Music Reviews



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Artist: Kassel Jaeger (@)
Title: Deltas
Format: 12"
Label: Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Appreciated Wien-based Mego label adds another interesting mockup into the shrine of sonic artifacts by issuing (on vynil) the fifth album by French-Swiss sound artist Kassel Jaeger, whose "scientific" approach to sound isn't well-rendered only by the biographical note about his membership to the well-known Groupe de Recherches Musicales, a sort of mystery school and collective of sound researchers, a rib of Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète, founded by Pierre Schaeffer and a number of other notorious composers, related to electroacoustic and concrete music, but also by audible validation like this one. The long-suite on Face A, "Campo Del Cielo", has named after a big meteor crater in Northern Argentina, whose found rocky fragments are the source for the processed sounds of this composition, commissioned by Espace Mendes France and performed at The Planetarium in Poitiers through an 8 channel system, an entrancing suite, which has been divided into two parts: the first one, Aerolite (meaning "flying stone"), sounds like a sort of cosmic field recording derived from sonic manipulations, while the second one, Baetylus, is based on electromagnetic capture of magnetic resonances. Both of them have been filled with bleeping waves which looks like coming from scientic instruments while detecting strange electromagnetic anomalies, but the recurring noise of breaths which blows over this brunch of sonic waves imparts an arcane atmosphere to the listening experience, which seems to follow both a bottom-up and a top-down process, whereas it reflects the ideal meeting within an "alien" stone between cosmos over our heads and ground below our feet. A similar bottom-up approach seems to distinguish the title-track, "Deltas", due to the fact it begins with a very low frequencies which has been covered by layers of sonic sediments of mid and high frequencies, till the moment when pure waveforms crumble into many granular noises which look like rivulets on the soil, left by a river in flood; sounds have a so physical consistency that they can be considered as elements of the description of geophysical phenomenon which has been described in details by Kassell throughout an appropriate description which looks like taken from a geology textbook: 'Whenever the volume of water is so great as to counteract and almost neutralize the force of tides and currents, and in all cases where the latter agents have not sufficient power to remove to a distance the whole of the sediment periodically brought down by rivers, deltas are produced.'. The third final track has been entirely built on unprocessed sounds of the legendary Coupigny Modular Synth, an authentic holy monolith for many electronic musicians (a lot of important musique concrete of GRM such as Berio and Parmegiani played on it), hosted in GRM studios, whose impressive chromatic possibilities have been exploited by Kassel to built an hypnotic and somewhat frightening track, named after the notorious wordplay by Duchamp (a guest + a host = a ghost, i.e. two word with the same etymology and opposite meaning whose combination could make sense...), which was even quoted by Chris & Cosey for a collaborative track with Boyd Rice as well as by many artists of different fields, due to the spine-chilling feeling, produced by the simultaneous playback of sounds, which have the same origin (Coupigny Modular Synth) and different "physical" properties. Very absorbing listening experience.
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anymore
Artist: Rapoon (@)
Title: Time-loop anomalies
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
Just few months after "Disappeared Redux", Robin Storey return with another release that is, in author's words, "a collection of single tracks and 'starts' in the creative process drawn together and composed into a cohesive collection of pieces" so it's more experimental in nature and rich of surprises.
"sputnik remix" opens this release with noises quickly evolving in a quiet trumpet loop and a jazzy mood. "Earthbound and emotional" is an hypnotic track remnant of the Zoviet France's past of the author. "Hybrid identities 1" and "hybrid identities 2" forms a long track made out of noises and found sound of clear beauty forming a soundscape to sparse female spoken words at low volume. "(Memories of) holidays at the sea" return to quieter soundscape sparsely coloured by samples. "Of course there are aliens" explores more rhythmic territories while "synchronic" is a small interlude to "pig drum ritual" really remnant to the ethic rhythm and mood familiar to the past production of this artist. "Carmen 2 remix hybrid" is made out of sparse samples above a incisive beat. "Rapoon solo carmen" is a quiet long soundscape while "one year out end" closes this release with carefully juxtaposed layers of samples.
Instead of being a release filled with recollection of already used ideas, this is a mesmerizing collection of tracks and one of the best issues of the year. Truly recommended.
