Music Reviews



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Artist: David Fenech
Title: Grand Huit
Format: 12"
Label: Gagarin Records (@)
Rated: *****
The recording of a panic-stricken hurly-burly crowd under a spray of drums and gunfire is the frantic introduction on "Petit Huit" of this amazing stylistical pastiche by David Fenech on this surprising and amazing album, "Grand Huit" (French expression meaning "looping" or "roller coaster"), whose first edition came in the year 2000 on Tout L'Univers and has been reprinted on Gagarin Records, the label of the prodigious NeoDadaist composer Felix Kubin. The fact that it was assembled by means of a rudimentary 4-track tape recorder and cheap equipment could be deceptive as the response you'll receive from ears and mind cannot but contemplate an intrinsic niceness and that kind of heterogeneity which sounds everything but prosaic or predictable: you can imagine a gap-toothed dead ringer of Beth Gibbons on "Confieso Que He Vivido", who get replaced by a body double of Tom Waits, whose dry-cough hails his rude awakening before a choir of moochers matches a battle hymn from the streets and a strident and malformed interpretation of Cibo Matto's stuffon "Mister Master", an emulator of Yann Tiersen, who gradually fall into temptation of playing something which sounds more macabre, while performing in a grungy bistro on "'Un Lacher De Lucioles/Jukebox', the scraggy reading of a poem on frustration on "Boeuf Bourguiba", the grotesque Japanese sketch on the amazing "Opera En Toc", the xylophone-driven frenzy of "Jaune d'oeuf en cage", the elegant electro-pop uncouthness and moronic jerks of "Petit Soleil". The unpredictable parenthesis of filthy funk on "Grand Huit", the surreally crackpot dedication to Tarkovsky's "Solaris", the above-mentioned blubbery dead ringer of Beth Gibbons while rehearsing a song with painful ankles on the bothersome of dogs, the autistic low-fi dub-funk of "Coralingo", the electronic tinnitus on "Goulashnikov" and the depressed dark folk ballad on guitar and voice of "Love That Feel", a properly epic conclusion, gives a wider perspective on the varicolored, fascinating and somehow thunderstruck musical universe of David Fenech. A hoot for lovers of dada-influenced aesthetics.
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Artist: Steven Naylor
Title: Lieux Imaginaires
Format: DVD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
The filter Steven Naylor interjects to a series of field recordings on this release is mainly emotional memory. He makes such a cognitive and creative operation in a way which could be associated to the sight of a director of a movie or an essayist on a plot, so that there's always an emotional transmission which interferes with the somehow cinematic palette of field recordings: the mechanical and electromechanical creaking and squeaking of gearwheels which enliven automatons of Devon-based designer-maker Tony Mann subtends an astounded and sometimes frightened wonder in front of the complexity of an "artifical life", the emotional wires which permeates the fragment "I wish" taken from plaintive song "Home" by Rita Rankin seem to be stretched by longings, fears and imperilments related to wishes, a certain daunted and confused upheavel emerges from "Irrashaimase", an immersive track, named after the typical form of greeting that some Japanese shop keepers shout to invite new customers inside their shops, which depicts urban Japan with its inner contrasts between robotic and elegant, chaotic and musical, a dumbfounded contemplation arises from the wonderful sonic painting of Chiang Mai night market in northern Thailand where Steven kept the noises of motorcycles and other occasinal intrusions in his ethnomusicological documentary and a certain estrangement comes out on "kune kune", a track based on the oinks by these rare hairy pigs living in New Zealand and recorded nearby Bath. The final long-lasting "The Thermal Properties of Concrete", based on the fictitious narrator-character of a woman, wondrously performed by Jody Stevens, and a couple of senior staff members of the Planning Department of the City of Halifax. emphasizes the cinematic hooks of Naylor's skills.
