Music Reviews



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Artist: Kammerflimmer Kollektief
Title: Teufelskamin
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Staubgold
Rated: *****
"Teufelskamin" ("Devils Chimney" in english) is Kammerflimmer Kollektief's ninth album (sixth on the german label Staubgold). Although a follow up to the trio's best offering so far (last year's "Wildling") and thus a work of great expectations, this long player deserves nothing less than flattering comments, as it features 10 carefully crafted pieces of KK's hybrid sound, a sound that ranges from free-jazz, psychedelic and post-krautrock to neo-folk, ambient and experimental electronica. Starting with the dreamy "Coricidin Boogie", in which the reverbed guitars of Thomas Weber (founder of the group) are blended perfectly with the ethereal vocals of Heike Aumuller, "Teufelskamin" continues in calm waters with the percussive beauty of "Never Collapse, Always Dazzle!", to unleash tension on the excellent improvisational "Teufelskamin Jam#1", a 10+ minutes glitchy track, in which Heike's keys and Thomas' guitars and loops become one, creating spooky soundcapes of a unique organic feel. "Shangrila" could be a wonderful pop song if it wasn't surprisingly... short (1:43!). "Soft Machine" is dominated by Johannes Frisch's bass and it is very atmospheric, like "A Different Karmic Thermat", a melancholic piece of pop (and one of my favourites in this record). "Teufelskamin Jam#2" is weird and stressful, being a free jazz improvisation, while the instrumental "Nearly Able To Fly" is a fine example of experimental ambience with jazzy touches. On "New Ghosts" the trio's flirting with noise, as Thomas drops high doses of abstract electric guitar and Heike's singing sounds at places like a female... Johnny Lydon. The album concludes with a short tweaked lounge track with the significant title "The People United Will Never Be Defeated".
Kammerflimmer Kollektief have cooked (with a little touch by the devil himself?!) a really great album which grows and grows with every listen. Highly recommended not only to the fans of Can, Robert Wyatt or early Pink Floyd (some obvious references), but to everyone who has lust for real music, made by real instruments by real people. Available also on vinyl, go grab it in your prefered format.
Sep 28 2011
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Artist: LOU TETI
Title: Love It
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
With different releases on the Tigers On A Leash label, Lou Teti is on Mullet Records for the first time and he picked up LOVE IT to surprise Mullet's fans. LOVE IT is a great lush and sensual song with a good beat. The original version is here in three versions: "Radio Edit", "Original Maxi Length Version" and "Original Maxi Instrumental Version". On these versions you'll be able to appreciate the funky rhythm, the bouncy bass, the cool melodies and that synth that sounds like a spacey rhodes which is spreading all its catchy vibes out there. Also the warm vocals are working damn good and the whole result is a killer track. Dublin Aunts have been called to remix the tune and they made of it a dancey song with 4/4 hard beats, funky bass line and choruses. Tad Wily remix is closing the release with another dance remix based on a rich rhythmic section plus vocoder filtered vocals. Nice single!
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Artist: Aardvarck
Title: Anti Concept
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Eat Concrete (@)
Distributor: Rush Hour Records
Rated: *****
Mike Kivits (aka Aardvarck) is not a newcomer in the electronic music scene. Starting in the mid-80s as a dj, he went to become a producer by the early 90s and, since then, he never stopped to explore the many aspects of the electronic spectrum. Having released stuff on various labels (Rush Hour Recordings, Delsin, Bloom etc.) Mike seems to have found a more permanent home on the excellent dutch label Eat Concrete, at least the last couple of years.
"Anti Concept" is Aardvarck's 3rd full length album for EC and, believe me, it is exactly what its title stands for: a release that defies genres and categorizations. Mike's sound is ranging from deep ambient soundscapes and drones, to dub, techno, abstract funk and hip-hop vibes, with references even to classical music (on the beautiful "Hope Not Dope"), experimental fusion ("Sandor Vs Pig Talk Beat" blends church organ with what seems to be a sampled... go-go beat!) and ethnic (like on "Afrika Slang" and "Arvo Snake"). Of course in a... 27 tracks album (especially of so many sonic orientations) it's very hard not to come across some fillers and "Anti Concept" is no exception. I listened to the cd 4-5 times and i must confess that, from the 2nd listen, i caught myself skipping (thankfully only a few pointless or annoying) tracks. However the whole result is very interesting, there are some real gems in this album (personally i'm really hooked on the ambient tracks), the choice of the (unpredictable) samples is genius at places and the mastering (credited to Sandor Caron) is flawless. Plus that the artwork is great and there's also a fine limited edition white vinyl EP, including 9 tracks, that works as a sampler of the album (side a showcases Mike's soundscapes, while side b focuses on his more dancefloor oriented stuff). Oh, of course it's also available on your favourite digital outlets.
Nice release by a top quality label.
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Artist: Hlandna & Vresnit (@)
Title: Inej Senju Kornej
Format: CD
Label: Vetvei (@)
Distributor: Vetvei
Rated: *****
This is the first of a bunch of CDs I have to review from the Russian Vetvei label, and all the info I have on them is directly from the label's website which fortunately has an English version. From what I can tell Vetvei deals in experimental ambient and dark ambient exclusively. 'Inej Senju Kornej' is the first part of a collaboration between Nicolay Kalmykov (Hladna) and Sergey Ilchuk (Vresnit) recorded in the remote village of Jarogora in January of 2010. I imagine things are pretty bleak in Jarogora in the winter if this CD is any indication. The music is very obviously deep, dark ambient, and even the presence of the occasional handbells gives the impression of a sleigh being buried under an avalanche of lethal snow. I suppose the handbells have some mystical import; perhaps a ritualistic device to summon frozen spirits, but even their tinkling is foreboding.

