Music Reviews



VV.AA.: The Best Of Polish Smooth Jazz... Ever!

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 17 2008
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: The Best Of Polish Smooth Jazz... Ever!
Format: CD
Label: Recycling Records (@)
Rated: *****
Recycling Records with THE BEST OF POLISH SMOOTH JAZZ... EVER! succeed into making a fresh hoax which actually doesn't sound like a joke. Presented as the best of Polish music (you can see different bands and singers on the CD cover) the album contains experimental electronic cut-ups of Polish music performed by unknown people. This sort of operation remember me what Negativland did (do you remember the sue they received by U2 for using one of their songs?): the original tunes are raped, reduced to the bone and like a phoenix they are able to born to a new life. Probably a better one judging by the photos of the original performers. Musically the tracks have a structure and a sense, for sure they do sound experimental but not too much compared to id.m. music. Maybe they are more accessible and fresh compared to some i.d.m. release. Loops and samples are creatively irreverent but they do sound great! If you want to try it, the album is also available as free download directly from the label's website thanks to their choice to embrace the Creative Commons rights. Unfortunately you won't be able to see the video of the AjB.M. track (which is only available on its integrity there) which has been created following the same technique used for the tracks: cut-ups of the video of the original song re-worked with porn inserts of what I think could be a "stolen video" of the female singer of the original band.

MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO: Autoimmune

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 08 2008
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Artist: MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO
Title: Autoimmune
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
After the success of 2005 "At The Center", Jack Dangers is back with a new album titled AUTOIMMUNE, released by Planet Mu on CD and double vinyl. The ten tracks base their sound on four things: exaltation of bass frequencies, grime bass lines, dub ambience and distortion. The album opens with "Hold the mic!" which features reggae muffin like vocals of Daddy Sandy. Reverb, picked strings, tight rhythm and upfront bass lines are the key elements of this one. "Children of earth" slow down the rhythm a little bit but it always pushes hard on the the intricate web of rhythms pedal by duetting with the fat and distorted bass. "House of unique stink" (which features Dubloner) sounds more like an upbeat ambient house track with subsequent dubstep rhythms and vocals. "Live and direct" is a live track which is focused on rhythm craziness and reverbered bass. "Less" and "Lonely soldier" are a good mix of fluctuating atmospheres and bass distortions with tight rhythms and vocal samples. "Spanish vocoder" and "Return to bass" follow the same scheme but being more distorted than ambient. "Guns'n'lovers" could be a good hypnotic dancefloor killer with its liquefied guitar/synth lines and distorted drum. The album closes with a distorted dub killer titled "Hellfire".
Apr 07 2008
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Artist: Liar's Rosebush (@)
Title: Circle the Squares
Format: CD
Label: Hive records (@)
Distributor: Storming the Base / Metropolis
Rated: *****
The gray industrial urban landscapes of Newark NJ must be what inspires Hive records' owner David Pittman to pick this extremely talented and great sounding breakcore-industrial bands without ever missing a beat, pun intended. Seriously, Hive records is one of the few record labels that to me represent a guarantee of quality. When I get a Hive record I already know it's good, the question is just how good and good in what way... which of the shades of this widely-eclectic genre will it live under?
Canadian Matt Rosen's Liar's Rosebush's long anticipated solo debut is no exception. "Circle the Squares" is an incredibly mature debut. The 12 tunes crawl towards you quietly, with echoes of dark-ambient music, nerve-wracking atmospheric sounds and ill-fate-anticipating drones before unleashing the full sonic assault of the distorted and sliced-n-diced breakbeats featured in the following pieces that make this album. The full extent of the assault is further intensified by cut-up and re-pitched chords of a super heavily distorted and compressed electric guitars. Eventually, and every once in a while, the listener can take a breather again as the music loosens its grip to let some more rays of atmospheric sounds and even small non-distorted guitar parts ("Like a Nicotine Halo") shine through. Liar's Rosebush direction is still taking shape, I believe, but obviously Mr Rosen in inspired by bands that know how to bring haunting melodies and atmospheric moods into the formula. Except for the intro of a piece like "AAA", this is not really a Nine Inch Nails sounding record, but it does borrow some aspects of their formula in that way. Rosen understands as well as Reznor does that tension and release is the name of the game and that the quieter and moody this part is, the more brutal and visceral that part will sound. Differently than Trent, Matt seems to be more inspired by the warpy british ambient scene when it comes to his more subdued compositions (or part thereof).
If you absolutely must have some references, think of it as a mixture of Squarepusher, Flugschadel, Noize Punishment, Ambassador 21, Venetian Snares, Duran Duran Duran, Autechre, Cenotype and Uglyhead and but don't let those names be a limiting factor. Rosen is very personal in his approach and obviously his musical skills as an instrumentalist (and not just a laptop programmer) have heavily influenced the making of this record in ways that only instruments can do. Very interesting record. I am already looking forward to the next one.

