Music Reviews



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Artist: LEVANT
Title: Beyond the Masque of Eden
Format: CD
Label: Dead Scarlet Records (@)
Rated: *****
LeVant is a project where is involved the Romanian composer and producer George D. Stanciulescu best known for his dark orchestral act Ad Ombra, band with at their active two albums on Rage In Eden. Released by the Greek label Dead Scarlet Records, BEYOND THE MASQUE OF EDEN contains eleven new tracks which musically span from neo-classical, dark wave and electronic music where dramatic atmospheres find their counterpart into upbeat dance rhythms and lyrically it has excerpts of poems by R.M. Rilke, E.A. Poe, D. Campana, M. Eminescu. Collaborating with three soprano (Alexandra Damian, Ilinca Olteanu and Maria Paduraru) and with Mihai Mhalu on guitars, George recorded the tracks alternating rich electronic sounds with guitar solos to piano and orchestra driven parts. Doing so, he succeeded into creating an album where the cinematic atmospheres are able to fascinate the listener. Also the choir and the soprano solos help a lot into creating the mysterious ambiance which is present overall the whole album.
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Artist: Antonio Trinchera (@)
Title: Voce Falena
Format: CD
Label: Psychonavigation Records (@)
Distributor: Darla (USA), Arabesque (UK), AME (Ire)
Rated: *****
I met Antonio Trinchera many many moons ago, in Southern Italy in the mid '90es, and I never forgot his name because he was one of the more interesting artists in his area, one of those cats who push the boundaries and move beyond what everyone else is doing. As with a lot of people from that time and those places, I've completely lost track of him and his musical endeavors until recently I randomly came across his music on the web and got back in touch with him again. Unsurprisingly (or not) he has continued to make music and just released this new record on Irish label Psychonavigation records.
"Voce Falena" is eleven tracks of blissful and ethereal ambient music with plenty of diluted and floaty soundscapes, some chill downtempo beats and even occasional bursts of new jazz/fusion (his background shows) and some intimate piano moments. These beautiful atmospheres are occasionally enriched by lively beats and more soloistic guitar playing.
At first it all comes off as enchanting and worry-free and maybe at best unintentionally vaguely troubled... It just so happens that Trinchera's approach is much more disenchanted and draws inspiration from the slow and steady loss of rights and freedoms across nations. Inspired by a trip to Egypt before Egypt was in the turmoil it is now, he observed the absence of certain freedoms that most of us grew up taking for granted and reflected on what might happen to the rest of us if we allowed those freedoms to continuously be tested, weakened and thinned out by those who are in power.
Unfortunately Trinchera missed the chance of explaining his thought process to everyone else and so, sadly, those who listen to this CD and don't know him or haven't read this review will see songs titled "Egypt", "Sevilla", "Cantus Paris" and might think that it's some kind of new age travel CD. Obviously there is a lot more to this than meets the eye, so go ahead and explore for yourself. It is worth your time!
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Artist: Fires Were Shot
Title: Awakened by a Lonely Feud
Format: CD
Label: Quiet Design (@)
Rated: *****
Austin-based duo Clay Walton and John Wilkins have been making music together as Fires Were Shot since 1998 and, if as it is said, they use little more than their acoustic guitars and some pedals, the heterogeneousness of their sonic palette truly is impressive. The duo quietly and unceremoniously strums along creating relaxing and almost trance-inducing soundscapes loosely structured around loops of themselves and smeared with thick layers of lush reverbs, sometimes long delays, and other eerie unidentified ambiance or background noise. Engulfing, ethereal and definitely a bit noir, their sound is simple yet powerful and mysterious. "Awakened by a Lonely Feud" collects eleven pieces, which are like small vignettes, openings or windows into a state of mind that can be yours or might have been theirs when they played this music. At times their approach reminds me a bit of a stripped down and more minimalistic version of Lycia, but they also could be compared to Brian Eno's quietest records (think "Apollo") or some of Steve Reich's or Terry Riley's more loopey and droney chapters.
"Awakened by a Lonely Feud" comes 7 years after "Solace" was released on Asphodel rec and is available as a CD, a 150-gram double vinyl LP and an mp3 download from their new (also) Austin based label Quiet Design's website.
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Artist: Sid Le Rock (@)
Title: Gentlemen's Intermission
Format: 12"
Label: Shitkatapult (@)
Distributor: Zero-inch
Rated: *****
Well-polished black suit, soft velvet overcoat, old fashioned top hat in Dickensian style, glossy silver spectacles and pewter headed walking cane, which can be turned into a sextant or a telescope ready for the intermission the gentleman portrayed by the talented Canadian producer Sid Le Rock (co-founder of Beachcoma record label also known as Pan/Tone and Gringo Grinder, signed under T.Raumschmiere and Daniel Meteo's Shitkatapult squadron in July 2010 with the superb release Tout Va Bien) in this poshly amazing release is getting aware about. The first track, Devil's Night, abruptly pushes on bumpy beats, spacey foggy sounds and eruptive hats before some sinister bells enter into the stage in order to draw a swirling 7-minute lasting smooth techno mantra, reminding to my musical memories some pieces by Stewart Walker filled with minimal techno squarings. The perfect warming up piece is the remix of Made For You (previously appearing on the above-mentioned Tout Va Bien) by Thomas Brinkmann aka Soul Center, who is able to rearrange that tune imbueing it with warm sense of vacuousness and cramming with beats that sound like fluctuating like jellyfishes in a phosphorescent pool. The most touching track which completes this gentleman's portrait is Hello Gorgeous, an astonishing and engaging hybridization of indie rock, melancholic glaze and that day-dreaming pop frosting, which doesn't corrupt the general feeling of the tune. A nice musical bauble who sounds like a futuristic reminescence about the bygone days. Definitively appropriate for gentlemen!
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Artist: Ich Niente (@)
Title: Incerchio
Format: CD
Label: Bosco rec (@)
Rated: *****
Ich Niente ("Ich" is german for "I" and "Niente" is italian for "Nothing") is a collaboration of Mirco Rizzi and Daniele Brusaschetto and "Incerchio" is their second album together (after 2004's "Ri_Tagli").
The two long time guitar players improvise for over half hour and go straight to tape (first take) using effects and other pedals as well as different playing technique (bowing, picking, plucking...). As you might expect from an improvised record there is a lot of noodeling and the two players interact but often go off on their own tangents more than you might wish for. Some pieces are a bit more structured and others are purely vamps or individual rubatos.
The record opens on a dark note and although it takes on different shapes and colors throughout its duration, both guitars seem to want to retain a certain lo-finess to their sound and yet do manage to become a bit more solar form time to time. One of the musicians even sits down at a seemingly un-miced drum set at one point on the last song.
They definitely draw from a vast array of musical influences from noise-rock to jazz. Reverb is their allie and freeform is their playground. Some tracks are as short as 26 seconds and the opener is more than 10 minutes long. For clarity and spatial results the two guitars are mostly panned almost hard left and hard right but you can't always tell who's who.
The record really comes off as a live recording, which it is in a sense, but it's almost missing the applause of the crowd.
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