Music Reviews



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Artist: Alvin Lucier/MAZE (@)
Title: (Amsterdam) Memory Space
Format: CD
Label: Unsounds (@)
Rated: *****
Based on John Cage's precepts of the so-called aleatory music according to which the score rests on a number of established "rules" whereas the proper work's composition gets determined by performer, the instructions of Alvin Lucier's "(Hartford) Memory Space" (1970) focused on musician's "augmented" memory both in the inspirational and performative phases. Alvin just stated to record the "sound situations" of an "outside environment (urban, rural, hostile, benign) by any means (memory, written notations, tape recordings) before "returning to an inside performance space at any time later, re-create, solely by means of your voices and instruments and with the aid of your memory devices (without additions, deletions, improvisation, interpretation) those outside sound situations.". The members of the electroacoustic ensemble MAZE which include Yannis Kyriakides (computer and electronics), Anne La Berge (flute and electronics), Dario Calderone (double bass), Reinier van houdt (piano, keyboards, electronics), Wiek Hijmans (electric guitar), Gareth Davis (bass clarinet), strictly followed Lucier's instructions while they were in Amsterdam on the occasion of the centenary of John Cage's birthday (5th September 2012) and assembled an inspiring one-hour lasting piece where individual mnemonic monads conflate into a collective patchwork by means of an accurate studio recording which combined titchy instrumental improvisations and field recordings, where each musical soul seems to go through A'dam in the guise of uncovered spheres within recorded clues of Dutch vibrating capital.
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Artist: Cavern Of Anti-Matter
Title: Blood-Drums
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Grautag Records (@)
Rated: *****
The sound from the Cavern of Anti-Matter, the new astonishing project by Holger Zapf on synths, Joe Dilworth - the first drumsticks of Stereolab - and Stereolab's guitarist Tim Gane, could be considered as a sort of convex mirror of modernity, whose geometry and its strong connection with krautrock, the timeless and utmost musical language of the German booming economy between 60ies and 70ies coming from a covey of sound artists which combined electronic and rock, sound still adequate to many contemporary urban organisms whose circulatory systems could souds more or less like "Blood Drums". The intangible textures of its everlasting rolling motion become concrete just as they transfuse sonic clues of majestic wire harnesses and sketches a grid pattern which swings from the white and black slots of an expanded chessboard; its stream pipes the dizziness of clickety-clacks which got evoked by the typical games on stereo channel of mono recordings ("You're An Art Soul"), the dazzling reflected light of steel and glass monsters ("Solar Diamond"), the soothing effect of electromechanical melodies ("Invocation Melodie In C"), time-lapses of swarms of beings ("Hot Electric Insect"), advertised or somehow prosthetic large bright smiles and augmented lips ("Irradiated Dream Mouth"), slaphappy libations of vitriolic food ("Acid Death Picnic"), artificial simulacrums of glee ("Kool Boy Narcosis", "Dystopian Shopping Mall") or movement and other parades of modernity. The discernment of what is real and what is fake doesn't really matter as what really matters is the fact that the intimate anxiety or I'd rather say the angst of a world which looks like in perpetual and frantic formation needs its own labyrinthine place of worship or a totem pole and the Cavern of Anti-Matter could "naturally" be that place.
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anymore
Artist: Aquavoice (@)
Title: Grey
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
Even if this is the eighth album of this project, this is the first release I've heard about. According to the press notes this album is "a bit more experimental than simply ambient or Berlin school" but, in facts, this release, rather than an ambient album, is a kaleidoscope where converge at least three major influences: dark ambient soundscapes, trip hop rhythms and a bit of new age influences.
"S.E.T.I. Project" opens this release with a radio transmission, a noisy loop and small noises while "Magma" instead is a form of industrial trip-hop. "Child Of The Moon" starts with a sharp noise until the soundscape gradually emerges. "Terra Incognita" is a gentle interlude to the longest track of this album "Radiowaves" that return to the hypnotic beats in the first part while the second relies on an oriental mood. With "Glassgames" and "Invisible World" there's a sort of chill-out time while "Air Sanctuary" and "Liquid Plejades" return to dark ambient territories. An unreferenced hidden track closes this release with an oriental and meditative loop gently colored by small noises.
