Music Reviews



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Artist: Martin Bedard
Title: Topographies
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
When you peruse resumes like the one of this Montreal-based phenomenal wizard, who just attained a place in the catalogue of empreintes DIGITALes - maybe the most remarkable label in the field of electroacoustics and acousmatics at the moment -, you immediately foresee the consistency of a release with his signature: alumnus of Yves Daoust, Andre Fecteau and Robert Normandeau, Monsieur Bedard is teaching auditory perception, composition and analysis of electroacoustic music at the Conservatoire de musique de Montreal as well as electroacoustic compostion at Universitè de Montreal, received a number of awards I'm not going to list and the City of Montreal - Lachine Borough gave him the Au fil de l'excellence last year. On this collection of sonic marquetries he assembled in different moments, his hyperreality seems to be nourished by a selection of concrete noises whose attrition is a sort of runaround for Martin's processing, but beside the impressively heady and somehow cinematic pelting and rendering of blasts, liquefactions, combustions and coalescences, which could vividly render fearsome train trips ("Push & Pull"), scorching meteoric darts ("Grand Dehors"), frightening metallic landslips ("Topographie de la noirceur"), precipitous tumbles down to the hellish bowels of the ore bodies of the earth the main aspect of the creative/destructive elaboration ("Metal fatigue") and dense swarms of drilling noises from excavation sites ("Champs de fouilles"), the properly dramatic element of each representation seems to be the inoculation of temporary breaks of piercing sounds, which almost mirrors the psychological whirls and craters, which follow such a pelting by emphasizing the inner sense and consciousness of Bedard's topography.
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anymore
Artist: Rapoon (@)
Title: Vernal Crossing Revisited
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This album is the reissue of the third album from this project made for the 20th anniversary of the release. To the remastered edition there's also a complete reinterpretation made by Robin Storey.
The nine tracks of the original release starting from "the same river once" and ending with "yo-tun" are a one hour long exploration of the hypnotic qualities of the rhythm and so could be seen as a continuation of the experiments made with Zoviet France in the first part of this career. However, there's also the first attempts, in tracks as "sonol" and "anatapurrah", to extend this formula with texture oriented soundscape that will be fully developed in the next albums.
So, the 2013 remake, with tracks like "again we see" and "where stars reflects", is less focused with hypnotic beat and more oriented to territories where the texture is more relevant and rhythm is less hypnotic. There's also explicit references to the original album in tracks like "the water edge" but they acts as interludes to the actual musical path of Robin Storey hearable in the last long tracks "the clouds pass quickly" and "to end" where the hypnotic effect is constructed by the soundscape, with layers of drones and perhaps loops constantly changing, rather than by the beat.
Apart from the historical relevance of the original release, faithfully remastered, the remake reveals how a musical path could be developed without changing his fundamental basis but escaping from the trap of self citation. It's a really nice reissue for fans.
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anymore
Artist: Dvs Nme (@)
Title: From The Ashes
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Recorded in different places with mobile devices (if I'm not wrong Johan used mostly the program Nanostudio), "From The Ashes" is the newest and third DVS NME album. Containing ten new instrumental tracks, the album sounds just epic. Its sound is in balance between sidereal and robotic atmospheres with the add of catchy melodic lines (check the opening "Bright Lights" or the dark "Scintillant") and Johan succeeded into creating his own sound. Taking inspiration from electro and Detroit techno, as usual, DVS NME now sound like DVS NME, because the project has reached a perfect mix of all the elements that already made the old stuff sounding great. Every track contains elements that create a good contrast: an upbeat rhythm is joined by a spacey synth pad as well as a robotic arpeggio is joined by a catchy melody. The alternance of all these things make this album sounding various and cool. Anyway, as usual, if you like Arpanet, Dopplereffekt, Drexcya as well as Mandroid, this release is a must. You can check a preview here http://soundcloud.com/dvsnme/dvs-nme-from-the-ashes
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Artist: Virgil Moorefield (@)
Title: No Business As Usual + Five Ideas About the Relation of Sight and Sound
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Hinterzimmer Records (@)
Rated: *****
Behind the provocative title "No Business As Usual", there's a proper creative outburst by New York-based self-taught drummer, intermedia artist and composer Virgil Moorefield (former professor of music and media at Northwestern and the University of Michigan and former collaborator of Glenn Branca - Virgil was the solo drummer of the monumental "Hallucination City: 100 Guitars" - and legendary Gira's proto-industrial Swans), who managed to melt some performative techniques from minimal and repetitive music, an accentuated dynamical ebullience the ear of a drummer could embed and a rich stylistical crucible of free-jazz, punk, krautrock, improvisational and even classical music, which have been thrown in the heady emotional vortex of the five parts of the title-track, where the initial melodic theme often swells by means of apoplectic instrumental eruptions and choral splattering snarl-up from the six very talented musicians of his Bicontinental Pocket Orchestra, comprising Ian Ding (vibraphone, drums), Martin Lorenza (percussion), Jurg Wickihalder (baritone sax), Vicky Chow (piano), Taylor Levine (guitar), Alexsander Gabrys (contrabass) and himself. The cd also includes another impressive work for sextet, "Detroit per Se", whose calm beginning on a quiet piano could seem a little bit deceptive due to the amazing musical fibrillation and heated crescendo which come after, and an amazing 11 minutes lasting duet/duel with Ian Ding, "Siamese Kits, Joined at the Kick (A Study In Prime Numbers)", which will make many lovers of drumming moan in pleasure. The "visual" part of the release consists of a DVD with the intermedia piece "Five Ideas About The Relation of Sight and Sound", an interesting collection of five tableaux with five technology-driven ways to reach synaesthesia and supposedly euphoric listening bliss as well.
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Artist: Erik Friedlander/Scott Solter
Title: No Compass: Solter resets Friedlander
Format: 10"
Label: SkipStone (@)
Rated: *****
The starting point of this sonic tidbit by sound engineer, producer and mixer Scott Solter is "Broken Arm Trio", the acclaimed release that his friend Erik Friedlander tributed to the legendary jazz bassist Oscar Pettiford who took up cello after breaking his arm (!), but don't except to find the stylistical constituents (jazz, chamber music, bluegrass, folk and klezmer) Erik added to his musical recipe. Erik himself gave carte blanche to Scott, who fudged on the intrinsic codes by Friedland in order to boost and boast his distinctive art of remixing. Burrs of cello tunes sound pan-fried on the initial "Full Chroma", whereas Scott seems to push them into higher orbit of the deep space within a space capsule on the following "Columbarium", hide Friedlander's sound in disguise of Adolf Woelfli's flippantly schizoid style and rhythmic swirling on the amazing "Assault by St.Wolfli", depict an intriguing embodiment of horror vacui on "Drifting Pyre, No Moon" and parachute cello into a funnel cloud on "Steppe Dub". It's almost unnecessary to spotlight the fact that melodic and rhythmical elements of original themes have been wisely camouflaged by Solter, whose remixing art lies on the manipulation of preeisting material. "My usual remixing technique is to manipulate only the existing multitrack material and not introduce new content such as beats, instruments etc. In some ways my method doesn't always respect the original work, but I'm less interested in that than in discovering a song's troubled siblings. I just pull up the tracks, choose the content that moves me and set about manipulating, eviscerating, expanding, cutting, destroying'¦ ', Scott said while describing his reset of Friedlander's stuff. The only flaw of this release is its short duration, as it sounds like an appetizer which might not satisfy eagerer listeners.
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