Music Reviews

God Body Disconnect: Dredge Portals

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 24 2016
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Artist: God Body Disconnect
Title: Dredge Portals
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Cryo Chamber is presented in their usual austere way as "an emotional roller coaster" with "a strong narrative of storytelling" and this way of describe the records lets the listener free to hear the album with a clear mind. "Dredge Portals" sounds as a concept album centered on a lonely man which is the narrator of his thought about living in a world where there's, apparently, no one else and this story is described with field recording and foley sounds rather than drones that act as mere support of the landscape evoked by the sounds.
The narrator of "Rise of the Dormant Host" opens this release with a pistol shot and introduces the listener into a story of, perhaps, zombie and it starts on almost canonical track of evocative drone but resolved with a synth melody. The sound of rain opens "The Reflection Tower" whose drone crescendo is juxtaposed to traffic sound to enhance his emotive character. "Descend with Demons" uses drones to create a sense of tension exalted by the use of sudden noises. This sense of danger is partly resolved by the crescendo of "Heart of the Mirror's Abyss" and its samples of a running man. The return of the narrator in "Lost in the Astral World" starts the second half of this release and it's another ambient track focused on crescendo while "Perpetually Devoured" is closer to the canonical dark ambient format. "Dreaming of Glaciers" closes this release with a dreamy drone and some gentle piano notes that introduces the return of the narrator.
While the second part is more orthodox in his declination of the genre, in the first part it's evident the search for storytelling in this release which is obtained mostly with the use of field recording closer to musique concrète rather than dark ambient and result the real focus of the musical writing. It's true cinema for the ears.

Chihei Hatakeyama & Dirk Serries: The Storm of Silence

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 20 2016
Artist: Chihei Hatakeyama & Dirk Serries (@)
Title: The Storm of Silence
Format: CD
Label: Glacial Movements (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Glacial Movements features one of the historical names in ambient music as Dirk Serries, a.k.a. Vidna Obmana, has released some of the key album in this field and one of the names, Chihei Hatakeyama, less known mainly for the increasingly descending longing to known new names and music rather to hear a bunch of classic seen as the cornerstone of music. This release is presented as based on the moment in winter "when nature becomes almost super linear, less expressive in color but with equal strength and severity" which is one of the key concept of ambient music: let tones resonate until they achieve a sort of independent nature as timbre.
The quiet drone of "Kulde" opens this release and introduces the listener into a landscape made out of open spaces and absent clouds. "Uvaer" is based on a drone that acts a canvas for other drones and sounds until all element gently fades into the final silence. "Fryst" seems based on the same format, however the foreground drone slowly evolves generating the evocative cover with his immersive blue. "Hvit" closes this release depicting the sense of a music working with detail instead of a form.
This is a release based on a well known form, whose however Dirk Serries is one of his builders, but reminds of how this music is based on subtle nuances rather on sonic impact and reveals how the careful choice of tones is fundamental so it has to heard with a proper equipment instead of pc speakers. It's worth a listen perhaps for everyone.

Ben Eyes: Fl00d

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 13 2016
Artist: Ben Eyes
Title: Fl00d
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Time Released Sound (@)
Rated: *****
I'm always too late when I try to speak about some of the nicest releases coming from Colin Herrick's imprint Time Released Sound. The strictly limited physical edition (just 50 copies) of this mini-album by Ben Eyes, a sound artist drawing inspiration from the beautiful region of Northumbria in the UK - one of my favorite areas of Great Britain -, sold out in 15 days after it was released, so that you maybe won't find the finely crafted 3" CDr, but music is what really matters. The title of this 20-minutes lasting sonic journey refers to the initial source of inspiration, as the hook in Ben's musical mind was the terrible floods that hit England in winter 2014, but it lately embraced a wider reflection on the moment that mankind is experiencing: in Ben's own words, "The idea that we have permanently changed our weather system through our own doing is incredibly thought provoking and cannot be ignored. The floods and storms were some of the worst on record and seeing places I know and hold dear destroyed by the weather made me feel both extremely upset and helpless. The work of James Lovelock was also a large inspiration behind this piece and his Gaia theory (the idea that the Earth is one whole complex living organism) is unfortunately now being proven correct. Through the pollution of our own delicate eco-system we have caused untold damage for many generations to come, possibly forever.". The journey on "Fl00d" begins on a set of field recording Ben grabbed in the enchanting Holy Island of Lindisfame in Northumbria, but little by little and recording by recording (taken in other locations such as Berwick upon Tweed, Craster and St Marys Bay, Northumberland, Whitby, Staithes and Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire, Barry Island, Vale of Glamorgan, Oxford Circus and Soho in London), the listener got gradually absorbed in an almost mystical reverie smelling like environ/mentalism, where entrancing female vocals emphasizes the ambient-driven spleen, which sound like echoing the cry of nature against human daily mistreatment. A digital version is available on label's Bandcamp.

