Music Reviews



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Artist: Chagas Curado Viegas Wind Trio
Title: Old School New School No School
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Although their sound cannot be considered as totally original, the skills of these three Portuguese musicians and authentic musical "spin doctors" on wind instruments, Joao Pedro Viegas (soprano and bass clarinets), Paulo Chagas (flutes, sopranino clarinet, oboe) and Paulo Curado (soprano and alto saxophones, flute) as well as their extended techniques, the clear mastery on their sounding tools (and their lungs and breathing apparatus indeed) and their wise sonic "portraiture" make this recording really palatable to followers of the genre. In the gurgling cauldron of broken phrasing, whimpering whiffs, rambling melodic lines and brave climbing on diatonic scale, there are many courses for imagination in the basket which nearly achieve cinematic fumigations ("For Emir", "Fake Camerata", "Nice (Bardot) or nice (Hayworth)" or the amazingly drunk "Bottleneck's Dream Song") and bizarre espousing of performative hints from ethnic musical language ("Articulated Ruidisms", "Stucked by Muffled Reed's Flattersung", "Meditation For Beginners"). On "Old School New School No School", a title which seems to be in correspondence to respective training, Wind Trio manages to whisk a remarkably high number of stylistical recipes on a sort of page-turner by means of an histrionic oomph.
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Artist: Bassazynthz (@)
Title: Strictly Approach
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Battery Park Studio
Distributor: Juno
Rated: *****
The first thought that came to my mind after i played the new 'Strictly Approach' e.p. by mr Ronny Kuenniger aka BASSAZYNTHZ, is that this man is passionate about his music (and a very skilled producer). After playing it again, many times over, and listening carefully, i was starting to discover little details with each listen and to me, that always is an indication of that passion.
In this five track e.p. released on the 'Battery Park Studio' label, Bassazynthz, embarks on a multidimensional electro journey, that covers all bases.
Of course there is the much needed sonic edge, to move things forward, the very contemporary and modern production approach, that ensures that the end result is gratifying, but he does not stop there. In most of the tracks, there are little 'injections' of retro elements that enrich his compositions giving a very stable platform for him to evolve and release his melodic vibes that add this multilayered feeling/emotion, to the otherwise sometimes cold and robotic - by definition - genre of electro.
All the tracks are very carefully structured, with great attention to detail, and the overall production is flawless. There are haunting pads, driving beats, great vocoder action, and lead synth hooks, thunderous basslines and intriguing arrangements that guarantee repeated listens and ultimately a very happy music buyer!
The 'Strictly Approach' e.p. is out now, on digital form, but watch out for the vinyl release soon!
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Artist: Terence Hannum
Title: Burning Impurities
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten
Rated: *****
Active with several projects (City Of Liars, Failsafe, Locrian and Unlucky Atlas), Terence Hannum is releasing for the Swedish tape label Belaten, his latest album "Burning Impurities". The 60 minutes tape, which is available in a limited run of 200 copies, sees Terence performing two long suites titled "Cermonially Clean" and "Pass Through The Fire". The composition of the two tracks is specular as the first one is based on addition and the latter on subtraction. Sounding like a magmatic flow of drones with tiny melodic loops and rhythms, "Cermonially Clean", creates a tense atmosphere where choruses, humming sounds are joined by grinding noises. As the time passes by the noise increase until you kinda picture a column of fire coming out of your speakers. "Pass Through The Fire", instead, starts with a deflagration and keeps that intensity for about twenty minutes just to decrease slowly on the final ten. During the first part, you have the feeling to be at the center of a tornado while the stuff that has been picked up from the ground is spinning around you making noises and hisses'¦ almost a dizzy feeling. This is a release to experience... preview it here http://belaten.bandcamp.com/album/burning-impurities
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Artist: William Basinski + Richard Chartier (@)
Title: Aurora Liminalis
Format: CD
Label: Line (@)
Rated: *****
Gee whiz! I cannot but exclaim so when I read the names of two grand masters of frontier sonic disciplines, Richard Chartier and William Basinski, who already showed how complementary their sonic languages are on "Untitled", which was releases almost ten years ago by Spekk. Chartier's personal declension of minimalism as a collection of entities on the threshold between silence and sound and Basinski's pulchritudinous harmonies in ultra slow motion coalesce again on this highly visionary 45 minutes lasting track, whose title "Aurora Liminalis" and beautiful cover artwork sound like a sort of walk-through for listeners. It could be splitted in two parts: on the first one, there's a sort of gradual ascension, where Basinski and Chartier describe a dawn in minute details, so that listeners could almost feel they managed to expose each single photon of each sun ray as well as the gradual spreading of light by means of a slow fade-in which manages to evoke this daily spectacular natural show and the charming paint of its inanimate and animate onlooker and bystanders. While you could imagine that sunbeams are trying to reach the abyss of oceans, the sonic watershed begins to sneak in just after nine minutes. It slowly taxies and percolates till it becomes clearly distinguishable and sounds hypnotic as if it were the sonic representation of chores, social conventions and any possible epiphany of self-identity, which could divert attention from surrounding happenings, whose sonic comeback sounds tardive as the sun is already withdrawing and dragging the colours from the world. The singed electric buzz on the final part of the descending phase of "Aurora Liminalis" almost evokes the metaphoric smouldering of the night and the soot of the fog, where the bonfires of artificial lights could let you think about the last burning points of an almost completely charred leaf soon thereafter the sun removed its colourful warm mantle. You shouldn't wonder how an ambient record could suggest such a scenery when sonic scenographers are so talented. A proper little masterpiece.
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Artist: Jojo Blue
Title: First On Air
Format: CD
Label: MENU (@)
Rated: *****
The hyperbolic ascending directrices that the sound by talented Slovakian producer Jozef Miklos aka Jojo Blue on his debut album, released by Czech label MENU, are clear since the introductive track "Hactba", where some seagull cries, a sort of fairy angelic choir and the sea breeze confuses with the enthralling suavity and the veiled melancholia of harp, strings and a bassoon by evoking a mysteriously holy and naturally mystical dimension, which he manages to integrate with his sampledelic dubstep and its possible variations over the album, even if the initial chod progression on that kind of organ which was widely used by garage-house producers on the following "Apocalypto" could mislead listeners before the heavy and skeletal step and the typically dubstep grinding bass burst into the sequence of instrumental sketches he progressively adds. Jojo Blue's skills in bouncing beats and samples (mainly extracts from movies, old songs and vocals under exstatic raptures) is quite evident since these first rushing beats but become clearer and clearer over the listening: the puffed dry beat of the catchy "Blue Down" got enhanced by dropping samples (particularly amazing that sort of banjo), which on the following "Jocker" have been used to make the portrait of a devilish jester; on "Anthem Of Science (for Lilien)" - maybe the best track on "First On Air" -, Jozef builds splashes of bubbly dub which sounds performed by researchers during laboratory tests, while he peppers the following "Cybersex" with sizzling computational fibrillations, which surface in the initial part of the following "Goral Cut" as well, where you could surmise he awoke some Carpathian female vampires and the mummy of some monk who conducted a Gregorian choir by means of some spell casted from the handbook of an unknown necromancer, before narcotizing them again for the definitive eternal sleep on the soulful "Fusion", where he seems to reprise some "vintage" sounds of the last 90ies. Even if some rhythmical patterns could be still improved and in spite of its nostalgic halo, Jojo Blue managed to suggest a possible way to the so-called and somewhat undefined post-dubstep. Have more than one listening.
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