Music Reviews



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Artist: Moskitoo (@)
Title: Mitosis
Format: CD
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
Biologists and many commendable inquiring minds know that mitosis or binary fission is the subdivision of a cell into two separate cells or I'd rather say the phases which precede the birth of two diploid cells, when the homologous "copies" still coexist within a single cell. Such a borrowing from biology perfectly describes the duality of sonic delights by talented Japanese sound-artist Sanae Yamasaki aka Moskitoo, which could sound banal if it got described as the typical and platitudinous dichotomy between human and artificial that many reviewers trout out when human voice and instruments got somehow embedded with electronics in symbiotic balances. Filaments of glitch electronics, feeble and warm sonorities, electroacoustic weaves, flickering tones and graceful vocals which seem to oscillate between delicate arias, exhaled breath condensate and childish hyphenations waves in flurries of daydreaming melodies, which could vaguely surmise some old stuff from Mum or Ruxpin. The above-mentioned process of cellular reproduction is just the conceptual starting-point as she focuses on "the ideas of division, expansion, the human body , and small particles of matter" by her own admission, but listeners will realize that she wisely managed to coagulate all those concepts in this elegant, inspiring and enchanting release, whose subdivision into twelve tracks and many astonishing stylistical pinnacles ("Vulpecula", "Trajectory", "Wonder Particle" and "Fragments OF Journey" are my favs) don't prevent listeners from savoring it as if it were one sole stream in one with nature, emotions and their arcane enchantement.
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Artist: David Sinfield / League Of Nations
Title: Oblique Strategy / For A Moment / Music For The New Depression
Format: 12" vinyl + 7"vinyl
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
David Sinfield started in the early 80s as a solo act and released a tape album titled "Oblique Strategy". A year later he, along with Laurie Jean, formed League of Nations and released in 1982 the "For A Moment" 12" containing four tracks and, in 1984, an album titled "Music For The New Depression" for Glaze Recordings. All these releases from these Los Angeles guys have been really collectable (of League Of Nations' album there's also a bootleg) and Anna Logue Records can't believe when David approached them a couple of years ago offering them to reissue his recordings. Now, the label is proud to offer to the lovers of minimal wave the complete recordings on CD and LP 7" (note that on the vinyl version "Systematics Eyes", track coming from the 12", is missing but there's the version of the album). The seven tracks coming from "Oblique Strategy" span from uptempo electronic wave catchy songs ("N.Y. Two" is a real hit a la John Foxx) to piano intimate songs accompanied by synth and drum (check "Laurue" or "Canon") passing from minimal synth instrumentals ("Rosegardens" or "Sombre Whales"). The first League Of Nations' 12" opened with a version of "Fade", track also present on the album which blend nice cold atmospheres with romantic vocals and memorable synth melodies, and contains also "Thin Ice Door", a song that mixed minimal a approach to a post punk attitude (I hear a certain Joy Division influence). The album had only six tracks of which three were also on the previous 12". It opened with "Illuminous", a sort of psychedelic electronic song and followed with a cold electronic mid tempo titled "Overlord". On League Of Nations David dismissed the piano and the minimal ambient atmospheres just to stick on minimal wave ones (only the closing "For A Moment" has some parts of both elements). This is a treasure box for you minimal wave aficionados and if you would like to taste a bite of this "cake", just hit this link http://www.soundcloud.com/annaloguerecords/anna-040
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Artist: iVardensphere (@)
Title: Scatterface V3
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
The successful debut album "Scatterface" by Canadian mutant band iVardensphere got originally released by Synthetic Sounds in 2009 and re-issued by Danse Macabre in 2010, but after this band founded by Scott Fox and co-piloted by Yann Faussurier (Iszoloscope) since 2011 rallied their electric cables around Metropolis on the occasion of the release of "APOK", many followers of the scene might have bargained on a third re-edit of their bedrock. If you never heard about them before, you could imagine a corrosive tangle of techno-tribalism, banging hard-electro stretches, industrial inklings, which could vaguely resemble stuff from Xotox, Terrorfakt, Juno Reactor or Noisuf-X, but the harsh virulence of their sound has been so well amalgamated that you'll almost perceive there are no rifts on the smoothed surface of iVardensphere, which implemented many vocal robotic samples to enhance and feed listener's imagination of their nervous broken lines and grim post-apocalyptic suffocating atmospheres. The stop'n'go abrasive lines of "Diatribe", the menacing epiphany of "Box Of Monsters", the contagious "Virus (Outbreak)", the ravaging "Sentient Wave Form" and "Calibrating The God Machine" and the dystopian bittersweet wit of the final "A Massage From Our Sponsors" could be the highlights, but the whole album could be danced and listened with bated breath from the beginning to the end. Besides the 11 tracks of the original tracks, this V3 includes a couple of remixes of "Bonedance", an abrasive one by David Brauburger aka Blush Response and an amazing IDM declension by witch-house innovators 'Aimon. A lot of fake blood is oing to be shed yet...
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Artist: Play
Title: Red Movies
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records
Rated: *****
Play was a band formed by Wayne Kennedy and David Rome. They recorded only few singles in 1982/1983 for Survival Records, label which started in 1980 specialising their catalog in electronic dance music (Drinking Electricity, Hard Corps, and Richard Bone) and charting with Tik And Tok. In the mid eighties they moved toward rock music finding success with The Quireboys and then in 1990 they signed the Celtic band Capercaillie and have been working with them both as a band and with their individual careers ever since. David Rome previously had worked with the recently passed Martin Lloyd in the group Analysis (later evolved into Oppenheimer Analysis) as well as was the founding member of Drinking Electricity (also reissued on Medical Records) along with Anne-Marie Heighway. Medical Records is reissuing their compilation "Red Movies", which has been originally released in 1985 and which gathered most of their singles plus two extra tracks (the 12"s version of "You Don't Look The Same" and "In My Mind"). The music of the duo was a perfect blend of new wave with electronic inserts (synths and drum machine) and to me they recall a bit some atmospheres of the best Comsat Angels tracks mixed with the new romantic touch of Midge Ure's Ultravox (check "Chasing The Sun"). Songs like "You Don't Look The Same" are just perfect with their melodic lines and their being in balance from pop catchiness and dark atmospheres. This reissue comes in 'half and half' 180gr colored vinyl (blue and red). Check all the tracks here http://medicalrecords.bandcamp.com/album/red-movies-mr-026 and purchase your copy!
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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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