Music Reviews



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Artist: Bernard Parmegiani (@)
Title: L'Oeil ecoute/Dedans-Dehors
Format: 12"
Label: Recollection GRM/Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Recollection GRM is the worthwhile new project by Austrian label Editions Mego focused on the forerunning sonic research of legendary Groupe de Recherches Musicales, the hyperactive collective of sound artists and researchers created by Pierre Schaeffer, whose releases are authentic miliar stones for the development of the so-called musique concrete and electroacoustic music. Peter Rehberg's label should have justifiably thought that the reprise of some sonic jewels kept in GRM's archives could be a useful anthology for all those people, audiophiles and musicians, who are seriously approaching electronic music, so that Francois Bonnet and Christian Zanesi, coordinators of Recollection GRM project, decided to sift through them in order to reprint some of the most meaningful finds. After the reissues of GRM founder Pierre Schaeffer's "Le Triedre Fertile" (previously released by Philips in 1978) and "Granulations-Sillages/Franges Du Signe", one of the first release by Guy Reibel, first assistant of Schaeffer's electroacoustic composition courses at the Conservatoire de Paris, the third release of the series has been dedicated to a couple of astonishing sound collages by Bernard Parmegiani, the protean sound engineer who's expressly been numbered in the list of sources of inspirations by some effulgent star of contemporary electronic music scene such as Autechre and Aphex Twin. Named after the oxymoronic title of an essay by French poet Paul Claudet, "L'oeil ecoute" (meaning "The eye hears", released in 1970) is a majestic intertwining of concrete and electronic sound, one of the first release which was recorded in GRM's Studio 54; it begins with field recordings which sound grabbed during a train trip (according to many essaysts such a preface should be a tribute to Pierre Schaeffer's "L'Etude aux chemins de fer" (The Study of Railways) and carry on impressive sonic sketches, where you could easily recognize some of the sonic tricks which are still used by many electronic musicians. On the other side of the record, you'll find "Dedans-Dehors" (1977), an impressively realistic field recording-oriented long composition focused on the notion of metamorphosis, which, according to the explanation by Parmegiani himself, "is one of the principles that leads the course of the musical suite, reflecting changes (fluid-solid passages: water/ice/fire) or movements (ebb/flow/wave, inspiration/expiration) or inside-outside passages (door/individual/crowd). Thus, the perceived object is not entirely what we would have liked it to be. Our music brings us closer to some whilst it takes us away from others: each with their own inside.". Both of them are not just collection of stunning sound effects, but the words used by Parmegiani to introduce them seems to subtend some authentic aesthetic and ethic fundamentals as well as a sort of teaching about the infinite possibilities offered to our sense organs by stimuli whose existence often gets ignored by sentient beings, even just in order to feed and drive its imagination. Definitively a must-listen.
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Artist: Voide (@)
Title: Agents and Radios
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
A new Voide release after unusual 1,5 years in silence, this Swedish one-man Electronica music-project returns with a freely available 2-track-release. This EP works also as a teaser to introduce the upcoming new Voide full-length album 'Electric Jungle', to be out while you read this. The good point on this EP is the fact, that these both two tracks, 'Electronic Waves' and 'The Agent', are unreleased and won't find a slot on the upcoming album. Both tracks impress the listeners with its thoughtful arranged synthesizer sounds combined with a straight dancefloor-compatibilty. As a 'new' direction in the opulent sound-design of mastermind David Almgren, both tracks feature a permanent insert of voice-samples - normally not that kind of 'instrument' you'll get to hear too often from Mr. Almgren. Also the voice samples are wisely chosen, you of course don't get to hear female screams or that painful moaning of harsh-minded EBM-kids. David integrates rather movie stuff; the content of 'Electronic Waves' got taken from "Attack of the Monsters (1969)", while the samples for 'The Agent' is taken out of "Invisible Man - Crisis in the Desert"( 1958). Both sample quells are available via Archive.org. All in all this is a must-have download not to be missed, if you're interested to check out a quality Techno- / Synthpop artist, which still flies too much under the radar of international-based genre listeners. Available only via the Voide Bandcamp web resource.
