Music Reviews



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Artist: Chris Watson
Title: In St.Cuthbert's Time
Format: CD
Label: Touch (@)
Rated: *****
The setting of this new release by talented wild-life field recordist and co-founder of historical bands Cabaret Voltaire and The Hafler Trio, Christ Watson, who enjoys an excellent reputation inside the paling of his stylistical field due to his skills in ingraining a somewhat personal imprint on his captures, whose succession sounds like a narration, connects two interrelated documentary purposes: its nosey microphones didn't scan the crawling natural setting of the small Lindisfarne isle (also known as 'The Holy Island" off the coast of Northumberland for the tastes of ornithologists (I finally discovered where the cuckoo, which got sampled for an old national radio time signal, which resurfaced from my old memories, could live!), ichthyologists (even fishes could make some noise!), entomologists, other zoologists, meteorologists and whosoever might got entranced or enchanted by natural soundscapes, but tried to render the sensorial context where monk, hermit and later saint Cuthbert retired, whose relics got supposedly commemorated by the so-called Lindisfarne Gospels, a wonderful manuscript gospel book by Eadfrith, a bishop of the Lindisfarne monastery, which is now held by British Library in London and features many illustrations of wildlife. According to the hagiography of St.Cuthbert, it seems that he became so familiar with local fauna that ducks used to nest on his bed, and this immersive listening experience, which Chris divided into four parts ("Winter", "Lechten" - spring -, "Sumor" - summer - and "Haefest - autumn -), one for each season fo the year, could let you feel a similar mystical symbiosis.
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Artist: Pure + Various Artists (@)
Title: No End Of Vinyl
Format: CD
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
Fourteen years after Vienna-based Mego released "The End of Vinyl" by Austrian dynamic producer Peter Votava aka Pure on 3" cd, someone could think that its sibylline prediction could be better spot-on if it were called "the.agony.of.vinyl", so that Cronica folks decided to fishes it out from the ocean of sonic memories by involving a number of talented noise and sound blacksmith for a number of reinterpretations and giving new shapes to all that molten black plastic, which lives again in this awesome collection they wisely retitled "No End Of Vinyl". All those menacing predictions by music market presumed gurus about the extinction of vinyl hasn't come true yet, even if its renaissance could be the last convulsion. Anyway, Cronica's heads, Miguel Carvalhais and Pedro Tudela, who introduced this selection in the guise of @c by means of abrasive liquid clots and ganglions on "Zweiundneunzig", decided to print it on cd, the format whose lifetime is going to expire before the vinyl one. The following sound artists explore a very wide stylistical range in a masterly manner, whose sense of subtle decay and a certain feeling of constant digging for a supposed sepulture got tempered with remarkable specimen of electronic refinement: the aural dark-ambient shades by Cindytalk's "Miyamizu", the mesmeric and somehow cinematic remixes of "The End Of Vinyl", where both Christoph De Babalon and Goner scans agony by impressive electronic textures and airy pad synths, which could resemble Beefcake's or Gridlock's epic hooks, the spellbinding buzzing whistles by Mego label owner Peter Rehberg aka Pita on "This & That Edit", the absorbing subtonal thuping and thunderous shocks on "Biological Agents Of Vinyl Degradation" by Jorge-Sanchez-Chiong (JSX), the gradual gurgling combustion by Rashad Becker on "Take Me To Your Lead Out", the illusory frugality of "Opera Povera" by Lithuanian sound artist Arturas Bumsteinas, the terminally ill dark ambient of "'end'end'" by Opcion and the final strokes of solemn atonement and the industrial drops on "Never Ending Vinyl" by Current 909 and Pure... a collection of adhesive stuff, whose rotting features seem to understydu for a new body.
