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Artist: Olekranon (@)
Title: {bilal}
Format: CD
Label: Housepig / Inam Records (@)
Distributor: Housepig
Rated: *****
Okay, I admit I'm not a true connoisseur of noise projects. I like 'em every now and then, some of the stuff they do when it's creative enough and has something more artistic to offer then well, just a lot of noise. There are numerous sub-genres under the larger umbrella of 'noise music,' and with so many variants, crossovers, etc., some projects like this one are very hard to categorize. The aesthetics of Merzbow, Aube and Non is a lot different than say, that of The Melvins, Neurosis, and Wolf Eyes, although for brief instances, there can be overlapping similarities. Here though, Olekranon skirts convention and ends up sounding no other project in particular, but an amalgam of influences, styles and techniques. The intriguing artwork by Megan Abajian on the CD heralds this as well.

For some frame of reference, Olekranon is one Ryan Huber, based in Bloomington, Indiana. One of his other projects is called Bob Crane (or, Bobcrane) and since that was the only website address I could find for him, that's the one I listed here. Be advised though, Bob Crane is nothing like Olekranon. Exactly what kind of noisefest takes place on {bilal} is hard to pin down, so it is best described. Opening track 'Adamkan' starts with a bit of melodic drone and drum beats shifting quickly into a My Bloody Valentine wall 'o guitar noise with a 3-chord pattern. Even with all that distortion I can tell the guitar sounds horribly out of tune, likely intentionally so. Before the end everything is put in a sonic blender set to 'ice crush,' but it does end up pouring out as smooth as a milkshake.

Next track, 'Engels,' is a hodge-podge of processed, echoed drumbeats, drones, sustained overdriven guitar, rhythmic noises, etc., chaotic at first but merging into something more cohesive. 'Brng Yvwh' is a foray into beat-heavy psychedelic rock with plenty of noise and feedback added. Somewhere in this squalling mess there is even a vocal. Think of the Velvet Underground rehearsing while everyone in the band is on a bad acid trip. There is a quite a rich sonic palette to this piece. 'Deka' has a darker tone with various shades of droning noise, spurts of pink & white noise, and a repetitious drum machine banging away in the background for much of it. It morphs into processed feedback with a bassy undertone. Title track 'Bilal' is one big-beat huge drone metal fest with totally obscured by processing vocals. Somewhere in the proceedings, Olekranon bludgeons to death the most clichéd guitar riff ever in rock. All the while the track builds to a frenzied crescendo of sonic squalls, distorted wall of guitars, thundering beats and with a whistling overtone, then slowly fades away. 'Mouths Flame' offers a diverse array of processed noise with its atmosphere of thick sludge, and pinwheeling bursts of pink and white noise, evolving into something more droney and less chaotic and noisy. A distant melodic guitar theme even emerges briefly towards the end. 'Sunblind' is eerie and minimal, especially compared to what went before. It is all simple slow beat and muted shades of drone, with a vaguely melodic undercurrent, although it doesn't remain static. 'Daisycutter' is soaked in reverb and distortion with drums that sound dominant at first, but soon fall into the miasma of the primeval. 'Master Swine' begins sounding like the most electronic track on the album, perhaps something akin to Oval, with a basic beat and minimal electronics, but when the noise and drone elements subtly creep in and takes over, it's a different story. It's interesting how they support the rhythm, to a point. Final track 'Deitus' is a fitting end to {bilal}, in a way summing up what went previously.

