Music Reviews



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Artist: Justin Varis w/Kevin Ponto (@)
Title: Mountains
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Audiomoves (@)
Rated: *****
I heard some interesting glitch emotional stuff from the American (from Cincinnati) composer Justin Varis, when using his moniker Claudia on Audiobulb and Frozen Elephants Music, and I wonder how's possible this knick-knack has been issued just on digital (for the moment) as some lover of this peculiar way of composition, based on the preservation of mistakes, could prefer having it on physical support. It could be justified by its temporal shortness... Anyway, his fuzzy ideas based on a bizarre way of interlacing some concise piano phrases in a sort of disruptive collage of fragments are equally appreciable. Im not sure he's trying to communicate something to the listener as Mountains could be just a detour by Justin so that burdening it with philosophical meanings could sound like falling head over heels in love, but I like even nasty pranks and that's my impression on it. Mountain could be just a metaphor of the poet's highesy viewpoint. The contemplative and somewhat peaceful mood induced by the vision from such an height transposed in the piano strokes are somewhat broken by seconds of total silence or bothered by external noisy objects (there're some field recordings interfering with plain intimate melodies); sometimes the same tonal sequence have different time or different arrangement in the sonorous space. I enjoyed imagine the five tracks (titled with single letter: F, G, C, E and L) are like a way of reporting the recursive backforwarding in different momeents and places by Justin's mind as well as of any possible "obstacle" acting like deterrents against the contemplation of beauty or any possible catharsis. Maybe you'll enjoy the same way!
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Artist: CRUISE [CTRL] (@)
Title: Red Or Blue? (Remixes)
Format: CD
Label: Meka Prods (@)
Rated: *****
RED OR BLUE is a remix album containing different versions of two Cruise [CTRL] songs coming from their latest album "How's Annie?": "Where is Alice? Alice who?" and "Pomona Road". The album opens with the beautiful cinematic version of Brain Leasure, who mix orchestral sounds with acoustic guitar, slide guitar and dark ambient effects. Sobria Ebrietas se.22 remix "Pomona Road" giving to it a dark e.b.m. flavor thanks to industrial noises and mysterious atmospheres/vocals. HIV+ remix of "Where is Alice? Alice who?" mix harsh industrial and obsessive e.b.m.. R3 Mute go for a similar approach on their version of "Pomona Road" but their used more electronics and less noises. Lambwool recorded a convincing version of"Where is Alice? Alice who?" mixing melancholic orchestral melodies and sparse synth arpeggios/rhythms. People Theatre gave a nice electro e.b.m. flavor to "Pomona Road". Operation Of The Sun mix of "Where is Alice? Alice who?" is a nice electro e.b.m. tune with hard beats and dreamy synth pads. Babylone Chaos mixed industrial e.b.m. to minimal electronic for "Pomona Road" while Laag for "Where is Alice? Alice who?", opted for a minimal approach with e.b.m. rhythms and samples. Bruit:Fantome did an hypnotic electronic version with acid attitude. Final Cut is the last band of the CD and they remixed "Pomonda Road" making it sound slow, nightmarish and obsessive. Most of the remixes focus their sound on the horrorish approach to atmosphere and played around the original ideas adding new sound layers but there are some of them that are outstanding.
Apr 21 2011
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Artist: THE EXALTICS
Title: Irresistible
Format: 12"
Label: Last Known Trajectory
Distributor: Interstellar Sound
Rated: *****
'Irresistible' is the newest EP from The Exaltics & is the second 12" that Robert Witschakowski has released on the Last Known Trajectory label. The EP contains seven new tracks which are perfect as the soundtrack to the alien invasion The Exaltics' music is about. The EP opens with "Uncontrollable Forces", a short introduction which, like a tribal drum mixed with an air raid siren, sounds like a warning. "Irresistible" has a fast syncopated bass/drum rhythm which, along with the hypnotic arpeggio, duet with alien hisses and noises creating a dark scenario. "Relentless" sounds like thousands robots marching commanded by a mad scientist who plays his organ to lead them toward the city; Acid sounds and synth echoes do the rest. "Calculate" plays with Detroit electro style thanks to its synth pads in conjunction with syncopated bass lines. "Negative Agency" sounds acid and robotic thanks to 8bit grinding bass lines and pads. "Apocaliptic" is a mid-tempo track which sounds like a medical ventilator while the artificial heart of a cyborg is about to stop. "Indescribable" is an outro that literally is a heartbeat coupled with echoing sounds and hisses. With this one you realize that there's no escape... As for all the Last Known Trajectory also 'Irresistable' has a plastified tin foiled cover and a poster. Cool release!