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Artist: Hirsute Pursuit (@)
Title: Tighten That Muscle Ring
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
The presence of notorious, appreciated and defiant American sound artist Boyd Rice on three tracks (including the initial snappy cover version of David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging", a song which was very successfull in a period when British middle-class conformism was one of the favorite target of many pop singers) of this second explicit act by Hirsute Pursuit, straight gay music project by Harley Phoenix and Bryin Dall, brought his definition of "unpop" to my mind. Referred to the artistic movement Boyd Rice co-founded with Brian Clark and Shaun Partridge, the adjective 'unpop' could be sticked on every cultural product based on "the application of pop aesthetics, stylings, or techniques to unpopular, unpleasant, repressed or otherwise censored ideas" and "Tighten That Muscle Ring" could be tight to that definition alike. The inclusion of recordings of whimperings, orgasms and other copulatory sounds as well as the use of straight and sleazy language cannot be considered innovative, but their integration on pretty conventional musical structures - many cues from trip-hop, break house and rock have been mainly revised...and most of them sounds so good (definitively better than a plenty of wacky stuff, born from marketing experts' mind, which sounded really offensive against gay people), particularly when they blend sleazy downbeat sounds and trip-hop stepping together like in "Daddy Bear" "You're Here To Pleasure Me" or contextualizethe sound within a set like in the sloppy and sad accordion-driven "One Sleazy Night In New Orleans", co-performed by Peter Martin Christopherson - famous founding memeber of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV -, that they gained an astonishing circulation before an official release without advertising or promotional campaign with more than 140000 plays on myspace - looks like follow footsteps of similar showy transplants on "pop body" and hooplas such as "Je T'Aime, Moi Non Plus" by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin or Rod McKuen's "Slide...Easy In". If you're excessively susceptible to male nudity, just close your eyes when taking cd out of its digipak sleeve. If I say there are some puckered sheets printed on it, you should guess what you are going to find below it.
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Artist: Hakobune (@)
Title: All The Other Hearts I Knew
Format: CD
Label: Rural Colours (@)
Rated: *****
The cover painting with simple rolling lines and delicate pastel colours by Migiwa "Miggy" Shimizu is a guessed graphical abstract of the sound by Hyogo-based Hakobune aka Takahiro Yorifuji, whose airy sound in this pretty (very limited) release issued by Rural Colours, sister label of Hibernate, lends itself to blissful moments of intimate contemplation. Mild and relaxed atmospheres, based on over-stretched guitar sounds with electronic rising agents, graceful trembling, gradually acquires a virginal whiteness: the two parts of both tracks "All The Other Hearts I Know" and "Blackland Prairie" (a little more exstatic than the first movement) seems to follow the same progression as the waves of the first parts become brighter in the second ones and its intrinsic corale-like facet sounds like glimmering and enshrouding, so that it seems the sonic waves gush over a ravishment in front of a dramatic scenery. The in-between entrancing "Interlude", which acts a divide between the two parts of the two tracks of the record, sounds like an imaginary reprise of Burial's "Forgive" or "Endorphin" by Stars of The Lid. A lovely record to make listener's thoughts fluffier, which is going to make your mind float!
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anymore
Artist: LektroiD (@)
Title: Electro - Funk Selection
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: LEK-Productions (@)
Distributor: bandcamp
Rated: *****
Richard Elliott aka LektroiD, has been producing electro for more than two decades. That, of course, becomes evident through the nine tracks of his latest release 'ELECTRO-FUNK SELECTION'.
Starting off with 'Eta Carinae', the track slowly builds up, diving into a deep space of filtered melodies leading to the second track 'Hydra'. An extraordinary track with classic electro beats, engaging chord progressions and climaxing lead melodies. 'Harmonix', the third track, offers darker edgy synth bursts with a driving resonant bassline. The fourth track is a remix of 'Solar Storm'. An irresistible mix of dirty basslines and fast beats with warm dramatic synth leads. 'Welcome To The Future (Original Instrumental)' is the next track where we see an impressive electro sonic exploration with thumping beats and a thunderous bassline. 'Twice as nice', is yet another special track. One of those tracks that with its captivating melodies and chord progressions leave a feeling of euphoria to the listener, and is, appropriately, followed by the mellower track 'Dreams (featuring Bryoney Love)' where the lush pads and ethereal vocals manage to push all the right buttons. 'Demolition Block' starts off with a mellow vibe and builds up to a beautiful - full on 4/4 beat - electronic track, while maintaining its original 'delicate' vibes. Moving on, the last track 'Lightspeed II', with fast electro beats, sweeping pads and a memorable lead sequence, is a great a way to end this album. There is also a bonus, hidden track 'Moving Out', a banging ten minute 'live jam' session, guaranteed to satisfy all the electro-heads.
From a more 'technical' point of view, the album is immaculately produced. All the tracks are very carefully constructed/arranged and mixed. The beat programming is excellent and it is obvious that there's a lot of thought/work/artistry behind each track. One thing is for sure. LektroiD, manages to breathe life into his robots.
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