Music Reviews



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Artist: MRKVA/BOLKA (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: LOM (@)
Rated: *****
I've already spoken about the creative explosion related to electronic music (and not only that) in many Eastern European countries, which sometimes experience some troubles in getting visible in the cluttered music scene, at some other time so that the venture by LOM, a small group of people which is trying to help unknown or forgotten deserving experimental artists from that geographical area (particularly from Slovakia for "logistical" reasons) to gain some visibility is praiseworthy. This first physical release is a split mini-album, co-signed by a couple of talented Slovakian sound artists, Jonas Gruska aka MRKVA and Matus Kolka aka BOLKA: the first one is a performer, sound artist and electronic instrument engineer, also known for his project Binmatu, who attended the prestigious Institute of Sonology in The Hague (Netherlands) and Music Academy in Krakow (Poland), where he studied composition and electroacoustic music, while Matus is a rising star of Bratislava experimental scene with a mania for building his own software instruments. On this release, they focused on the sonic representation of a dystopian (but not so far from forthcoming technological mischiefs) future when we will deal with swarms of nanotech insects. They both render them by means of sizzling electric sounds, but while MRKVA prefers to focus on electroacoustic devices and tricks with a huge quantity of gurgles, creased radio frequencies, warped cries, fragmented voices and other corrosive sonic secretions, which sometimes could remind the noise of ear drops for softening wax in the event of otitis, BOLKA builds glitch soundscapes by inserting sonic layers and more structured cluster of noises, temporary magmatic spills and efferent sonic "mistakes" (MRKVA seems to buil a linkage with this compositional approach in his last track "Anders"). Interesting offbeat stuff for tuned-in listeners.
Jan 26 2013
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Artist: Francisco Meirino (@)
Title: Untitled Phenomenas In Concrete
Format: CD
Label: Cave12 (@)
Rated: *****
It seems that the high rate of dumping factor, let's say so, is intentional in Francisco Meirino's sonic research as according to the one who wrote his biography his music primarily "explores the tension between programmable material and the potential for its failure" and this operating procedures permeate this release, where you could imagine an astonishing electromechanical prototypical marvel which fails the test just some instant after it gives the impression it's going to to work well! It could be a wise way to gibe its own skills as I'm pretty sure Francisco knows them quite well. More than 150 live performances in many venues in Europe, Japan and North America and a plenty of collaborations and commissioned releases are enough to validate them. During the listening of Meirino's work, you could easily imagine a supercar with the highest technological content which ridiculously fails the first test for a punctured tire! It's not a negative criticism at all, as I reallt like those skilled musicians which manages to add some funny provocative hints in their artworks! Those abstract lines on black background on the cover artwork refers to the compositional process, which has been used for "Untitled Phenomenas in Concrete", as Francisco fed 85 HighC/UPIC sessions with a set of 18 external sounds (recordings of bones cracking, snow falling, electro-static noises, oscillators, gear failures, magnetic fields and insects!) by means of a device (UPIC) developed by Iannis Xenakis, which gave the possibility to create sounds from drawings on a sort of primordial tablet. I'm not surprised Francisco spent nearly four years to achieve a satisfying result, which arguably manages to reinvent the glitch logic within electroacoustic composition.
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Artist: Robert Normandeau (@)
Title: Palimpsestes
Format: CD
Label: empreintes DIGITALes (@)
Rated: *****
Many followers of electroacoustic music and fans of one of the most renowned imprint, the Canadian label empreintes DIGITALes, were asking themselves about this skilled performer Robert Normandeau, who already signed a plenty of "movies" for the ears according to the way many reviewers described his art, but after listening to his long-awaited album - his last release on the label was "Puzzles", which came on the unlucky DVD-Audio format -, I could say it's worth the wait. The initial title-track "Palimpsestes" is an amazing collage of hubbubs, gargles, sniggers, grumbles, soughs, wheezes, snorts, pants and other bizarre expression of human voice, whose opening "disorganization" seems to get gradually organized so that they looks like staging a sort of gargantuan machine in the second part of the track, while the following "Murmures" is an interesting acousmatic sample, where Robert seems to amplify metallic, plastic and gummy noises in order to render a certain sense of perceived mechanical degradation, whose incessant sinister swarming sounds constantly transposed from urban to natural settings. On "Jeu De Langues", he manages to render flushed and flustered sides of the nocturnal hot dreams he grabs and the subtle flutes he added vividly depict the worming of wantonness and tempting reveries which silently sneak into a bed. The following track "Anadliad" - the one I like most - has been named after a Gaelic word, which means breath and inspiration, and the great work he made by combining the sound of a bagpipe and a pigborn, a Welsh wind instrument, and the strong winds and intense storms of that lovely place of the planet could let you feel like a particle, which get pushed out of the drones to meet the violent electric energy of thunders outside before getting inhaled again into bagpipe's bag, a listening experience which anticipates the final "Palindrome", a mesmerizing track, where various sonic elements seems to overwhelm listeners after wrapping them up by a series of eruptions which feed a persisting mental strain.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: RE(C)QUIEM
Format: CD
Label: SantoS Productions (@)
Rated: *****
The small Italian label Santos Productions by Davide Fernia manages to erect a monumental sonic mausoleum dedicated to big names of history, politics or culture, whose lives are somewhat memorable whether right or wrong, by involving some of the most renowned (mainly) Italian representatives and explorers of grey interzone, who offer an impressive collection of various facets of this obscure and unconventional scene, whose stylistical ground lies on tape and noise art, post-industrial, electronic experiments, dark ambient, neo-folk, ritual ambient as well as on a fertile humus of occult subjects, paganism, underground cultures, futurism, political activism and so on. This 17-tracks compilation of "requiems" opens with "Le 516 volte di Giovanni" ("The 516 times by Giovanni") by Massimo Olla's project Noisedelik, whose sinister rasps on guitar strings, noises of chains, grinding blades, metallic objects and coughs which seem to come from filthy wet prison cells become more and more claustrophobic and obsessive like the imminent execution by the hands of the character whom this track refers, Giovanni Battista Bugatti, commonly known as Mastro Titta, the cruel official executioner for the Papal States in the first half of XIX century, who carried out 516 executions. That's a sticking way to start this commemoration, which carries on with memorable memorials. All tracks include proper sonic hints and quotes by the personalities they referred to so that it's almost impossible to state an "order of preference" as well as a dissertation about each memorial could be excessively rambling. Anyway there are some tracks which struck me more, but such a list cannot be considered thorough at all: ofr instance I found particularly catchy the treatment LCHM and KHEM reserved on "Neo Mondo" to a reading by Pier Paolo Pasolini of some excerpts from Ezra Pound's "The Pisan Cantos" with the quotation of the known verse "What thou lovest well remains, / the rest is dross", the psychotropic evocation Simon Balestrazzi offers on "The Airtight Garage of Jean Giraud (Requiem for Moebius)", the guessed industrial anxiety on "Crunch/Grind Mechanism" by Automageddon in order to remember the controversial General Ludd, the memory glimpses of some literary climax by Danilo Kis while listening to the tribute by Maurizio Bianchi, Stefano Gentile and Gianluca Favaron, the touching dark folk song dedicated to Ota Benga by TSIDMZ and Rose Rovine e Amanti, the synaesthetic sonic remembrance of the brave deeds by Ukrainian anarcho-communist revolutionary Nestor Makhno on "Tacianka Armata" by Brigata Stirner, the scary abrasions by Uncodified for his homage/memorial to Italian witty film director Lucio Fulci or the ripping dedication by meand of headbanging reading within a storm of noises to the innovative aesthaetics of Japanese writer Yukio Mishima by The Streetcleaner and Troy Southgate, but I cannot but reaffirm such a list doesn't justice to other sound artists, who gave their precious contribution to the general impressiveness of the project.

