Music Reviews



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Artist: Break, Fields, Mako & Villem/Getz
Title: Dilligence/My Soul
Format: 12"
Label: Utopia Music (@)
Rated: *****
The tenth release from Bristol-based young imprint by talented producer Mako, Utopia Music, looks like a lively family gathering as the label boss convoked a number of producers, who already stuffed Utopia Music's catalogue, for the preparation of a delicious soup of beats. On A Side, eight hands and four heads, belonging to Break, Villem, Fields and Mako himself, kneaded samples and percussive sketches which seems to be inspired by the distinctive style of the very first tunes, signed by the legendary producer Dillinja: after an epic intro, which could also remind that daydreaming and organic style, that notorious producers such as Makoto or LTJ Bukem pushed up, the track, wisely titled "Dilligence", diverts towards more aggressive sounds and a beat-rolling swinging rhythm, which sounds more distinctively close to Dillinja metal-grinding stuff. On B Side, you'll find "My Soul", a track by Sergey Bodryakov aka Getz, who adhere to his own style, an experimental mishmash of unpredictable samples - sometimes closer to lo-fi, techno, trip-hop sound banks -, which gets riddled with percussive bullets on somewhat monotonous, but catchy rhythmical gallows, by this interesting and quite unknown producer.
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Artist: A Guy Called Gerald (@)
Title: How Long Is Now
Format: 12"
Label: Bosconi Records (@)
Rated: *****
Manchester-born evergreen innovative producer and dj Gerald Simpson, most notably known as A Guy Called Gerald, comes back with this little, but appreciable appetizer after a relatively long period of silence and although many dnb lovers, who still remembers and praises authentic his masterpiece "Essence" are maybe hoping he could borrow his talent to the scene, he seems to like digging techno and house grounds more. To be frank, there's something more than just a sort of assertiveness training behind this release, as it has been released as a sort of devoted tribute to the Tacheles, an inspiring place after the reunification of Germany for the cultural renaissance in Berlin and homeplace of Gerald himself when he decided to move to the lively German capital, whose presence and impulse to the scene was so deeplt related to that place that some mysterious writer drew Gerald's face on the right side of that building together with the equally mysterious words "How Long Is Now", which have been reprised for the title of the doping and subly gloomy track on Side A of the vinyl edition. That's why you don't have to wonder too much in order to explain that subtle feeling of nostalgia, which seems to lie on the foundations of tracks on B Side as well: it seems that Gerald just renovates some stylistical facades which propelled Tacheles' parties both on "Groove Of The Ghetto" - a tribal-funky house track with seducing soulful vocals, which gets shattered by a phat bass frequency - and on "202" - a clicky'n'clappy computational restyle of acid techno -. A good way to celebrate those good old days of that area of Berlin by a qualified witness.
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Artist: Holy Hole (@)
Title: Plan Z
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
This release is the debut ep from an italian duo whose music is guitar driven drone music. According to the press notes this is a young project born in Berlin aiming to develop a blend of psychedelic, math rock and drone music but the result is a carefully produced drone music with a meditative mood.
"Excerpt1" opens this release with a heavy guitar drone colored by a quiet tape loop until a voice line emerge from the darkness. "Excerpt2" is an intro to "excerpt3" a long track beginning quietly until a metallic beat and a guitar line begin to appear and slowly return to silence as the guitar take full control of development of the track. "Excerpt4" close this release with a subtle work of resonance.
Even is the result is relatively distant from the aiming of the artists, it's a solid work worthing a listen. Recommended for drone fans.
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Artist: Harold Rubin & Alexander Frangenheim (@)
Title: Suite
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
This interesting musical encounter by clarinet player Harold Rubin and talented doublebass player Alexander Frangenheim (sometimes joined by Mark Smulian's electric bass), which has been arranged by Helma Schleif, one of the most active figure of Berlin cultural scene, just recently came out on Creative Sources, even if it was recorded at Digihippi Studio, Hod Hasharon (Israel) on June 2010. Besides the unconventional way of performing of both musicians and the audible influences from modal jazz and jewish music, the most amazing aspect of this release lies on dynamics: whenever it seems clarinet and double bass are having a dialogue, they manage to change register so that the first lines turn into controversy, bicker or excited musical storytelling. The bizarre hurly-burly within the specular melodic symmetry on "Twin Leaf", which looks like those sketches where comedians try to bamboozle their reflection on the mirror by sudden motions, the tumultuous pursuit on tonal scales on "Clear Run", the supposed hotchpotch of jingles on "Commercials (& Football Never Freedom)", the stumbling vacillations and the occasional wheezing on "Monkey Jam", the dragged alternation of melodies and countermelodies on the nice "Slow Trio", the crackling instrumental tally-ho on "Wood Knocks First" and all the other moments of this record sound like being a continuous preparation before their converence in the final long "Suite", when any lump in the throat of each instrument sounds like gradually resurface by means of rivulets of fragmented melodies.
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Artist: Maarten Van Der Vleuten (@)
Title: Are You Worthy?
Format: CD
Label: Tonefloat (@)
Rated: *****
There are three constant factors the industrious Dutch producer Maarten van der Vleuten cannot drop: acid house, a certain bend towards experimentation and (mainly Roland) drum machines. His "masked" superabundant musical production under a number of aliases, releases by glorious techno labels such as Apollo Records, Klang Elektronik, R&S sublabel Test Zone, Outrage Recordings, Djax-Up-Beats, Mighty Robot and ESP and partially reprised on his own imprint Signum Recordings, leant towards Detroit techno and acid house, but included many stylistical tricks and that interbreeding between kicking beats and sandpapered sounds which could be considered one of the possible forerunner of the so-called minimal techno (think about a crossbreed between 808 State and Carl Craig), while when he decided to sign his music by his real name, he moved towards a stronger stress on experimental factor, even though he doesn't abandon his primeval passion for house sounds through-and-through. It's not just a matter of bleaching and dosage, which could be explained by an artistic maturity, as he already signed a remarkable ambient-project called In-Existence in the first 90ies, but the interesting eclectism of "Are You Worthy?" supposedly lies on the intention of keeping on researching new sonic balances within the framework of known stylistical codes (a sort of self-awareness) and the crestfallen awareness that every fashion comes and goes, a kind of awareness which can be frequently experienced by contemporary artist due to the accelerated transience of vogue and the resulting feeling of "obsolescence" of the artist itself, as it seems to resurface from the occasional clues, such as the solipsistic odyssey of the lovely "Note To Self: Aye Aye, Bye Bye" (one of the most touching moment of the entire album) or the hazy post-industrial melancholy of "About Things Left Behind", coming after the initial title-track which sounds like a tuning of that above-mentioned "Self", its reawakening on an intriguing breeze of abstract tribalism for a painstaking examination, and before its temporary eruption on the hypnotic ambient-trance of "Shaped By The Sum Of Habits", which seems to be the peak of a temporary process of rejuvenation. The second part of the release unleashes sonic forces, which confutes and stops that process, but in a very immersive way: the murky speaking spectre (in close relation with the dwarf in a red suit and dress shirt from Twin Peaks?) and its inquiring warning on "Schau Hinein" and the inclement narrative voice of some poisoning super-ego on "Blutige Marie" precede the subtly fiendish drones and the haunting dilutions of "Distorted Soul, Awaken!" and the exhausted lullaby/atonement of 'Hold Me, Comfort Me, Embrace Me', which concludes this catchy inner musical journey.
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