Music Reviews

Artist: Bene Gesserit (@)
Title: Benefit
Format: Tape
Label: Insane Music
Rated: *****
Member of Chopstick Sisters, Cortex, Human Dance, Human Flesh, I Scream, Japanese Genius, La Maison Du Jardinier, Ornament & Crime Arkhestra, Pseudo Code, Sic and Subject, Alain Neffe is mostly known to be a member of Bene Gesserit along with his wife Nadine Bal, who was also into Ornament & Crime Arkhestra and Chopstick Sisters. Alaine and Nadine also run the label Insane music since the early 80s and released different volumes of the "Insane Music For Insane People" compilation series (as I'm writing I have into my pile of stuff I have to review #26) and album by Pseudo Code, Cortex, Human Flesh, I Scream and Le Tombeau. Some weeks ago I received a promo of Bene Gerrit's latest release titled "Benefit". It is a tape standard j-card with an additional false "Hell Bank Note" added in front. Hand-numbered to 200 copies and hand-stamped with a red Chinese "Insane" stamp it has also orange fluo case with stickered labels. It has been released to raise some money for the group helping them to get new recording studio equipment. It contains eleven unreleased tracks of the band but I don't know when they have been recorded but this is of little concern, because Bene Gesserit music is without time as it is capable to sound experimental and catchy at the same time. We have the upbeat noisy guitar "Stinking Ãlrich", the oriental crazy atmospheres of "Deborah, Romina, Martha, Sabrina, Tatiana, Barbara", the syncopated organ/guitar arpeggio based "Happy Like An African In Belgium", the pop 60s sounding "Bon Bon", the sampled violin/filtered vocals/dub drum based "The Gnashing Gnome" and the reversed sounds/organ based "It's Friday". What amazed me most is the theatrical feeling (thanks to Nadine's vocals) and the way they are able to mix different influences sounding, at the end, just like Bene Gesserit. If you want to help them into making a new recording studio, for 12 Euros you can have a tape with great music and a CDr (just in case you don't have a tape deck anymore). From Belgium with love...
Artist: Lyke Wake
Title: The Black Light
Format: CD
Label: Aseptic Noise
Rated: *****
Active on the second part of the 80s, Stefano Di Serio released under the Lyke Wake moniker different tapes and one split album with Ivan Iusco's Nightmare Lodge on Ivan's label Minus habens. After those releases Stefano put the project on hold for twenty years and came back on 2011 with "Mother". His sound has been always characterised by long fluctuating sounds which tended to create a meditative/dreamy effect on the listener. Always in balance from dark ambient (before the genre was named that way), cosmic music and industrial, Lyke Wake's journey into synthetic sounds lead Stefano to new worlds. On his latest CDr self released album "The Black Light", we have one hour suite where he explore his inner world using a ship made of long synth pads, light noisy waves and evolving melodic patterns. We pass from spacey atmospheres to a slow church organ arpeggio and suddenly we fall into a nightmarish intermezzo made of noises, drones and synth pads. After a short pause the atmosphere gets tense more and more. We have this path another time just to end with a chaotic mix where we have atmospheric pads and noises that went crazy. Nice one!
Artist: Yair Elazar Glotman
Title: Northern Gulfs
Format: CD
Label: Glacial Movements (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from this label is presented as 'a journey through the arctic gulfs in the north seas' and his composer is focused 'on experimental electroacoustic composition'. However, from my reviewing perspective, Yair Elazar Glotman is well into the current trend of electroacoustic music so it's something not literally 'experimental' (in fact, it's a form of music with an established form) but it's something challenging for someone that is not a fan of this genre. This is the kind of album that has to be listened with a curious ear to discover the small compositional choices used.
