Music Reviews



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Artist: Takamovsky (@)
Title: In Streams
Format: CD
Label: Etymtone (@)
Rated: *****
A whirligig of electronic sizzling sounds, fogged by the swish of electric current, placental warm bass rolls and a rising mellifluous pad, boots the first module of "The Central Speechscrambler" up, which introduces this excellent debut release by musician and author Juergen Berlakovich aka Takamovsky, who spotlights abyssal inhabitants and oddballs which often surface from the depths of data streams with their burden of concerns, vain ambitions, emotional baggages and outbursts, so that the three parts of the above-mentioned suite, influenced by William Burroughs's essay The Electronic Revolution (a notorious source for inspiration for many musicians, particularly of the industrial scene), where a robotic, but somehow pitched voice, articulates desultory speeches in order to represent the intimate senselessness and intentionally messy illogicality of everyday media news and the implementation of the cut-up technique to confusing news broadcasts and political speeches with the subtle intent of control over individuals. The charming sonic involucre of the speech from this imaginary anchorman emphasizes the circumstance that even absurdities could sound plausible when the form without content is attractive and even if you try to read between the lines, someone could get a glimpse of some revealed truth or partially censored truths behind encrypted sentences. For instance, the second part of "The Central Speechscrambler" says "The secret agency denial malitious potential messages. A modern matter. Srettsgatie taekn commicnu itaons. Cyberattacks. A dmeorn tamer. Tehl batet msvoe itno acrpybsece. Brcaytteas. The battle moves into cyberspace.". Over these streams, Juergen buoys contemporary manias, bizarre paranoias and last vacillating stronghold of individualism and cultural uniformity of social networks ("Paranoid King"), barking and rebarking dogs in the amazing song "Dogstar", inspired by Franz Kafka's "Investigations of a Dog" - I recommend to read it in order to check the particular role of music, the meaning of the "mysterious" appearance of seven dogs and the proper references in lyrics -, godforsaken djs, lovers belonging to digital age in the act of translation their computerized wet dreams into contemporary language (the queit guitar-driven song "Data d'Amour" seems to parody the technologically affected languages by echoing an essay on this matter by Timothy Leary: "Text my head and scan my face/Hack my thoughts, compile my grace/Zip them then and save them safe/Scroll my ears, debug my nose/Emulate my shoes and clothes/With little magic stick/[...] Shift my hips and microchips/Surf my butt and read my lips/Syntax error no undo") and all underwater saboteurs ("Dead Air") within a majestic blow-up whose implicitly malicious mockery amalgamates them like the fantasy of Hyeronimus Bosch could arguably do. Takamovsky's musical collage sounds equally kaleidoscopic and you'll easily perceive elements and reminiscences of jazz, dance music, electro-pop, abstract electronics, blues, field recordings, Radiohead, Tom Waits, Fennesz, Frank Zappa, Nikakoi, Royksopp which all got blended by Juergen's quick and dry wit.
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Artist: Aqualuna
Title: Alchemical Transformation Through Vision and Sound
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Zoharum is a collaboration between Anna Pilewicz, a video artist, and Rafal Iwanski. As the name suggests their main symbols are water and moon and they were chosen for their connection with birth and transformation. So music is based among a sense of rest and expectation to reflect the timing of the video development.
This work starts with "Genesis. Luna" that is based around geometrical figures related to the circles fusing and separating with a dark drone as a soundscape. "Somnium. Subersio" is focused about a woman immersed in the water and the flow of the objects in a river, with an hypnotic loop as a sound track. "Substantia" is based among a sci-fi loop that acts as a soundtrack for the development of the visual themes of the previous track.
"Climax" is based upon an aerial visual themes bounded on the relation between water and gas. "Coma. Oceanus" starts with the symbol of the amoeba, one of the most basic within the environment of this release (water) and is also the most static and reflexive. "Purificatio. Aqua" closes this release with the juxtaposition of almost all the themes developed in the previous tracks.
This release, as few other release, is able to invert the usual trend where the dvd is a companion to the cd audio because this is a true audio video project to be enjoyed in his whole. The soundtrack made by X-Navi:et is completely devoted to an effect of synesthesia and is so effective to appear almost incomplete listened in the audio cd. Recommended.
