Music Reviews



Fabio Battistetti: Into the Wood

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 18 2015
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Artist: Fabio Battistetti (@)
Title: Into the Wood
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
A wood-driven record is maybe something that could bring an echologist or an enthusiastic fan of Thoreau's "Walden" to secrete resin for pleasure, but this environ/mentalist output by Italian sound artist Fabio Battistetti aka Eniac, coming out from a series of live performances (Lugano, Mondovi', Turin, Embrun and Chamois) that he made together with Andrea "ics" Ferraris and Andrea "Lotzio" Carlotto inside a wooden cube designed by Catherine Chanoux, which got amplified by microphones and then digitally adapted, is primarily an amazing listening experience. The above-described cube is the framework where Battistetti manipulates a series of plywood boards, branches and tree bark after fixing them to the wall of his wooden nest by means of elastics and shelves. The electric strands of "Buttonwood", the opening track, sounds like a tuning stage as if the artist is transplanting a device in the eardrums of the listener to grab sounds from his wooden objects, while the first tree that borrows sounds to Battistetti is "Castanea Sativa" (scientific denomination of the sweet chestnut). After the popping "Duramen", which sounds like the rendering of the intense activity of a squadron of anry woodboring beetles, the author sounds like extracting the most "spiritual" side of his sonic outputs on the following tracks: "Larix Decidua" sounds like an ode to European larch and its notorious resistence to very low temperatures due to the the falling of all leaves, a process which seems to have been rendered by the sounds of the following "Leaves Fall", a kind of slo-mo dub, that perfectly bonds with the hollow logs that could come to listener's mind while listening the spacey "On a Branch". The chippings and the echoed chimes of "Taxodloceae" and "Waldeinsamkeit" (a German word which can be translated as the feeling of being alone in the woods!) leaves listened on a high note.

Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson: So Long

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 15 2015
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Artist: Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson
Title: So Long
Format: CD
Label: Helen Scarsdale Agency (@)
Rated: *****
Even if this release required many years to see its birth (it was recorded and mixed between 2008 and 2013 according to the somehow cryptic linear notes), I could surmise that its author could have been inspired by an unexpected delay of a journey, as I could infer from the titles ("Eight Hour Delay", "The Trip" and "Late Night Arrival") of the very long-lasting droning suites of "So Long". I can testify that many marriages, divorces, mental diseases, redundancies and more or less favourable things behind schedule have been caused by that Icelandic volcano which blocked air traffic in 2010, so that I wouldn't be too surprised if a sound artist like the brilliant Icelandic producer Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson - former member of the experimental band Stilluppsteypa - conceived an album after such an experience. I might get surprised, at most, by the final result as well as by the fact that these impressive dronescapes saw the light so late as it seems that the initial release on Intransitive Recordings got cancelled after the label checked out. Fortunately, The Helen Scarsdale Agency promptly dredged it up after Sigmarsson released a scaled-down version on the artwork/cassette "If You Have Any Questions, Let Me Ask". In spite of the pile of different emotional sonic purges and sudden spurious emissions, the moments of the opening "Eight Hour Delay" got perfectly bound together in a way that turned the final amalgam into a really hallucinatory syrup, while the central suite "The Trip", which features processed guitars by Argentinian experimental musician Anla Courtis and organs by Sigmarsson's partner-in-art Helgi Thorsson and BJ Nilsen, goes significantly less smoothly before the fourteen nocturnal minutes of the final "Late Night Arrival". Everything sounds like filtered by temporary numbness, dizziness and migraines and my description could be much more long-winded in order to pay tribute to its length, but I can assure that lovers of crypto-minimalist aesthetics are going to appreciate it.

Build Buildings: A Generation of Books

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 12 2015
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Artist: Build Buildings (@)
Title: A Generation of Books
Format: CD
Label: Audiobulb (@)
Rated: *****
Presented as an artist that "has been featured on radio, television and motion picture soundtracks" with a release inspired by "the clicks and clacks of pencils, chopsticks, scotch tape dispensers and candy wrappers" turned "into crisp, compelling beats", I was used to the idea of concept driven album closer to sound art. Instead it's a from of "glitch pop" trying to stay in equilibrium between experimental and pop music.
The "compelling beats" of "May You Fall on Soft Ground" are balanced by a quiet melodic line. "Earth of the Fish" is a quiet ambient track while "Demba" is rekindled by the glitches. "Tea Tree" is based on catchy loops. "Constructed Light" features juxtaposed filtered guitar riffs while "Filament" is hypnotic with his use of reverberated samples. "Heavy Water" is a gentle tune based on resonances while "Artic Open" is the most complex track with the unstable beat in a dialogic plan in opposition to the quiet development of the melodic line. "Bookless" is based on a quiet loop with the juxtaposition of sparse sample while "Argosy" starts to develop an almost complex rhythmic pattern upon the soundscape and "Healthy Bones" applies this procedure to the samples. "Pasteboard" closes this release with the synthesis of the characteristic of the previous track.
This album is so well constructed as it's void of any personal musical trait so it sounds as a sort of dj set of the genre. Fans of this label will love this release but it could be disappointing for the others.

Hybryds: The Ritual Should Be Kept Alive

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 12 2015
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Artist: Hybryds
Title: The Ritual Should Be Kept Alive
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
These new reissue from this project is an expanded version of a 1991's EP that contained the first track of this CD. The rest was not published perhaps at it sounded very different from the other issue of this project as starting form "The Ritual Should Be Kept Alive pt.1", a track focused on the intersection between a vocal (?) drone, a loop of some water falling as some sparse noises, it sounds as a recording of an oriental ritual. When the clock marks the half of the track, a drum emerge and the track evolves in the evolution of rhythmic patterns. The rhythmic pattern is the base of "The Ritual Should Be Kept Alive pt.2" sparsely mottled by the samples and a female voice. "The Ritual Should Be Kept Alive pt.3" evolves these pattern in a faster way while the previous track was more hypnotic. This is a form of ritual music so rigorous to stand as a monolith indiscernible by the profane.
The first part is "Wailing for the fallen angels" is completely focused on drones that are slowly substituted by a calm beat that act as a base for the latin spoken word of the final part.
While undoubtedly charming and evocative, this release is so particular that could only be recommended to fans of the genre. All fans of the previous Hybryds' reissues will love this release but "the other" has to approach it with careful listening.

Mathias Delplanque: Transmissions

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 10 2015
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Artist: Mathias Delplanque (@)
Title: Transmissions
Format: CD
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
The mechanical syntagms and the cycles where the transformation of potential energy into kinetic ones by old looms that Mathias Delplanque recorded at the museum of textile in Cholet, France, in 2008 for the first half of this release and by many different tools and machines that some students who took part to his workshop at Livet Technical Lyceum in Nantes in 2009 and 2010, are the driving force of this interesting album, where the plain and simple electromechanical transmissions go beyond the concept of field recordings or soundscape. Mathias managed to render the alienation of industrial working by means of sonic canvas, where the seemingly oppressive dominance of the perceptual space by machines gradually leads to the paradox of its "humanization" (particularly on the 40 minutes lasting mechanical symphony of "Part 4", where those mechanical transmissions sound like beating like human hearts, breathe and puff like human lungs or even show a sort of sequence of emotional feedback propagations...), as if the evocative sounds of a factory could be a possible archetype of human activity as they arise like austere and somehow organic architectural elements.


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