Music Reviews



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Artist: We Will Fail (@)
Title: Verstörung
Format: CD
Label: Monotype (@)
Rated: *****
The surprising Polish label Monotype popped another gorgeous bundle of releases out lately. One of the most interesting one comes from graphic designer and audioperformance artists Aleksandra Grunholz, one half of duo Tirips and co-founder of the artistic group OKO, whose intent, according to her own words" was "to create something that doesn't leave the listener indifferent, something that affects him" and she reached her goal by acting almost like a scavenger inside the well-matched sound library that she collected over many years. She organized an impressive number of sonic synthetic material, field recordings and samples from old tapes into fourteen spellbinding tracks, where electromagnetic inductions seems to run parallel to hypnotic suggestion. The 4/4 sprays into a drone-like electric buzz on the opening track sounds let me think about an attempt to erase techno memories by means of those old electric machinery which were tested in some asylum as they were supposed to remove bad memories and trauma disorders, but following tracks are other than just another techno spin-off and sway over unpredictable rhythmical patterns, radio and noise interferences, mellow slow-techno movements, lulling mutant winding, industrial-wave nuances, multi-layered structures as well as a number of both stylistical and sonic clues which cross-refers to post-techno and some acts from grey interzones where electronic mongrels got displayed from pop-song casements. The explorative sonorities where you could have the impression of listening to gene mutation of previous stylistical code on "Verstorung" (German word for "disturbance", even if the English version of the title was "Gargoyles"...) sounds like mirroring the notorious novel by Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard, whose haunting writing styles narrates the dark peregrinations of a doctor and his son over the austere rural Austrian landscapes where they meet many grotesque and disheartening characters, who are almost like landmarks of an unusually cathartic journey.

Celer: Zigzag

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 13 2014
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Artist: Celer (@)
Title: Zigzag
Format: CD
Label: Spekk (@)
Rated: *****
When Tokyo-based writer, educator, photographer, Two Acorns label manager and lively musician Will Long, whose project became a solo-one after his former partner-in-life and partner-in-art Danielle Baquet regrettably passed away for a heart failure in 2009, introduced this release by making a connection with a cheerful event of his life, the moment when he heard the heartbeat of his first child with his new wife in summer 2013. Heavily influenced by minimalist electronic music of the 60ies and 70ies as well as by cosmic riding of a number of German kosmiche muziek forerunner, this 40 minutes lasting suite, which should have been released by Spekk before the delaying of the project let the initial inspiration and concept dissolve, is a sort of ballet between a basic synth-driven pulsing sequence and a secondary one which repeatedly fades in and fades out by weaving entrancing harmonies, which could let you think about a pèossible sonic rendering of the matching of DNA double helixes, if you like your imagination got driven by Celer's connection between the futuristic nuances of this lovely electronic suite and the new born life. However the gentle and somewhat cherubic pulsations, which could let you imagine an angel while making the Indian war cry by covering and uncovering its mouth with wings (!), and some moments of the record when synth-sequences sound like scattering over the infinite directrixes of outer space, could let you think about "Zig Zag" as an interception of a dialogue between angelical entities by SETI optical telescopes.

Stefano Guzzetti: At Home - Piano Book (Volume One)

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 12 2014
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Artist: Stefano Guzzetti (@)
Title: At Home - Piano Book (Volume One)
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
The increasingly thready light texture and the abating intensity on "To Sleep For A New Day", the opening track of this balletic piano-driven release by Sardinia-based composer and sound designer Stefano Guzzetti made me think about a pianist who got whacked by his own reverie, the sudden thud at the end of the track almost validated my vision and such a vision got perpetuated by the rhythmical slackening at the end of each melodic phrase of the following "The Road To You", but on "Harvest", the third daydreaming movement, listeners are almost unwittingly absorbed by the graceful and often intensely melancholic weave by this musician. The following tracks follow a similar pattern where vivace inception fade out into lullaby-like movement where even the acutest pangs vanish. Both the most sullen moments and the most serene ones such the graceful "Little Dreams" and the sweeten harmony of "Haiku" seem to vividly arouse what titles evoke by means of essential digression on ivories whose stylistical mold sounds like a balanced crossbreed between the melodic pointillism by French impressionists and some Italian contemporary minimalist pianists such as Arturo Stalteri and Ludovico Einaudi. Maybe this release won't topple any conventional scheme, but its stripped-down form gathers substance correctly.

