Music Reviews

Piemont: Sand Hills Remixes

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 03 2011
Artist: Piemont (@)
Title: Sand Hills Remixes
Format: 12"
Label: Suchtreflex (@)
Rated: *****
As a consequence of their stylistical decision to shift their musical loads from agit-prop-like grunde to electronic dance music, many reviewers argued Piemont's Sand Hills maybe ushered in a new season for minimal techno, even they prefer to say the mutation fo their style was almost automatic, as it belongs to the tectonic plates' movement between indierock and idm, whereas some rocks easily crumbled into dancehalls. The acclamation they mainly received from dancing audiences for their fuzzy live-sets and from music press who understood the real value of their balanced sound dosage appears to be confirmed by this nice release, available on mp3 and vynil, issued by Suchtreflex and supported by many notorious lights of techno star-let such as Laurent Garnier, Chris Wood and Gregor Tresher, which contains four nice dance-oriented remixes (plus two other ones if you opted for digital download), a logical step after Piemont's choice of assembling a kind of techno, whose harmonics made it appreciable not only on firing dance halls but also on listener's sofa. I particularly enjoyed the remix of Run Down by the Italian producer Hugo (it's just a coincidence his studio is located in Turin, the administrative centre of Northern Italy's region called Piemont!), who decanted some jazzy trumpet slices into his elating deep house according to a sort of musical osmosis he already proposed in his album "The Sloop and the Siren" on Jay Haze's label Tuning Spork. The mentioned Jay Haze itself, quite known for his philantropic attitude as he raised some money for important causes (including the disgusting phenomenon of child abuse during the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the devastating Asian tsunami in 2004), signs the "Jay Haze For Palestine" remix of With Small Pupils, a more bumpey version of the original, whereas childish vocal samples and sounds reminding a boat in the act of werighing off for a new harbour (!) are perfectly balanced. I've noticed no particularly deforming warp on Instead Of Multiple's remix by the Spanish producer Uner (better this way!), while Philipp aka Sante' flambes the track Self Of Sense with many recipes, which are going to espouse the tastes of many Ibiza frequent visitors! The bonus remixes on digital version, the rhythmically rumbling one of A Bound Of Passivity by Re:You and the vortical crunchy plaything the French producer Lowris made from Try To Read The Numbers - my personal favorite one! -, are very easygoing tunes as well. Nice stuff.

Bit-Tuner: Drome EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 28 2011
Artist: Bit-Tuner (@)
Title: Drome EP
Format: CD
Label: Trepok (@)
Distributor: Phonofile
Rated: *****
The petrified stern face standing out on the cover artwork's makes resurface to my mind one of the most iconic fictional character of the notorious L.Frank Baum's Oz books I used to read when I was a little child, the Nome King, so that my mind started to find any possible similarities out with this astonishing proof of sound ballistics by Swiss producer Marcel Gschwend aka Bit-Tuner and the fearful antagonist of Oz villains! Even if I cannot be sure Marcel doesn't like eggs (if you've seen the Disney movie adaptation of that story, you'll arguably remember the Nome King was killed by an egg, laid by Billina, the nuisance-hen Dorothy accidentally brought in Oz during his second travel in the emerald city!), his style, a juicy hybridization of ill-bient, booming dubstep and experimental hip hop, sounds rocky like the cells of any gnome and dim like the obscure underground hollows where they use to dwell. Another feature of this stony civilization consists of their habit of hiding jewels. Well, this could be undoubtedly a controversial point as you'll unlikely deny his skills in melting styles in a turgidly psychedelic way by mining authentic gold from previously drilled soils (especially in gorgeous tracks such as Traffic, Anger or Dizzer - what a guessed title! -), but you'll notice Bit-Tuner is inclined to bury the nice harmonics he assembles with layers and layers of heavyweight basslines or thrilling samples (I appreciated the sci-fi nuances of tracks such as the final Full Bass Bonus or the clocking abrasive dubstep of Nuclear Silence). Really bewitching stuff, which is potentially going to daze the listener...especially if related to some Oz stupidly happy villain!
Artist: Concise feat. Flaque (@)
Title: Ingénue
Format: CD
Label: Wycombe Music (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
Another goody I received several months before and which was well hidden under my huge heap of still-not-reviewed releases ' again, I am very sorry for these awful delays. This full-length album is sort of a surprise, as I was eagerly awaiting new stuff to listen from Flaque. This modern-IDM/Electronica-project has been quite too long in hiatus after the excellent debut 'Mindscapes' (also released by Wycombe Music...), which has been one out of three parts of the last Concise box-set release 'Revive'.
Also Concise, featuring the compelling vocal performance by the Austrian female singer Katrin Segert, stands for subtle Electronica music with demanding arrangements and abstract sound designs. Both projects, Flaque and Concise, have additionally collaborated in the past, not only with the 'Revice' ' CD box-set. The mutual course started somewhere in 2006, when Concise released their 'The Power Of Love'-MCD, which included a remix of Flaque of this remarkable Frankie Goes To Hollywood classic hit song.
Now both projects have united again, but there is a strictly separation of the track listing on this new album available. Concise, meanwhile grown to 4 official band members in its formation, are starting here with the first seven tracks providing us an attractive form of Synthpop-Electronica, which picks up here and there glimpses of different influences like House, Jazz and Experimental. The Electronica elements installed here draw intentionally relations to the kind, which can be discovered with the label comrade High Wycombe. That shouldn't wonder you, since the High Wycombe-mastermind Christian Grass is next to Katrin Segert the founding member of Concise and responsible for the Electronica components. Christian's sounds are as expected very mechanical, cold-sounding, but crystal-clear mixed and tasteful installed, so it is quite enjoyable to listen him creating and placing one or another yet unheard sound idea.
Katrin's warm-sounding vocals are of course out of any doubts or discussions; she offers the 'human' factor and provides the optimal contrast in the sound environment of Concise. Best track, because the most accessible, is 'Voyager', which follows a clear song structure and catchy elements to remain into the ear-channel of their audience already after the first listen.
Flaque invades the scenario starting track 8, 'Reflections', and the influence of Florian Ziller is recognizable from the very tone. Flaque's talent fits pretty much to those high prolific artists of the Tympanik Audio label, who are capable to produce compare IDM/Ambient/Electronica-music, such as Geomatic, Candle Nine, or the Swiss Stendeck. Opulent and moody synth-layers, experimental rhythms and subtle environmental/field recordings thrown into the mix are the trademarks of Florian's music. The layered programming of Florian then turns out to be the leading element of the 7 minutes clocking masterpiece 'Reflections', which turns out to be the purest audio entertainment. Florian continues to add his skilful arrangements on the following tracks, maybe a bit lesser accessible than on 'Reflections', but still intensely enough to amaze and satisfy the listener.
If it sounded initially like a contrast, to let these talented musicians unite their shills, works out to be a matured, quality Electronica album. I don't know, if it's allowed to ask for, but: when will they unite again to produce the follow-up album to 'Ingénue'?

