Music Reviews



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Artist: Philippe Pannier / Isambard Khroustaliov
Title: CHALEUR
Format: CD
Label: Not Applicable (@)
Rated: *****
This album is the recording of a performance made by Philippe Pannier (Guitar, Banjo) and Isambard Khroustaliov (Computer) in november 2010 and edited by the authors. According to the linear notes, this performance has been prepared through four years of correspondance between their first meeting in 2006 at Ircam and the performance recorded. The result is a dialogue between the extended techniques of the guitarist and the conterpoints of Sam Britton at his computer.
"Coïncidence" is a dialogue between the glitchs and the reverse samples played by Isambard Khroustaliov while "Habituellement" is almost completely, almost apparently, based on computer output loosely coloured by sparse inserts of guitar. "Arrivée" features even some sparse violins samples to match the banjo playing and create a result different from simple juxtaposition of traditional instruments and software. "Légèrement" is divided between the first part based on the guitar played by Pennier and the second conducted by Khroustaliov. "Entre des" is a interlude from piano samples and guitar that introduce the listener to the final part of this release, "Unions", the longest track, divided in roughly three parts: the fist part is a guitar solo, then there's a lowercase interlude and, then, the dialogue between the two players constructs the rest of the track, "Recherchées" close this albums recalling all the musical elements viewed in the other pieces.
This album is introduced by a Jacques Derrida's citation that states: "I do not yet know [...] why I value them for their incompleteness even more than for their fragmentation" and is almost the same feelings I have for this records. A really good listening for EAI fans.
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Artist: Mona Mur & En Esch
Title: Do With Me What You Want
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact Records (@)
Rated: *****
This album is the follow-up of last year's "120 Tage: The Fine Art of Beauty and Violence" and, again, they present a rock album carefully produced upon the Mona Mur's vocals.
The opening track, "Touch", is a relatively slow track where the producing quality of the arrangement covers the classical musical structure with an handful of modernity. "Eskalt" recall the past experiences of this duo with the use of electronics and danceable beats. These tunes features also the voice of En Esch as it becomes clear that the vocals are not an almost exclusive of Mona Mur as in the previous release. "My life" is based on a catchy beat and would probably be a choice for alternative dj, maybe in some remix version. Listening to "Le Weltanschauung" after "Justice" is almost strange as it takes the impression that the musical direction is undecided between the almost industrial metal influence and the search for dancehall. "New Order" is an interlude for the last more experimental tracks "Part Again" and "Do Widzenia" where they try to use some strange sounds to colorize this ballads.
As their previous release, this is the production of two solid producers able to use their skills to give a fine form to a relatively pop and accessible musical output. It would probably end in any playlist of the year but it will be in most dj set and radio playlist because is the result of a long and careful work.
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Artist: VENUS FLY TRAP (@)
Title: Nemesis
Format: CD
Label: Big Blue Records
Distributor: Spiral Archive
Rated: *****
Seven years after their previous studio album titled "Zenith", Venus Fly Trap are back with NEMESIS. On this one we have Alex Novak on vocals and Andy Denton taking care of all the other stuff aided by Paul Cox at backing vocals. The album contains twelve tracks and one of them is a particular sixties electro wave version of "Human Fly", one of the first tracks composed by The Cramps. The duo mix guitar feedbacks and electronics filtering them through new wave, post punk and a bit of sixties psychedelia, succeeding into creating a sound reminiscent of hundreds tracks you listened in your past but skillfully blended by Alex and Andy whom dosed all the elements obtaining their own sound. Sounding now dark then epic and after that, acid, Venus Fly Trap made a fresh album that will take you for a ride through dark lands but with intermittent green flashes and pink lollipops. Try to imagine a bus where Sisters Of Mercy, Doctor And The Medics and The Sound have a jam session and you'll have the idea of how this album sounds. You can check some tracks at Venus Fly Trap's Myspace page.
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Artist: Erode (@)
Title: Horizon
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Tympanik Audio
Rated: *****
Erode is the solo project of Alexander Dietz, guitarist from German metal band Heaven Shall Burn. Erode's 'Horizon' isn't anything like that, being more typical of music to be found on the Tympanik label- instrumental ambiences and industrialized rhythms. First track '10950' sounds like cinematic stately paced progressive rock due to the synths, soaring guitar and ambitious percussion. 'Detect' has this very cool, memorable noise percussion sequence, a strong bass line and layers upon layers of instrumental ambience and noise. Problem is, nothing stands out particularly except the bass and noise percussion. Whatever guitar or instrumental countermelody that's going on is buried in the mix. Almost as a remedy to that, Erode takes a different tack on 'Approach,' with brighter more defined percussion and instrumentation. It's very IDM, and the simple melody is clear and well-defined. 'Horizon' begins with the sound of lapping water and a filtered pad as the background for some environmental spoken word piece that sounds like it was lifted from a documentary film. A playful sequenced synth line joins the heavenly music for a while and then it fades on the chordal pad and a bit more of the spoken word. Eh. It does transition nicely into 'Overcome' though, a slow moody piece with droney bass, scratchy percussion and a bright, higher timbral synth background. About halfway through the 8+ minutes, there is a brief break before a transition into a full drum track and multilayered orchestration. Another break and we are taken back to the original minimal scratchy percussion and droney bass until the outro. 'Wither' is another track that makes use of an IDM beat and celestial synth orchestration. Nice work here. '-' is a little over a minute transitional mood piece into 'Annoy,' which begins with a thrumming bass, a steady buzzing drone and cosmic voices. A rhythm track emerges amidst warped, backwards-sounding strings, and after a millisecond break, the full-blown rhythm comes to fore with pulsing bass and phased strings. More synth string pads are layered on top briefly until the track comes to a close. Perhaps my favorite track is the next, 'Disengage,' with shifting moody ambient synth pads. About halfway through a rhythm track emerges bringing along industrial elements that sounded like a sequenced processed voice. Towards the end the orchestration builds majestically, then just stops. What the..??? The last two tracks are remixes, one of 'Horizon' (Kadrage Remix), the other called 'Brutal Romance' (Erode Remix), a track originally done by Deadlock. I wasn't much enamored of the 'Horizon' remix incorporating a rattling sound reminiscent of the 'Lost' smoke monster. It's much more electronic, retaining only shades of the original. As for the 'Brutal Romance' remix, I can't say I much care for Deadlock, but Erode does manage to turn the song into a club-worthy dance track. I know these guys are friends but the track seemed totally out of place on this album.

