Music Reviews

Origami Galaktika: One

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 26 2015
Artist: Origami Galaktika (@)
Title: One
Format: CD
Label: Monochrome Vision (@)
Rated: *****
It never ceases to amaze me, all the electronic artists who have been releasing music for years and years that I've never even heard of. Such is the case with Origami Galaktika, the project name of one Benny Braaten from Norway. He's been at it since 1996 with 13+ releases to his credit, 'One' being the 13th. Since I haven't heard any of the other works I have no basis of comparison, but I can tell you that the music is experimental-ambient. 'One' is comprised of 8 tracks, most of them very different sounding. "Full Moon Blue Mirror" introduces a ringing tone over a watery element with spacious slightly dark ambient drone that increases in intensity as it moves forward. Sort of like exploring arctic underwater caves if such a thing is possible. "Ground and Open the Receptors" begins with a high pitched echoed keening tone offset by a low, moaning textured drone giving the impression of something avian flying over a vast wasteland. That low moaning drone seems to morph into processed bowed cellos and/or basses. "The Beautiful Wonders and Dimensions of Creation" has thick, processed, echoed low drone tones with a hint of the industrial...and then a strange echoed noise squall is added. Layers of harmonically rich echoed overtones are added as it treads into industrial noise territory, until it all gradually fades away. Track 4, "Clearing of Spaces" is radically different. Low, lumbering, rhythmic thumping and thudding like some primitive farm machine. "Slowly, but Perfect and Surely" features episodic waves of medium to low harmonic noise that ebb and flow. It shifts into something more choppy, then introduces higher harmonic tones intermittently. Some of these tones are high pitched squeaks and squawks. Other sonic elements come into play as well. A strange brew to be sure. "In the Heartroom- Movement is Everything/Homecoming" plays with different pitches of elongated low, heavily processed cello-like tones, intermittently interuptped by higher echoed tones gradually morphed by changing the echo time and intensity. The lower tones disappear leaving only the higher ones, then reprise a bit later as a slight undercurrent. Other more percussive echoed elements are added as the higher tones have faded away. "Bright White Light of Love, 300' K's pr. Second" utilizes brief, melodic echoed tones (pizzicato,like a struck stringed instrument) and a variety of effected sounds. At a point it almost seems to coalesce into an echo-rhythm. "Memories of Tibet" features the sound of dharma trumpets (those long Tibetan horns) over incidental background sounds of unknown origin and eventually a muted hand-drum rhythm for a brief period. Okay, well that's it. 'One' enigmatic listen to be sure. I liked some parts more than others and likely you may too. The fact that Benny has been working for nearly 20 years in his field certainly accounts for quite a bit. This may be more sophisticated than I'm giving credit for, and perhaps in a month or two my impressions of the work might be different. If you're up for something challenging in the experimental-ambient genre, 'One' could be just the ticket.

Claude Speeed: Sun Czar Temple

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 22 2015
Artist: Claude Speeed
Title: Sun Czar Temple
Format: 12"
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
According to Planet Mu's words, the brilliant Scottish producer Claude Speeed ended up on label's long-range radar since his "Infinity Rework" of Kuedo's "Work Live & Sleep In Collapsing Space" in 2012 and after the approaching to planet's surface on the rocket of his debut album "My Skeleton" that Glasgow-based label LuckyMe launched in 2014, Claude finally entered in label's orbit by means of its follow-up "Sun Czar Temple". The igniting energy supply of this sonic satellite comes from the sun or, to be more accurate, by Solar Parallax distortion, whose "monolithic slabs" radiate cosmic energy from the opening track "Traumzeuge", whose tender vocals, floating piano and quickly fading warm guitar phrasing will let listeners swim into the previously poured dazzling light. Listeners can only but working like photodetectors by grabbing beams of leaking lights on the following "Dr.Liz Wilson" whose sweet bunches of sinewaves, hidden drums and rising tones are really cathartic. In the middle of the EP, we find Claude in the middle of an empty forest where he recorded some field recordings, the peaceful background for loops of tape hissing and day-dreaming chords and a sense blissfully happy isolationism spurts from the following "Fret" as well and the stunning sluice of "R U Sorry?", proper sonic kiss after so much diving into light.

