Music Reviews



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Artist: Faust Degada (@)
Title: Lux&Uria
Format: CD
Label: Cherryno Music
Rated: *****
One half of the Degada Saf duo, Faust Degada a.k.a. Fausto Crocetta, is releasing his first solo album titled "Lux&uria" for CherryNo Music. Four years ago, Fausto released with Degada Saf their comeback album "Without Religions" (see the review and the interview I did back then) and the year after he started producing music for different artistic events such like 'Human Rights? Art from world' (for Campana dei Caduti Foundation in Rovereto), video-art by Giordano Rizzardi, the play 'Rita e Graziella" by Francesco Scarfone and his music was awarded with a second place at the Roma Europa Festival. The project 'Lux&Uria' started in 2012 for an International Art Exhibition in S.Giorgio a Cremano (Naples) dedicated to 'The seven deadly sins' and, after that, he performed live and now, the album. Containing twelve tracks, the album plays around two concepts: the universal light and the physical being which lives a material life and the different aspects of it. One of them is lust (in Italian: "Lussuria") which, going beyond any moral concept, is an essential part of life. Just like the multifaceted emotions that lust is able to induce into the human being, this album tries to cover them all by alternating danceable tracks and ambient ones. So, we have blasting drums (now recalling dub rhythms and then i.d.m. ones) and complex sound layers creating a throbbing effect (like "Emma Cipapa" the following "I Step On Your Lines And I'm Wrong" or "She Knows My Way") alternated to ambient/i.d.m. tracks which sounds a little more experimental compared to the other tunes (it's the case of "Bapama Punk", "Bopid Manar" and "Lakaw") and a mix of both ("Jamspace" or "Gadem") where we have a sort of house/dub rhythm pattern with ambient atmospheres. There are tracks that sound catchy at the first listening, like "She Knows My Way", thanks to the use of melody, filtered vocals and powerful sounds, then there are other ones that need more attention and time.
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Artist: Springintgut (@)
Title: Where We Need No Map
Format: CD
Label: Pingipung (@)
Distributor: Kompakt Distribution
Rated: *****
All those who lied in wait for the new album of the whismical cellist, drummer and composer Andi Otto aka Springintgut, after his acclaimed "park and Ride" on the excellent label City Centre Offices, didn't wait in vein as Andi kept busy by wrenching and enhancing both his hybrid sound and his cello, which got turned into a "fello" in the meanwhile by means of the implementation of movement and accelerometer sensors on the bow, whose data got translted into MIDI through junXion and then manipulated. In reality the prototype of fello got exhibited on the occasion of STEIM, the indipendente Dutch Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music in Amsterdam, but Andreas gradually improved it with the support of artists from many different fields. The fascination for his brainchild as well as Andi's joy for his searing creative sparkles has been mirrored on this release, which vouches for his vivid inventiveness and gleans from the sonic and musical pond of the exotic traditions he got in touch with during his cultural expeditions. Some of the most engaging tracks of this amazing album have been recorded during his three-months lasting permancence in the German art institute Villa Kamogawa in Kyoto, Japan, where he produced the vibrant "Kamogawa Cycling" and the chirping "Western Kyoto", a couple of delicate sonic cameos which reflect a certain Japanese zest, resurfacing on other tracks such as the crisp J-pop and house-spotted tracks "Moustache Twisters" and "Moustache Or Something" or the final somehow pastoral glare "Ode To Yakushima". Splashes of Bollywood bustles spurt from the tracks he recorded in India, the peppy "Bangalore Kids", where Andi mixes a vibrant fello session with electronic house tempo and a field recording of a school boy he grabbed in Cubbon Park, Bangalore, and the brief squawking whirl of "Bangalore Crows" with vocals by Indian singer MD Pallavi. The cherry on top came from the meeting of Sasha Perera, the voice of notorious Berlin's Dub Techno band Jahcoozi, in Sri Lanka, who gave her voice for a couple of lukeworm tracks, "Bullet" and "Dizzy Heights", where Andi's Fello got entwined with amazing popping grooves. Echoes of Boards Of Canada and similar IDM acts resounds on the computational hiccups of "Teslaphasic Talking" and the oblique smudges of "Where We Need No Map", while the playfulness of Springintgut sound, whose affinity with jazz and so-called skweee is clear, protrudes on tracks like the above-mentioned "Moustache Twisters" or the jaunty "Goose Egg". This album deserves more than a listening.
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Artist: Helena Espvall + Ernesto Diaz-Infante (@)
Title: A Hallowed Shell of Ash and Rust
Format: CD
Label: EROTOTOX DECODINGS (@)
Rated: *****
This album hasn't real press notes apart from the bios of the two musicians: Ernesto Diaz-Infante has created musical compositions that span a broad perspective while Helena Espvall is a multi-instrumentalist plays guitar and cello. From this perspective this album is presented as something to listen without any expectations apart from the open mind to evaluate the musical qualities of this output.
This is a requirement as this album reveals a strange structure as, even it has twelve track, it relies in three long tunes: "Breathing Structures", a quite track based upon resonances and small timbre changes that create a truly meditative mood until the cello of Helena Espvall introduces the listener to second part of the track more focused on slowly evolving melodic line; "Hollow Earth Theory" is based upon the percussions of the string instruments, guitar and cello, of the two players interleaved with the juxtaposed, using the delay, melodic lines; "Against A Realization In Weathered Iron" is instead focused on the ostinatos of the strings obtaining an effect of slowly moving, almost static, texture of undoubtable effect if sufficently mindful on the small, but continuous, timbre changes.
