Music Reviews



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Artist: Doppelgänger
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Buh Records (@)
Rated: *****
Efrén Castillo and Giancarlo Rebagliatti is the duo behind Doppelgänger, a musical project between psychedelia and punk. Despite his cover, a bloody Mickey Mouse with a knife covered in blood, this album is less an hardcore punk album than a dark psychedelic rock album. Oddly enough there's a real connection with punk: this album is recorded in lo-fi and, this is a real add-on to the overall sound.
The longest (almost one quarter of the overall length of this album) track "Whatorik" opens this record and states that guitar, with an impressive use of effects, is the leading force of this album. The sound is dry, compressed, unclean and basic with no room with any sound esthetic other than the love for 78 rpm sound. "Pre ritual" is a noise miniature opening for ritual, a repetitive (or ritualistic) drum and guitar mess after a shoegaze garage intro. "Frash back 7" is a mesmerizing track made out of guitar feedback and a drum lines driven by cymbals giving light to the darkness of the other instruments. "Humanoide nueva" is a punk song with the use of vocals and heavy use of reversed tape. "Fin del fin" add to this formula the use of some other effects opening for the last two track "inicio" and "fin" more doomely influenced by dark wave.
This is not a simple record, but is written with a real knowledge of the dynamics of this type music. Nice.
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Artist: Offthesky
Title: The Beautiful Nowhere
Format: CD
Label: Hibernate (@)
Rated: *****
Can an anaesthetic drug reawaken from a prolonged catalepsy? Contrary to what medical science asserts, the answer is yes, especially when the giver of such a musical medicine is a talented one such as the American (from Kentucky) composer Jason Corder aka Offthesky, who intertwines translucent acoustic pearls which are able to carry the listener away in a daydreaming state so that enlighting his emotional inner world. Falling into some reverie while listening to Offthesky's guitar-driven melodic dilatations which are often emphasized by lovely chimes, distant whistles, dull percussive hits, amplified cellos, kalimba tolls and other instrumental sketches, turning up like invisibly dynamic details of a static landscape picture, whose intimist eagerness sounds amplified by some intermittent and caressing Jason's vocalizations, is quite easy, but the intense emotional charge of many pieces of this whirling sonic maze could cause some palpitations of your heart even if some moments are steeped with a vague sense of melancholy and solipsism, which are easy to be imbibed by listener's consciousness. While listening to The Beautiful Nowhere (this is the title of this new issue signed by offthesky) I got literally dazzled by the cold luminescence of many tracks such as the impressive Whittling You Little Lights (my favorite one), the solitary little poems of Daydream Tarnation or Waiting To Fade (another light nocturnal track I enjoyed listen repeatedly) or the dream-injecting chirpings of Now We're Nowhere, whereas musical memories such as Stars Of The Lid, Eluvium or Labradford could reoccur. Beauty could be not easy to be precisely located as the title seems to suggest, especially when it's so widespread!
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Artist: Piemont (@)
Title: Sand Hills Remixes
Format: 12"
Label: Suchtreflex (@)
Rated: *****
As a consequence of their stylistical decision to shift their musical loads from agit-prop-like grunde to electronic dance music, many reviewers argued Piemont's Sand Hills maybe ushered in a new season for minimal techno, even they prefer to say the mutation fo their style was almost automatic, as it belongs to the tectonic plates' movement between indierock and idm, whereas some rocks easily crumbled into dancehalls. The acclamation they mainly received from dancing audiences for their fuzzy live-sets and from music press who understood the real value of their balanced sound dosage appears to be confirmed by this nice release, available on mp3 and vynil, issued by Suchtreflex and supported by many notorious lights of techno star-let such as Laurent Garnier, Chris Wood and Gregor Tresher, which contains four nice dance-oriented remixes (plus two other ones if you opted for digital download), a logical step after Piemont's choice of assembling a kind of techno, whose harmonics made it appreciable not only on firing dance halls but also on listener's sofa. I particularly enjoyed the remix of Run Down by the Italian producer Hugo (it's just a coincidence his studio is located in Turin, the administrative centre of Northern Italy's region called Piemont!), who decanted some jazzy trumpet slices into his elating deep house according to a sort of musical osmosis he already proposed in his album "The Sloop and the Siren" on Jay Haze's label Tuning Spork. The mentioned Jay Haze itself, quite known for his philantropic attitude as he raised some money for important causes (including the disgusting phenomenon of child abuse during the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the devastating Asian tsunami in 2004), signs the "Jay Haze For Palestine" remix of With Small Pupils, a more bumpey version of the original, whereas childish vocal samples and sounds reminding a boat in the act of werighing off for a new harbour (!) are perfectly balanced. I've noticed no particularly deforming warp on Instead Of Multiple's remix by the Spanish producer Uner (better this way!), while Philipp aka Sante' flambes the track Self Of Sense with many recipes, which are going to espouse the tastes of many Ibiza frequent visitors! The bonus remixes on digital version, the rhythmically rumbling one of A Bound Of Passivity by Re:You and the vortical crunchy plaything the French producer Lowris made from Try To Read The Numbers - my personal favorite one! -, are very easygoing tunes as well. Nice stuff.
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anymore
Artist: Achenar
Title: Super Death Explosion Kittens
Format: CD
Label: Earthen Records
Rated: *****
Achenar's sophomore effort, the aptly titled 'Super Death Explosion Kittens,' is precision aural assault right from the onslaught. The intro 'Arise, Minions' commands you do exactly that. At a mere 44 seconds, you only barely get to immerse yourself in the tune before the rest of the disc comes bashing you over the head with its industrial-death-breakcore brutality. Most of the songs here at 'first glance' seem almost to have little apparent rhyme or reason other than to bruise the eardrums, but listening even the tiniest bit deeper shows exactly how meticulously and painstakingly crafted this release truly is. Every nuance has been carefully planned and executed with perfection. Some of this can be proven by watching sole member Duncan Hemingway's Renoise Video Blog which chronicles certain aspects of the creation of this EP (which was done entirely in Renoise) in detail, describing how he careful orchestrated the 'live but humanly impossible' sound to his drums, how he created melodic noise textures from a fraction of a vocal sample or how he essentially converts his own aural perception into audio effects and many other unorthodox yet intriguing topics. I originally saw these videos when I was learning Renoise myself so I can say with certainty that they are extremely informative and effective.

