Music Reviews

Artist: Arcana (@)
Title: As Bright As A Thousand Suns
Format: CD
Label: Cyclic Law (@)
Rated: *****
After "The Architecture of Melancholy", Peter Bjärgö return with the Arcana moniker with an album of pure beauty.
"Somnolence" is a quiet opener based on a sad piano line while "As The End Draws Near", the first proper track of the album, hipnotize the listener with the two vocal lines above the solemn soundscape. "Inceptus" returns to meditative territories similar to the one already seen in his solo adventure. "Medea" is filled with echoes of what it seems the tradition of his country with the use of an ethereal female voice, sadly enough I am not able to understand if it's the voice of Cecilia Bjärgö or Annmari Thin (they are not credited on song base). "Leave Me Be" is another solemn track while "Infinity" relies on an interesting beat similar to the ones used by Dead Can Dance in their discography. "In Memoriam" is another ethereal track where the traditional sound palette is colored by the female chant while "The Fading Shadow", because features Peter's voice, is more solemn as is the titletrack. "Vinter" closes this release with an instrumental track based on a piano line as the first.
As it's true that Dead Can Dance could be an obvious musical reference as it's clear the musical influence exerted on this album, it's also cristalline that it's beautifully written. Almost amazing.
Artist: Altieri/Balestrazzi/Becuzzi
Title: In Memoriam J.G.Ballard
Format: CD
Label: Old Europa Cafe (@)
Rated: *****
Simon Balestrazzi, Corrado Altieri and Gianluca Becuzzi, three of the most creative heads of Italian electro-industrial scene shared their sonic machines and intuitions for a due sonic cairn dedicated to an authentic forerunner of post-modern literature, J.G.Ballard, whose extravasion of symbolist, dadaist and surrealist psychological approach and subtly slashing social and cultural critic marked an important step of sci-fi literature, which Ballard renewed by focusing on inner universe, more than on aliens, monsters and bizarre planets or creatures from outer space. His characters are often alienated people, close to social misfits, almost always unsatisfied in spite of being protagonist of appearantly perfect societies, whose moral and ethical code were often rearranged so that what is considered a malaise could find its "codified" placement. Interferences and inferences between inner states of consciousness and external world, which often looks like a conformation to inner space (I'd say there's nothing so fictional in this you think fences could ever exist if mankind didn't have lust for money and possession?) in Ballard's novels permeates any onset of his possible worlds, where even music and sounds had a prominent role (think about plants who reacted to sonic stimulations, singing statues and other wise literary inventions by this British writer, who inspired many musicians and directors) as well by partecipating to personal conflicts and psychic life of Ballard's anti-heroes within their aware interactions between "real" world and its distorsions, their striking and sometimes perceptual dilemma between true and false, which subtly manages to contaminate or even destroy inner space. The critical ciphers of modern values, sometimes predicted, challenged, dramatized and exacerbated by Ballard through his unforgettable anti-heroes (Kerans of "The Drowned World", Sanders of "The Crystal World", multiple identities of Travis-Trabert-Tallis in "The Atrocity Exhibition", Vaughan of "Crash" and other embodiments of the social and "biological" intuitions in Ballard's rich bibliography) and pitiless descriptions of decadence, cruelty, dehumanization, cultural manipulations, consumerism, sex within futurist worlds have been wisely translated into electro-industrial code by this trio throughout a binding of white noises, corrosive buzzes, static drones, psychotic sonic architectures, serpentine paths of beats and pulses, which sounds like a musicalization of the perpetual dumping (congruent with Ballard's narrative production) from the inner space to the outer one. I cannot but recommend to enjoy the listening of this release while reading some Ballard's novel.
Jul 29 2012
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Artist: DVS NME (@)
Title: Metastasis
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
A year after the digital debut released by Transient Force titled "Begin Sequence", DVS NME is back with a new album titled "Metastasis". This time Johan self-produced a CD containing eleven new mid tempos instrumental tracks. On this new one the sound of DVS NME has slightly changed. Maybe because of the production or maybe because of the sounds used but, on the previous album tracks like "Superluminal" or "Astrogate" made me think about Dopplereffekt or Drexciya. Those tracks had complex rhythms and multi-layered synth lines but the sound on 'Metastasis' isn't giving me that razor like effect. Bass and mid frequencies have been enhanced and to me it seems that Johan kept distortion under control. While composing the new tracks, I think that emotionally he has been inspired by different themes, as suggested by the heart dissection containing mechanical parts that you can find on the cover. If on "Begin Sequence" we had a robot willing to visit new lands and to do new experiments, on "Metastasis", we have a human being who is experiencing new life facts. We have titles like "Disappeared", "Apart", "Solitary", "Disassembled" and "Redesigned" which don't let us fantasize much about what the themes are. Musically, "Metastasis" is a bit more sidereal sounding but it contains always the electro elements you would expect to find into a DVS NME release. We will await this space explorer coming from Colorado watching the sky from our window, just to find out what his next mission will be....