The remaining tracks are small examples of timbric development as "With Space In The Spirit", "Interiority", "Into Subterranean Heavens" and "A Glamour In Base Materials". "These Are" is a short tune based on resonances created by delay while "Bridges Into Nothing" and "Ringing Out Tomorrows" are based on the juxtaposition of the texture of one instrument and the form created by the other. "Where The Archivist Stands" starts with the juxtaposition of the two instrument, evolves in a drone and ends with a sort of dialogue. "Something Ancient Being Born" closes this album with highly reverbered tones evoking a spiritual calm
This album is not easy to listen to as it demands really careful attention but is a recommended pick to all fans of experimental music. Great stuff.
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Artist: Ian Hawgood and Friends
Title: Wolven (A Modern Interpretation)
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Hibernate (@)
Rated: *****
British label Hibernate, a proper rising star of ambient music scene, dedicates this release to the sparkle of its rich catalogue, the ultra-limited album "Wolfskin" by English musician Ian Hawgood, one of the most refined and sophisticated soother, who manages to mix somewhat contrasting emotional polarities by means of the unifying power of his beautiful sound he spread through his labels Home Normal, Nomadic Kids Republic, Tokyo Droming and Koen Music aka KOMU, which co-produced "Wolven (A Modern Interpretation)". This release doesn't just canonize Ian's ability to shape that matter dreams are made from, but also his tendency to share such a vocation with other sound artists. On the first disc's cakewalk, a lot of musicians grappled with the lovely cathartic tracks Ian squeezed from the recollection of his own childish dreams and nightmares in a masterly manner: some of the most mindblowing moments come from the collaboration with the inspiring cellist Aaron Martin, who almost renders the scene of a mother in the act of assuaging her baby after he got suddenly awaken by a disqueting nightmare on "The New World", lets listener flow over emotional polar lights on the initial "The Dance", honeys further the delicate tapping by Ian on "Blue Type I", "Shallow Break", harmonizes the sleep spindles on "The Headless Sleep", but the other guests let their light shine as well. Dag Rosenqvist (Jasper TX) weaves a net of fading filaments which awakes an encircling warm tone and gradually trigger an engaging emotional blast on the beautiful "Blue Type III", Charles Sage aka y0t0 splendidly boosts the same track by dilating chimes, Ian Hawgood allows himself a quick dip into his own mental pools on "Wolven I" before siphoning those lukeworm waters into Spheruleus' vaporizing alembics ("Wolven II"), Pillowdriver's darkening pipes ("Wolven IV") and Hakobune's treatment ("Wolven III"), which turns it into a plasma soup which saturates the substantia nigra. If you enjoyed the first disc, you'll get totally enraptured by the enchanting reinterpretation of the entire album by electronic dub-ambient sorcerer Brock Van Wey aka bvdub on the second disc, who made a sort of derivative album-within-album, based on three angelical diluition of three tracks ("All These Memories Are Blue Type", "Wolfskin" and "Red Rugs Of Infinite Grass") of the original album, who got turned into exstatic suites.
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Artist: Christiaan Virant (@)
Title: Fistful of Buddha
Format: CD
Label: CVMK
Rated: *****
Buddha Machine's 9 loops maybe didn't bring the Enlightenement to its fetishistic owners, but I'm pretty sure that many fans of that nice coloured plastic music-box mulishly tried to find their way to some Nirvana by it and some of them poured those entrancing or relaxing tunes into more or less personal ambient-oriented tracks in order to share their toytronic-driven Samadhi. Drawing on that fad, some devotee could have surmise one of its inventor, the imaginative Hong Kong-born musician Christiaan Virant, who developed that nice loop device together with his music partner Zhang Jian in 2005 and tried for an encore by an industrial version - the Gristleism loop device! - together with Throbbing Gristle in 2009 found a job as a road worker for the maintenance of the noble eightfold path. The reputation he gained for that somehow bizarre object might eclipse Virant's musical skills and creativity, so that this self-released album, wisely titled "Fistful of Buddha", has been supposedly intended for giving evidence of them. Even if the general sound has a strong influence of those Zen jujus, the classical training and the connection with "western" musical aspects such as some transitional procedures, the outline of a structure and a predominant sense of drama by Mister Virant astonishingly filters through the nine tracks (I think the number of tracks is not casual at all...) of this album, which shows a remarkable variety. Besides ruminative low-paced and beatless tracks such as "Monkey Mind", "Crickets" or "Grey Zone", the highest stylistical peaks have been reached when Christiaan intentionally amalgamates Western and Eastern traditions: you could think about a Vietnamese declension of some icy gothic-ambient stuff when listening to "River Pearl", two vivid slanting eyes behind Venetian masks on "Metropolis Waltz", a special concentrate of Klaus Schulze's stuff and 70ies sequencers for the mp3 players of levitating gurus on the initial "Title Sequence" or on the title-track, which vaguely resembles some stuff by Ron Rothfield's The Infinity Project, or hypertechnological ashram while listening to the final breathing track "Yuan Yi". Spellbinding sonic juice.
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