Music Reviews

Lee Gamble: KOCH

 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 26 2014
Artist: Lee Gamble (@)
Title: KOCH
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
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
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 22 2014
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!

Orange Dust: Always Under Attack

 Posted by Emanuele Ratti (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 05 2014
with image
Artist: Orange Dust
Title: Always Under Attack
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Vermin Street
Rated: *****
Orange Dust is a breakbeat/dnb project from Australia. The work ( 'Always under attack' released by Vermin Street) is a 6-tracks album plus a remix by Hitori Toke. The album seems, paradoxically, both a little bit wimpy and a little bit contorted. For instance there is a track ('Drive of unloving things') that is full of useless samples effected in a very messy way, and the structure of the song is completely misleading. One may say 'well, this is a feature of the genre'...but it is not the kind of messiness that you may find in, for example, Venetian Snares. I mean that it is difficult to make sense of all stop 'n' go, samples and strange rhythmic part. Another example is 'Wizard eyes' that, although it is a very good track (the melody is amazing and the voice sample is finely tailored), sometimes samples and insertions are overused and they make no sense at all. In 'Dead Broke' there are plenty of scratches and my impression is that they are out of time. But I see where the guy wants to go and actually 'Salvador and the knife' is a fantastic track, in which the messy aspects and more melodic parts are arranged finely. There are then some track a little bit wimpy. This depends on the mix, in the sense that the drum section is not captivating, although the guy has a good command of rhythm. However, drum machine does not impact on the listener as it should in this genre. I'm not a native speaker, so I don't know how to explain this concept as a native speaker would do: I say that it is not powerful. Examples are 'Moth' that, after a short intro with (I suppose) cello, it explodes in the usual dnb manner, but the drum sounds doesn't do its job. It is the same for 'Misunderstood Machine': the drum machine is quite flat and the song is pretty boring. I think there is a lot of potential in Orange Dust, because the guy has a really good command of softwares. However (in my opinion) he has to improve substantially the mix part and (just sometimes) to 'lighten' a little bit songs from samples and insertions.

Mick Finesse: Birds

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 02 2014
Artist: Mick Finesse (@)
Title: Birds
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Prosthetic Pressings (@)
Rated: *****
Another jack-in-the-box who popped out from the box of techno-driven supplies is this tidbit from Denver-based producer Mick Finesse: the opening sample of what seems to be a grab from social life on the title-track could let you imagine a fit of rage from a forgotten angry and thirsty customer who begins to stab the table by his knife and his fork while time passes in vain. A female voice saying "Yeah!" could belong to a waitress who tried to stop by flattering the sense of rhythm of the angry bird, nothwithstanding the ignited process of "berserk-ization" seems to be unstoppable. Besides any hijacking of imagination - I cannot imagine anything which could be vaguely related to ornithology on "Birds", whereas I could listen to a kind of robotic tweeting on "A Shiver For Koku", the other track of this release-, Mick builds heady poisoned balls which mix minimal Detroitesque elements and that kind of hard-hitting electro-techno that used to come from labels like Satamile. The release includes a remix of "A Shiver For Koku" by Paul "Mondkopf" Regimbeau, who highlights the viscously knocking syncopation of bass drum and the metallic stridency of gamelan-like sequence of the original version and added a sinister female howling - maybe the ghostly revenge of the above-portrayed waitress...-.

Malayeen: s/t

 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 31 2014
Artist: Malayeen (@)
Title: s/t
Format: 12"
Label: Discrepant (@)
Rated: *****
One of the most fascinating musical discovery in the big cloud of releases that usually fill my room comes from Malayeen, a Lebanese trio by Raed Yassin (keyboards, electronics, turntables), Charbel Haber (electric guitar, electronics) and Khaled Yassin (darbouka and percussions). Many listeners could be tempted to link their powerfully evoking music to the tragic pieces of news which are coming from Palestine, but even if for instance the introduction of Omar could sound bloody of the opening organ-like sound which precedes the passionate dance of "Najwa", could evoke the blood and money sucker vampires, which are causing that huge catastrophe, this release has nothing to share with that shitty situation (and the shitty impotence of international hypocrite spectators). The main musical input of Malayeen's creative process is the music of the legendary Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid that these skilled guys rehashed in order to release this upgrade of Arabic music and belly dancing music, whose genuine originality allured Discrepant, who co-produced this release by collaborating with forward-thinking Lebanese label Annihaya. Named after the names of notorious belly dancers, the seven tracks of this self-titled record re-elaborates Arabic music ina very orignal way. Besides the above-mentioned "Najwa" - definitively my favorite track -, there are many original hybrids such as "Fifi" or "Dina", where folkish elements get closer to the contagiously obsessive hooks of most feverish Western techno, whose mishmash between Eastern and Western music sounds close to perfection.

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