Music Reviews



Nov 12 2013
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Artist: Josef Klang
Title: Phobos
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Rockhattle Music
Rated: *****
Released some months ago, 'Phobos' is the fifth and latest release by Giuseppe Maremma a.k.a. Josef Klang. The project born in 2006 after years spent playing all over the Italian country and it's influenced by the electronic music of the 70s of the likes of Kraftwerk, Klaus Schultze, Jarre, Rockets, Tangerine Dream, etc as well as the one of early 80s of the likes of Depeche Mode, Alphaville, etc. After years of study and experiments with the machines he owns (Giuseppe is a real lover of Nord synthesizers but he has tons of great stuff such as Emulator 4 xt ultra , Esi 4000, Doepfer Dark Time sequencer, Doepfer A-100 modular synthesizer, Blofeld, Prophet 08, Monoevolver key, Dark Energy, Dx 7 II fd , Nordlead 3, Moog Minitaur, Telemark, Mininova, Arturia V collection 3.0, Waldorf Legacy edition, Waldorf Largo and Ppg 3.v, Korg Digital and analog collection, Arturia Spark, etc.), he based the six movements of 'Phobos' on the use of the Dark Time analog sequencer's CV gate, to run some synth modules like the Doepfer Dark Energy e Mfb Kraftzwerg. The melodies and sounds are built upon the sequences created with the sequencer but let's leave the technical aspect aside to talk about the music. Listening to 'Phobos', Josef's influences sound evident but he his music doesn't sound derivative at all and for me it's a pleasure to have here in Italy someone whose music stands out just like Steve Moore's does in the U.S. Influences apart, Giuseppe is able to revive classic track's structures by blending cosmic atmospheres with robotic bleeping sounds and upbeat rhythms. Long pads duet with sidereal sweeps just to be joined by a lead melody carrying you away...
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Artist: Richard Chartier (@)
Title: Interior Field
Format: CD
Label: Line (@)
Rated: *****
Originally presented as an audio installation in 2012 at the center gallery of Civilian Art Projects, an art gallery in Washington DC, "Interior Field" is a multi-channel sound work that renowned American sound-artist Richard Chartier, who can be considered a sort of tightrope walker between silence and sound as he seems to focus on the threshold of perception by his intriguing releases and installations, assembled from field recordings of a number of small and large spaces he explored by means of contact mics around the world. His peculiar approach to sound, which persuaded many followers of the genre to consider him a key figure of the so-called reductionist microsound electronic music, a branch of minimalism where properly musical elements got somehow hidden or gradually emerge from found sounds or field recordings, so that the consequent engaging listening experience requires concentration and manages to channelize a conscious involvement into it. This stereophonic adaptation confirms Chartier's good reputation and his strategy to pull music out from his palette of sonic captures: the first of the two parts this 65-minutes lasting work has been splitted is a perfect assay of the above-mentioned reductionist approach as after a number of immersive and sinuous twines of droning field recordings, sine waves and magnetic hissing, Richard subtly achieves an almost celestial tone, while on the second half, which features some binaural recordings at the McMillan Sand Filtration Site in Washington DC, an impressive historical site, built in 1905, whose characteristic acoustic properties come from its diagram and the catacomb-like underground cells and sand filters for water from the Potomac River, musical elements (mainly more or less stretched single tones) sound like crawlind and fading over the cryptic sonic grid that a rainstorm caused inside this site where Richard awaited together with his mics.
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Artist: Charles-Eric Charrier
Title: C 6 GIG
Format: CD
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
I don't really think that the very extended play - one untitled track which lasts more than forty-five minutes - of this self-named release by one of M.A.N.'s legs Charles-Eric Charrier is a blemish in spite of the fact that some passages could sound a little bit repetitive as I'd rather say that such a repetition favors the assimilation of his interesting approach to sound and emphasizes the somewhat ritual shadings that some sonic elements (particularly a sort of padded gong - almost permanently in the background -, which could vaguely remind the ritual halo of some stuff by Z'EV) evoke. The dropping initial metallic clicks, which resemble the lamellae of music boxes' steel combs, seem to prick the surface of the sonic sphere which bleeds poltergeists of deeply low frequencies and outlined arrangements by enlarging its pores till the moment when some purulences got occasionally lumped by unstable sonic equilibriums. The succession of deadening reprises, unpredictable interferences, gurgles of very low tones, spadeworks of dull thuds which seem to come from obscure recesses of different resounding elements and the scrupulous sound-design make this listening suite quite absorbing.
