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Artist: Juan Carlos Vasquez (@)
Title: Collages
Format: Tape
Label: Important Records (@)
Rated: *****
This release is based upon the digital manipulation of performance, for solo instruments, of works by celebrated composers. From the linear notes, this album is conceived as 'a sonic application of British painter JMW Turner' technique to use layers of colours and textures to turn everyday landscape into powerful and expressive oneiric fantasies'. In more musical terms, the melodic lines of the original pieces are turned into a bunch of noises and drones juxtaposed with a path in mind.
The A side is opened by 'Collage 1 (After M. Mussorgsky)' where a cello piece is developed focusing on his noises and resonances. 'Collage 2 (After L.v. Beethoven)', perhaps a piano piece, is closes to glitch while 'Collage 3 (After E. Ysaye)' deals with violin sounds. 'Collage 4 "Landscape' creates drone from noises. This side is closed by 'Collage 5 "The Acrobat" (After E. Satie)' where the well known piano lines are turned into a melancholic soundscape.
The B side, this release is a cassette, is opened by 'Collage 6 (After J.S. Bach)' based upon an organ tune where the manipulation reveals the similarities with wind instruments. 'Collage 7 (After F. Chopin)' focuses on the lyrical motives of the piano lines of this composer. 'Collage 8 (After J.S. Bach)' develops in a noisy way while 'Collage 9 (After J.L. Borges)' closes this release deconstructing the voice of the reader of the text.
This release sounds unfocused in some parts and closer to his intellectual premise than in an enjoyable musical result but, when the game works, reveals the care in his construction. It's worth a listen.
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Artist: God Module (@)
Title: False Face
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
The immersion of electonic pop hooks and more distinguishable melodies into the dark-industrial pool of blood that Jasyn Bangert aka God Module scrambled for his sixth album is the main aspect that makes this release a cupcake if compared to other release with its mark such as "Viscera" or "Let's Go Dark". The cinematic sonic entities which let listener climb down into a crime scene or the horrific set of serial-killer driven cinematographic plot are clear since the samples of a scaried girl and the disquieting caption of a childish voice on the opening "A Good Night To Die", whose blend of sinister sonorities and sharpened beats that start on the very first ominuous lines of the song ("Wash your hands in th tears of the sycophants/Broken Behavious beyond perverse/No trial when you're opposite of innocent/your verdicts even read in reverse") could render a sensually spirited dancing with his/her assassin into listener's mind. If the stridency between muscular sounds and metallic scheeches sounds wisely softened on the following "Black And Blue", the almost jaunty sonic traces of "Nothing But Mine", one of the highlight of the album together with the title-track, the crunched song "Through The Noise", the moments when pop elements clearly resurface from the brutally groovy stings by God Module, the almost martial meaningful "Destroy The Day", could let symphatize with the torturer in a context where the classic dicotomy between good and evil, hell or heaven, got replaced by the one between truth and lie, which brings the crime or the persecution about as well as other elements where Jasyn, whose voice seems more robotic than the one I remember on previous releases, portrayed the murderer as a sort of dreamer whose aberration could descend from the craving of a paradoxically better society.
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Artist: Hot Victory (@)
Title: Hot Victory
Format: 12"
Label: Eolian Empire (@)
Throughout Hot Victory, Caitlin Love and Ben Stoller toy with exuberant instrumental synth music. Somewhat unusually, they do so seated together from behind a variegated command centre of tangled drum kits, pads, samplers and probably more besides. The drum kit, augmented as it may be in this case, persists as the locus for each composition here, driving everything forward, determining structure. In other words, altogether it feels ideologically like the product of drummers ("[a] man and a woman, joined at the drums", as the press release puts it) even while markedly more than drumming is taking place. So although the duo consists of percussionists first and foremost, the palette isn't nearly as restrictive as it seems. It's more than adequate for the development of layered, muscular and entertaining tracks.

