Music Reviews



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Artist: Corephallism / Gnaw Their Tongues (@)
Title: s/t
Format: 10"
Label: Lascivious Aesthetics
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed Corephallism's 3' CD, so I had some idea of what I was in for here and realized that this would not be the harsh wall of noise one may expect from his other project Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck. I recognize that for many the titles are almost secondary in this kind of music, but 'Abandonment' does a good job of living up to its namesake, with slow droning synth. There is a sense of sadness in the track, which was almost pleasant. Likewise, 'Rapes of Convenience' certainly tries to set a sinister tone, with hissing, unintelligible vocals and dark atmosphere. Gnaw Their Tongues provides the other side with 'A Moral Guide to Self-castration And Necrophilia.' I had heard about this act, but had not yet had a chance to hear what they had to offer, so I was interested to check it out. This is some nice, slow, heavy, noise. I'm not talking wall of noise kind of stuff, but more a kind of industrial soundscape with some synth drone and some screaming thrown in for good measure. It's gritty, but not too harsh ' you could play this for someone who was interested in noise but just didn't get it because all they had ever heard was Merzbow or Masonna. Pretty good, although the screaming did start to get a bit tiresome. And yes, the cover art is pretty much what you'd expect. Don't leave this out on your table when the in-laws come to visit.
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Artist: Column One (@)
Title: Antiphonia
Format: 10"
Label: Substantia Innominata (@)
Rated: *****
I have heard of Berlin-based Column One over the years but have not heard much from them ' maybe a compilation track here and there. Now I can see what I've been missing. This is an amazing album for those who enjoy musique concrete. The label describes the two sides as 'anthiponies forming a single whole. For us these are metaphors for the emergence of the 'Irrational' and 'Sacred' in the daily profane lives, using notions from religious scopes in a new context.' Indeed, the two sides take very different approaches, so let's delve into the music. Antiphonia sounds like a cross between Negativland and Nurse With Wound with lots of cut ups and crazyness, but it is well crafted and engaging. It's fun because it doesn't seem to take itself too seriously. I mean how can it when you can identify a Bugs Bunny sample in there at least a few times? If you like it weird, this will bring a smile to your face. Indeed, the track ends with laughter. It ends with a locked groove. Turning the album over, we are met with Introitum, an amazing, almost hypnotic track. The press sheet describes it as a 'meditative overtone bowl-drone recorded at the legendary 'Sibirische Zelle' in Berlin with three microphones in three different rooms, resulting in strange sound-effects and audio interactions.' It's a roller coaster ride of rhythm as the singing bowl is struck continually. As a drummer, I am impressed at the ability to keep up that kind of tempo for so long. Their arms must have been killing them at the end. As expected, this is beautifully packaged and pressed on heavy black vinyl. Limited to 500 copies, so get yours before it sells out. Highly recommended.
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Artist: Illusion of Safety
Title: Sweet Dreams
Format: 10"
Label: Substantia Innominata (@)
Rated: *****
When I got this in the mail I knew that I was in for a good ride. I didn't know where this ride would take us, but I knew that the scenery would be beautiful. It's hard to believe that Daniel Burke has been at it for 30 years now and still making interesting music. This is no exception. The label describes this as 'an almost 'psychedelic' record, using many incredible acousmatic sounds deriving from field recordings, instrumental sources (such as acoustic guitars) and synths, which build together repetitive pulsing patterns & hypno-loops that suck you in. . . . To us, this sounds like 70's psych-space tunes transformed by today's experimental & compositional consciousness.' Thhis album consists of three tracks. The first, 'Sweet Dreams,' is pleasant, almost mellow stuff. Sort of hypnotic with a nice rhythm to it. We then move on to 'Unresolved,' which features lots of reverb and clicks and cuts. This is a bit more what I was expecting in the weirdness factor, but still pretty chill. But then it kicks into a kind of droning with a mix of synth and high pitched whines that faded out slowly. Flipping the album over, we are greeted with 'Always Somewhere Else,' which is hypnotic, with a lot of layers flowing in and out of it. Swriling syth and a staccato guitar line with bits of found sound, such as bird chirping, incorporated throughout. Overall, this is Illusion of Safety doing what they do well ' weaving together soundscapes that make you think. As with all Substantia Innominata releases, this comes beautifully packaged with artwork by Berlin-based designer Tilmann Benninghaus and pressed on heavy mottled teal vinyl.
