Music Reviews



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Artist: CROATAN ENSEMBLE
Title: Without
Format: CD
Label: Eh? (@)
Rated: *****
Interesting duo here, differently from several releases on Eh!?, Bill K and Iason P are not dealing with the electro-acoustic thing, nay everything is more dilated, more ethereal and also much more listenable, also for ears that are not trained to this kind of sound. Sometimes it reminded me a strange kind of mix of Kevin Drum drowning in a Kranky pool. This couple of musicians play strings, laptop, electronics, mics, pedals, synths and another bunch of weird electronic devices, but the global sound is less electronic oriented than you could have guessed by reading this list of instruments. Freaky music for freaky people, but Croatan Ensamble are not just playing something simply psychedelic, the music is overall quite ethereal and has a sort of ascension feel. I could help you by writing this’ one of those bands stretching the songs/sounds as much as they can, it implies they introduce changes of notes/sounds/atmospheres really gradually in order to avoid interrupting the trip. Sometimes I think they still have to add something more to reach an higher compositional level but I can assure you the first time I’ve played this cd it was on Sunday right during a bath and my head started spinning with all of my thoughts.


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Artist: JACQUES DEMIERRE
Title: one is land
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
When approaching to cd I’ve to review in most of the cases during the very first listenings I don’t pay attention to the cover, to the line up and above all to the press sheet (and to be honest I never give that much about press sheets!), everything sounds like a good o a bad surprise, sometimes it’s just weird and this solo-piano cd belongs to the last option. When after several listening I went back to the cover of the cd I’ve found the solo pianist was Jacques Demierre, not that I know his discography that well, but I think I’ve heard him on some releases but sure you can bet I know this composer-musician from Geneve has played with many musicians and has been collaborating with some big names like Berry Guy just to mention one I guess many of you out there know quite well. Believe it or not I’ve been surprised by this swiss musician, I’ve to warn you this won’t be an easy listening but sure he did something quite unconventional. The first of the two compositions featured on this cd is a sort of warzone where Demierre turned the piano into a ruining factory: forte, fortissimo, louder than a drummer beating the shit out of his drum-kit, mid and low registers mixed in dissonance, no dynamic diminuendo everything remains as loud as fuck, every once in a while he throws in some quasi-intelligible chord but for the most of the time you’ll feel like the piano is falling from the top of a mountain. I’ve also tried to figure out if he ever played this piece live and if the audience was simply shocked or violated by such a performance. During the second composition the pianist opt for quietness, he probably plays the body of the piano and despite the silent start he keeps following a soft-rumorist edge, far from the first in-your ears total blast everything is more silent and moderated you have breaks, pauses, short phrases, soft concrete noises, strangulated notes but this time he’s never violent. Heavy Harsh work and surely nothing that relaxing but holy shit! Who ever wrote that music has to be relaxing?.

http://www.creativesourcesrec.com/images/cs131.jpg
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Artist: NICKER HILL ORCHESTRA (@)
Title: NICKER HILL ORCHESTRA All the different deaths....and rebirths
Format: CD
Label: In the bottle / Waiting Room
Rated: *****
I’ve read and heard many good things about this band and finally it happens that somebody has sent me their record for a review. If I were mighty Frans De Waard from Vital Weekly you can bet this full length would have been classified as "nothing new under the sun" infact we’re dealing with what some mighty easily describe as a post-rock/post-emo combo, but if you’re used to De Waard’s style as a reviewer, I’m sure you know that doesn’t imply we’re in front of a so and so band. That’s exactly the point: the band is good and sure the music is ok, sure it’s post rock/post-emo with those delayed/reverbered guitars sailing on a emphatic rock drumming, add the music has a slight prog-rock feel and I think you have all the elements you need to identify this unidentified "flying" object. Everybody is always looking for comparisons, I know, as I know musicians hate to be compared to this or that band, by the way this four piece reminds of early Tristeza meets Mogwai meets some soft parts from these quasi post rock bands that were on Temporary Residence, what differentiates them from so many boring imitators of the genre is that they have the strong-rock touch and the trippy prog-feel that comes out quite naturally therefore forget the dead boring side effect you suffered while listening many bands dealing with this style. I like some of their mid tempos with math-solutions you can hear in songs like "Shit you!", the cinematic feel is still there but they remind me also of a bunch of bands from the slow-core era. I think the band should be definitively catchy live, and if you dig the style it’s definitely worth of a try, the song-construction is good and dynamics give more and more points to listeneability of the work.
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Artist: KARSTEN HAMRE
Title: Through The Eyes Of A Stranger
Format: CD + DVD
Label: First Fallen Star (@)
Rated: *****
THROUGH THE EYES OF A STRANGER is the second release for the new label First Fallen Star and it is the second 2009 release for Karsten Hamre (this time under his own name). Released always with a printed run of 1000 CDs with a free bonus DVD along with the first 500 copies (which, like the Dense Vision Shrine one, contains the music of the album with a sideshow of images that Karsten uses on his live performances), the album bring to the attention of dark ambient music lovers seven new tracks. Created mixing layers of melodic drones, sporadic percussive and orchestral sounds, the 45 minutes of music form a flux of fluctuating tense sounds that find their perfect visual counterpart on the limited DVD. The slow sideshow give to the music a good timing and the b/w images create a particular atmosphere where the audience is lead through a sort of voyage where, as stated by the opening track's title, "Darkness gently falling".
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Artist: DENSE VISION SHRINE
Title: Time Lost In Oblivion
Format: CD + DVD
Label: First Fallen Star (@)
Rated: *****
Dense Vision Shrine is back and after two years from the previous album "Unwinding The Inside" is releasing for the new label First Fallen Star (label run by the www.darkmusicdomain.com people) a new CD titled TIME LOST IN OBLIVION. On this new one Karsten Hamre is leading his music toward darkest places where melody is present but not properly defined. Where synth pads tremble while daring a new tone. Where subtle rhythm patterns play, slowed down to death. This time we don't have neo-classical influences, everything sounds just a procession like following a litany. Sometimes the bleak atmosphere is shacked by some obsessive percussive part but soon after the old flux takes a hold just to repeat itself. The titles give an idea of consequentiality like if they are tracking down a sort of story. We have:
1. From Oblivion
2. A Voyage from the North
3. Through Fjords and Burning Skies
4. The Kingdom of Bucovnia
5. Time Lost in Oblivion
6. Through Eternity
7. The Guardians of Staglieno
8. The Black Forest
9. A Womans Cave
10. The Girl Next Door
The first 500 copies comes with a free dvd with the same track list coupled to the image sideshow used by Karsten during his gigs. Those images (natural sights, monuments, etc) help a lot the creation of the atmosphere giving to the listener the right mood for losing themselves in oblivion.
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