Music Reviews



Boring Machines keeps on plumbing the depths of remarkably rich Italian underground bands and this time it manages to recover one of the most gloomy band from the bottom with the support of Avant! Records. Named after the notorious English tongue twister "How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck Chuck If A Woochuck Could Chuck Wood?", this Turin-based trio articulates a gloomy and somewhat oppressive sound which manages to avoid a certain sloppiness and superficiality many "damned" musicians usually succumb to when they try to mold their own musical language from inside an imaginary grotto by pouring more or less esoteric musical references, quotes, borrowings, devilments and identity crisis in their melting pot. Even if Ghier, Coccolo and female voice Iside pile the above-mentioned items and could be associated to some listening memories of stuff from Current 93 or Swans by an anamnesis on listener's side more than from the side of the band, whose choice of a charred firebrand, which could grossly resemble a maimed trunk, on a black field for the cover artwork of their self-titled debut release, give hints to listeners about the stylistical autopsy they made on dark folk corpse. The sense of paralysis coming from the slackening guitars, which keep on playing exhausted simple melodic lines, the Mephistophelean voice, whose occasional mock-tragic fomenting never result in demential declensions of some "poete maudits", the sinister appearance of sullen reverbs and low frequencies don't entail the surfacing of some transient epic moment, which stigmatize the best moments of the release - the charming chasms of "In Aria", the cryptic hibernation of "The Rock", which include some hieratic quotes from T.S.Eliot's pageant play with the same name, or the ominous obsessions of "For Nobody", outlines the portrait of a certain authenticity in spite of the consumed barks they've chosen to wrap their simple melodies, as if they had to mirror the tangled disguise of the underlying meaning of a tongue twister...
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Artist: The Swifter
Title: s/t
Format: 12"
Label: The Wormhole (@)
Rated: *****
The Wormhole, the newborn imprint by cassette label The Tapeworm, definitively weighs anchor by means of this seafaring debut release of an impressive trio made up of Italian drummer, electroacoustic musician and composer Andrea Belfi, Australian Berlin-resident pianist Simon James Phillips and Swedish sound-artist Benny Jonas Nilsen. The sound genesis by The Swifter approximately works so: Phillips strokes on Imperial, the largest flagship by the notorious Austrian piano manufacturer Boesendorfer, get into Nilsen's machines, both of them seem to interact in real-time, while Belfi's drumming and electroacoustic nick-nacks sometimes play the role of a joining link, sometimes emphasizes the "dialogue" between the other "interlocutors", but there's a fourth member of the line-up which plays a very important role: the setting they've chosen for the recording, Berlin's Grunewald Church, whose impressive reverberation already attracted similar musicians like Nils Frahm, who recorded "The Bells", and Dustin O'Halloran. The fact that listener's imagination could be broght on a sailing boat struggling against unpredictable moods of the sea or got confused with the sea-mist, the breathtaking feeling of infinite space or the relief for the sight of a forthcoming haven has not been influenced by the fact the release has many references to nautical words, but it arises from the sonic hints this trio manages to render: the ingenious attention to details, the gentle metronic brushes on hats, the sophisticated play of echoes and delays and even the electroacoustic additives which realistically simulates the creaking of the deck or the noise of the cordage a sailor knows are so vivid that you could easily lapse into a daydreaming and enchanted state. Available on limited edition vinyl lp or FLAC download, I cannot but recommended such a charming listening experience!
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anymore
Artist: Maeror Tri
Title: Emotional Engramm
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This album is the reissue of the final album of Maeror Tri inspired by the healing nature of engrams and the music, according for the printed linear notes, seems an empty canvas to be explored by someone's own signs. Even after 15 years this release sounds better than most album of this genre aiming for musical impact rather than meaning.
"Landscape of visionary thoughts" opens this release with a dreamy and visionary soundscape that, in the second part of the track, evolve in dark ambient territories of great efficacy. "Sublimis" a static that slowly evolve with his sharp metallic noises. "Nebulos" is another noisy soundscape while "Vadum" start almost quietly to slowly evolve in noisier territories. "Chymos" further refine his musical structure beginning dreamy and ending noisy in an evoking manner. "Undisonus" is, instead, a soundscape exercise in the portrait of vast and void landscapes. "Sphaira" end this album in classic dark ambient territories dominated by obscure drones.
While this is an album of 15 years ago, it sound modern and it's better than most dark ambient album praised by the press. Almost essential.
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Artist: MB + ICS
Title: Vir-Uz
Format: CD
Label: FARMACIA901 (@)
Rated: *****
This album from one of historic figure of industrial music (MB) and of a musical researchers for noisy constructions (ICS) is based on the idea of someone who receive "a wise response from the pleased God" and most of the field recordings are from the jewish cemetery of Alessandria as, as most of the release after his comeback from his well-known hiatus, this release is filled from the religious inspiration of his makers.
The title track opens this release with a noisy rhythmic samples repeat rhythmically until sparse field recordings begin with quiet drones and, after an isolationistic second part, quiet and sharp noises occupy the musical canvas. "Severe provata" is a dialogical juxtaposition of drone and small noises. "Turnamentaj abscensoj" is an obscure drone carefully constructed for careful listeners. "La eternal prenis" is based on sparse guitar lines coloring the abstract soundscape. "Falsaj amikoj sugestis" starts with a noised quickly covered by metallic resonance until small noises clear the way for a drone that at last surrender to the quiet and sharp noises. "Pro lia fido", the shortest track of this release, is a drony interlude to "Pli ol la komencajn" a slowly evolving metallic drones above which are juxtaposed the usual quiet noises.
Even if it could be quiet predictable the dialogue between the almost serene drone of MB and the carefully constructed noise of ICS, this is a so well written record that it worth repeated and careful listening. Nice.
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Artist: Lean Left (@)
Title: Live at Cafe' Oto
Format: CD
Label: Unsounds (@)
Distributor: Squid Co
Rated: *****
Since its opening in 2008, Cafe' Oto has become one of the temple for lovers of leftfield, experimental and unconventional musical mestizoes in London. Named after a Japanese word meaning "sound" and "noise", it offers food for guts (delicious Japanese light bites, Middle Eastern food, assorted beverages, baked goods, homemade cakes and so on) in the daytime and food for ears which could aid digestion by means of audio-aided secretion of gastric juices in the night-time. This release on Unsounds immortalize some moments of pure listening pleasure, which came from the bizarre freak Lean Left, an impressive collaborative project which lies slantwise on arable jazz and punk grounds by a poker of very talented musicians, whose musical paths already met in the past-time: the octopus-like drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and the versatile Ken Vandermark on tenor saxophone and clarinet from one side, the skilled guitarist Andy Moor and Terrie Hessels, whose guitars have been respectively channelled on the right and the left, of the explosive underground Dutch anarcho-punk/free jazz collective The Ex on the other side. On the two long-lasting recordings of the release (on threshold of cacophony the first "koevoet", a little bit more regular the second "Drevel"), they managed to nestle energizing rushes, pensive moments, reciprocal prodding and onstage assaults, musical quotes, highly varied improvisations and astonishing sonic juggling. There are a lot of amazing moments: I particularly enjoyed those ones when Andy and Terrie seem to let dangle or slide tones from guitar strings, while Paal and Ken histerically clamber up their games by tangling hits and harmonic lacerations. The only regret you could experience while listening to their raving could be related to the fact you missed them while in London!
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