Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: E.M.4 - Epitaph The End Chapter
Format: CD
Label: M Tronic
Rated: *****
The fourth and last volume of the Electronic Manifesto is an heterogeneous compilation released into a limited run of 500 copies and it gathers fourteen bands that have been invited to write their own epitaph. The album opens with three melancholic tracks made by TAT feat. Cypher & Pagan ("La fin de temps" mix Spanish melodies, electronic bass lines, orchestral arrangements and female spoken word), Stendeck ("It ended as it started" is a mix of ambient synth pads and electronic industrial rhythms) and Laag ("Tower of humans" is a convincing electronic mid tempo that gathers melodic deep vocals and electronic mid tempo rhythmic synth sounds with a nice texture of tiny melodies). With "When I was old (feat HIV+)" by Normotone we change a bit the registry thanks to cinematic atmospheres (recitative Spanish vocals with orchestral backgrounds and fragmented digital industrial rhythms). Ab Ovo with "Keystone" follow a similar path thanks to synth pads, piano reverbs, sampled vocals and guitar feedbacks. Flint Glass' "Death ritual" starts like a dark ambient track with ritual percussions just to turn after a couple of minutes into an ambient electronic tune with i.d.m. rhythm patterns. Philippe Petit & Lydia lunch, with "Requiescat in the dark", did a sort of movie for you ears where the passionate recitative voice of Lydia is joined by digital drones and processed strings. With Club Amour's "Science fiction" the compilation enters into the electronic realm with a good instrumental track where layers of synth pad orchestrations are sustained by vibrant bass lines. Melody and rhythm are the core of the track. With Umilenie's "Tempus fugit" we welcome retro e.b.m. music with an instrumental tune where upbeat rhythms (synth and drums) duet with catchy melodic lines. We have the same with Communter's "Analog death", a catchy electronic instrumental that will you beg for more. Veronika Nikolic's "My world (Ruben Montesco remix)" is the first tune to have a dancey rhythm and it's nice how it mixes electro beats with syncopated synth lines and a sensual female voice. Alexey Volkov's "Levitan" incarnate energy and strength thanks to retro e.b.m. 4/4 distortions. Ex_Tension with "The call of elara (remix from the orginal version of 9 Elma)" mix e.b.m. energy and ambient atmospheres creating a good balance. Geomatic with "The skin (feat Ed Randazzo)" sound like Depeche Mode playing e.b.m. R3MUTE's with "Less than zero (feat HIV+, Normontone version)" are here with industrial e.b.m. sounds a la Hocico influenced a bit by electro music. PEDRO PENAS ROBLES & LAURENT MALTINTI with "Vaya con dios (Normotone edit version)" close the album with an industrial i.d.m. version of what sounds like being a classic Spanish guitar folk song. Nice compilation, indeed...
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Artist: ITAL TEK
Title: Midnight Colour
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu
Rated: *****
Second album on Planet Mu for Ital Tek, MIDNIGHT COLOUR contains thirteen new tracks that are slightly different from the ones of the 2008 album "Cyclical". Alan Myson's debut album was mixing dubstep sounds to cinematic atmospheres keeping high the level of distorted square waves. MIDNIGHT COLOUR, instead, has vocal guests or samples vocals (the closing "Restless Tundra" features Anneka and it sounds sensual and nightly), house influences and rarefied atmospheres that weren't present on the previous album. The raw sounds have been sedated (they haven't been removed from the new tracks) and now Ital Tek sound spectrum has widen thanks to soft synth pads and a richer drum sounds palette. Doing a paragon, if "Cyclical" ideally incarnates the energies of a party that has just begun, MIDNIGHT COLOUR is the sound of its end, when you drive back home while the streetlights paint colored stripes on your windshield...
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Artist: Mirt (@)
Title: Handmande Man
Format: CD
Label: cat|sun (@)
Distributor: MonotypeRec.
Rated: *****
According bizarre David Christianus instructions, the alchemical beast known as Homunculus could be created by injecting human sperm throughout the hole in the shield of an egg by a black hen, then sealed by virgin's skin for thirty days ' don't try it at home, folks! -; according to alchemists, if you do everything in a correct way ' someone argued you should take the sperm from the final ejaculations of an hanged man'¦ that's just one of the reason I suggested it's better do not try similar experiments by yourself! -, this creature is going to become your humble servant'¦Well, this mythical being permeates the conceptual aspect of the fifth solo release by Mirt, a skilled Polish musician and graphic designer, former front-man of One Inch Of Shadow as well as member of Brasil and The Gallowbrothers, maybe one of the last experimental musicians totally refusing the use of computers-aided sound design and still faithful to that Carthusian approach to the audio-montage, based on edits and magnetic tapes, normally requiring more concentration on assembling different parts of the track. Even if a conceptual album normally contains other allegories and side meanings, it's impossible deny the narrative aspect of this release, underlined by the plenty of field recordings 'mainly natural soundscapes rich of murmuring waves, singing birds and chirping insects -, supporting the delicate intertwining of guitar and acoustic sounds in some tracks (Homunculus 1, Homunculus 2, Music Of The Frogs 1 'one of the most 'chaotic' amidst the 8 tracks - and the uterine Glass Mother, one of my favorite recording of the album).


