Music Reviews



Kyoka: Is (Is Superpowered)

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 31 2014
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Artist: Kyoka (@)
Title: Is (Is Superpowered)
Format: CD
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Rated: *****
A gust of cool wind on Raster Noton which manages to move the fronds of the tree that got tightly deep rooted on abstract techno grounds comes from Berlin-based Japanese producer Kyoka, the first woman in the ballistic roster that Frank Bretschneider and Alva Noto accurately built over years. The sonic spin doctors of Kyoka's third album are her label mates within Raster-Noton, Frank Bretschneider and Robert Lippok, who stretch frequencies and greases pawl and valve gears of an engine that seems skin-tight on the opening "Intl-A_Bin" and the following track "Flashback" where the removal of tarpaulin let prefigure and shine the gunky electromechanical sonoritiers through the first moments, but Kyoka's stylistical handliness becomes clearer when you keep on listening: even if she seems to add softener in the laundry where she centrifuges the harsher abstract techno of her mates, the balanced miscellany of ingredients that she adds into cloud of piercing frequencies, cleaving bleeps and smacking drums as well as a penchant for deconstructions are remarkable so that you could meet an unexpectable rap in the line-up of the chopped "Lined Up", otherworldy gurgling whispers and liquefied syllabic fragments in the aciduloud bolus of "Rot Neu", overstretched tie-rods and other industrial echoes in the captivating electro-house groove of "Rollin' & Tumblin'", a possible crossbreeding between AGF and Cibo Matto - ...and I'm quoting the NY-based Japanese female band not only for the inflection! - could be imagined while listening "New Energy Shuffle" or the amazing "Toy Planet" - the track where the concoction with To Rococo Rot and Bretschneider is well-rendered -. The triptych of track which features Mike Watt on bass follow: the hopping drilling and the radioactive saturations of Moonboots precede the amazing "Re-Pulsion" where Mike Watt inserts the funkier bassline of the album and the funny "Meander" where Kyoka's vocal chipping reaches its acme. The ablutions on UK acid pools of "Piezo Version Vision"a dn the gorgeous deep-house knottiness of the final "Mind The Gap" are the cherries on top of this excellent release.

Summed: Left-Handed

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 28 2014
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Artist: Summed
Title: Left-Handed
Format: CD
Label: Out-ER (@)
Distributor: Rub-a-dub
Rated: *****
The first release that out-e(lectronic)r(ecords) decided to release both as a digital download and on CD comes from Italian young producer Filippo "Summed" Bologna. Labelling it as "experimental" is a little bit shallow as it doesn't say anything about the dexterity of this producer with drum machines and tech-ey loops: some tracks ("Operator's Dream", "As it happens") seem to have been recorded without the support of any recorded pattern, but by means of just fingers on the coloured buttons of drum machines, and many percussive elements could sound quite raw and inserted in the texture without any particular effect as they came out of the machines as their source is quite recognizable by all those who have a certain familiarity with drum machines, but it's not the most relevant aspect of this album. The most impressive aspect is the joyful and almost instinctive way that Summed follows to build enjoyable tracks and rhythmical vagaries that melt elements from house, breakbeat and electronic dub, whose glitches and funny "toytronic" strategies to unroll weird loops could surmise the attitude of some freaky stuff from Swiss dub shooter as well as some evergreen entries on Apollo. Many moments of this album could let you think Summed is playing drum machines as if he's playing against Rubik's cube, a playful approach which makes the listneing of some dubstep-oriented tunes interesting even if some reviewers consider dubstep already old-fashioned.

Response: S.O.S./Control

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 28 2014
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Artist: Response (@)
Title: S.O.S./Control
Format: 12"
Label: Ingredients (@)
Rated: *****
In spite of that kind of trapping sound which could turn blindness into a watchful eye permeates "S.O.S.", the title of the first half of this very good d'n'b shot by Mancunian dj and producer Nick Owen aka Response doesn't refer to the notorious Morse code distress signal, but to the so-called Son of Sevenless, a set of genes which has a key role in cellular signal transduction. Howbeit the tech-step-driven sound of this track could let you think about the rendering of the attempt of encapsulating a dangerously overwhelming pandemic till the moment when a voice mentions a violation of Section 409, which, if I remember well, is related to fiscal matters in the US Code. On the flipside, the dystopian contrails of the first tune procedes over "Control" a meaningful kicking 2-step tune, which depicts a computer-ruled monitored social system by means of sound. The sci-fi-like atmosphere could let you surmise it's a mirroring of an envisaged nonexistent hyper-reality, but are you sure it's more actual than you could imagine? Anyway, really good dnb shots!

