Music Reviews

Phantoms of the S.S.: Schwarz

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Jul 23 2008
Artist: Phantoms of the S.S.
Title: Schwarz
Format: CD
Label: Shinto (@)
Rated: *****
This is an interesting album recording. Phantoms of the SS gives us a simple crafted untitled seven tracks. A mixture of Germans talking samples that's on a film with a combination of sounds of noise and percussions. Consistently dark and experimental. One of the tracks have a dictator speaking. The last track is my favorite. Electronic dark synth sets off the fiery demonic rage. A perfect fitting to end the album. Phantoms of the SS sets the standard for the modern exploration in atmospheric and dynamic music simplistic range.
Jul 15 2008
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Title: Shoot's Huft
Format: CD
Label: For4Ears
Rated: *****
This first solo cd by Martin Baumgartner (nnnj) is not really something I would have expected on For4Ears, despite Müller's evident taste for unconventional and demanding sounds. Composed and recorded over a 2-year period, "Shoot's Huft" features three tracks with a similar structure: they start with clattering electroacoustics, at times accompanied by some kind of tuning bleeps (track 1), then boom, they burst into fierce diginoise that would've fitted the Mego catalogue some years ago. The distortion gets at times more structured in square-waves sequences or loops, gives way to ethereal ambient passages, then returns to sweep everything away. There's a loose structure that I guess derives from improvised sessions, but I could be wrong - anyway, the erratic flow is both positive and negative throughout, as it prevents the tracks from being too predictable (straight-on noise can be so boring) but also detracts a bit from aggressive power and cohesiveness.
Artist: vv.aa. (@)
Title: DTrash Records 2007 New Releases Mix
Format: CD
Label: DTrash Records (@)
Rated: *****
DTrash Records is a Canadian based label formed in 1998. The label’s mission is to create an international network of extreme electronic music. This compilation is meant to represent the label’s releases in 2007. This compilation is a single track composed of 10 artists and 18 songs. Most of the artists on this compilation are represented twice.

First, let me say that a single-track compilation is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I was forced to listen to every second of this compilation, and was not allowed to make snap judgments. The curse is that I cannot easily return to the tracks I enjoyed.

Second, the music: Since this compilation is various artists in a single track, I will write all of my impressions in a single sentence. The music represented by this release is akin to Atari teenage riot meets mochipet with hints of mindless self indulgence and the riot grrl movement, and major digital hardcore and gabber influences. This release is, much like the label’s mission, extreme electronics. The highlights for me were the works of Hansel, Babylon Disco, Heartworm, Mind Disruption, 64 Revolt, and Contra. Honestly, I enjoyed almost everything I heard.

DTrash Records’ 2007 New Releases Mix is a very aggressive mix of heavy electro-percussive sounds and angry post-punk vocals. The compilation kept me on my toes for the entire hour it played. If this release is any indication of the quality output from DTrash Records, I would sincerely recommend anyone with an interest in progressive electronics to check this label out.


 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 08 2008
Title: Oxide
Format: CD
Label: 23five
Rated: *****
Though active since 1987, US noisemaker Scott Konzelmann is not really one of the most prolific artists around, so this "Oxide" cd was hailed as a sort of event. If you're familiar with past Chop Shop releases, not much has changed - crude sections of feedback noise/drones aired through modified loudspeakers, here battling with the defects of damaged tapes (expect some extra hiss and abrupt overlapping). It's grey, raw static music, whose gritty textures tend to acquire a sort of atmospheric feel. If you can imagine a more physical and unrefined version of López's "ambient" untitled works, you'll get close to the listening experience of "Oxide". On the other hand, it comes as no surprise that these static sound masses have been mentioned as a fundamental influence by the master of today's wall-noise, Richard Ramirez/Werewolf Jerusalem. Killer packaging with embossed cardboard jacket and an excellent layout throughout.
Artist: Buddhist on Fire
Title: When you Smell the Stench of Dead Disciples you too will realize that all things are impermanent
Format: CD
Label: Smell the Stench (@)
Rated: *****
Buddhist on Fire is the unceremonious noise project of Robert LaBarge, hailing from Mesa, Arizona. This release, titled, "When You Smell the Stench of Dead Disciples You too will Realize that All Things are Impermanent"which will be shortened to Dead Disciples for the purposes of this reviewis a collection of three tracks, approximately 20 minutes in length each. Because of the uniqueness of each track I will describe them separately.

"Zombies of Dharmsala" conjures images of an aged black and white video documentary of machinery grinding relentlessly away; All of the gears and hinges are rusted and poorly maintained. "Open Sores" is reminiscent of a storm cloud forming slowly in a dark sky, lightening rolling through the clouds and thunder resonating through the dried and barren lands below. "Heaps of Bodies" is what I would imagine having one’s head stuck in a blender full of rocksin a wind tunnelwould sound like.

Buddhist on Fire’s Dead Disciples is very much an atmospheric noise release, with the final track touching on the harsher side of noise. The basic atmosphere of each track carries from start to finish; extra layers are introduced to build, and then carelessly fall away. This release is very raw in form, but the sound is solid and interesting, and well worth the listen.

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