Music Reviews



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Artist: Costanza Francavilla & Alex Infascelli (@)
Title: Bushwick17
Format: 12"
Label: ZerOKilled Music (@)
Rated: *****
There are many evidences about the widespread obsession with the 23 enigma, other ones has a sort of devotion for their own lucky number, but besides sporadic fans of Heaven 17 or East 17, I've rarely heard about people who like number 17 till the moment I've read some notes around this collaborative release by Los Angeles-based movie maker Alex Infascelli, who gained a considerable notoriety for having signed a number of videclips of many well-known (mainly Italian) musicians, and Italian versatile artist Costanza Francavilla, whose name got known by many music lovers for having been partner-in-art (and according to some rumors, a proper personal muse) of Tricky, who referred to her "the female version of me". Out of respect for their beloved number, they recorded a 17 minutes lasting improvisation in Bushwick, NY, with no overdubs, effects or any other frills by means of a couple of microphones whoich got placed in front of the wall of their performative space where Costanza played synths and Alex built entrancing guitar drones and occasional out-spurts on drums, but listeners could hazard more than one guess around the connection between what they recorded and 17. For instance, you could read 17 according to the typical way to mask other meanings by different typefaces (the most known is AK47, which could be translitterated as "a key for this heaven") so that you could read that number as "one-seven" or "one's heaven" or consider other "esoteric" meanings - the angels or demonds which can be evoked are 17, knight templar were 17, which represent the radiant power of divine knowledge according to other numerologists -, which could have some connection with the somewhat mystical halo fo their improvisation, or 17 could be coniderd their favorite moment of the day (5PM), their personal tea-time! The general atmosphere could recall the sonic rendering of a ritual to get closer to the divine or to some undefined source of inspiration, where the opiate sonorities gradually absorb the sudden drumming explosions, which get slower and slower as if they got anesthetized as well. The end of the recording is a little bit abrupt, but they had to exactly stop recording after 17 minutes...
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anymore
Artist: The Silent (@)
Title: Volume 1: Wake
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Bastion Records
For this release, Edinburgh residents Connor Doherty and Stewart McLachlan (together otherwise known as Shudder) adopt the moniker 'The Silent' and endeavour over twenty-four hours to write and produce music from scratch. The fruits of this sleepless session are the three compositions on Volume 1: Wake. Sound sources are nearly exclusively acoustic rather than generated electronically: voice, instruments and diverse household objects make up the bulk of the material, although plenty of manipulation goes on. Together, the pieces seem to offer a rough corresponding narrative of the whole process as it unfolded: the EP begins with a fully fledged, lyrical song and follows up, as the effects of sleeplessness develop, with a pair of simpler experiments.

The song ('Wake') is a melodramatic number led by slow, textural piano. The vocals are mixed low, making their originator sound distant and a bit lost. As it trudges through a pair of crescendos, the tone is distinctly uneasy. Finishing on a gloomy piano motif, the song is followed by 'Glisten', which consists of scarcely more than a quiet, distorted beat and intermittent, piercing chimes. It's great though; the harsh metallic resonance and harmonics are very satisfying and slightly sinister, like a meditative environment turned abrasive. Finally, 'Howl' revisits the style of the first track, incorporating similarly clattering rhythms and use of piano. Guitar is more prominent and vocals provide wordless background texture.

The EP is impressive for something produced in a single extended session, though the limitations of these circumstances are readily apparent and there isn't a great deal we haven't heard elsewhere. One gets the feeling these pieces could have been improved over a longer period, but this is an issue already anticipated and dismissed as unimportant by the EP's underlying concept. While the band claim on their release page to have "suffered from the sleep deprivation aspect of it" in the later stages, for me the latter two tracks are more successful than 'Wake'. In particular, the simplicity of 'Glisten' works in its favour; narratively it resembles an interlude, but really holds its own as an atmospheric, redolent moment. It'll certainly be worth hearing what the duo comes up with on the second volume.
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Artist: Rumpistol
Title: Away
Format: 12"
Label: Rump Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
According to the linear notes this album 'references ['¦] the isolation, absence and loss that comes with the creative process, but also the privilege of being able to disappear into another world and be 100% present in the music' and, almost oddly, this phrase is a clear description of this release as it reveals the implicit struggle between searching new sounds using old synths and being catchy with the radio listener being interesting with the bored reviewer.
From the evocative introduction of 'A dream' to the equally evocative and almost pop ending of 'Atacama' this release is a journey into this form of music that is equally equidistant from the banalities of pop and the autism of experimental. This means that, starting from the almost dull but dancey beats of 'A town', the rumpistol's musical offering is even honest in the depiction of his musical influences but his development is remarkable as it's not something only for the distracted listening but it's something revealing an experimental feel. So, if 'Amnesia' tries to develop the canon of drum 'n bass, 'Asleep' sounds as a dancey pop track that could features in the playlist in a radio that set hitself as 'the best italian dance radio' but it's too shy to explore something more demanding. ' A Glance' and 'Amar' seem an outtakes from the firsts autechre's album (and this is a true compliment).
This release is well developed and reveals an artist that stands in the balance between experimental path and pop allure. Highly recommended.
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Artist: Flite (@)
Title: Featherfall
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Sup Yo!
Rated: *****
One of the best assay of the year in the field of liquid d'n'b comes from Flite, a newcomer of the almost unknown Virginia scene, whose remarkable attention to detail and tastefulness are undeniable since this enchanting tidbit. Meaningful lyrics, but above all the combination of mellow and airy sonorities, straight clean cuts with heavenly accelerations and guessed melodic hooks, functionas an invitation to fly whose subtlety could let the fear of heights and flight out to listeners who suffer from attacks of vertigo! On the flipside, the remix by Leeds-based producer Rameses B, one of the most appreciated shepherd of MrSuicideSheep's youtube channel, makes it bouncier and likewise emotionally radiant by means of fluctuating LFOs, amazing treatments on vocals and kicking grooves. Thumbs up for this great discovery by Sup Yo!, the newborn label by Kaine Shutler and Pete Callaghan.
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Artist: Monty Adkins
Title: Residual Forms
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
Inspired by the psychogeographic method of exploration based on the so-called "drift" - an aimless wondering aroudn the city, exploring its hidden resonances, which lay just beneath the surface -, which got mainly applied to his fascinating wandering in the meander of London by Welsh writer Iain Sinclair, this one-track record by Dr.Monty Adkins delivers a very fascinating musical journey. Delicate and placid piano tones, which renders the sequence of emotions and memories evoked during a running in an undefined urban setting, seems to cover any glimpse where the runner directs his glance with a veil and cover any perspective like a flimsly layer of hoarfrost. There are many listenable cues or urban life, but they sound like phantasmal entities while such an insight intertwines melodic web whose opening volatility limbers listener up for the following emotional outburst, which signals the moment when all the parts of some broken dream got finally pasted together and keep on shining brightly. "Residual Forms" is available as a free download on Cronica website...an extra reason to join the musical explorations by Atkins, even if it could be moreish!
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