Music Reviews

Fujako: Soul Buzz EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 10 2014
Artist: Fujako (@)
Title: Soul Buzz EP
Format: 10"
Label: Ångström Records (@)
Rated: *****
When the soul buzzes, it could disjointedly hits on drums and could even sing like a gremlin. It's the recent sonic discovery by this lupine duet by Jonathan Saldanha from Portugal and Nyko Esterle from Belgium, who came back on French-Belgian label Angstroem after their debut album "Landform" in 2009. You could get flabbergasted they need almost two years to forge a 6-tracks EP, but it doesn't really matters how much hey needed to shape their sound to free from that buzzing sound. They make "Entrance" by means of a minute blurred electric storms before the meaningful gruff lyrics of the title-track - featuring the dusky voice of DC-based MC Black Saturn, grandon of blues musician John Jackson -, whose unchained thuds and viscuous distortions revies the golden age of ill-hop. The bumping ultra-low frequency over fragmented hip-hop groove on "J*A*" adds more obfuscation to an already thickly foggy sound till it reaches highest levels of stunning daze on "Preacher's Echo", which opens the flipside, where these guys focuses on obsessively obscure dub hooks by means of overechoed and overdelayed voice, corroded and corrosive hums, cacophonous interferences and tumbling beats as well as a gremlin who sounds duetting with MC Black Saturn on the mad dub version of "Soul Buzz", where these folks seems to have dunked the orgiinal version into a pot of hot tar.

Raison d'etre: Mise en Abyme

 Posted by Emanuele Ratti (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 10 2014
Artist: Raison d'etre
Title: Mise en Abyme
Format: CD
Label: Transgredient Records
Raison d'être, the most famous Peter Andersson's project, is back with a new full length album, published by Transgredient Records. I think this is the first full length not published by Cold Meat Industry (RIP). I don't want to be bold, but I think it is the best Raison d'être album so far. 'Mise an Abyme' is not something new in the Raison d'être discography, but it is the perfect mix of three intense experiences (The empty hollow unfolds, Requiem for abandoned souls, and Metamorphyses). The album is a long four-tracks descent into the abyss.
The first track is Abyssos. It starts with a pad embedded in a structure which is a classic Raison d'etre: a descendent melody, rightly reverberated, and a background of industry noises. Then some choirs are added as well as a strange and strident noise (which actually is another pad). Noises and pads keep on growing, capturing the listener into an immense storm of sounds.
The second track is called 'Infernos'. Noises of various sorts (introducing the song) remind me of a structure, like a wrecked bridge, that someone is crushing down. At minute 5, the song seems to stop and a pad enters slowly, with the usual Raison d'etre fade-in giving the perception of sounds coming from nowhere. Then the songs literally explodes with dissonant choirs and a orchestra of noises. Noises forming an actual rhythm (really an orchestra!) is probably Raison d'etre best achievement in 'Metamorphyses' and here it is developed at its best. The song reaches its acme at minute 10 when another pad, with low tones, break the atmosphere and it grows with the noises orchestra for four long minutes.
The third track is 'Katharos' ('pure'). This starts with a bell and a choir - it looks like a sort of 'Slow Ascent' of 2014. Then the choir merges with the usual fantastic pad. There is then a continuous emerging of choirs that then dissolve in pad - it is the expertise of Peter Andersson and the brand of Raison d'être.
The last track is more similar in style to Requiem for Abandoned Souls, in particular for the use of strange oriental choirs which is overlapped with a classic choir old style. The result is remarkable since they seem to form a unique incredible sound. The album then closes with the usual crescendo and a long last minute of fade out.

To sum up, 'Mise an Abyme' is a synthesis of the best works of Raison d'être and, as emphasized at the beginning, I think it is its best album so far. Highly recommended.

Schloss Mirabell: Ghosthour Diary

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 09 2014
Artist: Schloss Mirabell (@)
Title: Ghosthour Diary
Format: CD
Label: Monotype (@)
Rated: *****
Besides the fact that Salzburg is her native city, I honestly ignore the reason why brilliant musician and former gifted child (she played piano and cello since when she was 6) Florina Speth, who is working on her PHD in neuromusicology by researching possible therapeutic use of robots and sound at the moment, took the name for this musical identity from Mirabell Castle. The cinematic halo of her music, which combines electronic clips, elements from trip hop, techno and electroacoustic as well as a plenty of fine sonic details, made me think about a possible connection with the fact that the elgant gardens of Schloss Mirabell hosted some notorious scene of "The Sound of Music", the notorious musical inspired by the story of Von Trapp family, but its mysterious and somewhat gothic nuances could be linked to the legend according to which the ghost of notorious alchemist and occultist (as well as the founder of toxicology) Paracelsus haunts castle's grounds.The title of the album actually derives from the fact that Florina made this collection of sonic miniatures and longer electronic tracks which could be imagined as broken thoughts/sentences or long winded paragraphs and reflections in the pages of her nocturnal diaries during so-called ghost or witching hours in order to render the mental states before sleeping. The ticking on the recurring medley "Promenade" sounds like the mirroring of the ritual where the perception of diurnal times begins to fade away before the immersion into out-of-time dimensions, which got evoked by each track: my favorite ones are the long-lasting ones as they can better titillate imagination ("Let Them Sleep In Their Hair", "Die Seele mit der Perlenmassage" as well as some sonic pearls like "Little Cygnet" and the final lulling "Feines Sanft"), but there are many charming sonic cameos in the first part of the record that are likewise well-chiselled!

