Music Reviews



Frore & Shane Morris: Eclipse

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Nov 19 2017
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Artist: Frore & Shane Morris (@)
Title: Eclipse
Format: CD + Download
Label: Spotted Peccary Music (@)
Rated: *****
'Eclipse' is the second collaboration between Frore (Paul Casper) and Shane Morris after their previous 'Blood Moon' (2015). Together these musician composers explore the boundaries of ambient and tribal, merging the organic with the electronic. Utilizing digital and analog synths, didgeridoo, ethnic flutes, gongs, djembe, singing bowls, frame drum, and udu pots, Frore and Shane take the listener on a journey to the depths of the psyche through primordial roots to transcendental peaks and lush valleys. Hypnotic hand-drumming plays a large part in this, with nearly every track exhibiting some sort of polyrhythm. The drums are rather upfront in the mix too when they need to be, nearly ceremonial in their manner. Synths of course carry the ambience in sustained drone-like pads as you might expect. Throughout the eight somewhat lengthy tracks on 'Eclipse' there is an aura of mystery and magic that emphasizes the ritualistic and shamanic. The music is neither complete dark nor light, but falls into that grey area that the title and CD cover perfectly illustrates. A good amount of this must have been improvised but these guys work so well together there is no stepping on toes, nothing out of context, nothing that doesn't work or feel contrived. While there is melodicism the melodic content is amorphous supportive of the ambiance rather than dominating it. That may seem (in description) that the music is simplistic, but in actuality, far from it. The layering is complex in that there is much going on within the ambiences. Believe me this is full, rich and heady stuff. I know from my experience with Malaysian Pale back in the '80s that making electronic world music of substance can be a real challenge. Here Frore and Morris live up to and often surpass the challenge in a path well-trodden by other artists in the ambient-tribal domain such as Vidna Obmana, Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Matthias Grassow and other similar artists. The flow from track to track is really great too lending itself to a seamless listening experience with nothing disjunct or jarring by juxtaposition. The only misgiving I had about 'Eclipse' was on the final track "A Lonely Path" where it seemed like it should have been building to some conclusion but just ended up petering out. The artists likely had a different take on this but to me it seemed inconclusive. Overall though this is a very worthy work if you're into ambient-tribal, and will probably spend a good while on my current and future playlists.

Exo_C: Laboyatta

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Nov 16 2017
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Artist: Exo_C (@)
Title: Laboyatta
Format: CD
Label: Kvitnu (@)
Rated: *****
Exo_C is the bicephalous entity by two young noise-shapers, exoterrorism (Belgium/HK, having some tapes on tape-label ThirdTypeTapes in his short discography) and French performer Eduardo Ribuyo aka C_C, born (and already gone?) on the live stage of "On fait du l'art!", a performative space/lab led by the same-maned artistic community in Lausanne (Switzerland) on 22nd October 2015. The brutal mating ritual of these two entities gave birth to an amazing performance, that Kvitnu described as "a noise poetry of distorted sonic perfection" and I could describe as something in between techno - but not so danceable to be proper techno - and industrial - but too well organized to be exclusively labelled as industrial -. I could say Exo_C's sound is extreme, as the regions of the sonic spectrum they like to manipulate are the extremities (stomach-hitting very low frequencies and hyper-piercing high frequencies), while everything that lies in the middle gets wisely sliced, shredded and annihilated. The performance (available on CDr or digital release) consists of 9 parts: a relatively long "Intro" (a sort of warm-up of their resounding machines), an "Outro" (you can't turn hard-boiling machines off too abruptly!) and some numbered Up, Dub and Song, whose succession feature its own logics. All Ups sound like a rudimentary preparation, all Dubs a set of slowly intrusive organizations of the electromechanical hits they forged and all Songs (my favorite moments of the Exo_C industrial process) the stages where the cycles of their forging become more fluid. Head-nodding stuff!

Thomas B: Augmented Place EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Nov 15 2017
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Artist: Thomas B
Title: Augmented Place EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi (@)
Rated: *****
When I introduced the debut EP by Onism QI - the collaborative project by Quentin Hiatus, Ghast and Thomas B -, I omitted to say that a remarkable fingerprint on the sound of this project has been given by the last of the guys listed, Thomas B (real name: Tommy Brinson), as you can easily guess while listening to this recent output on Free Love Digi. Even if its dynamics don't show the same dynamics (particularly in tempo variations) of Onism QI, you could notice many similarities of the sci-fi sonorities explored in this EP. This aspect is mainly noticeable on the more experi/mental (and my favorite ones) tracks of the four ones included in this digital EP: check the opening "Significance" - its pattern based on claps and finger snapping and the way by which melodic elements gradually rises - and the closing "Augmented Place" - where you can notice that any ring added by Thomas B on the sonic chain makes it more and more involving -. Besides its sonorities, the hip-hop (or I'd rather say ill-hop, to use a label which was popular to describe this kind of experiments on hip-hop tempo in the late 90ies/early 00ies) oriented tracks, both "Straat" and "Tangible" are maybe too predictable and 'static' than the other half of the release.

Onism QI: Null Explodes EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Nov 15 2017
cover
Artist: Onism QI
Title: Null Explodes EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi (@)
Rated: *****
One of the main advantage of digital releases lies in the fact that even if new stuff is added to a discography, some release doesn't become totally unavailable, so that even if a new EP (title "Intelligent Life") by the collaborative project Onism QI (grouping together Quentin Hiatus, Thomas B and Ghast) has been announced, the one I'm going to introduce is not really obsolete. The opening track of this EP ("Null Explodes" is the debut release by Onism QI), "Fear Death Love", is a sort of electric mantra, boosted by a sort of otherworldly moaning, snapping fingers and a mid-tempo, that becomes more and more hypnotising, whose magic get highlighted by the amazing playing on pitch by these guys, who increase BPMs when the listener could expect a deceleration and vice versa. The tempo got stabilized on mid-levels on the following tune, "Patroller", whose dynamics is based on menacing sonic entities, crackling percussive noises and occasional computational stirring, and a mid-tempo features "MB", the lovely song sung by Matthew Cassidy, whose voice could vaguely resemble the (computer reshaped?) modulations by Sascha Ring (Apparat, Moderat). Last but not least, the amazing sci-fi cracking of "Meta Realm", which makes you think that there's a more serious just than a drum N bass project behind Onism QI... maybe the foundations of a newly enlighted mankind! Check it out!

Quentin Hiatus: Out Here EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Nov 14 2017
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Artist: Quentin Hiatus (@)
Title: Out Here EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi (@)
Rated: *****
2017 has been a very intense and prolific year for Quentin 'Hiatus' McFadden, who added a lot of good releases in his rapidly growing discography - I warmly recommend the tripartite album "I'm Neither Quentin Not Hiatus"if you missed it in the huge cloud of digital releases of bass-driven music -. "Out Here" is the EP, by which Quentin rides off into the sunset of this triumphant creative gallop over the year, that is drawing to a close. The first track of the five included in this EP winks at Juke and Trap sonorities in the first seconds, before unrolling mellow tunes. I'm not sure if the vocal sample that can be heard after a couple of minutes got grabbed by some radio shows or interviews of Dean Edell, a broadcaster and physician, who became very popular in the late 70ies/early 80ies for his radio show on KGO radio and his well-argued opinions against magical beliefs, pseudoscience related to healing methods and some surgical and medical practises (he was against circumcision, hysterectomies and so on). He was also one of the earlier supporters of the medical use of marijuana and other psychedelic drugs. The balance between liquid sci-fi pads, the slightly nervous beat and the title repeated by a soulful female voice on the following "Find Out" sounds like an invitation to the base to acquire an explorative mindset. The way by which Quentin organizes sounds in "Born Woke" looks like a dribbling between a sci-fi melody, electronic fibrillations and percussive elements that he manages to slot into the previous ones. The futuristic hip-hop and the meaningful lyrics of "Kryptomedic Rejection" (a link to the initial Edell (if I guessed references) precede the amusedly alien entrapping game of "Unexpected Guest".


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