The noisy field recordings of 'Sunken Anchor' gently opens this release with a quiet drone slowly developing the track until a guitar arpeggio and a cello closes the track. 'Khaypudyr Bay' is a track focused on small sounds juxtaposed and carefully posed in the sound space. 'High Tide' and 'Low Tide' are, as the titles suggest, two related track focused on small and evocative field recordings samples but developed in opposite way as, when the first track is a brighter one, the second is a more meditative one. 'Kara Sea' is almost melancholic in the development of the drones used a building block. 'Home Port' closes this release with a track constructed upon a small drone used as a loop and another used to develop the track in a evocative soundscape.
Honestly speaking, this album is not a ground-breaking one but is something so carefully constructed and space oriented that is better enjoyed in a quiet environment using headphone to enjoy his textures. It's a pleasure to hear it.
Artist: Ernesto Rodrigues/Jonathan Sielaff/Vic Rawlings/Leif Sundstrom/Gust Burns/Manuel Mota
Title: Seattle
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Portuguese label Creative Sources picked a couple of old recordings of two interesting performances held in February 2006 at Gallary 1412, a performative space in Seattle's Central District, from its huge archive. Even though six musicians have been involved, it's not a sextet, but two fourtets, whose steady elements are Ernesto Rodrigues on viola and Jonathan Sielaff on bass clarinet. The most relevant aspect of these recordings is the fact that these inventive musicians were already testing sonorities in between electroacoustic and improv music that someone would name New Music today in a period when such a kind of stylistical digressions were not so popular. This release consists of two long-lasting sessions, the first of which features electronics, while the latter is just instrumental: the glueing element of the first session is the alternation of two very low frequencies from Vic Rawlings' cello and Leif Sundstrom's electronics, which sometimes thicken and overflow their banks so that listener could easily sense the intriguing and somehow mesmerizing dynamics by which they let seep or drawn other sonic entities with a thrilling sequence of out-of-sync moments and menacingly magmatic stillness. There are no proper driving forces or glueing elements on the second session, even if the air that Sielaff blew inside his bass clarinet could sound like an ersatz of the above-mentioned low frequencies or vice-versa, but after a sort tuning prelude, the short but trenchant phrases from Manuel Mota's electric guitar and Gust Burns' piano come to light as if they were frozening wisecracks in the middle of many different conversations.
Artist: Aborym (@)
Title: Dirty Remix
Format: CD
Label: Stridulation Records (@)
Rated: *****
Aborym is an Italian industrial black metal (well, sort of but in no way typical) band from Taranto, Apulia (heel of the boot) who have been around since about 1993, and have six studio albums to their credit, not counting this one. Seems as though the only constant member is Malfeitor Fabban (bass, synths, vocals) who was a member of Chain D.L.K.'s Marc Urselli's M.E.M.O.R.Y. Lab way back in the early days. Marc was also involved with the sound production on Aborym's last two albums, 'Psychogrotesque' (2010), and double album 'Dirty' (2013) from which these tracks were sourced on the remix. On those albums the band consisted of Fabban (vocals, synths, bass); Paolo "Hell:IO:Kabbalus" Pieri (guitar, synth, backing vocals); and BÃ¥rd G. "Faust" Eithun (drums). I think Marc's main contribution to the 'Dirty Remix' album was mastering it.

