Music Reviews

Pjusk: Solstøv

 Posted by Paul Muhller   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 20 2014
Artist: Pjusk
Title: Solstøv
Format: CD
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
Despite the fact they keep on orbiting around the glacial sonorities that they usually explore, the third album by Norwegian duo Pjusk on 12k and their fourth one in their discography reaches highest stylistical peaks as this masterpiece just derives from the (both natural and processed with the help of label boss Taylor Deupree) sound of Kare Nymark Jr's trumpet. Rune Sagevik and Jolstein Dahl Gjelsvik come back their icy homecountry after their previous excursions over the snowy Russian landscapes and immediately introduces a foretaste of their forthcoming collaborative release with Sleep Orchestra by the ethereal track "Streif", the only one of the album which can be properly considered a droning piece as most of the following tracks are astonishing alternation of natural and wisely processed trumpet, which becomes a sort of medium between the glacial places they manage to evoke and netherworld. The unpredictable eruptions of trumpet, which breaks Pjusk's effusions of placid frequencies on tracks like "Falmet" or "Blaff" are real emotional plunging and got often camouflaged together with other instrumental entities and field recordings in a sort of mimetic game as it happens on the astonishing "Demring" or even more dramatically on "Glod", the track which precedes the entrancing final track "Skimt", whose pulsating mantra got enhanced by Japanese sound artist Yui Onodera. Definitively one of the best electroacoustic "environ-mental" ambient album that titilated my eardrums this year.

Mr.Mitch: Don't Leave

 Posted by Paul Muhller   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 19 2014
Artist: Mr.Mitch (@)
Title: Don't Leave
Format: 12"
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Belonging to a group of rare producers who are managing to find new creative pathways to so-called grime, Mr.Mitch finally got signed by Planet Mu after he gained some visibility by means of Boxed 'Instrumental Grime' night and excellent releases on his own Gobstopper label, and if you have never listened to anything by this guy, many listeners who like this genre (and surrounding ones) will immediately suss his talent out by listening to this appetizer which precedes his forthcoming album "Parallel Memories". That sort of supplication on the opening "Don't Leave" (me complete the looping refrain) whose synth chords and floating drums sound like mirroring tears give you an idea of the unusual emotional alveoli that Mr.Mitch's grime airs out and such an intense ventilation gets closer to harrowing sentimentalism of Sebastian Tellier or Trentemoller on "Padded" after turning into a proper bordline poem Ruffneck's notorious refrain "everybody wants to be somebody" on "Be Somebody" and before getting closer to the typical mood of the genre on the final "Oh", whose mellow marimba, bouncy bumps and syllabic interjections. Really tasteful grime!

Richard Pinhas & Yoshida Tatsuya: Welcome In The Void

 Posted by Paul Muhller   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 15 2014
Artist: Richard Pinhas & Yoshida Tatsuya (@)
Title: Welcome In The Void
Format: CD
Label: Cuneiform (@)
Rated: *****
I already introduced the first (the one with brilliant Australian guitar player Oren Ambarchi) of the two concomitant collaborative releases by Richard Pinhas that Cuneiform dropped in May and it seems that the label is aware of the fact that this one which involves Japanese drummer Yoshida Tatsuya - younger generations could know his name for the impressive drum'n'bass project Ruins, even if several important collaborations and projects (Zeni Geva, Acid Mothers Temple, Painkiller, Koenji Hyakkei, Samla Mannas Manna and many more...) embellishes his track record - could break the heart of all those electronic rock or prog followers who believed the gung-ho words by some rabid reviewers of younger duets such as The Kills or The Black Keys, who are much more better than marketing inflated bands like Arctic Monkeys or Arcade Fire, as these veterans can look down on many youngster who are trying to leap over some stylistical barbed wire fences. As this release is the second musical chapter that belongs to the ambitious Devolution Trilogy where Richard merged his sonic explorations and his philosophical reflections on capitalism and the contextual devolution of human/biological faculties, the void where they welcome the listeners could be connected to a plenty of philosophical essays about the somehow tragic effects that both the capitalism and its twilight caused to mankind: according to Pinhas' own words, the title refers to "a kind of journey, not more into the being but into the Void - the nothingness that is now the "center" or the absence-of-center of our societies" and the one-hour lasting track, after the shortest appetizer which precedes it, catapults listeners into the spiritual anxiety that a deeper reflection about our condition of almost drab elements and isolated cells of a voracious monster could inspire by means of permanent synth waves, slightly distorted electic guitar phrasing, dizzying speed drumming, whirling sounds and unpredictable electronic prog fluctuations, where you can almost perceive the perpetual buzz of controlled insects as a possible sinister "biological" meeting point of humans and machines as well as the meeting point between soundscapes and thought.

