Music Reviews

Troum: Dreaming Muzak

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 10 2014
Artist: Troum (@)
Title: Dreaming Muzak
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
Sometimes a reissue is a way to reconsider something that is taken for granted. This reissue was the first full length output from this band with a sound aiming to provoke a 'dreaming stadium' and his publishing history set it in an almost invisible state. Thanks to Åukasz Miernik, responsible for the MAEROR TRI reissues, this remastered version sounds as a today release and underlines the most impressive quality of this release that is his visceral mood that collides with the glacial coldness associated with this kind of music.
The first part starts quietly with a menacing drone that slowly evolves in volume and impact when layers of resonances were added to develop a wall of sound that today we could classify as almost drone metal but, over 15 years ago, was an improvement over the almost glacial sounds of the period. The second part, called 'the dream catcher', is even more radical with his 'loud' resonance (not in his literal sense, but the recordings were probably loud and they are mixed in a way that only the most loud aspect could be heard above the soundscape constituting the musical infrastructure) so, especially in the second half, is closer to the field closer to metal as in the coevals path undertaken by MZ.412.
This release is important to properly understand a path of musical research that someone believes starting with metal but was started by ambient and later popularized by drone metal in more profitable time. An essential reissue.

Xavier Charles: 12 Clarinets in a Fridge

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 09 2014
Artist: Xavier Charles (@)
Title: 12 Clarinets in a Fridge
Format: CD
Label: Unsounds (@)
Rated: *****
French electroacoustic musician and clarinet player Xavier Charles probes his skills and his living and practising space on this interesting release where he decided to complement the sound of his beloved instrument with voices of home appliances: even he freezed melody, the 12 clarinet lines that he defrosted from his resounding fridge sound like hypnotical vibrations from ice crystals on the opening title-track "12 Clarinets in a Fridge", the 10 lines that he loaded on the amazing "10 Clarinets in the Washing Machine" follows a 6-minutes lasting washing cycle that remives any harmonic stains from the score, while the surviving 6 clarinet lines echoes the heating of the sinusoid electric resistence and the agitation of water molecules inside a boiler on "6 Clarinets in a Boiler". All the above-mentioned aplliances are so integrated in each track that it seems that Xavier just tuned clarinet in with their sonic display. Likewise the clarinet sound like a tuning fork on the two long tracks that he placed in between his domestic experiments where grafts single tone of clarinets, which often fan out over harmonious sonic lumps, entrancing vibratoes and puffs into a miscellany of field recordings and external interferences ("Heterogene") or circular or gurgling mesmeric eddies ("Materiel"). Even if you got fascinated by Charles' experiments, don't try to melt your clarinet in the microwave oven!

Cryobiosis: Inner Stasis

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 08 2014
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Artist: Cryobiosis (@)
Title: Inner Stasis
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Cryo Chamber, as usual, offers concise linear notes as it more focused on sound rather than complex, and often as catchy as void, presentation. This new release is another release from this label based upon "noise soundscapes" that create a "claustrophobic sound" but it sound a step towards new territories.
While "An Opening" starts this release as a typical album from this label as a dark ambient track focused on a drone, as the track unfolds the focus is on the detailed small noises that put this release in territories closer to field recording. So this album could be divided in two parts: one is made by tracks like "Into Nothingness", "Chasms" or "Hidden Dungeons" that are based on the stereotypical musical path of this release while the other is made by track like "Deep Aquaduct", Harrow or "Demise", the zenith of this release, where the drone is just the glue that takes together the highly detailed small noises that evokes an almost cinematographic experience.
Whilst this release is deeply routed in the tradition of this label, mostly for the usual remarkable mastering by Simon Heath, Cristian Voicu, the mind behind this release, is trying to reach his personal sound so it's someone to could release something important in the near future. A really nice release.

