Music Reviews



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Artist: France Jobin (@)
Title: The Illusion Of Infinitesimal
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Rated: *****
If some sonic diggers accidentally begin to listen to this album by Montreal-based sound installation/artist and minimalist composer France Jobin aka I8U without knowing anything about its conceptual aspect, I'm pretty sure some of them could surmise that a maladroit nipper foolishly forgot to calibrate input controls on mixer while listening the opening track "1/2" where just some delicate frequencies, high beeps (not so different from pure tones for audiometric tests) and thin piercing sounds cross the microscopic holes left by knitted pad-synths which got intentionally mastered at a very low volume and seem to act like a filter for unnecessary and maybe unwanted sonic intrusions. According to a different way of listening the same track, you could imagine it's like an unobtrusive diaphragm between listeners and surrounding world, that you keep on feeling whether you are wearing headphones or you are listening to it from loudspeakers, where just some delicate sonic entities occasionally detach from the above-mentioned stream of frequencies as if "1/2" tries to render moments of temporary partinf from "outer world". Even the only trace of noise on the second part of the suite doesn't get under your skin as it rather resembles the noise of distant engines (a car, a watercraft, a helicopter o maybe a tractor) when you are on a desolate beach at dawn. A similar route between barely audible loops to resurfacing sonic entities has been followed on the other two long-lasting suites: whereas the central track "0" could evoke a peaceful reverie in a countryside farm, this talented Canadian woman pulls the initial pure tones and bleeps out of the sonic sphere before letting that previously almost silenced drone wrap the listener into a warmer embrace on the final "+1". That's a very good rapture in the fertile plot of minimalist ambient.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Traces Three
Format: 12"
Label: Recollection GRM/Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
The series "Traces", which collects authentic pearls from more or less unknown pioneering scholars of the legendary Groupe de Recherches Musicales, come to the third act and strenghtens the remarkable appeal that Recollection GRM, Editions Mego's auxiliary label whose main aim is to dig into GRM archives in order to spread forgotten artifacts of this group of proper innovators of sonic science, is inspiring between more demanding listeners. Besides the choice of grouping four different composers and sound engineers from four different corners of the planet, who attended this memorable community, the four works cover a period between 1975 and 1979. The first one in chronological order is maybe the more "conventional" track of the selection: "Hypnos" (1975), an extract from Slovenian composer Janez Maticic's "Trois Visions", is a set of really hypnotical sonic paregoric from masterfully steered oscillators, which are going to carry listeners into an entrancing parallel universe that could resemble that branch of ambient which got spread by Cascone's Silent years later. The immersion of a plenty of concrete resounding objects (metallic hits, helicopters, cars, grumbles, engines, rotors, breaking glass and maybe some captured goblins as well) into a magnetic pool of white noises on "Impresiones Fugitivas" (1976) by Venezuelan composer Servio Tullio Marin evokes those sund effects that featured many horror movies of the 70ies, while the opening "Ruptures" (1978) by French scholar Charles Clapaud could let you think to some obscure abstract sonic material where sudden bursting manages to make the listening experience more adventurous and somehow creepy that many contemporary electronic musicians keep on spreading today. The final "Moulin Diabolique" (French for "Evil Mill") (1979) that Polish composer Eugeniusz Rudnik dedicated to his daughter Kamila Maria rebroadcasts the anti-military spirit of late 70ies by a brilliant assemblage of six different sequences, where the semantic contrast between its weird sonorities and the ludicrous cornerstone and intrinsic stiffness of military logic has been brilliantly rendered: according to Rudnik's own words, "the basic material of this work consists of military orders in different languages and of the sounds (voices) of a human group (soldiers). through editing, the sense of military discipline was removed from the ordering sentences, thus enhancing the grotesque and terrible content of the order itself".
