Music Reviews



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Artist: Billy Roisz (@)
Title: Walking The Monkey
Format: 12"
Label: Mego (@)
Rated: *****
This solo debut album by Austrian experimental video and sound artist Billy Roisz, known for her talent to render experimental music into visual imagery, sounds like a sort of anarchic transposition of suprematist praecepts from plastics to electricity after yuppifying them by means of contemporary treatment of frequencies and an impressive weaponry of instruments and unstruments, i.e.remote-controlled instruments where a device (normally a computer) goes between instrument and performer, such as electric bass guitar, kakophonator, kluppe (a linux-only open source loop-player and recorder, developed by Dieter Kovacic aka dieb13, who already collaborated with Billy), Flower Electronics Jealous Heart (a small battery-powered modular synthesizer, which is quite good to produce chatic clashing sounds) and a set of audible video devices. On "Walking The Monkey", she manages to organize corrosive flow of noises by tantalizing vortexes of spooky mid-frequencies ("Blue Hairy Tongues"), progressive saturations over tonal curves which look like following hyperbolic trend ("Spinning The Ecstasy"), sonic peptic ulcers (the distant smooth jazzy excerpt on the incipit of the title-track "Walking The Monkey" could let you imagine the possible mishap of an heavy drinker after many drinks), fermentations of stunning drones ("Feeding The Monsters"), thunderous flashes of noises which broaden over the sonic sphere (particularly on the track "Wave Your Hand To Sleepy Land", whose title conveniently quotes Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow"...a possible reading which could match the listening of Roisz's sonic sculptures) and high-pitched sharpening death throes of sound ("Under The Influence"). If you appreciate modulations of noise and similar stuff, just give heed to this stuff.
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Artist: Whitehorse (@)
Title: Live Ritual : July 25th 2011
Format: CD
Label: Small Doses
Rated: *****
When I put this cd in, I had no idea what to expect to be perfectly honest. I reached deep into my bag of material to review and decided for today, to skip over all of the items I knew to be calmer, ambient and soundscapes. Today I required something darker, more chaotic. So I chose Whitehorse's 'Live Ritual : July 25th 2011' based solely on the cover which utilizes their unholy beast design. I had never heard of them prior and based on the rest of what I had in the bag, was expecting more noise than anything. Well, I definitely got some noise, it was just wrapped in a buffalo skin blanket of crushing doom metal. Whitehorse seriously have perfected an absolutely brutiful sound. It blasts through in a thick wall of hate and fuck; truly an epic storm of devastation has been brewed here. The guitars just grind the soul into powder, and the underlying layer of noise washed through the brain like boric acid (in an awesome way). The vocals had a really great middle ground; not to deep and hollow but not too high and thin as some bands tend to do. They didn't get me as worked up as the music itself, but definitely better than the average. Definitely a monument for the ages, this Live Ritual brings the thunder.
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anymore
Artist: Rapoon (@)
Title: Seeds in the Tide Volume 01
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Zoharum (@)
This new release from Zoharum is the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the moniker Rapoon. This moniker is well known for the impressive use of percussions and his legacy of the fundamental work done by Zoviet France as Robin Storey is one of their founding members. All track were faithfully restored by Maciej Bartkowiak.
This release is made by two cds: the first opened by "Fallen Gods" is completely driven by percussion and, especially in the first half, is clearly influenced by the heritage of the early experiments of Robin Storey. There's also more atmospheric tracks like "Shakaah" but the most important part of this release is from tracks like "Birethen" where the percussions are able to create a trance for the listener as they change the perception of time , The second half of this release relies on constructed ambient textures as in "Exodus" while "Recant" seems a sort of exception with his dark drone but, in fact, is an introduction for the second cd.
"Messianic Ghosts Originals" is the reissue of a CDR and is viewable as a long suite in four part where drone and effects create a fascinating soundscape with at least one amazing track "Babel's Tongues" where loops and drones are in dialectical positions.
This release could be quite outdated in the overall sound, as his most recent track is of 15 years ago, but is valuable as a portrait of one of the artist that has done the history of post-industial music and it depict his fundamental qualities. This release has no rating as it's quite essential.
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Artist: MRKVA/BOLKA (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: LOM (@)
Rated: *****
I've already spoken about the creative explosion related to electronic music (and not only that) in many Eastern European countries, which sometimes experience some troubles in getting visible in the cluttered music scene, at some other time so that the venture by LOM, a small group of people which is trying to help unknown or forgotten deserving experimental artists from that geographical area (particularly from Slovakia for "logistical" reasons) to gain some visibility is praiseworthy. This first physical release is a split mini-album, co-signed by a couple of talented Slovakian sound artists, Jonas Gruska aka MRKVA and Matus Kolka aka BOLKA: the first one is a performer, sound artist and electronic instrument engineer, also known for his project Binmatu, who attended the prestigious Institute of Sonology in The Hague (Netherlands) and Music Academy in Krakow (Poland), where he studied composition and electroacoustic music, while Matus is a rising star of Bratislava experimental scene with a mania for building his own software instruments. On this release, they focused on the sonic representation of a dystopian (but not so far from forthcoming technological mischiefs) future when we will deal with swarms of nanotech insects. They both render them by means of sizzling electric sounds, but while MRKVA prefers to focus on electroacoustic devices and tricks with a huge quantity of gurgles, creased radio frequencies, warped cries, fragmented voices and other corrosive sonic secretions, which sometimes could remind the noise of ear drops for softening wax in the event of otitis, BOLKA builds glitch soundscapes by inserting sonic layers and more structured cluster of noises, temporary magmatic spills and efferent sonic "mistakes" (MRKVA seems to buil a linkage with this compositional approach in his last track "Anders"). Interesting offbeat stuff for tuned-in listeners.
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Artist: Quarz (@)
Title: Five Years On Cold Asphalt
Format: CD
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
Slithering low frequencies, oxidised sounds, dull tumbles, subdued shouts and a general feeling of decay impregnate the first part of this one track album by Quarz, a Wien-based collective project assembled by versatile musician Alexandr Vatagin, member of Tupolev and Port-Royal and label boss of Valeot Records, who involved many musicians of the lively artistic entourage of the Austrian capital, such as Stefan Meneth (Radian, Lokai), Alexander Schubert (Sinebag), Nicolas Bernier, Martin Siewert (Trapist, Heaven And) together with two guests, Bernhard Breuer (young drummer of Elektro Guzzi and Metalycee) and David Schweighart, Tupolev co-airman, who gave same field recordings on the occasion of "Five Years on Cold Asphalt". Then the sound perks up before alternates ups and downs, so that it could surmised a sort of underlying narrative intent about the facts of life, where temporary relief gets followed depressive moments in an erratic way. Such an epic odissey conveys the musical path by each contributor and even if there are some occasional hesitancies, this hybridization together with a certain shoegaze-like approach succeed in avoiding that high-falutin drift, which is quite common for similar bands. Quarz sometimes lacks in that completeness which has been reached by other ensembles, but they're coming closer and closer to it.
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