Music Reviews



Cindytalk: TouchedRAWKISSEDsour

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 02 2014
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Artist: Cindytalk (@)
Title: TouchedRAWKISSEDsour
Format: CD
Label: Handmade Birds (@)
Rated: *****
Metallic stridencies that seem to emulate the sharp cry of a sparrowhawk or maybe of a phoenix, echoes of distant thunders, the buzz of rising voltage, magnetic resonances of lacerated guitars and electrified gurgles and cavernous pealing open this new impressive release by Scottish musician and former collaborator of Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil Gordon "The Freeze" Sharp aka Cindytalk, whose renaissance seeped through a series of acclaimed reissues and four astonishing albums on Editions Mego. Mr.Sharp bravely decided to change course towards darker non-music sonorities on "touchedRAWKISSEDsour", but Cindytlak's flair in forging entrancing soundscapes turns obscurity into dazzling sheen. The tracks which come after the initial "Dancing On Ledges" seem to get focused on layering of abstract noises, which singularly seem to render hallucinations or nightmares, whose overlapping emanates the psychotropic features of Cindytalk's sonorities: both "Fire Recalling Its Nature", whose abrupt stop occurs when the track seems to rise towards mystical levels, and "Mouth Of My Sky (Open Up And Swallow Me)", where an evanescent melody seems to get blown over a desolate industrial escape, smell like sonic reports from netherworld, while the lysergic wire drawing and scrapes of electronically processed guitars over syncopated noises which sound like the noise of unlocked wooden doors on "Reversing The Panopticon" and the following "E Quindi Uscimmo A Riveder Le Stelle", named after the last line of Dante's first book of the Divine Comedy "Inferno", which manages to render resurfacing from obscure tunnels underworld to nocturnal glimmer, sound like proper sonic rites of liberation. After the cathartic placidity of "Yugao", where Gordon brings to light both that airily anaesthetic piano featuring some of his recent releases and his mania for Japanese music, Gordon seal all the previous leaks with the mesmeric storms of "Mystery Sings Out", where the mysterious Cindy finally talks (and "sings").

Malayeen: s/t

 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 31 2014
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Artist: Malayeen (@)
Title: s/t
Format: 12"
Label: Discrepant (@)
Rated: *****
One of the most fascinating musical discovery in the big cloud of releases that usually fill my room comes from Malayeen, a Lebanese trio by Raed Yassin (keyboards, electronics, turntables), Charbel Haber (electric guitar, electronics) and Khaled Yassin (darbouka and percussions). Many listeners could be tempted to link their powerfully evoking music to the tragic pieces of news which are coming from Palestine, but even if for instance the introduction of Omar could sound bloody of the opening organ-like sound which precedes the passionate dance of "Najwa", could evoke the blood and money sucker vampires, which are causing that huge catastrophe, this release has nothing to share with that shitty situation (and the shitty impotence of international hypocrite spectators). The main musical input of Malayeen's creative process is the music of the legendary Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid that these skilled guys rehashed in order to release this upgrade of Arabic music and belly dancing music, whose genuine originality allured Discrepant, who co-produced this release by collaborating with forward-thinking Lebanese label Annihaya. Named after the names of notorious belly dancers, the seven tracks of this self-titled record re-elaborates Arabic music ina very orignal way. Besides the above-mentioned "Najwa" - definitively my favorite track -, there are many original hybrids such as "Fifi" or "Dina", where folkish elements get closer to the contagiously obsessive hooks of most feverish Western techno, whose mishmash between Eastern and Western music sounds close to perfection.

Slicnation: Autoscopy

 Posted by Edward Trethowan   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 31 2014
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Artist: Slicnation (@)
Title: Autoscopy
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Silber Records (@)
The term 'autoscopy' refers to what is also known as the out-of-body experience, in which the individual undergoes a conscious sense of disembodiment. In particular, the body can be observed from an external, elevated perspective without loss of any sense of self. It is a mysterious phenomenon, perplexing throughout the ages, spiritually and neurologically important and, of course, ripe for creative interpretation.