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Artist: AGF (@)
Title: Source Voice
Format: CD
Label: Line (@)
Rated: *****
Death throes and suffocated laments, which then sound like burgeoning so that you could think about tragedy and pain related to non-communication as one of the most eminent generative sparking of art, seem to permeate "The Human Condition", the very first track of this new release by whimsical East-German musician, sound-artist and poetess Antye Greie-Ripatti, popularly known as AGF and living in Hailuoto (Finland) together with her husband Sasu Ripatti (Vladislav Delay), who focused on voice, regarded as the human instrument par excellence, distinctive characteristic and even political device of each person, for this occasion, as you can easily grasp from the title "Source Voice". The icy Finnish environment she daily experiences resonates all over the record, whereas AGF arranges her voice into the surrounding context till it seems to coalesce with whiffs and severe weather conditions in "Breathing In Lines" and transmuting into a singing ice crystal while shimmering in the middle of a blizzard and gradually turning into a more human breath after a reprieve in the gorgeous "Digital Yoik", which reveals one of the sources for inspiration for this recording, the ancient, mostly wordless form of singing/vocalization by the Sami tribe of Northern Scandinavia. The somewhat spooky vocal deformations on "Hum Pitch Play", the barbed electrical saturation points on "Voice Count" and the entrancing moans of "Kaamos", the only track where voice has not been digitally processed, are likewise mindblowing. The exclusive digital bonus available only through the shop of Chartier's label, "Feed Back", a collaboration with label owner, sounds like the defrosting of a singing nymph of the woods with organic sounds grabbed by means of hydrophones placed on the waterline of some frozen pond.
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Artist: Kristoff K.Roll (@)
Title: A l'ombre des ondes
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
Headphones become an entrance ticket for a sort of representation within representation by means of this bizarre release by Kristoff J-Camps and Carole Rieussec, who focused on so-called dream narrative, not properly on dreams themselves. Their weaving of really immersive field recordings and inoculated frequencies lies on the perceptive threshold between outer happenings (hoo-ha or voices which sounds like coming from wide halls of consciousness before blackout and random dream assemblage, interferences of television broadcasting, traffic noises, chirping birds, barking dogs and so on are so perfectly rendered that listeners are going to experience a really immersive listening) and inner transfiguration which characterizes the half-sleep and dream states during occasional naps from the viewpoint of a napper, so that auditory stimulations get deliberately warped while each napper reports its own dream as a tagline and preface (in French) to the following sonic probing over the three long lasting tracks. Dreams or it's better to say the deforming lens of dreams look like the real source of sounds, which awakens speechless archetypes, which inhabit inner depths of napper's mind and resurface from the creases of senses while dozing under the perogla of frequencies. The final result is really interesting and the duo is so aware of it, that Carole and Kristoff are planning to buld a proper library of dram narrative by inviting listeners to record their own dream reports and some audio files to request a personal recording session to them. Just check "A l'ombre des ondes" and submit your file into this bizarre library in case you got intrigued by their odd sound concept.
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Artist: Dj Rashad (@)
Title: Rollin EP
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
After having received support from many artists and musicians of the fierce clique assembled by Kode9, the convincing Chicago-based juke and ghettostyle pusher and producer Rashad Harden aka Dj Rashad revel with beats and styles by means of this enhanced sonic cartridge on Hyperdub, which seems well-intentioned in enhancing its incisiveness within footwork scene, and Rashad is a possible mentor due to his remarkable ability in equalizing and fading past and future levers. He decided to ignite this knick-knack with "Rollin", a springy track where meaningful R&B pitched vocal samples jerk on ringing hi-hats and 808 kicks, which attractively tickles eardrums before the machine gun of amen break trails the listener towards a nice memorabilia of old UK jungle and hardcore sonorities on "Let It Go", a skipped heartbeat for all those ones who still remembers that fervent historical moment of British urban style before the track turns into a shimmering footwork assay. In spite of the fact Dj Manny and Dj Rashad have just 4 hands and 20 fingers, they play like a giant octopus with many tentacles and an imaginary passion for drum machines on "Drums Please", an amazing spray of snares, tom and other percussive fits on Detroit-techno-like minor organ palpitating chords, whereas the soul-oriented vein by Dj Spinn pulsates more on the following "Broken Hearted", which, even though partially effaces Rashad's weaponry on beat, manages to emphasize his versatility.
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