Music Reviews



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Artist: Autistici (@)
Title: Beneath Peaks
Format: CD
Label: Hibernate (@)
Rated: *****
This record is one of the most enigmatic of my recent listenings and its mysterious opening puts listeners in a unexplainable quandary: how's possible that Sheffield-based sound designer David Newman manages to sleep and snore so blissfully in spite of the remarkable hullabaloo by all those birds?!? Jokes apart, this fascinating sonic journey offered by the artistic identity of Audiobulb label-owner through the breathtaking spots of Peak District, one of the most enchanting region of Northern England, covering Northern Derbyshire and parts of Cheshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Greater Manchester, and base of the first national park in United Kingdom, begins with the nice "Asleep Beneath Nests", recorded while David was resting at Fieldhead campsite, and go on over suggestive airy abstract ambient tracks, mostly spotted by field recordings grabbed during his explorative walks. The awakening in the small village of Edale ("Edall"), the intense activity of climbers and paragliding maniacs with noises of hammering and gear nearby Mam Tor hill ("Mam Tor Soarers' Workshop"), the thuds on the boulders melting with the sound of the breeeze and the luminous trembling of solar rays over the trees in the idyllic walking over Burbage Brook ("Padley Gorge"), the incredible subterranean acoustic of Blue John Cavern ("Mulgrave's Dining Room") are just some of the moments of this pleasant sonic travelguide of places in the heart of United Kingdom I was lucky to have visited some years ago, whose memory has been vividly rekindled by Autistici's release. I cannot but thank David Newman for this sweet reverie as well as recommend the listening of this great ambient souvenir.
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Artist: Hepp
Title: Platterton EP
Format: 12"
Label: Hula Honeys (@)
Rated: *****
The proverbial precision of Swiss people as well as their worldwide known clocksmiths seems to be related to genetic makeup and such a guesswork cannot be but confirmed by metronomic releases from those highlands like this one by Hepp. This skilled young Zurich-based beatmaker contrives head-banging rhythmical contraptions while shuffling sonorities which have been digged out of the best electonic pits: the first track on A-side "Reiss D Beat" is maybe the one which can be immediately associated to a clock by means of his ticks, effected claps and hats, springing bleeps and dubby tips, while the splashes on electric buzzes of "Hansplatterton" could let you think about some Four Tet's track, remixed by some forgotten Rephlex juggler. Other great electronic music acts easily come to mind while listening "Hanhall", the last track of A-side: the crispy fast stepping whose intricate web tightly clings to the simple melanchonic melody are quite similar to some lovely stuff by artists or projects like Metamatics, Global Goon or Michael Paradinas's mu-Ziq. The two tracks on the B-side sound more punching, but charmingly evocative: laser-like bleeps as well as the peppy robotic loops (plus some funnily effected cow-bells...a declaration of love to his native country?) of "Klunker" make me think about a crossbreed between Proem and Decal, while the final track "Stoerefried" grinds the pattern with energetic and obsessive bass frequencies rolling on tricky dub-driven sonic clutters.
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Artist: Hanetration (@)
Title: Torn Heat EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Whilst the first EP focused on bizarre and quite eccentric ambient/abstract tracks, this second EP by the anonymous project Hanetration seems to turn attention of those listeners who like stylistical clashes: it's a matter of fact this masked identity supposedly reprise some known electronic sonorities with a lo-fi approach. For instance the initial "Jurassic" seems to quote Ash Ra Tempel, some primordial sonorities by Tangerine Dream or the typical vibrato by Vangelis, filtered by a (purposely?) dusty lens, or the following "Splinter", which neatly recalls some melodic contortions by Boards On Canada, has a rhythmical pattern which sound played - straight and reversed - with objects found in the glory hole and a similarly mirrored pose seems to connote the bittersweet dour melancholy of "Sixth" and the intoxicating sonic obliqueness of the hypnotic final track "Flicker". "Torn Heat" is definitively a very interesting follow-up, but I surmise it's time for Hanetration to pin some peculiarities down of his/her/its sonic research. By the way, you can download it for free so that you can better understand the paths this obscure project is walking on.
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Artist: Bi Nostalgia
Title: Clear And Not Clear
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Oltre La Nebbia Il Mare (@)
Rated: *****
Bi Nostalgia was the solo musical project of Luca Rigato, already member of Endless Nostalgia. With this project he explored his intimate side composing synth electronic songs based on tiny synth sounds and mellow atmospheres. As for Endless Nostalgia, Oltre La Nebbia Il Mare is bringing to the attention of the lovers of electronic sounds a double CD compilation that contains 36 tracks coming from tapes released from 1984 to 1987 for Luca's label, The League Of The Gloomers, plus one unreleased track recorded in 2005. In balance from pop and ambient (check the tracks of the second album which could remember a bit some Wim Mertens atmospheres), Luca Rigato created a soundscape of its own which is capable to make you focus on the music. There's no way you could use these tracks, even if they are sounding discreet, as background, as they demand attention. When I listened to "Dance of the Pessimism", "The act of killing himself" or "The Seeping Mouth" it's like I was feeling myself locked into an imaginary room. I have to admit that I'm more into catchy melodic synth songs or into experiments between electronic and pop (like Philip Glass did on his album "Songs From Liquid Days"), so the second CD of this compilation has been hard to listen to all in a row but you feel that Bi Nostalgia is a project coming from the heart. This is your chance to check a massive amount of Bi Nostalgia tracks that have been remastered and selected from "Anthems for Losers", "Dances of the Pessimism", "The Seeping Mouth', 'Cathedrals EP","Art Is Not Much" and "Philokalia" for the price of a single album. A bargain!
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Artist: Stuart Chalmers (@)
Title: Shimmering Reflections of the Endless Myriad Moment
Format: CD
Label: ZamZam (@)
Rated: *****
The alienating effect of the field recording, supposedly grabbed on the occasion of unpleasant walking whereas bad weather and lashing wind seem to evoke ravages of time and other voices and forgotten melodies (the jammed music box seems to play the first tones of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake") from inner depths before they sound like falling down a sink drain, in the initial "Pulse" opens this release by tape manipulator and improviser Stuart Chalmers (also known as Skarabee and tusK), whose artistic path has been deeply marked by a course on sound engineering and music technology at the Birmingham Academy of Sound. His passion for tape manipulation is clear on the following track "Emerge", where a viscous loop, seemingly based on slammed doors, electric hums and a recurring wailing sound precede tape fast whooshes which could be made by a light pression on forward button during normal playback, obsessive tweets and even some broken beats before Stuart decides to change side as well as on the disquieting and sinister obliquities of slowed bells and e-bows of the following "Mirror". The following sample collage "Harvest" could be perfect for a really frightening horror movie since the nursery rhyme sung by a baby, which introduces to this strange listening experience, where appalled shouts, those thuds which can easily be associated to those horror movie effects which simulate the typical pace of the killer on wooden stairs (of course!) as well as to the heartbeat during high-tension moments, reversed bells and other sonic clues. Fast-forwarding tapes on a carpet of disquieting whistles, strange cries and voices come again on "Fragment", where other somewhat nightmarish sonic inserts seem to simulate a devastating and adventurous hungover which begins with the awakening in the middle of an Arab market. The ever-present tape whoosh accompany the listening till the final clouded track "Return", whose final field recording lead listeners to believe that "Shimmering Reflections of The Endless Myriad Moment" could have been just the audio documentary of a bad mental trip.
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