Music Reviews



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Artist: Simon James Phillips (@)
Title: Chair
Format: CD
Label: Room40 (@)
Rated: *****
A sonic research about the connection between an instrument and its resonance in the surrounding space could appear not so original or even sectorial and the incipit of each track of this album by Berlin-based composer Simon James Phillips - one leg of Pedal with Chris Abrahams of The Necks and of the tripod project The Swifter with Andrea and BJ Nilsen as well as performer of The Berlin Splitter Orchestra -, which starts by crystal-clear set of piano strokes could be deceptive before those keys pass through the pronged set of microphones by sound engineer Mattef Kuhlumey who placed them in many places of the place where they recorded this album, the Grunewald Church in Berlin. Afterwards piano sound and the contrails of frequencies it spreads begin to dilate, expand, shatter and overfill the sonic sphere in a prismatic way, listeners got pleasantly entangled in its beautiful and almost tactile weave while the above-mentioned contrails seems to leave emotional sediments and open listener's mind wide on its comfortable confinement by means of tonal clusters and floating sonic particles. The illusory simplicity of each track together with the evoked naivete' of each track got refracted by the intriguing strategies that Phillips follow to warp time and single tones, which are maybe listenable both on tracks closer to the idea of minimalism like "9er On/Off Switch" or "The Voice Imitator" and on those ones where piano sounds like overflowing from the recording environment, whose barriers paradoxically pull for the projected infinite into listener's mind while he/she is sitting on a a chair. That's how it goes sometimes!
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Artist: Quentin Sirjack (@)
Title: Bright Days Ahead
Format: CD
Label: Schole (@)
Rated: *****
Repetita iuvant (meaning "repeated things help"), an Ancient Roman maxim said about some winning learning mechanisms, but redundancy could feed tedium or even nausea and the repetition of certain diagrams of the so-called seventh art induced me to snub sentimental movies, which have been subjugated to the transmission of consumeristic behavior patterns. One of the good consequences that the crisis of individualism brought is the revival of a somehow lost genuineness of the plots, but cinematographic traditions like the French ones in opposition to the Hollywoodian modelling nurtured the seeds of such a Renaissance and "Bright Days Ahead (Les Beaux Jours)", a movie by Marion Vernoux, a director who makes movies with the sensibility of a woman, focusing on a woman's life after retirement through love, an up-to-date and interesting meme, could be ascribed to this branch of movies, whose success is intensely connected to the goodness of soundtrack and the one by Quentin Sirjacq gets the gist and manages to hit listener's heart as well as cast the emotional atmosphere without the aid of images. His delicate piano-driven music, which maybe will be immediately linked to French impressionists like Debussy, Faure, Saint Saens or Satie, sounds like drawing fully from classical music, jazz and American minimalism, but some hues and fades as well as the emphasis which got sometimes highlighted by strings, cello or viola in striking tracks like "Bright days ahead closing", "Hide-and-seek", "Airport", "Hotel", "With the wind" or "Going to Julien" clearly show the skills and the talent of this composer and pianist, whose enchanting and deeply emotional music could engender some secret tears to people who don't tend to be always on the brink of tears, which are going to fade away on the more joyful final bonus track "Swimming and laughing".
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Artist: Talvihorros (@)
Title: Eaten Alive
Format: CD
Label: Fluid Audio (@)
Rated: *****
Drug or alcohol addictions are always a delicate issue and I don't consider a review appropriate to speak about all the aspects about such a thorny matter, but I cannot say the same about this intense release by Scotland-based composer Ben Chatwin, who seems to have sprinkled and translated into sounds many emotional flashbacks on "Eaten Alive", an album which blossomed from the meeting between Daniel Crossley, owner of Fluid Radio, and Ben and the following visitation of some places in East London, where they used to live in the past: "We spent a weekend going to places where Dan had grown up, places that had stuck in his head for various reasons. Dan shared with me some harrowing and heartbreaking tales that eventually culminated in him battling with drug addiction", Ben explained and he added "I think Dan was incredibly brave to get out of the situation he found himself in, get out of London, and live the life that he is living today.". The impressive convergence between a certain lukeworm coziness and the crystallized fixity of sounds is clear since the initial "Little Pieces Of Discarded Life" where a lulling terse and very slow melody wraps listeners while a sort of silent lashing by icy-cold billows seems to surface from crevices of the memory and such a dithering conflict between sonic entities which evoke a kind of hibernating halo and more or less strenuous motion and occasional grinding halts permeates the whole album, which manages to intoxicate listener's imagination. All those listeners who already listened some releases by Talvihorros will notice that the guitar he usually highlights has been often camouflaged by means of a balanced use of effects and electronics and mainly resurfaces or got blistered to render the emotional outbursts of some moments of the album such as "The Secrest Of The Sky", "Four Walls", "In The Belly of the Beast" or the entrancing asphyxiation of the beauteous "Dyspnea". The sorrowful remnants on the final "Today I Am Reborn" don't strip it of that vaguely heroic mark as well as that evoked augmented awareness which suppurates from the track. Even if the limited edition on Fluid is sold out, a physical version on cd is going to be released by the appreciated German label Denovali, which already launched some previous albums by Talvihorros.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Evolution Of The Giraffe
Format: CD
Label: Diffrent (@)
Rated: *****
Launched by means of a party that Diffrent guys were setting up at Hoxton, this excellent selection acts as the festive sonic garland to celebrate the 20th release as well as almost four years of life of Leonard the pink Giraffe, Chris Dexta's puppet which became a sort of sacred image for many d'n'b followers (!) and emblem of one of the best label in the packed scene of experimental drum'n'bass, and has been spread on CD (8 tracks plus two bonus tracks), digital releases with two free mouthwatering downloads (Fybe:One's "Physical" and Jekyll's "Garrison Dogs") and as well as a strictly limited 4 track pink vinyl, which exhaustively retraces the evolutionary mutations of so-called "Giraffe step".The stylistical range and the band spectrum are remarkably broad: even if I prefer the outputs by those artists who seemingly shaked the long neck of the giraffe such as the adventurously and nervously pounding grip of "Choices" - the collaborative track by M-Zine, Scepticz and Mtwn -, the crackling punches over a wild labored breathing, the slapped step and the sticky basslines of "Wax" by Arkaik, the outstanding hi-hat driven machine-gun fire on "Forfeit" by Shiver or the hitching wry tunes by Chills on VIP version of "Everyones Mad" - one of the two bonus tracks together with the shaded pressures of "Gain", another impressive collaborative track by Arkaik and Coma -, those moments when some Diffrent equerries climbed the neck to share giraffe's eye view or hybridized "soulful" or more introspective moments by intriguing percussive filings manage to drain some good stuff as well, so that moments like the lithe pitapat of Fybe:One's "The Last Minute", the ablutions into a sonic pool, who got rippled by mellow sounds and soulful vocals, on Kolectiv's "Slow" or the spellbinding dubby fractures on Dominic Ridgway's "Siren" easily remain afloat on the waves.
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Artist: Daniel & Mikael Tjernberg (@)
Title: Anton (OST)
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Waerloga Records (@)
Distributor: Waerloga Records
Rated: *****
Daniel & Mikael Tjernberg are the brothers behind the band called Lost Kingdom and they also compose music and perform music in other settings in different genres. The brothers have only breifly before ventured into the world of film scores but for all of us who listened to the brothers before this was the obvious step. The same goes for several other Waerloga Records artists such as Simon Kolle (www.simonkolle.com) in Za Frumi who happened to master this album brilliantly.

