Music Reviews



Monty Adkins: Rift Patterns

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 22 2014
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Artist: Monty Adkins
Title: Rift Patterns
Format: Download + iBook
Label: Audiobulb (@)
Rated: *****
A couple of weeks ago, we introduced the enchanting suite "Residual Forms" - you can download it for free on Cronica website - by the appreciated composer Monty Adkins, whose sonic poetics has heavily influenced by the experimental method of investigation around urban environments, known as psychogeography, which was originally developed by Lettrism and precisely defined by Guy Debord as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, whether consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals". On this new album for British label Audiobulb, who seems to prefer the definition that Wisconsin-based freelance writer and musician Joseph Hart gave on an article for Utne Reader ("'a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities '¦ just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.'), Professor Monty keeps on focusing on "derive" or "drift", the main technique of "psychogeographists", by unrolling deeply emotional clumps of electric interferences, organic clusters, warm and sometimes gloomy piano melodies, tonal dissipations and smudges over eight intense tracks which seem to draw an arc-shaped emotional blueprint from the opening "Tender Light Rising" to the final "Tender Light Falling" where listeners could costrue as a proper soulmapping rather than a psychogeographic implementation. Monty decided to making this album more meaningful by dragging the writer Deborah Templeton, video artist Jason Payne and photographer and graphic designer Stephen Harvey in and their collaborative feedback/back-propagations to Monty's music resulted into an amazing interactive iBook which is going to be sold together with the enhanced 16bit or 24bit digital versions of the release.

Bardoseneticcube: Game Over?

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 17 2014
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Artist: Bardoseneticcube (@)
Title: Game Over?
Format: CD
Label: Deserted Factory
Rated: *****
On his website, Bardoseneticcube declares, 'The project members professionally and with dilettantish persistence extract sounds from everything that can sound: computers and contact mics, ethnic instruments and electronic processing, water and field recordings, all this happens during conducting pseudo-magickal rituals and materializes in surreal sonic pictures which don't have any relation to music, both in ordinary and "not ordinary" meaning of this term. Or maybe they are just pulling your legs...' This is considerably different, stylistically, from the other album that I received in the same package (Ambiwax). Where 'Ambiwax' was a bit more noisy, experimental, and playful, 'Game Over?' is more foreboding and well within the tradition of Russian dark ambient. We open with spoken word that I can't understand (not sure what the language is) which is slowly joined with some droning background music. This formula of spoken word and heavy, dark drone will persist throughout the album to excellent effect. Sometimes it doesn't work as well, however. Much of track 4, for example, becomes an oppressive experiment in repetition. But when it's good it's very good. Track 5, for example, is a great example of slow moving drone with just a hint of voices that continues to shift and change over time, giving it a dreamlike quality. Track 7 features snippets of cut up backward speech and Gregorian chanting over a slowly pounding bass drum and drone. This is the soundtrack to the ritual scene before everything goes crazy. Overall this is well done dark ambient soundscape. Well worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 65 minutes.

Paulo J Ferreira Lopes: Feeze

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 17 2014
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Artist: Paulo J Ferreira Lopes
Title: Feeze
Format: CD
Label: atrito-afeito (@)
Rated: *****
I was unfamiliar with this Montreal-based Portuguese artist, but he has worked with a host of choreographers, multimedia artists, filmmakers, sound and visual artists, vocalists, and musicians. The label, which is run by Lopes and longtime collaborator pianist Karoline Leblanc, had little commentary on this disc, so let's dive in to the music. This is some interesting electronic music that is difficult to classify. At times it is noisy ('Recept', Destino'), other times it relies on heavy, pulsating drone ('Eventualidade', 'Norte'), and still other times it has a kind of glitchiness that is endearing ('Premonition', 'Capsule', 'Post'). However, at other times it just went on a bit too long without really going anywhere ('Transeunt'). Still, if you like your music with a lot of noisy electronic blips and bleeps, this is made just for you. I didn't find this album to be something that would be too far out there for more mainstream listeners who are just getting into edgier music. It's challenging, of course, but this isn't an Ant-Zen release from Merzbow. Not a bad introduction to the artist or the label. This album weighs in at around 39 minutes and limited to 150 copies.

Inner Vision Laboratory vs Nepenthe: Ambit

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 16 2014
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Artist: Inner Vision Laboratory vs Nepenthe
Title: Ambit
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from this polish artist in collaboration with Nepenthe took "3 years in the making when they were searching for a common language and [..] created a [...] symbiotic world". Tracks have no title so suggesting that this release has to be considered as a long track in seven movements and, effectively, this album has a remarkable consistency.
The opening movement, "I", is a dark drone that acts as a canvas for sparse noises and a distant voice. The second movement, "II", is based upon the development of a drone while "III" develops a sort of background noise and "IV" develops a form of field recordings or, in cinematographic term, foley art even if sparse notes of piano closes this movement. "V" is the more dark ambient oriented and menacing as is features heavy bass. The distant voices of "VI" marks a return to more evocative musical paths that finally resolves his path in "VII" that seems a musical representation of the cover art, a black rose on a white surface, as it based upon the juxtaposition of a dark soundscape and bright noises.
As previous releases this is not anything ground breaking or something that I would remember in a end of year playlist but it's something that regularly is played on my stereo as it's a sort of technical "state of the art" dark ambient and it's developing his own style in the path of tradition. Highly recommended for fans.

Alphaxone: Living in the Grayland

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 16 2014
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Artist: Alphaxone
Title: Living in the Grayland
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Cryo Chamber
Rated: *****
This release is presented as a soundscape that flows "between the ancient and the futuristic and inspires for internal stories about the path of mankind". Musically speaking it's an almost classic album but it's constructed with an overall direction, so it's not a void research for an enchanting sound.
"Awakening" opens this release with layers of atmospheric synth depicting a sort of dawn while "Cold Spring" introduces the listener in a darker territory using lower frequencies that, while listening in an open space, allow natural sounds to enter into the music. "El shadows" starts as a continuation of the previous track and ends in the same mood of the opening track. "Darkscore" continues in the use of higher frequency and a broad sound spectrum while "Interface" returns to depict a more menacing sound constructed upon small noises upon a dark soundscape. The quiet drones of "Overwhelm" opens the second part of the album and features more evident field recordings. So "Into the Silence" seems almost constructed upon small field recordings of a cave (or so it sounds). Whit "Foresight" the drones start to enlighten and slowly develop in a canvas for the field recordings. As the title suggest "Melancoly" is a static track that acts as a prelude to the last track "Grayland" almost entirely constructed on a bunch of drones slowly developing as in a spiral that quietly ends.
This album features an unusual quality in this field: the drones, instead of creating a static mass of sound, depict a form of storytelling so it's really enjoyable and engaging. A really nice release.


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