'Super Death Explosion Kittens' (aside from having quite possibly the BEST title of any CD ever) proves to be a sonic thrill ride throughout. From the intro; to 'Liberation,' the fantasy inspired segue into the second half; to the destructive beauty of 'Born into Steam' this disc doesn't disappoint, not even for a second. It isn't exactly for the faint of heart, but once you've crossed over into the battleground of Achenar, you'll never look back.
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Artist: Wolfuneral (@)
Title: Night\'s Symphonies
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
At first glance, when I saw the layout my first thoughts were that this album would be something into Doom Black Metal or the related, however the situation differs a lot.

Wolfuneral is a solo project owned by Stefano Gagliarducci from Roma, Italy and so far he presented his 9 track (total time: 58 minutes) debut release entitled 'Night's Symphonies', which was actually release back in 2010. The main genre behind (unlike my first impressions on the layout) is a cross between Orchestral and Symphonic Music with occasional hints of Gothic, Neo-Classical music and on rare instances distorted parts. I am more than sure that those who favor these 'sweet' pleasant styles would find this album mostly enjoyable.

All in all these 9 compositions are engulfed in gloom, melancholy and especially romanticism that gives quite an 'epic' sensation on the whole album especially the agitating strings, pizzicato and violins. Moreover I cannot exclude mentioning the element of coldness and the sense of both solitude and nostalgia emitted from most of the songs. Not the whole album is based solely on symphonic orchestrations. For instance the song entitled 'Out of the Dark' is based mainly on Pianos and distant atmospheres; whereas the track entitled 'Lucifer' is filled with ambiance, screechy distant whispers/voices and disturbing haunting sounds typically found in old fashioned horror movies. This debut effort reminds me of bands/projects like Nox Arcana, Elend, plus a bit of Profanum (pl) and Professor Fate (uk) in which means that listeners of Nox Arcana would probably value Wolfuneral.

From a critical point of view the drawbacks are monotony and arrangement. Some of the songs tend to be predictable and repetitive. Although the arrangement is quite satisfactory, some parts definitely need improvement for instance the occasional drumming which sounds a bit too loud and raw! Finally the worst thing I have to point out is about the first track entitled 'Over the Skies', which is unfortunately the worst in the album. Its introduction is quite beautiful (ambiance, vibrating strings and peaceful orchestrations) but the timpani sound somehow too loud. Moreover the more time passes by the more it become worse since the additional orchestrations aren't ear friendly at all enough to say that harmony is lacking. At least the rest of the album is a stepping milestone compared to the introductory track.

Having said that, one cannot deny that the author have splendid ideas. Overall this is a quality start for Wolfuneral, and considering the fact that 'Night's Symphonies' is a debut release, and judging its caliber I can say that the next work will be a stepping mile-head (of course if to include the adjustments in the arrangements).


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