Music Reviews



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Artist: Simon Balestrazzi
Title: Ultrasonic Bathing Apparatus
Format: CD
Label: sincope (@)
Rated: *****
Since the opening "First Immersion", this new release by Simon Balestrazzi sounds like the sonic report from a sort of altered state of consciousness which makes the brain experience reality as a close web of interferences, resonances, brainstem feedbacks and electromagnetic fields, an augmented perception that listeners catch as if it's inside a Faraday cage; the title of the release, which follows the last amazing act as Dream Weapon Ritual - another artistic alter-ego of former T.A.C. pulsating brain -, could let you surmise it could just be a sort of representation of technology-driven human perceptual prophylaxis by quoting ultrasonic cleansing, an electrochemical process that got extensively applied in jewellery, optics, dental and surgical cleaning and electronic musical instruments as well. The buzzing low frequency that saturates most of the release is quite similar to the noise that devices for ultrasonic cleaning usually makes, but besides undefined metallic objects, Simon seems to soak organic field recordings and foggy vocal radio broadcasts as well as a pile of instrumental parts from prepared toy psaltery, tsimblaty, tabletop guitar, horizontal steel cello, bulbul tarang, a prepared piano and even a broken metronome that appears on the meaningfully titled track "In My Own Transfigured Time" into his ultrasonic pool. The alternation of ablutions (three immersion before the last one) and three risingly hypnotical interplays ("Oscillation", "Osmosis" and the above-mentioned "In My Own Transfigured Time") seems to suggest he wisely follows a sort of gradual purification till the thirteen rarefied minutes of "Last Immersion" where the residual sonic impurities and memories keep on resounding in between cavitation bubbles.

Council of Nine: Dakhma

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 17 2015
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Artist: Council of Nine
Title: Dakhma
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
After the collaborative release of the last year, Council of Nine returns with a full length debut on this label trying to carry "the listener to a place of ancient history, through death into the void beyond". So, it could be conceivable to expect a typical dark ambient release but, however, the construction of sound palette is so carefully crafted to be truly enjoyed using headphones as, apart the use of a main drone, the track features various small noises and drones of support that could be missed in a noisy environment that would maintain only the louder elements closer to metal rather than ambient.
So, "The Magi" quietly opens this release with the juxtaposition of drones enhancing the atmosphere with the use of sparse noises. "Tower of Silence" is, instead, based on large reverbs of samples while "Sacrifice" features heavy basses and "Nasu" seems to include also some filtered human voices. "The Ossuary" has a complex musical spectrum while "Circle of the Sun" is close to metal territories using aggressive drones and distant noises that slowly surrender to silence.
This is a solid album that, even if not ground breaking, presents a project that could evolve in something able to produce some album that could be remembered for years. It's really worth a listen.

Survey: Chop Chop EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 16 2015
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Artist: Survey
Title: Chop Chop EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Translation Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Berlin-based duo Survey mould another excellent hybrid of atmospheric bass-driven music, really precise cuts and wise rhythmical contraptions on this forthcoming release (the full release will be available on 25th May) for Translation Recordings. The menacingly immersive sound and the masterfully chiseled rhythmical patterns of the opening "Acting Posh" immediately belay listener's mood down in a deeply hypnotic cave before the excellent title-track "Chop Chop" - undoubtedly the best moment of this release -, where they managed to turn an 85bpm dub-technoid movement into a really captivating entity that is going to irrigate body and soul by means of a sneaking sequence of crawling sonic particles that sound like coming from a contaminated nuclear plant. Beats per minute significantly rise and bassline becomes a little bit more aggressive on "Paperhands", where a simple 2-step movement got infected by catchy neurofunk sonorities, while the final "Pressure" hangs all previous elements together by a combination of elements of the previous stages. Survey can reasonably become a stylistical template for contemporary state of the art of drum'n'bass and this release is a further proof of their excellent skills in sound design, which can push drum'n'bass scene to levels, which could be even higher than the ones that got already reached.

Atrium Carceri: The Old City - OST

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 15 2015
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Artist: Atrium Carceri
Title: The Old City - OST
Format: CD
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
As usual from this label this release is presented only as "composed for the Narrative Philosophical game The Old City" so leaving the listener without a simple path but, however, the music is so evocative to represent a path in itself. As in an imaginary movie, "Intro / Menu" evokes the credit while "Leviathan" introduce the listener into a musical landscape where darkness is the principal trait. "Underground" is based on large resonance and noises while "Childhood I" reveals the main intuition behind the musical construction: the use of an evocative instrument so, while the previous tracks were based upon the resonances of an open space, this track is based upon a sort of glockenspiel, a child instrument. As the title suggest, "Endless Halls" features large reverbs while "Worship" features filtered voices to reflect the rapports between individuals. "Breathe" is a quiet interlude in this oppressive soundscape while "Old Tunnels" builds a high level of tension placated by "Journey Home". "Jerusalem I" is a variation of the melodic line of "Intro / Menu" so depicting, perhaps, a relationship to the goal of the game. "Childhood II" is a variation of the first part while "Dark End" seems to reveal an influence of old Carpenter's soundtracks. "Them" returns to the musical paths expired in "Leviathan" while "Sheol" is the first track to explore the use of a noisier sound palette. "The Leap" closes this release returning once again to the starting melodic line but in more onirical form.
Even without the visual counterpart the result could be a little too emulative, or descriptive, but is so enjoyable that it's not a defect as it could have been necessary to match the game athmosphere. A really nice release.

Silent Dust: Lone ft HOF / The Deku Tree

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 12 2015
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Artist: Silent Dust
Title: Lone ft HOF / The Deku Tree
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: None60
Rated: *****
Bristol-based None60's purpose seems to renew the important role of that vibrant city in the field of contemporary music. Having been the hometown of Portishead, Massive Attack, Smith'n'Mighty as well as the base of many great d'n'b producers and clubs, Bristol can undoubtedly become the lighthouse of bass-driven music again thanks to a number of newcomers and veterans that are shaking the grounds and the catalogues of labels like None60. This time it was the turn of the illegitimate sons of well-known British paranormal investigator Maurice Grosse, as Uk producers Andy Hobbs aka Hobzee and Dan Blishen aka Zyon Base defined themselves. Even if they were born respectively in Kent and Manchester, Bristol is the city where they mainly operates by means of their imprint None60, whose main mission, in their own words, is the removal of "all limitations of genre, tempo and convention". In order to give an idea of what you're going to listen before you check the two tracks by your eardrums, I could approximately define their sound as a sort of chillstep (I violate the first amendment), running at half tempo (I violated the second amendment as well), but before someone puts a jinx or an arrest warrant to me, I can certify that both tracks are really unconventional: HOF voice mastefully oozes honey on the mellow half tempo of "Lone", while that honey turns into psychedelic resin on the following "The Deku Tree" - I could guess they are fans of "The Legend of Zelda"! -. Silent Dust confirms to be one of the most interesting acts in the general renaissance of bass music at the moment!


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