Music Reviews

Cryobiosis: Inner Stasis

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 08 2014
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Artist: Cryobiosis (@)
Title: Inner Stasis
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Cryo Chamber, as usual, offers concise linear notes as it more focused on sound rather than complex, and often as catchy as void, presentation. This new release is another release from this label based upon "noise soundscapes" that create a "claustrophobic sound" but it sound a step towards new territories.
While "An Opening" starts this release as a typical album from this label as a dark ambient track focused on a drone, as the track unfolds the focus is on the detailed small noises that put this release in territories closer to field recording. So this album could be divided in two parts: one is made by tracks like "Into Nothingness", "Chasms" or "Hidden Dungeons" that are based on the stereotypical musical path of this release while the other is made by track like "Deep Aquaduct", Harrow or "Demise", the zenith of this release, where the drone is just the glue that takes together the highly detailed small noises that evokes an almost cinematographic experience.
Whilst this release is deeply routed in the tradition of this label, mostly for the usual remarkable mastering by Simon Heath, Cristian Voicu, the mind behind this release, is trying to reach his personal sound so it's someone to could release something important in the near future. A really nice release.

Jacaszek & Kwartludium: Catalogue Des Arbres

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 02 2014
Artist: Jacaszek & Kwartludium (@)
Title: Catalogue Des Arbres
Format: CD
Label: Touch (@)
Rated: *****
The integration of instrumental and ambient music with field recordings and sound of nature has almost become a cliche so that the discriminating factor is the aesthaetic quality of such an integration and the aesthaetics that Polish electroacoustic musician Michal Jacascek and the ensemble Kwartludium (Dagna Sadkowska on violin, clarinet player Michal Gorczynski, Pawel Nowicki on percussions and pianist Piotr Nowicki) convey on this "Catalogue des Arbres" (French for "Catalogue of Trees") is undoubtedly sterling from this point of view. The choice of a French title is not a matter of mannerism, but it's just a quotation of "Catalogue d'oiseaux" ("Bird catalogue") by French composer Olivier Messiaen, the forerunning oeuvre of the so-called biomusic where he incorporated the delicate chirps and tweets by thirteen different birds into likewise delicate compositions. By reversing the order that many poets and writers followed by using musical metaphors to render their enchantment for nature, Jacascek and Kwartludium turn into interpreter of the hidden sound of trees, whose presence is not limited to a bunch of field recordings but they seem to mark the sound of this project since the opening "Sigh (Les Peupliers)", where the musicians manage to render the serene magnificence of poplars whose elevation got evoked by 441 Hz Chamber Choir sylvan-like voices. A certain anxiety creeps into the record on the disquieting lullaby of the following "Green Hour", which evokes the so-called natural deficit disorder or Louv's hypothesis about some behavioral problems caused by the disconnection between humans (mainly children) and nature, and on "A book of lake (Roseliere)", where percussions seem to render the flowing of reed beds and clarinet could resemble the sound of some buzzing small inhabitants of wetlands where reed wildly grows. Fittingly, wind instruments had a prominent function in "Garden (Les Sureaux)", where they quote elderberry, whose branches are traditionally used for a number of flutes and wind instruments in Eastern Europe; moreover the track sounds like rendering the venomous beauty of sambucus, whose parts mainly includes cyanide. A similar contrasting suggestion comes from the listening of "From a seashell", where the enchanting sonic elements sounds like the clash between the beauty of those resounding forms and the circumstance that those exoskeletons are like abandoned houses or cemeteries. A feeling of vague dismay and digginess trickles from the following tracks "Circling (Le Pre)" and "Anthem (La Foret)", which precede the astonishing finale of "Kingdom (Les Chenes, Les Bouleaux)" here 441 Hz Chamber Choir emphasizes the quivering atmosphere of the soundscape again.

