Music Reviews



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Artist: Hermetic Brotherhood of Lux-Or (@)
Title: Ethnographies vol. II - Il deserto e le fabbriche
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Trasponsonic records (@)
Distributor: Trasponsonic
Rated: *****
This island where I live never ceases to amaze me for the richness and creativity of its musical offerings. Especially into our scene of industrial and electronic music, which usually is thought to be restricted and much less busy than other musical genres. What I present is in fact another excellent production of Trasponsonic Records (http://www.trasponsonic.net) a small and interesting independent Italian (and Sardinian) label which turns out to be a source of unexpected little gems of sound. Trasponsonic is little, but very active. The label is founded by our friend and musician Mirko Santoru, that keeps it well hidden into his shelter based in Macomer (a small town in the internal territory of our Sardinia). But sometimes, from this "buen retiro", Mirko with Trasponsonic and his band of musicians seem suddenly exploding, in the silence of the countryside around, all the crash of masterpieces like this album which is titled "Il deserto e le fabbriche' (in english: the desert and factories). This new work is signed by the collective sound project called HBOL (acronym of Hermetic Brotherhood Of Lux-Or) involving different musicians and performers (in this record appears the names of Campostorto, Miroslaw, Varrs, Tonj). The work is also the second chapter of an interesting anthology entitled "Ethnographies - Musee de l'Homme Hermetique'.

We'll tell you immediately what I think. This double cd "Il deserto e le fabbriche", the first time I've listen it, surprise me like 'a couple of punches in the nose when the guard is low...!' Because all of its tracks have real musically force inside, have roughness and hardness, sound tribal and industrial at the same time. Are not surely easy to listening. But also are not easy to forget. And this strange feeling 'after listening' left me by the sounds and the noises of Hermetic Brotherhood Of Lux-Or is a really positive sensation was actually difficult to find, for me, even into the works of many groups of gray-area are surely most famous and popular of them. This disc breaks the nasal septum. And we bleed for its sounds but also for the important substance that contains, really conceptual and dense. The two CDs are in fact marked by a boundary line that is well described in the cover notes. The first disc is cryptically subtitled as "Jesus And John Wayne" and i read into that, and I seem to hear, all the red hot sounds of the desert and together all the sand in the eyes during a long ride through the American wild west. This sand in the eyes, for us, is the same Grand Canyon's red earth to get dirty and covered everything. Wagons, horses, cowboys and Indians. That sand was also a mirage and a dream, for us Italians. The sand of the myth of the great wild frontier, as seen through the innocent eyes of our little Italy. A distant mediterranean's country that was fed for a long time with the utopic imaginary by '60s western movies or with the fake and simple optimism of that classic 'american way of life' ever in black and white.

The second disc, entitled equally cryptic "... and Justice for Hollywood" takes us back to a different imaginary. A sub-urban and actual imaginary compound from other deserts of metal and dust. The urban deserts of much industrial archeology close to our cities. The inert metal of abandoned and disused factories and assembly lines broken. The place of human labor that have been broken by the unbridled capitalism that destroys men during its run, destroys cultures and ideas, leaving only rubble behind. Another imaginary, probably common to many provinces of the Western empire. Imagery that is common in this Sardinia Italy, and this affected by industrial decline like some poor distant provinces of the country which was certainly the most heavily industrialized long ago. The other conceptual element that characterizes all the works published by Trasponsonic is, in my opinion, its search for a new road. A road which is sound but it is also philosophical, to a neo-pagan mystical and anthropomorphic, combined with the primitive tribalism. Concepts that reinforce with the use of the raw material of the primordial elements, in a mixture of men and earth, water, air and fire. United by sound and noise.

Perhaps these aspects of his philosophy more intimate would be enough to urge you to look and buy this gem, which you can order directly online at Trasponsonic that sells and distributes on its web site all its work. But if philosophy is not enough you know that the sounds that come from this research are certainly no less profound. The two discs have a feeling old, long ago, but vital, modern and close to us. Almost hear them breathing and panting beside us. All the tracks seem filled with a sound that is tribal and violent. Sound that is material but also dreamy and distant. Sound hard and blood, near and maternal at the same time. This sound is a alien mantis, made of flesh and metal, which feeds on your blood and surrounds you giving you his warm milk.