Notably, while rhythm (and the physical bashing out thereof) lies at the core of the album's dynamics, the pair never quite indulges in any kind of drum solo. With the other instruments and tech intertwined with the kits themselves, they apparently decline to isolate the traditional kit. Instead, perhaps they view and incorporate these additions all as part of the same expressive matter, all similarly valid and accessible to one carefully-positioned limb or another. There is certainly a considered, consistent, even playful alignment of diverse sounds at play, which can be really satisfying. Both rhythmically and texturally, entertaining use is made of speech and monster effects from the 1982 horror classic The Thing in the album's closer 'Labyrinthos'. Throughout and particularly noticeable during the fade-out, a rough synth note rattles briefly every few measures, leading out the drone. Strongly it echoes a Thing sample already heard; a bubbling scream from one of the film's monsters.

Vigorous and very tight, the substance of each of the six tracks (five on the vinyl version) follows something along these lines. 'Anasazi' derives its samples from the titular X-Files episode. 'Tetraktys' is a gleeful jam with a moist lead and arpeggios barrelled along by the percussion. Digital-only inclusion 'Harmony of Spheres' opens with a sultry synth brass line and ambience, rather flattering to Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack, before the mounting energy of the kits leads it elsewhere.
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Artist: EXS
Title: These Days (The Crystal Issue Cycle 1)
Format: 12"
Label: Solar One Music
Rated: *****
After two years from the debut 12" EP on the Solar One Music sub-label Unhoerbar, EXS is back on the main label for a new one sided clear vinyl 12". Out on the "Crystal Issue" series, released after Mantra and Perseus Traxx 12"s, EXS (which is a side project of Robert Witschakowski better known as The Exaltics and one of the two label's bosses) brings, as the other acts did, two new tracks: "These Days" and "K.I.L.Y.". The main track is a seven minutes techno tune really different from the dark atmospheres we were used to with The Exaltics. Here we have atmospheric pads which duet with upbeat tribal drums where light toms sounding like bongos are doubled by hi hats and acid raw bass lines. "K.I.L.Y." has less acid sounds and is based on a bass sequence doubled by a dry lead synth sound. The effect is kinda minimal and hypnotic which could be fine for the dance floor. Personally I prefer The Exaltics but if you are party people, you can enjoy the soul techno sounds of EXS. You can find the sound excerpts here: https://soundcloud.com/solar_one_music/exs-aka-the-exaltics-these-days-the-crystal-issue-cycle-1
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Artist: Glowicka & Walentynowicz (@)
Title: Red Sun
Format: CD
Label: Bôłt Records/ARTEksounds (@)
Rated: *****
"Frost. Morning frost awoke me reaching under the covers.". These words are the incipit of the short story that Kasia Glowicka, the brilliant media artists which co-signed this entrancing musical suite together with pianist Malgorzata Walentynowicz, which seems to tell a romantic reverie where the main balls on the sky we see from this point of the universe often interfere with inner journeys of a romanticized sequence of happenings where temporary perceptions triggers different zones and seemingly forgotten recesses of the soul. Besides emotional clefts, these Polish girls wisely explores the stylistical choke points of a possible junction between classical music, ambient and minimalism by means of elegant and somewhat adventurous where the delightful piano melodies got striated by blurred tones, sudden sprays of bells, electronic drafts, distant rustles like reflections of lunar light on the rough water of the sea or an imaginary recce over Klimt's "The Kiss", which got mentioned in Kasia's storytelling. The mellifluous intermittence of emotional evocations can be clearly appreciated on the longest suites of the album such as "Presence", the heart rending dedication to Polis composer and pianist Tomasz Sikorski, an authentic source of inspiration for Kasia Glowicka, who already took part to a tribute release on Bolt Records, where she described Sikorski's minimalism by a meanignful description ("Sikorski's minimalism was unique to any of these native and foreign influences. He was a philosopher-minimalist concerned with the meditative properties of his compositions. His philosophy could be as well paraphrased by Queen's existential Bohemian Rhapsody - "nothing really matters, anyone can see, nothing really matters..." On the other hand, literally every note matters in his distinct minimalist style. It is here that I've identified most strongly with Sikorski's longing for brutal beauty. In this space, one can go so far as to be intentionally painful."), the lovely "Red Sun" or the bittersweet melancholia of "Retina", but the shortest tracks such as the fibrillating "Favola", the baleful "Absence" or the opening "Sun Spot" follows such a guessed compositional strategy.
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