Music Reviews

Oct 03 2014
Artist: Luc Ferrari - GOL / Brunhild Meyer-Ferrari
Title: Tautologos III / Havresac
Format: CD
Label: Éditions Piednu (@)
Distributor: metamkine
The third part of Tautologos (1969) was the conclusive moment of a creative process that Luc Ferrari, the co-founder of Groupes De Recherches Musicales as well as one of my favorite representative of that forerunning circle and maybe the less hard-shell of the forefathers of the so-called musique concrete compared to more elitarian opinions like the one by Pierre Boulez according to which all those who approached the genre cannot be philistine improvisors with any notions of composition or musical scoring, started in 1961. On its text score, Luc Ferrari just gave some performative instructions and explained the meaning of this process: the performers or the Tautologuers, as Luc wrote, may use their own instruments, contact or traditional microphones or any other object, which could be just amplified or transformed in a different way so that there is no real limitations to the number and the kind of instruments; each Tautologuer must choose an Action, whose length should be shorter than the silent moments, whose alternation is almost endless and manages to generate a proper loop according to a diffeent combination of seven features ("duree, registre, dynamique, caractere, timbre, evolution, vitesse), but each loop should not be like a "mechanical construction" so that each musician/Tautologuer had to focus on a sort of communicational instinct. According to Luc's own words: "C'est seulement cet etat de concentration-communication qui creera un climat ayant une signification, et qui illustrera le phenomene tautologique comme un phenomene issu de la vie ; et, tautologiquement, votre...'¦qu'il y ait un tel nombre d'elements tautologiques dans les domaines les plus divers et avec des moyens les plus varies, que s'ecroulent pour un moment les murs absurdes que la "civilisation" nous impose". This concept got perfectly interpreted by very special Tautologuers like Brunhild Meyer-Ferrari, former Luc's wife, who manages to evoke a wide range of emotional states by her own voice, and GOL, the electroacoustic trio by Jean-Marcel Busson (charango, Luxonic and Metacrakle), Frederic Rebotier (male voice saying that "da da da" you are going to hear, clarinet, metallic candy box and torn paper) and Ravi Shardja (electric mandolin, bass, transverse flute, sanza): the sudden appearance of occasional toytronic cymbals which surmise those cymbal-banging monkey toys and the general dynamics with many sonic entities which soulds like been coughed could let you imagine a journey inside those fun-fair haunted houses, but the alternation of sonic sketches is really psychotropic as well as in line with Luc's rules. They also included another amazing improvisation hat got titled "Havresac" (French foir "haversack", but also a reference to the city where it was recorded), where the role of electronics and resounding objects on the sonic set got somehow highlighted. An unmissable release for all those who love musique concrete, electroacoustic improvisation as well as for all those who are just neophytes of this creative wellspring.

Ben Jacov: Transalp EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 01 2014
Artist: Ben Jacov
Title: Transalp EP
Format: 12"
Label: Doumen Records (@)
Rated: *****
The traffic of promotional releases on my desk and inside my hi-fi system sometimes mulches and hides some sonic pearls like this ep from Berlin-based young producer Ben Jacov. His biography on Soundcloud which quotes the 14th paragraph of Pessoa's "The Book of Disquiet" could turn up the noses of all those ones who knows the poetics of the Portuguese poet as its evolution is more "linear" than cyclic, but it could fit the crepuscolar framework as well as an abstract malaise that Ben manages to pour into his loops. His style squeezes both some bordeline sonorities that masters like Burial injected in their own music and the instantaneous emotional hooks that some contemporary electronic knights such as Trentemoller or Moderat exploited to harpoon mainstream: the tubular organ-like cement as well as the electronic metallophones on "Ipsaa" and "Notturno Lucis" - a song whose intensity got highlighted by graceful voice of Nada Aiko and a sort of resounding howling - smell like the above-mentioned possible influences, while the title track is maybe the less surprising track - it could be good for the empteenth Buddha Bar compilation, but it's nothing particularly original -. Traces of tech house spots the clockwork of "Weeg", the first track of B-side, while "Yelltu Riekk" dunks Ben's supposed disquiet into a somewhat transcendental pool and the final "Tessera Lepta" sounds like the rendering of some enlighted brainwave or uprising resolution by means of sounds which are close to struck matchsticks, occasional claps, uplifting pads and quietest atmospheres. Regarding my delay, this release got launched last spring, but its melancholic nuances could be better for an autumnal playlist.