This is a release where sharp experimentalism and quiet soundscapes converge in a listening without boring moments. A remarkable release.
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Artist: R.Stevie Moore (@)
Title: Personal Appeal
Format: CD
Label: Care in the Community (@)
Rated: *****
According to the plenty of definitions which tried to describe the majesty of Robert Stevie Moore, this living legend could be considered as a standard bearer of DIY ethics, a craftsman, a weird stylistical blender of pop inputs, an incontinent melodic juggler, the provider of "the template for the entire movement currently known as Hypnagogic Pop", the "godfather of the home recording movement with the same uneasy appreciation that Neil Young brought to acknowledging his title as the godfather of grunge" and so on. I personally trust more his own explanation which describes his fervid flair (more than 400 hundreds homemade albums on tape and 30 songs a week on the average before senility by his own admission) as a sort of stream of consciousness and his music as a weird mixture between commercial pop and avant-garde. If you're asking the reason why such a vulcanic music mind and chamaleontic artist, who inspired an embarassing number of musicians including Sonic Youth's Thruston Moore or King Ariel Pink, just recently drew the attention of part of the so-called mainstream (his nice round face which could resemble a mixture between an imaginary Santa Claus, who decided to breed American buffaloes after retirement, and the reigning champion of whisky drinking competition appeared on the cover of Wire, he recorded an astonishing session for BBC and toured Europe), you'll find a possible answer in the lyrics of the first song "Why Can't I Write A Hit?" of this selection where the voice of a possible decrepit vampire, the perfect avatar of some so-called art director of a major label, repeats "the songs are too weird" and the following "Make Up Shake Up" whose arrangement is Mozart's Divertimento No.17 in D Major, k.334, no less, could adduce further evidence, but the 15 tracks of this great selection, taken from a period between 1973 and 2001, during which he developed a strong connection with New Jersey after he moved there from his native Nashville, Tennessee, where he came back in 2010, show his impressive stylistical versatility as he manages to juggle with surf rock, Californian music, freak folk, bluegrass, country and much more and spice his juicy musical potages by a distinguishable mixture of cheeky humour, melancholy and humanity. While listening this record, you'll fully understand Stevie's a genius and there's nothing he can do about it!
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anymore
Artist: Hydra Division V
Title: Ostracized
Format: CD
Label: Artificial Sun (@)
Rated: *****
The roster of the Russian Artificial Sun label grows and grows and presents us for the first time a music project which doesn't hail out of the Ex-Sowjet-/Russian-territorities. Hydra Division V is the Harsh EBM/Hellectro outfit of Vincent Andelmoth and he established this project 6 years ago in his home-country Greece. Greece is surely a well-known place for this special music-genre and has already brought out several leading projects like Pre-Emptive Strike 0.1, Iambia, Cygnosic, Inline.Sex.Terror or Nano Infect. After a debut release with a 4-track EP in 2010 under the assistance of George of Cygnosic Vincent presents us his first full-length album. Already that bloody cover artwork provides suggestion in which kind Mr Andelmoth would like to express himself artistically. It is the raw, repetitive and often blamed sort of Hellectro/Harsh-EBM-procedure with its usual Vanguard-like lead-synth-sounds, the Techno-inspired deep kick-and-snare-works and the overall pseudo-aggressive, cookie-monster-like vocal performance. 'Ostacized' offers all of these ingredients in a more or lesser perfectly arranged manner. Vincent has surely extracted a lot of content of the well-sounding studio works of his famous countrymen mentioned above, but what counts for thousands of other projects out of this genre, counts also for him: his music isn't new or in any matter to be called authentic. It's rather more difficult with the danger to end in a musically dead valley. Just in times when leading projects Suicide Commando are obviously re-thinking their musically course through the last years, his debut may tries too obviously to jump on the train of time, which has already left the station. 'Ostracized' is without doubt crafty and driving enough produced to impress especially the dancefloor addicts of the dark clubs, while it becomes a bit strenuous to consume it on the whole length on your home entertainment. In addition to the main part of the album you'll get two remixes of Larva and Acylum, which both add their view of musically expression to Vincent's tunes. All in all consumable like a daily burger, but nothing which could transform this effort into a first class meal.
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