Music Reviews



Dryft: The Blur Vent

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 29 2015
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Artist: Dryft (@)
Title: The Blur Vent
Format: CD
Label: n5MD (@)
Rated: *****
Mike Cadoo - head of the n5MD label, formerly half of the band Gridlock with Mike Wells, also his solo project Bitcrush (which I reviewed here back in 2013), and now Dryft, which has been in existence since 2000, and 'The Blur Vent' is that project's fourth release. This is the first Dryft release I've heard, but in a way it's not far removed from the aforementioned projects, then again it is, leaning heavier on the cinematic ambient side. I though rather than describing the music on 'The Blur Vent' in terms of the mechanics and components (drones, rhythms, instrumental and synth techniques, etc.), I'd go more with the feeling it gave me, perhaps being a more authentic, although quite subjective evaluation.

Pulsing waves washing over me, and soft, synaptic explosions as the barriers of consciousness break down....it disappears momentarily, then jettisoned on a journey, I'm propelled into over a fantastic landscape of indescribable beauty. Somewhere in space there is a strange game of cosmic ping-pong being played by colossuses that expand space and time. Swarms of tiny, buzzing technoid creatures are busy reshaping terra, and all I can do is watch in awe. Such a variety of color and shapes in the topography, it practically brings tears to my eyes.

A slow climb up a monumental hillside, yawning chasms in the distance, the atmosphere is thick with anticipation. A voice permeates the haze distantly, and there is a certain sense of serenity in the labor. Continuing onward, the atmosphere is thinning and I'm becoming lightheaded. The haze has lifted and the blue sky stretches toward infinity in any direction. At the summit I can see life carry on below- great and terrible things, the history of a thousand civilizations flash before my eyes. So much drama and trauma, then it all fades to dust, as if it never happened. We are left with naught but memories, as if it was all but a dream.

Ever so slowly we proceed through the thick miasma; little gravity like hopping on the moon. Eventually we gain our bearings and navigate this bizarre landscape, limbs moving in awkward directions, narrowly avoiding pitfalls, every so often crunching on the surface. Near the precipice the void appears - sparks of light can be seen in the distance of the great beyond. We know we cannot cross that vast ocean of the unfathomable, yet we yearn to. I want to feel serenity, yet all I perceive is sadness.

Waking from the dream I wonder if it was a dream at all, or a glimpse of the way the universe really works. Human perception is so finite compared to the cosmic mind. Logic becomes irrelevant and the dance is the only thing that matters. Just coming to this conclusion is a revelation in itself. So revel in it. Joy overcomes sorrow and regret. We can only move forward, and there are no mistakes. Regardless of the path or paths we take, the journey is as important, if not moreso than the destination.

Well, there you have it. Your take on 'The Blur Vent' is likely to be quite different than mine. It's an awesome work that probably won't play the same to any listener, and may not play quite the same on repeated listenings. Cadoo has come up with something really incredible here, and I heartily recommend it.

Porya Hatami: Arrivals And Departures

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 26 2015
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Artist: Porya Hatami (@)
Title: Arrivals And Departures
Format: CD
Label: Time Released Sound (@)
Rated: *****
The theme of the sonic journey by Iranian-Kurdish self-taught soundscapist Porya Hatami could be easily guessed by its title as well as the fine hand assembled artwork that Time Released Sound label boss Colin Herrick made for the limited version edition, which could be unavailable at the moment as just 75 copies came out from label's workshop: inset within vintage outer hadback cover is an antique glass airplane identification slide and you'll find pages of runway identification diagrams, vintage airport photos, flight instructions manuals and handwritten actual pages from old pilots logbooks, avintage pencil and a unique aeronautic snapshot, while each factory pressed disc is slipped into an old airmail envelope. This aural delight mainly focuses on air travel with an impulse on the emotional aspect of flight, where the well-known hybrid of minimal ambient drones and field recordings got bundled by daydreaming dilutions and emotional filters: the opening "Farewell", where singed frequencies float around gentle piano phrases, distant echoes of soft melodies and supposedly nostalgic reminiscences, is the most "cloudy" moment of "Arrivals and Departures", while the following "Homecoming" is maybe the moment when Porya evokes the beauty of his native region - he lives in Sanandaj in the mountainous environment of the Northern West side of Iran -, where you don't realy need an airplane to "feel the sky"; the above-mentioned signs of old aviation vividly speak on the recorded transmissions of the following (soft) "Landing", whose peaceful fluffy pads are going to disperse any possible traces of fear of flight before mitigating the subtle yncope of reversed piano tones and tubular sounds of "Terminal" and getting gradually imbued with dazzling beams on the final "Sunrise Pylon". By Hatami's own admission, a perceptible influence on his sound comes from Taylor Deupree's 12K sonic material.

