Music Reviews



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Artist: Six Dead Bulgarians & Ogni Videniy (@)
Title: 2137
Format: CD
Label: Vetvei (@)
Distributor: Vetvei
Rated: *****
More interesting stuff from the Russian Vetvei label, '2137' is a collaborative project by Six Dead Bulgarians & Ogni Videniy (Fires of Images), both of the Northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk. The eleven tracks on this CD were recorded February 13-14 2010 when the moon year 2137 began, hence the numeric title. The work is supposed to be a symbol of deliverance of all negative, collected in the leaving year, and development of positive qualities in a new year. It goes back to an ancient Bon tradition with a Buddhist influence. For the record are used singing bowls, metal, wooden percussion and electronic devices, a jew's-harp, sand and voice. I am not previously acquainted with either of these projects, although I have of (but not heard) Six Dead Bulgarians vs. Moon So Far Away, another Arkhangelsk band that I am a bit familiar with. But this collaboration is quite different than Moon So Far Away's Gothic Neo-Folk.

In checking out both project's couple of tracks on their respective MySpace sites that were not on this CD, there is a little similarity in the elements used is this work but perhaps with more intensity here. Pretty much from the start my feeling about '2137' was one of ambivalence- on the one hand, the sounds are mostly intriguing, on the other, the combinations of them and the structure (if you could call it structure) of the tracks are perplexing. The basics involve chimey (think wind chimes) and klangy sounds with moaning, sweeping electronic oscillators and drone tones. Other elements are employed such as wooden percussion like claves and hand drums, but more as arrhythmic effect than anything rhythmic. A tone akin to a telephone dial tone might emerge'¦then other stray percussive elements. The percussion, chimes, singing bowls, etc., are often echoed off in slow delay. Also you almost get a feeling (no necessarily due to the echo effect) that this could have been recorded in a cave rather than a studio due to the reverberant (wet) space the recording seems to have in general. The music tends to be largely improvisational with a generally light touch and minimal, where elements don't seem to clash much with each other.

The vocals which first emerge in 'Got stuck in Sansara' are manipulated spoken word that are as intelligible as Ron Geesin's on Pink Floyd's 'Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict' from the 'Ummagumma' album. Yet where Geesin plays the mad Scotsman, these vocals sound more like a confused Euro tourist. They must have been employed to conjure a feeling more than say anything but the only feeling I got was befuddlement.

I have heard this project has been categorized as 'ritualistic ambient' but from what I've know of ritual ambient music, there tends to be some type of impetus or driving force behind it, at least in the rhythmic or vocal aspects. Here there is nothing you can really pin down as a rhythm, there is no chanting or intoning incantations, and the form seems to be amorphous. Perhaps the tracks 'Sacrifice' and 'Space Valley' are about the closest thing to the previously ascribed 'Buddhist influence' with their sonority of low Tibetan horns and a seemingly more serious approach. This actually seems to be when Six Dead Bulgarians & Ogni Videniy are at the top of their game. Unfortunately that moods ends all too soon and is replaced by the voice of the befuddled Euro tourist backed by jew's harp on the next track. He sounds like he's having a hard time of it too. Finally though on the last track, 'The Golden Age' we get something that really alludes to ritualistic ambient with low vocal intonation that could be construed as chanting, but is more like 'voweling'. It is brief though and minor as compared with the album as a whole.

