Music Reviews



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Artist: Ivories (@)
Title: In Between
Format: CD EP
Label: Big Drop
Rated: *****
Milano, early 80s, the punk movement was at the beginnings and yet another movement was moving its first step: new wave and post punk were born and nervously shaking into their cradles. Other Side and Jeunesse D'Ivoire were both two bands that wanted to leave the sign of their passage. Unfortunately the first one produced only a demo tape where echoes of Bauhaus and Joy Division were loud and alive and the latter had a beautiful track in the second compilation produced by Rockerilla magazine. Their "A Gift Of Tears" has been reissued in different compilations since, also in the U.S., enchanting all the lovers of new wave sounds with its dreamy atmospheres. Both bands didn't last long and they left only few songs which have been gathered five years ago into the compilation issued by Spittle Records titled "Milano New Wave 1980-83". Thirty years after those recordings, we are still here talking about them because Patrizia Tranchina (Jeunesse D'Ivoire's singer) and Danilo Carnevale (guitar and electronics with Jeunesse D'Ivoire and guitar player/singer with Other Side, plus producer during the last fifteen years) are back with Francesco Sindaco as Ivories. Their first EP has just been released digitally and will be out soon on CD. It contains four songs that stand out thanks to their energy and melodies. Put into a blender a bit of post punk, post wave, 90s guitar noise (anyone named Touch And Go?), modern electronics of the likes of Burial or the Triangle bands and a little of synth pop melodies'ÃÃæ turn on and serve cold! On "Landed", for example we have bass and noisy guitar lines in front (do you remember Girls Against Boys), with upbeat drum machine beats and Patrizia's vocals giving that certain new wave flavor. Another track which shows well another side of the band is the following, "Humdrum". It gathers dance bass lines arpeggios, filtered seducing vocals, sparse guitar noises and 4/4 hard beats. Both production and sounds are convincing and catchy and Ivories show themselves as lions who still roar! You can preview all the tracks at their Soundcloud page http://soundcloud.com/ivories_it
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anymore
Artist: Richard Chartier & Yann Novak (@)
Title: Undefined
Format: CD
Label: FARMACIA901 (@)
Rated: *****
The linear notes states that "Undefined is dedicated to the uncertainties of Los Angeles" so it has a curious development: Chartier sends to Novak an unfinished work with no explanation other than "add to it, subtract from it, or a combination in order to finish the piece". Then Chartier would accept or reject the result.
The track is a long journey of sound, it starts quietly with a subtle drone and some quiet noises slowly developing to remember the listener as it's more important the texture than the shape. A bright drone dominates the second part of this track and acts as the dominant color in a Rothko painting until silence begins and a quiet drone is reminiscent of the meaning of "lowercase music" and "quiet environment" and in the final part is substituted by quiet noises event if this sounds like an oxymoron (at least for western culture).
This release is not ground breaking but the stature of the artists involved is so huge that is could be voted as one star of five star related if you love the genre or not.

p.s.: From the vote you can see from which side I am: in my 2013 rewind playlist.
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anymore
Artist: Hybryds
Title: Mythical Music from the 21st Century
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Apart from cover the dark ambient/post industrial polish scene, Zoharum has an almost challenging program of reissue of classic albums from the golden age of this music genre. This time is the place for the debut album from this bands. As most of the releases from this period, the linear notes are filled with magical tales so they talk about "Na He Ma" wondering that even she's "disguised as a willing victim, she is able to meet the Beast face to face".
The thirteen tracks of this release stating from the intro of "The Awakening" to "The Final Answer" are filled of everything it will be became the essential parts of this genre: hypnotic loops, ethnical beats and atmospherical drone in the search for the musical expression of the project stated in the linear notes. Something could seem outdated or simple but, in the '80s, this was the new frontier where everyone were listening to new romantics and this music was truly underground. There's also five bonus track to complete this re-issue and cover the production of the band during this period (1983-1986)
It doesn't matter the aesthetics opinion about the singles tracks, so this release has no vote as it's useless, as the historical importance is so huge that this reissue is a must hear for all fans. Essential for all fans of this genre.
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Artist: µ-Ziq
Title: Xtep
Format: 12"
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
The frontiline of a legendary generation of producers and musicians who stuffed the IDM slider by many nice and sometimes genial different intuitions is living a moment of upswing over the course of last twelve months, when there has been the resurface from the depths of more or less prolonged silence of notorious artists such Squarepusher ("Ufabulum & Enstrobia"), Autechre ("Exai"), Daft Punk ("Random Access Memories") and more recently Boards Of Canada, whose awaited new album "Tomorrow's Harvest" is upcoming on 10th June; the resurgence of Mike Paradinas' mu-ziq, which deeply influenced British techno scene, is undoubtedly one of the most popular relishes. Even if the nice cover artwork suggests that the oceans Mike dived are full of some bizarre colorants, I could surmise those dissolved pollutants must have some heady active principles and mutagens: there are many clasps to old musical troves on this appetizer, but I have the hunch that many of the above-mentioned musicians sipped from the same spring due to the fact that a certain fondness for 70ies-like pad-synth and some cosmic disco from 80ies has been featured, but together with old-fashioned sonorities, Mike seems to rediscover and evoke juvenile dream state and I could conjecture that the recent musical offspring with his wife Lara Rix-Martin could have foster such a rejuvenation. The dreamy daintiness of a piano which resembles some fluffy 70ies pop melodies, the uplifting arpeggiated funk on a freshet of splashing drums on the initial "XT" plunge into listener's eardrum, before he pour bucketfuls of proto-dance music by means of the lovely "Ritm"n and the gentle raid of cosmic-disco most valiant knights' sonorities on the plumly nostalgic "Pulsar". On the impressive "Monj2", Mister Paradinas let some percussive metallic spheres from his oldest synths collide and float into a vintage cloud of delighting pads, whereas the more clouded 2step of the final "New Bimple" focuses on that limbic haziness which those who loved his mu-zak could easily discern. Really mouthwatering stuff!
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Artist: Hati & Z'EV (@)
Title: Collusion
Format: CD
Label: Idiosyncratics (@)
Rated: *****
This third powwow by the revered behemoth of percussions and drums Z'EV and surprising duo of young Polish percussionists Rafal Iwanski & Rafal Kolacki, better known as Hati (named after the mythological wolf that chases the Moon according to Norse Gylfaginning?), sounds like the title "Collusion" seems to suggest for a couple of reasons: on one side, their skills perfectly matches and such a mutuality shines through the five acts of this recording, on the other side, their somewhat transcendent percussive textures and thick amalgam of harmonic auscultation evoke menacing harbingers and a deeply trance-inducing ritualism, so that their point of convergence doesn't lie only on vocational and technical aspects, but also conceptual or I'd rather say neural. It's just something they do together, as a male voice (Z'EV's one) stigmatizes before the performes start to play. Such a statement could sound a little bit self-referential, but the mesmerizing heights they climb by means of weaves of gongs, tolling hits, rubbing of membranes, grimly clashing cymbals, slightly ominous tom-tomming, spatialized plucks over the five parts of Collusion" titillate listener's imagination and wrap it by a sort of electrified cloud. Both Z'EV and Hati move deftly in the field of ritual trance music and its ancestral structures, even if their percussive journey, the gradual unfolding of hypnotical beats and contemplative undertows definitively sound like the outcome of possessed improvisational sessions whose absorbing progression could let you think about geometrical figures which asymptotically tend to a perfect circle.
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