Music Reviews



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Artist: Praezisa Rapid 3000 (@)
Title: 314159265
Format: CD
Label: Noble (@)
Rated: *****
The new regency of cut-up electronica, a scene which bred many successful artists and musicians who almost permanently conquered the hearts of so many listeners that they sometimes buy their pigs in a poke, could be based on a triumvirate in the forthcoming future. After a couple of EPs printed by their label Doumen Records, this Leipzig-based trio made up of experienced musicians Devaaya Sharkattack, Guschling and Simon 12345 received the unofficial imprimatur by notorious magazines (Vice, Groove) without the accomodating intercession of any promotional agency and first acclamations by underground audience on the occasion of their live appearances on stages shared with Mount Kimbie, Cloud Boat, Eskmo or Untold and at FUSION, the largest outdoor festival in Germany. Their crossbreed of traditional acoustic instruments - piano, guitar, drum, trumpet, clarinet - on the one hand and synthesizer, modern editing techniques and sampling on the other hand, which stylistically bears a likeness to Prefuse 73, Gold Panda or similar attempts of blending together a syncretic style with no defined boundaries within the same track and a contemporary sound such as those ones by German (maybe forgotten) bands like Netzer or many Japanese contemporary musicians (it's not so casual Praezisa Rapid 3000 managed to mouthwater Noble, a stylish and remarkable J-pop label), coalesces with a pronounced passion for exotic collagism of samples and genres (they wisely manages to dose and whisk hip hop, ambient, jazz, post rock, IDM, film music, disco, post dubstep), which rather reminds Felix Laband and similar weird musicians. Even if they're undoubtedly humorous, I'm not sure many listeners could understand it: for instance the humour of the track "Thom Liwa" could not be easily understood by those ones who never listened the "spiritual" songwriter and singer Tom Liwa as well as the typical mispelling of notorious names by some electronic musicians (Com Truise, Duran Duran Duran, Donna Summer and so on) as well as the supposed references to an imaginary freak between Geoff Farina's Karate sound and J-pop in the track "Dojo Days" and other funny quotations. But this is just a little flaw, that is not going to impede the possibility to be recognized by broader audience.
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Artist: X-NAVI:ET
Title: Brain Overloaded
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This album from Rafal Iwanski is a collection of track, according to the linear notes, related with a question about human brain that is if this is an era which brain is stating to be overloaded. This is an electroacoustic album made with tone generators, filters and synthesizers with, in my opinion, nothing to justify the claim of the linear notes except the absence, not unusual in this genre, of computer, the main actor of current information overload.
"It is you brain?" is a short and static intro to the album, based on a sort of sinewaves loop. "Artificial landscape" is, instead, based on small noises above a quiet menacing drone that slowly evolve. "Contra-stasis" is a slowly moving track where filtered tones create a quiet evocative tension continuing in the next track "minute by minute, second by second" more oriented in the development of small tones above continuous tones. "Total overproduction" is based on single tone slightly evolving, using a beat and a menacing line of synth revealing the influence of old industrial act and is, perhaps, the best track of this release. "Reversed space for no one" is a static soundscape until a beat and some noises gives colors to the track. "Reset digital demon" close this release with a journey into noise as evocative as disconnected to rest of the album.
Musically speaking this is not a bad album as is well played and constructed, however the absence of a fil-rouge gives the impression that the linear notes were written just to justify the release. However, without reading the notes, this is a record worthing a listen.
