Music Reviews



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Artist: Rafael Anton Irisarri (@)
Title: The Unintentional Sea
Format: 12"
Label: Room40 (@)
Rated: *****
On the occasion of his new solo sonic jaunt, Rafael Anton Irisarri aka The Sight Below chooses to draw inspiration from one of the worst US environmental disaster, which affected the so-called Salton Sea, a brackish endorheic lake on the San Andreas Fault in Southern California, whose water inflow, which gave birth to this accidental sea after a strong flooding in the beginning of last century, and bayous has made up of the system of irrigation ditches, some small streams and rivers, but thermal, mixing and oxygen regimes of the Salton Sea are not so stable and the circumstance it's essentially a close system entailed its heavy pollution right after the development of human activities in close proximity to the area, particularly from Mexican inflows which poured many toxic hemicals from Mexican farming. Environmental blight caused the failure of a plan intended to turn the area into a touristic place, which some adverts described as "the miracle in the desert"; nowadays just some ghost cities, abandoned resorts, clunkers, wrecks and schools of died fishes remain and the landscape of the area surrounding Salton Sea looks like a post-apocalyptic artificial limb of hell, whose bleakness got impressively evoked by Irisarri, whose five long sonic suites oscillate between sadness, deep pensiveness and grayness. The initial "Fear and Trembling" sets the mood by moth-eaten field recordings and gloomy tonal haze before the brine got blended into the nostalgic burst of heat and memory on the following "Her Rituals" and the nestled feeling of annihilation on "The Witness", which closes A-side. Such a paralyzing motionless permeates the feeble lights of "Daybreak Comes Soon", which paradoxically thickens the dark reticulum on the highest dramatic acme of the record,"Lesser Than The Sum Of Its Parts", whose final synth-driven emotional outburst sounds like rendering a moving requiem or the uncontrollable weeping over such a tragedy.
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Artist: RLW & SRMeixner
Title: Just Like a Flower When Winter Begins
Format: CD
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
"Wie eine Blume am Winterbeginn / Und so wie ein Feuer im eisigen Wind / Wie eine Puppe, die keiner mehr mag /Fühl ich mich an manchem Tag" (meaning "Just like a flower when winter begins / And just like a fire in an icy wind / Just like a doll that nobody wants anymore / That's how I feel on some days"), said the first strophe of the song "Ein bisschen Frieden" ("A little bit of Peace") by which Nicole Seibert, better known as Nicole, won Eurovision Song Contest 1982, rised UK single chart up and became quite famous due to a number of translated versions. This buttery and somewhat controversial (just check lyrics) song became the emblem and the title of this lampoon of pop hit songs - mainly German schlager, but there are also quotes and samples from other traditions together with some German musical atrocities which could have been exported by immigrants, such as the sample of Italian song "Mamma" by Claudio Villa in the disturbingly funny "Old Hearts Rejuvenated" - by Ralf Wehowsky aka RLW, member of the forerunning collective P16.D4, and Stephen "srmeixner" Meixner of Contrastate. Their humorous collage which turned a set of samples from a number of gutted pop hits, plunderphonics, industrial-like sonorities, electroacoustics and vocals which sound like radiophonic captions into a sort of creepy show, whose core elements are srm's meditiation on sentiment ("Old Hearts Rejuvenated"), which are somehow closer to his "permutative distorsions", and rlw's textual pieces ("Definition (Konsumation)", the disquieting swarm of "Alle (Everyone)" - it's really funny the list of names of German pop stars, where the female speaker turns into a devilish one -, the initial "Blumen fur den Prachtjungen") as well as some instrumental forays ("Gummidorf", "Spassbremse") or post-industrial unnerving activated sludges ("Wishing To Be Entartained", "The Man with the Sunglasses"). I could imagine that what you're going to listen on "Just Like A Flower When Winter Begins" if you woefully end up in a German schlager with drunken cockscomb, nazi loggers, twinkly blond milks and a lot of cholesterol while you were searching for a loo in order to sober up after a pitiless barman put an acid pill into your glass of milk.
