Music Reviews

I-LP-O In Dub: Communist Dub

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 14 2015
Artist: I-LP-O In Dub
Title: Communist Dub
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Editions Mego
Rated: *****
Ilpo Vaisanen, one leg of the highly appreciated Pan Sonic artistic liaison together with Mika Vainio, has often grasped ska and Jamaican dub sonorities in many of his (both solo and collaborative) outputs, but the usage of Dub wrapping on this release is slightly different from the conventional way of transplanting the "language" of a genre into another artistic entity. You could imagine that Ilpo used dub as an algorithm to process the usual historical reflection about the adverse environmental and mental effects of any kind of -isms, where the choice of the reference to communism in the title shouldn't be considered as a specific target. You can guess such a concept by the plenty of references to old and contemporary entries in human history ("Uncle Ho Sticks", "Benghazi Affair", "Donetsk Disciples", "Donbass Hybrid" and so on); any -ism is the hardening of a seemingly agreeable value or word that gradually lead to the degradation and the brutalisation of the supposedly desirable idea of civilization those -isms were seemingly tryng to reach. "Hardness and strength are death's companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being. Because what has hardened will never win", said Aleksandr Kajdanovskij in Tarkovskij's masterpiece Stalker and Ilpo's declension of dub seems to let stiff and fluid sonic entities, sliding frictionless echoes and heavily bumping attritions collide in order to render such a concept. The "sunniest" moments occur in the track with references to rudealis, a variety of cannabis that grows in the coldest areas of Siberia and Mongolia, whose natural behaviour has something to say to humans: the low temperature of the regions where it grows seems to persuade the plant to embrace other species and foster crossbreeds... Check it out!

PRO424: Immune

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 14 2015
Artist: PRO424 (@)
Title: Immune
Format: 12"
Label: Lamour Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of PRO424, which is the work of Swedish musician Maximilian Karlander. The label describes the album as 'a fragile mix of Underworld and Tangerine Dream, with a scent of Richie Hawtin.' Putting on the record, we begin with bass synth drone and reverbed guitar. This is the kind of work that almost belongs in a soundtrack. This is the scene where the audience is supposed to think that the protagonist is dead right before his/her triumphant return. Eventually we get some analogue synth in the mix, like he lifted some lines from some old Erasure tracks. It becomes more dancy, like really mellow techno. Flipping over the album, we get more mellow techno that doesn't really push the envelope much, but it's comfortable and familiar. All of the tracks bleed into each other, making it work more as a whole than as a set of individual tracks. Overall, this is pretty chill, pleasant techno. It doesn't really have the energy of, say, Orbital, but one could see PRO424 on the same billing. If you like low-key instrumental electronic music, this is one to check out.

Homogenized Terrestrials: Shadows Think Twice

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 14 2015
Artist: Homogenized Terrestrials (@)
Title: Shadows Think Twice
Format: CD
Label: Aubjects
Rated: *****
Homogenized Terrestrials is the work of Illinois-based artist Phillip Klampe, who is also in the band Amalgamated. Evidently, he has put out quite a few releases, but this is my first exposure to this artist. The label describes the album as 'cerebral atmospheres and surreal explorations of unrecognized places and events. 16 tracks of strange other worldly sounds allow the listener to shift away from the present into places where both familiar and obtuse details blend together to form the unexpected.' Sounds good, so let's get into the album. This is a collection of spacey soundscapes that all seem to fit together to form a somewhat coherent whole. At times, you hear crackling drone, scraping metal, chimes, and an ethereal choir ('Fire Envelopes') and at other times Klampe gets a bit more gritty with heavily processed voices and sawtooth waves ('Yibdah,' 'Findek Liquifold'). 'Ghoosts' even has an odd sort of beat that reminds me of older Rapoon for some reason. Overall, this was some excellent stuff and very pleasant listening. There is enough variety to keep things interesting, while keeping a sense of continuity throughout. Well worth checking out.

Sieben: Norse

 Posted by mad:dog   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 08 2015
Artist: Sieben (@)
Title: Norse
Format: CD EP
Label: Redroom Studio (@)
Featuring 4 strings-immersed tracks ("The Old Magic", "Loki", "Ready for Rebellion", "Loki Rides Again"), "Norse" by Sieben inhabits a sonic environment of its own. Its first piece, "The Old Magic", presents itself with a stringy, yet somehow agonizing musical flood overlaid with haunting vocals but only to be seconded by the more eerie "Loki", a track guaranteed to wave a surreal Norse fairytale in the back of your mind. "Ready for Rebellion" is right back at the initial edge of this EP, with a galloping rhythm and simmering lyrics that mesh perfectly with the martial intensity of the whole track. Dwelling on a familiar loop that emerges soaked in melodic orchestration and brings the promise in the lyrics one step closer to fulfillment, "Loki Rides Again" comes to underline an already exposed lack of closure because "Norse" is, after all, an EP to be soon followed by "Britannica" EP. Rich in violin lines that intertwine in ritual patterns and with lyrics sure to toss you in a mythological mood, "Norse" may surprise you with its unexpected directions but not with its endeavor to piece together a singular vocal performance with sonic templates that alternate between intimacy and methodical disclosure. "Norse" comes as the second of three digital EPs by Sieben, produced by the Sheffield-based Redroom Studio and with artwork by Martin F Bedford. To be released on 11 November 2015.

Ulrich Troyer ft.Vin Gordon, Didi Kern & Kassian Troyer: Deadlock Versions

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 05 2015
Artist: Ulrich Troyer ft.Vin Gordon, Didi Kern & Kassian Troyer
Title: Deadlock Versions
Format: 12"
Label: 4Bit Productions (@)
Rated: *****
It's not casual that a sonic gourmand like Dj Marcelle inserted the album version of "Deadlock", one of the finest dub tune by Wien-based producer Ulrich Troyer, in the release "Another Nice Mess meets Most Soulmates at Faust Studio Deejay Laboratory" on a double lp by Klangbad we talked about on the occasion of a chat we had with that brilliant lady some times ago. Ulrich reprised the track on his own imprint 4 Bit Productions by means of four good new versions: my favorite ones are Vin Gordon Version and Talkbox Version, which features the collaboration of Did Kern, one of the most prolific and skilled drummer in Wien and long-lasting friend and collaborator of Philipp Quehenberger, who added some sounds including the amazing vocoderized vocals (sounding like Kraftwerk in dub!) on the uptempo Talkbox version, and the likewise prolific Jamaican trombone player Vincent Gordon, but the "un-reagged" Nyabinghi and grounations nuance you can feel on the narcotic Melodica version and the more introspective and deeply emotional canter of the re-construction by Kassian Troyer, who supervised the whole release together with Paulus Rainer and mastered it with cut at Calyx in Berlin, are highlights of this authentic dub little pearl.

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