Music Reviews

Rapoon: Fall of Drums

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 21 2014
Artist: Rapoon
Title: Fall of Drums
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
In the cover this 'this album marled a return to analog and mixing outside the box' and, as this reviewer was unhappy of the latest release of this historic project, this sounds as a return to the form that Robin Storey pioneered in his long career. This is also marked by his return to Middle East's ethnic rhythms and his evoking ghosts.
When the drums of 'A gallery of crows' starts there's suddenly a flavor of all the previous release unfolding with his hypnotic and charming beauty. The drones and samples of 'beneath and beyond' creates a static, but not boring, soundscape. The loops of 'upstarts and sheep' are slowly colored and submerged by the drones. The last track 'the heat beguiles' is almost half of this release, clocking over half an hour, and start with voices' loop and the drones slowly ends with the down of the echoed samples creating an hunting but peaceful atmosphere, thanks to echo effects reminiscent of dub technics, and when the drones and the echoed samples slowly evolve in a cohesive unity this tracks emerge as the centre of this release.
From an esthetic point of view there's anything new on this release but is a charming release from one of the most important names in the field. A stunning return to form.

Donor: Against All

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 19 2014
Artist: Donor
Title: Against All
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Prosthetic Pressings (@)
Rated: *****
A passion for Birmingham Industrial Techno (Surgeon, Karenn and Perc Trax), early Dutch electro and Detroit style, his stay in Barcelona and Tokyo, where he assimilated some stylistical elements, and his careful dwelling on John Carpenter's movie fed the sound of Brooklyn-based producer and dj Greg Schappert, who signs his first proper album after some releases on Svreca's Semantica Recordings, Lucy (12)'s Stroboscopic Artefacts, Miniscule digital imprint that he co-founded and recently Russian label Venator, but the main source of inspiration for this awesome release is the world we live in, which offers so many sources of inspiration for any dystopian representation that I can surmise that the eerily prescient images that his sounds manage to evoke didn't really need greatest stretches of the imagination. The first half of the record spins around this dark mood by amazing rehashes of Detroit-esque techno where highest peaks got reached on the fully laden funkish electromechanical breath of "Menace Is Mine", the sci-fi smudges of "Station A15" and "IP Test", the one where some elastic declensions of that style by Jeff Mills could come to mind, but the most interesting moments of the record occur when Donor get closer to more articulated and sometimes abstract electro breaks on the second half of the record - the robotic hiccups of tracks like "Counter" and "Fault Is Found" are my favorite tracks of the whole album - before the epic end on "In Your Place", whose artificial static bliss that slowly turns into an icy symphony sounds like an insightful provocation.
Artist: Ernesto Rodrigues - Louis Laurain - Guilherme Rodrigues - Ricardo Guerreiro
Title: Alba
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
I have lost count of the number of collaborative releases on Creative Sources where Ernesto and Guilherme Rodrigues got involved, but I'm often surprised about the fact I have not get bored by them yet as they maybe managed to involve many different collaborators. The two other musicians who took part to the four long-lasting improvisations they recorded on 9th June 2012 at Tch3 by Joel Conde are Louis Laurain on trumpet and Ricardo Guerreiro whose computer darned the sounds so masterfully that it's really difficult to understand when each instrument got filtered or not. The introduction of each track sounds like the awakening of an instrument after some centuries of hibernation and each musician could act like a cronics technician so that you are not going to listen to a series of abstract detained impulses, but the four parts of "Alba" sounds like the troublesome rescue of the decreased metabolism of improvisation after excessive sedation which often results in trembling tonal muttering that each instrument manages to find as if it renders an almost completely trophied muscle which begins to move again after endless seasons of idleness.
Artist: HHY & The Macumbas (@)
Title: Throat Permission Cut
Format: 12"
Label: Silo (@)
Rated: *****
The first ring of Silo, the brand new label by Raz Mesinai aka Badawi and Jonathan Uliel Saldanha aka HHY, one of the founding member of Soopa collective and one leg of Fujako, the abstract-hop project I spoke about on the occasion of "Soul buzz EP" a couple of months ago that he leads with Nyko Esterle, comes from the collaboration of Saldanha and The Macumbas, a Porto-based underground collective whose number of people varies even if some musicians such as self-taught drummer and percussionist Joao Pais Filipe and trumpet player and vocalist Alvaro Almeida are almost permanent. The mesmerizing intro of the opening track "Isaac, The Throat" as well as the distant horns and the dub-like obsessive delays whose sound seems to be enveloped by clouds of desert sand could let you imagine that the following sonorities comes from a broadcasted nightmare where they wisely spinned dub, tribal drumming - closer to bedouin trance dances -, screaming jazz/funk, electronic fibres and occasional diffractive sonic elements that could sound like a possible crossbreed between Muslimgauze, The Master Musicians Of Joujouka and Le Sony'r Ra's mystical tangents as well as amazing hooks to 7'ies blaxploitation sonorities on tracks like "Barbaron" and "Lewopa De Kristal". A very interesting debut, even if I can surmise that one of their live exhibitions - I think some people who heard them at Sonar and Primavera Sound can confirm my assumption - could be much more engaging.
Dec 14 2014
Artist: Lawrence English + Werner Dafeldecker (@)
Title: Shadow Of The Monolith
Format: 12"
Label: Holotype Editions (@)
Rated: *****
Lawrence English, who recently told some adventurous details about this release, and Werner Dafeldecker, who came back after a period of fallowing, joined their interest in the combination of electroacoustic and acousmatic techniques in order to lead listeners to explore some sonic crannies in Antarctic Peninsula, a place which most of people won't visit every day, by means of a paraphernalia of hydrophones, aerial and contact microphones. The recordings they collected while staying in those regions got later reassembled in Brisbane and turned into a soundscape, where the almost total absence of human elements matches the somehow dashing desolation of the most inhospitable place for human settlements on our planet, which nevertheless keeps on inspire many musicians and sound artists. Since the opening track "Fathom Flutter", where you could imagine that these artists managed to ignite ice blocks while listening the frozen crackling over the first five minutes of this polar scanning, the listening experience on "Shadow Of The Monolith" is so weirding that even the occasional clues of human activity on tracks like "Marambio" that they supposedly grabbed inside the Argentinian Antarctic base, or "Fall", where they seems to have taken the noises from attempts of anchorage of underwater probes, as well as the coring out of glacial gusts of wind in "Mapping Peaks" and frozen waters of "Rio Gallegos" seem to belong to other worlds and such a sense of immersive estrangement got reflected in the only two "musical" tracks, "Intake" and "Outtake", where Lawrence and Werner hybernated abstract chimes that brush against deafening silence.

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