Jacaszek & Kwartludium: Catalogue Des Arbres

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 02 2014
Artist: Jacaszek & Kwartludium (@)
Title: Catalogue Des Arbres
Format: CD
Label: Touch (@)
Rated: *****
The integration of instrumental and ambient music with field recordings and sound of nature has almost become a cliche so that the discriminating factor is the aesthaetic quality of such an integration and the aesthaetics that Polish electroacoustic musician Michal Jacascek and the ensemble Kwartludium (Dagna Sadkowska on violin, clarinet player Michal Gorczynski, Pawel Nowicki on percussions and pianist Piotr Nowicki) convey on this "Catalogue des Arbres" (French for "Catalogue of Trees") is undoubtedly sterling from this point of view. The choice of a French title is not a matter of mannerism, but it's just a quotation of "Catalogue d'oiseaux" ("Bird catalogue") by French composer Olivier Messiaen, the forerunning oeuvre of the so-called biomusic where he incorporated the delicate chirps and tweets by thirteen different birds into likewise delicate compositions. By reversing the order that many poets and writers followed by using musical metaphors to render their enchantment for nature, Jacascek and Kwartludium turn into interpreter of the hidden sound of trees, whose presence is not limited to a bunch of field recordings but they seem to mark the sound of this project since the opening "Sigh (Les Peupliers)", where the musicians manage to render the serene magnificence of poplars whose elevation got evoked by 441 Hz Chamber Choir sylvan-like voices. A certain anxiety creeps into the record on the disquieting lullaby of the following "Green Hour", which evokes the so-called natural deficit disorder or Louv's hypothesis about some behavioral problems caused by the disconnection between humans (mainly children) and nature, and on "A book of lake (Roseliere)", where percussions seem to render the flowing of reed beds and clarinet could resemble the sound of some buzzing small inhabitants of wetlands where reed wildly grows. Fittingly, wind instruments had a prominent function in "Garden (Les Sureaux)", where they quote elderberry, whose branches are traditionally used for a number of flutes and wind instruments in Eastern Europe; moreover the track sounds like rendering the venomous beauty of sambucus, whose parts mainly includes cyanide. A similar contrasting suggestion comes from the listening of "From a seashell", where the enchanting sonic elements sounds like the clash between the beauty of those resounding forms and the circumstance that those exoskeletons are like abandoned houses or cemeteries. A feeling of vague dismay and digginess trickles from the following tracks "Circling (Le Pre)" and "Anthem (La Foret)", which precede the astonishing finale of "Kingdom (Les Chenes, Les Bouleaux)" here 441 Hz Chamber Choir emphasizes the quivering atmosphere of the soundscape again.

Summed: Left-Handed

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 28 2014
Artist: Summed
Title: Left-Handed
Format: CD
Label: Out-ER (@)
Distributor: Rub-a-dub
Rated: *****
The first release that out-e(lectronic)r(ecords) decided to release both as a digital download and on CD comes from Italian young producer Filippo "Summed" Bologna. Labelling it as "experimental" is a little bit shallow as it doesn't say anything about the dexterity of this producer with drum machines and tech-ey loops: some tracks ("Operator's Dream", "As it happens") seem to have been recorded without the support of any recorded pattern, but by means of just fingers on the coloured buttons of drum machines, and many percussive elements could sound quite raw and inserted in the texture without any particular effect as they came out of the machines as their source is quite recognizable by all those who have a certain familiarity with drum machines, but it's not the most relevant aspect of this album. The most impressive aspect is the joyful and almost instinctive way that Summed follows to build enjoyable tracks and rhythmical vagaries that melt elements from house, breakbeat and electronic dub, whose glitches and funny "toytronic" strategies to unroll weird loops could surmise the attitude of some freaky stuff from Swiss dub shooter as well as some evergreen entries on Apollo. Many moments of this album could let you think Summed is playing drum machines as if he's playing against Rubik's cube, a playful approach which makes the listneing of some dubstep-oriented tunes interesting even if some reviewers consider dubstep already old-fashioned.

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