Music Reviews

image not
Artist: Cold Design
Title: Ckopo Aeto (Summer Will Soon Be Here)
Format: CD
Label: Electrica Caelestis / Shadowplay Records (@)
Distributor: Casus Belli Musica
Rated: *****
This is a Russian release by the both labels Electrica Caelestis and the well-known Goth-label Shadowplay Records. This promotional package has seemingly had a bizarre course taken by snail mail, the stamps of the envelope are based from the first half of this year, but I received it a few weeks ago. By freeing the CD out of its unique packaging the surprise was on the side of the responsible art-worker for this release. It's a real goody with a high glossy, folded cardboard packaging including a huge poster with the both protagonists Al_Ex and Mar_La. The art is filled with black/white photos of tanks, soldiers, KGB officers, general Military, and related. So my expectations have turned to get another newbie producing Harsh-EBM/Hellectro or a rather Military/Neo-Classic/Dark Ambient producing project. Luckily they have included an information sheet, which actually offers English translations of the content including a track-list. They call their music style Combat Electro-Goth and are singing complete in Russian language, so also the lyrics printed on the back side of the poster are completely printed in Cyrillic letters. This is still a problem for us at Chain D.L.K., as we are not able to provide reviews in its original Cyrillic letters. The music is a fair mutation between Electro with a driving kick and snare work and a Goth-related pathos. Military elements can be noticed here and there too, marching snare drums, some war trumpets, or military voice-samples are the chosen ingredients. Most outstanding, but also most unusual element in the music of this Voronezh-based duo, is the vocal performance of band-leader Al_Ex. He sings like a classic-trained tenor and offers a full scale of emotion for sure, but since this isn't the daily routine of an often discovered vocal style, one needs to get used to it in the first instance. Cold Design offer a well constructed third album (limited to 555 numbered copies), which deserves respect for its kind and crafty progression, though it will be a hard cake to bite for them to score against international-based rivals.
Artist: Goyvaerts/Morgan/Van Buggenhout
Title: White Smoke
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Their easygoing aspect and relaxed smiles istinctively instil that kind of friendly trust that you'd like to befriend them as the best pals for a pint and some chats, but besides the surmised sociability, this trio manages to uplift the mood as well as listener's imagination by amazing and somewhat weird improvisations. Mike Goyvaerts on percussions, objects and toys, Jeffrey Morgan on soprano and tenor saxophones, Willy Van Buggenhout on legendary EMS Synthi stage nine funny interactions whose strong sense of humour and sonic daring contortionism don't eclipse their remarkable technical skills. The interplay of the three performers sound quite influenced by the role played by freaks coming out from Willy's knowbs and oscillators: for instance the initial "Fire Jumpers!" loos like the last ditch by Jeffrey's saxophones from the corrosive acid bath, which gushes from Willy's synth; the dolloping low-frequency buzzes on "Burial Grounds" gradually imbibes phrasing on saxophone as if it's echoing its death throes while Mike plays disquieting giggles by means of his toys; "A Treasure of Sulphur Clouds" looks like a sonic simulation of the painful transplant of a radio antenna and a draft tube on the metallic shell of Jeffrey's instruments, which sometimes sound like mention Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" before the bumblebee gets netted by spider's web, whose drool in front of his succulent prey seems to be reflected by crazy computational spins by Willy; the funny dizzy improvisations on tracks like "Wild Boar Hunting" and "The Silver Gates of the Moon" seems to be counterbalanced by the hangover evoked by tracks like "The Dawn and the Dream" or "Eagle's Dance" as well as the joy this trio experienced while playing it could be counterbalanced by the amusement listeners can perceive.
Artist: The Eccentronic Research Council
Title: 1612 Underture
Format: CD
Label: Bird Records (@)
Distributor: Finders Keepers
Rated: *****
1612 Underture, the auspicious debut of The Eccentronic Research Council, is a psychogeographic road trip through Northwestern England. Primarily focused on the borough of Pendle, made famous by its infamous witch trials in 1612, from which this album derives its name and black beating heart. The main audiophonic alchemists, Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer, are joined by the actess Maxine Peake, who acts as tour guide through the history and buried socio-economic prejudices of the region, in a hilarious and often moving flat Mancunain drawl. The music ranges from Radiophonic synth explorations, like some excerpt from the Quatermass Experiment, to driving krautrock, to drifitng pastoralism. Its an unlikely combination, and used to deadly effect.

We set off on our adventure with 'Autobahn 666 (Travelogue #1)', with its teutonic sequencers and the sound of car engines. It calls upon krautrock's unique ability to simulate the sensation of being in a moving vehicle, to tell the tale of route 666, the so-called Devil's Highway, as the Narrator begins her hilariously droll diatribe against the powers of patriarchy and government. 'This Is The North (travelogue #2)' is a jaunty library tune, like a message from a sardonic city council, describing the local flora and fauna, if the script writer were having a particularly hard opiate withdrawal. The underlying menace becomes apparent with 'Wicked Sister Chant', full of Goblin whispers and de-tuned, atonal electronics, smoothly segueing into tense minor 2nds (think Jaws) accompanying a text by feminist poet Anne Sexton, and witchly shrieking. 'Malkin Cat Trapped Behind A Wall' uses a dystopian aimless tone generator to create an ominous atmosphere of claustrophobic dread, complete with moaning black winds. Its like a castle scene from a '60s Hammer film, grainy grimy and mildewed.

