Music Reviews



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Artist: Ur (@)
Title: Four Calls for Locusts
Format: CD
Label: Mask of the Slave Records (@)
Rated: *****
Here’s another album from the Italian duo of Federico Esposito and Mauro Sciaccaluga. From the opening track, the listener knows that he or she is not in for a peaceful dark ambient listening experience. "Silent Fever Sets the Journey" reminds me of Lustmord’s Heresy, with slow drones and noise that simmers low in the mix, building gradually until the noise eventually overpowers the drone. Next up, we have "Trespassing the Fields of Corn," which is an odd mix of high pitched test tones and improv jazz. Imagine a noisier version of Clock DVA’s "White Souls in Black Suits." "Force-Fed" has a nice cinematic feel that would be at home in a dystopian science fiction film. This one is a bit more subdued than the previous tracks, with a saxophone that sounds like it is playing in the distance as industrial machinery hums away. Like the previous tracks, this one builds in intensity, as the noise comes to the foreground. "Twilight Behind the Eyelids" brings back Theremin from the second track and industrial noises. I guess if I had to describe this, I would go with a description of cinematic noise. This is not Merzbow, but it is certainly not Raison d’être either. It’s noisy, but not in an oppressive way. Overall, this is nice experimental music that throws in a lot of different elements. The closest comparison I can give is Deutsch Nepal. If you like noisy experimental, this is one that is certainly worth checking out. The disc is limited to 60 copies with minimal packaging and weighs in at about 41 minutes.
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Artist: RAMLEH (@)
Title: Switch Hitter
Format: 10"
Label: Black Rose Recordings / Broken Flag (@)
Rated: *****
It was two decades that I didn't had the chance to check on Ramleh. I interviewed him back in 1987 and then I lost the contact few years after. I knew that he got involved also into Skullflower and also for Ramleh, what was used to be filed under power electronics turned into guitar noise. The last release he did was back in 1997 for Majora Records and then he returned back in action the last year with some gigs in London (with Whithouse and Merzbow). This new 10" sees the band's line-up formed by Gary Mundy (guitar and vocals), Martyn Watts (drums) and Anthony Di Franco (bass and vocals). The 10" single contains two tracks "Switch hitter" and "The machines of joy". Now the music sounds like guitar noise influenced also by stoner rock. Of the old distortion we have traces on the vocals of the main track while musically the band tend to perform a granitic sound where there's melody but it tends to be repeated. Both the tracks seems to come from improvisations and the if at a first listening you have the sensation to be stuck into a loop, only after a couple more you start to feel its groove...
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Artist: Kobuka (@)
Title: Dystiopia
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: self-released
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Kibuka is Dean Dennis (Clock DVA, TAGC, Sector, Nohno) and Snook (Nohno). 16 tracks (including two remixes by Lustmord and Spiralized with Paul A. Browse) of light electronica with prominent bass lines and lots of sampling activity that reel in ideas from London's underground and drive them home by mixing it up with dubstep, ambient, electronica. It's hard to mention specific influences in addition to the obvious ones (the duo's other projects, especially DVA) but I'd say it's safe to say that there are some Warp-ish sounds (Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada) mixed up in there with the rest of the Sherwood/On-U sound and the Skream/Burial possible influences.
I reckon this will be one of the last releases to feature W's annoying sampled voice now that there's actually a smart guy running things. The whole Bush thing was getting a little old but we won't hold this against Kibuka, after all that moron and his wrongdoings have been an inspiration to many artists.
Ant-Zen is distributing this release so if you are into these sort of sounds I would definitely give this a listen.
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Artist: Drev (@)
Title: Failure
Format: CD
Label: Labile records
Rated: *****
Boston based solo artist Drev comes forth with a debut which is surprisingly mature and sophisticated for somebody who's never had a record out before (at least not to my knowledge; maybe under a different name, who knows...). Drev blasts us with his full throttle sonic attack of industrial beats, manipulated and cut up vocals, rock guitars, electronic textures and some of the least boring EBM I've heard in a while. Abrasive, powerful and in your face, "Failure" delivers like few other debut albums have been able to. The info sheet mentions Nine Inch Nails, Sister Machine Gun and Aphex Twin as comparisons but one other major reference I would have to add to those is Skinny Puppy (especially of "the Greater Wrong of the Right" period). The 12 tracks that make up the disc take you through a journey of angry distorted industrial-rock with occasional detours into more atmospheric soundscapes.
Great production value and skills and awesome overall presentation, I'd say this is one of the hottest newcomers around. If you dig the aggro-industrial sounds of Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, Ministry, NIN, Pigface and stuff like that definitely don't overlook this one.
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Artist: Beehatch (@)
Title: Brood
Format: CD
Label: Lens records (@)
Distributor: Morphius Records (US World) / Cargo Records (UK/Europe) / Arabesque Distribution (UK/Europe)
Rated: *****
Chicago based Lens records released the new (second) CD by Bee hat ch, which is a project by prominent musicians/producers Mark Spybey (Zoviet*France, Download, Dead Voices on Air, Propeller, Rapoon, Reformed Faction) and Phil Western (Kone, Download, Frozen Rabbit, Floatpoint, Plateau). Take into account their cumulative experience of outside remixes and collaborations with Jarobe (Swans), Mick Harris (Scorn), James Plotkin, Jean-Yves Theriault (Voivod), cEvin Key and Dwayne Goettel (Skinny Puppy), Genesis P. Orridge (Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV), Not Breathing, The Legendary Pink Dots, Tommy Grenas (Aubian Lights, Nik Turner's Hawkwind), Chris Connelly, Martin Atkins (Killing Joke, Pigface, Public Image Ltd., Ministry) Teargarden, Elliot Sharp, I Am Spoonbender, Pigface, Can, Damo Suzuki, Faust, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Cluster Haronia, Michael Roterh, Dieter Moebius, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Bryan Adams, Tranquility Bass, Coal Chamber, Monster Magnet, Twilight Circus and many others... and you should know right away that these two are some of those rare breed of individuals with infinite drive and unlimited creative energy who manage to squeeze out soooo much more out of a day than the rest of us do.
Their collaborative sound is a mixture of experimental sounds, ambient textures, pop sensibility, ethereal new age, gloomy dark and spacey electronica. All of the projects they are part of and the people they worked with should already give you a very good idea of what you are in for, but if you are still confused and need a couple more names to add to your confusion, I'd say "Brood" might bring to mind (at different times) Beequeen, Autechre, Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd, Jean Michel Jarre, Legendary Pink Dots, David Byrne, Brian Eno, David Bowie... but all of these are just vague and swiftly passing references, which would take the album out of context if you individually used them as the main or the only references. That is probably also part of the richness of "Brood" and of the unique sound it delivers. All in all this record is VERY diluted, slow, ethereal, outer worldly and mysterious sounding more than anything else. There are some vocals here and there (mostly male and dark, pretty Kaspel-ish, but also a couple distant female vocals). You can sort of tell that there are two minds at work, and extremely eclectic ones at that, but whoever of the two is more into the ambient soundscapes seems to have had the upper hand. Definitely an album worth checking out.
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