Even the best trained ears to the post-industrial sound could be damaged hearing songs like "Hyperion Sunset" or "Gravity Sucks" contained in the first cd "Jesus And John Wayne" that could be called a disturbing and dark 'avant-psychedelic rock'. But you'll easily attracted by things that remind us that the best Current 93 chant mantras and eastern litanies with other sounds and atmospheres worthy of the best 'spaghetti westerns' with a soundtrack by Morricone.
If you open the second cd and listen to songs like "Violet Pride" and "Red Rage" will find stunning examples of epic tribal and industrial noise. But I doubt any free resist coming to the end of the last half hour of apotheosis song called "Yellow Avaritia". Because there are tracks in this record that sound like the Laibach, the Trobbing Gristle, and the Zero Kama with the Kranioklast had gathered, all together, inside a deep cave to play steel pipes and human hollow bones. And I must also tell you that the Hermetic Brotherhood of Lux-Or the sound really hollow bones! I saw them live in a M.S. Miroslav, and struck a magnificent skull of horse he assembled and electronically modified with effects and pick-ups to transform it into a modern electro-noise amplifier instrument.

I will stop here. And I want to use. to close this review, the words of Julian Cope, the well-known musician, who arrived here in Sardinia thanks to his passion for archeology of prehistoric megalithic that our land is rich. Cope has discovered the charm and sonority of the work of Trasponsonic and he on his website defines this disc enthusiastically in this way: ... a severe form of Kosmische Musik.... utter vocaleptic brainstorms, eternal drumclatter, caveholler, lo-lo-fi Neu 2-style thrash, epic sub-Faust mung worship and seething half-hour-long Zoroastrian ambulence of the dark stasis variety...

Helm: Impossible Symmetry

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (7131)
Jul 10 2012
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Artist: Helm (@)
Title: Impossible Symmetry
Format: 12"
Label: PAN (@)
Distributor: Boomkat
Rated: *****
One half of presumably ended project Birds Of Delay, Luke Younger, comes back with his solo project Helm on the appreciated PAN label, who hosted on its catalogue the personal project of the other half, Steven Warwick aka Heatsick as well. Helm's talent in noiseshaping merges with references to rich and psychotropic British post-industrial and ritual scene, which often resurfaces during the listening of this record since the first track, "Miniatures", where some listeners could perceive echoes of Coil together with sketches of a sort of psychogeographic documentary of East London, when noises of trains running on steel rails can be distinguished in the sonic obscure stagnant pond evoked by the track, which sometimes looks like a frightening collage of sounds grabbed by a microphone placed on connecting rods of a train or on switch locks of rail tracks (there's also a peep which could come from an accidentaly squelched mouse...). Whereas the following track stands by what title says - "Liskojen yo" is a vernacular Finnish way, meaning "reptile night", to name heavy hangover after massive consumption of alcohol - by a rich and suitable collage of sounds which could be associated to post-alcoholic giddiness, "Arcane Matters" is redolent of daydreaming nearby seashore as the combination of noises and sea rumble let the listener imagine an amount of noises coming ashore and piling up with slime, dead jellyfishes and rubbish till the disturbing final part where a sinister and violent hit on a gong fill the sonic space on a background which looks like grabbed from a kindergarten and "Stained Glass Electric" sounds recorded with microphones put inside flasks during the preparation of explosive acids. This visionary recording ends with disquieting rumbling and strongly piercing whispers of "Above All And Beyond", a mysterious way to sign off this adventorous listening experience.
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Artist: Svart1/Raimondo Gaviano (@)
Title: Praha
Format: CD
Label: Mrtvaja Records (@)
Distributor: www.mrtvaja.com
Rated: *****
SVART1 is the pseudonym of Raimondo Gaviano, an Italian musician who lives and works in Sardinia. The title of his latest work that I present today is Praha.
Svart1 is a representative member of best music scene into this big island of Sardinia, located at the center of Mediterranean Sea, which has especially into experimental grey-area and around the electronic music, some known musicians and also many followers and fans.
This last work of Svart1, titled Praha, is a limited edition CD produced by a non-Italian label, the Mrtvaja Records, a small and independent Bosnian label, born in 2009. The Mrtvaja label produces really fine limited editions of works of experimental electronic and electro-acoustic music. Svart1, in this case, works for Mrtvaja Records but hi has realized various productions for others independent labels and also more self-realised productions. All the discograpy is visible on his personal website. Svart1 during his career have also many collaborations with other artists of the Italian and European electronic scene.
Gaviano, as I said earlier, working in Sardinia like many other electronic musicians his countrymen and also for this reason is really used to have a necessary great productive autonomy and often also move beyond the narrow confines of this island to interweave many contacts and collaborations with others musicians who working overseas.