'Curious Morbids (Travelogue #3)' comes in with some unexpected carnivalesque organ and funky Salvation Army breakbeat, while Maxine Peake tells us of the quaint charms of Pendle. It seems that the witch hunts have become big business, and the ten victims continue to fatten the wallets of the reputable denizens of Pendle. The carnival continues with '1612 Underture,' the wheezing organ accompanied by some tasty lo-fi drum machines, then launching into the burning accusation of 'Trial By Jiggery Pokery', the manifesto of the record. 'Unfortunately, for people like us, there has never been a happy ending.' The trio illustrate, with word sound and deed, the underlying prejudice of the status quo, that those with money and the popular perception of life and the world, will always seem more respectable, understandable, relatable. The music of the Eccentronic Research Council goes against this grain, forsaking the rigid, predictable structure of Top 40 techno, in favor of sparking, boot sale keyboards and drum machines. Choosing the unpredictable, analog heart of homemade funkiness, over Apollonian logic and formula.

Its a denouement, from this point forward. The musket has been discharged, the killing blow delivered. We have been affected, infected by the plight of those unfortunates, hung by the necks 401 years ago. 'From The Graves to the Freshcos' sounds like a eulogy, with the most traditional 'music' or at least instrumentation on the record, mournful violin and violin, while the Narrator sits beside the grave of Alice Nutter, petting a dog.

'(i). Pendle Wind (ii). No Hackney Cab to Gallows Hill (iii)Hangman's Song' is an imaginative sonic journey, emulating the last moments of the victims, on the way to have their necks stretched. This track would work well to add ambiance to some antiquated role playing game. 'Device Kids Find A Box Of Chattox Melody' suggests that some local children have dug up Anne Whittle's, aka Chattox, music box, and the ancient magick is unleashed. The sarcastically awesome and surprisingly industrial take on the traditional 'Another Witch Is Dead' shows that while they could kill the dispossessed, the unpopular and eccentric, and grind their bones to dust, the spirit remains undaunted, and it is rising. The final track, 'Ghost Of Old Lizzy Southern Returns', comes on like a promise, like the first ray of sunrise, and is the British equivalent of William Burroughs' scathing 'A Thanksgiving Prayer', as the ghost of Lizzy Southern curses everything foul and tacky of the 20th century.

Here in 2013, we are resurrecting the ancient ways. Wisdom, magick, and intuition will be essential to the healing of our planet, our minds and souls, and our many disparate cultures. The rise of awareness, with electronic bands like Demdike Stare, Pendle Coven, and The Haxan Cloak, drawing their names directly from the Witch Trials, and labels like the magnificent Devon Folklore Tapes assigning innovative modern musicians to explore the local folklore of various regions and locales, the topic is being raised and rife for discussion. Major Props to The Eccentronic Research Council for bringing about the debate in a truly inspired and innovative way, and managing to sound brilliant, all the while.
Artist: The Spaceape (@)
Title: Xorcism
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Two of the most memorable situations I experienced during my journeys over our amazing planet are closely related to tribal rites: the first one in a Cuban village between Varadero and Havana was a sort of celebrative Yoruba rite (the people I met there explained there were some Voodoo elements as well) for the oldest member of the community while the second one was an healing Sangoma ritual in a Zulu village in South Africa. This interesting release by Stephen Samuel Gordon aka The Spaceape, whose promising musical path and the visibility he deservedly gained for his impressive collaborations with Kode9 have been suddenly stopped by a 3-years lasting struggle against neurolymphamatosis, a rare form of cancer whose painful and troublesome progress had been mirrored in the lyrics of some tracks of "Black Sun" album - just carefully listen "Black Smoke", "Neon Red Sign" and "The Cure" -, vividly activated those memories. The above-mentioned fight against cancer, which resurface in many moments of this musical little treat (songs like "Your Angel Has Come" and "Palaces" have many references to his period of hospitalization and treatment and many clues of his spiritual clearance have been spread all over the album), gave him new spiritual energy, which permeates his words and emanates from the hypnotical and catchy synthesis of meaningful lyrics and samples taken from traditional ritual musical stuff from Haiti and Kamchaka - Drummers of the Societe Absolument Guinin's "Voodoo Drums", two tracks from "Kamchatka: Tambours de Danse de L'extreme Orient Siberien" by Anastasija Vasileva Gitorovka and irina Khristoforovna Kolegova, a release on Soul Jazz Records about haitian street music and a couple of track from "Rhythms Of Rapture - Sacred Musics Of Haitian Vodouan", an encyclopedic compilation released by Smithsonian Folkways some years ago -, which could awake elemental and hidden forces in the listener. "Xorcism" really sounds like a reinvigorating and healing exorcism, whose effulgent poetic nourishment and synaesthetic sway is so catchy that I really hope there will be a follow up.
Artist: Moon Wiring Club
Title: Today's Bread, Tomorrow's Secrets
Format: CD
Label: Gecophonic Audio Workshop
Distributor: A-musik
Rated: *****
In the misty moors of Northern England, lies the forgotten hamlet of Clinkskell. The trek to get there is one of the loneliest and least hospitable in all of the UK. No neighbors, no flashy attractions, Clinkskell and its inhabitants are remarkably removed from time and place. The people who live there are charmingly anachronistic: crinoline and cravats rub elbows with shirt-sleeves and psychedelic paisley patterns.

