Music Reviews

Jacek Sienkiewicz: On The Road

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 19 2011
Artist: Jacek Sienkiewicz (@)
Title: On The Road
Format: CD
Label: Cocoon (@)
Distributor: Word and Sound
Rated: *****
The friendship between the Polish talented techno producer Jacek Sienkiewicz and Sven Vath's legendary label Cocoon - one of the few cases where important goalss have been reached for tried and true skills and not for some lucky circumstances - seems to be strengthened and even his fame in the scene is going to get well established, even if he's considered one of the aversest to praise as well as one of the most bashful character amidst a plenty of glittering people who like to be under floodlights. After gaining some notoriety with his releases on his own imprint Recognition and two albums on Cocoon (the acclaimed Techne and Displaced), Jacek has finally finished On The Road, his 3rd full-length on His Majesty Sven's label. I was slightly surprised to learn he needed two years of work as some melodic parts sound so spontaneous that someone could argue they've been improvised, but the final result is really interesting and without removing anything from the value of other issues, I could say it has something more than other recent releases by the label, maybe as Jacek assembled a sort of emotional journey without recurring to vapid mechanical techno loops - maybe the only track where he winks at a more "fashionist" sound is On The Road Again, even some "jazzy" moments and african sketches could remind some good stuff by Dominik Eulberg -. The titles themselves look like trustful clues this techno-maker conceptualized an emotional journey to translate it into modern musical language, a journey which starts with the psychedelic tech-house of Departure 11 (I particularly enjoyed an harsch sound looking like a muffled barking) and ending with Arrival 12, an oneiric and somewhat impalpable ambient sounding as the report from a dreamy state of mind, wisely closed by a fit of coughing. In between many stylistical techno crossbreeds, among which I particularly enjoyed Fear - a track which seems a tribute to some Detroit techno legends such as Kevin Saunderson, turned into something more comfortable and less hard by the deep-house suit Jacek manages to weave -, the obscure stereo pads of Peregrinating and the psychedelic bumpy fans of Lost And Found, a track which is going to be appreciated by those djs who already speaks about "post-trance" music. On The Road is not an easy album at all, as it's quite distant from many Cocoon artifacts, but that's the reason it's really intriguing.

Sid Le Rock: Gentlemen's Intermission

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 17 2011
Artist: Sid Le Rock (@)
Title: Gentlemen's Intermission
Format: 12"
Label: Shitkatapult (@)
Distributor: Zero-inch
Rated: *****
Well-polished black suit, soft velvet overcoat, old fashioned top hat in Dickensian style, glossy silver spectacles and pewter headed walking cane, which can be turned into a sextant or a telescope ready for the intermission the gentleman portrayed by the talented Canadian producer Sid Le Rock (co-founder of Beachcoma record label also known as Pan/Tone and Gringo Grinder, signed under T.Raumschmiere and Daniel Meteo's Shitkatapult squadron in July 2010 with the superb release Tout Va Bien) in this poshly amazing release is getting aware about. The first track, Devil's Night, abruptly pushes on bumpy beats, spacey foggy sounds and eruptive hats before some sinister bells enter into the stage in order to draw a swirling 7-minute lasting smooth techno mantra, reminding to my musical memories some pieces by Stewart Walker filled with minimal techno squarings. The perfect warming up piece is the remix of Made For You (previously appearing on the above-mentioned Tout Va Bien) by Thomas Brinkmann aka Soul Center, who is able to rearrange that tune imbueing it with warm sense of vacuousness and cramming with beats that sound like fluctuating like jellyfishes in a phosphorescent pool. The most touching track which completes this gentleman's portrait is Hello Gorgeous, an astonishing and engaging hybridization of indie rock, melancholic glaze and that day-dreaming pop frosting, which doesn't corrupt the general feeling of the tune. A nice musical bauble who sounds like a futuristic reminescence about the bygone days. Definitively appropriate for gentlemen!

Piemont: Sand Hills

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 14 2011
Artist: Piemont (@)
Title: Sand Hills
Format: CD
Label: Suchtreflex
Distributor: Al!ve
Rated: *****
You'll easily find some releases signed by these two Hamburg based students of sound design and mastering in the bags of many djs, who have been routed by the minimal techno wave, as Frederic Moering-Sack & Christian de Jonquières were stirring the streams from the depths of an ocean could look like the cover of their previous album Strange World Beyond issued by MBF two years ago. Nowadays as the waters are slowly receding from some fields, these talented sound morphers cannot do anything but draw in the nets and explore the dunes left by those devastating outflows by tempering their sound again and sharpening it through house and funk knives. It's quite soon to speak about a sort of new school of techno, but the various possible direction that these lads seem to suggest - ...and some of the tracks properly seems to salvage the compositional intuitions and tricks by legends such as Carl Craig and Richie Hawtin as well as quoting the sound of other legends of the recent minamal techno stream (tracks such as Indeed, one of the two bonus tracks available on digital release only, or Few Mornings are going to evoke memories of some Booka Shade incendiary sets) -. Most of tracks can be better appreciated by oscillating bodies or entrapping your thoughts in geometrical abstract dreams, but the most trained ears will easily recognize their talent in forging sounds and chisel frequencies especially in tracks such as Deeps or Skies, Dotless I (definitively the one I like most), With Small Pupils. Sense Of Self (looking like more as an SOS than a mystical revelation!), Unrest (featuring a voice asking if you like Sand Hills...there's a possible answer as well...) or Can Anything Be Said (an ironic title for a track where a voice desperately tries to speak over a mumbling and formless chattering sounds as the real disturbing element in the sound space). Easily enjoyable!

Ascii.Disko: Black Orchid: From Airlines To Lifelines

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 13 2011
Artist: Ascii.Disko (@)
Title: Black Orchid: From Airlines To Lifelines
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact (@)
Rated: *****
Hot out of Artoffact ovens, Black Orchid: From Airlines to Lifelines (what a wise tilte!) is the new album by Daniel Gerhard Hol aka Ascii.Disko where he seems squeezing efficaciously danceable beats and good sounds into a stylistically crammed suitcase. Many electro techno djs who stocked some of Ascii.Disko releases in their bags and all those who listened some of his acid stuff could feel somewhat surprised while listening to the musical turnabout of this guy towards more dulcet and whimsically pop directions, but it's quite difficult to escape from the pleasant tunes by which Piemont manage to pamper the listeners subtly inviting them for a merrily desperate sinking into imaginary quicksands! My favorite moments of the albums are those ones when Daniel Gerhard Hol melt together elements of rock, funk and house, whereas in stunning tracks such as Horizon, the frenzically erotic White Lines Black Lines, the frenzically ego trip of 100 Demons (...wittily tinged of that kind of guitar textures post-rock lovers habitually get stoned by - a neatly audible influence in track such as Crystals and Knives as well as in other lovely intimistic exfoliations -!) or the controversially sexy and slap-happy From Airline to Lifelines and even in some brightful solipsistic reveries such as the brilliant The Black Angels Love Song the tender french kissed Butterfly some witty listeners could hear echoes of French Teen Idol or Alex Gopher (...or at least the Alex Gopher emerging from his self-titled album!). A sort of new era even for satanic acid youth could have come... Brilliant workout!

+VERB: Solar Heat Traveler

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 03 2011
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Artist: +VERB
Title: Solar Heat Traveler
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Vermin Street
Rated: *****
Here's a new release from Vermin Street. I kinda missed the label's sound during their seven months break. Anyway... +verb with SOLAR HEAT TRAVELER are bringing to the dubstep lovers three new tunes made of mid tempo robotic fragmented sounds full of bleeps, wobbling sounds and tiny melodies. Sounding now epic and then mysterious "Puddlegum", "JerkOff" and "Meltyyy" show a great attitude and a knowledge on how making an atmospheric tune. Stops and go, powerful kiks and an intricated rhythmic palette will convince you that this release is worth checking. On this EP you can also find three remixes of the opener "Puddlegum" reworked by +verb themselves (the "I can haz harps" mix), Knight Riderz (their take is cinematic and powerful thanks to the use of choirs) and De79 (their version sounds like an 8bit buzz slow dub tune). Freddy Todd closes the EP with a remix of "JerkOff" where he enhances the wobbling bass effect and the bleeping sounds but keeping the main structure of the track. Nice one.

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