This work Praha is an example of this easy "way of life" to migrate overseas for Sardinian artists. Praha contains a recent live of Svart1 recording in Prague (at the Cafe V Lese during March 2012 for an event organized by Arkham Productions (http://www.arkham.hys.cz/).
The Arkham is one of the most renowned cultural promotion agencies of that city and, on the same occasion, also the Czeck artists of the Seismic Wave Factory performed a live with the VJ's of the Fuck TV project (you can found some infos about those projects on http://www.industrialgallery.com).

This album Praha is a very good work for me. And his tracks are a perfect testimony of the genuine and sincere approach to the electronic music of our Svart1. A careful listening to this record reveals very positive for the mind as a persuasive mantra, at times more hypnotic, familiar and comfortable for discerning ears as a carpet of self-constructed rhythms that are never predictable or consistent.
For example, into the opening track, an audio sample of a simple running sewing machine turns into a cyclic pre-apocalyptic drone portends an impending flood. And all the work is a successful and enjoyable example of the best minimal noise with grafts of electronic ambient that are always expertly blended to work together without any mannerism.

A great job so this Praha, which I recommend, however, to hear before a random search on Youtube videos work by Svart1/Raimondo. Because the artistic research of Raymond Gaviano is never just or only music. And for this reason surely a single CD audio is not able to give a full idea of his works. For those, like me, who knows and follows it from many years it is difficult to separate these two aspects of sound and video image which, in this case, are always intimately linked.
The self-produced video by Raimondo Gaviano, run behind him during his live performances and are little masterpieces. Each concert, for the spectator, is indeed a beautiful multi-sensorial experience that is based on the close union between music and the video processing of extreme or dreamlike images that emphasize and amplify fueling our imagination in a growing fact of endless cinematographic references and citations.

Finally i recommend also you to not stop only at this album Praha, last work of Svart1/Raimondo Gaviano, because I hope, after this review, please you to go on the net, for a search around his other works.
Because Svart1 is a complete artist. A good electronic musician but also a great video maker and a fantastic manipulator of digital images. The post-industrial atmospheres that his work created for us, by masterly use of a thin, black and white very dry, or with a color change into a soft focus often dissolving in a strong light and dark, thwarted and diverted, are the best description possible of the ruined worlds that surrounds us and surrounding our post-industrial way of feeling this strange modern life. You have to see the work of Svart1 not just listen.

Human Herd/Schizoid (Split 7”): Never Despair/The Next Extreme

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (7084)
Jun 10 2012
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Artist: Human Herd/Schizoid (Split 7”) (@)
Title: Never Despair/The Next Extreme
Format: 7"
Label: D-Trash Records (@)
Rated: *****
Well, for the final review of this season's batch I present the Human Herd/Schizoid split 7'. This was released back in September 2011, but you know how slow these things get to us reviewers, and as we're not paid professionals (at least most of us aren't) we review them when time permits, which usually takes a while to assimilate, and then a while longer as we slog through the stack of stuff we get in large packages. My apology to the artists for the delay, but we get to 'em when we get to 'em. For me, this is the first piece of vinyl I've gotten from Chain D.L.K. to review, and I probably should have put it first rather than last, but...whatever.

