another sky' begin the second part of this release where the musical parts of the first tracks start to evolve in a new form. However 'Chinese toy' returns to more familiar paths and 'El sol y de gran altura' and 'Atoms heart' continue the use of drones. While 'Zima' and 'One-eyed girl' reveal some drum'n bass influence. 'Outro' quietly closes this release with sparse notes of piano.
Perhaps this release isn't ground breaking but sounds like a warm blanket in a winter evening, a sort of reassuring charming entity. A really nice release.
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Artist: Mesektet
Title: Towards A Bleak Sun
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
This album is presented as an 'Ancient Egypt inspired, monolithic drone/dark ambient' but the drones features in this release seems too focused on their exterior impact than in a proper musical meaning that tries to emerge in a field with too many artists working with the same palette.
The deep drone of 'Aken' opens this release evoking an void habitat and 'Silent Giants' and 'Sea Of Dust' continue in this musical path revealing a musical research completely focused on sound. 'Burial Of The Sun' starts to reveal a form of musical development while 'Hollow Monoliths' return to more static soundscape. In the same vein, 'Forgotten Tomb' closes this release.
Technically well constructed, this album is perhaps too focused on minimal timbral development than on a focused musical development or in an engaging soundscape. Only for fans or collectors.
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