Music Reviews



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Artist: Steven Naylor
Title: Lieux Imaginaires
Format: DVD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
The filter Steven Naylor interjects to a series of field recordings on this release is mainly emotional memory. He makes such a cognitive and creative operation in a way which could be associated to the sight of a director of a movie or an essayist on a plot, so that there's always an emotional transmission which interferes with the somehow cinematic palette of field recordings: the mechanical and electromechanical creaking and squeaking of gearwheels which enliven automatons of Devon-based designer-maker Tony Mann subtends an astounded and sometimes frightened wonder in front of the complexity of an "artifical life", the emotional wires which permeates the fragment "I wish" taken from plaintive song "Home" by Rita Rankin seem to be stretched by longings, fears and imperilments related to wishes, a certain daunted and confused upheavel emerges from "Irrashaimase", an immersive track, named after the typical form of greeting that some Japanese shop keepers shout to invite new customers inside their shops, which depicts urban Japan with its inner contrasts between robotic and elegant, chaotic and musical, a dumbfounded contemplation arises from the wonderful sonic painting of Chiang Mai night market in northern Thailand where Steven kept the noises of motorcycles and other occasinal intrusions in his ethnomusicological documentary and a certain estrangement comes out on "kune kune", a track based on the oinks by these rare hairy pigs living in New Zealand and recorded nearby Bath. The final long-lasting "The Thermal Properties of Concrete", based on the fictitious narrator-character of a woman, wondrously performed by Jody Stevens, and a couple of senior staff members of the Planning Department of the City of Halifax. emphasizes the cinematic hooks of Naylor's skills.
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Artist: AGF (@)
Title: Source Voice
Format: CD
Label: Line (@)
Rated: *****
Death throes and suffocated laments, which then sound like burgeoning so that you could think about tragedy and pain related to non-communication as one of the most eminent generative sparking of art, seem to permeate "The Human Condition", the very first track of this new release by whimsical East-German musician, sound-artist and poetess Antye Greie-Ripatti, popularly known as AGF and living in Hailuoto (Finland) together with her husband Sasu Ripatti (Vladislav Delay), who focused on voice, regarded as the human instrument par excellence, distinctive characteristic and even political device of each person, for this occasion, as you can easily grasp from the title "Source Voice". The icy Finnish environment she daily experiences resonates all over the record, whereas AGF arranges her voice into the surrounding context till it seems to coalesce with whiffs and severe weather conditions in "Breathing In Lines" and transmuting into a singing ice crystal while shimmering in the middle of a blizzard and gradually turning into a more human breath after a reprieve in the gorgeous "Digital Yoik", which reveals one of the sources for inspiration for this recording, the ancient, mostly wordless form of singing/vocalization by the Sami tribe of Northern Scandinavia. The somewhat spooky vocal deformations on "Hum Pitch Play", the barbed electrical saturation points on "Voice Count" and the entrancing moans of "Kaamos", the only track where voice has not been digitally processed, are likewise mindblowing. The exclusive digital bonus available only through the shop of Chartier's label, "Feed Back", a collaboration with label owner, sounds like the defrosting of a singing nymph of the woods with organic sounds grabbed by means of hydrophones placed on the waterline of some frozen pond.
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Artist: Kristoff K.Roll (@)
Title: A l'ombre des ondes
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
Headphones become an entrance ticket for a sort of representation within representation by means of this bizarre release by Kristoff J-Camps and Carole Rieussec, who focused on so-called dream narrative, not properly on dreams themselves. Their weaving of really immersive field recordings and inoculated frequencies lies on the perceptive threshold between outer happenings (hoo-ha or voices which sounds like coming from wide halls of consciousness before blackout and random dream assemblage, interferences of television broadcasting, traffic noises, chirping birds, barking dogs and so on are so perfectly rendered that listeners are going to experience a really immersive listening) and inner transfiguration which characterizes the half-sleep and dream states during occasional naps from the viewpoint of a napper, so that auditory stimulations get deliberately warped while each napper reports its own dream as a tagline and preface (in French) to the following sonic probing over the three long lasting tracks. Dreams or it's better to say the deforming lens of dreams look like the real source of sounds, which awakens speechless archetypes, which inhabit inner depths of napper's mind and resurface from the creases of senses while dozing under the perogla of frequencies. The final result is really interesting and the duo is so aware of it, that Carole and Kristoff are planning to buld a proper library of dram narrative by inviting listeners to record their own dream reports and some audio files to request a personal recording session to them. Just check "A l'ombre des ondes" and submit your file into this bizarre library in case you got intrigued by their odd sound concept.
