Music Reviews



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Artist: P.E.A.R.L.
Title: Order/Decay
Format: 12"
Label: Falling Ethics (@)
Distributor: Triple Vision
Rated: *****
On the face of upcoming or newborn techno labels, those Detroit-esque Berlin-based obscure techno sonorities, which shaked the scene in the first decade of new millenium, are living a blaze of glory again. Beyond the almost axiomatic apocalyptical nuances that a name like Falling Ethics could impulsively evoke, the debut of the new imprint by young Cantabrian producer P.E.A.R.L. validates such an impression: the three parts of "Order/Decay" sounds like following a graduated ascent, a sort of reversed gravity wave where the nitrogen level increases in the sonic stream of each track as it approaches the exit of the reactor, where the last of the three part, needless to say, is the most stifling one by means of more clearly audible industrial influences. In order to have an idea of what you're going to listen, just imagine a crossbreed between the stuff that industrial-oriented techno grandmasters like Riou Tomita and the syncopated regularity of producers like Ascion, Monolake or Fumiya Tanaka added and keep on adding to their artifacts.
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Artist: Akira Kosemura (@)
Title: 虹の彼方 - Seven Colors Variations
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Schole (@)
Rated: *****
Akira Kosemura decided to mouthwater listeners by just one pretty J-pop mid-tempo song, "Niji no Kanata" (Japanese for "Beyond The Rainbow"), whose lyrics about evanescence of feelings and a previously reciprocal fragile and faint love, its perfect vocal interpretation by lasah and its honey-sweet arrangement, which features the delicate sound of acoustic guitar by Muneki Takasaka (Paniyolo) could make glicemia in your brains rise up. The release include six remarkable remixes, which pushed this song towards different directions: Madegg derails Akira's emotional flight by means of balanced tech-house pressure and chopped sounds, Takahiro Uchibori aka Metome lets it slide on amazing swooshing synths and an uplifting pitched disco-funk groove skates, Shaw-Han Liem aka I Am Robot And Proud decorates it by saccharine garlands of metronomical cuts, while the melodic line of the crystal-clear electric piano introduction by Toshiyuki Tasuda reminded me of Sakamoto's "Merry Christmas, Mr.Lawrence" for a while. Lawrence English's dazling ambient dilutions, which could propel flights of fancy, and the intimate reinterpretation by [.que] ideally complete the tracklist, but Akira Kosemura launched a contest for further remixers (make and move yours as well) and an audition for new vocalists for next song of the forthcoming album.
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Artist: MUfi.re (@)
Title: These Walls Resemble Absence
Format: CD
Label: 3LEAVES (@)
Rated: *****
Once upon a time nearby Guimaraes on the banks of Vizela river in Northern Portugal, the textile factory of the Earl of Vizela was the flagship of the lively industrial district surrouding that beautiful Portuguese city and more than 4000 workers got hired in the 50ies when the sector experienced the period of highest development. After the growing competition by Chinese factories, the Vizela factory was compelled to close between 2001 and 2002 and both industrial premises and building became one of the typical decaying carcass of contemporary globalized economical system. The sonic journey that Rui Almeida released on Hungarian label 3Leaves by collaging a series of mainly untreated field recordings, found objects and hits on supposedly rusty machinery inside the abandoned factory and the surrounding natural environment manages to render both the state of deterioration of the factory and the strange contrast between the harmony of nature and the chaotic decay of human traces on the territory, where unexpected crescendo and dumb and somehow sinister tolling seems to come from the very last rattling of a dying giant, whose previous life left indelible traces on the landscape and the collective memory of the community, which already got focused by other reminiscences in different artistic fields - photographic exhibitions and movies such as "Centro Historico", related to Guimaraes city, which was premiered on the occasion of International Rome Film Festival 2012 and shown in many festivals with contributions by Victor Erice (the one focused on the Vizela factory), Pedro Costa, 104-years old Manoel de Oliveira and Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki -.
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Artist: Ryoji Ikeda
Title: Supercodex
Format: CD
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Rated: *****
Someone could say that there are less and less sound artist in that narrow field of the so-called abstract techno or that many of them are migrating to the neighboaring grounds of ambient or rhythmic noise, but giving it as a pretext to gather that there's nothing new to add to the scene could be quite irksome and "Supercodex", the album that ideally closes the trilogy, which started off with "Dataplex", the majestic sonic essay on data-within-sound, and carried on with "Test Pattern", a merely conceptual output where data became generators of sound, adduces evidence that something has been left undone yet and Ryoji Ikeda, one of the greatest ace of that scene, did it by following a staggering strategy. He doesn't add anything to his tested sonic soup, but he preferred to subtract indeed! With the exception of some occasional glomerules such as "Supercodex 14" and "Supercodex 15", where I heard a sort of suffocated barking (maybe an aural hallucination?) in the deluge of piercing pulses, or occasional outbursts ("Supercodex 17"), Ikeda trimmed sound particles by extremely scrupulous crumbling. Such an extreme pulverization of sound could be considered a proper quantum jump of Ikeda's investigations, which don't disappoint expectation at all by a somewhat quicksilver choice. Hats off!
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Artist: Mirrorman & India Czajkowska
Title: Secretia
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new Zoharum release could be seen as the follow-up of the remarkable "in the fog" previous album of Mirrorman. In this release the vocals of She.Exist are replaced by the contribution of India Czajkowska. However if that album was inspired by, and is in support of, the situation of the children in Chernobyl and, so, was an almost sad album, this one is clearer as, even if the base is a mix of trip-hop rhythms and ethereal vocals, the soundscape behind aims to depict a pastoral landscape rather than a desert one.
The trip-hop beats and the oriental mood of "Slavery" opens this release while "Distant Lights" deals with more meditative moods. The first part of "At The Gates Of Silence" is almost ethereal while the second return to a chill athmosphere and the same structure is repeated in "Kingdom Of Calmness". The soundscape of "Hidden" is colored by the voice of India Czajkowska while "Eleven More Days" returns to the trip-hop athmosphere of the beginning of the album. "The Unknown" returns instead to the meditative mood as "Ashes" is an ethereal track. "The Prophecy" closes this release as a blend of all the paths followed in this album.
Perhaps a little bit derivative in his development, but, the result is so enjoyable and crafted that worths a listen to a wide spectrum of listener: to the chill-out fans to the dark one. Almost recommended.
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