PascAli: Suspicious Activity

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (7361)
Dec 21 2012
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Artist: PascAli (@)
Title: Suspicious Activity
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
The cover artwork of this funny release by PascAli, collaborative project of Sean Ali and Pascal Niggenkemper, seems to suggest the source of raw materials for the preparation of their enhanced double-basses, which lie in respective cases on a wheelie bin! Even if they avoid any kind of processing, effects and electronics, they manages to keep their sound genuinely acoustic and impressively descriptive, so that you don't really need a review to understand what you're going to listen to! You just have to read the titles, even if some allusions are just ironic, provocative or jeering ("Britpop", "Perpetua", "Pavarotties"). The mere listening of a CD could deprive the listener of the pleasure of their bizarre ways for the transfiguration of double-bass, as I'm pretty sure you'll wonder about the techniques and objects they used to turn their musical instruments into squawking chickens ("Chicken Talk"), shredders ("How Long Does It Take Styrofoam To Become Earth Again?"), power saws ("Sawing Logs"), angry dogs ("Dog Bite"), beloved fetishes ("Kissing F-holes"), resounding behives ("Buzzing Bees"), innuendos ("Serene Moment", "Bonanza's Nuts", "Witch Tricks") or authentic sonic set designer ("Highway To Hell", "Industrial Romance"). I've just listed a part of the wide sonic mimicry this creative couple of musicians collected in 22 wacky sketches. I'll leave you the pleasure to explore the remaining sketches of pure sonic camouflage.


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