Music Reviews



IKB Ensemble: Rhinocerus

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 10 2015
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Artist: IKB Ensemble
Title: Rhinocerus
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
When I introduced "Monochrome Bleu Sans Titre", the first release by this supergroup of improvisational musicians, I tried to explain the possible conceptual connection with so-called "nouveau realisme", an artistic movement whose co-founder, the Frenck pinter Yves Klein, gave the name to the kind of blue (International Kein Blue) that this ensemble used to name itself. Even if rhino was one of the animal that often appeared on the artistic producetion of painters and sculptors which can be filed under that movement, some aspects of this 40-minutes lasting session that got recorded by Carlos Santos and Nuno Morao at Panteo Nacional during the "Escuta Profunda" festival in Lisbon on 25th May 2014 make me think of the notorious piece by Eugene Ionesco, maybe the most emblematic oevre of the so-called 'theatre of the absurd', where the sudden appearance of a running rhino in the main square of a quiet French town so tha it manages to have an inflence on the conversational matters of a group of friends which was sitting and drinking according to a social ritual that keeps on lasting till our days. Little by little, they will transform into that strange animal till the moment whe the only guest - a metaphor of free thinker - who was not turned into a rhino yet, asks himself if it was better to keep his own semblance or adapt to the absurd metamorphosis of his companions. This metaphor of the cultural homologation by totalitarian monsters becomes the stage where the extremely deep identity crisis is the real main charater of the plot. The connection between that great piece by Ionesco and IKB Ensemble's recording is simple: even if there are a great number of performers, including Ernesto Rodrigues (baritone violin), Marian Yanchyk (violin), Guilherme Rodrigues (cello), Miguel Mira (double bass), Antonio Chaparreiro (electric guitar), Yaw Tembe (trumpet), Bruno Parrinha (clarinet, alto clarinet), Nuno Torres (alto saxophone), Joao Silva (Shruti box, Tibetan bell), Maria Radich (voice), Armando Pereira (accordion), Carlos Santos (computer, speaker), Nuno Morao (percussion, objects) and Jose Olieira (pecussion, objects), each instrument sounds like having lost their identity and cannot be easily distinguished in the elusive and subtly pervasive evanescence of a constant resounding, which seems to annihilate their single voices...

Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy: Sintetizzatrice

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 09 2015
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Artist: Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy (@)
Title: Sintetizzatrice
Format: CD
Label: Spectrum Spools
Rated: *****
A sense of disconnection, a certain depressed mood, an impetuous urge to give voice to the deepest cave of her soul which turns into astonishing metamormophosis, which often shows emphatically heartfelt memories of her native land or touching transmutations, are some of the main features of this excellent specimen by Italian vocalist Anna Caragnano, whose voice is the only input for electronic modelling by Spectrum Spools veteran Donato Dozzy. Her voice seems to resurface with grace from the chaotic cloud of the opening "Introduzione". The very first tracks are not so original: "Starcloud" is closer to some 90ies stuff such as Beaumont Hannat's manipulation of Lida Husik's ethereal vocals and the following "Luci" is more or less on the same wavelength. The listening experience becomes more and more interesting as you go along since "Fraledune", the moment when a certain disquiet and a bewildered mood, highlighted by a sad whispering, which evokes the image of a lonely traveller, makes their entrance. The guttural hiccup and the sinister murmurs of "Parallelo" feature the most "gothic" moment of the record, while the "rhythmical" acme got reached on the following "Parola" - my favorite track of "Sintetizzatrice" - where the almost obsessive repetition of some Italian meaningful words ("profondo" - deep -, "promessa" - promise -, "parola" - word -, "protetta" - protected -, "pensiero" - thought - and so on), which render an intricate verbal grid by means of the repetition of "P" and "R" consonants. "Festa (A Mottola)" refers to the smallest village nearby Taranto, where Caragnano and Dozzy's mother were born, by means of an interesting evocation of so-called "pizzica" sound, and precedes the stifling atmosphere of "Love Without Sound", the most depressed moment before the final catharsis of "Conclusione". Really good debut!

