Music Reviews



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Artist: Noisy Pig (@)
Title: Impopsible
Format: CD
Label: Cochon Records
Distributor: Cargo
Rated: *****
Neither a parody of Christina Aguilera's "Impossible" nor a reprise of Figurine's IM-possible (even if some sonorities are close to that nice act from Berlin music scene), Impopsible could be considered as the official nomination by the Berlin base music performer Bernardo Santarelli aka Noisy Pig as head minstrel of the electro-pop to come. You could argue the inappropriate choice if you're asking yourself the reason why this lad decided to name himself referring to a pig instead of a rabbit (obviously a white and neurotic one), the famous character from Carroll's novel Alice In Wonderland you could immediately associate Bernardo's dressing up in the nice videoclip for the song "The Queen Of Hearts" you can find in the physical issue of this release, or a cat, the animal whose whore-mongering attitude could be easily associated to electro pop musicians beyond its reference in the track "Copy Cat". Well, I have no idea about the reason of such a choice; maybe it's 'cause you don't trash any part of the pig or maybe 'cause a white rabbit could be replaced by a noisy pig in Wonderland in the near future as rabbit's sexual incredible activity is somewhat piggy! What is important to us is the way this pig makes noise by combining electronic buzzes and refrains to playful melodies, twisted lyrics, toy sounds and catchy tunes, so that his sound looks like hooking a certain electro-punk attitude with that kind of unruly carefreeness some nostalgic listeners could have recognized in generational anthems such as The Cure's "Close To Me". A more hebephrenic touch has been added in the pretty Marklion (ex Dat Politics' founding member Vincent T) remix of The Queen of Hearts, whereas the computational nursery rhymes by Noisy Pig are imbued with a more trancey sauce, just like the final track of this EP, entitled "Noisy For Ever", whose childplay-like dress could cram your oneiric production with smiling killer teddy bears!
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Artist: TEICHMANN
Title: They Made Us Do It
Format: CD
Label: Festplatten
Rated: *****
Active in the last twelve years the Teichmann brothers Andi and Hannes were exposed to music by their father, the Jazz saxophonist Ullrich Teichmann, right from the early days. This teached them to have a different approach to music and convinced them to start in 2001 a cooperation with the composer/zither player Leopold Hurt, under the name "Teichmann Hurt". They recorded a soundtrack for the silent movie 'The Holy Mountain' (Arnold Fanck/1926) and became part of the 'DJ Machaut' project. Together with a classical vocal ensemble they did reworks of motets by French composer Guillaume de Machaut. Recently they were assigned by Goethe Institute to represent German electronic scene in numerous countries ' a journey which has taken them in the last years from Algeria, through China, South Africa, Kenya, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to Afghanistan. In all these countries Teichmanns were not only giving live- and DJ-performances, but also held workshops and actively sought out local art and music contacts and built networks. In the years they released different 12"s for Kompakt and an album titled "The Number Of The Beat" for Disko B in 2007. They released also different solo 12"s on own label Festplatten which now is releasing their newest album THEY MADE US DO IT. It contains thirteen new tracks where the brothers mix dance/minimal techno influenced by Chicago house and electro wtih to German psychedelic krautrock, ambient and classical music. The reuslt is a fresh melting pot full of ideas and good vibrations. In this adventure they had collaborators who helped them with vocals or else. The list is quite long. We have: Foremost Poets aka Johnny Dangerous (Nu Groove, Soundmen on Wax, New Jersey), Tijana T. (Abe Duque Records, Belgrade), Fran Bareth (Friends Electric, Buenos Aires), Sasha Perera (Jahcoozi, Berlin), Benni King (The Happy End, Berlin), Uli Teichmann (Regensburg), Rubber Inc (Sweetspot, Manila), Alois Späth (Collegium Vocale, RIAS Chor, Berlin), Leopold Hurt (Teichmann Hurt, Hamburg), Mathis Mayr (Ensemble Mosaik, Piano Possible, Munich) and Chloe Richardson (Berlin). Be ready for the sax improvisations mix with analogue sounds of the ten minutes long "The Faketory", the clarinet/percussions/bouncing synths of "Atari Funk" or the techno ambient percussions of "Automarsch". Check it out!
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Artist: Vincenzo Vasi (@)
Title: Braccio Elettrico
Format: CD
Label: Tremoloa Records
Distributor: Fasol Music
Rated: *****
One of Italy's most active and daring composers and performers, is the Bologna-based multi-instrumentalist Vincenzo Vasi. Possibly best known in his home country for being part of Vinicio Capossela's band, Vasi has played with far more important and far reaching artists worldwide (John Zorn, Mike Patton, Alex Gimignani, Butch Morris, Otomo Yoshihide, Roy Paci, Marc Ribot, Vinicius Cantuaria, Jacopo Andreini, Scott Rosenberg, Alvin Curran, Jamie Saft, Ikue Mori, Trevor Dunn, Joey Baron, Cyro Baptista, Lukas Ligeti just to mention a few). Vasi also plays bass and sings but on "Braccio Elettrico" (italian for "electric arm") he prominently and exclusively features his theremin skills, which are outright amazing!. One of the most precise and in-tune theremin players I've had the pleasure to know, Vasi offers a collection of his own compositions which are arrangements for solo or multiple theremins (up to six at a time). As you may imagine the vibe is eerie and ethereal throughout the entire record. The theremin is enchanting and conjures outer-worldly images of bewitching beauty and bewildering mind states. The black and white cut and paste collage of the art work and the diluted atmospheres permeated with mystery and nostalgia all make for a spellbinding trip through time and space that I encourage you to embark on. Except for a couple of songs where he also employs a looper, a magnetic microphone, an omnichord, a tape echo and his voice everything else is theremin only. Of the nine tunes present two are covers by John Carpenter and Neal Hefti/Count Basie. Alessandro "Asso" Stefana (guitar player in Capossela's band) co-produced this CD and put it out on his own label Tremoloa records.
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Artist: Der Maurer (@)
Title: Der Maurer Vol. 1
Format: CD
Label: Parade / Trovarobato
Rated: *****
Enrico Gabrielli is a well known italian composer & performer. The kind Italy has very very few of, unfortunately. He plays keys in two bands called Mariposa and Calibro 35 but is also an excellent wind instruments/reed player. He has played with Afterhours, Capossela, Marta Sui Tubi, Mike Patton and many many others.
In his side project Der Maurer (german for "the Masons"), Gabrielli pays homage to some great composers, such as Steve Reich, Louis Andriessen and Giovanni Gabrieli (unrelated) and offers one of his very own compositions as well. A very reed-heavy collection of songs, Gabrielli manages to give compositions that are as old as 1597 a "new music" luster that is in many ways very familiar to the NY downtown scene. The opening 11 minute 1985 Reich composition is a fragmented and heavily multi-layer orchestration of clarinet lines that intertwine and interact subtly echoing Glass and Riley or even Jeremiah Cymerman's all-clarinet record from a few years back. Gabrieli's 1597 work sounds decidedly more European and although I wasn't familiar with this composer before, it sounds like the kind of piece that would have been written for a harpsichord and a baroque court, but is here offered in a rendition that features voices, clarinets and saxophone. Enrico Garbrielli's very own composition also features a number of reeds but brings in organ, wurlitzer, piano and clavinet. The closing 1975 Andriessen piece for clavinet, wurlitzer, sax and drums is the most bombastic and stochastic and relentlessly hammers away for 15 minutes evolving, constructing and deconstructing into an intense avantgarde climax of staccato notes played with the precision of a machine and the subtleties of a human!
The CD comes in a cardboard folding package with a poster inside in which the composer invites us to "unload free cement for modern sound buildings".
This is a prime example of new classical music that pushes the boundaries by taking the old and re-penning it for this day and age. As you might imagine this is definitely not an easy listening record, but Enrico Gabrielli's sophistication and background is way ahead of most of his local contemporaries and he should therefore be followed closely.
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Artist: Vresnit (@)
Title: Seed Solar
Format: CD
Label: Vetvei (@)
Distributor: Vetvei
Rated: *****
'Seed Solar' is Vresnit's 6th album on the Vetvie label and he gets a little help from Kshatriy, Hladna and Neznamo on this one. If you're familiar at all with Vresnit, you sort of know what to expect, but every Vetvie release I've come across has been a little different in subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways. 'Seed Solar' is four tracks ranging from a little over 8 minutes to a little over 24 minutes in length. "Preobrazhenie" begins with chirping birds and ominous drones in the background. A ways into the piece things evolve when a very basic tapping rhythm emerges along with bursts of white noise and other sonic elements that include some brief spoken word (Russian) and electronic squiggles. That's pretty much the piece.

