Music Reviews



Artist: Robodub (@)
Title: Whorled Music
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Chinstrap
Robodub is the work of UK based dub producer Simon Mathewson. The label describes the project thus: 'Seven slices of dub created by robots who have developed impeccable taste, these are superbly crafted genre compositions that sit together like coloured blocks as a superb listening experience, a kind of geometric reggae from a melancholy dystopia.'Â The press sheet that came with this states that this flavor of dub is also influenced by electronic, industrial, plunderphonics, improve, jazz, and world music. I recognize that there is some slight connection between dub and the experimental music scene reaching back at least to Adrian Sherwood, so I expected to hear some kind of experimental edge to this album. However, this really doesn't have much 'robo' in the dub. There are some analogue bleeps and synth, but if you're looking for dub that is really out there sonically (Twilight Circus performed with a vibrator when he opened up for Legendary Pink Dots, for example), this doesn't do as much in that arena. Overall, this is stripped down dub with a fair amount of samples. It's a pleasant listen, and those into dub should like it. This album weighs in at around 37 minutes.
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Artist: Kshatriy (@)
Title: From Heart to Heart
Format: CD
Label: Muzyka Voln (@)
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed Kshatriy's work, so I was interested to see where this would take us. The label describes the album this way: 'This time everything takes place in utterly deep space, in the immense emptiness that contains the whole world. Swinging on slow waves which shimmer in all possible colours we contemplate monumental galactic metamorphoses. Slowly unwinding are the tight spirals of synthesizer drone, rhythmic patterns pulsate and emotional melodies are cut with rare flashes of voice samples. Smoothly flows the sound, charged with energy, transmitting the experience of self-awareness from the musician to the listener... from heart to heart.' This is the sound of worlds slowly falling apart - creaks and groans echo over spacey synth drones. There are vocals, but they are buried so far into the mix that they seem to be there mainly for atmosphere. There is no lyric sheet, so figuring them out may be a fool's errand. Overall this is outstanding dark ambient, but it is not all just drone. Solar Wind, for example, features percussion, which gives the track a feeling of movement. As with the previous release, this would be quite at home on Cyclic Law or Malignant Records. It seems that Russia is quickly becoming a center for stunning dark ambient. This disc is limited to 500 copies, so you'll want to pick it up. This album weighs in at around 60 minutes.
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Artist: Radium88 (@)
Title: Escaping Tomorrow
Format: CD
Label: Lotek
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed Radium88's 'Only Science Can Tell Us the Truth,' so I had some idea of what I was in for. That album was pleasant trancey psychedelic music, and Escaping Tomorrow seems to continue on that trajectory. Their website describes the album thus: 'Nocters and oceans, born of the science of man. Partly heady vocals. Partly instrumental. Splashes of orchestral colour from live strings, cornet and clarinet. Crystalline pure angelic vocals soaring effortlessly above a landscape of science. If you like it, splendid. If not, that's ok too. In the future there will be no need for explanation...' This reminds me of mid-90's Delerium, with its calm, peaceful synth work and ethereal female vocals, although with a lot more processing to them. There is some beat here, but it is not really something that you're going to dance with. Some of the tracks go with the futuristic feel, such as 'The Unerring Certainty of Mechanism,' which has a fun sample where many sentences start with 'in the future' with random predictions about future life. However, it all starts to seem a bit too similar as the album progresses. This album weighs in at around 65 minutes.
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Artist: Swedish Mobilia (@)
Title: Knife, Fork and Spoon
Format: CD
Label: Leo Records (@)
Rated: *****
Here's how the label describes it: 'Andrea Bolzoni on guitar, Daniele Frati on drums, Dario Miranda on bass. Astonishing sounds from the basement. Swedish Mobilia: 'Knife, fork and spoon are twangling in the kitchen. Silence is knocking on the door. Swedish Mobilia's music is totally improvised 'cause Music is about listening.'' This started off promising with jazz the way I like it ' frantic and loosely held together. This is heavy improvisation and it is done well. Rather than one person playing as the star, this is a lot of everything happening at once. The drummer is there not to hold the group together as backing rhythm, but interesting in its own right. But then it takes a turn for the mellow. With tracks such as 'Pop-Up Toaster' slowing it down considerably. Others are also a bit more straightforward, such as 'Preparation: 12 Sec.' Granted, none of this will be appearing on your local smooth jazz station any time soon, but I would have liked it to keep up the sense of intensity. As such, for me it was kind of a mixed bag. Good improvisation, but a bit too chill for my tastes. This album weighs in at around 41 minutes.
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Artist: Worms of the Earth (@)
Title: Azal’ucel
Format: CD
Label: Industry 8 (@)
Rated: *****
The liner notes explain that 'Azal'ucel is the sigillic word formula of Azazel and Lucifer. As this is the initiator and God form of the Path of Sorcery, Lucifer is the illuminator of the soul, the one who allows the magician to unveil the Light of Self. This rite is designed to provide an inspired working of invoking Azal'ucel, from which one shall seek communion with their Higher Self. As one comes into contact with the entity, an illuminated sense of self emerges and a new type of path may begin to develop.' This, combined with the mystical layout (by Salt), gives some sense of the kind of music that you're about to experience. I was pleasantly surprised when the CD started; this is considerably different from the last Worms of the Earth CD I reviewed, 'The Angels of Prostitution.' We begin with some powerful percussion, clattering metal, and ethereal female vocals which give way to lush synth lines. Imagine if In Slaughter Natives collaborated with Love Spirals Downward. But don't try slipping this into your friend's ambient collection just yet. Tracks like 'Fork-Tongued Priests At Black Gehanna Again Speak My Name' have an unsettling feel to them, kind of like old Lustmord, with its noisy, spacy dark ambience. The lilting guitar line halfway through also provides an interesting counterpoint in this track. There is a remarkable amount of atmosphere to this album, with tracks like 'Drawing The Twelve Sigils of Set-heh' evoking a kind of Lovecraftian scene with a woman chanting in what sounds like Latin over a noisy soundscape. Once again, juxtaposition is key here, as her calm intoning mixes with the somewhat chaotic atmosphere. Overall, this is an interesting disc of ritualistic dark ambience; I concur with the label that fans of Raison D'Etre will likely be interested in this. When I saw tracks like 'Tearing Down The Christian Pantheon,' I expected the usual 'more evil than thou' approach, but this was much more subtle than the usual black metal influenced screaming. This is a major move forward for Worms of the Earth in complexity and approach. This album weighs in at around 71 minutes and is limited to 300 hand-numbered copies, so if you want one, you'll want to get it before it's gone.
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