Music Reviews



Mako, Villem & Mcleod: Inner Revolution/Borrowed Love

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 28 2015
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Artist: Mako, Villem & Mcleod
Title: Inner Revolution/Borrowed Love
Format: 12"
Label: Utopia Music (@)
Rated: *****
Utopia Music big old milkwood tree keeps on germinate in wintertime as well as these small new juicy buds have blossomed from the machines of an excellent tryptich of brilliant Bristol-based dnb brains: Stephen "Mako" Redmore, Andrew "Villem" Wilson and McLeod let sunlight shine in listener's eardrum by wrapping frenzied rolling kicks and claps into fluffy chimes, pillowy pads, sonic dandelions and gentle piano touches that are going tickle your imagination and lead you into a sweet dream state. After they uplifted listers as if they got invited for a ride on a winged Pegasus, Villem and McLeod allows listener to keep on floating by a lovely half tempo track, "Borrowed Love", where soothing chilled sounds, metronomic keys and a resounding female voice are going to foray your dream states. It seems that dnb followers' expectation can not be disappointed by evergreen Utopia big tree's buds!

Ocoeur: A Parallel Life

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jan 26 2015
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Artist: Ocoeur (@)
Title: A Parallel Life
Format: CD
Label: n5MD (@)
Rated: *****
Ocoeur is French composer/sound artist Franck Zaragoza and 'A Parallel Life' is his third release since 2010, this one comprised of five tracks. This is my first exposure to Ocoeur, which loosely translated means "to the heart". Ocoeur's modus operandi is kind is a fusing of techno, IDM, glitch and ambient. On an initial listen to 'A Parallel Life' I found some tracks absolutely fascinating and others rather boring. "Universe" is a fine introduction to Ocoeur's sound palette with a glitch percussion track playing off a gentle, repetitive ambient-esque melodic sequence with a sub-bass drone undercurrent. "L'horlogue" unfolds a simple synth melody over slightly off kilter rhythm with a constant chordal synth pad in the background. "First Highway" is spacious chordal synth pads juxtaposed with crackling and staticy elements driven by a provocative techno-like rhythm. More light melodic elements are added as the piece shapes into melodic techno. This is Ocoeur at its best here; nice changes and shifting sonics keeping it interesting. "Kofski" was the first track I didn't much care for. A slow, repetitive, tremeloed synth chordal progression morphs through some slight distortion then ends with sweet strings. "Ostz" begins with higher string harmonics and a minimal bass-oriented rhythm track gradually bringing in glitchy percussion. A variety of other synth elements are introduced, some melodic, some percussive...the rhythm ceases for a spell, then returns. Quite engaging and somewhat complex. "North" has an intricate yet subdued glitch percussion track punctuated with a low tone while muted, cloudy synth tones play over it. Bellish synth chords emerge occasionally, but the whole is a heavenly exercise in the sublime, until the heavy chordal sequence at the conclusion. You definitely get the impression Mr. Zaragoza has studied the works of Aphex Twin and Brian Eno after this one. The title track is up next, and this is without a doubt the strangest track on the album. Describing the elements would take way too long, but suffice to say that it incorporates nearly every element in the Ocoeur arsenal. It isn't always pleasant, but it does have its own peculiar fascination. "Beyond Infinite" takes a long time to build with a muted low chordal progression, glitchy elements and complimentary higher muted synth tone with the occasional percussive thud that morphs into something more rhythmic. Very nice! Final track, "Red" is all heavenly synth pads and a track full of static noise. Perhaps a fitting end to the album, but I found it disappointing. Still, there is enough on 'A Parallel Life' that makes it worthy. Available from n5MD in CD, MP3 and FLAC, or if you prefer, LP in black, or (uber limited) transparent blue. Since the LP track-list is a bit different than the CD it comes with a download card so you can download the full album.
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Artist: Tumido
Title: Nomads
Format: 12"
Label: Interstellar (@)
Rated: *****
An electronic melted blob, which seems to articulate words in an uncodified language, and fast percussions that give rise to an enterancing Berber drumming session and Tres pinching before the race gets inflamed by a trumpet, which sounds like a furious elephant, ignite this brilliant stylistical crossover on "Gubat", the first incendiary track of Tumido's new album. Over five tracks, mainly named from remote places on our planet, Gigi Gratt (tres, trumpet), Bernard Breuer (drums and sticks of Elektro Guzzi and Metalycee) and the new member Mario Stadler (synth), exhibit their striking sound, whose melting of dub, electronics and rock could stuck listeners up: the rough tribal patterns of "Nuuk" got embossed by tilting synths and swirling clots of drums and distorted guitars; the sneaking narcosis that mesmerizes listeners in the first part of "Isny" by means of a Massive Attack-like trip hop movement got stopped by a sort of tenderly adulterated spinet and abruptly smashed by an overpowering wall of sound, which gets dissolved into an electric suffocated cloud; obliquely delayed hits and crackly strokes got clotted by a piercing high-pitched frequency and a gargling noise on the blood-chilling "Tommot"; the tribalistic dance of the lenghty final track "Xaxim" unexpectedly turns into a distillate of a mangled dub, whose agonizing bad trip-like sound likewise unexpectedly expands in an overwhelming manner and flows into muffling metallic squeals. An excellent boxed cake mix for catching live concerts.