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Artist: Dj Rashad (@)
Title: Rollin EP
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
After having received support from many artists and musicians of the fierce clique assembled by Kode9, the convincing Chicago-based juke and ghettostyle pusher and producer Rashad Harden aka Dj Rashad revel with beats and styles by means of this enhanced sonic cartridge on Hyperdub, which seems well-intentioned in enhancing its incisiveness within footwork scene, and Rashad is a possible mentor due to his remarkable ability in equalizing and fading past and future levers. He decided to ignite this knick-knack with "Rollin", a springy track where meaningful R&B pitched vocal samples jerk on ringing hi-hats and 808 kicks, which attractively tickles eardrums before the machine gun of amen break trails the listener towards a nice memorabilia of old UK jungle and hardcore sonorities on "Let It Go", a skipped heartbeat for all those ones who still remembers that fervent historical moment of British urban style before the track turns into a shimmering footwork assay. In spite of the fact Dj Manny and Dj Rashad have just 4 hands and 20 fingers, they play like a giant octopus with many tentacles and an imaginary passion for drum machines on "Drums Please", an amazing spray of snares, tom and other percussive fits on Detroit-techno-like minor organ palpitating chords, whereas the soul-oriented vein by Dj Spinn pulsates more on the following "Broken Hearted", which, even though partially effaces Rashad's weaponry on beat, manages to emphasize his versatility.
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Artist: Ametsub (@)
Title: All Is Silence
Format: CD
Label: nothings66 (@)
Rated: *****
The fact that Tokyo-based surprising composer Ametsub managed to grab the tympanic attention of Master Ryuichi Sakamoto by means of his enchanting album "The Nothings Of The North", which was considered as the best disk in 2009 by Sakamoto himself, guarantees the remarkably high quality of the sound this electronic muscian squeezes from machines and the occurence that this brand new album "All Is Silence" goes under the aegis of Sakamoto again doesn't rock us as you just need to press play and listen to find a clear and convincing evidence of such an eminent certification. Some redolent reminiscences of Boards Of Canada are quite clear since the initial "Utmost Point" and resurfaces in many moments of the album together with some fine declensions of IDM by Benge or Monoceros such as the clapping bubble bath of the lovely melodic line by Brain Grainger in the enchanting "Rufouslow", the mildly hypnotical heavenly nebulization of "Blotted Out"'s tonal sequence, the daydreaming haze over balanced singed tape sputtering and tepid melancholy of the ravishing "Vestige for Wind Day", which evokes some crisp puffy tracks by Apparat, who shared some live stages with Ametsub in the bargain as well as many other notorious sonic sorcerers such as Alva Noto, Vladislav Delay, Atom TM, Cornelius, Moritz Von Oswalk, Plaid, Fennesz, Dj Krush, Tujiko Noriko, Oval and Jel (Anticon), the entangling cold glares of "Sun of Madrid" and the lovely mixture of jerking beats and plushy opalescent melodies of "Muffled Blue", but Ametsub manages to temper and highlight the outflow of pad-synth and related parabolic in-gradients by sizzling percussive ingredients. Other acmes of "All Is Silence" are the amazing cauterization and glitchy goads on melodic mantle of a piano which gradually turns into something close to a sort of effected shamisen on "Lucent", the favorite track by Sakamoto, the amazing instrumental obliquity of "Dimmur", whose piano strokes sound like gurgling and whirling into unexpected eddies, and the bizarre games on field recordings on modified tape of "Over 6633". "All is Silence" renders many interesting soundscapes by melting melancholy,abstractness, light and shade together with sonic precision mechanics.
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