Music Reviews



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Artist: Hirsute Pursuit (@)
Title: Tighten That Muscle Ring
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
The presence of notorious, appreciated and defiant American sound artist Boyd Rice on three tracks (including the initial snappy cover version of David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging", a song which was very successfull in a period when British middle-class conformism was one of the favorite target of many pop singers) of this second explicit act by Hirsute Pursuit, straight gay music project by Harley Phoenix and Bryin Dall, brought his definition of "unpop" to my mind. Referred to the artistic movement Boyd Rice co-founded with Brian Clark and Shaun Partridge, the adjective 'unpop' could be sticked on every cultural product based on "the application of pop aesthetics, stylings, or techniques to unpopular, unpleasant, repressed or otherwise censored ideas" and "Tighten That Muscle Ring" could be tight to that definition alike. The inclusion of recordings of whimperings, orgasms and other copulatory sounds as well as the use of straight and sleazy language cannot be considered innovative, but their integration on pretty conventional musical structures - many cues from trip-hop, break house and rock have been mainly revised...and most of them sounds so good (definitively better than a plenty of wacky stuff, born from marketing experts' mind, which sounded really offensive against gay people), particularly when they blend sleazy downbeat sounds and trip-hop stepping together like in "Daddy Bear" "You're Here To Pleasure Me" or contextualizethe sound within a set like in the sloppy and sad accordion-driven "One Sleazy Night In New Orleans", co-performed by Peter Martin Christopherson - famous founding memeber of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV -, that they gained an astonishing circulation before an official release without advertising or promotional campaign with more than 140000 plays on myspace - looks like follow footsteps of similar showy transplants on "pop body" and hooplas such as "Je T'Aime, Moi Non Plus" by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin or Rod McKuen's "Slide...Easy In". If you're excessively susceptible to male nudity, just close your eyes when taking cd out of its digipak sleeve. If I say there are some puckered sheets printed on it, you should guess what you are going to find below it.
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Artist: Hakobune (@)
Title: All The Other Hearts I Knew
Format: CD
Label: Rural Colours (@)
Rated: *****
The cover painting with simple rolling lines and delicate pastel colours by Migiwa "Miggy" Shimizu is a guessed graphical abstract of the sound by Hyogo-based Hakobune aka Takahiro Yorifuji, whose airy sound in this pretty (very limited) release issued by Rural Colours, sister label of Hibernate, lends itself to blissful moments of intimate contemplation. Mild and relaxed atmospheres, based on over-stretched guitar sounds with electronic rising agents, graceful trembling, gradually acquires a virginal whiteness: the two parts of both tracks "All The Other Hearts I Know" and "Blackland Prairie" (a little more exstatic than the first movement) seems to follow the same progression as the waves of the first parts become brighter in the second ones and its intrinsic corale-like facet sounds like glimmering and enshrouding, so that it seems the sonic waves gush over a ravishment in front of a dramatic scenery. The in-between entrancing "Interlude", which acts a divide between the two parts of the two tracks of the record, sounds like an imaginary reprise of Burial's "Forgive" or "Endorphin" by Stars of The Lid. A lovely record to make listener's thoughts fluffier, which is going to make your mind float!
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anymore
Artist: LektroiD (@)
Title: Electro - Funk Selection
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: LEK-Productions (@)
Distributor: bandcamp
Rated: *****
Richard Elliott aka LektroiD, has been producing electro for more than two decades. That, of course, becomes evident through the nine tracks of his latest release 'ELECTRO-FUNK SELECTION'.
Starting off with 'Eta Carinae', the track slowly builds up, diving into a deep space of filtered melodies leading to the second track 'Hydra'. An extraordinary track with classic electro beats, engaging chord progressions and climaxing lead melodies. 'Harmonix', the third track, offers darker edgy synth bursts with a driving resonant bassline. The fourth track is a remix of 'Solar Storm'. An irresistible mix of dirty basslines and fast beats with warm dramatic synth leads. 'Welcome To The Future (Original Instrumental)' is the next track where we see an impressive electro sonic exploration with thumping beats and a thunderous bassline. 'Twice as nice', is yet another special track. One of those tracks that with its captivating melodies and chord progressions leave a feeling of euphoria to the listener, and is, appropriately, followed by the mellower track 'Dreams (featuring Bryoney Love)' where the lush pads and ethereal vocals manage to push all the right buttons. 'Demolition Block' starts off with a mellow vibe and builds up to a beautiful - full on 4/4 beat - electronic track, while maintaining its original 'delicate' vibes. Moving on, the last track 'Lightspeed II', with fast electro beats, sweeping pads and a memorable lead sequence, is a great a way to end this album. There is also a bonus, hidden track 'Moving Out', a banging ten minute 'live jam' session, guaranteed to satisfy all the electro-heads.
From a more 'technical' point of view, the album is immaculately produced. All the tracks are very carefully constructed/arranged and mixed. The beat programming is excellent and it is obvious that there's a lot of thought/work/artistry behind each track. One thing is for sure. LektroiD, manages to breathe life into his robots.
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Artist: Dan Warburton & If, Bwana
Title: I am Sitting in Phill Niblock's Kitchen
Format: CD
Label: Monotype Records (@)
Rated: *****
Dan Warburton and Al Margolis, also known as 'If, Bwana' have come together on 'I am Sitting in Phill Niblock's Kitchen' (which surprisingly has several valid meanings for such an odd title). This single, nearly forty five minute piece was crafted specifically for a live collaboration that the two were scheduled to perform. To prepare for this, Warburton took all of his Margolis/If, Bwana records and time stretched them all to precisely forty five minutes long, which was their estimated performance length. This essentially yielded nearly 100 tracks, which he was then able to piece together into a single, cohesive track, which he then gave to Margolis to finalize a mix. This took place in a kitchen owned by one Phill Niblock. Recording and mixing in all of the surrounding ambiences, passing traffic, etc. as the track was played back, they finally had a 'finished' product which would serve as the backdrop for their live improvisations.

