Music Reviews



Zos Kia / Coil: Transparent

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 26 2017
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Artist: Zos Kia / Coil
Title: Transparent
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Now considered as almost a piece of history, "Transparent" documents the first steps of this project as Zos Kia coexisted with Coil as John Balance was a member of both projects and Peter Christopherson was a guest of Zos Kia. The two bands performed together and some critics hinted at this cassette as the first release by Coil arguing that Zos Kia has the same relationship with Coil than eLph i.e., a way to explore slightly different territories by the same band. As Balance and Christopherson were still members of Psychic TV, this material is on the path of the first industrial music where a great part of the work was in research of something which was somewhat disturbing.
The first part of this release, credited to Zos Kia, features the voice of Alisteir Crowley in "Sicktone", the screams of Min in "Poisons" and the voice of Charles Manson in "Truth" as a mean to create an uncomfortable setting as they evidently aim to confront the audience with the deepest fears of our culture. While this first side of the record has is rooted in a noisy musical framework, the second side, credited to Zos Kia / Coil, marks a change of direction as "Sewn Open" is based on the drones that will be the skeleton of the Coil's first releases and the subsequent track more or less continue in this path, denoting a greater attention to sound details with the field recording of Silence and Secrecy (Section) and the loops of "Stealing The Words" until, in "On Balance", there's the introduction of drum and a clean audio that sounds as the introduction to "Scatology".
This reissue features also two bonus tracks credited to Ake which was the project prior to Zos Kia featuring Min Kent, John Gosling, and Matt Cope: "No Mas" and "Rape Live @ Equinox" whose musical framework is based on the impact of noise and the hypnotic voice of Min.
The history of Coil is so important to be a key element in the judgment of this release so now this music represents the first attempts to remove shock tactics from industrial music moving towards more complex musical settlement. History.

Trepaneringsritualen: Deathward, To The Womb

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Mar 12 2017
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Artist: Trepaneringsritualen (@)
Title: Deathward, To The Womb
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Cold Spring is the reissue of the first 12" of Trepaneringsritualen which is based upon an invocation of Babalon and a rendition of the black flame, the cataclysm which is the other side of love. Another ritual work done during a winter solstice is present as a bonus track.
The distorted voices of "The Birth Of Babalon" start this release and introduce the listener into a sonic environment where almost almost all sound are below the midrange region and this creates an oppressive effect. "Deathward, To The Womb" is a longer and more defined track where sounds are sparse and emerge from a bass drone. "Osiris, Slain & Risen" returns to the structure of the first track but reveals a better use of the limitations of low-fi while "She Is Flame Of Life" is noisier and more aggressive as it uses higher frequencies while "Sacrament & Crucifixion", with his use of a dull beat, is almost ritualistic in his repetitiveness which develops in "All Hail The Black Flame" where the scream introduces the listener toward the end of the original release. The bonus track of this reissue, "I Remember When I Was God", is better produced and has a clearer sound which enhance the quieter and meditative moments of the track when the distorted voice doesn't appear.
Even if this release is relatively canonical in his musical development, it has an evocative property which take the most out a minimal palette of sound. All fans of classic industrial music will enjoy this release.

Zavoloka: Transmutatsia EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 01 2017
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Artist: Zavoloka (@)
Title: Transmutatsia EP
Format: 10"
Label: Kvitnu (@)
Rated: *****
Last Christmas Wien-based Ukrainian label Kvitnu literally gave its heart: on the occasion of its 10versary, Kvitnu's guys decided to release this unique output, whose nice cover artwork (a distinguishing mark of the label under the wise visual supervision of Kateryna Zavoloka, the sound artist who signed this celebratory production) could vaguely resemble a psychedelic rendering of a cardiac muscle. It includes a fantastic track by Zavoloka herself, whose opening on what sound like treated bells has a scent of Xmas or birthday celebration before she ignites an electromechanical rhythmical spiral matching the aesthetics of which Kvintu became a sort of flag carrier, and a remix by Cluster Lizard, who transformed some elements of the original track, broke some kicking drums and added some high-voltage aural whispers to feed an enjoyable interstellar mental journey, combining so-called rhythmic noise and the ghosts of 70's synth-driven analogue electronica. Both tracks are available as free downloads, but you can also buy the CD version (priced 10€) or the 10" one (just ten copies are or were available). The last one costs 100€ but includes a lot of benefits: a big pack of Kvitnu stickers, a Kvitnu logo black t-shirt a personal 95% discount code for all items of Kvitnu shop that is valid over the whole 2017 and an unspecified surprise. The dark light of Kvitnu keeps on shining, and we cannot but wish its light can last longer and longer. Happy birthday!