In this case, Nic Slaton seems to be imagining a metaphorical soundtrack for certain aspects of this experience. The track titles make clear references to some of the ideas and feelings associated with autoscopy: 'Watcher', 'Doppelganger', 'Astral' (the realm of non-physical, spiritual phenomena), 'Repossession', 'Heautos' (presumably a reference to 'heautoscopy', the hallucination of seeing oneself elsewhere) and 'Maartechen' (a name linked with negative autoscopy, a disorder of which failing to acknowledge one's own reflection in mirrors is diagnostic). Indeed, the mid-heavy, drone-based ambient style of most of these compositions lends itself well to the incorporeal inscrutability attributed to autoscopy. Cavernous and muffled as if distantly heard from The Other Side, the leading drone in 'Watcher', surrounded by wavering loops, makes for an enjoyable introduction. 'Astral' does well with the metaphor, drifting through deeply soothing tones. 'Repossession' upholds the concept most successfully and is the best piece overall, suggesting the conclusion of the autoscopic experience with more subtlety than usual. Elsewhere, when instead negative autoscopy and heautoscopy are referenced, the unnerving potential of these disorders is represented by harsher, treble-rich textures.

Slaton's modus operandi on this album is to make use of a different, single sound source for each track, recorded without overdubs and processed through pedals. Most of his instruments seem to have been acoustic, with their natural tonal ranges strongly modified and blurred into droning fabrics. A novel if unreliable way of reading into this process might be that Slaton is also trying to goad his instruments into having their own autoscopic experiences, inducing the sonic range of each to expand beyond the physical limitations of the instrument body. The metaphorical result: cloudy, formless, disembodied.

Bryn Harrison: Vessels

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 26 2014
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Artist: Bryn Harrison (@)
Title: Vessels
Format: CD
Label: Another Timbre (@)
Rated: *****
The inputs of this interesting apotheosis of repetition for piano by composer Bryn Harrison are a sequence of nine notes from a mode by Olivier Messiaen (I could guess he took it from ""Mode de valeurs et dintensites" or from some variation of his sixth mode) for what we could call tonal entities and Howard Skempton's "Tendrils", where the composer weaves lines by means of a number of transpositions of Messiaen's mode. The resulting almost imperceptile repetition of intervals and phrases and the somehow confusing tonal juxtaposition of the 20-minutes lasting original version got remarkably expanded on he version you'll find on this release, which recently reached my desk in spite of the fact it got released last year, so that its spellbinding powers got highlighted on the 76-minutes masterful performance by Philip Thomas (an honorable mention to the one who flipped through the pages of the score, who got captured by microphones). I'm pretty sure that even the rational filters of the most trained musical ears, which will presumably focus on computational aspects, will fade away in order to make way for imagination - some nightmarish settings such as disorienting woods, narrow dark tunnels or other mysterious places you could build by your own imagination could croos listener's minds - and emotions - I could guess you could match it with angst, sadness or suspense - till the moment when this labyrinthine repetitions could even provoke some physical reaction. I can't exclude that...
Jul 26 2014
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Artist: Ernesto Rodrigues/Ricardo Guerreiro/Christian Wolfarth (@)
Title: All About Mimi
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Even more abstract and "astringent" than "Early Refractions" the collaborative release with alto-saxophonist Bertran Gauguet, this release of the consolidated musical partnership between Ernesto Rodrigues (viola) and Ricardo Guerreiro (computer) with the guest appearance of Swiss percussionist Christian Wolfarth on cymbals is even more abstract and overlapped to reductionist aesthaetics. I could guess the title "All About Mimi" could be a reference to same-named multi-modal interactive musical improvisation system, whose linear diagrams seem to get reprised by cover artwork. Its slightly crooked green lines could be the sonic representation of the skewed declension of minimalism that this trio play where you could have the impression that each instrumental emission sometimes claws, sometimes furrows, sometimes violently cannons the surface of the seemingly silent computer-generated barrier that amalgamates the other two (sometimes unrecognizable) elements and their mimicry as if they are trying to escape from their atonal prison cells by means of painstaking grinding of the wall.


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