Music Reviews



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Artist: Undermathic (@)
Title: Return To Childhood
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Another new modern IDM/Electronica producer out of Poland got invited to release a full-length album via the Tympanik Audio family. Responsible behind this project is Maciej Pazkiewicz and his efforts draw an own and authentic sound dimension. You’ll get a full-scale layered Ambient album, featuring experimental sound consisting of surging, Downtempo-like rhythm patterns, melodic and dreamy piano drops, and dark processed strings and at times guitar sounds. This work sounds bombastic, dark, but also relatively organic to the same time. Even if some rhythm patterns seemed to be programmed by chance (”Understanding”), or with a high sense of improvisation, the generally clear song structures with at times catchy moments (”Keep Out No Entry”) resulting in a fitting unit for this rather experimental scenario. Highlighted by both above mentioned tracks, as well as the sample-infiltrated title track, ”Return To Childhood” isn’t definitely that sort of a futuristic end-time cyberspace-sounding work, but again a kind of special and demanding Electronica album. Once again the Tympanik Audio label provides a fascinating and extra-ordinary listening experience.
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Artist: Rothkamm (@)
Title: ALT
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Distributor: Darla
Rated: *****
One of the most enigmatic and prolific conceptual artist and philopher - as he’s considered the progenitor of some aesthetical ideas such as supermodernism, and IFORMM, acronym for (intuitive|improvised) (future|forth) oriented (retrograde|realtime) (motion|music) (music|machine), a sort of self-explanatory aesthetical idea…- , the German-born - but currently living in the former Wilshare Royale hotel, a 20ies dismissed building rich in panache in Los Angeles - Frank Holger Rothkamm chalks up another release fostering the mysterious and sometimes inscrutable aura around its character, but after many sound explorations including bizarre works between snooty academic-like austerity even if often peppered with kitsch elements (such as the FB series issued by Flux Records) and a certain sense of humour (i.e. the funny bunch of piano variations in Opus Spongebobicum), he decides to collect some fuzzy oddities he grabbed from his beloved analogue machines. Although Frank Rothkamm works on a limited palette of sounds, it’s not so correct to say ALT, released by the excellent French label Baskaru, is a microtonal ensemble as it’s decidedly more accessible and less “elitist” than his previous albums.

The role of the composer seems to be limited to the booting of self-feeding iterative processes and by his own admittance Rothkamm acts just as a sprinkle for subsequent fire! The premise is to create a sort of what he calls an “infinity machine” in order to experience an infinite process in a finite amount of time: it’s like the composer inject some starting tones and a generally triadic tonal sequence, reprising its vision of the theorized tri-fold unity of tuning, synthesis and instrument partially reflected in the funny choice to entitle its track with a 3-letter code, whose meaning is sometimes clear (such as the subtonal LOW or GUI, one of the rare track in which there’s a sign of melody created from a guitar sample of Max Laesser), sometimes quite obscure and almost esoteric. Then it seems the machine turns knobs and adjusts pitches by its own! I’ll guess ALT could be just a sampling exhibition of analogue synths close to the “historical” one recently released by Benge aka Ben Edwards on Expanding if I could ignore its author, so that ALT is more like a compendium to unveil Rothkammian mistery, but it ends to embody another enigma amplified by symbolic tricks and numerological games you could find in the track titles, their durations along a total timing of 39 minutes and 39 seconds and compositions as well. You could ask yourself if Herr Rothkamm looks like more the wittiest follower of Wilson’s modus operandi or shares the same metaphysical-logical vision by Leibnitz in order to traduce it into sound.
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anymore
Artist: REFORMED FACTION
Title: Until…
Format: CD
Label: Greytone (@)
Rated: *****
Formed by Robin Storey and Mark Spybey who are or have been members of :zoviet*france:, Rapoon, Dead Voices on Air, Propeller and Sofortkontakt! (Andy Eardley, who was also a member of :zoviet*france: was part of Reformed Faction since July of 2006, has left the project) Reformed Faction are releasing on Greytone their fourth album titled UNTIL.... Released one year after "I am the source of light, I am not a mirror", out for Soleilmoon, Reformed Faction apply Stockhausen's abstract compositional instructions to ambient sounds creating what I can call six ghostly tracks where the sounds graze you but they make you feel also kinda empty. Just listen to the harmonic crescendo on "For the sun" or the minimal background noises of "Begins to burn" and you'll be trapped into a sort of slow motion where reversed sounds are released to hunt your soul. If you are in the mood for dreamy atmospheres applied to industrial ambient then feel free to check UNTIL...
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Artist: Blessure Grave (@)
Title: Judged by 12, Carried by 6
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Alien8 (@)
Distributor: Release The Bats
Rated: *****
"Judged by 12, Carried by 6" is the first album by Blessure Grave and it is out on CD on Canada's finest Alien8 and on limited LP on Release The Bats. They mix goth aesthetics with an extremely good songwriting. Yes, you've read that correctly, somebody is taking it where Theater Of Tragedy left many years ago. You'll find a claustrophobic drumming similar to Crisis (can't help mentioning them as a standard, i might be a little obsessed) and deathrock-like lyrics, often tinged with a pitch-black humour which takes us back to the californian tradition (Reyna and Toby are from San Diego). The sound on this LP shows a slight more refined studio work, which doesn't alter the "live" feel of their previous recordings. "In The First Place", also out as a limited 7" on Holidays Records, leads us back into our beloved old smoke-filled, scarcely lit room with crumbling walls and blood dripping everywhere. "Open Or Shut" and "Hope For The Worst" could be instant anthems for the lost boys (yeah, the movie). Being goth or post-punk in 2010 means being open to a wider and different audience, that's why this album and the previous singles and tapes were out on labels dealing with experimental, noise or whateveryouwanttocallit. The cd version comes with the striking "Learn To Love The Rope" EP as a bonus. Just great.
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anymore
Artist: AUN (@)
Title: Motorsleep
Format: CD
Label: Alien8 (@)
Rated: *****
Canada is the home for some of the best experimental musicians, just think about Tim Hecker or Aidan Baker (also known as ARC and Nadja) . This new album by AUN goes straight to the olympus of canadian ambient virtuosi. "Motorsleep" shows some major changes from the past, you can read the review of his previous works on these pages. Martin did a tribute to Klaus Schulze's Irrlicht in collaboration with Allseits and i guess he's been listening a lot to the kosmische heroes because the music on "Motorsleep" points skyward. There are beautifully unsettling tracks like "Erzot" which sounds like Tangerine Dream on a bad acid trip! There are also some warm feedback based tracks like "Neiges", not so distant from the first works of the aforementioned Tim Hecker. No wonder if Martin describes his own music as "blight-metal", outsider metal mixed with shoegaze. This album is mixed by James Plotkin, a well known expert for bleak ambiences.
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