Music Reviews



Russ Young: Common Pond

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 10 2014
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Artist: Russ Young (@)
Title: Common Pond
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Audiobulb (@)
Rated: *****
I've recently read on an essay by a philosopher who tried to analyze the consequences on personal life of somehow dramatic changes of labour market that one of the few positive aspects should be the corroboration of the so-called sense of community. Even if some cantankerous people taking part to rooftop garden committee or council meetings could invalidate such an idea, it's partially true. The reason of my premise comes from the sonic strategy that Russ Young followed on this nice release, which could be filed in that branch of ambient music that focuses on the attempt of dunking field recordings into a pool of smoothed frequencies as the source of Young's field recordings are mainly familiar sounds that he grabbed from daily events, objects and places, which could be considered as the closest elements of Young's sonic community that he amalgamates and coagulates in his pond. He seems to take them back and "ennobling" by means of the sounds that he manages to extract from them in order "to create a kind of holographic image with sound", according to his own words, so that listeners could stand entranced by the remote and somewhat emotional rendering of Hewson Road in Lincoln, Russ' hometown, on the track of the same name, or by the hypnotical reverie inspired by the radiation from the nearby Belmont transmitting station on "Belmont Transmitter" as well as by some of Russ' neighbours such as John, whose bike he uses to go to workplace every day gave inputs for "John's Bike", or Phil, whose 8 upright pianos he kept in his house are the main "voice" of the amazing "Phil's House" where Russ imagined they got played by driving rain. The mastering by Taylor Deupree is a sort of guarantee quality as usual.

Neel: Phobos

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 06 2014
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Artist: Neel
Title: Phobos
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Spectrum Spools (@)
Rated: *****
The synth-driven chiselling of sonic space wanderings by Pete Namlook, some isolationist ambient masterpieces by Robert Rich and other knights of so-called space-ambient as well as the nuances of other electronic musicians such as Lagowski or Biosphere whose imagination cruised over distant galaxies and constellations could come to mind while listening to this interesting release by Giuseppe "Neel" Tillieci, Rome-based producer as well as one half of experimental techno bicephalous project Voices From The Lake together with Donato Scaramuzzi (Dj Dozzy). Neel seems to have drawn inspiration from Phobos, the almost invisible Mars satellite which got named after the Greek word for fear and quite notorious for the dramatically irregular surface, which sounds mirrored by the "shape" of the sonorities of "Phobos" inasmuch you focus on finely detailed layers which are not just overstretched frequencies due to the disturbances and the notched blurs that Giuseppe moulded. Besides facts, legends and interesting references to this mysterious Martian satellite in literrature and mythology, you could even envisage metaphorical meanings due to the almost narrative trend of this record from the opening "Post Landing", the most desolate moment of the album which could render the momentanoeously nonplussed feeling that could follow the first moments of a completely desolate and wild environment, to the final "The Secret Revealed", the "brightest" moment of the album after a series of interstitial explorations such as the slightly disquieting oscillations of "Storm In Stickney" and "Crater Chain Observations", the claustrophobic thrilled compressions on "The Gravity of Litmoc" as well as the tracks - "Travelling on Kepler Dorsum" and "Life on Laputa Regio" - when Neel seems to get out of spaceship's cabin to provide more soothing auricular stimulations as if that solitude on Mars' moon and the feelings that its sole name instills turned into pure bliss.

Halo Manash: Se Its En

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 04 2014
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Artist: Halo Manash (@)
Title: Se Its En
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Previously marked by the almost unknown underground label Blue Sector, "Se Its En" (2003) is the first emanation by Halo Manash - even if it was formerly started as a solo unnamed project by Anti Haapapuro in 1998 -, which follows the recent re-release of "Caickuwi Cauwas Walkeus", another miliar stone of their sonic research within an almost metaphysical, rather than just stylistical, field that they preferred to label as "elemental noise" instead of just dark or ritual ambient and the reason of such a seemingly snobbish differentiation was clear since that record. Besides cryptic overstretched sounds they squeezed from bowed instruments and analogue synth, the electrical shock that seems to resound in each of the seven minutes lasting seven tracks could let you imagine they are playing with a mysterious device which can open dimensional doors that got overstepped otherworldly entities who took possession of their voices and their instruments and such a figment of imagination coherently fits their intent of "bridging the worlds of being and non-being" and "journeying to the depths and heights", accordign to their own words. The most entrancing moments of the album are the ones when they inflame their mysterious rites by means of tribal percussions in particular in the central stages of their protocol such as "I Lure Rot", "Devourer" or "Ulterior", but I suggest a continuous listening from the initial "Solar Horn" to the final "Lunar Horn" as it were a proper rite in order to experience a more immersive listening. Another ecstatic lulu for the lovers of the genre which got added to the Stellar Mansion series.

Arktau Eos: Scorpion Milk

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 30 2014
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Artist: Arktau Eos (@)
Title: Scorpion Milk
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Finnish label Aural Hypnox disinters one of the most interesting spellbinding in the field of dark titual music, the first release together with "Mirrorion" from the underground cult act Arktau Eos by Antti Haapapuro and Antti Litmanen, who came back to the source after a couple of albums on Svart Records. All those listeners who have experienced some transmissions by these nordic entities should expect more similarities with many moments of "Ai Ma Ra", the double CD album which preceded their temporary migration to Svart, even if both the length of "Scorpion Milk", which lasts almost 50 minutes, and the skeletal structure of its sound, which could be woefully labelled as minimalist by some reviewers, massively emphasizes the esoteric entrancing exploration they fed by means of slow dull thuds and the sinister ultra-low echo, chirping bells and obscure litany which sounds like the rendering of a pending metamorphosis by an alternation of ghostly wheezes and murmured liturgies. Even if this release from Helixes Collective is the thing that gets closer than other releases to what many people tend to label as dark-ambient, it's really difficult to find other acts whose sound is likewise compelling and intrinsically arcane.

Islands of Light: Ruebke

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 29 2014
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Artist: Islands of Light (@)
Title: Ruebke
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
This delicate record by Islands of Light, the brainchilf of Vienna-based versatile artist as well as founder of Beatismurder Records and co-founder of Total Light Records Dino Spiluttini, who recently made a lovely collaborative release with Nils Quak on Umor Rex as well, could belong to those record I could suggest to all those people who often ask me something to listen which could be linked to autumn as "Ruebke" constantly evokes both the colours and even the scents of this lovely season. Its enchanting piano melodies, which embrace pedagogical piano playing whose halo mirrors both French impressionists and Satie ("Goerde"), Nova Nova-like soothing compositions ("Schlump"), clouded and somewhat saddening breaks ("Bodil", "Boris"), breathtaking tubular tonal delights ("Honung", "Heisternest", "Heimfeld") and more lively moments, got wisely antiqued by reel-to-reel recording which emphasizes its melancholic nuance by means of the noticeable hiss and the occasional flaws of old tapes as if "Ruebke", whose name is the one of a very little village nearby Hamburg, whose peripheral areas are often quoted by its title, were the sonic resolution which cme as an appendix to an old handwritten diary about moments of truth and emotional lucidity, whose gushing got eased by charmingly rustic isolation.


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