Although Olekranon often employs a rhythmic form in the vein of noise rock, grindcore, and sludge metal, this music bears as much resemblance to that as Lou Reed's 'Metal Machine Music' does to 'Transformer'. There are subtleties to [bilal} that you are undoubtedly going to miss on the first couple of plays. What Olekranon has accomplished here is providing a smorgasbord of noise offerings that will have noise enthusiasts debating just what this is, and its influences and merits for some time to come. Limited to 500. Get it while it lasts.
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Artist: SATIN JACKETS
Title: Brand New Day
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
BRAND NEW DAY is the newest single by Satin Jackets. Released by Mullet Records, this digital release is one of the most house/soul sounding singles of the label and if I had to hazard an influence I'd try with a mix of Jamiroquai and Sade (thanks to the Linda Mathews vocals). Satin Jackets mix sensual 80s soul atmospheres with 4/4 pumping rhythm lines, a funky guitar and cool synth fat bass lines (here you can find along with the original version also the instrumental one). For my tastes this song is a bit too soul sounding and also Dato and Sare Havlicek remixes are based on similar sounds with rarefied atmospheres in the first case and funky guitar and slapped bass lines in the second one.
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anymore
Artist: LUCIANO MAGGIORE & FRANCESCO BRASINI
Title: Chàsm' Achanès (huge abyss)
Format: CD
Label: Boring Machines (@)
A single track cd that on Boring Machines that comes out almost simultaneously with Petit & Chapeter 24 and Mammuthones which some of you may know for his past duties in Jennifer Gentle. As I've said we have a long long drone driven suite that last for a bit more than half an hour, main instruments are a guitar, tapes and electronic devices. The structure of this suite is quite linear and simple, in some way the evolution of the track is quite ordinary infact in its linearity lays that hypnotic effect due to repetitions. The sound is good and despite its simplicity the recording gives this cd the aural credibility a serious record like this requires. As you probably have guessed yourselves the atmosphere is quite dense and crepuscular but according to the title's meaning the journey into an abyss couldn't different. Despite its obscurity this music has nothing to do with dark ambient meant in a traditional way and it's not just a matter of sounds but the fact in someway it all brings to some old isolationist works like Aura (Plotkins/KK Null), Eclipse or something in the likes. Despite some small changes the most considerable sound variation from the main theme happens around 22 minutes. The fact the guitar sound sometimes resembles the siren of a boat, also brought to my mind an old composition titled Fog Tropes, by underrated American composer Ingram Marshall.


Artist: MOLNIJA AURA (@)
Title: Utopia Suns
Format: CD
Label: Tophet Prophet (@)
Rated: *****
Right after his collaborative effort with Fausto Balbo, Andrea Marutti returns with a brand new collaboration that bring him crossing his knobs with Davide Del Col, some of you may remember for a couple of wonderful works with Ehran and for his work as Ornament. This album brings together a couple of musicians quite renowned for their recent dark ambient past but differently from what one may expect this' much more than that. Infact even if they've kept their dark roots on board, they overabundance of space synths paints the atmosphere of a strange space color. Even if this record has nothing to do with that, it reminded me of Brian and Roger Eno in their Apollo album, probably the space imaginary made me wrote this, but later while giving a look to the layout I've noticed they've put space satellites everywhere, and maybe I'm not that wrong. There's a a great use of melancholic litanies pulsing underneath and during the first listening it didn't emerged completely, later when I've had the chance to give the proper attention to the work it surprised me. I've been listening to this work at night while trying to catch some sleep and believe me, there's no better soundtrack to meet Morpheus' embrace. e sleep and believe me there's no better soundtrack to meet Morpheus' embrace.
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anymore
Artist: CALOMITO (@)
Title: cane di schiena
Format: CD
Label: Megaplomb, AltrOck (@)
One of the most interesting avant-balcanic-fusion-jazz-rock ensemble from Italy, we've left them with one interesting debut, but here comes the second episode of their saga, some of the actors are the same, while some characters are new with the logical consequence the global sound has changed a lot. Somehow Calomito left their mediterranean warm behind their shoulders and moved toward a avant-prog direction. Don't follow it all too literally otherwise you'll think we're dealing with Emerson Lake and Palmer meeting Bregovic, these guys from Genova have a really different sound. Consider they own an incredible technical skill and beside having improved it more and more, the new additions reinforced the precision and the complication of the songs' frameworks. Sometimes they're so clean (I think it also has so much to do with the recording) they just risk to sound surgical in a too complicated way, not that they sound math like many of those jazz core bands, but it's not an easy architecture. At the same time some tracks have still that evocative power I remember they used to own, 'pappa irreale' is a good combination of musicianship and melody. Calomito has that vintage sound that has to do with the fact they deal with traditions, it's one of their best weapon, above all for everything is so clearly intentional, but at the same time they're non-stop working on structures and songwriting without just imitating the past that unfortunately is where the majority of the bands playing vintage inspired materials sometimes falls. Put your nerd glasses on.

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