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Artist: Elizabeth Hoffman (@)
Title: Interieurs harmoniques
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
Even if "Interieurs harmoniques" is officially her debut album, it's quite clear since the first seconds of listening that NYC-based composer Elizabeth Hoffman is not a callow improviser and the fact her solo-release comes out on Canadian label empreintes DIGITALes, one of the most appreciated in the field of electroacoustics and acousmatics by many demanding followers of the genre, is fairly meaningful. Once the listener can easily ascertain her skillfulness in modelling mainly percussive sounds, related to her passion for electroacoustics, which has been accrued over many years of academic background, the most remarkable aspect of Elizabeth's sound maybe lies in the fey facets of her visionary (lasting about ten minutes each) sound collages. Listener's imagination immediately meets its match in the intial (and most recently recorded) track "Resonants", where the seducing texture of bells, glockenspiel and cymbals seems to echo back listener's phosphenes after closing eyes and the following movement could be associated to a fictitious pebble nearby the rail in the act of listening the coming, the arrival and the departure of a train in the subway. This imaginary ear-transplant or cochlear implant into a molecular entity could be imagined while listening to "Water Spirits" - listeners could easily think about the vicissitudes of a water particle since the moment it arrives on earth from a storm cloud, which travels across conduits, sewer pipes, sinks, entrails and viscera afterwards - and "Songstressed" - its listening could let you think about microphones on a particle of dust which during its mishaps falls into a bird's syrinx! -. Similarly fictional microscopic journey could be inspired by remaining tracks: "Allamuchy" reminded the initial track of Autistici's "Beneath Peaks" I recently reviewed due to the recordings of different moments (including a nap), which have supposedly been recorded in the natural set of Allamuchy wood in New Jersey, while "D-ness" sounds like the sonic translation of some emotional set which could'nt be explained but through sounds. The effected squeaks and every tessereas of the sonic mosaic of the final "Soundendipities", which costantly sounds on the edge of a cliff, closes this interesting listening experience with a sinister note of acousmatic self-irony indeed!
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Artist: Autistici (@)
Title: Beneath Peaks
Format: CD
Label: Hibernate (@)
Rated: *****
This record is one of the most enigmatic of my recent listenings and its mysterious opening puts listeners in a unexplainable quandary: how's possible that Sheffield-based sound designer David Newman manages to sleep and snore so blissfully in spite of the remarkable hullabaloo by all those birds?!? Jokes apart, this fascinating sonic journey offered by the artistic identity of Audiobulb label-owner through the breathtaking spots of Peak District, one of the most enchanting region of Northern England, covering Northern Derbyshire and parts of Cheshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Greater Manchester, and base of the first national park in United Kingdom, begins with the nice "Asleep Beneath Nests", recorded while David was resting at Fieldhead campsite, and go on over suggestive airy abstract ambient tracks, mostly spotted by field recordings grabbed during his explorative walks. The awakening in the small village of Edale ("Edall"), the intense activity of climbers and paragliding maniacs with noises of hammering and gear nearby Mam Tor hill ("Mam Tor Soarers' Workshop"), the thuds on the boulders melting with the sound of the breeeze and the luminous trembling of solar rays over the trees in the idyllic walking over Burbage Brook ("Padley Gorge"), the incredible subterranean acoustic of Blue John Cavern ("Mulgrave's Dining Room") are just some of the moments of this pleasant sonic travelguide of places in the heart of United Kingdom I was lucky to have visited some years ago, whose memory has been vividly rekindled by Autistici's release. I cannot but thank David Newman for this sweet reverie as well as recommend the listening of this great ambient souvenir.
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Artist: Hepp
Title: Platterton EP
Format: 12"
Label: Hula Honeys (@)
Rated: *****
The proverbial precision of Swiss people as well as their worldwide known clocksmiths seems to be related to genetic makeup and such a guesswork cannot be but confirmed by metronomic releases from those highlands like this one by Hepp. This skilled young Zurich-based beatmaker contrives head-banging rhythmical contraptions while shuffling sonorities which have been digged out of the best electonic pits: the first track on A-side "Reiss D Beat" is maybe the one which can be immediately associated to a clock by means of his ticks, effected claps and hats, springing bleeps and dubby tips, while the splashes on electric buzzes of "Hansplatterton" could let you think about some Four Tet's track, remixed by some forgotten Rephlex juggler. Other great electronic music acts easily come to mind while listening "Hanhall", the last track of A-side: the crispy fast stepping whose intricate web tightly clings to the simple melanchonic melody are quite similar to some lovely stuff by artists or projects like Metamatics, Global Goon or Michael Paradinas's mu-Ziq. The two tracks on the B-side sound more punching, but charmingly evocative: laser-like bleeps as well as the peppy robotic loops (plus some funnily effected cow-bells...a declaration of love to his native country?) of "Klunker" make me think about a crossbreed between Proem and Decal, while the final track "Stoerefried" grinds the pattern with energetic and obsessive bass frequencies rolling on tricky dub-driven sonic clutters.
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