The piece we've been presented with here, is a stoic soundscape, slowly changing, evolving over time. It's difficult to put such work into words, as it is much more a visual, visceral experience. It's one to listen to in the dark (or dim), close your eyes and just let it draw you in. From drones, to airy ambience to field recordings, to the occasional sharpness'æ The records starts with almost the exact same tones as it ends, so it could also be played on repeat rather seamlessly, which you just might want to do. The end result of Dan Warburton and If, Bwana's work together is definitely not to be missed and if you're like me, you just may find it to be a springboard into both of their back catalogues as well.
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anymore
Artist: Psy'Aviah
Title: Introspection ~ Extrospection
Format: CD
Label: Alfa-Matrix (@)
Rated: *****
'Introspection ~ Extrospection' is the latest release by Belgium's Psy'Aviah. Despite having an overall milder sound than 2010's 'Eclectric,' right out of the box, this record throws some hard industrial right at you. Very modern in sound and production, but has a distinctly vintage industrial feel to certain elements, i.e. the vocoders, distorted, screamed vocals, and throbbing, four on the floor beat coupled with a thick, buzzing bass. The song is 'SOS Overdose' and it is a great opening track, and if you've gotten the limited edition 2CD (the 2nd disc being referred to as 'Retrospection') then you'll eventually be treated to a Leæther Strip cover of this song, which is, needless to say, also quite the listen.

From the harder edge of the opener, we make our way through a variety of sounds and styles and feels. Most of the rest of the album has female vocals as opposed to those harsh male vox on the onslaught. These smooth, sensual vocals weave and slither their way through more plenty more industrial, though more often than not, a much more pop oriented version. The harder edge of that first piece softens considerably for several songs, some of which seem to have an almost industrial-reggae feel to them, an odd, but surprisingly successful fusion.

Through industrial dance pop, to that industrial-reggae, to high energy dance anthems and even a pseudo lullaby this album is pretty solid from front to back. The only possible misstep, is 'Nouveau Quiche,' a very reasonable song, dotted with lackluster guest rap verses, and even opens with an obligatory 'Roll out the red carpet!' sample. It's not just the simple fact that the rap is quite out of place on the record, but its just rather drab all around. That being said, the choruses are quite nice and again the music itself is fine.

Overall Psy'Aviah cross a lot of boundaries while maintaining that core industrial sound yet with serious pop sensibilities. Great for a night at the club, great for dimly lit night at home.
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