Music Reviews



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Artist: 303 Committee
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Inam Records (@)
Rated: *****
There was not much in the package that gave any clues about 303 Committee, but the card that came with it described it as 'noise, drone and fuzz interrupt distant ambience.' The website credits 'Field Recording by Megan. Noise by RH.' I assume that this is Ryan Huber, who is also Olekranon, Sujo, and the man behind Inam Records. Megan is likely the Megan Abajian who does the artwork for the Olekranon albums, but who knows? The packaging is kind of lo-fi and reminds me of some of the Breathmint Records stuff. The music is pretty decent noisy drone. There is a cinematic feel to much of this and the synth layers work well with the noisy elements. This is not really harsh noise, but it is also not really dark ambient; 202 Committee chooses instead to blend the two and it works well. Overall, this is pretty good. This album is limited to 33 copies and weighs in at around 30 minutes.
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Artist: Olekranon
Title: Helminth
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inam Records (@)
Rated: *****
Olekranon is the work of one Ryan Huber, who also seems to be the person behind Inam Records. There was little documentation with this disc and nothing by way of liner notes; the press packet described this as 'drone with beats,' and there is, indeed, noisy drone and there are beats, but this is not peaceful drone, nor is it the drum and noise that you would expect from Ant-Zen or Hands. This is a bit more disjointed and fluid. Olekranon also makes good use of ambiance throughout to keep it from getting too predictable. Overall this is a pretty good blend of noisy atmosphere and beats. This album is limited to 45 hand numbered copies and weighs in at around 19 minutes.
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Artist: no:carrier (@)
Title: Last Scene
Format: CD EP
Label: Electric Heresy (@)
The website describes no:carrier's music as 'Transatlantic Electro Pop' because it consists of songwriter/producer Christian Wirsig in San Francisco and singer Cynthia Wechselberger in Germany. The press sheet describes it thus: 'The background stays dubious and no one knows exactly what the protagonists have lived through. 'Last Scene' commemorates past things that may better not have happened, but might have led to success.' Intriguing premise, but this is a limited edition maxi-single, which is always a bit of a risk. First off, the song has to be something you would want to listen to over and over again. Second, the artist really needs to tweak it enough to make it warrant 5 different versions. This didn't quite fit the bill for me in the second regard. The original is kind of a jazzy straightforward pop song, with lyrics like 'The last scene of a play that we shouldn't have staged.' Only the last two versions really pushed the envelope here - the EBT Remix by taking the original and making it more of a techno-rave track and 'Last Seen' by stripping a lot of the vocals out and using it more as gesture than as lyrics. The first three were just too similar for my tastes. The song does tell a story and within the context of the larger album it may fit quite well, but I'm not sure it warrants its own maxi single. I would say that this is mainly for fans who are completists. This album is limited to 99 copies and weighs in at around 18 minutes.
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Artist: ][|][
Title: [__]
Format: CD
Label: Steelkraft Manufactory (@)
Rated: *****
File ][|][ alongside 'The Artist Formerly Known as Prince' for having unpronounceable names. This is the second album I have reviewed from this act, having previously reviewed 'Iter,' also on Steelkraft Manufactory. I was not too into the previous album, but this is definitely a step up from Iter. This album (again with the unpronounceable title) uses organ improvisations inspired by the Greek myth of the Labyrinth. These works were then heavily processed to create interesting washes of heavy drone. Where I found Iter to be too static and minimal, this album is engaging and continually evolving. The sound is dark, suffocating, and oppressive at times before shifting to quiet, peaceful moments, only to do it all over again. If you like atmospheric drone this is one to check out. This album weighs in at around 56 minutes.
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Artist: Contagious Orgasm & Babylone Chaos (@)
Title: Altered Beats
Format: CD
Label: Steelkraft Manufactory (@)
Rated: *****
It seems that Contagious Orgasm has mellowed out a bit. The last album I reviewed from this artist was with Kadaver and was still noisy, but leaning toward the atmospheric side. I had also previously reviewed the collaboration between Babylone Chaos, Lambwool, and Le Diktat, which also leaned toward atmosphere and beats. As such, I was interested to see what these two would do, since they were both enjoyable for different reasons. On this album there are lots of interesting samples that seem to function less as commentary and more as disembodied bits of atmosphere. One exception of this is 'Judgement,' which seems to have a sample of a preacher talking about preparing for the judgment, but it is speeded up to give it a 'chipmunks' like feel, making it sound a bit comical. 'Psychodelic Worms' had a noisy feel to it, but it wasn't the harsh noise I associate with Contagious Orgasm. Others, such as 'Tension,' were much more interested in building atmosphere, with a dialogue that was difficult to make out, but definitely on the playful side with subdued laughter between a male and female protagonist. Indeed, there is little about this album which is scary or ominous. You could easily give this to someone who was looking into experimental music to give them just a hint of noise and dissonance without overwhelming them. But this is not just experimental music with training wheels ' I found it to be quite enjoyable and a good synergy between these two artists. Recommended. This album weighs in at around 45 minutes.
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