Music Reviews



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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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Artist: LOOPer
Title: ματτer
Format: 12"
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
I cannot but reaffirm that the recent batch of vinyls from the appreciated Polish label Monotype hold many interesting avantgarde music and sonic stuff, including the fourth collaborative release from LOOPer, a very interesting project from the whimsical Greek cellist Nikos Veliotis, the protean Sweidish saxophone player Martin Kuchen, who modulated a pocket radio on this album in addition to his instruments, and the brilliant Norwergian improviser and percussionist Ingar Zach. They seem to dig the ground of the narrow stripe between silence and noise since the initial "Slow", where a very low overstretched frequency, which sometimes got thickened by a slight distortion, sets a mesmerizing tone where the suffocated tapping by Ingar and the sawing sound let the listener imagine about the tuning of a mysterious electric generator. Their sonic strategy becomes clearer on the following "In Flamen", where stiffed strictures on strings and air ducts of saxophone silence the claustrophobic drone which opens the track before the metronomic muffled steps and the tape hiss asymptotically tends to total silence. Whereas the misty cloud that LOOPer generated seems to encumber an high-speed train and the transmission of an electric signal on "Alignement", the only moment when they emerged out of the silent and silencing blanket occurs on the final "Our Meal" where clicking percussions, air embolism within sax, glasses under imaginary planing mills and other unknown sonic sources gradually overheat the sonic sphere by means of a startling crescendo. This record often requires attention to details, particularly when these musicians keep instruments under vacuum-seat, but the way they kneads sound has something to share with the impalbable matter of dreams.
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