Usually, I don't care much for remix albums, but this one is different, really different. The remix crew here consists of Mortiis, Throne of Molok, Kingdom, XP8, Red Sector A, Emiliano Natali and Narchost, but only seven of the nine track on the album are remixes. One of the others is a previously unreleased track, and the remaining one is a reworking of a previously released track. Sweetening the pot, the first 150 copies of the CD come with hand-made artwork featuring 3 antique and original rusty nails from the early 1800s glued onto an aluminum box. (Get 'em while you can, kids, they're sure to become collector's items.)

Not being familiar with Aborym before this review, it was important to check out the original tracks from 'Dirty'. The album won a bunch of Metal awards from various places, but I also dug deeper into reviews and found that some critics really liked it, while others hated it. I guess that's what happens when you step out of the genre some people have grown to expect, and Aborym has definitely moved a lot closer to electro-industrial with 'Dirty'. Maybe not close enough though, for Fabban would never have sanctioned this if he wasn't considering moving away from typical black, death metal into more electro-industrial terrain.

So here's a track-by-track breakdown of what you can expect.

1. "A.T.W.A" (All the way alive)

Sequenced electronics, keyboards and drums, instrumental with a mish-mash of spoken word samples. Nothing groundbreaking but sets a mood. More of an intro than anything else. Something completely different for Aborym. Very electro-industrial. Nothing black metal at all, so it's doubtful any metal fans will dig it.

2. "Does Not Compute 1.2" ("Captain Morgan" version)

Heavy on the industrial and breakbeats, completely chaotic and frenzied, like a dozen things going on at once. Once again, very electro-industrial, heavy on the electronics, no vocals. Towards the end a sinister melodic theme develops through a standard 4-chord minor progression you've undoubtedly heard before. Pretty experimental stuff, but no metal fan would like this in the least, which is fine by me.

3. "Helter Skelter Youth" ("Nihilistic Bastard remix by Mortiis)

I'm not sure what the hell Mortiis has turned this into...sounds a lot like Ministry. Only bits and pieces of the original have been used. Intense, atmospheric electro-industrial. Heavy, heavy, heavy. I think I like it better than the original though. Clever guitar manipulation.

4. "Helter Skelter Youth" ("Pervy" remix by Kaoma Mega, Throne of Molok)

Once again you'll be hard-pressed to discern much of the original in this remix. Unlike Mortiis' remix of this track, Kaoma Mega has chosen to keep the loopy quarter-note bellish synth sequence (something I found curiously incongruous in the original) but it sounds a little sped up. Starting the track with an industrial stomper rhythm, the track shows promise until the one minute mark when it breaks for Fabban's "everything is gonna burn" vocal sample, after which the pace slows to half-speed and never recovers. All manner of industrial noise and electronics are thrown together in a confusing wall of sound. This one didn't work for me.

5. "Irreversible Crisis" ("Tanz mit Aborym" remix by Kingdom)

This remix sounds like it could have been done by Covenant, VNV, Apoptygma Berserk or similar dark dance floor staples. It retains the vocal samples from the original but not much else. A totally radical departure. Every goth-industrial dj needs this one in their collection.

6. "Dirty" ("Hellektro Apocalypse" remix by XP8)

XP8's remix of "Dirty" picks up the pace of this song to a breakneck 150 BPM. All that seems to be retained from the original is (selections from) Fabban's vocals. Very ravey...I can see the glow-sticks waving in the crowd.

7. "Helter Skelter Youth" (Stigmata" remix by Biomechanical Christ, Red Sector A)

Red Sector A's remix of this track strips out the electronics, leaving guitar, bass and drums, and also Fabban's vocals, which you can actually hear and understand. A competent exercise in speed metal with the halting and stuttering of the original smoothed over. I think I actually like this better than the original. Metalheads may too.

8. "I Don't Know" ("The Blackbirds II" remix by Emiliano Natali.

Well, Natali certainly knows his way around Aborym's oeuvre having been the sound engineer for the 'Dirty' album, and the previous 'Psychogrotesque' album. Consequently, his remix of this track may be the most brilliant remix on the album for fusing Aborym's type of metal with a new electro-industrial dirtection. It's not that much has been changed here, but all the right elements have been cleaned up and pumped up. I think you can actually hear what the band was striving for compared to the original. In fact, just junk the original and substitute this remix; it's better by far.

9. "Irreversible Crisis" ("Rotten Core remix by RG Narchost)

R.G. Narchost (Stormcrow, Demon's Shade and Drowning Ashes) is the guy who created The Spiral Shaped Chamber custom sounds' library for Aborym. He also is responsible for the weirdest remix on the album. (There always has to be one, doesn't there?) You won't recognize much from the original, except the sampled title lyrics "Irreversible Crisis". The entire track sounds as if it has been submerged under heavy liquid, except for the closed hat ticks keeping the beat. An absolutely creepy, atmospheric vibe in minimal industrial ambience. Great way to close out the album.

Overall, I liked most of these tracks better than the originals from 'Dirty'. Expect it will alienate a lot of Aborym's metal fans, but (hopefully) will gain them new ones from the electro-industrial sector. Question is, does this remix album signal a definite new direction for Aborym, or was it just an experiment? I'd like to think the former. Now with Ministry out of commission, somebody has to fill that gap. Could it be Aborym?
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