Music Reviews



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Artist: Francisco Lopez + Luca Sigurtà
Title: Erm
Format: CD
Label: frattonove (@)
Rated: *****
The very first minutes of the first acousmatic 27 minutes lasting suite by renowned Spanish sound-artist Francisco Lopez smacks of summer more than those summer hits some phone company or some brand which produces suntans or ice creams seasonally inoculate or impose upon people (or I'd rather say targets or potential customers...) in order to strenghten their visual branding: the initial red-hot summer breeze, the death throes of whirring mosquitoes or other flying insects after getting entrapped in the killing electrified web of those killer racket, the noise of a ceiling fan, the boiling water in the radiator overflow, the fading hubbub of a crowd which looks for good bargain prices of floral clothes an leisure suits, the electric hiss of a power line, which crosses a forgotten land and getting confused with chattering insects come into eardrums before the sudden withering appearance of a ghostly metallic sound (supposedly from an air-conditioning system...) stops the idyll. All kidding aside, the Spanish composer confirms his reputation as a talented sonic director by means of a wise plot of attacks, pitches, decays and delays. The peculiarity of this "split" release is its starting poitn, as both Francisco and young Italian sound-artists Luca Sigurta' assembled their sonic buildings from the same building material, but whereas Francisco preferred a sort of batch processing on "Untitled 294", Luca dissolved each samples into a sort of amniotic fluid on his "Eaves" and suffocates any source of noise into a rising silence, which gradually floods in the whole sonic space. Two different and very interesting strategies of filling sonic sphere unfold from the same inputs.
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Artist: Mampi Swift
Title: Soldiers/The Silence
Format: 12"
Label: Mampi Swift Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Philip Anim, better known as Mampi Swift, doesn't really need any introduction as he's a living legend of drum'n'bass scene since the times (early nineties) when he forged proper sonic pearls in his little studio inside Lucky Spin record shop, where he used to work together with in house enginnerr Pete Parsons aka Voyager. On this first release for his new self-named imprint, which ideally adjoins his other notorious labels (Charge Recordings and Blade Recordings), his touch or I'd call it better his style he described as "plain rolling" is quite distinguishable, but his notorious hooking twist of simple bashes, dry hits and heavy distorted basslines got refurbished by a more epic and somehow apocalyptic aura on the warlike tune "Soldiers" where a dark organ appears and even by a sinister gothic spark on "The Silence", which features a dulcimer together the other drilling sonic elements who take part to the fast crazy race of this amazing tune. Keep an eye and an eardrum on big Mampi!
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Artist: Terror Danjah Vs Champion
Title: Sons of Anarchy EP
Format: 12"
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
Auditory papillae of grime-step lovers will secrete liquid helium for the take-off of connected brains while listening this collaborative releease by two masters of the genre, the old warrior Terror Danjah, whose stylistical course on the boundaries between grime and r'n'b didn't meet any real obstacle, and his trustworthy "apprentice" Champion, who shows masterful dexterity and nimbleness with beats and percussive elements in the building of amazing fills. Each of them built a couple of assays of respective rhythmical necromancy: Terror Danjah signs "Glide", an impressive clot of dry hits, gnashing acidolous sounds, clashing bumps and an epic pad-synth insertion which skid on a surface of vulcanized rubber, and "Sam Cro" (a digital bonus track), where he gradually builds a doughy contagious groove from crunched claps, brittle bumps and sneaking distorted bassline; Champion focuses on more old-fashioned sounds on his amazing "Bowsre's Castle Master", whose spinning soup of 8-bit micro-melody, garage-like bouncey movement and classical "hey" vocal snippet seem to retrace the soundtrack of some abandonware, while his track for digital version of the EP, "Friday 13th", reprises more or less the same crackling rhythmical pattern, which sounds like it has been slotted into the flipping electronic whistle-driven refrain. The 4-hands treated tracks are the most interesting by far: whereas this sparkling couple weaves a funny intertwining of toytronics, sinking whirls of percussive elements and occasional tribal spurt on "Stone Island", their sonic gasohol ignites on the amazing "Explode", whose title says it all about the possible response by dancehall where this track will be played on.
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Artist: Ed:it & Mikal
Title: Cargo Dub (Total Science Remix)/Kick Back
Format: 12"
Label: Rooted Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
A couple of highly energetic tunes by a couple of renowned names of dnb scene give luster to the third efflorescence by Uk-based label Rooted Recordings owned by Chemical Ally: on one side, Total Science stack the deck of "Cargo Dub" by moisturizing the original track from Ed Warrener aka Ed:it's machines into an absorbing liquid funk solution and letting murmurs, gabbles and melodic sulphurous clouds on an accelerated conveyor belt of quickfire kick drum, padded rattles, acrid soot of sub-basses; on the other side, Swedish-born dnb "Metalheaded" master Mikael Willett aka Mikal forges a sturdy pattern which could resemble tracks like "Without A Trace" or "Say nothing" from his rich weaponry by means of vocal samples, sudden explosions, clubbing outbreaks, which pounce on a breathtaking beat-rolling sequence. Two delicious gobbet for bonkers and freaked out dancehalls!
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Artist: Ennio Mazzon
Title: Xuan
Format: CD
Label: Nephogram / Ripples (@)
Rated: *****
Ennio Mazzon is an italian sound artist mostly known, at least to me, for his remarkable work as Zbeen with Gianluca Favaron. This solo issue is a track developed from improvisations with digital instruments appositely developed during the time span from 2009 to 2012. So this track is the result of a long and careful work.
Xuan is a relatively long track that start in a glitchy way organizing a set of small noises above a quiet beat then silence and quiet sounds takes the scene until a sort of drone set an interlude slowly closed by the return of the quiet sounds. Then glitchy noises are spread through the aural spectrum until a slowly developing bright drone became the glue and the landscape for the development of the noises enchanting the listener. The ending of the noises introduces to the final part of the track based on sparse sounds until silence mark the end of this musical journey.
Apart from the description this track could be easily described by the wonderful cover image made with a stunning picture by Elisa Piaggesi depicting the branches of a tree in the afternoon with a grey rhombus added by Franz Rosati in the middle stating the juxtaposition of nature and reason.
This track is undoubtedly enriched from the mastering work made by James Plotkin resulting in a bright audio spectrum that enhance the research of musical timbre nuances. So, even if the musical influences are clearly hearable, the quality of the result and the personality of the musical development makes this issue a record not to miss.
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