Summed: Left-Handed

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 28 2014
Artist: Summed
Title: Left-Handed
Format: CD
Label: Out-ER (@)
Distributor: Rub-a-dub
Rated: *****
The first release that out-e(lectronic)r(ecords) decided to release both as a digital download and on CD comes from Italian young producer Filippo "Summed" Bologna. Labelling it as "experimental" is a little bit shallow as it doesn't say anything about the dexterity of this producer with drum machines and tech-ey loops: some tracks ("Operator's Dream", "As it happens") seem to have been recorded without the support of any recorded pattern, but by means of just fingers on the coloured buttons of drum machines, and many percussive elements could sound quite raw and inserted in the texture without any particular effect as they came out of the machines as their source is quite recognizable by all those who have a certain familiarity with drum machines, but it's not the most relevant aspect of this album. The most impressive aspect is the joyful and almost instinctive way that Summed follows to build enjoyable tracks and rhythmical vagaries that melt elements from house, breakbeat and electronic dub, whose glitches and funny "toytronic" strategies to unroll weird loops could surmise the attitude of some freaky stuff from Swiss dub shooter as well as some evergreen entries on Apollo. Many moments of this album could let you think Summed is playing drum machines as if he's playing against Rubik's cube, a playful approach which makes the listneing of some dubstep-oriented tunes interesting even if some reviewers consider dubstep already old-fashioned.

Guy Gelem: Reappearance

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 26 2014
Artist: Guy Gelem (@)
Title: Reappearance
Format: CD
Label: Time Released Sound (@)
Rated: *****
I received this tidbit by cello player Guy Gelem some months ago, but there should be some available copies of the strictly limited edition of 90 ones yet which features the usual lovely artworks by Time Released Sound - a star punched, black felt covered outer envelope, wrapped in an undulating, hand worked, 26" folded obi strip'¦with an included, stamped insert made from pages of vintage, hand notated sheet music, whose package got tied up with strands of Mongolian horsehair and a hand made, rubber tie down button, made from a used bicycle tire tube! -. According to my ear response, the recording is not perfect, but it seems that this nice assay of neo-classical music got deliberately recorded in a raw way that emphasizes a certain genuine rusticity of Gelem's music. I don't know if he got helped by guest musicians or puzzled different melodic lines in studio, but the melodies that he rubbed on four tracks - one for each part of the day (morning, noon, evening and night) - are so enchanting and evocative that any other aspects are irrilevant. I'm pretty sure that listeners will experience a sort of bucolic synaesthesia while listening to Gelem's "Reappearance" that is going to bring your mind towards a perception of time whose close connection to natural cycles has almost been forgotten by many communities where alienation and consumerism are undisputed rulers.

Lee Gamble: KOCH

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 26 2014
Artist: Lee Gamble (@)
Title: KOCH
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: PAN (@)
Rated: *****
No dice: when a producer gained experience over years, the quality of music dramatically rises and Lee Gambler is one of them as he shows a remarkable familiarity with bass-driven music on this astonishing album, which is going to be launched from PAN pad on 12th September. The opening track resembles some psychedelic atmosphere by Future Sound of London as well as the intros of some 90ies jungle stuff by means of the hypnotical sirens choir and the narcotic effects he inject, which come back on the first of the four faces of this release on "You Concrete", whose rarefaction follows the saturation bombing of "Motor System", where Lee combines dry mechanical hammering (closer to Riou's industrial techno) with deep techno vaporiuzed sonorities, and precedes the pneumatic pressures of "Nueme". A subtle pad-synth which gradually becomes more audible after bumping knocks seem to generate metallic crumbles that got scattered over deep outer space on "Oneiric Contur" opens B-side, which features the more sidereal abstractions of the whole album with the exception of the sci-fi computational techno of "Hmix" and finishes with the six narcotic minutes of "Frame Drag", a track which let me recall stuff like Experimental Audio Research's "Phenomena 256". The gelatinous electronic clots of "Voxel City Spirals", the agglutination of sparkling metallic hits, muffled sonic spurts and a sort of mechanical heartbeat on "Yehudi Lights Over Tottenham" and the planetary keepie-uppie of "Jove Layup" fill C-side, while the computational chirping of "Ornith-Mimik" turns D-side on. The alien technoid bleeps of "Caudata", which seems to render a possible exercise on a terrestrial Detroit techno tune by a Mars inhabitant, the abstract medley of "Flatland", the gnarling torsions of "Gillsman" and the martial stomping beats of "6EQUJ5-7", which could be the OST for an imaginary battle between space dreadnoughts, complete this amazing record.

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