Artist: Redrum Alone (@)
Title: De Redrum Natura
Format: CD
Label: Ufo Solar
Rated: *****
After one year and half here we are talking about Redrum Alone again. The Italian duo formed by Tommaso "Qzerty" Danisi e Piero "Peet"Pappalettere is now delivering through Ufo Solar their first full length "De Redrum Natura". The album contains eight new original songs plus two covers: Joy Division's "She's Lost Control" and CCCP's "Emilia Paranoica" (track which has been included on a compilation sold along with XL magazine and printed in 80000 copies). Since the last time I talked about them, they played into several clubs and festivals around Italy, opening for international acts like Kruder & Dorfmeister, T.raumschmiere, Tying Tiffany, Aucan, etc and they also became Waldorf endorser. The new album is convincing me more compared to the previous EP and it sounds also more powerful and catchy. The whole sound and the songwriting is recalling me Digitalism and I like to think that in Italy we have a band that sounds that kind of electro dance which is based a lot on good melodies and cool sounds. The album opens with a short self named track where vocoder, dry sounds and arpeggios welcome the listener. "RevolutionAir" is a nice mix of arpeggios, fat distorted bass lines, 4/4 rhythms and melodic vocoder filtered vocals. There are different of their tracks that would please also the lovers of the French electro sound (Daft Punk, Justice or Kavinsky to name a few), check: "Remote", "No Guitars Were Used In Making These Tracks" or "MidNight". "User Interface", instead, mix hard electro beats, in levare distorted bass lines, electro house pads and filtered vocals and it sounds just nice. The two covers a really good as they took the original versions and transposed them into the Redrum Alone world changed them a lot but keeping alive their spirit. You almost won't recognize "She's Lost Control", but if you aren't purists, you'll love this energetic upbeat version. Is strange to hear "Emilia Paranoica" with cool arpeggios and dance rhythms but this doesn't matter, because it sounds good. As you can imagine by what I wrote, I liked a lot "De Redrum Natura" and if you love cool melodic songs with dance attitude give to this album a chance and go to see the duo live, they are playing around...
Artist: Philippe Petit & Friends (@)
Title: Cordophony
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
Hyperactive Marseille-based composer (or "musical travel agent", as he likes to be qualified) Philippe Petit's wit, label owner and manager of the appreciated BiP_HOp and one of the key element of Strings Of Consciousness, flows into an astonishing collaborative project based on the intertwining of his eager approach on sound art (he delights listeners with processed acoustics, field recordings, electronics, turntables, glass manipulations, percussions, synth/piano and balloons -!- on "Cordophony") and a number of expressive declensions of string instruments, as the title suggests ('cordophone' is a French word to name the big family of musical instruments whose sound derives from the vibrations of a string), played by a remarkable number of guest musicians, whose different backgrounds concur to give a motley style to the release. Besides his Stings Of Consciousness mates Raphaelle Rinaudo and Herve' Vincenti (in spite of its dusky tones, their duet in "Motion-Pictured" is one of the most suggestive moment of "Cordophony" together with the moving "Eugenia", where mutual musical acquaintance marvellously meets Rinaudo's electric harp), Philippe mustered many talented and esteemed colleagues such as Nils Frahm (his distinguashable touch combined with the vitreous and gloomy cello by Alison Chesley, cryptic processed guitars, whooshing vynils and electronics by Philippe Petit himself marks the emotionally purging feeling of constriction evoked by "Succumb To Gravity", one of my favorite track of the album), Bela Emerson (her floating cello with hypnotic vibraphone of Els Vandeweyer on "Eunoia" sounds so halcyon that listeners could be caught off balance by synesthesia while listening to it...), German pianist Ulrike Haage (she co-signs "The Modern Dance for the Advance in Age", the most nipping and apparently light-minded moment of "Cordophony", together with Monsier Petit and Perceval Bellone), Adrian Klumpes (member of 3ofmillions and Triosk, who affixes a mysterious phrasing on his grand piano to the epic closing track "Oneiromancy: A Dream With A View" together with prolific Canadian musician Aidan Baker, Perceval Bellone, who plays sanza, an African lamellophone instrument also known as mbira, Petit, who processes found sounds and acoustics, and Vincenti, whose tentacles hits a conque shell, a guitar, a keyboard and some percussions). James Johnston and Reinhold Friedl (appearing on the initial "Gli Occhi Freddi Della Vendetta") and many more. A really striking project issued by small but worthwhile Japenese label Home Normal with many cinematic hooks and imbued with lovely motifs for the likes of fans of Efterklang, Tunng, Brian Eno, Max Richter, Kronos Quartet, Tom Waits, The Books and similar musical acts which I cannot but recommend!
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