Sistema: Ego 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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Mar 23 2015
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Artist: Sistema
Title: Ego EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Factor City
Rated: *****
Even if Manuel Ruiz, the dj - formerly known by his viral moniker Dj Ebola - behind Sistema, is a veteran of vibrant Catalan scene, speaking of an electronic underground scene as a standalone one could be a long shot, as tha scene mainly absorbed the sound of other scenes in order to forge sometimes interesting reworkings thanks to a lively interest on different branches of electronic music that got fostered by worldwide known festivals. The sound that Manuel pumped into this recent release for Factor City feature this attitude, so that I won't say it's ingenious, but I won't say he can't handle some sonorities in a brilliant way: you might, for instance, notice some similarities of the opening "Ego" to late 90ies German chilled trance or Mike Paradinas' first outputs, as well as some resemblances of some synth-pop and electro-house stuff of the well-balanced acid house groove and the celestial vocoders on the following "Run", the soothing "Seiscuarenta" and the melodic techno of "Freeze", but you won't say the listening experiences that this Spanish producer provides are not pleasant at all. The final remix of "Ego" by Barcelona-based duo The Suicide Of Western Culture, whose solarization of the original version by means of over reverbed echoes which could resemble some stuff by Fuck Buttons or Digitonal, is likewise enjoyable.

Marsen Jules: Marsen Jules at GRM

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 21 2015
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Artist: Marsen Jules (@)
Title: Marsen Jules at GRM
Format: CD
Label: Oktaf (@)
Rated: *****
Some unforgettable cosmic journeys by his late compatiot Pete Namlook could come to listener's mind while listening to this release by Martin Juhles, the real name of Marsen Jules, who composed this little gem in a couple of weeks while staying in the legendary GRM-studios at Radio France in Paris. Lookign beyond any possible similarities, listeners can only but swaying his mind in this isolationist pleasure, a sort of ascension over string-driven glares whose symphonic tails gently vanishes on a wall of low-frequency sound, which creates the impression you are floating in the deep space. In order to render this 35-minutes lasting journey that he splitted in a couple of tracks, Martin followed the principles of Pierre Schaeffer, the founder of the "Groupes de Recherches Musicales", and notoriously one of the main composer of the so-called "Musique Concrete" movement, whose composition were mainly based on recorded sounds and sound manipulation. He managed to render a really immersive and relaxing listening experience.

99 Blows: I/O

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 20 2015
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Artist: 99 Blows (@)
Title: I/O
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: clang (@)
Rated: *****
Some icy gushes, which sound blowing on the title track "I/O" together with a sort of description of his concept of music making, open the debut release by Danish electronic musician and former guitar player Rasmus Vestervig, who rendered what was occurring, the notorious Hurricane Sandy storm, outside This Is Care Of's studio facility in Manhattan, New York, where he recorded a rough version of this elegant assay of electronic dub-house, which was later polished and refined in his studio in Copenhagen. In spite of this element, internal heating system of TICO's studio where 99 Blows found the ideal dwelling place for its birth in between the soothing warmth of vintage organs, a pile of synths and drum machines, which had to be popped in a Danish hatchery by means of analog tubes, tape echo and various effects which helped to shape the definitive release in a familiar environment. After the above mentioned introduction that gets unfolded over a relaxed movement which could recall German chill-out stuff of late 90ies, 99 Blows warms its first sonic output by a nice housey groove, which seems to mirror the memory of the music for catwalks on "Tanzen Am Banhof", which sounds distant as if the storm managed to freeze NYC perpetual fashion weeks, and keeps on highlighting the lukewarm effect of nice memories by wrapping the synth-driven evanescences on the following "EFD" by means of really vintage acid-house bleeps and groovy percussive replays (you could imagine a sort of reshuffling and hybridisation of Sabres Of Paradise and 808 State), whose whiff sustains the structure of the final "Desolee" as well.


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