Erik Friedlander: Nothing on Earth - soundtrack

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 09 2015
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Artist: Erik Friedlander
Title: Nothing on Earth - soundtrack
Format: CD
Label: SkipStone Records (@)
Rated: *****
The expedition in the enchanting Greenland by Mick Abrams and Aussie photographer Murray Fredericks was more intended to the research of the beauty that its nature can offer rahter than an adventurous challenge to its wildest forces on the geographical and thermal boundaries of our planet, even if long-lasting explorations of the frozen tundra of the Greenland Icecap are extreme experiences. The music that New York-based cellist Erik Friedlander made for "Nothing on Earth", the documentary that followed this expedition, manages to render such an aim as well as the attempt of focusing on the inhabitants of those regions and such an emotional rendering occurs in spite of the fact that listeners could sometimes confuse some tracks coming from the perfect matching of the masterfully strokes on cello strings by Erik, the touching accordion and the light-handed piano improvisations by Shoko Nagai as well as the soulful percussions by Satoshi Takeishi - they are performing together as Black Phoebe - as something coming from warmer regions: if it wasn't for some sonic clues such as the arctic wind which seems to blow over "Ryder" - all the titles have been named after places or villages in Greenland - or some reverberations which gives the impression the instruments got played in arctic rarefied air ("Ingia", "Nuuk"), it seems to listen some stuff by Badalamenti, Bacalov or even by some Mexican or Andalusian guitar players on the verge of freezing point. All those listeners who could expect Inuit chants in a record about arctic adventures could consider this aspect as a slight imperfection, but I think that some enjoyable similarities could rather serve as a beautiful warming coat or maybe as that instinct of human and animal nature which tend to find relief or maybe just some heating in extreme circumstances and a musical hug like the one by Erik and his musical companions can suit such an instinct.

Rasmus Fisker: Hydra

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 07 2015
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Artist: Rasmus Fisker
Title: Hydra
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: clang (@)
Rated: *****
Following a brief review about Danish producer Lars Graugaard, another release from that musically interesting region that has recently landed on clang's catalogue is the one by Rasmus Fisker aka Sykofant. The music by this guy, who already received some grants by Danish Arts Foundation despite his young age, gives "a nostalgic nod to the past", according to the introduction by the young label under the wise managing of Kaylee Wesley Pearson and listeners can easily notice some similarities with the sound of that kind of electronics in between downbeat, dub and glitch-idm coming from labels like City Centre Offices, Nonplace, Plug Research, Wichita, Obliq, Hydrogen Dukebox, WMF or Wichita at the dawn of the third millenium (you could check some stuff from Dntel, Static, Multicast, Metamatics, Nikakoi and so on) as well as the vaguely "wrinkled" nuance of some sonic clues such as the harpshicord on the beginning of "Hemis" or the piano melody over the noise of rustling film on "interlude", but Rasmus manages to avoid repeating gradient using detailed layers and a constant change of sonic palette, which sounds closer to the notorious glitch aesthaetics, based on the preservation of supposed mistakes or imperfections as a key element of the composition. This is the main hook which makes the listening experiences he speads on the ten tracks of "Hydra" really immersive - immersion is the leitmotiv and the keyword which inspired the eight compositions and the two improvisations of the album - and enjoyable for listeners who are looking for enthralling rhythmical patterns and sonic layers, which sound rich in variations and details.

Beatriz Ferreyra: GRM Works

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 04 2015
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Artist: Beatriz Ferreyra
Title: GRM Works
Format: 12"
Label: Recollection GRM
Rated: *****
Some sonic stuff by Argentinian composer Beatriz Ferreyra, a living legend from the glorious Groupe de Recherches Musicales by Pierre Scheaffer - she worked alongside him on the development of the notorious Solfege de l'Objet Sonore (Music Theory of the Sounding Object) in the 50's and 60's before getting out from the prestigious institution and focusing on even more challenging musical researches - couldn't get missed on the growing catalogue of Recollection GRM, the excellent series that Peter Rehberg, the head behind Editions Mego, is intensively building with the precious collaborations of Christian Zanesi and Francois Bonnet. It could sound strange thinking of something sounding aesthetically more changelling than most of stuff that those pioneers of electroacoustic music already developed, but what your eardrums are going to check on this release are the best evidence; considering also the exuberance of her musical personality, you can imagine how impressive could be the listening experience she can provide. The release makes this comparison easier as it includes two earlier works - 'Demeures aquatiques' (an impressive electroacoustic collision between solids and liquids, where Beatrix, according her own words, "wanted to show the contrast between the rhythmic repetition of a sounding object, which gives out a feeling of fixity, an electroacoustic flavour and the continuous re-creation of the same sensation through similar yet not identical sounds") and 'Medisances' (an electroacoustic piece for 4 channels produced "by manipulating such items as orchestral instruments, a mouth bow, breath and some unexpected technical defects") and the headbanging pieces that she made in more recent times: "Un fil invisible" (2009) got inspired by the stages of Medieval Alchemy, which sound mirrored by the gurgling sequence of sonic permutations she wisely rendered, while "Les Larmes de l'inconnu" (2011), featuring the flutist Hernan Gomez, "draws its fundamental inspiration from the schemes bult by letters and numbers, added to the three levels of understing of the universe - the level of the archetype, that of the event and the incarnation, and the universal and cosmic level", according to Carlos Suares, Rivka Cremic and Shinta Zenke, three Qabalists to whom Beatriz dedicated this piece.


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