Still, 'Horizon' is a pretty good debut, and although flawed, manages to conjure some beautiful soundscapes and interesting rhythms. I'd be curious to hear Alexander Dietz's next effort with his Erode project. This one hints at possibilities that are likely to be more fully realized in the future, and when that time comes, it's likely to blow you away.
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Artist: Lunar Abyss Deus Organum (@)
Title: Tryakusta
Format: CD
Label: Vetvei (@)
Distributor: Vetvei
Rated: *****
Lunar Abyss Deus Organum is a shamanistic ethno-ambient project from Russian composer Evgeny Savenko, also with releases under the name Lunar Abyss and Lunar Abyss Quartet. Since 2000, 'Tryakusta' is about the 25th release from Savenko under various monikers, and it's really quite a good one. 'Tryakusta' consists of a single track 42 minutes and 27 seconds in length that is the result of mixing together the recordings of three live concerts that took place on separate occasions in July of 2010. It's an interesting hodge-podge of field recordings, drones, and miscellaneous random elements and electronics that somehow coalesce into a unified work. There is a LOT going on here, as if one stumbled into some very active primeval jungle; chattering, chittering jibbering, whisting bird calls, buzzing and burbling, voices, and a multilayered wall of ambient drone. The amount of content is awesome, maybe even too much, but it all seems to fit together. There is a point around the 27 minute mark where it threatens to become overwhelming, but this passes and gradually subsides. 'Tryakusta' is quite an intense listening experience, extremely psychedelic and full of a wide variety of sonic expressions.

Possibly a reason why it sounds so good is due to the participation of Kshatriy (Sergey Uak-Kib) in the mastering of the album. As per usual with Vetvei releases, the CD comes in six panel folder with colorfully gorgeous artwork by Vresnit. If you're looking for something experimentally adventurous, LADO's 'Tryakusta' could be just what you need.
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