And its all in the mind of one Ian Hodgson, aka Moon Wiring Club. (Well, maybe it is, maybe it isn't).

On the header for the Blank Workshop (which acts as the chamber of commerce and welcome wagon for Clinkskell), MWC are described as 'Confusing English Electronic Music'. Elsewhere, Hodgson himself described his output as 'music for Edwardian computer-games'. Using the archaic technology of PS2 and a hand-me-down copy of MTV Music Maker, Hodgson meticulously constructs abstract concrete beat-collages, calling upon an extensive archive of mouldering Spoken Word/Children's/Work-out LPs, spun into a hallucinogenic cobweb of dream logic and refracted memories. Hodgson uses the vocal snippets like a voice over on some otherworldly nature documentary, pushing and pulling the ethereal tones and bouncy rhythms into bizarre auditory fairy tales, referencing this world, but not of it.

The irreality of Hodgson's crate-digging sampledelia goes right along with the ominous Art Deco album sleeves (which he also designs himelf). Vaguely sinister 2D depictions of Victorian women in hats, or cat creatures playing a fife. What, exactly, is going on? You must lose yrself in Hodgson's world, 8 self-released albums thus far, and an avalanche of mixes, magazines, fake advertisements, real advertisements, artificial television series, and perhaps real ones as well. Ian Hodgson is a world builder, pure and simple, and every time anyone on the Gelophonic Audio roster releases a record (blessedly frequent, lately), Clinkskell emerges from the mist, like Brigadoon.

'Today's Bread, Tomorrow's Secrets' is remarkably listenable, given how abstract and confusing it sounds, in print. Hodgson's beats are tight and twitchy, in a way that should appeal to fans of the recent juke/footwork/trap school, and the synths are respectably fierce and burning, that should stroke the furry ears of the devoted dubstep listener. But here, the synths are de-tuned and slightly disoriented; its as if you were listening to legitimate dance music while high on cough syrup at the bottom of a whirlpool. Or perhaps if it were emanating through a portal? Moon Wiring Club hold auditory seances, conjuring spectres from acetate and vinyl from the 120 years of recorded history, and in a way, we are all living in the spectral village, with dead voices whizzing past our ears in unlikely chimerical combinations.

There seems to be a story going on in 'Today's Bread'. The 22 tracks sound like a new adaptation of Algernon Blackwood short stories, if it were to released on Hyperdub. Once you have fallen under Hodgson's scraping knocking table-rapping beat mantras, the soothing British apparitions whisper hints and secrets, luring you further and further into the dark woods outside of the town.

In what is becoming a tradition for MWC, 'TBTS' exists in two forms (its like the daytime and night time versions of the same person). The vinyl release is the dream form of the antiquated techno of the CD. All beats and recognizable touchstones are stripped away, leaving a ghostly gelatinous imprint of yr memory of the original music. It is like a dub poltergeist, possessing yr thoughts. The 'beat version' is intended as 'dinner/party' music, while the vinyl is the after dinner apertif. The crunchy jerky beat-driven side is remarkably conducive to running around, getting things done, but do be careful! This music may be disorienting, and may cause dizziness. It might not be safe to operate heavy machinery, while under the influence.

With his idiosyncratic method of electronic manipulation, encyclopedic knowledge of obscure British ephemera, the consistency of his mythical world, and its place outside of town, listening to Moon Wiring Club is like passing through the Looking Glass. Everything you say may resemble what you have known, aka consensual reality, but its all gone a bit soft around the edges. It gets inside you and it affects you. Ian Hodgson is creating a world, down the road from fellow memory trawlers Ghost Box Records. Together, along with a small but dedicated cabal of shadowy antiquarians, they are making this world a more interesting, less definitive, place. Making mystery.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171...180] [181...190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731] [732] [733] [734] [735] [736] [737] [738] [739] [740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960] [1961...1970] [1971...1980] [1981...1990] [1991...2000] [2001...2010] [2011...2020] [2021...2030] [2031...2040] [2041...2050] [2051...2060] [2061...2070] [2071...2080] [2081...2090] [2091...2100] [2101...2110] [2111...2120]

Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha