Music Reviews



John Chantler: Still Light, Outside

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 01 2015
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Artist: John Chantler (@)
Title: Still Light, Outside
Format: CD
Label: Inventing Zero
Rated: *****
The main sonic input of the fourth album by British sound artist John Chantler, the pipe organ at London's St John at Hackney church, which got processed at Stockholm's Elektronmusikstudion EMS, got almost immediately saturated to the point that some listeners could imagine a pious organist had some mystical experiences while playing on it and decided to turn his session into a piece of psychedelic space-rock suite: its holy halo on the opening title-track "Still Light, Outside" got highlighted by almost dissonant reverberations and distortions, heavy tonal overlapping and circular tremolo which could give the impression that John tuned the organ to the light effects that stained-glass windows of some churches project into the building during certain hours of day. The first of the three parts of "The Long Shadow of Decline" pierce listeners by means of a very low frequencies which got simultaneously played alongside likewise high ones and electronic subterranean pulses and noises, which could let you imagine they come from the maintenance of submarine; these three inputs sound like having been reshuffled in the following second and third part, but John manages to dip them into different luminous intensity by replacing them into almost hypnotical overstretched organ tone (part two) or amniotic fluids inside which even electronic fragments, noisy disturbances and flaky scrapes sound somehow densely and harmoniously compacted.

Enmarta: Sea of Black

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 31 2015
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Artist: Enmarta
Title: Sea of Black
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This project is shortly described as 'combining ritualistic elements, fine texture work, throat singing and live viola' and, interesting enough, this means that it layers melodic pencils upon a dark ambient canvas. This way, this album avoids that sort of déjà vu which is the main problem of this scene.
After the field recordings of a sea, "Enmarta" introduces the listener in an apparently conventional dark ambient setting but, after a barely audible line, an harmonic chant enters to shift the musical palette in another direction. "Dark Asylum', after a first part with rhythmic field recordings, evolves juxtaposing lines of synth. "Aesthetics" is almost a piece for violin with a drone as texture. "Nekrosis" uses drums and violin as an almost inaudible elements as they are buried into the soundscape. 'Putrefaction Chamber" is almost static track with sudden moments of quiet noise. "Ecstatic Paradigm" closes this release with lines of synth slowly evolving in the final drone.
As it stays at the border between a dark ambient album and a melodic, post-rock in a certain sense, it's a release that is a sure pick for fans and should be heard by whom is convinced that some project at least try to create something new. Truly recommended.

Metatron Omega: Gnosis Dei

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 31 2015
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Artist: Metatron Omega
Title: Gnosis Dei
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
Metatron Omega is a Serbian project inspired to Eastern/Western esoteric and religious traditions so it tries to enact the musical space that is typical of the use of resonances and harmonics of this traditions. The main characteristic of this release is that, instead of slowly evolving a drone, they lasts usually less than a minute and are mixed rather than layered so it's as closed as structure as open in the musical outcome.
The initial track, "Apotheosis', is based on a sequence of drone and some field recordings while "Godhead Emanation" uses some distant voices in the middle of the track. "Eye of Providence" sequences the drone to the point to have almost a proper track. "Ordo Draconis' returns, only in the first part, to the typical use of resonance to fill the musical space. "Hierosgamos" uses bell's samples and field recordings while "Hypostasis" and "Transfiguration" close this release trying to focus on sound aesthetic rather than musical development.
As all tracks are based upon the same musical structure, this release starts to be a little too predictable in the second half; however the careful production exalts the choice to use drones to move sound rather to simply expose it. A nice release.

Deison & Uggeri: In the Other House

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 30 2015
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Artist: Deison & Uggeri
Title: In the Other House
Format: 12"
Label: Final Muzik (@)
Recorded in two years and born from a collaboration between Cristiano Deison and Matteo Uggeri (who's also active with Grey Sparkle In Grey), "In The Other House" is an album which I approached to in a difficult way. I'm not keen on isolationist atmospheres made of drones and manipulated sounds which sometimes sound like you're finding them there by chance, so sometimes I missed the point of what I was listening to. Musically we have sounds that Uggeri "stolen" (violin samples to Franz Krostopovic, piano samples to Agostino Brambilla, guitar samples to Alberto Carozzi, bass samples to Cristiano Lupo, trombone to Stella Riva and saw to Piergiorgio Storti), while Deison added his drones and treated noises creating, in that way, something which is more like a sound installation than else. The key to understand these recordings is into the title and into Francesca Mele's photographs used for the cover: we have a house, but even if the house is the place where we rest and we try to found ourselves on a daily basis, the house could be also the worst place to come back to. On the cover we have a woman looking to a man's dead body and we can feel that there's no pain but, somehow, that was the consequence of a slow death. Maybe, a daily and deadly one. On the titles, every room is associated to a situation/feeling and we can understand what is going on. "Worried Stagnation (Bedroom)", "Micro Drama (Kitchen) or " So Detached (Dining Room And Terrace) " are titles that can give you an exact description of what we'd try to avoid and that sometimes we aren't able to and the minimal almost static sounds are reinforcing that terrible feeling. Available on vinyl and CD, the album born from the collaboration of five labels: Final Muzik , Old Bicycle Records , Oak , Loud and Grey Sparkle. You can check it here https://deison.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-other-house

General Magic & Pita: Fridge Trax Plus

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 26 2015
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Artist: General Magic & Pita
Title: Fridge Trax Plus
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Someone could imagine that a synth, a drum machine or other electronic devices should have marked the dawn of most glorious labels of the scene. Some labels actually build their catalogue on the sounds some artists squeezed from specific synth or drum machines, but not so many listeners would surmise that a fridge could have been even more influential than a synth, as testified by this re-release of the very first outputs by one of the most appreciated electronic music label like Editions Mego, whose huge catalogue got started by an EP - "Fridge Trax 12" - and an album - "Live & Final Fridge" - from the electronic music eggheads of Peter Rehberg aka Pita and General Magic, the well-known duo by Andreas Pieper and Ramon Bauer, who entirely made these amazing releases (13 tracks both, but I imagine they recorded more than 13 ones and some could have been left unedited) by processing sounds they grabbed by putting a microphone inside a fridge. I'm not sure they imagined their experiment would have been so influential to the point it can be considered one of the records that fostered the inoculation of abstract sonorities within dance music structures, but all those youngster who are just approaching to the wide world of sound will be so delighted by the funny sonic freaks they made from a bunch of icy and sometimes defrosten sounds that I won't be surprised if a museum will exhibit Mego's fridges or other useful modern electric appliances alongside Mozart's score or Beethoven's comb for the devotional pleasure of future generations. That's a wise way to celebrate the first 20 years of existence of the Wien-based label.


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