Dave Phillips: Homo Animalis

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 07 2014
Artist: Dave Phillips (@)
Title: Homo Animalis
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Schmpfluch Associates
Rated: *****
The first humanimal that peeked out from the listening of the very first moments of this release by Zurich-based artist Dave Phillips, former founding member of brutal grindcore project Fear Of God who gained a certain recognition by lovers of noisy stuff with some meaningful connections by means of a series of underground and strictly limited releases that many people like to label as "extreme", is Jack Arnold's amphibious Creature from Black Lagoon and while keeping on listening, I wondered how Dave managed to render what a person could possibly feel while being eaten by some hungry zombies. The devilish voice which repeats the title of "The Less I Know" introduces the sarcasm behind "Homo Animalis" and the explicated "humanimalism theory" as well as the aesthaetics of this wise sound artist, which seems to explore human degradation or revival of ferocious instincts (it depends from personal viewpoint) in the guise of a probe for visceral detection: according to the interesting explanation which got attached to the release, the first one of Rudolf's resurrected Schimpfluch, "humanimal rather a process of de-antropo-centralisation, a connectivity of senses, instincts, emotions, ideas and thoughts that are as personal and subjective as much as they are understood as a part of a larger whole" where "sound is humanimals preferred form of communication" and a way "to activate primordial shared emotions otherwise stifled by civilised experience and restricted by social consensus" that "taps into the essence of existence itself". Other disquieting images as well as an involving thrill can arise to listener's consciousness while keeping on listening: for instance, the sound of slammed doors and the whole sonic atmosphere of "Humanimal B" could let you imagine you've been closed into the same labyrinth where the mythological Athenian hero Theseus met and supposedly killed the Minotaur - with a difference: you are with no Ariadne's ball of wool and no dagger at all! -; the dreadful synth-crescendo of "Rape Culture" could sound like the most excruciating physical torment by Jigsaw Killer; the story told by the sounds of "Novaturient" could look like a POV snuff movie directed by a serial killer whose criminal alter-ego got awoken by the sound of a subway station and the one that got evoked by "Kelelawar B" sounds like the nightmares by a repentant vampire, where "So...What?" could let you think about a possible collages of Japanese or Chinese domestic abuses and the cinematic "Truth Is Invented By Liars" as a possible contemporary revival of the myth of Premetheus (simply genial the insertion of some dialogues taken from "Bad Boy Bubby", one of the first which used binaural microphones to record dialogues). In spite of its amazing amalgam of post-industrial hooks and horror-movie-like sonorities - not so different from some stuff that recently came from Cold Spring I spoke about on this 'zine), the aim of the game is not psyching listeners out as humanimals sound more noble by birth and in spirit as you can guess: "humanimal would like to encourage the global north to "change the dream of the modern world", from one of accumulation and consumption to one that honours and sustains life. humanimal knows there is enough food for every being on this planet if distributed properly. It encourages into paths and processes of one's alimentary choices and habits and a sensible and prudent appliance of these insights"... Humanimals maybe is aware that "nature doesn't need us".

Tomas Korber: Musik für ein Feld

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 05 2014
Artist: Tomas Korber (@)
Title: Musik für ein Feld
Format: CD
Label: Cubus (@)
Rated: *****
The field that could came to your mind while listening the first nine of nine movements of this amazing suite that Swiss composer and improvisational performer Tomas Korber wrote and performed with Konus Quartett, a fourtet of saxophones by Christian Kobi (tenor and soprano saxophone), Fabio Oehrli (soprano saxophone), Jonas Tschanz (alto and soprano saxophone), Stefan Rolli (baritone saxophone), whose tonal breath got wisely processed by Korber himseld, is the one of sci-fi movies like Alien, where the last survivor of a flight crew finally understands there could be some technical problems by low levels of oxygen in the loungy disco-like cabin and chances upon of corpses of his/her collegues before meeting some alien monster, which miraculously grew from leftovers of overbaked lasagna whose stuffing includes beans from outer space. Jokes aside, the one track suite with many altenrations of sounds (it's not so easy to distinguish wind instruments and processed parts and background noise as Korber sometimes turns the tails of tonal frequencies from Konus Quartett into pure sinewaves and viceversa) by these guys is really amazing and their invitation to test "Musik fur ein Feld" in different ways (different rooms and/or palyback systems with different levels and types of background noise) could result into surprising listening experiences where sonic entities like those saxophone-driven geysers which seem to gather paper around 20 minutes, the metallic puckering between minutes 43 and 44, the progressive saturations of single breath in many moments of the recording, the deforming overlapping with background noise and so on could trick and daze your mind.

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