Music Reviews

Sonovo: a line has two sides

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 05 2016
Artist: Sonovo (@)
Title: a line has two sides
Format: Tape
Label: Klanggold (@)
Rated: *****
Coming back after seven years of silence by means of a couple of tracks on a strictly limited (just 30 copies for his imprint Klanggold) yellow tape, lasting approximately six minutes each, could be compared to the announce of the discovery of lifeforms on Pluto after an astrophysicist interpreted the noise of his fart as a radio signal from that far planet. Anyway Sonovo, moniker of the smart sound artist and performer Andreas Usenbetz, came back by two impressive studies in minimal electronic music where he mainly squeezed a Microkorg and looped some samples as well as a field recording that Mark Baker grabbed at Peace Park in Hiroshima on the title-track "a line has two sides" on Side A. Both the popping micropattern on this track and, even more, the more regular one on the other half of the tape, titled "Serious Colors" - in spite of its opening, that could sound like the looped noise of a gastroesophageal reflux or the one that could come from the squeezing of something slimy! -, features a minimal approach and a certain sense of balanced elegance that could vaguely resemble the stuff coming from German label ~scape by Stefan 'Pole' Betke (not working since 2010, in spite of the high quality of its outputs) such as Pole, Jan Jelinek, Kit Clayton or System. We could forgive Andreas 'Sonovo' Usenbetz, just if he's going to release more lengthy stuff as soon as possible after this delicious tidbit. The way you'll figure, forewarned is forearmed!

Atrium Carceri: Archives I-II

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 29 2016
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Artist: Atrium Carceri
Title: Archives I-II
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Atrium Carceri is based on the reworking of tapes and tracks from the past of this artist. Instead of doing the typical collection of outtakes or obscure track Simon Heath decided to create long tracks from this recordings, a sort of megamix borrowing a term from another genre and the result could be a sort of introduction to his work.
"Archives I" is focused on the cinematic side of this project as it shows all the small noises that evoke imaginary scene spaced out by fragment based on drones creating a menacing atmosphere. The first part of "Archives II" is based on melodic lines of great emotive impact flowing into a second part based on drones whose subtle nuances are better enjoyed using headphones.
Instead of being a mere recycling of outtakes, this album sounds almost like the development of the hints that this project is moving towards a complex musical structure based on melody from a complex audial spectrum based on drones. From this perspective the realistic foley sounds are not a trick to conquer the listener's attention but a mean to build a musical meaning creating a narrative with sounds. Practically, cinema for the ear.

Roman Leykam: Ethereal

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 29 2016
Artist: Roman Leykam
Title: Ethereal
Format: CD
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
Rated: *****
According to the introductory words of this new output by Roman Leykam, "Ethereal" is an attempt 'to convey peace, serenity and the deceleration from the daily routine. The music offers the listener the opportunity to enter into silent communication with himself.'. Such an aim could implement the description of many second-hand new-age oriented release that you could even find in a supermarket till some years ago, but what listener are going to meet in Roman's music is something a little bit less commercial and easy listening. I won't say he walks on entirely unexplored musical pathways, as the most immediate stylistic link is to all those composers, who crossed that liminal zone in-between classical ambient music and the so-called kosmische musik. Besides any spiritual enhancement you can reach by its listening, the patterns that Roman explores on "Ethereal" are mainly driven by impressive outputs from guitars and synth-guitars, gliding over sonic waters that have often been too shallow for experienced musicians. I could mention the less convincing productions by solo-projects of former Tangerine Dream guitar player Edgar Froese, but Leykam tries to diversify it by occasional contamination with a more bluesy nuance. The primary defect of similar explorations is paradoxically related to the sometimes single-minded pursuit of a sonic clarity without any element of impurity, which could result in a dull listening experience for all those listeners who don't understand the technical tricks by which he managed to reach that sharpness. A gap which could induce some listeners to look for other strategies to escape from the above-mentioned daily routine.
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 1961-2014: An Anthology Of Turkish Experimental Music
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
The series of anthologies, which followed the seven volumes of "An Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music" (released between 2000 and 2012) and the subsequent "Early Electronic" collection (focusing on tracks composed between the 50ies and the 80ies), keeps on expanding over the geographical ones. Following the surprising Anthology of Chinese Experimental Music, the title of this new one about Turkish electronic and experimental scene could be a little bit confusing as the only aged track is the opening one of the first cd, but the importance of its author go beyond Turkish boundaries. Such a temporal gap could be mainly explained by the fact that the interest in electronic music arrived relatively late in Turkey, thanks to the academic teachings by composers, who got in touch with electronic devices out of their native country and Bülent Arel, the composer of the above-mentioned "Postlude From Music For A Sacred Service" (1961), was one of those eminent expats. In reality, he just received many mouthwatering proposals from foreign countries, including the one by the Rockefeller Foundation, which invited him to join the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, and Yale University, where he projected and installed its electronic music laboratory and taught from 1961 to 1970, before being recognized as one of the most brilliant innovators of looping techniques. Another key figure of this almost unknown 'exotic' scene, lhan Mimarolu, the son of the notorious architect Mimar Kemaleddin Bey (a famous face on 20 Turkish lira banknote), moved to the USA after a Rockefeller Scholarship and studied at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center as well, under Vladimir Ussachevsky; his contribution to music, in general, is also related to his record label, Finnadar Records, his precious contribution to the OST of Fellini's "Satyricon" and his role in the release of "Changes One" and "Changes Two" by Charles Mingus and its experience in the field of soundtrack and contemporary classical music is evident on the evocative track that got included in this compilation "Prelude No.17 [Istanbul Fog]". The boom of electronic music occurred later both within academies and universities (Cenk Ergün, Koray Tahiroglu, Mehmet Can Özer) and the noise-oriented avantgarde (Mete Sezgin, Nilüfer Ormanl, Utku Tavil), but the Turkish experimental scene is more complex and opulent than many could imagine. This anthology, compiled by Batur Sönmez and Erdem Helvacioglu and split into two CDs, tries to embrace such a complexity and multifaceted scene. CD1 includes more 'academic' stuff that often get close to serialism and concrete musique, while the second covers a wide range of ambient music, samplers, and even stuff with references to political issues such as the impressive "Democracy Lessons" by Asaf Zeki Yuksel, the gorgeous abstract glitch ambient of "The Monopoly Of Victim Status" and the traditional folk-spotted "I Want To Be A Suicide Bomber" by Sifir, but I'm pretty sure that many listeners will get impressed by the broad stylistic range of this selection and the quality of these mostly unknown (to the masses) Turkish forward-looking musicians.

Bone: Radiation EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 28 2016
Artist: Bone (@)
Title: Radiation EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Faded Music (@)
Rated: *****
Recently landed on Poland-based imprint Faded Music owned by Ukrainian producer Fade, the first solo release of this year by Estonian producer Marek Ratassepp aka Bone could easily meets the likes of the followers of producers like Fanu, Klute, Commix and The Upbeats, as you can easily understand since the listening of the opening tune "Brawl", where his machines seem to channel ghostly howls and stealthy draughts over noise disturbances on well-greased percussive gears. The air got even more rarefied in the very first seconds of "Form And Void", where only a precisely cut groove shakes the elastic structure of its rhythmical body before the sudden raid of laser beams and mechanical forms fill the void! Skirting junk sonorities by finely twinkling melodic pins and hovering pads on the title track "Radiation", Marek gives the very best of his art of filling spacey sonic spheres by flowing particles of amen breaks in the excellent "Pulsate", the best moment of this release. Check it out.

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