HOH: We Can Work It Out

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 07 2008
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Artist: HOH (@)
Title: We Can Work It Out
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Zang: Records (@)
Rated: *****
Active since early 2000s Hoh a.k.a. Helge Olav Øksendal is releasing for Zang Records a new MCD after his latest album "Bestemor" published the last year. Unfortunately for me, this is the first time I have the chance to try his music and it's really difficult to understand his music having two original compositions and four remixes of those two. Anyway, the CD opens with "Lovebreak", a track which starts slowly like a dripping water tap and slowly it's rhythmically enriched sounding like a dub i.d.m. track. After a couple of minutes the track reveals itself adding a nice nervous bass line which subsequently is coupled by the performance of an agitated vocalist. The Dj Woo and the QRT remixes give to that track a break-beat and an electro experimental treatment. The second original track is the main one "Wecan work it out". The track is twelve minutes long and it starts with a calm synth loop. After a while rhymth and a nice female vocal are added and some other little synth layers are added. The tracks plays with these elements for its whole length without being changed that much. Is like HOH wanted to create a melodic moment suspended in time. The ".P remix" of the tracks de-construct it by slowing it and adding distortion little by little until there's nothing left of the melody. After three minutes (on the middle of it) a sort of industrial scenario made of a looped synth pattern plus some other throbbing sounds has take a hold and it sounds like Godzilla stomping on a birth cake. Nice one. The closing track is a radio edit which represent the essence of the track. A better one, because it's less dispersive.

Noiseshaper: Real to Reel

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 29 2008
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Artist: Noiseshaper
Title: Real to Reel
Format: CD
Label: Miracle Sounds (@)
Distributor: Rooftop Promotion
Rated: *****

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Florian Fleischmann and Axel Hirn, who form the Berlin-based duo Noiseshaper, turn in a deft and playful collection of self-produced dance singles that fold Reggae/Dancehall/Dub vocals and influences into conventional Electronica sensibilities. This CD, which has Adrian Sherwood on dubs and overdubs, and the legion of guest singers and toasters also include Beans & Hawkman, G. Rizo, Juggla, Jackie Deane, Vido Jelashe I, Wayne Martin, MC Shureshock and Jahcoustix. Accordingly the CD has a pleasing balance of numbers, songs of many different tempos, which are hard-hitting or gentle as called for, and uniformly well-produced.

The featured themes of the disc include both those of "conscious" roots Reggae and the much-heralded violence certain parts of Jamaica are known for (referenced in the very first two tracks, notably). The second of these, "Me Done" (featuring Ari Up of the Slits as the featured toastmaster), is armed with Chemical Brothers-style dance flavor -- you can hear the same grinding, groovy bass line that propels the Chems' "Leave Home" from Exit Planet Dust. Curiously, in track 4, pumping bedroom piece "Love to the Rhythm," the refrain is clearly saying "Sla-a-a-ave to the rid-dim..." -- not even the plantation is forsaken on this cruise. "All A Dem A Do," track 10, opens with lovely guitar arpeggios, and evolves into and out of a kicking drum line that would make Groove Armada proud. Track 13, the TVS remix of "Walls of Silence," recalls some of the sample-y weirdness of Sherwood's earlier associations with Tackhead and African Headcharge, but with less of the spontaneity and more of an eye for the dance market itself.

To the orthodox Reggae fan, it may sound as though Fleischmann and Hirn are taking some liberties with Reggae music's various genres and sub-genres, but from here it seems to do more good than harm. Although by now this compilation of Noiseshaper's singles can't hope to sound anything close to groundbreaking, it has the function of exposing one to a surprisingly broad range of Reggae styles -- and simply shoving a much-needed Reggae/Electronica stone into its proper corner of the Dance temple.


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