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Artist: Allegra Lusini
Title: Two Faces
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Amarcord Record (@)
Rated: *****
Active in the Italian music word since she was a kid, Allegra Luisini released her first album "Al Di La' Del Bene E Del Male" in 1999 for Universal followed by other six releases on her label Amarcord (a couple of them have been released in co-production with Rai, the Italian television company, as they were containing stuff used as background on some programs). In 2014 she will release a new album and this digital single is an anticipation of what will follow. Containing three versions of the track, the single opens with the single version which is a dreamy mid tempo electronic pop song where piano and lush synth sounds work as background to Allegra's vocals while the bass line and the tribal drum take care of the rhythm. The song has different stops and go, alternating powerful moments to dreamy ones and grows at the end with the add of symphonic string sounds. The second version is the "Dream Version" and it's focused on the bass/arpeggio/vocals arrangement. The vocal version, instead, is focused on the piano/vocals lines. The song is a good one and you can check all of its versions on this page www.soundcloud.com/allegra-lusini
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Artist: Enough!!!
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
Recorded at The Issue Project Room in Brooklyn on 20th December 2011, "Enough!!!" is a stunningly psychotropic live recording which grouped together three experienced sound and noise artists, who have a penchant for the intersections between juggling with electrons and frequencies: many readers of Chain DLK maybe will easily recognize the name and the imprint of Swedish noise artist Joachim "The iDEALIST" Nordwall - we recently spoke about his collaboration with his sonic majesty Mika Vainio and many entries in the reviews section came from his label iDEAL - as well as the ones of his fellow countryman Carl Michael von Hausswolff, who shares the regency of the imaginary Royal Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland, a self-proclaimed never-never land which groups geographical, mental and digital border territories together, whose community got often delighted by CM's mind-altering electronic drones, tape-conceived ghostly entities and drilling venues. The third leg of the tripod is the one of Jason Lescalleet, label head of Glistening Examples and former collaborator of Aaron Dilloway, Graham Lambkin, Jason Kahn, Joe Colley, Phil Niblock and other big names of the scene with a penchant for the exploration of natural magnetic phenomena by means of old open-reel tape recording. This trio can almost be imagined as a group of paranormal investigators of experimental scene whose research paradoxically leads to the discovery of the physical properties of sound and this 49-minutes lasting suite is an exhaustive assay of their aptitudes. From the initial warm-up where it seems that they describes the frostbite of an undefined environment by means of an over-stretched flat frequency whose tiny variations enclose mesmerizing modulations, subcortical icy flurries and breaks, which sound like chorusing a magnetic storm with haywire Geiger counters or magnetic detectors before reeling listeners in a flow of pulsations, grazed piercing sonic specks and feedbacks. The cover image, a snapshot by CM Von Hausswolff of the meaningful and somewhat disquieting sculpture "Mother Earth" by Icelandic artist Einar Jonsson could frame "Enough!!!" into a sort of planetary thinking cap. Enough said.
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Artist: Coen Oscar Polack & Herman Wilken
Title: Fathomless
Format: 12"
Label: Narrominded
Rated: *****
Co-founder of the Narrominded label and a member of Living Ornaments and Psychon, Coen Oscar Polack with his solo work creates musical ambience that is formed by layers of field recordings and abstract noises and harmonies. He's first release "Psychic Investigations" is dated 2008 and since then he released other six albums of which "Fathomless" is the second with Herman Wilken. Inspired by the Barents Sea, which is a small sea in the Arctic Ocean, the album opens with a track having the same name. It begins with little crackles and noises which help into giving you a idea of the desolate waters north of Norway and Russia. In the eighteen minutes of its length, it slowly grows thanks to multiplying layers of icy drones, white noise and tiny harmonies. The second side contains "Sundarbans", a twenty minutes tracks which takes inspiration from an area of the east of India which is known for its rich fauna with colorful birds, crocodiles and snakes and it is notorious for its maze-like structure. On this one, the duo manages to create a different sound experience using sounds that are reminiscent of water noises, wind and birds chants. Also on this track we have an evolution which is more likely a de-evolution of sound, since it gets thinner and cold as the minutes pass by. But... as life taught us, things aren't always the same and suddenly the sound changes, turning into a throbbing icy drone where melodies and crackling noises submerge from the wall of sound. The album is available in a strictly limited edition of 100 transparent vinyl lp's and 100 black vinyl lp's and you can check it here http://narrominded.bandcamp.com/album/fathomless
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