Music Reviews



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Artist: Dominic Petrie (@)
Title: Tomorrow Now EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Ingredients Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
The intriguing syrup by Aberdeen-based dnb producer and dj Dominic Petrie, who's not really a newcomer of the scene as he released some good sonic pills on labels like Lifestyle Recordings, Nerve Recordings and Sound Artillery, and supported dj-sets of notorious names such as Calyx and Teebee, London Elektricity, Chase and Status, Andy C, Black Sun Empire and many others at the Bongo Club in Edinburgh where he propels Xplicit D&B night, contains many good old recipes in solution besides the influences (fellow countrymen Boards Of Canada - supposedly for a certain "mentalism" of Petrie's music - and LTJ Bukem's Good Looking stuff) that Ingredients mentioned for an introduction of this EP. While listening to this EP, some stuff of the so-called atmospheric drum and bass or even the so-called ambient jungle (I could mention Photek, Omni Trio, Skanna, PFM, Jack Ruby, Fast Floor or A Guy Called Gerald) resurfaced from the depths of my musical memories, which got melted with some percussive stunts (popping finger clicks, repetitive female vocals or amalgamating smoothed basslines) of liquid funk, whose influence is clearer on the initial "Riverside Blues" and the gloomily beautiful "Beyond The Wall of Sleep", which smells like Scottish rainy day. The remarkable quality and the soulful hook of the seven tracks of this release have been recognized by Ingredients itself as they had so many hesitations in making a selection for a 12" that they decided to drag all of them in one extended play in the end. My favorite tracks are the most clouded ones such as "Ephemerol Test" (a reference to fictional Cronenberg's drug for pregnant mother whose babies inherited the power of blowing other people's heads?), the amazing percussive overlaps and fuggy atmospheres of "Exponent Of Escape" and the dazed key stabs and the tailspins of basslines on "Empire", but all the other tracks are really outstanding.
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Artist: Sergio Sorrentino + Machinefabriek (@)
Title: Vignettes
Format: CD
Label: frattonove (@)
Rated: *****
The numbing and somewhat wistful hum on the introductive "Prefazione - Introductie" receives listeners into the emotional coziness of this collaborative project by Italian guitar-player Sergio Sorrentino, who has been regarded as "one of the most important new Italian contemporary guitarists", and the brilliant Dutch sound artist Rutger Zuydervelt, mostly known as Machinefabriek. After the preface, Sorrentino put classic guitar away and picked up the electric one, which becames the germinal musical element of the whole record by setting the tone of a kind of dialogue with the impressive editing skills by Rutger. Notwithstanding the conciseness of chords, arpeggios and tones, the virginal guise and the lack of frills of each track which justifies the guessed title "Vignettes", this duo manages to grasp emotions, images and memories which sound like evoked by titles: the sudden sonic caesuras and the mysterious swallowing on "Buco Nero / Zwart Gat", which renders the quoted black hole, the contemplative arching of tonal drops on "Echi del Tempo / Echo's van de Tijd" (transl."Echoes of Time"), the elegantly squaled curves and the armour which protect cold bloods of reptiles, which got evoked by "Rettile / Slakkegang", some emotional acmes which seem to crack the relentless flow of time on the enchanting "Frammenti / Fragmenten", the trembling vibrations on the sweet melodic line of "Caduta Libera / Vrije Val" (meaning "free fall"), which are similar to those distortions of toy synths when they are almost completely out of power, the evoked metamorphosis by somewhat meiotic sonic efflorescences on "Trasformazione / Transformatie", the faint fade in on "Alba / Dageraad" (Dawn), the gentle sonic mister of lights and shades on th final "Nebbia Fitta / Dichte Mist" and so on. Any effect, any delay, any light distorsion by Machinefabriek on simple melodic weaves by Sorrentino sound so pertinent and measured that they could be imagined as inseparable aggrandizements of innate but hidden properties of electric guitar.
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Artist: The Enchanted Wood (@)
Title: Monster Parade
Format: CD
Label: Steelwork Maschine (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this act, but I was familiar with several of the releases from Steelwork Maschine. This one seemed a bit out of place from the cover alone ' kind of a playful gothic vibe, rather than the noisy experimental I expected from the label. The label describes this album as 'nine delightful songs of monstrosity, unspeakable sins and unutterable melancholy.' After giving it a listen, I still really don't know what to make of this. The male vocals are a heavy baritone mixed with a cheesy organ or stripped down guitars, which gives it a kind of Tim Burton feel. You're stuck in the sideshow waiting to see the two headed cow and bearded lady, but you wander off into another corridor and find yourself being led toward something a bit more sinister than you anticipated. This is a weird combo of apocalyptic folk, minstrel music, and troubadours of times long past. If you like it strange, this is one to check out. It is definitely fun and whimsical. This album weighs in at around 38 minutes.
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Artist: Nu Creative Methods (@)
Title: Superstitions
Format: CD
Label: Music à la Coque (@)
In S. Alexander Reed's excellent book 'Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music,' he describes the early days of industrial and experimental music in which artists reveled in the different musicality of their instruments, which were often homemade. If you want to hear what some of the more underground renditions of this music may have sounded like, this would be one to pick up. Nu Creative Methods is the work of Pierre Bastien & Bernard Pruvost and the press release states that they 'played with a bunch of exotic and self-made instruments.' This album was originally released in 1984 on cassette by ADN Tapes. At times the music sounds like kids playing with a broken, out of tune guitar. Also, it begins to sound the same in instrumentation, if not in rhythm. As a historical document this is interesting, but I found myself thinking that we have come a long way in improvisational music and homemade instruments. This point was driven home by 'Alpinic Railway,' a bonus track not available on the original release. This was a fun track that sounded almost like a demented hoedown. There is something to be said for the rawness of these recordings, but I would say that this is mainly one for the historians and those who want to prove that weird music didn't start with the current generation. This album weighs in at around 33 minutes.
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Artist: Treasure of Grundo
Title: Dysantzu
Format: 12"
Label: Geertruida (@)
Rated: *****
Treasure of Grundo is the work of Netherlands-based Yannick Tinbergen and Bert Zaremba, who also co-founded the Geertruida label. According to the label, they took the name from the eighties cartoon Teddy Ruxpin, Grundo being the name of the fictional land the show is set in. As such, it is unsurprising that there is a kind of 80's vibe here. Some of this kind of reminds me of old school 1980's dark new wave. Lots of old analogue synth sounds, but it doesn't really sound dated or like a homage to a particular group. Other parts of it remind me of angry darkwave with a hard guitar edge. For example, "Myr" features the chorus, 'You should stop fucking everything up / There's a whole lot going down the drain' and 'She screams you're her biggest mistake.' Definitely feel good music lyrically, but with a nice staccato, upbeat synth track. In this way it is very much like some of the best of the 80's, where the music and the lyrics are completely incongruous. This song has been stuck in my head for days. Also, if the song titles are a bit off-putting, realize that the singing is in English. Overall, this is one worth taking a chance on. I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable it was. This album weighs in at around 40 minutes and limited to 150 numbered copies on transparent green vinyl but also comes with a download code for those of you without turntables.
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