Music Reviews



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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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Artist: Neon Rain
Title: We Are Meat/The Vultures
Format: CD
Label: Steelwork Maschine (@)
Distributor: Steelwork Maschine
Rated: *****
I had fairly High expectations for this release being a huge fan of the Steelwork Maschine label and they were both met, and very much exceeded. Neon Rain has put forth a masterpiece with the double-disc release 'We Are Meat/The Vultures.'

'We are Meat' is essentially a single piece, divided into 7 'songs.' The entire disc slowly makes its way through only a single set of lyrics; a declaration of disgust aimed at the world of corporate slavery. It especially hits the nail on the head in its chanting of 'we are meat' at the final movement.

It starts out very simply with a single recurring distorted bass tone. It doesn't hit you immediately over the head, but slowly chips away at your sanity, eventually trickling in variation, including random sounds, manipulated field recordings, and Jeffrey Dahmer testimonials. It's here that the simple request is made of the listener which by the following track begs us to 'abandon all hope. ' As the disc progresses we're taken through a great range of genre bending aural assaults. It remains noisy throughout, channeling through harsh tones to more abstract textures, but certain sections take you completely by surprise with martial elements including brooding, chugging, heavy guitar rhythms accompanied by the unexpected but very enjoyable industrial vocal stylings of yesteryear.

'The Vultures' sees a bit of a break in the noise, though not completely, so fear not. It offers more melodies, more diverse genre crossovers, and a bit more 'traditional' (and I use the term very loosely) arrangement, while at the same time maintaining that abrasive 'take no prisoners' edge to it. The listener is offered tastes of feedback, strings, synths, Laibach inspired growls, and percussion that is perfect for marching. And even the most accessible and pop-y points of the cd are bathed in just the right amount of noisescapes and mayhem. The lyrics continue to project that martial mindset very effectively stressing at times that 'we are rats' and at others that 'we are the words: we are the lies.' The lyrical content throughout both discs is intense and perfect and incredible. Neon Rain has got the formula DOWN, and are making sure everyone knows it. Don't let this one pass you by.
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Artist: Alexander Volodin
Title: Unfinished Journey
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock Records (@)
Rated: *****
Here we have a genuinely interesting and unique release by Electroshock Records artist Alexander Volodin who has become a decorated musical veteran in his twenty nine years on earth. This, his latest, entitled 'Unfinished Journey' is itself, quite the journey.

It begins with a three part section that grips you right from the start, not in a jarring edge of your seat thrill ride way, but in a more compelling, and must-know kind of way. Not only is it noisy, but at times its folkish, jazzy and explosive. He approaches his compositions in some very unique and exciting ways, keeping even the slower parts fresh and invigorating. Beautifully uneasy textures and tones twist and evolve so that even by the end of even the first piece, you're ready for whatever may come next. The noteworthy 'Saxophonia' spans the reaches of beautiful, well thought out lines to droning to unapologetic noise all constructed from the smooth, vibrant sounds of'¦ you guessed it'¦ the saxophone. It is an eccentric and inspiring interpretation of a classic age-old instrument.

While it's three predecessors focused mainly on particular sound sources (i.e. sax, the lute's cousin the dorma, and even a faucet), 'Silver Thread' sets no boundaries for itself and it shows. From groaning vocals to violin to bass to synth to guitar to just all types of orchestrated noise and even the random melodic interval, it is yet again a masterful work of art.

'There, House Stood' is an all out soundtrack to insanity. At times even evoking qualities of john Lennon tape experiments with its field recordings and dialogue samples, both manipulated and not, and it's almost random flow from 'subject' to 'subject.' It appears for the most part to follow a motif set forth by the title, of seemingly random events and conversations and emotions that the house itself might perceive over time as people filtered in and out, documenting their comings and goings, expressing its joy, loneliness and occasional anger at its situations. Occupying over half the record, it really takes you through a journey of moments, some trivial, some whimsical, some candid, some maddening, that this dwelling has experienced in its many years. It's a very intriguing piece and I recommend that you listen when and ONLY when you have the time to dedicate to listening to all of its forty-one minutes in their entirety, you won't regret it.
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