Music Reviews



Artist: Orchestramaxfieldparrish
Title: Crossing of Shadows
Format: CD
Label: Faith Strange (@)
Rated: *****
After you get past the truth that there's really nothing new under the sun, the next step will be how well it is done. What we have here is yet another release of dark ambiences, this time with the addition of field recordings. The CD is divided into two parts of three tracks each, all fulfilling their role as set pieces for this meditation on the ultimate. Sounds flow in and out of our perception, sometimes taking control of our attention, sometimes existing just at the edge of our consciousness. Whether all this does what the artist intended is up to you I suppose. I would characterize this as the sonic equivalent of waiting for the sun to come up in the morning. Listen to it on headphones in the dark. One of very many same such releases out there but I consider it above average in execution.
Artist: Matt Shoemaker (@)
Title: Soundtrack for Dislocation
Format: CD
Label: Elevator Bath (@)
Rated: *****
Great, great, great isolationist dark ambient. Three tracks that suck you in and hold you tight. Dark, menacing and ultimately enjoyable. The sonic equivalent of walking in the woods just after dusk and catching something large moving in the corner of your eye. Adrenalin pumping, heart pounding, and blood thumping in your ears. Did I say this was great stuff!
Artist: Gushing Cloud (@)
Title: Prism Shelter
Format: CD EP
Label: Intanglecat (@)
Rated: *****
Gushing Cloud [love the name] is basically Gus Kumo. A delectable mixture of electronic music genres all done in a satisfying fashion, giving the listener something different every 3-5 minutes with most of the tracks running into each other to produce a nice suite-like atmosphere. There's seven tracks on this CDR/EP of electronica, hip hop beats, ambient atmospheres, and general sonic experimentalism that keeps things interesting. Nice dark ambiences too. Check it out if you have ADD or just like a good mix of things musical.
Artist: Music From the Film
Title: World War Tree
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
A collection of 15 tracks using various samples, vocals, and instruments tortured in various ways, all in a pleasantly child-like manner. This second release by the duo MFTF, specifically Gary Young and Arthur Harrison, is all very free form while still trying to be actual songs. Most of the tracks are under three minutes so they have their say and get on with the next one, which is probably why this works so well. A bit dark at times, and disturbing too. Like a kid burning ants with a magnifying glass. The first step in the development of a serial killer or a healthy outlet? You decide.
Artist: Nils Ostendorf, Philip Zoubek, Philippe Lauzier
Title: subsurface
Format: CD
Label: Schraum (@)
Rated: *****
An excellent release of free improvisation by these three musicians: Nils Ostendorf, trumpet; Philip Zoubek, prepared piano; Philippe Lauzier, bass clarinet & saxophones. The first two tracks are quite good and if I hadn't known it beforehand I would have said they were actually electronic pieces. The prepared piano work gives us a wonderfully dense cloud of overtones that sounds quite cinematic at times. The other pieces are more obviously coming from acoustic instruments, but with a richer expression of sound, as the musicians use various techniques to pull quite surprising sounds out of their instruments. The results can be quite delicate and gentle at times and then quite abrasive and aggressive. I liked this very much.
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