Stray Dogs: And The Days Begin To Walk

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 24 2017
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Artist: Stray Dogs (@)
Title: And The Days Begin To Walk
Format: CD
Label: Kvitnu (@)
Rated: *****
I'm not sure if the source for this output on Kvitnu by Belgian duo Stray Dogs (consisting of Frederick Meulyzer on percussions and electronics and Koenraad Ecker, who use electronics together with a set of guitars and a cello) is the same they grabbed in an icy deconsecrated church, which was the base for their previous album "Wasteland" and the soundtrack for the same-named dance piece by the renowned Norwegian choreographer Ina Christel Johannesen, but it seems they forged it as an adaptation of tracks composed for similar purposes that got premiered at Goteborg Opera House, Sweden, where Canadian choreographer Stephan Laks manages the related dancing company. The six tracks they included in "And the days began to walk" actually manage to be evocative by itself without any deserved reference to its origin. The supposed references to ancient myths and its parallelism against present time of the first two tracks play an additional role in feeding imagination. The title of the opening track, "Phaeton" seems to refer to the son of Apollo, who temporarily stole the notorious sun chariot (his father's "car" to enlighten the day according to Greek believers) to show he was a famous scion and almost burnt Earth (according to the myth, Phaeton's stunt caused the desertification of Lybia), and such a mythological reference perfectly fits the massively punching and the rising scorching progression (close to some stuff by Mika Vainio, Kangding Ray or Plaster) of the track, well-defined as "an unabating stream of swirling polyrhythms, cracked gongs and growling low-end, reaching ever higher to its own delirious disintegration" by label's introduction. Similarly the solemn procession of thuds, sinister clashes and the whole eerily menacing atmosphere of the following track "Lethe", including some field recordings these guys grabbed in the northernmost reaches of Norway, could vaguely resemble one of the five rivers surrounding the underworld of Hades, whose water had the power to cause oblivion to the spirits who quenched their thirst by them. The following two tracks have no apparent relations to myths, but both the acid bleeps of "Tokoroa" and the amazing "Pluvier" feature a guessed combination of rising corroded sonorities and tribal percussions, which could get matched to imaginary tribal dances. While listening to "Beacons", a listener could imagine to be in some subterranean laboratory and finding some well-covered dangerous machine, whose destructive power keeps on stay hidden, unchaining on the thunderous mechanical pulsations and the ominous dub echoes of the final "Sour Vanilla".
Mar 10 2017
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Artist: Relay For Death
Title: Natural Incapacity
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: The Helen Scarsdale Agency (@)
Rated: *****
How many nightmares, fears, memory fragments or weird chats and visions occur during a long journey on a train you experienced? I guess one at least. The constant noise of the train fed the imagination of many movie-makers, writers and musicians of course, to the point it became the perfect set for a plenty of loves, crimes, historical happenings and a large assortment of psychodrama. That constant noise is the almost indisputable lead of the somehow disquieting listening experience provided by Relay For Death, the project of the twin sisters Rachall and Roxann Spikula. In reality, even if the noise of a running locomotive is the element that gives an idea of movement, the two-hours (split over two CDs) lasting sonic journey comes from an amalgamation of other items they cut and paste to supposedly render, as the title suggests, a series of unnatural elements that are so strictly distinguishing features of many of our current urban or suburban textures that they sometimes acts like a sort of natural inhibitors. Especially when they got melted and organized together as recipes of an incredibly powerful paralyzing agent, as it seems to occur on this "Natural Incapacity." As explained in the attached introduction by The Helen Scarsdale Agency, "Natural Incapacity was composed as a seamless, glacial accretion of locomotive grind, subharmonic environmental rumble, nocturnal street sweeping, and the quivering hum of toxic chemicals perpetually leached into the water table." The label itself relates the output of Spikula sisters to the apocalyptic works by Maurizio Bianchi, Kevin Drumm's "Imperial Distortion" and Organum's "Vacant Lights" (maybe this production dating back 1987 is actually the most similar one to "Natural Incapacity"), but the disorienting effect and the dizziness that can be induced by its continuous listening - you should listen so... you couldn't jump off a moving train! - is closer to the one caused by some earlier electro-industrial experiments. The limited edition of this release (just 150 copies) features hard-rust metal covers by Jim Haynes.
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