Music Reviews



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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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Artist: Simon James Phillips (@)
Title: Chair
Format: CD
Label: Room40 (@)
Rated: *****
A sonic research about the connection between an instrument and its resonance in the surrounding space could appear not so original or even sectorial and the incipit of each track of this album by Berlin-based composer Simon James Phillips - one leg of Pedal with Chris Abrahams of The Necks and of the tripod project The Swifter with Andrea and BJ Nilsen as well as performer of The Berlin Splitter Orchestra -, which starts by crystal-clear set of piano strokes could be deceptive before those keys pass through the pronged set of microphones by sound engineer Mattef Kuhlumey who placed them in many places of the place where they recorded this album, the Grunewald Church in Berlin. Afterwards piano sound and the contrails of frequencies it spreads begin to dilate, expand, shatter and overfill the sonic sphere in a prismatic way, listeners got pleasantly entangled in its beautiful and almost tactile weave while the above-mentioned contrails seems to leave emotional sediments and open listener's mind wide on its comfortable confinement by means of tonal clusters and floating sonic particles. The illusory simplicity of each track together with the evoked naivete' of each track got refracted by the intriguing strategies that Phillips follow to warp time and single tones, which are maybe listenable both on tracks closer to the idea of minimalism like "9er On/Off Switch" or "The Voice Imitator" and on those ones where piano sounds like overflowing from the recording environment, whose barriers paradoxically pull for the projected infinite into listener's mind while he/she is sitting on a a chair. That's how it goes sometimes!
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Artist: Quentin Sirjack (@)
Title: Bright Days Ahead
Format: CD
Label: Schole (@)
Rated: *****
Repetita iuvant (meaning "repeated things help"), an Ancient Roman maxim said about some winning learning mechanisms, but redundancy could feed tedium or even nausea and the repetition of certain diagrams of the so-called seventh art induced me to snub sentimental movies, which have been subjugated to the transmission of consumeristic behavior patterns. One of the good consequences that the crisis of individualism brought is the revival of a somehow lost genuineness of the plots, but cinematographic traditions like the French ones in opposition to the Hollywoodian modelling nurtured the seeds of such a Renaissance and "Bright Days Ahead (Les Beaux Jours)", a movie by Marion Vernoux, a director who makes movies with the sensibility of a woman, focusing on a woman's life after retirement through love, an up-to-date and interesting meme, could be ascribed to this branch of movies, whose success is intensely connected to the goodness of soundtrack and the one by Quentin Sirjacq gets the gist and manages to hit listener's heart as well as cast the emotional atmosphere without the aid of images. His delicate piano-driven music, which maybe will be immediately linked to French impressionists like Debussy, Faure, Saint Saens or Satie, sounds like drawing fully from classical music, jazz and American minimalism, but some hues and fades as well as the emphasis which got sometimes highlighted by strings, cello or viola in striking tracks like "Bright days ahead closing", "Hide-and-seek", "Airport", "Hotel", "With the wind" or "Going to Julien" clearly show the skills and the talent of this composer and pianist, whose enchanting and deeply emotional music could engender some secret tears to people who don't tend to be always on the brink of tears, which are going to fade away on the more joyful final bonus track "Swimming and laughing".
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