"Zerno Sfera," the aforementioned 24 minute track, begins with a repeated (radio?) sample of some innocuous Russian music accompanied by a spoken phrase repeated in Russian. Tinkling windchimes (singing bowls really), drones and hallucinatory echoed electronic elements emerge growing in intensity and take over the piece fairly forcefully. Then out of nowhere there is a female voice singing some traditional Russian folk melody, an odd soothing contrast to the psychical storm of the swelling, ringing drones. This too morphs into something huge and unworldly and gradually subsides into an atmosphere cosmic and primeval, unfathomable in its evolution. It is as if you were witnessing the genesis of a newly formed planet sped up. Great and terrifying things happen within this opus and it is only limited by your imagination. There is an elongated 'come down' to the end somewhat mirroring the psychedelic experience too.

"Veda-Tanec" employs a simple looped rhythm that sounds a bit industrial, like an alien assembly line. More drones of both higher and lower frequencies are added and the higher timbres become flutey along with windchime like tinkling. After a long while the rhythmic loop fades, then the drones, leaving the tinkling sounds and flutes. The tinkling remains to the end after the flutes depart. That's it for this one.

Closing the album is "Zashitnyj Svet", a collaboration with Kshatriy that takes ambient noise to a new level. There is an ineffable vastness here that defies description, and yet there are slow moving modulated tones in the background that resemble some kind interstellar music. All too quickly it ends, at 8:10, the shortest piece on the album.
This kind of soundscape is assuredly not for everyone, but for those who can't get enough deep space in their ambient music, 'Seed Solar' is definitely for you. As usual, the disc comes in a provocative six-panel cover designed by Vresnit (Ilchuk Sergey) the guy responsible for making this all happen.
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