Music Reviews



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Artist: Blue Sausage Infant (@)
Title: Manitou
Format: CD
Label: Alrealon (@)
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed Blue Sausage Infant's 'Negative Space' album, so I was interested to see how this one would turn out. With guest artists wielding 'turntable bacon shortwave,' 'fire extinguisher,' and 'beer glass,' we should be in for an interesting ride. Here's how the label describes this: 'Following the long-form kosmische excursions of 2011's 'Negative Space', Blue Sausage Infant's new CD recalls the ruthless energy and shorter attention span of BSI's cassettes from the 1980s. 'Manitou' is a wild ride: a patchwork of huge analog drones, mutant caffeinated space-punk, musique concrete, krautrock-style jams, distorted industrial stomp, and deep electronic mind candy. This collection includes a new remake of the classic BSI track 'The Moss Takes Over' which first appeared in the 1990 cassette 'Infinite Sky.' Guest musicians include members of Insect Factory, Pilesar, Violet, Tag Cloud, and Timmy Sells His Soul. The result is an hour-long celebration of reckless improvisation and joyful nightmares.' I have to admit that I was not sold at the beginning. To me, 'Afflicted by the Wind Disease' and 'Hosebag' were a bit dull. However, it does get better from here. One of my favorites here is 'The Moss Takes Over,' which sounds like a cross between 80's buttrock and a videogame soundtrack from the same era (think boss phase). 'Aphid's Lament' is a nice slab of slow moving distortion and feedback. 'Catoctin' is almost mellow. 'Abdominal Frost' is an interesting cinematic soundscape. For me this is more of a mixed bag, although some of this may be by design. As he goes from style to style, there are sure to be hits and misses. For the most part, the hits outweigh the misses though. I would definitely see him live though, as it seems like it would be a good show. This album weighs in at around 57 minutes.
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Artist: Alberto Boccardi (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: fratto9 under the sky records (@)
Rated: *****
Alberto Boccardi is an Italian electronic musician and aerospace engineer. This is his first solo release after some collaborations. Here's what the label had to say: 'Soundscapes that alternate unstable vibrations of the earth's surface to static animal references. Acoustic instruments, electronics, voice and field recordings, in the first work by Alberto Boccardi, tell emotional phases grown from the memories but living in the present. The use of sound is purely functional to instinct, and to the desire to define the boundaries of otherwise ephemeral images.' Now on to the music. It makes sense that he has done work for dance and video installation, as this music seems designed to fade into the background. In some ways it is a bit too minimal, moving at a sometimes glacial pace. However, 'Desolate Red Fingers' features minimal atmosphere with female vocals that remind me of Sara Lundén. 'Clocking the Time' finally releases some sense of emotion with squalling saxaphone and grinding feedback, if only for a moment. Overall this wasn't too bad, but it doesn't really stand out. I would place this among those that I refer to as good CDs to give to those who are beginning to dabble in experimental music. Limited to 300 copies. This album weighs in at around 27 minutes.
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Artist: Axiome (@)
Title: Ten Hymns For Sorbetière or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Freezer
Format: CD
Label: Ant Zen (@)
Rated: *****
James Brown once called himself the 'hardest working man in show business.' Well, he's dead now and I think that C-drik Fermont is trying to take his place. At one point his output was almost superhuman and he had his hand in a multitude of projects. I remember making his acquaintance a decade ago when he did a track for a compilation I had put together. He's been quiet for a while, but he's back and as good as ever. Axiome is a collaboration between Fermont and Olivier Moreau of Imminent, and it's released on Ant-Zen. If you don't know what to make of that, welcome to those stumbling onto Chain DLK for the first time ' come on in and make yourselves at home. For the rest of us, this is exactly what we came to hear. Evidently they chose coldness and ice as a central theme for the album. The press release describes the album thus: 'Splicing genres like idm, acid, rhythm&noise, dark, brooding electro infusions and techstep to an insane hybrid, these 'hymns' mark a perfect syncrisis of simplicity and complexity. Accelerated technoid rhythms are perfectly interfused with powerful percussion laced with hard, deftly sequenced melodic structures and combined with a retreat to insistent, repetitive analogue bubblebath-esque electronic textures. A mélange of force and beauty that is rarely matched by anyone else.' Overall this is a good mix of beats and stripped down atmosphere. At some points it is a bit too stripped down; 'Gèle Ou Crève!' for example, moved a bit too slow for my tastes. But others make the most of simplicity and 'La Solitude Du Grêlon Face à La Chute' is almost peaceful with its hypnotic rhythm. 'Lawine' closes off the disc and is a thing of beauty. No vocals or cheesy samples mar the compositions. This isn't exactly destined for the dance floor, but it still makes you move. This album weighs in at around 51 minutes.
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Artist: The Home of Easy Credit (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Northern Spy (@)
Rated: *****
First of all, I have to say that the cover art on this album is awesome. I love that it hails back to the space age bachelor pad music of the 60s while then hitting you over the head with their music. This may be The Home of Easy Credit, but it most certainly is not the home of easy listening. It's hard to believe that this is all created by a duo, but everything is the work of husband and wife team Louise Dam Eckardt Jensen (alto saxophone, flute, vocals, and electronics) Tom Blancarte (upright bass) with no overdubs. The label describes the album thus: 'Queens-based The Home of Easy Credit challenges the boundaries of free-improvised music, jazz, folk, and pop music with an iconoclastic approach that defies all those who seek to classify music by genre. . . . Taking their name from a department store sign in a dilapidated section of downtown Houston, Texas which they photographed while on tour there, the duo seeks to hold up a mirror to contemporary musical tastes to create a dark, beautiful and thrilling sound world that reflects upon the decline of contemporary civilization.' You can see this in their song titles (I'm particularly fond of 'Only 827 Miles to Wall Drug ' with FREE ICE WATER!'). All I have to say is that this is incredibly good. The album wanders its way through improvisation and seeming randomness while remaining somehow together. For example, 'Arches of Gold' keeps building on itself until it seems that the weight of the aggregated sound will collapse on itself, as it coalesces into a nice droney mess. 'The Feast of the Meal Replacement Bars' and 'Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation' feature interesting chanting and processed voices that work well within the compositions. Other tracks, such as 'The Dream of the Pursuit of Happiness' are more subdued. What makes it particularly effective is the way it careens between freak out Sun Ra and Seven That Spells craziness and peaceful jazz improv. Quite enjoyable and highly recommended. This album weighs in at around 64 minutes.
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Artist: Vacant Shores (@)
Title: Summer Ghost
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Number Transmission (@)
Rated: *****
I like 3' CDs. They're a good way to get a taste of an artist you haven't heard of before. As usual, this was one I had not heard of before. According to the press release that came with this, Vacant Shores hail from Bristol UK and use a mix of old analogue hardware and synths 'to create a lush, reverb-soaked electronica with emotive vocals.' Overall this isn't too bad, but it doesn't push the envelope much. When the label had the tags 'chopped and screwed' and IDM, I expected something along the lines of Autechre. However, another tag, 'dream electronica' comes closer. The vocals were interesting, and not as processed as one might expect on such a release, which was a welcome change. Overall, we could file this as 4 tracks of nice electronica. The album weighs in at around 15 minutes and is limited to 100 copies, so if this sounds good, you should go for it.
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