Music Reviews



Nov 14 2010
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Artist: EMBRYONIK
Title: Psycho Disco
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Binalog Productions (@)
Distributor: Juno
Rated: *****
PSYCHO DISCO is the first release by Salonica's producer Embryonik, that after remixing D-rama and Akeli and composing music for a theatre production titled "Polygraph", land on Binalog Production with a disco robotic fun track. The EP contains the original tune plus five remixes. Embryonik composed is nice dance upbeat one with 80s and 90s influences with robotic inserts and fun lyrics against electronic music (which hasn't real instruments and it's called.... "Psycho disco"). A bit retro electro and a bit Daft Punk, the tune will convince you for sure. The first to remix the track is 80s Stallone and they turn it into a solid 4/4 dance anthem with classic dance atmospheres a la Moroder. Boyz From Tronn opted for a remix in balance from Egyptian Lover and Miami Vice (that is 80s anyway). Russian Adults go for dance with house influences with fun vocals samples (actually they recall the Russian choirs). Led prefer to distort the bass line and to go for a minimal approach turning the track into a retro gaming soundtrack. Jfdc remix is the one that convinced me less because it is based mainly on drums (those sounds remind me of my Boss drum machine I purchased on late 80s) plus the main bass lines and some variations. Basically it sounds like a bossanova electro tune. You can check the preview on Soundcloud (http://soundcloud.com/binalog/embryonik-psycho-disko-remixes-mini-teaser.
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Artist: EGIDA AUREA
Title: La Mia Piccola Guerra
Format: CD
Label: HR!SPQR (@)
Rated: *****
Thanks to Araxe Promotions I had the chance to see Egida Aurea live in Torino the last Saturday and I talked again to Diego Banchero about their first album released by HR!SPQR recently. LA MIA PICCOLA GUERRA ("My little war") tries to describe the feelings of the people who fought for their ideals, no matter if they where BR terrorists, Russian soldiers, men in exile, etc. We all know that in Italy with the birth of commercial television broadcasters in the early 80s something changed. During the end of the 60s and for all the 70s, movements of students and workers tried to change society, fighting for freedom of thought and action, against all the kind of slavery. Well, commercial television in conjunction with deviated branches of the state (secret services, free masonry) and the Vatican succeeded into stopping all that. With the spread of cocaine and repression all the movements lived hard days and we saw the birth of people interested only in money and look (like the yuppies or "paninari") thanks to brainwashing television shows. LA MIA PICCOLA GUERRA wants to support all the men who trust an ideal and are still trying to differ. Musically we have eight tracks inspired by folk and Italian singer-songwriters (they come from the same city of Fabrizio De Andre') where the accordion along with acoustic guitar, bass guitar and the passionate vocals of Carolina Cecchinato create now energetic and now dreamy atmospheres that you won't be able to ignore. Unfortunately the band use Italian language but I'm sure that the foreign audience will be able to catch the point because Egida Aurea put their heart into these recordings.
Artist: Abney Park (@)
Title: The End of Days
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Something Steampunk this way comes! Yeah, Steampunk kicked off as a fashion scene rooted in the Victorian Age sci-fi literature and it has been getting its musical form in the recent years. As long as my modest opinion is concerned the act that waves the Steampunk flag high among the contemporary musicians is Captain Robert's crew a.k.a. known as Abney Park. The Seattle based act has already obtained some serious underground following on the west side of Atlantic, unfortunately remaining rather anonymous in Europe. Or I'd rather say in the Old World.
According to the legend Abney Park's plane collided with a time-travelling dirigible ' the Ophelia. The survivors of the accident founded the band and decided to become spaceship pirates NOT under the command of captain Sparrow. The majority of the songs revolves around this theme and tells of the adventures and experiences of the crew. 'The End of Days' is an album mainly concerned with the post apocalyptic, nomadic future of mankind where humans are not the reigning species over the Earth any more. 'Fight or Flight' is a rather energetic and danceable number with lyrics telling of an outlaw's adventures. Or so I got it. 'Victorian Vigilante' could have been featured in some historic thriller movie, such as Sherlock Holmes and it has a jolly refrain to it. 'Beautiful Decline' is a beautiful ballad full of yearning, plus Jody's voice is especially mesmerizing. 'Space Cowboy' is not the song with lyrics like 'I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight talker', but has some Pulp Fiction OST feeling to it with some deep space sound.
Musically Abney Park offer melodies pleasant to your ear; clean male and female vocals and variety of musical influences and instruments (including exotic bazouki, darbuka; less exotic violin, trombone and banjo for instance). Among the musical influences and genres to be heard on the album you can find Balkan polka, American music of the 1930s and middle eastern motives just to name a few. There is almost no live drumming, except for the darbuka, but generally the band relies on 'real' instruments and not on electro gadgets, which gives the sound more soul. Every song sounds different than another because it has some special touch to it and still you noticed the thematic guidline running throughout the album.
There are only four (!) pages in the booklet, but you cannot be very demanding with artist who produce their CDs themselves and are responsible for the whole trouble way beyond the musical creative process and bearing all the costs of the projects. Yet I wish the lyrics were available if not in the booklet, then perhaps online. This album is also available on the AP's homepage in a download version same as most previous releases.
Abney Park is a totally interesting act for anybody into music of quality and sci-fi. It is an absolute must for any person wearing cog wheels, googles of brass on his/her hat or neck and such scene-related bells and whistles.
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Artist: John Zorn
Title: O'o
Format: CD
Label: Tzadik
Distributor: tzadik, Amazon, iTunes
Rated: *****
O'o brings us closer to Zorn's lighter side of jazz, accompanied by Marc Ribot, Jamie Saft (piano), Kenny Wollesen (vibes), Trevor Dunn (bass), Joe Baron (drums) and Cyro Battista on percussion. That personnel aside, its pure Zorn in terms of harmonies and melodic material.

Those who caught this group's other outings such as The Gift and The Dreamers will rejoice, as this is a nice compliment to the other albums. O'o has each musicians tasteful backing but supported by overall flawless musicianship, production and bird sounds. Its just solid and must be heard to be described for the effect. My choice tunes include Magdalena and Kakawahie.

Also worthy of note is the amazing graphic design by Chippy. A booklet of what must be 60 pages is included featuring hand sketched birds, each one looking like it was done by hand right in the booklet. A world class release from head to toe.
Artist: TONART ENSEMBLE & ERNESTO RODRIGUEZ
Title: Murmurìos Creative Sources
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
TonArt Ensemble is a collective of free improvising musicians founded in Hamburg in 1989 and they have collaborated with Evan Parker, Braxton, Fred Frith just to name a few. Ernesto Rodriguez, I think you know him for his many works on Creative Sources, after having being invited in Hamburg for a workshop, the collaboration with this ensemble took to this interesting result. We're speaking about a release featuring two long suites. The first moves slow but really dynamic, for example it amazed me how after some object falls on the ground the intensity suddenly flows away to slowly return on the "crime scene". Considering the ensemble features many bowed instruments as well as many horns you can imagine now and then the compositions really sounds. Approaching to the nineteenth minute horns start growing but as for the "fallen object" episode what follows is a new silent-phase. In this continual and gentle up and down alternation they never go for a real explosion. Differently from the previous chapter, the second episode starts with high pitched notes and other loud sounds, always really balanced but even if they silence after a while, the second composition is so full of this high pitched notes and even if sometimes it really go beyond the listenable limit I think this one is the most interesting of the two compositions. Low notes alternated with high notes, solo voices and coral working together in the same track and loud cyclical parts conquering the scene.
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