Music Reviews



Kenneth Kirschner: Compressions & Rarefactions

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 18 2015
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Artist: Kenneth Kirschner (@)
Title: Compressions & Rarefactions
Format: CD
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
The reading of some reviews or meditations, where more or less famous music writers describe the experiencing of Kenneth Kirschner's music as if they were in the guise of Burroughs writing a page of literature under the effect of some hallucinogenic substance, as well as the way by which graphic artist Kysa Johnson, who cared the artwork of this release and matches Kenneth's extreme dilutions of sound in time to subatomic decay patterns, are an interesting explanation of the mission and the vision of this Ney York-based sound artist. You could read them on the booklet of this release, which managed to include of a couple of shorter recordings (shorter if compared to the average length of Kenneth's psychotropic epopees into sound) in a cd and added a code that could be redeemed to download three other recordings (lasting 5 hours in total...), but I'd like to extract some parts of them in order to give you an idea of what you could expect or you could skip, if you are a lover of concision in music. For instance, Marc Waidenbaum (disquiet.com), after an extremely detailed description of the (both emotional and spacial)set and the setting as a preface, reasonably claify that Kirschner "embraces a sense of periodicity that challenges the listener's comprehension" before turning back on his meditative path and stating that "if time is Kirschner's most self-evident compositional tool, then memory is his most active one. As we find our way - that is, find a way - through the immersive, percepting-consuming, periphery-spanning territory of his work, as time passes, as life passes, our sole guide is the work itself". While Simon Cummings (5against4.com) sees "paradoxes everywhere" in Kirschner's output and run through some of them on his interesting track-by-track commentary, I find the conclusion by Mike Lazarev (headphonecommune.com) particularly guessed to set the emotional fences where Kirschener's sonic particles or electrons draw their seemingly chaotic circles and microtonal twists: "while listening to the music of Kenneth Kirschner, one can become lost in time, ceasing to be in its prison of binding. As the shackles of time fall away through the sounds, I am brought back into this very moment, where the vois is the present, and the silence is noise". What could I say more to these fine words? I might say my very first impression, as I maybe felt the some fascination that a baby could experience inside a big and hidden lab of clock repairer, where variation of single geears or teps gradually mutate the "scansion" and the perception of time. Check it out!

A.Karperyd: Woodwork

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 15 2015
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Artist: A.Karperyd
Title: Woodwork
Format: 12"
Label: Novoton (@)
Rated: *****
Even if that flame on the cover artwork could look like the one by Massive Attack, Swedish musician Andreas Karperyd doesn't come Bristol, but he gave a likewise precious contribution to the experimental and electronic scene of his native country since late 80ies, when he used to be a leg of quite known ambient/industrial act Omala, but he kept on providing interesting stuff in Sweden together with his long-lasting friend Mattias Tegnér, such as the more dancefloor-oriented project Obconic and He Said Omala, the temporary fusion between Omala and Wire bassist Graham Lewis. This first solo album has many unavoidable similarities to the above-mentioned projects, but Karperyd's outputs on "Woodwork" sounds much less claustrophobic and gloomy than some stuff from Omala and manages to sounds somehow jazzy and improvised due to the fact that all the tracks got recorded on live stage before getting slightly edited in recording studio, which was a wooden cabin in the countryside - that's why the album was titled "Woodwork"! -: the foggy low tones by which he ignites the opening "Natural Nature" and the ecstatic female chant jut helps his sound to breach listeners' walls by means of a sonic strategy, which was widely used by trip-hop or downbeat makers before rhythmical engines got fully warmed up; the following "Public Transport", which sounds like the melting of melodic bubbles and noises he took from public transportations, and "Rejected and Awarded", a glitchy heartbeat-like agglomeration of abstract sonic entities, are maybe the most experimental moments of the whole album, which, after the gently lethargic "Winter Tone", opens up to more melodic moments on the title-track - my favourite moment of the whole release -, whose warming drone, laying upon a looped piano, electonic soft knocks and delicate buzzing noises, paved the emotional path towards the last part of the record, where the interplay of tenderly distorted guitars on "Correlation and Dependance", which could surmise some moments of stickly-sweet romanticism by many post-rock bands, as well as the dynamics of "Villovagar" and "Low Light Conditions" vaguely get closer to the sonorities of some abstractly melodic and sweetened electronics that featured the first half of last decade (Milosh, Dntel, Ammoncontact, Chessie, Methamatics, Plumbline, Metamatics and so on).