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Artist: Kid606 (@)
Title: Happiness
Format: CD
Label: Tigerbeat6 (@)
Rated: *****
His recent "Lost In The Game" could have concerned some fans, but whereas the following "Going Back To Kali Yuga" reassured many of them about Kid606's state of mind and temperament, this new full-length erases any doubts as in spite of some nostalgic nuance, "Happiness"' sonorities are diametrically opposite to the confused, depressed and somewhat psychotic ones of the above-mentioned "Lost In The Game", which could have marked the agony of the kid or the need for adult diapers at the very least. After he relocated from Berlin to Los Angeles, where the so-called brainfeeder scene togther with the changes which occured in the life of Miguel De Pedro (Kid606's name in civil registry), such as the end of previous liason (any kid tends to spread love and snuggle indifferently), L.A. sunsets, road trips, hiking and cuddling (any kid requires it), could have nourished his distinguishable wonky-oriented style and flair and daubed it with melodic ointments as terror beats which shaked most of his past production sound just like juvenile pimples. The clicking flangers and the percussive tethered helium balloons of the enchanting "Blood Stevia Sex Magik", the sugary aerostats of "Cloud Sculpting", the gladsome lunges of vocal chops on "Happiness is a Warm Kitten", the mesmerizing sonic watercrafts on "Smooth Sailing", the sweeping joyful pads of "Party Gambas", the amazing vocal cuts on bassy beds of "If I Am Allowed Only One Song On This Album With Cut Up Female Vocals Thn Thos Sing Is It", which reprise Kid606's knack for memorable track titles, and the whole sequence which starts from the perfect input current for this light-hearted journey on "Cute Never Dies" and ends with the more ruminative manifestation of adulthood "Man - the Failed Child (Thank You and Good Night)" inevitably resembles a lot of musical and sonic influences (first of all some juicy stuff from Rephlex, but also some other charming electronic acts such as Boards of Canada, Plaid, The Orb, Tangerine Dream and softer rockers like Toto or Christopher Cross), but the existential and emotional context where it bloomed from is the most meaningful source for inspiration. We cannot but be very happy that Kid606 keeps on feeling and rendering happiness.
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Artist: The House in the Woods
Title: Bucolica
Format: CD
Label: Exotic Pylon Records (@)
Rated: *****
Better known for his excellent analogue synth-driven project Pye Corner Audio, Martin "The Head Technician" Jenkins unclenches beats for the first full-length of his side-project The House in the Woods, which appeared just once on a split release with Coppice Halifax for Brian Grainger's Milieu Music. The denomination of this project, which reminded me of a solitary card game someone taught me when I used to live in UK, could let you vaguely envisage the sonorities Martin might have explored. If you're trying to render the features of this house, the first conclusion about its location you can draw while listening this release is that it should be a wind-blown place or interior designer made some mistakes while planning ventilation, as sonic space sounds permanently windswept so that it's quite obvious that the modulations of these drafts could let you surmise that this isolated place could be haunted by a number of resounding ghosts and arouse your imagination when Martin dilutes other thin sounds into this hazy soup. The listening experience, which could be linked to that kind of surreal ambient that Boards Of Canada, Loscil, Tear Ceremony and similar acts fed, is eerily luring and achieves the highest acmes when Martin disrupts the seemingly claustrophobic sonic cleft by unexpected padded sounds (such as on "Mountains Of The Sea", "Half Glimpsed" or "Bucolica") by paving listener's way to mesmeric moments or when he undulates the apparent static stillness by means of muffled dub pulses, which reminded me some stuff by Jan Jelinek, Pole or Kit Clayton, such as on "Favershell" and "Sunlight On Rusting Hulk". You could probably hope that similarly evoked poltergeists will cheer your next dwelling up.
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