Daniel & Mikael have outdone themselves really with this soundtrack. The name of the film is Anton and the film is in the sci-fi genre. Here you can find a teaser from the movie http://vimeo.com/visualcooks/antonteaser and here you can find an awesome promo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRUK0jfWLGA

As far as my opinion on the music goes I have to say I am very happy that Daniel & Mikael for real evolved their sound in this way. The Chronicle of the Black Monks, which were the brothers soundtrack debut, was also good and more in the vein we come to know Lost Kingdom. With Anton the brothers have become way whole so to speak.


Daniel & Mikael turns up the power for the release of Anton. Stoked by a vast combination of percussion, horns and really strange and cool fusion jazz elements. It does not end there as the brothers freely and with great result also experiment in genres such as classical and ambient (of course Dark Ambient).

For all you that like Post Apocalyptic soundscapes you should check this out as it! Orchestral mastery interwoven with strange and sometimes surrealistic outbursts of jazz! While achieving malevolent drama with the cue Hunt the track that I love the most is Out of Hand as it is so strange and yet thrilling. The cue Anton I really enjoy as it also is way out there with the Fusion and strange elements of musical geniality. The cue Heartbeat is beautiful and dark but it's the track Atmospheric Toxicity (and it's reprise) that really give me chills and make me think of spy thrillers. The emotion truly comes when we reach the climactic cues, the sweeping strings tugging at the listener's heart in the way only great composers can achieve.

This strange album is the best so far from the duo!
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