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Artist: Malato
Title: Avamposto Malato
Format: CD
Label: Old Europa Cafe
Rated: *****
Six years in the making and with a revamped line-up (we have a new female member called Black Bon Bon on vocals to help the filtered distorted declamations of Dark Yota), Malato is back with their second release titled "Avamposto Malato". Always released on Old Europa Cafe, one of the most renowned Italian labels for industrial, neo-folk et similia, "Avamposto Malato" offers to the lovers of industrial electronic sounds four new tracks and a couple of remixes. Always influenced by Futurism, 80s industrial music, Mod-ernism (see their love for the Mod aesthetic and 60s Italian design - check the 500 car and Vespa on the cover), pop music (this isn't really the influence I'd name for first in this case but their wrote it into their press info) and muzak (this concept is really correlated to 80s industrial culture as it's the science of how music affects the behavior of a customer) the band is back better than ever. Steve Stroll, Yugin, Black Bon Bon, DarkYota and ClauDEDI, helped by Eranot (he remixed an unreleased track titled "EU"), Luciano Lamanna of Der Noir (he played synthon the opening "UBRC"), the dj and producer Lanconero (he remixed "Distruzione") and Simona Ferrucci of Winter Severity Index (guitar on the opening "UBRC"), in my opinion succeeded into creating a convincing mix of melody, hard beats, noises, dance intuitions and improvisation. "UBRC" opens the EP with the sensual voice of Black Bon Bon and the distorted guitar improvvisations of Simona Ferrucci that duet "disturbed" by Dark Yota's declamations. "TEOT" is a danceable tune which reminds me a bit Chris And Cosey (Cosey Fanni Tutti is also thanked on the booklet's liner notes) where theremin, electronics and 4/4 beats prepare the listener to the "Pquadro88" mayhem. Based on pounding distorted beats, obsessive synth bass lines and noise improvisations, this is a eight minutes delirious track. "Distruzione" is a real surprise, as it's a danceable track (do you remember Portion Control's dance industrial tracks?) with noise inserts and pop female chants. "EU" is an electro post industrial track based on long synth lines, distorted electronic sounds, pounding beats and few melodic parts. On this one Sys2064 (a.k.a. Eranot) alternates suspended atmospheres to explosions of rage when the distortions get its peak along with the blasting beats. The remix of "Distruzione" enhance its danceable side but it doesn't add nothing new to the original tune. Nice release... Welcome back, Malato.
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Artist: Magic Panda (@)
Title: Temple of a Thousand Lights
Format: CD
Label: Tigerbeat6 (@)
Rated: *****
The title, "Temple of a Thousand Lights", could resemble the one of a diary by a rabid fan of some buddhist school, led lamps of brain machines, the cover artwork could let you think that the above-mentioned fan could have a passion for 70ies wallpapers or vintage games as well, but the music that 31-years old Norfolk-based Jamie Robson aka Magic Panda is really amazing, very elegant and remarkably accurate despite of its late arrival on electronic music scene. The ethereal engines of his uplifting grooves and he peacefully warm breeze he blows into listener's mind by means of layered harmonies, chiming waggles, resonating fleecy synths, levitating melodic lines, heavenly choirs, velvety 4/4 steps with many enthalling variations and lulling dream-injections could divert attention from the way Magic Panda intertwines contrasting elements into his yin-yang-ish tracks: the buoyancy of the initial rocket "Tokyo" have an inkling of epic and vaguely apocalyptic mark, which us more audible on other harmonized rides like "Distant Places" or the enchanting "Zwolf", whose tubular harp textures copuld let you imagine as a proper hit over the hidden portal of some fantasy game; a kaleidoscope of dark and light elements sounds like whirling on tracks like "Chiaroscuro", while the euphoric spurts of tracks like "Perfect Circle", "Days Are Numbered" or "Luna Rosa" could sound melancholic and vice versa. While slinking close to stylistical grounds of ambient-techno, post-rock, stargazing shoe-gaze, prog-house and electronics (you could imagine a delicious soup of Morr Music's plinkerpop, Ulrich Schnauss, Royksopp with the aftertaste of Godspeed You Black Emperor! or even Sigur Ros), this Magic Panda seems to know how to haul listeners in forgotten intimate realms, where dreams and nightmares breathe together.
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Artist: Skittles
Title: In For Me Remixes
Format: 12"
Label: Estate Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
His critically acclaimed full-length "Poor With £100 Trainers" didn't only rock the UK hip-hop scene, but the amazing style which bridged hip-hop to sonorities from other stylistical fields as well as Skittles' nimble and caustic lyricism hopped many other musicians up, so that Manchester-based Estate Recordings selected another meaningful song, "In For Me", and out into the wise hands of some bass jugglers after the excellent remixes of "Dot2Dot" (I could recommend to check the one by Dub Phizix in particular, if you missed it). The jeering and reasonably provocative tone of "In For Me", which bashes the stinking logic of mainstream music industry, fertilizes the imaginative grounds and sharpen the knives of Metalheadz's fair-haired Jubei, who zipped the guitar sample, petrified drums and armoured basslines for his hooking make-up, and the incendiary duo Need For Mirrors, who bucked epileptic wood-blocks, razor-sharp electric guitars and precise cuts after some quick preliminary waggles. A bonus remix by Manchester-based dj and producer Ruud "Metrodome" Whiting, which squeeze a wobbly croaking dubstep-spotted version, and the original version of "In For Me" have been bundled for all those ones who will prefer digital version.
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