vhr-1.7: lost angle

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 29 2014
Artist: vhr-1.7 (@)
Title: lost angle
Format: CD
Label: Eilean (@)
Rated: *****
The entrancing excursion of "Lake Side" where the warm melodies that will swathe listeners on the following "Lost Angle" glimmer introduces this fascinating ambient journey (the 83rd point on the 100-points map of Eilean record label) that Japanese sound-designer Kei Komatsu undertakes on his project VHR 1.7 which overlaps granular synthesis, processed field recordings and brilliant acoustic textures. The lukewarm embrace of the title track definitively tunes listeners to a lovely reverie that carries on the electric breezes where sonic grains occasionally seems to collide with the thick sonic gel that imbues "Meon", whose final bloating low frequency sets the stage for the magnetic permeating dronescape of the following "Occasion", the ephemeral return to an opaque clarity on "Kalon" where the reprise of processed guitar-evoked languor of the title track strikes melancholic chords over a moor of distant traffic sounds in a rainy day as if Kei tried to render the recent halcyon moments, whose emotional fragrances begins to seep in the twinkling piano of the clanking echoes of ordinary life on "Tope" and the taut billows of blurred human voices, boiling pulses and electronic stabs on "Para" before getting lush on the flooding saccharin vacuum on the synth-driven finale of "Meoncentric Theory".

Seth Cluett: Forms of Forgetting

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 26 2014
Artist: Seth Cluett
Title: Forms of Forgetting
Format: CD
Label: Line (@)
Rated: *****
A feeble undertone where a pure hypnotical frequency and a flickering noise which is similar to the sound that paper produces when it got flapped by the blades of a working blower fan opens this long psychoacoustic and psychoactive suite by American photographer, essayist, professor of sound art, musician and performer Seth Cluett, who joined the three parts of his sound installation Forms Of Forgetting together in this one-track release. The interfering element of the above-mentioned paper gradually blend in the seemingly monotonal drone that got dilated till the moment when it seems to flicker by its own while resounding filaments peel the main frequency off by reaching the saturation peak after half an hour and getting gradually dried out till the final return of a popure frequency. Besides the interesting listening experience that can be amplified by a pair of good headphones, this release that Seth tributed to American composer and professor Lee Hyla, who recently passed away, comes after two years of live experimentation related to cognitive investigations about memory/forgetting and attention/inattention, which resulted in the employment of "techniques that aim to explore the fallibility of sound memory as a component of saturated, immersive listening over substantial elapsed time", according to the words of Paul Ricoeur, where forgetting should not be considered as oblivion, but as a process that "designates the unperceived character of the perseverance of memories, their removal from the vigilance of consciousness". That's not just a sonic piece for eraserheads!

Tengil: Stanni Altah

 Posted by Ivan Racheck (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 25 2014
Artist: Tengil
Title: Stanni Altah
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Waerloga Records
Rated: *****
Tengil released their debut album "Stanni Altah" in August just to be discovered by Waerloga Records in September. Tengil landed themselves a record deal in a month!

Tengil is a Swedish medieval folk band much in the style of Cultus Ferox and In Extremo but without the metal parts. For me that is a big plus as I never where a big fan of the metal in those band even though many seem to like the blend.

Tengil is much darker where Cultus Ferox (which is one of my favorite bands!) is more pirate romance. Tengil is groovier where Cultus Ferox is hard and Pirate party music.

I think of bands such as Cultus Ferox because of one of the two band members in Tengil where playing in Cultus Ferox in Germany. I like that Cultus Ferox has a gimmick, a show and I don't really find that in Tengil.

The debut album is sometimes awesome and sometimes a bit boring as I have to check if the CD is on repeat. However that might sound harsh I truly believe in Tengil and think they show what they could be on the track Tamfanae. If they try more to mix things up and don't have the bagpipes shouting at me all the time I think Tengil could be among my favorites!

I liked the early Cultus Ferox the most as they were less metal then and more medieval. In Tengil I see a lot of potential if they stay away from metal.

The drumming on Stanni Altah I like a lot and also other weird sounding instruments and voices. The bagpipes are beautiful but as I mentioned before they are way to repetitive to be awesome.

Tengil could EASY be a 5 star band in the future and maybe they will be that under the Waerloga banner? Right now they are at best 4 stars but never 2.

The Highpoints of Stanni Altah is magnificent!

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