Music Reviews



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 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 21 2015
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Artist: ][|][
Title: [_|_]
Format: CD
Label: Steelkraft Manufactory (@)
Rated: *****
I had reviewed the previous two entries from this unnamable band, so I was interested to see what they had in store for me this time. The press sheet describes this as 'Ten coherent different titles dark and desperate. Ten strange litanies that emerge from the depths and remind us of the tragic history of ten shipwrecks in the Iroise sea off Brest in Brittany. An album in tribute to all the sailors missing at sea.' So we have a concept album of sorts, but not really anything you would recognize as such. Here we have organ compositions with bits of sweeping wind noise interspersed, like a really stripped down Mortiis. It's like the organ is alive and breathing, its breath punctuating the music. Some are lovely works (e.g., 'Lake Borgne (1918)'), while others are the demented musings of a madman who has been trapped in his dark castle for far too long. Some of the standouts here include 'Columbian (1865)', which is a nice mix of organ and noisy atmosphere, like a storm is howling outside, and the majestic 'Xenophon (1962)' that evokes the feeling of a coronation ceremony. If you like Mortiis' older Cold Meat Industry works, this will be right up your alley. This album weighs in at around 58 minutes and is limited to 100 copies.

System Morgue: Feu

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 21 2015
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Artist: System Morgue (@)
Title: Feu
Format: CD
Label: Zhelezobeton (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this Moscow-based artist, but looking at the over art and the black metal logo, I expected something much more abrasive, at least noisier. But that's not what you get with System Morgue. The press release states that 'In its early period the project relied on aggressive and pushing sound in vein of harsh noise and power electronics, but later changed to milder sonorities and finally came to the now traditional form of guitar drone ambient.' Evidently, this is all created with guitar, bass, and effects. The music itself was really peaceful, deep drone, but it kept shifting enough to keep it interesting. At times there would be some moments of voice (Octobre), or guitar that is merely plucked to reveal itself (Moulin des Ãtoiles), but overall this is something that you can put on and just let everything fade away. Nicely done. This album weighs in at around 45 minutes and is limited to 100 copies.

Opollo: Stone Tapes

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 15 2015
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Artist: Opollo
Title: Stone Tapes
Format: CD
Label: New Nihilism Editions (@)
Distributor: alchembria
Rated: *****
This is the first full length release from JarosÅaw LeÅkiewicz under the moniker of Opollo. The assonance with Apollo (the title of an old Brian Eno's release) is an hint of a musical direction focused on the construction of ambient music describing a planet's landscape.
The drone's quietness of "Warning Beacon" opens this release and starts the development of a track based on the juxtaposition of sounds. "Can You Hear Me?" is based on layers of guitars while "A White Oval" is a melancholic intro to
"Eruption" whose crescendo ends with "Rising" creating a sort of track in three movements. "Hour One" is a noisy track featuring even some glitches. "Suspended" returns to a cleaner musical spectrum and "Aelita" returns to the form exposed in "Rising" while "Starburst" uses the inverted form starting loud and ending searching a form of silence. "Stone Tape" closes this release with the most evocative and constructed musical spectrum.
At the crossroad between shoegaze and ambient, it could seems a release mostly for collector but, removed the debt with his influence, reveals a lot of things to develop. A nice release.

[.que]: Brilliant Hopes

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 15 2015
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Artist: [.que] (@)
Title: Brilliant Hopes
Format: CD
Label: Schole (@)
Rated: *****
The young Japanese musician Nao Kakimoto, former upstart and hot rookie of Akira Kosemura's roster, seems to keep his music likewise young since the first official accolades - his successful debut release was awarded at the "Fred Perry/Why?" contest by a commission which included Yukihiro Takahashi (YMO, pupa) as a judge -, so that even if he signed his fifth solo-album, his sound keeps on remaining so fresh that a title like "Brilliant Hopes" could make sense. Sometimes a listener could get the impression that he made songs which could feature a clip of some graduation ceremony or the demo songs for some cheap keyboard, but the remarkable sound editing behind his fragile and crystal-clear textures could let you forgive such a possible matching. Even if it can't be considered an overview of his music, it seems that Nao often retraces some moments of his previous four albums, but he wisely balance those moments by means of slightly new ideas, which get sometimes fostered by collaborative tracks and sonic "legacies" - the delicate voice by unmo on "Himitsu", the one by petitoto, who gives some sounds from toy electronics on "Lullaby", Affable Noise's guitar soun on "Joint" and Akira Kosemura's piano melodies on "Misty Moon" and the uplifting "Springlike" - without spoiling the distinguishing whimsy and childlike wonder and the narrative scheme that exude from his sound. The opening bridge between past and present style that he offers on the first two tracks ("Origin" and "Home") got mirrored by the last two tracks of the album, "Will", which reflects Nao's early works, and "Never End", which sounds like the prologue of an upcoming sonic story.

Sonae: Far away is right around the Corner

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 11 2015
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Artist: Sonae (@)
Title: Far away is right around the Corner
Format: 12"
Label: Monika Enterprise (@)
Rated: *****
The first release for 2015 from Gudrun Gut's label Monika Enterprise uncovers the talent of Koln-based sound-artist Sonia Guttler aka Sonae, whose sonic embroidery on his debut album includes many field recordings from freesound.org that she wisely modified and integrated within nine interesting cameos that she made between 2012 and 2014 in between abstract and glitch isolationist ambient. Nothing was left to chance in her sound, whose strong connection with emotional processing and perception was already clear on "Entmutigt" (German for 'discouraged'), the free release she made for Spanish netlabel Modismo just before "Far away is right around the Corner": the opening track "Gewittspaziergang" (German for "storm-walking") seems to render the electrified air where electronic collisions and distant menacing deafening roar of a thunderstroms finds an echo in the mood of the sentient beings; the following title track sounds to be about the meeting of distance and proximity by means of amazing transformations of micromelodies that she supposedly made from the ring of a telephone from caller's side which got "imitated" by a sort of tinker bell, while "Wandering" sounds like an amalgamation of sonic clues of different kind of whereabouts, where nomadic sensations as well as a certain vague anxiety equalize distance and transporting vectors as if the idea of wandering could be a sort of existential dimension. The biomechanical blips of "Einfach SO" precedes the touching remix of Cio D'Or's "Distanz", the track that Cio Dorbandt made for a piece inspired by the dead victims on their way on overcrowded makeshift boats to Lampedusa, the austere and gradually burning piano chords of "Song of Hate and Anger" and the lovely "Hot Summerday", an interesting crossbreed between French piano impressionist, field recordings and nocturnal trip-hop detours. The aquatic daydreaming of "I Know a Fish" and the crepuscolar corpuscles of "Not The Moon/I Don't See Any Flowers There" and "Uberwindung" conclude this awesome workout. If you enjoyed it, Sonae says on her website you can send flowers to her!


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