For those that enjoy enigmatic soundscapes though, '2137' has a lot to offer, especially if you enjoy really out-there psychedelia. Expect a lot of ringing, clangorous tones on this one. '2137' is rather unclassifiable; not upsetting, just perplexing. As with most all Vetvei releases, the album comes in a six-panel jacket with intriguing colorful artwork by Vresnit.
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Artist: Yann Novak (@)
Title: Presence
Format: CD
Label: Hibernate (@)
Rated: *****
If you consider the approach this sound and video performer from Los Angeles (where he also manages his own imprint, Dragon's Eye Recordings, whose issues show an unconventional perspective on minimal and abstract composition) chose in order to build this 48-minutes lasting sonic sculpture, as the main source of original recordings has been grabbed through a mobile phone, you could get astonished by the miracle Yann Novak made on digital processors. Originally performed at the Torrance Art Musem in June 2010, whereas other artists interacted within the sonic nebula by which the performer filled the listening space, Presence could be considered a sort of transitional drone, as the three sonic elements circling around listener's head (a sort of electric noisy murmur, similar to the sound you hear when you place ear-drops to fight some acute form of catarrhal otitis, the nocturnal chattering from a field crowded with cicadas and crickets and a spectral breathe...all them giving the illusion of a sort of invisible presence hiding from your view) appear and disappear in different ways after bumping into filter and mixer's channel so that you can experience a wide range of different moods, all of them being equally dramatic. The preface of this emotional journey could sound quite gloomy, but you will notice a gradual crouched approaching to more auroral and luminous sonorities till the final amniotic floating after slow changes in the states of "matter".
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Artist: Diamondback Kid (@)
Title: Initiate Contact
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Diamondback Recordings
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
First of all let me make a statement: i'm a huge fan of Diamondback Kid, therefore it would be dishonest for me to say that i listened to his new EP without any (positive) prejudice ;) I mean the guy has the funk flowing in his blood and he proves it in every chance by dropping fresh electro tunes destined to rock every ghettoblaster. How can i resist?!
In this 4-tracker, first on his own brand new label Diamondback Recordings, DK seems to move to a darker sound, closer to the nu electro style than to oldschool electrofunk party sound which characterized his previous EP "Electro Superstar" (Binalog Productions). However fresh beats, funky basslines and vocoded rhymes are all still present, making this record another must-have DK offering.
"Soul on Fire" is such a great tune, i can't stop listen to it! The groove is hypnotic, the technoid little theme is a nice surprise and fits really nice to the track's mood, vocoder is flawless (as always). Love it! "Seek Carrier" seems to be a very interesting crossover between dark electro/techno and... new wave (yes, the synth melodies sound new wav-ish!) . After a few listens i can assure you that this track is highly addictive ;) The pace slows down on "The Hive", an imposing instrumental based in arpeggios and beautified by some fine atmospheric touches, while the release concludes with a remix of one of DK's finest moments (and a future electro classic in my opinion), "Humanize", which now sounds more tight than the original.
Overall this is a great release which you should definitely check out. It will be out digitally on Friday, October 28, via Junodownload and Diamondback Kid's Bandcamp page ( http://diamondbackkid.bandcamp.com/ ). There's also a teaser available on DK's Soundcoud page ( http://soundcloud.com/diamondback-kid ). Fresh!
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Artist: Baconhead
Title: Astro Sludge
Format: 12"
Label: Eat Concrete (@)
Distributor: Rush Hour Recordings
Rated: *****
On their facebook page Paul Bowyer (aka Autobee) and Ben Hudson (aka Ebola), british electronic producers based in Brighton and Devon respectively and the men under the moniker Baconhead, state that they make sci-fi beats that confuse our brain. Well i couldn't agree more, at least judging by this EP, their first release on Eat Concrete.
Abstract funk, that's what it's all about. The sound incorporates bits of hip-hop, breaks, R&B, dubstep, disco, p-funk and it is dominated by a strong video game aesthetic. Except of the 3rd track "Brainglue", which features Mindbender on rap (and, to be honest, i could easily live without it), the rest of tracks are instrumentals; the last two, "Black Cherry" and "Blaze Out", are the ones that make it for me, the first one being a phat spacey number, while the latter could be described as a lush p-funky cut; i couldn't help but imagine Clinton singing upon this super fresh gloryhallastoopid groove!
Extra kudos to EC's boss Pete Concrete for his stunning mastering; he achieved a 'crystal clear' sound that enhances the duo's arcade funkiness!
This nice release is also available digitally, but you should grab the 12inch for full sonic pleasure ;)
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Artist: MELT (@)
Title: Emissions of Hypocrisy
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Rated: *****
Electrical winds, spark's buzzing of some snapped wire, the hiccups of a flooded engine, a sort of Mephistophelean voice-over belong to the relevant preface of "The World Is On Fire", the track raising this new musical siege by Melt, the raging industrial-rock freak by Sebastian Komor, whose important pedigree in the industrial scene, normally associated to his collaboration with Icon Of Coil, surfaces here and there all over the recording. Most of the songs are robust industrial rock-metal steamrollers which features distorted load-bearing guitar riffs (big shout to the guitarist Adrian White), electro-mechanical rhythmical barricades and lyrics imbued with brutal nihilism and agit-prop proclamations. They don't really put some cliches of the genre off, but Sebastian manages to blend all elements in a stylistical suite, which sounds really original and enthralling thanks to interesting songwriting as well; I'd go so far as to say that his personal attitude has been highlighted even when tracks such as "Worm" or the headbanging speeding up of "Everything Is Dead" and "Where Is Your God?" seem to brush up Komor Kommando's armoury through which Sebastian shows a personal vision of EBM off or when the above-mentioned voice-over looks like toading listeners reproposing overdeveloped themes. Nowadays crisis is asking new questions day by day and Melt seems to emphasize the most obsessive aspect of the apprehension about forthcoming future in his record, but he finally manages to force the listener to reflect on the role of technology in such a situation in the final track Digital Truth, whereas its sibylline syllabication offsets the lack of beats. Those're just some reasons explaining why "Emissions of Hypocrisy" could be considered a good release which is going to shake a scene, which recently sounds more stagnant than economy.
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