Lee Gamble: KOCH

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 26 2014
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Artist: Lee Gamble (@)
Title: KOCH
Format: 2 x 12"
Label: PAN (@)
Rated: *****
No dice: when a producer gained experience over years, the quality of music dramatically rises and Lee Gambler is one of them as he shows a remarkable familiarity with bass-driven music on this astonishing album, which is going to be launched from PAN pad on 12th September. The opening track resembles some psychedelic atmosphere by Future Sound of London as well as the intros of some 90ies jungle stuff by means of the hypnotical sirens choir and the narcotic effects he inject, which come back on the first of the four faces of this release on "You Concrete", whose rarefaction follows the saturation bombing of "Motor System", where Lee combines dry mechanical hammering (closer to Riou's industrial techno) with deep techno vaporiuzed sonorities, and precedes the pneumatic pressures of "Nueme". A subtle pad-synth which gradually becomes more audible after bumping knocks seem to generate metallic crumbles that got scattered over deep outer space on "Oneiric Contur" opens B-side, which features the more sidereal abstractions of the whole album with the exception of the sci-fi computational techno of "Hmix" and finishes with the six narcotic minutes of "Frame Drag", a track which let me recall stuff like Experimental Audio Research's "Phenomena 256". The gelatinous electronic clots of "Voxel City Spirals", the agglutination of sparkling metallic hits, muffled sonic spurts and a sort of mechanical heartbeat on "Yehudi Lights Over Tottenham" and the planetary keepie-uppie of "Jove Layup" fill C-side, while the computational chirping of "Ornith-Mimik" turns D-side on. The alien technoid bleeps of "Caudata", which seems to render a possible exercise on a terrestrial Detroit techno tune by a Mars inhabitant, the abstract medley of "Flatland", the gnarling torsions of "Gillsman" and the martial stomping beats of "6EQUJ5-7", which could be the OST for an imaginary battle between space dreadnoughts, complete this amazing record.

The Smiling Buddhas: The Alps

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 22 2014
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Artist: The Smiling Buddhas
Title: The Alps
Format: CD
Label: base (@)
Rated: *****
I could guess that Austrian composer Fadi Dorninger aka Hun-Fa-Di, one of the men together with John Fitzpatrick behind the curtains of The Smiling Buddhas, could have an instinctive penchant for the research of something above the lines and the challenge against altitude sickness that he gushes on this release both under the musical viewpoint and the "conceptual" one, where elevations of his native country got linked to the attempts of overtaking stylistical fences by flavoring his sonic explorations (or I'd rather say his sonic translation of a journey in the native region of Austrian Alps) by means of the audible impressions of his experience in the field of OST and music for theatre: for instance on the opening track "Snow Melt and Wet Avalanches", he turns an imaginary xylophone-like sound that could come from crystal drops over icy keyboard into a dub-oriented dance of electronic bleeps, where the majesty of Alps peeps out of a mellow drumming before getting compeltely unveiled in all its scenic splendor by sturdy synth-boom on the contemplative "Wintersun". The Smiling Buddhas renders the vertigo and the excited palpitation which precedes a ski slope into sound on "Seconds Before Skiing Down Steep!", the concern for intense electrical activity and a vague sense of disorientation nearby the safe mountain refuge of Studlhutte on the cushioned techno song of "Thunder and Lighting near Studlhutte", the creaking of wooden celing of an isolated hut under heavy snow drifts on "Snow Snow Snow", a thrilling skydown with Firngleiter on "Skiing Down Grosser Sonnblick (9941 ft.altitude)" and the rocky behemoth of Eiger notorious northface on "Nordwand", whose choirs and acid techno lines evoke its mortal shadows - many climbers died after they fell from its steep walls - , while the final track "Falling" is a soundtrack of Fadi's only fall into the rope experience, where you can vividly feel his levels of adrenalin!


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