The title-track itself, Handmade Man ' the only real song, whose structure reminded to me the typical post-rock 'packaging', enfilled with a certain sense of subcutaneous melancholic anxiety -, induced my mind to imagine this being dramatically translating into music his sense of inadequacy after a shipwreck (on a ship made up from an empty plastic bag on an island of smelly mire at the borders of peripheral road'¦). But the best piece of advice I could say in order to better appreciate Mirt's work is to use your own imagination for your personal storytelling spleen till the final piano-driven Right Hand Without Fingers, which together with the previous track, Burnt Words Of Moai, features those day-dreaming and delicate atmospheres which are able to highlight the secret aura of this alchemic creature. Mirt's questions about Homonculus according to the info-sheet on Handmade Man were 'How such a being would perceive the world?' or 'What the asylum for Homunculus would look like?', but after I perceived in the general feeling of the record a subtle critic of human stupidity, greed and fanaticism from which this nice little creature seems to run away I've asked to myself 'How long do you think an Homunculus will last in our world?''¦ The only surest thing about its life expectation is that he will live in listener's mind at least for the duration of this record! Handmade Man is also available on a very limited deluxe edition housed in a special wooden box which listener's can connect to his own amplifier and treat like a musical instrument!
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Artist: Greg Malcolm & Eugene Chadbourne (@)
Title: Jazz School
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Monotype Rec. (@)
Rated: *****
Jazz connoisseurs will be maybe tempted to associate the title of this record to the first output by Eric Dolphy with Charles Mingus, entitled Jazz Workshop, especially when they'll discover Greg Malcolm and Eugene Chadbourne ' two talented musicians sharing an obsession for lo-fi experiments with an impressive musical career, being the easy-going Eugene (aka Doc Chad) the collaborator of embarrassingly long list of renowned musicians such as Jimmy Carl Black, Aki Takase, John Zorn, The Violent Femmes, William S.Borroughs, Camper Von Beethoven and many others as well an appreciated and funny popularize and essayist (have a look to his imaginary diary describing his travels with Shockabilly in 1984 as well as his funny autobiographical guide entitled I Hate the Man Who Runs This Bar, a really humorous collection of insights on his 20+ yrs career) and Greg Malcolm one of the most eccentric (and not so bald like the cover image, inspired by some snapshots of Eugene, made by Bruce Russell, could suggest!!!) guitarist exploring funny ways to play simultaneously different guitars in order to build drones and rhythms on guitar melodies'¦.not the usual John Does, folks! -proposed a sort of remodeling of Dolphy's great first and only solo-album on Blue Note, that fantastic Out Of Lunch!, considered one of the most important and influential masterpiece coming from one of the most revolutionary 60ies jazz legends. As I always admire jazz musicians which tried to come off the track of the canons and standards as it was Eric Dolphy as well as Steve Lacy ' two emblematic re-treatments introduce both sides of the record-, this release aroused my curiosity in order to feel how they re-arranged in a bizarre way some of the recordings, which were unusual by themselves.

Those wacky chords as well as dissonant notes in the melodic line in the most feverish passages mark an highly imaginative lo-fi approach to the composition since the very first seconds of the recording and during the performance of Bone, you could easily imagine all the played notes hopelessly dangling on the chords of the guitar'¦with a noisy shove and funny slides, the musicians let them ruinously headlong on the stove! I'm delighted by the idea that the metronomic tickling which could be heard in the funny make-up Greg and Eugene propose almost like fuzzy precepts for a forthcoming jazz school, being the title of this album - entirely recorded at the renowned Polytech Jazz School in Christchurch during Eugene's January 2009 New Zealand tour ' inspired by a sort of divertssment as well as by the attraction of cheap recording, was added just to give voice to the 'poli-handed' will return clock depicted on the cover of the original Dolphy's release on Blue Note! My personal favorites track of the album are those where the bluesy vein pulses strongly such as Out To Lunch! , Something Sweet, Something Tender and the sneaky obliquity of Serene as well as the contract between the lulling acoustic guitar and the strident 'voice' of the electric guitar before the funny set of effects (it's funny when Greg scratches the chords in a way transmuting the guitar in a sort of hoarsed duck!!!) merging the above-mentioned contrasting elements in Straight up and down'¦ a collection of lo-fi experimental miniatures you'll easily enjoy even if you're not a jazz lover! A 12" limited deluxe edition(just 30 copies) housed in wooden box with additional 3"cdr and T-shirt is also available!
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Artist: WILD SHORES
Title: Illusion Of Movement
Format: CD
Label: M-Tronic
Wild Shores is a French collective existing since the early nineties that's active into video art, installation, performance field as well as festival organizations (they organize and promote the Artooz Festival in Limoges since 1996) and ILLUSION OF MOVEMENT is their latest album. The new eight tracks have been recorded live during the 1996-1998 period and then mastered in 2007, so in this case we could talk about a lost album. Presenting synth ambient atmospheres mixed with ethnic vocal samples, hard mid tempos, sub bass lines and whispered vocals, the band hasn't the typical approach to electronic music: they tend to have a spontaneous approach to machines as they want to keep the primitive spark into their sound (only the closing "Tom Horn song" is a bit different as it sounds like an electronic psychedelic blues song). Probably is for that reason that the tracks sound like a mantra that slowly grows. Their label call them "hypnotic songs with a shamanic feeling" and I agree with them. They sound kinda haunting, repetitive, minimal and create the love or hate them effect. On the CD you'll find also a multimedia track called "Substrate". It is a sonographic module created by Servovalve with sounds created by the band. A good example of their visual art...
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