Music Reviews



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Artist: Alexander Frangenheim (@)
Title: The Knife Again
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
This German free-jazz improvisator lavishly manages to crossbreed the forms of art he studied (...and arguably keeps on digging): born in Wuppertal, Alexander Frangenheim privately widened his knowledge of classical doublebass with Reinald Schwarz, soloist of Stuttgart Philarmonics, while studying sculpture at the academy, and he gradually extended his performing technique due to his passion for emperimental music, an hibridization which gave him the possibility to expand his activity over an incredible number of projects, works and performances. In this release, issued by the appreciated Creative Sources, Frangenheim's aesthetics looks like clambering up on scales leaving traces of scratches, lacerations, breaches, gashes and cuts as well as of sort off doodles on stave almost acting as stiches on a bleeding body after having been ripped to shreds. Seventeen smal solo sketches recorded in August 2006 in Berlin and mastered by Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson which are not derivative at all, but including many little jems of tonal twisting and the listener is easily going to appreciate a lot moments such as Counter Furioso, Surface, Chant, Knife, Memory or the sinister swirling pulsations of the final Birds For Z whereas the instrument sounds like putting on facial expressions or alternatively fighting with its tormenting player. You could imagine this record as a sort of wrestling or better a fight to death between the soul of the instrument opposed to the sould of the musician. Bizarre supplies!
Artist: ROBERT VINCS (@)
Title: pneumatikos
Format: CD
Label: Extreme (@)
Rated: *****
The debut release of this australian musician has been one of my favorite listenings coming from the land of kangaroos of the last years, every once in a while I play it and I still find it full so intense. Robert Vincs is back and the intensity is still the same, be it my personal impression or not, I think there's some sort of "mysterious feeling" creeping underneath the tracks of this new work. Even if the style of mr Vincs is still easily distinguishable, there're some considerable differences from the previous cd, I've had the impression the most of the songs have a more easy edge and I'm sure it came out naturally, it hasn't been some market strategy (hey, we're still talking about "borderline-jazz-music" what kind of market strategy can you plan!?). Eugene Unghetti and Scott Dunbabin have a big impact on the sound of this work since their role is far from that of simple pawns, they do mostly light but firm interventions and interact harmoniously with the sax of Robert Vincs. Differently from the past I don't hear that many "aboriginal music" influences, while the ambient-jazz and soundtrack elements are stronger than ever, I'm also tented to say sometimes "Pneumatikos" gives the impression it could result a more inspired and more experimental answer to Jan Garbarek or to some other ECM artists, I'm sure many will take it as bad thing but they're wrong. A more rarefied and experimental answer to some soundtracks of David Torn?...I'd say a lot more than that, just give a listen to "I hear voices". A friend of mine uses to say of all Anglo-Saxon descendants, Australians are the most freaky, this guy always says that with a lot of respect for these Oceanians and in someway I think he's not wrong at all and if you listen to this cd you'll know what he mean, above all when you find freaky elements and jazz influences well mixed track after track. I think this cd could be accessible for many kind of listeners, at the same time It betrays an incredible personality and a particular compositional skill that brings it far from predictability. When you think jazz or music with a jazzy edge has nothing more to say, releases like these show you you've been too quick to judge.


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Artist: R.Y.N.
Title: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy
Format: 12"
Label: Equation Records (@)
Rated: *****
This record by R.Y.N. draws the title 'Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy' from the 1951 work of Mircea Eliade which was a comprehensive study on one of the most intriguing sets of beliefs to date. And I think that they really channel some of that energy in this release. If you close your eyes and FEEL the ravaging soundscapes they offer us, you'll begin to feel the pull as you're transported to another dark realm. Spacious and damning the two pieces take up a full side of the LP each, giving the listener ample time to give in to the powers within. These songs are aurally very tense, uneasy and create just the right amount of despair to grip you and not let you go. You'll find yourself very much immersed in an unnerving delve into the psyche of insanity. This album was crafted entirely from manipulated field recordings and the results show that R.Y.N. definitely have a mastery of their trade. Make sure to catch this one at home in the dungeon, alone, in the dark, with your vice of choice close by and let yourself be overtaken by its dreadful beauty.
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Artist: Blue Sabbath Black Cheer and Nihilist Assault Group
Title: Planned Obsolescence
Format: 12"
Label: Gnarled Forest (@)
Rated: *****
Blue Sabbath Black Cheer and Nihilist Assault Group's collaborative effort 'Planned Obsolescence' doesn't f**k around. They take their HNW very seriously, and with this release command you do the same.

This is what I imagine it would sound like if you were in the epicenter of a massive explosion and captured just a single nuance of it, then looped it indefinitely. This recording is just a thick, unapologetic wall of destruction. Every second offers no hope or retribution. From the second the walls of noise close in, until the moment they fade away, you're pummeled with the harsh ferocity of a sonic shoe to the groin. Minute sounds and variances pour in and build up throughout to offer just a hint of tonal fluctuation that slowly swirls to a head by the end of the record. Side B seems to show more of these nuances than Side A making sure by the last seconds you're not quite sure what kind of truck just hit you. There's not enough that can be said to attest to the brutality of this collaboration, you must simply experience it for yourself, however, be very aware, that it is not for everybody. While the title may be 'Planned Obsolescence,' this is definitely a stew of timeless carnage that will be just as destructive years from now as it is today.
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Artist: Piemont (@)
Title: Sand Hills
Format: CD
Label: Suchtreflex
Distributor: Al!ve
Rated: *****
You'll easily find some releases signed by these two Hamburg based students of sound design and mastering in the bags of many djs, who have been routed by the minimal techno wave, as Frederic Moering-Sack & Christian de Jonquières were stirring the streams from the depths of an ocean could look like the cover of their previous album Strange World Beyond issued by MBF two years ago. Nowadays as the waters are slowly receding from some fields, these talented sound morphers cannot do anything but draw in the nets and explore the dunes left by those devastating outflows by tempering their sound again and sharpening it through house and funk knives. It's quite soon to speak about a sort of new school of techno, but the various possible direction that these lads seem to suggest - ...and some of the tracks properly seems to salvage the compositional intuitions and tricks by legends such as Carl Craig and Richie Hawtin as well as quoting the sound of other legends of the recent minamal techno stream (tracks such as Indeed, one of the two bonus tracks available on digital release only, or Few Mornings are going to evoke memories of some Booka Shade incendiary sets) -. Most of tracks can be better appreciated by oscillating bodies or entrapping your thoughts in geometrical abstract dreams, but the most trained ears will easily recognize their talent in forging sounds and chisel frequencies especially in tracks such as Deeps or Skies, Dotless I (definitively the one I like most), With Small Pupils. Sense Of Self (looking like more as an SOS than a mystical revelation!), Unrest (featuring a voice asking if you like Sand Hills...there's a possible answer as well...) or Can Anything Be Said (an ironic title for a track where a voice desperately tries to speak over a mumbling and formless chattering sounds as the real disturbing element in the sound space). Easily enjoyable!
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