The three tracks clock in at a little over 49 minutes total, and begin with the deep, ominous drone of 'Siyanija Inej'. Other subtle echoed elements (the tinkling little bells) in higher timbres give the piece character. Although primarily minimalisitic, there is a good amount of complexity in Hladna & Vresnit's drone scheme accompanied by ringing tones and other elongated sonic elements. 'Senju Leskr' is somewhat of a respite from the heaviness of the two tracks it is sandwiched in-between, with manipulated field recordings, processed flutes and jew's harp and perhaps the vocal moaning of the Veela. This is the most overtly active piece on the album. It is eerie and unsettling to say the least, but not unwelcome. 'Neba Kornej' is third and final piece, and also the longest at nearly 25 minutes. It takes some time to build into a dense atmosphere of vast barreness and surreal space, but it gets there, and when you arrive, you realize just how awesome it is. It's sort of like trying to describe the Grand Canyon, if it were in the Russian Far East. Simply amazing!

I've always thought Russians might someday be capable of creating some of the best dark ambient music on the planet, and from what I'm hearing on Hlandna & Vresnit's 'Inej Senju Kornej,' it appears as though I'm right. Between the environment of the land and the artistic temperament of experimental Russian composers (they're very serious you know, except maybe when drinking with friends) it's a perfect combination. I'd strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys Lustmord style dark ambient, as it is probably the best comparison. Very cool cover design by Vresnit too. As my first introduction to the Vetvei label, this is a really good one.
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Artist: Obsil (@)
Title: Vicino
Format: CD
Label: Psychonavigation (@)
Distributor: Psychonavigation
Rated: *****
'Vicino' is Italian electronic music composer Giulio Aldinucci's third album under the name Obsil, and from the one-sheet that accompanied the CD, in a similar vein to his previous works. It has been compared to the work of Japan's Susumu Yokota and Austrian guitarist/composer Fennesz, but as I am unfamiliar with them I can only give you my impressions. 'Vicino' is a brief album with nine tracks clocking in at only 36 ½ minutes but it quite an interesting excursion. Beginning with what sounds like a collage from the toy chest from a variety of vintage windup toys, xylophones and thumb-piano kind of things, sweet string lines and maybe a muted oboe wave throughout giving an impression of childhood nostalgia and wonder. This carries over to the next track ('A Smile in Summer') where the sound of a cuckoo-clock appears at one point. Classical orchestral instruments (but as far from traditional classical music as you could imagine) are integrated providing a wistful feel. Obsil's use of repetition is more along the lines of gamelan, quite playful.

Things turn a bit darker on the fourth track, 'Lenti Silenzi,' where what sounds like filtered sustained mellotron chordal drones comprise most of the piece. It does lighten up and climb into sunny territory as it progresses, like the parting of clouds. Field recordings and found sounds also play a part on 'Vicino'; well meshed with the music and never obtrusive but a natural part of it. This is an element that makes the album highly intriguing. Sonically, there are a lot of different things happening throughout but it never devolves into chaos or loses its focus. It is also quite mellow without being placid, and on some level, psychedelic too. I've played this at the bookstore that I manage and have had customers asking me about it. (That's always a good sign.)

To me, it is rare that you hear an album that is as experimental as this yet unequivocally enjoyable and evocative. 'Vicino' is a brilliant departure from what may comprise most of your music library but well worth seeking out. Eclectic to the max, and fascinating to the ears.
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