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Artist: Teen Anal Terrorist
Title: Warm Blatz For Teenage Runaways
Format: 12"
Label: Savage Quality Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
First off, the cover art is nice and lo-fi. This is always promising. And with a name like Teen Anal Terrorist, you know that this is not really a band that is going to take themselves too seriously (more evidence of this can be found in their Facebook contact phone number). Here's how the label described it: 'It's winter in the Midwest... you took a little too much Robitussin and you're stuck in the basement of a funeral home wondering if that coffin's taken. At least, them's the circumstances surrounding the recording of this epic vinyl debut from these twisted backwood cyberpunks. Damaged, dystopian industrial and alien funk reminiscint of Coil or Skinny Puppy.' Sounds promising, so let's get right into the music. We open side one with a glitchy track with a lot of random samples. They have a shout out to Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson, so the Coil influence is front and center. From Coil's discography, this sounds most influenced by Love's Secret Domain. But there is also a touch of Negativland here, not only stylistically, but in the political sense. Solid. We flip the record over to Side 2, which is a bit more musical, for lack of a better term. Peaceful synth lilts over spastic beats and bits of noise, but still a good time. This is a fun album overall ' I'd love to see them perform live.
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Artist: Richard Pinhas
Title: Desolation Row
Format: CD
Label: Cuneiform Records (@)
Rated: *****
This monumental musical behemoth which translates an equally ginormous and frightening vision of the predictable mutation of liberalism into a centralized and tentacular teknofascist regime in Europe as a consequence of the deep economical crisis and its social and cultural perceivable consequences intersects both the cultural background - Richard took an active part in student uprising in 1968, when he was a young student at the Sorbonne under the philosopher Gilles Deleuze - and musical talent of Richard Pinhas. All those listeners who already know his remarkable penchant to fusion different sonic and stylistical languages (if you missed them, have a listen to Pinhas previous key releases such as the collaborative albums "Metal/Crystal" with Merzbow and Wolf Eyes and "Rhizome" with Merzbow or the astonishing "Metatron") as well as his work within his band Heldon cannot but enjoy the way he keeps on melting and moulding ores of prog-rock, metal, electronics, ambient, abstract, noise and jazzy elements into psychedelic, visionary and somehow significant sculpture, whose careful planing got assisted this time by a plenty of talented European musicians orbiting around the spheres of progressive rock, noise, jazz and improvisational music such as Oren Ambarchi, Noel Akchote, Etienne Jaumet, Lasse Marhaug, Eric Borelva and his son Duncan Nilsson, who fed three different line-ups. Guitar melodic lines over the six long-lasting tracks move toward breathtaking electronic drones, impetuous drum or analog-synth rides, unnerved clumps and parabolic ascensions, even if they sound ceaselessly throttled or suffocated by the whirlwinds of straining sonic ground-swll from other elements, whose dynamic pressure seems to gradually overwhelm even when the melodic line sounds more placid or audible like in "Circle", where guitars got gradually armoured while they got charged by surges of delayed signals and effects which gradually submerge the rhythmic pattern as well, or "Square", where load-bearing axis lays on Akchote's rock riff which got gradually fagged by a subtle tension which creeps into the melodic bushes of the song; they stretch and twist around parading slow drums, blowing winds festering screeches on "South"; they sound like screaming and corroding the robotic leviathan, which got evoked by the initial synth line of the opening track "North"; they finally blurs on the astonishing drones of "Moog", whose trippy clangors and electronic psychedelic ride will delight the eardrums of lovers of Frpp, Eno, Pink Floyd or Jarre, and the over-stretched stident layers of "Drone 1". "Desolution Row" could be a proper sonic translation of the individual see/feel in front of forthcoming happenings in Old Continent or maybe an inner stronghold, as someione could surmise from Pinhas' own words about this album: "music is a way to fight...and to bring weapons to people, to make them feel outside of their servitude, and perhaps to make them happy, even for one minute...a way to fight THE POWER!".
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