John Zorn: Interzone

 Posted by Mike V. (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jun 17 2011
Artist: John Zorn
Title: Interzone
Format: CD
Label: Tzadik
Distributor: Amazon
Rated: *****
A statement not often heard in regards to Tzadik releases: this is one of the most wholesome musical experiences audible on the label. Even if you aren't a Burroughs devotee but enjoy Zorn, you'll enjoy this one.
The album actually covers a huge array of aesthetic directions, drawing from a portion of the Masada band but also delving into some unprecedented sonic art territories. As to be expected, it's all virtuosic all the time, but one thing to note is how organic and naturally flowing the entire album is. In a seamless way, it crosses the borders of free jazz, ambient, sound design and Zorn's trademark genre "..?" in a single pass.

Featured personnel: Zorn (sax), Medeski (keys), Ribot (guitar), Dunn (basses), Baptista (percussion), Mori (electronics), Wollese (the rest). Stellar performances. And huge friggin props to Chippy for another speechlessly inspiring graphic design package. This alone validates picking up the disc over the mp3s. Words cannot do her work any justice.

A thing to note about reviewing this album. It can't really be captured accurately in less than a 10 minute verbal diatribe at the very least- do yourself a favor and pull up some excerpts online if at all curious. This is a very real journey that is very welcome in this age of single track experiences.

In the meantime, there are three Interzones, each serving a different purpose upon arrival and all of which are musical journeys unto themselves. Tzadik continues to climb the mountain of ingenuity, and I cannot recommend this highly enough.

MANNI DEE: Antidote

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 23 2011
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Title: Antidote
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Vermin Street
Rated: *****
Coming from Brighton, UK, Manni Dee is releasing his latest single for Vermin Street. The EP contains two original tunes titled "Antidote" and "Universal symphony". The first one mixes Nintendo games bleeps with nice melodies, breaks and sparse vocal samples. The second ones has a laid back attitude thanks to mid tempo breaks and sci-fi vocal samples. Bleeps and melodies blend nicely creating, as for the first one, a cinematic atmosphere. The EP contains also two remixes of "Antidote" (Alby D Cheecky, Manni Dee's studio partner, turned the original tune into a dub/break number with a bit of experimental attitude and Rotterdam's Halp made of it a bleeping techno atmospheric track) and one of "Universal symphony" (now sounding two step and bouncing thanks to Moscow's Pixelord). Nice...

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