Music Reviews



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Artist: Ital Tek (@)
Title: Control EP
Format: 12"
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
All those listeners who appreciated last year album "Nebula Dance" by phenomenal beat juggler Alan Myson aka Ital Tek will easily notice that in spite of the sonic filiation of this amazing tidbit with the above-mentioned album, it's really hasty to nonchalantly consider "Control" just as a kind of doppelganger or a recapitulartory revision of the above-mentioned album as Ital Tek more distinctly channeled active ingredients of his distinctive upgrade of Chicago-rooted juke sonorities on this new miscellanous stylish soup: for example, the whirling synth-driven arpeggio on "Challenger Deep", which opens B-side, could remind the one of "Pixel Haze", but Alan seems to highlight this element by reducing the percussive ones to a desiccated, toneless and almost lo-fi hit and chained snips and the melodic emblazonment to occasional inserts of bi-tonal chords, the short ambient-lke track "Doom/Dream" or the reverie of the interlude "Zero" could remind "Discontinuum" from "Nebula Dance", but without any trace of the micro-taps, which sound echoed on "Violet", another peak of this release where someone could have the impression of listening a possible remix of Art Of Noise's "Moments In Love " by Burial, or on the title-track itself, which unexpectedly evolves into something hanging between juke bumps and airy dubstep. "Control" cannot be considered a sterile proof of concept, but a set of eight further bodies of evidence which testifies Ital Tek's sonic fluency by coming to a point where he manages to infer new hands by shuffling the same cards and switching stylistical stitches.
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Artist: System 56
Title: System 56
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows
Rated: *****
Formed in the winter of 1981 near Cleveland, System 56, armed with a Teac 3340-S reel to reel tape recorder, started to work on their songs. Influenced by early Ultravox (the Foxx period), Cars, Simple Minds and so on, the band had four different line-ups and the only permanent members were Steve Simenic Guitar/vocals) and drummer Vince Scafiti. In early 1982 they released their first single "Metro-Metro b/w In the Old World', two songs that showed really well their style which was a mix of synth melodies backed by a driving bass/drums section and guitar riffs. Melody was also an important part of their music and they started to gather fans and soon after they started to play live. Unfortunately, at is at that point that the first split happened. The duo went to the studio and recorded the six tracks EP 'Beyond The Parade'. 'Brave New Toys', 'Through Other Eyes' or 'Hands Of A Stranger' didn't suffer from the split and they sound bright, melodic, powerful and inspired. A good mix of new wave, synth wave and that sort of proto punk characteristic of early Ultravox. For the next single 'Life On A Cool Curve b/w The Other Side Of Science', the duo was joined by Paul Teagle on synths and they had as guest, Phil Capone on sax. The first song had a synth arpeggio as main bass lines and synth pads to thicken the atmosphere. Steve's guitar riffs gave to the mix a certain rock wave atmosphere that on the B side was less present as 'The Other Side Of Science' is a atmospheric mid tempo with guitar sparse arpeggios and cool synth lines. A curiosity: this song has the same atmospheres of some that Type O Negative did but System 56, recorded it ten years before. The band, with a new line-up that integrated Tom Lash on bass guitar, released their last 12' in 1984. 'A Man Needs A Motor b/w Shapes Of Things' were the songs and the first on is a good post wave guitar driven song with dissonances and nice synth lines. From the same recording session we also have 'The Sounding', 'Your Car Is Waiting' and 'Next To X' but not on this compilation released by Synthetic Shadows as this has the same track list of the CD-r 'Retrospective: 1982-83' that the band self released in 2003 but those three songs are missing. Anyway, System 56 songs sound really nice and they grow with the listenings. As usual, you can check all of them at the label's Bandcamp page here http://syntheticshadows.bandcamp.com/album/system-56-s-t-ss10
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Artist: Staer (@)
Title: Daughters
Format: CD
Label: Horse Arm (@)
Rated: *****
On the occasion of a chat, that followed the launch of their impressive self-titled EP, we had on this space last year, Stavanger-based Norwegian experimental rock (someone could prefer to label their sound "noise rock", "rockish noise", "art noise", "brutal prog", "apocalyptic rock" or whatever...you are free to choose your favourite one) Staer announced their second album. Well, here it is! The guy on mix desk opens to the listeners the possibility to avoid the sonic assault to their eardrums by a sort of graduated fade-in, which could be perceived as a flattery as well, on the initial "Flashing Teeth Of Brass" before these sonic arsonists set fires around a skinned guitar and somewhat tribal drumming, a pyre they keep on feeding with the furious two parts of "Daughters", where temporary breaks which last no more than 3-4 seconds or 6-8 bars are just cues to add fuel to the fire of the corrosive stream of devastated chords, melodic wreck, unpredictable percussive flare-ups, cacophonous squeaking and piercing sonic throttling. Despite the whipping of noises, both first and second part still include an inkling of something steady, which got totally eclipsed on the following "One Million Love Units", where one sonic constituent got strained at the impervious surfaces of pure blunt improvisation with some short pauses that could let you think about the sequential detonation of many explosive charges, primed by fusillades of kick drums. Whereas "Neukolln" deploys a sort of lopsided and befuddling sonic clot, the final "Future Fuck" combines strident dissonances on a combustive pinwheel of accelerations and decelerations where the hobgoblin-like appearance of the saxophone by Ultralyd's Kjetil Moster is the cherry on top. "Daughters" is that kind of stuff that could delight eardrums of people who follow the stylistical scents of Steve Albini and Merzbow at the same time.
