Music Reviews



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Artist: Tetuzi Akiyama/Tom Carter/Christian Kiefer
Title: The Darkened Mirror
Format: 12"
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
The fresh-baked vinyls by Polish label Monotype are going to delight the eardrums of acoustic purists as well by means of this intriguing release by three virtuosos of guitar, whose heterogeneous artistic routes and different training path spring into a stylistical miscellany which shines through a form with no fripperies or gewgaws, whose conceptual framework seems to focus on psychomanteum or catoptromancy as well as spectrophobia as some references, which are often connected to folklore legends ("Bloody Mary", "The Duendes"), old tales and popular culture, such as the urban legend of vanishing hitchhikers on the same titled track, and literature (for instance the possible references to David Drake's "The Sea Hag") , let imagine. This musical threesome comprises of Japanese guitar. viola, electronics and self-made instrument player Tetuzi Akiyama, whose strong background within improvisation and classical music fields sometimes oddly contaminates his bizarre declension of blues, Texas-based master of psychedelic folk Tom Carter, mostly known as one of the founding member of avant garde group Charalambides, which endures thanks to the support of his former wife Christina Carter, and Christian Kiefer, whose studies of the American West as a native with a critical thinking and the retelling of the Western myth have an influence on his music, resurfacing here and there over the album and particularly on tracks like "Express Train To Hell". The framework justifies the building of thin and sometimes vanishing melodic trestles, where in spite of the lack of fast-finger tapping, which many lovers of guitar consider as the main proof of talent on the instrument, a certain stylistical heterogeneousness got attractively grafted into those cozy atmospheres that a wrinkled old sailor and talnted story-teller could evoke while sipping a whisky and having a drag of a wet cigarette.
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Artist: Arturas Bumšteinas (@)
Title: Meubles
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
Although it's quite rare that each instrument of Works'n'Days, a nice international ensemble of many improvisers - covering a wide range of instruments such as guitars, violins, saxophones, electric organs, flute, piano, cello, percussions and sampler -, which has been grouped together by young and inventive Lithuanian composer Arturas Bumsteinas, manages to conclude a musical phrase by itself before another musical voice bursts on the scene, they chorally succeeds in evoking hearth and home as if the whole furnishings and househols effects got turned into a resounding orchestra by some sorcery. Named after the didactic poem by ancient Greek poet Hesiod in the form of a farmer's almanac, which is probably better known for some notorious stories about human condition such as the ones of Pandora and Prometheus, this debut release, which seems to quote Erik Satie's furniture music (musique d'ameublement), tracks an original domestic arrangement down for a genre like improvisational music that some listeners erroneously keep on consider as an snobbishly intellectual enjoyment. Unlike Satie's furniture music, as we cited it, or similar more or less theoretical models, the lukeworm long-lasting three suites of "Meubles" cannot be filed under background music as some instruments find the way to stand it out by sudden rashes or by pleasant phrases (or paraphrases) and this aspect is clear both in the initial "Hszcz", where the parts of each instrument are more fragmentary, and in the following "Llull" and the alluring "David", where some motifs sounds more vaguely agglutinating. You can try this at home!
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Artist: iVardensphere (@)
Title: Cycle Of The Sun: Remixes Vol.1
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
Following the enhanced third version of their bone-breaking debut album "Scatterface", Metropolis records decided to prepare the ground for iVardensphere's brand new album "The Methuselah Tree" by the re-release of "Remixes Vol.1", which got dropped by Synthetic Sounds three years ago in the wake of the positive response received by above-mentioned album, by this Canadian tribal industrial-techno act as well. That EP included a plenty of stuff that many gas-masked and plastic-wearing wild dancers might be glad in order to electrically shock their bodies such as the heavy hammer blow on electromechanical worms by Komor Kommando on "Sentient Wave Form", the smashed beats and the nervously crazy joyride by Memmaker, another artistic alter-ego of iVardensphere member Yann Fassurier, on "Virus", the overpressured glop by Katastroslavia on "Bonedance", the obscure puffed excoriations of the re-calibration of "Calibrating The God Machine" by Virtual Terrorist and the fossilized abrasions of tempered cyberpunk inflections of the same track by Left Spine Down or the slamming fluctuations of Iszoloscope - the project Yann runs together with Guillaume Nadon - on "Jigsaw".
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Artist: Håkon Stene (@)
Title: Bone Alphabet
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Ahornfelder (@)
Rated: *****
This tidbit by Norwegian "post-percussionist" Hakon Stone, which has been simultaneously released with the album "Etude Begone Badum" by German label Ahornfelder which has been reprised by cover artwork where that ball has been purple-colored (I don't think the choice of colour is casual as it could refer to the meaning of purple in English and Northern theatre where it refers to solitude or loneliness), focuses on Stene's percussive science. He decided to record his own interpretation of "Bone Alphabet", a very difficult score - both for the notation and the use of extremily tangled rhythmical tuplets - by the main figure of the so-called New Complexity movement Brian John Peter Ferneyhough, that Stene decodes by means of dry swats and properly bony hits. The dub-scented remix of that recording by Sir Duperman, who seems to emphasize the possible connection between contemporary "percussionism" and avantgarde noise by funneling original inputs into an imaginary resounding plumbing with loss of electronic drops, is somehwhat intruiguing even if some listeners could expect more touches of originality due to queerness of the inputs.
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Artist: Håkon Stene (@)
Title: Etude Begone Badum
Format: CD
Label: Ahornfelder (@)
Rated: *****
In the wake of his ongoing Artistic Research Project "Ceci n'est pas un tambour - developing the role of the multidisciplinary performer", where he endorses the obsolescence of traditional percussive techniques by advocating the development of a sort of "post-percussive" practice where any sound producing object may be played in any imaginable manner, "Etude Begone Badum", the longest of a couple of concomitant releases on Ahornfelder from skittish and inventive Norwegian percussionist Hakon Stene, is going to delight hungry eardrums and brains of growing audience of so-called New Music by three impressive tests of his sonic approach on "scores" of some contemporary composers which he linked by means of a mastic of atonal bowed strings, radio hiss, sine waves and tolls on the three short excerpts of the "Studies in Self-Imposed Tristesse" by countryman Lars Peter Haggan, who composed this introductory prefaces for a "restored" score for strings by controversial nationalist composer Geir Tveitt after the attempt of recovering his works that a house fire in 1970 almost totally destroyed. The first oblong suite for two table-top guitars "Black Horizon" has been performed together with his author Marko Ciciliani, where an unpredictable and seemingly illogical sequence of misshapen chords, slides, rubs, out of tune strokes, attacks and puncturing sonic inoculations and radiophonic vocal interferences could let you imagine an attempt of performing a minuet by mechanical Qing puppets in aspic, the underwater concerto of a music box from the bottom of a pond or maybe a dream without numbers. The "presence" of Alvin Lucier in this release hasn't been limited to the following recording "Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra" - a notorious piece for triangle, which got inflected in a very strange way by means of orotund room reverb -, as the location for the recording of Michael Pisaro's "Ricefall", whose score focused on the edited and juxtaposed sound which comes from rice grains falling on different surfaces (you won't believe what kind of flooding storms a handful of rice can generate...!), was the Tomba Emmanuelle in Oslo, which hosted one of the best recording of the above-mentioned masterpiece for triangle by Lucier himself.
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