Music Reviews



Ellen Allien: Lism

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 05 2013
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Artist: Ellen Allien
Title: Lism
Format: CD
Label: BPitch Control
Rated: *****
"Lism" is the newest Ellen Allien album which has just been released the first of March. Three years have passed since her latest album "Dust" and if you felt her will to experiment on that one, with "Lism" you'll be astonished or confused. "Lism" born as soundtrack for "Drama Per Musica", a dance performance directed by Alexandre Roccoli and Sevarine Riame that took place on March 7th 2011 as part of the Spectacles Vivants Festival at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. After that event, Ellen let the music rest on her hard drive for a year and then in early 2012 she decided to rework those sounds and called Thomas Muller and the Berlin-based DJ and producer Bruno Pronsato, aka Steven Ford, to her studio in Berlin. The new version of "Lism" is a forty five minutes long track which is divided into different movement. For the first twelve minutes we have a sort of 70s krautrock mixed samples where slow guitar arpeggios are joined by dreamy synth sounds and later by Ellen's voice. The second movement is even more dreamy and is based on reversed sounds and xylophone sparse percussions. After few minutes electronic bleeps take the hold with a mix of bells, i.d.m. rhythms and synth drones. At the twentieth minute, reverbered trumpets slowly introduce an ambient synth intervallo just to turn into piano improvisations after five minutes. About other five minutes we have minimal dance atmospheres with bass and drum joined by synth noises and arpeggios and Ellen's voice repeating "I'm dreaming of you" like a mantra. The last part, is almost ambient with synth drones and on the very last minutes turns into something more rhythmic. I appreciated her will to find a new way of expression and "Lism" has nice moments where ambient atmoshperes and rhythmic inserts mix fine. The fact is that without the visual counterpart I feel that something is missing, maybe she opted for an approach a bit too minimal for a long suite and sometimes you feel that.

Arkaik: Cutting Edge EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 04 2013
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Artist: Arkaik (@)
Title: Cutting Edge EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Diffrent (@)
Rated: *****
One year after his good digital release "Trauma EP", which included some interesting dnb tunes such as the title track and the sinister cuts of "Vertebrae", a collaboration with Bristol-based dj Jekyll, the young dnb producer and dj Peter "Arkaik" Goebel cranks another consirable release out in order to cut the edge. On the initial title-track, the "ticking" sound of an operating pendulum clock (or possibly a metronome), a deep heartbeat-like pulsation and melancholic pads before a mumbling distorted bass tone sneaks into the lines almost suggest a possible matching between escapism and escapement and a similar dynamics typifies the following tracks "Lost", a true candy on this EP, whose sinister underlying grumble get mitigated by lovely female vocals and an uplifting rhythmical pattern, "Game Changer", which features the vocal contribution by MCXL and a gristlier bass hit, which also marks the final track "Serrated", whose hitting pulsations sound more like a series of knocks against the mind box in the event that you could have been packed by Arkaik's tricky entwining of sonic and rhythmical tenses. Really mindblowing tunes.

Consequence: Atrium/Box Rituals

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 04 2013
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Artist: Consequence (@)
Title: Atrium/Box Rituals
Format: 12"
Label: Pushing Red (@)
Rated: *****
Another musical treat from techno and dubstep focusing Texas-based label Pushing Red by Heath Looney sees the sign of Toronto-born Cameron McLaren, better known as Consequence, who vouches his reputation as a producer with a passion for experiments and sound engineering he gained after many notorious hits and a couple of slightly unconventional albums ("Live For Never" and "Test Dream") on dBridge's appreciated Exit Records, where he managed to melt impressively different styles such as dubstep, drum'n'bass, ambient and pure electronic music. On A side, the initial tuning by metallic pitapat which sounds like the adjustment of a clockwork, claps and other percussive elements evolves into a mellow tune by means of slightly distorted synths and high-pitched billowing harmonics on "Atrium"; the flipside-placed "Box Rituals" features a similar progression as it starts with a terse 4/4 kick and a sort of march before the appearance of melodic effluviums, which evoke an estranging sense of tragic beauty. Some listeners cannot but hope it's a sort of "teaser" which is ready to come.

ASC: Proton/Electron

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Feb 21 2013
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Artist: ASC
Title: Proton/Electron
Format: 12"
Label: Pushing Red (@)
Rated: *****
James Clements, better known as ASC, one of the most prolific electronic music producer, who mostly lived and breathed Motown, techno and primeval UK hardcore scene, unclasps a couple of catchy techno tunes on this polarized release for Texas-based label Pushing Red by Heath Looney. Even if I could surmise he mainly seems to build a stylistical bridge between icy sci-fi electro sounds (I could mention some stuff which came from NY-based Satamile) and those hazily narcotic sonorities of some underground UK releases, there's something in the assembly of the rhythmical pattern, in the progression of sounds and in the percussive elements (particularly of the negative pole of this electrolytic cell, the track called "---" or "Electron" where ASC seems to induce radioactivity at a certain point by means of catchy dynamics...) which let me thought about some possible hype revisitation of some techno-trance mantra by obscure Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia by Sabres Of Paradise or Solar Quest. Of the two tracks, I prefer the above-mentioned "Electron", but "Proton" is equally catchy, even if those mashed bumps on pitched buzzes of the first part could sound a little bit banal till the moment he injects funnier legerdemain with bleeps and click on a heady very low frequency.

Vladislav Delay: Kuopio

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 19 2013
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Artist: Vladislav Delay (@)
Title: Kuopio
Format: CD
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Rated: *****
After the appetizer of "Espoo", a sort of sidetrack and bridge between his previous album "Vantaa" and present day, Sasu Ripatti aka Vladislav Delay keeps on feeding his "psychogeographical" sonic series about Finland, his beloved country, by a release named after Kuopio, the second urban area in terms population density after Helsinki. By means of this good album, the mutation of Delay's sound seems to have been completed in the bargain: even if it could sound less irregular and somewhat close to more chewable stuff, Sasu manages to mould a sound, which sound mature and elegant both when he contours more physical sonorities as it happens in the first part of the record in authentic master strokes such as "Avanne", "Hetkonen" or "Osottava", where he almost renders ice, crystal, metal, timber, empty logs or even crumbled stalactites by means of sounds, smoothed with suspended pads and muffled reverberations, and when he tacks towards more bouncing tracks and amazing hybridizations which manage to preserve the typical matchstick structure and modular progressions of his style. There are many gems which seem to be squeezed from Kuopio's spirit - a people-orinted environment, where it seems there's a careful and balanced policy on cultural life, environment, transportation and arts, which probably influences people's mood, as it seems that Kuopio inhabitants are more jovial and talkative and less melancholic and reserved than other Finnish citizens - in order to encrust it on listenable support. I could just recommend to relish and gulp it down like a pleasunt journey with many amazing landmarks such as the puffed telegraphic breakbeat of "Marsila", the floating levitations of "Kellute", the crystalline nibbling and mindblowing sequences of "Hitto", the catchy melting of icy leftover curls of "Kuuluuko", the lukewarm fibrillation of "Hetkonen" and so on... Really yummy record!


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