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Artist: Claudio Parodi (@)
Title: Heavy Nichel
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
I could guess that Claudio Parodi was sitting in his room different from the one you are in now. If you know some past stuff (in particular a release on Extreme that he tributed to Alvin Lucier...) from this Italian pianist and composer, who decided to focus on free improvisation, you fully understood my opening word. This release on Creative Sources opens the "Sound is my shelter" series by which Parodi is going to apply his personal stylistical imprint on single instruments: "the only rule I will follow is to record when the kairos (ancient Greek for "the right moment") has come, in terms of practising and reflecting". There was a Turkish clarinet in the above-mentioned room and Claudio cannot but squeeze it in order to extract four long-lasting improvisations with an impressive number of variations, tonal choke points, muffled phrases, stylistical ramifications and some occasional hooks to makram and traditional jazz, even if it could give the impression it's an end to itself and I cannot exclude that some iterations could sound heavier than nickel to listeners who are not accustomed to this kind of experiments and sonorities.
Jun 25 2014
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Artist: Severed Heads
Title: City Slab Horror
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records (@)
Rated: *****
Second Severed Heads' reissue on Medical Records, 'City Slab Horror' was released in 1985 always by Ink Records. On this release the band increased the electronic parts they started to use on "Since The Accident". Now the loops and the treated vocals are used to enrich the rhythm texture. On the twelve tracks of the album, Severed Heads added melodic lines here and there but always keeping the overall dark atmosphere. After a quick intro titled "Spasm", we have "Spastic Crunch", a tune base on obsessive drum machine beats, razor like guitar riffs, industrial synth stabs and treated vocals. Someway it sign the new course which follows with "Spitoon Thud", where we have vocal chants over hypnotic three notes guitar loops along with industrial like rhythms. "4WD" almost has a song structure with vocals and all. Rhythmic experimentation come with "Ayoompteyempt" and on "The Bladders Of A Thousand Bedoin" turns into an exotic voyage that went bad. "Now An Explosive New Movie" with Garry Bradbury on vocals, it's a catchy dark industrial song and it pairs with another dance friendly oriented song: "We Have Come To Bless This House". We can find the highest point into dance attitude on "Goodbye Tonsils", which is a particular one with upbeat hard beats, vocal recitative parts and a melodic hook. As for the previous LP, this one has been out of print for a long time and for this reissue has been remastered by Tom Ellard form the original source masters. Presented on high-quality 180 gram heavyweight bone white vinyl. Features bonus LP insert compiled by Tom Ellard with ephemera from the time. You can check it here http://severedheads.bandcamp.com/album/city-slab-horror
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Artist: Severed Heads
Title: Since The Accident
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records (@)
Rated: *****
Slightly delayed due to pressing plant issues as for the other two Medical Records I'll review soon, "Since The Accident" is the first of the two reissues that the label is about to release by Severed Heads. Formed in Australia at the very beginning of the 80s from a previous project called Mr. & Mrs. No Smoking Sign, Severed Heads were formed by Richard Fielding (part of the aforementioned project) and Tom Ellard. The line-up changed during the years but Tom Ellard has been always the constant of the band. Their early recordings were characterized by manipulated tape loop experiments which assembled noises, voices and rhythms. After releasing tapes and few vinyls on labels like Terse Tapes, Conventional Tapes and Dogfood Production System, the band released in 1983 "Since The Accident" on UK Ink Records. The album represented a transition for their music as it contains industrial experimentations made of loops and dadaist solutions as well as catchy electronic songs like the famous "Dead Eyes Opened", electronic ones like "Godsong" (a melancholic song which recall me a bit the atmospheres of the early Chris & Cosey stuff) and "Exploring The Secrets Of Treating Deaf Mutes" or a mix of experimental cut ups and electronics ("Epilepsy 82"). The album sounds interesting and adventurous even today and after being out of print for a long time, it is now presented with original repro jacket. Remastered by Tom Ellard form the original source masters, pressed on high-quality 180gram heavyweight black and white vinyl it will be available soon. In the meantime you can check all its tracks on the band's Bandcamp page http://severedheads.bandcamp.com/album/since-the-accident
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