Music Reviews



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Artist: Halo Manash (@)
Title: Wesieni Wainajat
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
The small Finnish label Aural Hypnox gained a reputation among followers of the most arcane side of dark-ambient and ritual music by focusing on the outputs of the Helixes collective and after a period of partial blackout of transmissions, it comes back with a bunch of very good releases including the return (or I'd rathey the beginning of a new cycle) of Halo Manash, one of the most interesting act from that stylistical grounds. Beyond esoteric aspects of their sonic palette, which could sound vaguely fanciful pleasantries to some listeners, and logical connections to their previous Forest Music trilogy ("Language of Red Goats", "Am Kha Astrie" and "Taiwaskivi"), "Wesieni Wainajat" immediately catches listener's attention by "Kwlksta", where slow tonal transitions on a magnetic analogue organ, distant gloomy horns, thin reverberation on rubbing of metallic plates and other sonic poltergeists knead a mesmerizing afterglow, whose gradual updraft set the stage for the following "Varjoista" (Finnish for "from the shadows"), which sounds the most highest sonic pinnacle of this release: while the organ sounds like fed by current generators, whose voltage-regulated hypnotic spirals seem to be highlighted by mid-tempo suffocated tribal percussions, whose rising intensity fires the ritual atmosphere up as well as the visionary effect of the field recordings which could evoke rustling leaves, sheets of breaking ice or the echo of a bucket after having been lowered in a water well. The cracking sound of brushwood in the fire or the typical noise of residual saltpetre in wet rocks starts a sequence of impressive field recordings on the 20-minutes lasting "Tulelle", where the presence of the organ has been limited to a trance-inducing low-key hum sneaking into listener's eardrum while they render some sacral (physical or just spiritual?) magical hideout beyond the clefts they could have possibly pried by previous sonic levers.
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Artist: Icicle/Safire & Amoss/Gamma
Title: 4th State/2012/Chavland
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Plasma
Rated: *****
Plasma Audio's owl seems to be ready to show its wide wingspan and its claws for nocturnal hunting trip. The first beating of wings of this Melbourne-based creative platform label comes from London-based Dutch ace of drum'n'bass Jeroen Snik aka Icicle, who recently took part to the launch party side by side with other big names of the scene such as The Upbeats and Itch whose dark scraping style is akin to Icicle's one as you can test on his own remix of the very plasmic "4th State" by Safire and Amoss, whose impetuous bass line and synth stabs swoop in on listeners "straight up like a harrier" to mention incendiary words by Gusto for this tune. In spite of the prevalence of more minimal weaving, the rocky fury which ignited this first drop of Plasma Audio doesn't sound mollified by Gamma, who lowered tempo by sudden clots of screeching calls on "2012" before rising it up on the chasing nosedives of the following "Chavland". Very promising upcoming debut release!
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Artist: 4giftgas
Title: La Première Exhalation de 4giftgas
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Misty Circles
Rated: *****
From the sparse notes available for this project, 4giftgas is collective of artists with open line up and aiming to explore disturbing sounds. This debut EP is out on the historical label Misty Circles and is a physical object, a printed plastic medal with chain, with a download code. Apart from consideration about the status of a musical release, an object instead of something to play, their output, audio and visual, is clearly influenced by classic industrial music.
"Cyanide" is based upon the juxtaposition of sparse noises, an almost dancey beat and the clean and declamatory lyrics of Zyanid. The martial beat of "Come to Me" introduces the listener to a track divided in a part based on the vocals and the final part based on the noise. "Anvil" closes this album with an harsh musical assault.
Three tracks are usually too few to properly judge a project however, even if this release is carefully done and crafted, it seems too debtor to their influences. For fans of early '80 industrial.