Roman Leykam: Realm of the Shades

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 14 2015
cover
Artist: Roman Leykam
Title: Realm of the Shades
Format: CD
Label: Frank Mark Arts (@)
Rated: *****
Long-lasting collaborator of Frank Meyer Arts both on solo-releases and collaborative ones, experimental guitar player Roman Leykam recently signed this new output, where the shades of the title don't really refer to places where there is no light, but it should be meant as a synonum of hues. It's better clarify that if you are not a lover of effected guitars or synth-mnipulated guitars, you could find the listening experience that Roman provides dreadfully boring, as the excessively abstract and old-fashioned sonic mantle by which he wrapped and blurred his brilliantly effected guitars - a trained ear will easily recognize that he's quite good in manoeuvring effects - could even severely test the resistence to the synthesis of sleep-inducing agents of listeners, who can understand what he wisely does. My attention was kept high by some interesting insertions of e-bow guitars as well as by some meaningful ideas such as the humongous growl he lets rise in "The Aftermath" or the club-induced claustrophobic feelings that got rendered in "Bleak Place", but I can't really stop yawning when the above-mentioned mantles made some interesting guitar-driven experiments sound like demo songs of cheap electronic keyboard.

Aquavoice: Early Recordings

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 11 2015
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Artist: Aquavoice (@)
Title: Early Recordings
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Distributor: Alchembria
Rated: *****
This release collects one of the first albums from this project, "Water Music" and some recordings from other releases, "Soundchaser" and "Dreamdesigner". All this works has been releases as CDr so they are out of print. This release documents a phase where the influence, most notably Tangerine Dream, could be easily recognized however, 20 years ago, this was a trend of the whole genre. It sounds strange how this synth sound while it was the sign of the times now it sounds as a sort of ruined photograph.
The first cd, "water music", is opened by 'Osiris", a long track based on a synth line whose development is as hypnotic as stratified even if based on a simple loop. 'Dagobah System" is a quiet track based on a sort of field recordings of a river.
'Lothlorien" is quiet descriptive while 'Underwater Flight" is based on a clear rhythmic structure. 'I Opened the Door and..." and 'Melancholy" close this first cd reworking the same musical structure.
The other cd, "other early works", is open by 'Emptiness" based on an evocative soundscape. 'Others" juxtaposes layers of small noisy lines. 'Welcome to the Space Station' is cinematic as it features vocal samples. 'Soundchaser - part 6" and 'Soundchaser - part 8" are minimal track based on clear synth lines . 'The End" is a gentle synth melody upon a soundscape and 'Tam na Åemkowynie" sounds like a folk song, as it's sung by Julia Doszna, based on synth rather than on guitar.
While "water music" could expose the sign of his aging as it's closer to some new age territories, "other early works" reveals the line upon which this project has created some remarkable works. A must for fans and collectors of this project.

Sylvain Chauveau & Ensemble Nocturne: Down To The Bone [An Acoustic Tribute to Depeche Mode]

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 11 2015
cover
Artist: Sylvain Chauveau & Ensemble Nocturne (@)
Title: Down To The Bone [An Acoustic Tribute to Depeche Mode]
Format: CD
Label: Ici d'ailleurs
Rated: *****
I'm not a lover of cover bands or cover projects, as they are often not so original or fitting to the mood of the original song, but this one by Sylvain Chauveau could be an exception and I'm not really sure that speaking of cover could be really pertaining to this collection of eleven really inspired reinterpretations of well-known songs by Depeche Mode that got released ten years ago by Les Disques du Soleil et de L'Acier and recently re-released (on vynil as well) by Ici d'ailleurs. Nothwithstanding the score, Sylvain and the Nocturne ensemble highlighted the melancholic nuance of songs like "Home", "Policy of Truth", "The Things You Said", "In Your Room" or "Never Let Me Down Again" by means of a somber acoustic and poignant suit, which delighted both more inveterated fans of Depeche Mode and the fans of more minimalist outputs by Chauveau, who recorded this profound and devotional declaration of love to these matinee idols by means of his likewise deeply emotional voice, even if I think that some songs ("Death's Door", "Freelove" or the above-mentioned "Policy Of Truth") were not so really suited to his kind of vocal timbre, but his rapture, a certain inventiveness - I particularly enjoyed the ones on the glitchy clots and the lo-fi experiments on "Enjoy The Silence" - and the elegance that got provided by Nocturnal ensemble often balance some supposed imperfections out, but I won't label them imperfections as the aim of Chauveau's reinterpretations - thank goodness! - is not emulative at all!


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