Music Reviews

Coil / Nine Inch Nails: Recoiled

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 10 2014
Artist: Coil / Nine Inch Nails
Title: Recoiled
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
It's well known about the love of Trent Reznor for the musical work of Coil, so it's not a surprise this release of a bunch of remix made by Peter Christopherson and Danny Hyde. The obscure aspect of this release is the long time when this tracks were buried in some tape. In the long history of Coil there's almost any remix, only an epochal cover of 'tainted love' where they were able to transform a symbol of an hedonistic epoch into a funeral march, so this is difficult to frame into the path of their musical life.
The almost desperate voice of 'Gave Up (Open My Eyes)' opens this release and they are suddenly doubled by the guitars and the industrial barrage that define the NIN sound. With 'Closer (Unrecalled)' the overall sound resemble the classic Coil sound as they underline the erotic side of this track depiction their notorious view about this argument. With 'The Downward Spiral (A Gilded ' the magick obtained with the cover of 'Teinted Love' appens, they turn the track from a desperate view on suicide into an almost ironic view of it, or perhaps his use, using the time and the mood of the sound. Erases is covered with two tracks: 'Eraser (Reduction)' constructs drone and loops from the original track while 'Eraser (Baby Alarm Remix)' constructs a dance track.
This release is obviously developed for fans and collectors of the two bands, however is an important release because it shows the rivers of sounds that can be developed upon the basic ideas of their sound. It's really worth a listen.

AutopsiA: AutopsiA Live at Divus Prague

 Posted by Edward Trethowan   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 09 2014
Artist: AutopsiA
Title: AutopsiA Live at Divus Prague
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
'Ritual ambient' music tends to evoke only a limited range of rituals. Very often, it honours its roots in dark ambient by producing atmospheres suggestive of mysterious, perhaps forbidden occult gatherings; group or solo chanting, throat singing, thick drones reverberating as if from concealed, underground chambers and sluggish, primitive percussion. There need not be a sinister tone to these kinds of evocations, but one is often richly executed, the music revelling in ominous invocation or worship. It can make for excellent music. However, doesn't sticking to these tropes greatly oversimplify the complexity and diversity (and musical potential) of ritual as a cultural phenomenon? Must we always represent the sinister in the same way? As for benign ritual, one might suggest it is already covered by familiar styles of ambient and new age music. Yet, it seems to me there's a very diverse and fertile gap waiting to be filled.

This live recording by Czech outfit AutopsiA makes use of elements from the darker, more standard interpretation of ritual ambient. However, while the same aesthetic prevails throughout, it isn't particularly loyal to the cliches of this sub-genre. Opener 'Gate' elicits the dark rituals as described above with chants, coarse brass drones and a dense overall murk. Yet from this point, it begins finding other ways to articulate this theme. The second track 'Archipelag' begins with a post-climactic quietness, restlessly populated with hiss and a muffled trombone motif, but culminates in dramatic brass swells that remind more of the Mt. Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble than Herbst9 et al. 'Weltuntergang' enlists brazen orchestral loops as its centrepiece. There is still a familiar climactic grimness here. Then 'IV Essays (1)' turns things positively psychedelic, with meandering organ and synth melodies that seem to recall the wacky intoxication and disorientation of low-budget 60s and 70s horror films. Finally, in contrast to the first piece, the sound sources of 'Radical Machine 3.0' are altogether synthetic: drum machine, spacey pads and a few bleeps for good measure. Equally mysterious and uneasy, but more equivocal; not as unscrupulously grim.

Whether this is the complete live performance or a collection of excerpts, Live at Divus Prague follows a clear path across different ways of conveying similar circumstances. While most of the tracks themselves fail to develop a great deal, they are individually brief. Particularly when heard as a whole, they don't disappoint.