Janek Schaefer: Lay-by Lullaby

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 11 2014
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Artist: Janek Schaefer (@)
Title: Lay-by Lullaby
Format: CD
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
J.G.Ballard's bounteous literature and visionary creativity have often been a source of inspiration for UK sound artist Janek Schaefer, who after 20 years of acknowledged activity and an impressive number of releases and sound installations for many labels and institutions signed his first release for Taylor Deupree's label at last. The nocturnal field recordings of "Lay-By Lullaby", which took place above M3 motorway, whose building and proximity to Ballard's house as well as to Schaefer's recording studio heavily influenced proper masterpieces about spiritually noxious effects of so-called progress and technology on human life by this sci-fi novelist. The ready-references of this album are the narrative setting of those novels where car culture and motorways had a meaningful and emblematic role such as "Crash!" and "Concrete Island", where Ballard splendidly shows sensorial and spatial cracks on some of the most typical badges of modernity by bringing characters out of that idea of chimerical order whose structure rests on pervading conceptions of organization, efficiency and urbanization, acting like addicting drugs on minds and souls. You could imagine Janek Schaefer in the guise of Robert Maitland, whose "accident" reactivates memories, feelings, thoughts and reveries that burst into consciousness over the hypnotical streaming aural code of a motorway where gusts of wind and barreling wheeled cells constantly weave a trapping web. The sonic strategy by which Janek renders such an abstract sequence of "enlightenments", which sound like unpredictable radio interferences, is simply stunning and deeply emotional and seems toi come from phantasmagorical entities which invite listeners to take a rest, come out of this suffocating stream and lapse into daydreaming in a whisper. "Lay-by Lullaby" is undoubtedly one of the best "environ/mental" ambient release of the year.

Christos Fanaras: Impermanence

 Posted by Paul Muhller   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 10 2014
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Artist: Christos Fanaras (@)
Title: Impermanence
Format: CD
Label: Adaadat (@)
Adaadat, the London-based independent recording label, has recently released Impermanence, a new CD of ambient music by Christos Fanaras. Recording under the name of Jack Shirt, he has recorded and released seven previous CDR albums and is currently a member of Moon Ra and Masters. Christos has also played bass guitar in the group Agaskodo Teliverek, drums for Temper Temper and has a long list of associations with contemporary musicians and bands. Impermanence is a solo effort and consists of six sections connected into a single track that runs for 44 minutes. Each of the sections has an individual character but there is an overall pattern that emerges as the piece unfolds. The piece begins with a low hum and a soft, funerary organ melody. The volume builds and the feeling is solemn, brooding and mysterious. The low tones dominate as the higher notes in the melody become shorter and transient until they become overtaken by the drone below. The loudness ultimately subsides allowing the second section to begin with the soft sound of rainfall and a clear declarative guitar line that brings some forward movement. Now the organ arcs above this with a quiet, uncertain feel that builds in volume as the section progresses. The purposeful guitar eventually becomes buried by a swirling organ accompanied by loud, unsettling propeller sounds that end the section abruptly. Impermanence proceeds in this fashion, each section beginning with a comfortable flow and feel that is quietly familiar, but eventually becoming submerged in louder and more chaotic textures. Section 3 has a beautiful organ line that has a church-like, medieval sound, and this is eventually intruded upon and consumed by a distorted guitar. Section 5 features an optimistic dance-like melody that generates an exotic, optimistic feel that is slowly engulfed in a low rumbling sound. This pattern of the familiar being overwhelmed by the alien is repeated throughout the different sections and effectively makes the artistic statement of Impermanence. The final minutes have a futuristic feel and a sense of inevitability that point to coming change. If you take your ambient music straight up and with a definite point of view, Impermanence will be worth a listen.


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