(Proofread by Johan Sebastian Bot)
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Artist: Tom DePlonty (@)
Title: Corridor
Format: CD
Label: Auraltone Music (@)
Rated: *****
Dedicated to Marc Gaspard, this delicate release by Boston-based composer Tom DePlonty could be evidence of the passage of some angelic entity over some creative sky of the musician or alternatevely of some contemplative idylliac upward fugue of the mind whereas piano tolls could act as propellant for such an ascension. Corridor moves its step in narrow tonal paths brimful of luminous elements taken from improvisational, classic and spacial ambient music. Most of tracks consist of fragile textures, moving onto extended frequencies by both rhythmical and tonal microvariations, whose structure sounds quite close to some childplays - actually the composer himself defines two tracks included in this album, "Zen Baby" and "Sleep Monsters Lie", as proper lullabies -. On the other side some tender divertssments, such as "In rain and light" (my favorite listening) or "Halo" are built by juxtaposing of single piano loops and the final result sounds like the perfect soundtrack for a bliss-like state of mind. If you prefer an "imaginative" listening, try to imagine that each piano loop is the way the composer chose in order to musically describe the course drawn by the circling descent of a feather. Even the most heavenly tracks whereas the synths'emanations become almost blinding as you can hear in tracks such as "Glare" or "The beguiling charms of pleasure" cannot foster anything but a pleasant gradual sliding from sleepy or trance states into something close to satori! It could be even perfect for a sly contemplation of a Victorian garden during a springlike noon!
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Artist: Buttercup Metal Polish & Jacques Demierre (@)
Title: Brain & Balls BBQ
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Brain & Balls BBQ is another amazing release coming from the Portuguese label Creative Sources, signed by Buttercup Metal Polish together with Monsieur Demierre, an improvised trio named in a confusing way, as they don't deal with metal stuff, they're not Polish at all and arguably don't bestow pieces of advice neither on grilled beefs nor on butter fry-up! Let's do the introductions. The mad scientists of drumming are Nicolas Field - English improvisor who after and during academic studies in Geneva, The Hague and Amsterdam, collaborated for many projects related to jazz, improv, electronic music - and Alexandre Babel - Swiss born drummer, who widened his knowledge between Ney York and Geneva -, while the pianist between them is Jacques Demierre, talented experimenter on prepared piano techniques coming from Geneva and possibly boasting about a remarkable experience in sound installations, improvisational and jazz music sessions as well. Well, shake your hands and burst your ears open! You could expect drums outline some piano suites...well, it's aptly the opposite! The piano turns into something percussive to follow the stirring and high-spirited twists, turns, spasms and epileptic fits on the drums and the astonishing fact is that its role is everything but exiguous or fringe. It highlights the explosive rumbling in the funny track "How To Choose Plus Size Dresses That Flatter (In A Mushroom)" (what a whimsical title!!!!), it emphasizes the suspensive tension of the initial "Whose Arms On Ma'am?" (the stifled pounding of percussive elements as well as the increasing twists and the continual metallic rubbing are the perfect way to commence such a set!!!), it acts almost like a lightly anaesthetic drug in the awakening of Vulcan Nerve Pinch (the 17-minutes lasting narrative session whereas the drums work like pins!), it introduces the maddish random drumming spots (playing like rashes on the devastated skin of a teenager) in "He's Likable Guts", it seems following a solitary crazy path amidst the rhythmic scaring creatures in The Croquet Consortium (maybe the track where the three "voices" of this combo sound totally split up before the tonal battle after 3 minutes....frenzy!). You could consider it as one of the best sample of concert for crockery in your kitchen (an aesthetical naevus?) or maybe a sort of tonal eclampsia, but most of you will find this workout eclectically capricious!
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