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Artist: Gudrun Gut (@)
Title: Wildlife
Format: CD
Label: Monika Enterprise (@)
Rated: *****
Former member of the primordial Einsturzede Neubaten line up, founder of the seminal female band Malaria!, milestone of German post-punk scene, label manager of the appreciated Monika Enterprises, whose musicians have often been a finishing line whenever reviewers used to speak about the so-called forlktronica, club promoter, voice and selector of the weekly radio show Oceanclub together with Thomas Fehlmann, Gudrun Gut has been justifiably considered one of the so pioneering key figure of Berlin scene that she could be likened to an historical monument of that huge creative smithy. That's why the fact she decided to move out of Berlin - she entirely recorded "Wildlife" in Uckermark, a countryside town, sited not so far from German capital city - in order to get inspired for her new album and her temporary transplanting and seclusion in a rural environment could sound a little bit strange for a character who sounded so accustomed to an urban aesthetics. Although such a "coming back to nature" could be considered a return to the source - she grew up on the Lunenburg Heath - or ascribed to the general rediscovery of a natural dimension as a follow-on from the crisis of individualism, the marrow of her sound still linger on electronic structures, which oscillates between primeval new wave and industrial dance aesthetics and contemporary dub-techno, but her sonic language looks like pierced by "orgonic" and organic energies: therefore whenever her synths secretes sticky sounds (like in the dub-driven "How Can I Move" or in the darker "Tiger"), it seems she just echoes the secretion of resin as well as some percussive elements sounds like coming from tree hollows. While listening the album, you could almost feel that natural environment gradually hugging Gudrun's sensitivity, which looks like going native in many moments of the album, such as in the blissful feeling of con/fusion and annihilation of "Little Nothing", in the daydreaming abandon of the lovely "Slow Snow", in the progressive detachment from social roles and scripts (as it seems to be suggested by "Erinnerung"), in the contemplative mood of the enraptured "Leaves Are Falling", in the immersive experiencing of freedom of "Frei Sein" as well as when she looks like singing about a moment when she develops an awareness of physical human finitude by means of an eloquent and allusive revision of Bonnie Tyler's "The Best" - the most known cover is undoubtedly the one sung by Tina Turner -, whose almost recitative interpretation could remind Romy Haag or Amanda Lear singing styles.
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Artist: Axel Doerner, Ernesto Rodrigues, Abdul Moimeme, Ricardo Guerreiro
Title: Fabula
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
The fable which could come to my mind after the listening of the very first seconds of this collaborative release, performed and recorded by this strong quartet of improvisers in the cine-theatre Curvo-Semedo in the Portuguese town of Montemor-o-Novo could be one from Kipling's "The Jungle Books" due to the bizarre sounds produced by Axel Doerner's trumpet and Ernesto Rodrigues' viola, which could let the listener's think about a chorus of animal cries, but the sound gradually becomes more amalgamated and somewhat venturesome by means of occasional, but incisive guitar clutches by Abdul Moimeme, and computer filtering, sonic thumbnail sketches by Riccardo Guerreiro and kinky mutations of original sound of each instrument - appearances of each instrument have never been so deceptive! - so that it seems that it chips into multiple rivulets which crumbles the barriers between musicians and listeners as well as the ones between sense organs and environment. Stuart Broomer's quotation of Plato's "Republic" when the great Greek philosopher wrote "When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city will tremble" while speaking about the political importance of music and the cogent description of the above-mentioned erosive process, which this combo manages to sparkle off little by little, in the linear notes totally recall any moment of this magnificently atmospheric proof of collectively performed improvisational aesthetics as well as its inner dynamics.
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Artist: Stephan Mathieu (@)
Title: Coda (for WK)
Format: CD EP
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
One of the most recent release caught in the meshes of the 12k limited series includes a dedication by talented sound artist Stephan Matieu to Wilhelm Kempff, one of the greatest pianist, organist and musical "popularizer" (his quiet "transcriptions" on vinyl of classics by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, J.S.Bach, Robert Schumann and many other classic composers took him up for more than 60 years) of last century, whose Beethoven's Piano Sonata No.26 known as "Le Adieux" from a double 78 rpm vinyl edition, which has been played through two mechanical-acoustic gramophones - a vintage element which goes steady with computer in Matieu's constant sonic equipment -, was used as an input for an autogenerative process. Even if both sources and equipment could look like aged, the sound of "Coda (for WK)", which could be considered a conclusive sequel of "A Static Place" - this 20-minutes long lasting track was previously issued on the ultra-limited vinyl edition of the mentioned album by Minority Records -, his previous release on Taylor Deupree's label, doesn't show any clues of ageing: it sounds like an halftone drone, focusing on the so-called "Schwebung effect" (a German word Stephan used to name his label in order to describes the process consisting of "the beats produced by the simultaneous vibration of two sounds, especially in unisons and octaves when nearly, but not quite in tune.") and the catching intersections and beating sonic effect of hypnotic extended tones and flickering over-stretched frequencies flowing nearby the same tone, which sound crepuscolar, dazzling, plushy and auroral at the same time. Pure bliss for audiophiles!
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