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Artist: David Berezan
Title: Allusions Sonores
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
Another aural delight for the lovers of unconventional electroacoustic sonorities and field recordings from the well-known Canadian label empreintes DIGITALes bear the signature - the second for the imprint - of Uk-based fellow countryman David Berezan, who recently mastered the five acousmatic works he made from 2008 and 2011. The oldest one, "Badlands", is related to his native region, Alberta, as he grabbed some field recordings in the so-called badlands or calanques in Southern Alberta in the summer of 2007 so that the densely constructed soundscapes he built by means of intriguing amalgamation of buzzing insects, chirping cicadas and crickets, flurries, eroding rocks and even skits of traditional American Indian ritual sonoritis vaguely exudes a sense of nostalgia while rendering dinosaur fossils, indigenous people history, lovely parks and the characteristic climate of that part of the planet. If we go in a chronological order, the following track "Nijo" teleports listeners inside Japanese castles; the title refers to Nijo Castle in Kyoto, where David supposedly recorded the sounds he assembled for this track, which focuses on the squeaking sound when a visitor of the castle walks upon its wooden floors, which are commonly known as "uguisubari" (meaning "nightingale floors" due to the fact they sound like chirping!) and functions as a security system which detects intruders, which cannot but inspire a sound artist like David, who tried to go beyond those floors by nailing occasional Japanese voices, high-speed trains and other noises from contemporary Japan which bumped into his microphones. Another region of the planet Mr.Berezan visited many times and grabbed many sounds from is Bali, Indonesia, which fed "Galungan", where he carefully nestled sounds from the Galungan religious festival, the rice paddies, the rich nocturnal natural life and the gamelan in order to render both the extraordinary natural environment and the impressively rich Balinese traditional culture, and "Thumbs", where David just recorded a single plucked sound froma Balinese thumb piano before processing it while inspired by anything related to the word "thumb" that came to his mind during the compostion (all-thumbs, thumbs-up/down, under thumb, thumbing through and so on). The most recent track is maybe the most unconventional one as David entirely assembled "Buoy" from sounds of different kinds of sea buoys, whose bells, whistles and gongs as well as detecting systems (whereas buoys normally aid sea navigation or circumscribe safe area for swimmers or divers, some buoys aid scientific research of ecology, oceanography or maritime weather) could be considered as a sort of decoding of an imaginary language of the sea.
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Artist: DUBCON - cEvin Key meets Twilight Circus
Title: U.F.O. Pon Di Gullyside
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
The stylistical versatility of Canadian-born (even if he moved to The Netherlands in 1991) musician Ryan Moore, former member of The Legendary Pink Dots (never totally abandoned as his recent collaborative release with Edward Ka-Spel on Tourette label could testify), who has finally reprised his dub-translucent project Twilight Circus Dub Sound System after a ginormous pile of releases and a massive musical training on jamaican recordings , and multifaceted electronic talented skinny puppy Kevin William Crompton aka cEvin Key aka Download was already ascertained by respective previous works. They've finally flowed into one another by laying the foundation of DUBCON, which flies over dub territories and breezes in the hearts and minds of the lovers of the genre by means of a wise buffing of cauldrons for amalgamations of heavyweight and electronic dub with impressive electronic tricks, which sounds like an enhanced reshuffle of that kind of electronic dub which got mainly spread from UK and Germany in the 90ies (I could mention Zion Train, Funki Porcini, Dubstar, Transglobal Underground, African Headcharge, AlphaOmega, power Steppers, Dub Syndacate and many others) and the tracks where this electronic enhancement is more clearly audible are the best ones according to my ear response since the initial warm-up "Outerspace" where a shredded electronic bruising blends echoed vocals, slapped claps, resounding plops and pad-synth-driven gusts as well as on following tracks like "Zion Cluster" (featuring Sly Dunbar on drums), where they let some classic dub elements sizzle into an electric buzz, "Moment In Space", where banging clap and kick drum render the typical "shot in the dark" effect, "Project Sign", where alien decomposition of the genre could sound advanced before you listen the following stages such as the oxidized ligaments of "Dubbrain", the pressurized punches of "Farstar", the slick interferences on the title-track "UFO pon di gullyside" or the entrancing plasmic mush of the final "Gone Orbital". Very good jamming!
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