Music Reviews



Oelki: Roadrunning

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Dec 28 2014
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Artist: Oelki
Title: Roadrunning
Format: CD
Label: Uncoiled Loops (@)
Rated: *****
Some weeks ago I received a selection of very good releases from Uncoiled Loops, a small label which gained some visibility for its wide stylistical range in electronic music on some specialised forums on Internet, and even if most of them date back to 2013, their quality deserves attention. I'm not a great fan of progressive house, psytrance or tech-house, but the sound that Munich-based producer Oelki leaks on this release is so fetching and heady that I can overlook my personal scale of preference. The opening "Silver Lane" is my least favorite track as the influence of hackneyed sonic strategies that featured techno-trance and comparable styles is too emphasised, while the unpredictable change on the following "Roadrunning", whose initial playful pops slips on a diluted synth-organ which adds an ethereal charm to the track, reroutes Oelki's craft towards more interesting shores. The concise micro-tech intro of "Experimental No.1" could let listener imagine the umpteenth derivation of Detroit micro-house before he wisely inoculates other sonic elements such a wrapping padded clap and an alien tweeting that makes it more attractive, while the lubricated grooves of "Phase 320 (V2)", the precise clip-marks of "Pluto (2nd Edit)" and the numb nimbleness of the final "Quantensprung" could be the perfect soundtrack for an extra stage of some racing videogame set in an imaginary planet. In spite of its title, Oelki suggests to not listen to "Roadrunning" while driving as its hypnotic sound could let you forget how you reached the destination you could be when cd-player stops.

Donor: Against All

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Dec 19 2014
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Artist: Donor
Title: Against All
Format: 2 x 12"
Label: Prosthetic Pressings (@)
Rated: *****
A passion for Birmingham Industrial Techno (Surgeon, Karenn and Perc Trax), early Dutch electro and Detroit style, his stay in Barcelona and Tokyo, where he assimilated some stylistical elements, and his careful dwelling on John Carpenter's movie fed the sound of Brooklyn-based producer and dj Greg Schappert, who signs his first proper album after some releases on Svreca's Semantica Recordings, Lucy (12)'s Stroboscopic Artefacts, Miniscule digital imprint that he co-founded and recently Russian label Venator, but the main source of inspiration for this awesome release is the world we live in, which offers so many sources of inspiration for any dystopian representation that I can surmise that the eerily prescient images that his sounds manage to evoke didn't really need greatest stretches of the imagination. The first half of the record spins around this dark mood by amazing rehashes of Detroit-esque techno where highest peaks got reached on the fully laden funkish electromechanical breath of "Menace Is Mine", the sci-fi smudges of "Station A15" and "IP Test", the one where some elastic declensions of that style by Jeff Mills could come to mind, but the most interesting moments of the record occur when Donor get closer to more articulated and sometimes abstract electro breaks on the second half of the record - the robotic hiccups of tracks like "Counter" and "Fault Is Found" are my favorite tracks of the whole album - before the epic end on "In Your Place", whose artificial static bliss that slowly turns into an icy symphony sounds like an insightful provocation.

Niereich: Placebo Effect

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Dec 19 2014
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Artist: Niereich (@)
Title: Placebo Effect
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Micro.fon (@)
Rated: *****
Not to be confused with Darren Emerson, the notorious former member of Underworld, Dj Emerson, nome de guerre of Simon Emerson Kidder, is one of the most prominent representative of contemporary German techno scene as he earned his spurs not only for a pile of good releases but also as a label manager of Kiddaz.fm, whose parent label Micro.fon focuses on darker techno stuff that I actually like most. He recruited Austrian artist Peter Linsberger aka Niereich, one of the most skilled producer and dj of that crowded scene, who grinded his machines on the hard-hitting track "Placebo Effect" on the occasion of his first act on Micro.fon by means of a progression over a straight drum-kick, a loop built on the noise of the needle when slides on vynil surface which sounds like a zipper, an intensively hypnotical sequence of electronic gamelans and aerostatic polygonal shafts that stops after he breaks a clap. A remarkable control of gain also charactetises the more liquefied sonorities of "Black Sheep Scenario", while label boss Dj Emerson adds his own remix of the title-track by re-shuffling the elements of the original version that got poured into abstract steamy sonic hazes.
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Artist: HHY & The Macumbas (@)
Title: Throat Permission Cut
Format: 12"
Label: Silo (@)
Rated: *****
The first ring of Silo, the brand new label by Raz Mesinai aka Badawi and Jonathan Uliel Saldanha aka HHY, one of the founding member of Soopa collective and one leg of Fujako, the abstract-hop project I spoke about on the occasion of "Soul buzz EP" a couple of months ago that he leads with Nyko Esterle, comes from the collaboration of Saldanha and The Macumbas, a Porto-based underground collective whose number of people varies even if some musicians such as self-taught drummer and percussionist Joao Pais Filipe and trumpet player and vocalist Alvaro Almeida are almost permanent. The mesmerizing intro of the opening track "Isaac, The Throat" as well as the distant horns and the dub-like obsessive delays whose sound seems to be enveloped by clouds of desert sand could let you imagine that the following sonorities comes from a broadcasted nightmare where they wisely spinned dub, tribal drumming - closer to bedouin trance dances -, screaming jazz/funk, electronic fibres and occasional diffractive sonic elements that could sound like a possible crossbreed between Muslimgauze, The Master Musicians Of Joujouka and Le Sony'r Ra's mystical tangents as well as amazing hooks to 7'ies blaxploitation sonorities on tracks like "Barbaron" and "Lewopa De Kristal". A very interesting debut, even if I can surmise that one of their live exhibitions - I think some people who heard them at Sonar and Primavera Sound can confirm my assumption - could be much more engaging.

Tokyo Prose: Presence

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Dec 12 2014
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Artist: Tokyo Prose (@)
Title: Presence
Format: CD
Label: Samurai Red Seal (@)
Rated: *****
After the first introduction of his music by means of a couple of EPs ("Introducing Tokyo Prose" parts 1 and 2) in 2011 by Geoff Presha's Samurai Red Seal, Sam Reed turned his trickles in the field of liquid drum'n'bass into a proper flood on this nice album, which will undoubtedly delight the followers of this branch of dnb. Since the opening track "16 Bar Cycles", which features young New Zealand producer Cristoph El Truento, some similarities to progressive chill out and soothing downbeat are quite clear, but the following tracks shows a certain stylistical diversification. If I have to look for some small flies in the ointment, I could say that Sam seems to have focused so scrupulously on melodies that some rhythmical patterns sound too steady even if they are essential propellants which optimally enhance the charming melodic fluttering. Some tracks such as the intensely emotional "Won't Let Me Go", where the presence of Dutch producer Teije van Vliet aka Lenzman and the smooth MCing by Phil "Fox" Box are clearly distinguishable, the piano-driven "Small Gains", the metronomic soulful romance of "Ventura" or the lovely "Sunsets" that Sam built with Luke LSB Beavon and Delroy DRS Pottinger which sounds like the bubbles in a Kir Royal, get closer to some recent pearls by Dramatic and Seba., Other highlights of this album are "Common Ground", the collaboration with Mancunian producer Synkro as well as my favorite track of the whole album, the sparkling glassiness of "Covet" and "All Things", the light and dark contrasts on "See Through Love" and "Fragmented You". That's a very good collection of smart strategies for dnb lubrication, whose title got explained by means of some words by German influential writer Eckhart Tolle: "Presence is when you're no longer waiting for the next moment, believing that the next moment will be more fulfilling than this one".


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