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Artist: DECA
Title: Modulectron
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows (@)
Rated: *****
Deca is the moniker of Federico De Caroli, a guy coming from Liguria, Italy, who is active since the mid eighties with is musical project. Interested into electronic sounds and lover of the German and French music of the seventies, Federico decided to take a different approach on the matter thanks to his piano studies. He started to record his experiments with polyphonic synthesizers and in 1986 he released, for the Video Radio label, his first album "Alkaid", release inspired by a science fiction story he wrote. The following year "Synthetic Lips" followed and this one was mainly inspired by German space electronic music. Things changed in 1989 with the album " Claustrophobia": the atmosphere got darker and obsessive and musically it sounded like a new wave/industrial mix. With 1992's 'Premonizione Humana", he started to collaborate for the visual part with Gianni Bacino, whom took care also of the live side of this aspect. Musically, the atmosphere got more evocative thanks to the use of piano and strings along with the electronic sounds. On 1998, Old Europa Cafe released "Phantom", an experimental electronic album with melodic inserts that you can still easily find on Discogs (all the other releases are quite hard to find). On 2000 we have 'Electronauta', a compilation of unreleased tracks and on 2002, "Simbionte", an album that has been sold only through the website created for the occasion. These are the main releases Deca did, but there are many more on tapes. Now, let's talk about "Modulectron". This album issued by Synthetic Shadows, is a collection of tracks recorded during the 1984/1986 period using only a Roland Jx3p synthesizer, no other instrument involved, not even a drum machine. The twelve tracks of the album sound minimal, experimental and create an atmosphere of their own but most of the time, they sound quite obsessive and alienated. Based on multi layered recordings or on arpeggio/sequencer/filters variations they hypnotize the listener thanks to dissonances, noises and warm sounds which suddenly turn into a cold atmosphere. I enjoyed it and you can check the whole release following this link http://syntheticshadows.bandcamp.com/album/deca-modulectron-ss11
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Artist: Tattered Kaylor (@)
Title: Sombre Nay Sated
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Stasisfield (@)
Rated: *****
"Sound does not know our rules regarding walls, corners and closed doors. It travels through and beyond - being numerous in place, yet existing as a single entity. Under the guise of being unseen it permeates our surroundings, expanding and contracting space, warping the edges we construct with our perceptions of reality". Such a fascinating and embraceable observation by Australian sound artist Tessa Elieff aka Tattered Kaylor, which middles sound as a sort of an autonomous entity which prescinds from its receptor by emphasizing the role of perception and got marvelously epitomized by her acousmatic releases, could let you guess that an adaptation for personal fruition of her live works could be considered a challenge within a challenge. This attempt consists of three interesting adaptations of previous performances where she tried to link real sounds to their perceptions by a sort of overlapping between sonic "realities" such as steel, stone or architectural (both artificial and natural) cavities and a multi-speaker system, which got inspired by the original project of the Acousmonium by Francois Bayle: the tubular thin undulations of "Waves 2009", a stereophonic recording for a live performace she built with Cadif's Jacques Soddell, which soon turned into a sort of drone with sounds which could come from the bottom of an obscure well and seemingly disembodied female words, starts this immersive listening experience, which continues with a couple of tracks commissioned by Kunstradio, "Taken To Booroomba", a sort of reshpaed "take" of Uli Kuehn's "ROBOT" whose thunders and storms got played back at granite Booroomba Rocks in Australian Capital Territory, and the sinisterly claustrophobic "The Broken Return", which got derived from "Minigit", a sound installation by Andreas Trobollowitsch, which was performed at Moozak Festival in Wien in 2012. You can download this release for free with the possibility to send donation here: http://www.stasisfield.com/releases/year11/sf-11001.html
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