Music Reviews



The Twentieth Century: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 10 2014
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Artist: The Twentieth Century (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: mosz (@)
Rated: *****
From the stylistical viewpoint, "The Twentieth Century" seems to begin like some sonic marks of the beginning of twentyfirst one as the very first convective movements of sound frequencies of this one-take recording that Wien-based duo by cellist Lukas Lauermann and guitarist Pieter Gabriel decided to record in an improvised pop-up studio in the workshop of an auto painter in the Austrian capital city with the aid of recoridng engineer Stefan Deisenberg could let you surmise some stuff by Stars of the Lid or William Basinski, which evoke sorrowful and somewhat aloof thining caps about chief systems and universal entropy. Little by little, the opening suite "A Slow Descent" whose airflows seem to delicately move the surrounding elements of the recording room such as windows and doors, which are listenable entities in the drone-like sonic stream, sounds like permeating any single particle of the environment by its radiant energy. The electroacoustic ingredient of their delicious recipe protrudes on the puckered chords and the ice scraping of the interstitial track "No Light From The Surface", which precedes the dimmer hues of the cathartic final "Pulled", where a breath of frozen air and a somber cell emphasizes the following sonic psychodrama by means of a warming symphonic clasp, which turns into a sort of flattening deluge. The sound of a snorkel at the end of the track sounds like a rescue, which could save listener from the emotional drowning these musicians managed to render.

Xumla: Statix

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 07 2014
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Artist: Xumla
Title: Statix
Format: CD
Label: Audiobulb (@)
Rated: *****
According to the press notes 'Xumla likes to produce naivety within sound' and, instead of being a catchy phrase for marketing purpose, is the most pure definition for this release. His musical outcome is similar to the ones released by artist like Sawako that remains in a fragile balance between experimental sounds and an outcome similar to the heritage of watercolor paintings.
The small sounds of 'Morni' introduce the listener in a quiet environment and 'Neverphone' continues the journey with grace and 'Dancin' dust' sounds like a form of avant-garde carillon. The drones of 'Statix' mark a development in the release so 'Roof talks' continues the search for a musical model where calm doesn't mean static. The rhythmic noises of 'Another sky' begin the second part of this release where the musical parts of the first tracks start to evolve in a new form. However 'Chinese toy' returns to more familiar paths and 'El sol y de gran altura' and 'Atoms heart' continue the use of drones. While 'Zima' and 'One-eyed girl' reveal some drum'n bass influence. 'Outro' quietly closes this release with sparse notes of piano.
Perhaps this release isn't ground breaking but sounds like a warm blanket in a winter evening, a sort of reassuring charming entity. A really nice release.

Magic Panda: Life Is Elsewhere 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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Jul 04 2014
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Artist: Magic Panda (@)
Title: Life Is Elsewhere EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Knopje (@)
Distributor: Beatport
Rated: *****
I wouldn't be surprised if this lovely EP by Norwich-based producer Jamie Robson aka Magic Panda, which got released by small Dutch indipendent label Knopjie, came as a prize for insomniac videogamers, who managed to a dreadful slobbery monster of the final level of an high-phantasy game such as Child Of Light, The Legend Of Zelda or similar ones after cramping phalanges by convulsively pushing buttons on controllers. Well-balanced textures of bittersweet lulling melodies, cherubic chorales, 8-bit chirping tunes and sparkling cadences with charming swings on the downbeats and upbeat of "Life Is Elsewhere", the delicately reverie of "The Floating World", a track which has been conceptually connected to "Ukiyo", the Japanese word referring to the buddhist concept according which nothing in life is permanent and that life is made up of fleeting and transient moments of beauty, and the wilder sad love poem to the ocean "Maunsell Sea Forts", inspired by "the haunting robot-like towers whose rusty shells remain in the Thames estuary, looking out to the open sea" push listener's mind towards honeyed daydreaming. The cherries on top of this release are the remixes by label boss Roi Koch, who emphasizes the hypnotical hooks of "Life Is Elsewhere", and Van Did, who shines a crepuscolar light on "The Floating World".

Deadwood: Sheolic

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 30 2014
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Artist: Deadwood
Title: Sheolic
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Daniel Jansson's project is presented as a blend of 'dark ambient with black industrial and power electronics' but is a sort of dark ambient close to black metal in the construction of a sound that evokes dark realms and more carefully developed than the average of the releases of this musical genre.
The noisy field recordings of 'A.V.E.' open this release and transports the listener in a desert landscape where everything seems a menace. 'Pulverization Pause' is another soundscape constructed upon noises and drones while 'Compound 4080' is developed upon, apparently, quieter sounds and features even voice samples heavily filtered. As the title suggests, 'Traditorem' returns to the darkest musical path obtainable without noise sources. 'Dissolution paradigm' is a noisy interlude to 'Malum in Se' that closes this release with layers of small noises that seem quiet but reveal the search for an uncomfortable soundscape.
This is that kind of release that has to be listened in a quiet environment and with attention to appreciate the subtleties of the sound design. Recommended for fans of the genre.

Taiga Remains: Works For Cassette

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 29 2014
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Artist: Taiga Remains
Title: Works For Cassette
Format: 12"
Label: The Helen Scarsdale Agency (@)
Rated: *****
In the act of decanting the five tracks of this collection from tape to vinyl and digital data, James Plotkin wisely kept the tape hiss of the original versions intact, as he understood that it's an essential element of the fascinating aesthetics by Alex Cobb, the guru of Cincinnati-based Students Of Decay and the man behind the curtains of Taiga Remains. This sonic pouring on San Francisco-based label Helen Scarsdale Agency combines a couple of rare releases by Alex under that guise, which already appeared as strictly limited tape editions in 2008: the first one, "Beneath The Weeping Beeches", came out on Matthew Sullivan's tape label Ekhein, where the sweetly sorrowful resins of the initial "Sup Pralad" and the icy thorns of "There's Nothing" seem to get gelled on the dreamlike plains of the entrancing sonic sprouts of "Skin, Leaves"; the second one is "Thereafter", which got formerly released by Mike "Treetops" Pollard's label Arbor, whose two tracks - named after two types of Taiwanese tea ("Winter Tai-Tung" and "Spring-Shan-Lin-Shi") - shows the masterful way Alex manages to generate emotional convections by means of gently layered processed guitars, which phases their radiant heat out. You won't get nauseated while sipping these two cups of psychedelic tea.


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