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Artist: Dirk Serries (@)
Title: Microphonics XXI-XXV
Format: CD
Label: Tonefloat (@)
Rated: *****
After the recent collaborative work with Jon Atwood and the "concluding album statement" of the side-project Fear Falls Burning, Belgian musician Dirk Serries aka VidnaObmana, who doesn't really need any introduction due to his astonishing long-lasting sonic research and his monumental discography, comes back on Dutch label Tonefloat with the second volume of Microphonics, last act of his orbits around minimalism. This elegant chiseler forges four masterpieces which are built on a frame of a limited number of guitar chords or tones, which emit intensively emotional contrails and heady harmonics: the seemingly perpetual crumbling of the creaking guitar in the initial "Mounting Among The Waves" let leak a sort of myelin sheath around the electric sinew which moves and indents strings, while the following "There's A Light In Vein" is even more dazzling by means of its sweet and plain arpeggio and a bewitching deep low sound which gradually rises and floods in any hidden burrow of listener's soul. The finicky distortion on guitars on "The Burden Of Hope" never bothers listener; they rather weave an engaging twine with surfacing warm bass tone and melodic scrapes which reroutes the mental sailing towards an unpredictable and indefinitely limbo, whose pervading vibrations could even inspire an emotional reaction to a marble. The catharsis looks like an accomplished mission, which just needs some celebration on the final dazzling lullaby-like drone of "Thousands of Rivers", which ends this heartbreaking release with a psychedelic and cooling bang.
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Artist: Front Line Assembly
Title: AirMech
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
Announced in September 2012 and released in the end of 2012, this astonishing studio album by notorious Canadian industrial band Front Line Assembly, born as a sountrack for fre-to-play war strategy game AirMech developed by Seattle-based indipendent company Carbon Games, shows the impressive versatility and adaptability of Bill Leeb's band as well as an interesting update of their sound by means of the integration of sonic hooks from dubstep and electronic sounds for videogames (laser guns, shots, explosions, silicon hisses, robotic belches, cyber farts and so on). Even if there are no lyrics, FLA fans will easily recognize the surgical operation they made on their very first abrasive and essential sound, the one they proudly flaunted before following insertions of stereotyped apocalyptic choirs or conventional guitar riffs, which sounded like a wink at market's tendencies according to many listeners. Someone could argue the incorporation of dubstep elements could be considered the same, but FLA carefully dosed them as Hecq considerably did and authentic sonic pearls like the flaring stepping of "Arise", the amazing metallic crisps of "Pulse Charge" (the closest to Hecq's abrasive dubby concoctions), the translucent industrial rock "Mech Killer", the computational beams of "Everything That Was Before", the bleeding industrial afflatus of the brilliant "Lose", the grim atmospheres of "Stealth Mech" and many other stylistical preciosities will extinguish any doubts about the remarkable quality of this release.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Mollono.Bass Remix - Collection
Format: CD
Label: 3000° (@)
Distributor: Kompakt Distribution
Rated: *****
Hi-hats that resemble clippers or knitting needles, highly stressed and somewhat dry bass drums, crunchy claps, pot-bellied gabbling synth-brasses and other percussive tricks, mainly ensued from tech-house engines, and above all arrangements based on nice insertions of classical music, whistles or other traditional instruments are the main features of remix art German dj and producer Ronny Mollenhauer aka Mollono.Bass (Acker Records), which tries to balance off-beat rhythimcal patterns without breaking chemical bonds of sustaining melodies of original tracks, which are barely enhanced by means of electronic blurs if at all, so that the pursuit of the so-called "danceability" doesn't adulterate melodic frameworks. To be honest, some remixes don't really meet my tastes, but I think it could be related by the circumstance that this is a collection which embraces many different declensions and stylistical crops. For some mysterious reasons, the imprint of Mollono.Bass worth is more appreciable when he processes some glamouresque vocal (sometimes added by Mollono.Bass himself) and "antiqued" tracks: his remixes of Douglas Greed's "Shiva" (Delhia de France on mic), Wolfgang Lohr's "Sunbelt Regret" (featuring Miss NatNat), "Ici" by Pupkulies & Rebecca, Peng Peng's "Here We Go Again" are some of the most remarkable highlights of this collection. He shows a palatable complementarity with ethnic-oriented stuff as you can immediately notice on remixes of Moneky Safari's "Sirens" or "Dole & Kom's "Quetschkommode", but the most striking stylistical adherence has been reached on the make-up of a couple of tracks by Be Svendsen - "On the hill" and "The Elephants Cage" -, where he managed to temper his popping grooves by squeezing their inner cinematic and kinematic viscosity.
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