A little background on the bands- both are from Canada; Human Herd now based out of Hamilton, Ontario, and Schizoid located in Toronto. Human Herd was formed in 2003, and according to them are influenced by NON, Mayhem, Skinny Puppy, Iggy Pop and The Doors. (I didn't hear much of those influences on this record.) Schizoid goes back to 1998, and are the owners of D-Trash Records. Schizoid claims Atari Teenage Riot, Canidru, EC8OR, Meathook Seed, Mayhem, Malformed Earthborn, Thorns, The Berzerker, Brutal Truth, Ultraviolence, (and others) among their influences. (I could hear some of those in what they did on the record.) Schizoid is apparently a well-known name in the digital hardcore scene. Schizoid is also known for performing in 2000's black metal act Dead of Winter, as well as remixing exclusive tracks for Red Harvest, Agnostic Front , and Mortiis. Live, Human Herd has shared the stage with acts such as Behemoth, Cryptopsy, Nargaroth, and Kataklysm; and Schizoid with EC8OP, Merzbow, Faxed Head, and Phallus Uber Alles.

Let me preface this review by saying that I have nothing against the Digital Hardcore genre. I think a little loud, abrasive, fucked-up noisy music is not only good for the soul now and then, but also cleans the wax out of yer ears. That being said, let's get on with the review. Human Herd's 'Never Despair' on the A side relies on a distortion-driven, semi-slow 5 note guitar riff that continues throughout most of the 3 minutes and 16 seconds of the track. It modulates key once, going up a half step. Other elements include what sounds like backwards breaking glass and cymbals, and some rudimentary percussion. Of course, there are the growly speak-sing vocals of which I could occasionally decipher a word here or there. You'll find that guitar riff pretty monotonous after about a minute. Maybe Zen and drugs (incompatible?) would have made it more tolerable, but I relied on neither. I figured the other side had to be better, I was wrong. Schizoid's 'The Next Extreme' sounded like a shitstorm of guitar distortion and hoarsely screamed vocals. I couldn't make out a word of the lyrics. I couldn't hear any drums. To say this track doesn't translate well to vinyl is an understatement. I cranked it up loud and couldn't hear any bass. I thought my cartridge might be cooked, but I put on some other vinyl and it sounded fine. Now to be fair, I checked out the YouTube video of the song, and that was a whole lot better. I could actually make out a word now and then, the mix sounded better, the bottom was there, and the video was pretty cool too, in an apocalyptic way. But I really have to rate this record on the way it sounded to me, and that wasn't too good. I dunno, maybe the mastering, or my system, but it didn't come across well.

Even though I'm giving this a low rating, I strongly suggest you buy it anyway. Why? Several reasons ' Maybe it will sound better on your turntable. Hey, it's vinyl, and could become highly collectible over the years (limited to 300 copies). Some might believe it's the worst record they own. (There are many, many worse things on vinyl though; that's a tough award to clinch.) It could grow on you...like a fungus. It's only $8.00. The bands need the money. Pressing vinyl ain't cheap, and I respect artists who put out music on vinyl these days...well, the independent ones anyway. I also like the Schizoid T-Shirt (you should buy one of those too), but I doubt D-Trash is going to send me one after this review.
Jun 04 2012
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Artist: Richard Francis & Bruce Russell (@)
Title: Garage Music
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Alone at Last (@)
Distributor: Alone at Last
Rated: *****
The independent russian label 'Alone at Last' despite its name certainly does not leave us alone. This label announced his birth until march of this year and has already released three excellent works simultaneously. One of these discs are the "Celtichants" by Maurizio Bianchi. I have already talked about here on Chain DLK.
And I also said about the painstaking care with which, our friend Dimitry (the eclectic producer of Alone At Last) realizes his records. A treatment that makes all limited edition copies as little gems contained into a package similar to an origami paper, with color and graphics intriguing and different.