Michael Jon Fink: From a Folio

 Posted by Paul Muhller   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 10 2014
Artist: Michael Jon Fink (@)
Title: From a Folio
Format: CD
Label: Cold Blue Music (@)
From Los Angeles-based Cold Blue Music comes a new CD by Michael Jon Fink titled From a Folio, featuring Derek Stein on cello and the composer at the piano. Michael Jon Fink has a distinguished 30+ year career as a composer and his music has been performed at the Green Umbrella series of new music concerts by the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as a number of other venues and festivals throughout the United States and Europe. The long arc of his compositional career has allowed Michael Jon Fink to refine his style of understated eloquence through simple musical materials, and From a Folio is a fine example of just how much this can achieve. All of the tracks on this CD are short ' running from two to a little over three minutes. All but one of the tracks use the same combination of spare piano rhythms accompanied by the cello. The first track, Invocation, is typical - the piano provides a steady, purposeful line of single notes in a rising, repeating sequence. The cello follows the piano, but in an unexpected register ' high but not shrill ' and the cello ends each passage on a sustained tone that compliments piano figure. This simple structure is unhurried and restful. Good control of intonation and pitch by Derek Stein is critical ' the cello is almost never heard in its lower, warmer ranges. Heiroglyph is next and this has a more mysterious feeling in the piano passages. The rhythms are a series of straightforward, deliberate notes. The cello follows with soft, sustained tones that add to the enigmatic atmosphere. Melos follows and here the piano weaves its line of single notes around very simple cello tones. More complexity is heard in the piano as this piece unfolds, but by the finish it has resumed its restrained character. Aftersong, on track 4, is a completely different piece consisting of just the cello in a series of slow, dramatic tones that have been recorded separately but are heard together in this track. This has a sense of lonely isolation and is played with great feeling by Derek Stein who also performs with Gnarwhallaby and wildUp, two Los Angeles groups known for a much more animated and energetic sound - this CD is evidence of a softer, more introspective side to his playing. The remaining tracks ' From a Folio, Over and Exit ' return to the original combination of piano and cello. From a Folio, track 5, suggests a questioning feel in the quiet piano chords. The cello answers by way of single, sustained tones that are masterfully infused with emotion. Over is a more solemn piece, with a tinge of sadness. Exit, the last track, opens with a series of luminous piano notes that seem to hang suspended in the air. The cello shortly picks up the same notes, sustaining them while the piano replies in quiet counterpoint. The cello, again in a high register, repeats the opening theme as the piano adds a few short arpeggios. The solitary sound of the cello plays out as the track concludes. From a Folio is the perfect title for this CD. Each piece is one of a series of brilliant jewels as if cut from the same stone. From a Folio by Michael Jon Fink is music that is simple, yet essential - an elegant vessel of deep expression.
From a Folio CB0039, is available from Cold Blue Music starting October 14, 2014

Fujako: Soul Buzz EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 10 2014
Artist: Fujako (@)
Title: Soul Buzz EP
Format: 10"
Label: Ångström Records (@)
Rated: *****
When the soul buzzes, it could disjointedly hits on drums and could even sing like a gremlin. It's the recent sonic discovery by this lupine duet by Jonathan Saldanha from Portugal and Nyko Esterle from Belgium, who came back on French-Belgian label Angstroem after their debut album "Landform" in 2009. You could get flabbergasted they need almost two years to forge a 6-tracks EP, but it doesn't really matters how much hey needed to shape their sound to free from that buzzing sound. They make "Entrance" by means of a minute blurred electric storms before the meaningful gruff lyrics of the title-track - featuring the dusky voice of DC-based MC Black Saturn, grandon of blues musician John Jackson -, whose unchained thuds and viscuous distortions revies the golden age of ill-hop. The bumping ultra-low frequency over fragmented hip-hop groove on "J*A*" adds more obfuscation to an already thickly foggy sound till it reaches highest levels of stunning daze on "Preacher's Echo", which opens the flipside, where these guys focuses on obsessively obscure dub hooks by means of overechoed and overdelayed voice, corroded and corrosive hums, cacophonous interferences and tumbling beats as well as a gremlin who sounds duetting with MC Black Saturn on the mad dub version of "Soul Buzz", where these folks seems to have dunked the orgiinal version into a pot of hot tar.

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