µ-ZIQ: Rediffusion

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 22 2015
Artist: µ-ZIQ
Title: Rediffusion
Format: 12"
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
I'm in two minds about whether saying this release by Mike Paradinas (I want to believe that our readers don't need any introduction of this legendary British producer) is a futuristic retrospective or a forward-looking projection of relatively old stylistical elements. An attractive MILF could easily sort the issue out by a simple and catty clarification: classy beauty lasts forever and knows no age! The uplifting chord progression of "Taxi Sadness", the lullaby-like synth whistle fancied by angelical choirs and computational sparklers of "Rimmy", the dreamy beatless bubbling of "PRG", the glowing coldness over a poofy hip-hop movement of "Blem", the nostalgic sequence of drifts and decays of the metallic melodies which got wisely spread on bouncy bass and drums on "Smeester" and the awesome closer "Tambor" - my favorite moment of "Rediffusion" -, where the metallic clockwork seems to follow the merciless precision of the hand of a clock while some sneaky synths emphasizes the irreversible sense of decay: all these heart-rending plugs of this release got inspired by childhood memories of kids TV and the contemporary one-hour lasting post of a mix of 70's and 80's TV themes prove how wisely Mike can play nostalgia card, which I hope it isn't his last one.

Ugasanie: Call of the North

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 20 2015
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Artist: Ugasanie
Title: Call of the North
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Cryo Chamber is presented as a release aiming to 'explore the concept of the unusual and mysterious phenomenon known as arctic hysteria'. This is a sort of reaction to the 'polar night' i.e., the extreme absence of light at this latitude. This result is searched with the careful exploration of the evocative properties of the drones that are the basic element of this genre.
'Without the Sun' opens this release with a couple of drones juxtaposed and sparse filed recording creating an atmosphere of hunting darkness. 'Pulsation' is, instead, a quiet track that evokes a search for light and 'Aurora' sounds likes a reach for a reason to hope that is negated in 'Call of the North' where the sense of obscurity of the first track is recalled to be even amplified by 'Arctic Hysteria' opened by a voice recorded during an attack of polar hysteria. The last three tracks, 'In the Waves of Light', 'Freezing' and 'Cold Wasteland', bring this mood to his unavoidable consequence end as a resignation to the movement of nature.
This release recalls me that aesthetic beauty relies, not only on achievement of form, but also in the ability to evoke a state of mind or in the search of expressiveness of sound. A stunning expression of the possibilities of dark ambient genre.

Mario BJM Bajardi: Inverse EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 19 2015
Artist: Mario BJM Bajardi (@)
Title: Inverse EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: ONDE
Rated: *****
Just over a year ago, I spoke about his "Glass Orchestra EP", named after the title of the song that a Sicilian wine company commissioned for an original advert, a taste of the musical wit by Italian composer Mario Bajardi, who recently signed the third release for ONDE Electronic Contents, the sister label of Paolo Bigazzi'Iter Research. The title track "Inverse" opens the release by means of sizzling beats and metallic hits that got combed by airy layers of violin that flow into a carillon-like melody, a sort of robotic cardiac resuscitation whose style could surmise a combination between the ones by Funckarma and Apparat. The following track "Crusty" follows a similar strategy, but he inoculates spelling bees and a floating piano melody in the lively rhythmical patterns. The only vocal track "Rest" is the one which I enjoyed less, but I could assume that its very simple structure could act like a transparent veil in order to let listener appreciate the voice of Eleza, the singer of Teardrop-Glory Box cover (2008). Mario inoculates harmony within harshness in the central track "Interlude" before steering further more chilling and cinematic sonorities ("Standing", "Missing"). The remix of "Crusty" by talnted Italian sound-artist Carlo Ascrizzi doesn't upset the delicate balance of "Inverse".

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