Ya Tosiba: Mollah The Machine

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 18 2015
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Artist: Ya Tosiba
Title: Mollah The Machine
Format: Download + iBook
Label: Pingipung/Hafenschlamm (@)
Rated: *****
Even though their first single "Mad Barber" dates back to 2012, it's the first time I hear something from this bizarre collaboration between Finnish brilliant producer Mesak, one of the pioneers of Scandinavian Swkee music and head of Harmonia label, and Azeri singer Zuzu Zakaria, and above all it's the very first time I hear an Azeri song and I have to say I cannot imagine it could so harmonious and somehow languid to my ears. Mesak's awesome chiptunes and amazing funky basslines and the alternation of tangy and delicate vocals by Zuzu, which could surmise a strange hybrid between Meira Asher-like rugged style and Bollywood singers, have a good chemistry and Zuzu's lyrics has a really interesting background as she found them during her in-depth studies at Oslo University about the history and evolution of Meykhana, a traditional improvised form of rhythmical folk vocals from Azerbaijan that many ones have compared to hip hop and rap battles - check outs some of them on Internet and you'll find some incredible and really funny sketches -, whose social criticism (simalarly to rap and hip-hop roots) was so effective that it was banned till Soviet Union's downfall in 1991 and it's not so casual that "Molla", the first song of this nice release, quotes Aliagha Vahid, an Azeri poet whose ghazal rhymes is quite similar to contmporary Meykhana: Mesak fittedly made a risingly compelling dubby wrapping on Vahid's rant against the hypocrisy of the religious leaders in the 1940s when those words were written down, while the tilt-rotor-like disco movement for "Masin" (Azeri for "machine") slips on words by Agaselim Childag in the 80ies about the rising spread of cars in the streets of Baku.

Malfinia Ensemblo: Varsovia

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 15 2015
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Artist: Malfinia Ensemblo
Title: Varsovia
Format: CD
Label: Kvitnu (@)
Rated: *****
I'm not sure if the lovely scent of sweet almonds I perceived when I took the CD off its plastic wrapping belongs to the release, but I think it's the first time a musical release manages to hit my nose before my hearing. I've not tried to lick the cover, whose effective silk printed artwork got designed by Zavoloka, but if so, I wouldn't be surprised if it tastes like paczki - the delicious Polish donuts - or piernik - a notorious kind of gingerbread that you should taste at least once in your life in Poland -! On the bright side now, Malfinia Ensemblo amalgamates electronic entities from analog synths by young American composer and sound artist Norman Teale aka The Norman Conquest, who also cared mixing, sound manipulation, mastering and recording and added some instrumental patterns (electric cello, electric bass, charango) and Austrian drummer Andi Stetcher - all drums are "real"! -, who met and imagined the amazing crossover you're going to listen on "Varsovia" while they were in the Polish capital city, the main source of inspiration. The opening "Mensa Lavango" immediately grabs listener's attention by fuming drums and wild synth-brass which could resemble the ones that many EBM and industrial names often inserts before a computational melody, which could suit the soundtrack for a phuturistic version of "Age Of Empires", suddenly breaks into the song; the bitonal low frequencies and the angelic singing by Agnes Szelag which opens the first moments of the following "Lumo" reminded Beaumont Hannant's "Heavenly" to me as there are some similarities with the use of voice by Lida Husik on that song, but the song soon turns into a sort of zombified march; Szelag's hypnotic voice also marks "Fulmo", the following track where some brilliant overlaps by Stetcher really stand out; whereas the sound of "Lumo" could evoke marching zombies, the vibe on following "Eho" could let you think the awakening of a starving vampire. The narcotic trip-hop of "Malfinia Ondo" get listener prepped and ready for the lenghty final anthem "La Universo Estas Atomo", where the meticulous electroacoustic workings by these guys seem to render a "big bang"-like approach to composition in their own image and likeness.


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