The content of this review is one of this origami work, produced by a duo of great New-Zealand's noise- musicians. One of them is certainly more well known also here in Italy, a country from which I write. It is the volcanic Bruce Russell. And i hope most of you remember him thanks to its "free-noise manifesto".
Bruce is also the musician who has created (with Michael Morley) a very important band like the DEAD C (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dead_C). The Dead C is considered by many people to be a real cult formation that invented the 'New Zealand-Noise'.
Bruce Russell in the eighties, also founded an independent label named 'XpressWay Records' (the one that produced works of other noise artists such as Dadamah, Pin Group and Terminals) and after XpressWay experience Bruce created also another label, the Corpus Hermeticum, which published the works of his most recent project "A Handful Of Dust" (with the violinist Alastair Galbraith). For all of those reasons I think Bruce Russel is certainly a big name in the noise musical scene.

The other musician who played with Bruce in this "Garage Music" is Richard Francis. (http://www.richardfrancis.net.nz/ )
I don't know Richard before this work, but i've found many materials on the web and about it. And i think it is another interesting musician with different important works and many collaborations between New Zealand and Japan, also thanks to his project called Eso Steel. And here, into this work with Bruce, Richard proves certainly lives up to comparisons with the another great noise-designer.

We come finally to talk about this record of our two "noisers". It is a disc which contains 3 short tracks about 5 minutes each entitled at the same mode: Garage 1, 2 and 3. And contain also two beautiful and long suites of sound, of 13 and 17 minutes.
The resulting product is a big example of industrial minimalism and noise ambient based on drones, with analog sounds, guitars and other synthesis music. But I want to tell about this work not only for the beautiful substance of his sound but also for the very particular form in which it was created and registered.

The two musicians have in fact cooperated at a distance. Initially only by exchanging mail, one with each other, between 2007 and 2009. In this way recorded all traces of guitar, played by Bruce, and synthesizers and computers, manipulated by Richard and finally assembly into these 3 short tracks i talk before, with the same title "Garage" . But also the two long suites are the result of a different and strange mix of live recordings in part sincronous and part a-sincronous.

One of those two long suites is titled "Undead" and is a strange marriage between two different recordings of a solo-set performed by authors. The gigs are recorded separately but are performed on the same day.
The resulting fusion is really intense and highly processed.
This long track is titled "Undead" and is certainly the best piece of the whole work. A carpet of sound industrial smoke and whirring motors that rotate and beat synchronously in-phase or anti-phase. Also in this track sound manipulation and real-time computer and synthesizers owned by Richard and cords and ribbons clavioline played by Bruce, create a dough environmental dense and liquid from which it emerges hypnotic listening to fatigue. Really a great job.

For me Undead is very beautiful, alienating and also personally upsetting for the kind of ambient noise-that in some instances is created. With drones sounds and cyclic sinusoidal rhythms. All of these drones going to overlap, defeating and counter-beating, to meet at the end, even if quite by chance, on the same rhythmic pulse.

The fifth and last track of this album, also long, is titled simply "Live" and was recording during a live real-time concert. This concert happens in February 2009 and in the same place as other live tracks. And finally he sees, for the first time in this work, the two musicians play together your noise and industrial music. Live is a great final noise gig for all of us. To leave us "Not alone at last..!"

I close here my review. But I will tell you that, even if our Bruce and Richard are surely accustomed to frequent the lands and seas far away from our Europe, as I listened to their record I imagined the ideal backdrop to their live set with sounds of this type.
I hope these two noise-surfers will forgive me if I don't imagine them lying on the sands under their New-Zealand's sun but I see them play their industrial musics in a nocturnal gig set, amid the ruins of a factory and near the cold seas of north Europe. I imagine also, behind them and their musics, only the dark blue color of sky and the grey of clouds moving slowly over the Finns seawaves.


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