Music Reviews



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Artist: @c (@)
Title: Ab OVO
Format: CD
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
The conceptual framework of the play OVO by the Puppet Theare of Porto (Portugal), which started from a sparkling idea by Eric De Sarria, pivots on the contemporary declension of everlasting crisis of mankind and supposedly those abstract and sometimes enticing ideas of progress or evolution that nourish collectivism or alternatively individualism till their gradual dissipation. The nihilistic premises of this play - the human collapse, the dispersion of the notion of future, the automatic reurring of the past - could maybe sound like the nubbin of many hackneyed scripts, but the thespian ploy to render such a precipitation is somehow original as the man got represented almost like a puppeteer (not a puppet!) who has to rein four different character in a so tight spot that the sole certitude is the fall itself. The soundtrack by Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais - a somewhat scary succession of almost improvised electronic aggregates - doesn't disregard those fences and focuses on the sonic rendering of this somehow hyperbolic hyperreality: the initial magmatic cauldron where even sturdiest sonic entities got melted, unceasing maelstroms where any electric lunges and darts got pulverized, resounding cones of oblivion, where hesitant poltergeists, limp melodies and even spoken thoughts seems to fester. Every element falls into new crevices anytime it touches a bottom and blunders into a dimension whose vagueness seems to be its dungeon...
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Artist: Sebastian Melmoth
Title: In Ruins
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten (@)
Rated: *****
Taking their name from an Oscar Wilde pseudonym, Sebastian Melmoth are a collective of people coming UK that self released different albums (CDrs and tape) for their own Feline Vomitus. For this release titled "In Ruins", released on tape by belaten, they were Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and Jan-Carl Raspe. Their sound can't be described with few words, because they move their sound from post rock to psychedelia passing through experimental rock, cosmic music and folk. They sound like a Britpop version of Velvet Underground filtered through everything rock saw during 70s, 80s and 90s (think that the final part of "Elvis Honey" has also some dub inserts, while it started like a "happy" Velvet Underground tune). The digital edition of the album has three remixes by DTT (Tomoko Matsumoto remixed "Elvis Honey" starting it like being played by a camera orchestra just to turn it into horror theme with dissonant strings and piano), Jonas Golland (he did "Prosopagnosia" turning it from a psychedelic trip into a weird dub/breakbeat track) and Bass Clef (he also did "Prosopagnosia" but he focused his tune on house ambient atmospheres). Check the whole releases here http://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/in-ruins
Mar 05 2014
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Artist: L'Avenir
Title: L'Avenir
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten (@)
Rated: *****
Jason Sloan has many years on his back as an electronic musician and sound artist as well as being a Professor teaching full-time in the Interactive Arts department along with being the founder and program coordinator for the Sound Art concentration at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. L'Avenir is his "synthpop" side project which debut album has been released the last year on the Spanish label Cold Beats Records. Now, he's releasing his second work under that moniker on tape on Belaten. The self named album contains eight new tracks in balance from minimal synth and synthpop. If you want me to make few comparisons, take Martial Canterel and Sleep Museum as references. The album opens with "Aral Sea", an instrumental focused on a simple synth sequence where filters and rhythm are the main element. This one serve to set the atmosphere of the lot, which is in balance from dreamy and cinematic ones. "Fallen Like The Snow II" is an upbeat minimal synth wave song with cold vocals and synth sounds that come and go. All the tracks have in common the fact that melody is something that seems to be an optional element as it is present but the songs aren't "built" to be catchy. It takes time to get with the mood as you have to catch the right wave that carries you away with it. This isn't a bad thing but it couldn't happen as fast as you'd think it would. Jason is good at making a multi layered structure of synth sound and that is the "white rabbit" you have to follow. Anyway, you can check the whole release here http://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/lavenir
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Artist: BJ Nilsen (@)
Title: Eye of the Microphone
Format: CD
Label: Touch (@)
Rated: *****
As you could easily guess from the title, which obviously refers to the notorious Lodon Eye, the giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of Thames River, and the cover artwork, a panoramic snapshot taken from one capsule of that popular structure, the intrusive microphone by imaginative Swedish sound artist Benny Jonas Nilsen lingered on London this time, but if you have already experienced some works by BJ Nilsen, you should know that you cannot expect just a sterilized collection of field recordings. On this occasion, you could imagine that rather than the classical animal comparison to a dead cat from the slang name of the synthetic fur which covers the outer shell in order to reduce wind noise, his beloved stereophonic microphone could have turned into a bird (a lark or sometimes a night owl), which flutter about London to see and listen the jungle of sounds and noises the English capital everlastingly offers. Just after BJ Nilsen received a scholarship from the Leverhulme Trust for a one-year Artist in Residency at the UCL Urban Laboratory in London for having introduced sound as an art practice to urban scholars and students, he begun to grab sounds from the streets and its interiors while wandering during daytime and sometimes night-time, but after the "organization" of all these recordings, you could follow them as the imaginary migration of the above-mentioned bird from the heart of the financial City and Thames banks towards peripheral places outside metropolitan areas, so that whereas the opening track "Londinium" mainly detected the city centre - the record button got pressed after the bells of a church in the Diocese of Westminster started to chime - and the gradual movement towards river waters, whose barrier of algae, mud, sand and brick buildings unveiled an almost archeological mine of sound sources such as pieces of porcelain, broken chairs, bones, bricks and old shoes, the final "Twenty Four Seven" sounds like mirroring the illusory incessant movement of urban life which kept on casting its signals into a natural context that manages to derail the listening experience into a sort of unexpected catharsis. The ability of this sound artist in organizing field recordings till the transducing of astonishing soundscapes sticks into emotional and spellbinding dimensions in the more sinister median track "Coins and Bones", which sounds like validating the fact that field recordings are often not sufficient for a complete representation of a place without the filtering of perception, memories and their processing.
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Artist: Voyager
Title: FAQ/LuvBLoved/Big Picture
Format: 12"
Label: Tempo
Rated: *****
The hearts of many lovers of that embryonic and extremely charming stage of drum'n'bass that LTJ Bukem an his own Good Looking Records epitomized are going to be touched to hear that Pete "Voyager" Parsons, the prolific producer of a number of finest drum'n'bass tunes in the early 90ies such as "Hypersleep" from his fine album "Future Retro" for Belgian label R&S, one of the most played track by Ltj Bukem himself, "Burning Love" together with Dj Rap and the beautiful "Desire" who featured Christina Murphy on mix, has finally come back after Tempo Records picked three of Pete's last workouts, which got mainly inspired by the early death of his father in 2013. Such a sad occurrence in Pete's life emphasizes the emotional intensity which normally marks Voyager's stuff. According to his own words, the opening track "F.A.Q" got inspired by a documentary about the origin of DNA, which normally raises questions which have been reprised by repeated vocal samples - "Who we are", "where do we come from", "Why do we exist" -; the stunning "LuvBLoved" has a particular emotional bond with the above-mentioned experience as it was the first track he composed after his homecoming, which followed months with his dying dad, whose title has been broght from an old Frank Sinatra song which his dad quoted at the end of something he wrote to him when in life ("One of the most important things in life/is to love and to be loved"); the final "Big Picture" is a wonderful melancholic hymn, which closes a release whose underlying sob story will pleasantly tickle the aural memory of many dnb followers.
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