Joshua Bonnetta: Strange Lines and Distances

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 08 2014
Artist: Joshua Bonnetta (@)
Title: Strange Lines and Distances
Format: 12" vinyl + DVD
Label: Experimedia (@)
Rated: *****
December 12th 1901. The first transmission of a wireless signal, the morse code for S (2 short dots), crossed Atlantic Ocean from Poldhu Cove in Cornwall, UK, to Fever Hospital in St.Johns, Newfoundland by means of the pioneering Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. There have already many musical and non-musical works which got inspired by that historical moment, but this one by interdisciplinary artist Joshua Bonnetta focused on the somehow artistic Marconi's belief about sound: the Italian marquis was sure about the fact that sound never completely disappear and a proper receiver could be even able to amplify aged sound which got "broadcasted" in the past. Joshua's audio-visual work could be considered the temporary objectification of such a technological reverie as his author combined hypnotical and dream-injecting emission of short and long radio frequencies with otherworldy transmission, archival material and field recordings, which got grabbed on the two poles of that historical communication in a couple of long-lasting sonic suites, the first of which seems to highlight the interference of human transmission over natural "emissions", while the latter attacks with holy sonorities which evoke the "sacredness" of that scientific discovery before the sonic sphere begins to get saturated by a tangle of radio frequencies. Such an entrancing historical remembrance and a masterpiece of hauntology got completed by a DVD-video, which looks like bridging the transmitting and the receiving points on our planet.

Costanza Francavilla & Alex Infascelli: Bushwick17

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 08 2014
Artist: Costanza Francavilla & Alex Infascelli (@)
Title: Bushwick17
Format: 12"
Label: ZerOKilled Music (@)
Rated: *****
There are many evidences about the widespread obsession with the 23 enigma, other ones has a sort of devotion for their own lucky number, but besides sporadic fans of Heaven 17 or East 17, I've rarely heard about people who like number 17 till the moment I've read some notes around this collaborative release by Los Angeles-based movie maker Alex Infascelli, who gained a considerable notoriety for having signed a number of videclips of many well-known (mainly Italian) musicians, and Italian versatile artist Costanza Francavilla, whose name got known by many music lovers for having been partner-in-art (and according to some rumors, a proper personal muse) of Tricky, who referred to her "the female version of me". Out of respect for their beloved number, they recorded a 17 minutes lasting improvisation in Bushwick, NY, with no overdubs, effects or any other frills by means of a couple of microphones whoich got placed in front of the wall of their performative space where Costanza played synths and Alex built entrancing guitar drones and occasional out-spurts on drums, but listeners could hazard more than one guess around the connection between what they recorded and 17. For instance, you could read 17 according to the typical way to mask other meanings by different typefaces (the most known is AK47, which could be translitterated as "a key for this heaven") so that you could read that number as "one-seven" or "one's heaven" or consider other "esoteric" meanings - the angels or demonds which can be evoked are 17, knight templar were 17, which represent the radiant power of divine knowledge according to other numerologists -, which could have some connection with the somewhat mystical halo fo their improvisation, or 17 could be coniderd their favorite moment of the day (5PM), their personal tea-time! The general atmosphere could recall the sonic rendering of a ritual to get closer to the divine or to some undefined source of inspiration, where the opiate sonorities gradually absorb the sudden drumming explosions, which get slower and slower as if they got anesthetized as well. The end of the recording is a little bit abrupt, but they had to exactly stop recording after 17 minutes...

Rumpistol: Away

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 06 2014
Artist: Rumpistol
Title: Away
Format: 12"
Label: Rump Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
According to the linear notes this album 'references ['¦] the isolation, absence and loss that comes with the creative process, but also the privilege of being able to disappear into another world and be 100% present in the music' and, almost oddly, this phrase is a clear description of this release as it reveals the implicit struggle between searching new sounds using old synths and being catchy with the radio listener being interesting with the bored reviewer.
From the evocative introduction of 'A dream' to the equally evocative and almost pop ending of 'Atacama' this release is a journey into this form of music that is equally equidistant from the banalities of pop and the autism of experimental. This means that, starting from the almost dull but dancey beats of 'A town', the rumpistol's musical offering is even honest in the depiction of his musical influences but his development is remarkable as it's not something only for the distracted listening but it's something revealing an experimental feel. So, if 'Amnesia' tries to develop the canon of drum 'n bass, 'Asleep' sounds as a dancey pop track that could features in the playlist in a radio that set hitself as 'the best italian dance radio' but it's too shy to explore something more demanding. ' A Glance' and 'Amar' seem an outtakes from the firsts autechre's album (and this is a true compliment).
This release is well developed and reveals an artist that stands in the balance between experimental path and pop allure. Highly recommended.

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