Quadrant, Iris & Kid Hops: 206

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 11 2016
Artist: Quadrant, Iris & Kid Hops (@)
Title: 206
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Commercial Suicide (@)
Rated: *****
There are two versions of this awesome album that managed to link again the creativity of Seattle-based couple (wife and husband) of American d'n'b scene Leigh and Karen Caplan aka Quadrant & Iris and the oestrus of a local hero of the same scene Kyle Hopkins aka Kid Hops, who already co-signed a couple of releases on Dispatch and C.I.A. labels: the double vinyl version includes eight tunes, which branch off in different stylistic directions such as the pulse-pounding accelerations of the title-track "206" (I could guess the title, sensually spelled by a female voice, refers to bmp-measurable speed of this fast and furiously sexy tune) and "Seasick", whose mysterious atmosphere could let you imagine the setting of Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" if the captain of the ship suddenly understand he could suffer from seasickness, the nervously daydreaming fast-rolling songs "The Only Way Out Is Through", featuring the precious (and identifiable) contribution by Commercial Suicide label-manager Klute (!), and "Black Opal", where the trio got joined by the voice of Canadian singer and songwriter Kayle, the viscously foggy bumpers of "Definition" and "Orca" on C side and the magnetic attractors of "Dark Star", where Quadrant and Iris seem to evoke some sinister divinity, and the lukewarm beating low-frequency of "Pleiades" ft.Reise on mic, whose melodic theme sounds like reprising the one of the beautiful "Eternal September" (the beautiful voice of the track is the one of Collette Warren), one of the many good reasons to recommend the digital version, which also includes the liquid bath "Occidental" - it recalled to my mind "Moonbathing" by Amba and that kind of sonic romances - as well as a couple of more oppressive pressures like the awesome "Wirecutter" (featuring Chris "Cease" Vancourt), the obnubilated atmosphere of "Angular" and the steamroller "Asthma" by Quadrant. Great tunes indeed!

Hans Joachim Roedelius & Leon Muraglia: Ubi Bene

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 10 2016
Artist: Hans Joachim Roedelius & Leon Muraglia
Title: Ubi Bene
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Passus Records
Rated: *****
Electronic music lovers don't really need any introduction of the evergreen maestro Hans-Joachim Roedelius, who in spite of his age - he should be 81 at the moment and I really wish a long life to this living genius of electronic music, whose sometimes troubled history (check his interesting biography) maybe watered his flourishing creativity - keeps on spreading lovely sonic gifts like this lovely "Ubi Bene", where he joined his remarkably creative energy with the ones of DJ, studio musician and guitar player Leon Muraglia. Many moments over the 12 brilliant tracks of this new journey could sound like the revamping of the sound that Roedelius explored together with his historical partner-in-art Dieter Moebius on some of the very first albums by Cluster - particularly the quasi-synthpop output "Zuckerzeit" or the heights of folkish exoticism of album like "Sowiesoso" -. The excellent balance between Muraglia's sound design and the unmistakable forging of electronic pattern and astonishing piano-driven simple melodies by Roedelius is the most relevant aspect of "Ubi Bene", which resurfaces from the nostalgic breeze of the beautiful cameo of "She Had Always Loved Vienna", the lovely dialogue between the resounding nylon of a guitar chord and the shining tone of a synth-celesta on "Gently Falling Snow", the cheerful vivacity of "Red in a Circular Loop", the delicate miniature of "A Nostalgia for Lollipop" or the new age-like movements "A Reflection in Deep Sea" or the ethereal "Summer Breeze Turning", which get closer to the stylistic territories of Boards Of Canada or Ulrich Schnauss or to the moments when Roedelius sonic journey begin to get influenced by Brian Eno's style, as well as on more shadowed or experimental moments such as the 12-minutes lasting thrilling track of "There is a Huge Duck Standing Right Behind You" or the final "Surfaces That Appear To Change". The high level of expertise of its author makes "Ubi Bene" a unique specimen of the most genuinely human side of electronic music.

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