Music Reviews



E.Doctor Smith: Quantum

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 08 2014
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Artist: E.Doctor Smith (@)
Title: Quantum
Format: CD
Label: Edgetone (@)
Rated: *****
Besides the blending of a pile of complementary styles, this collaborative release by inventive drummer and percussionist E.Doctor Smith, former collaborator of big names such as Brian Eno, Madonna's co-writer Stephen Bray and the bassist Edo Castro, is an appreciable parade of guitars and remarkable tools for sound synthesis. On "Quantum", which mainly focuses on the declension of progressive rock by skilled guitarist Jack Wright (such as the two parts of "Progress" or "PsychoBilly", taken from Quantum Kids' past repertory together with other tracks of this release), Smith's mate in the band which got named after his percussion controller Drummstick, as well as on guitar-driven celestial ambient mellow suites ("Ambience for the Active Subconscious Mind", the final "Blue Moon" or "Kodo", which features the heavenly trumpet by Eric Dahlman and String Rickenbacher basses by Tom Shiben) and "funkier" spurts ("The Eight", "Test Drive" or "Angular Momentum"), Smith embellishes each track by means of the enhanced drumming dynamics of the brand new Zendrum EXP MIDI percussion controller that David Haney of the Zendrum Corporation provided to him by enhancing a model, whose design got inspired by notorious Jimi Hendrix's Fender Stratocaster he already designed. Even if he mainly explores genres which could sound a little bit out of context in regars to the ones we usually speak about, the contribution of this additive by Doctor E.Smith, which sometimes seems to chase tonal acceleration on guitar strings, is quite recognizable and the coalescence of otherworldly sounds is so brilliant that it managed to draw our attention. Check it out!

Lemures: Lemuria

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 07 2014
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Artist: Lemures (@)
Title: Lemuria
Format: 12"
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
Not to be confused with those lovely primates living in the island of Madagascar - Lemurs in Po Valley could be an oddity for zoologists indeed -, even if the name of this album could be puzzling as Lemuria is also the name of the hypothetical "lost land" where lemurs came from and the first field recordings of natural sets could let you imagine lemur's habitat, Lemures is the name of the collaborative project by Venetian sound artist Enrico Coniglio and Ravenna-based photographer and field recordist Giovanni Lami, who supposedly named it after the so-called "spirits of the night" of the ancient Roman religion, which can be considered as forefathers of vampires, as they were souls of dead people who cannot find peace after death as they didn't receive proper funeral rites, burial or any devotional remembrances by the living, a lack of respect which justified their malevolent or even vengeful behaviour. Lemuria or Lemuralia was actually the name of the feast during which Romans used to perform some rites to exorcise these evil spirits. I apologize in advance for such a smart aleck-like premise, as you don't have to follow it in order to appreciate Lemures' release, but the intensive recording session they held in a semi-abondened building in the countryside outskirts of Ravenna results in a blending of well-done stereophonic field recordings by Lami and remarkably piercing (particularly in the track named "I") sinewaves by Coniglio, which could let you thik about haunted places where inanimate objects came alive as they were pranks from phantasmagorical shadowy entities, who burst on the scene by perturbing the illusory ordinary nature of recorded settings or objects. so that each of the four tracks (six if you consider the freely downloadable EP, which anticipated the release of the album) will appear more like a (somewhat confusing or nerve-racking) proper sonic adenture than a creative crossing of sound techniques.

@c: Ab OVO

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 06 2014
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Artist: @c (@)
Title: Ab OVO
Format: CD
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
The conceptual framework of the play OVO by the Puppet Theare of Porto (Portugal), which started from a sparkling idea by Eric De Sarria, pivots on the contemporary declension of everlasting crisis of mankind and supposedly those abstract and sometimes enticing ideas of progress or evolution that nourish collectivism or alternatively individualism till their gradual dissipation. The nihilistic premises of this play - the human collapse, the dispersion of the notion of future, the automatic reurring of the past - could maybe sound like the nubbin of many hackneyed scripts, but the thespian ploy to render such a precipitation is somehow original as the man got represented almost like a puppeteer (not a puppet!) who has to rein four different character in a so tight spot that the sole certitude is the fall itself. The soundtrack by Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais - a somewhat scary succession of almost improvised electronic aggregates - doesn't disregard those fences and focuses on the sonic rendering of this somehow hyperbolic hyperreality: the initial magmatic cauldron where even sturdiest sonic entities got melted, unceasing maelstroms where any electric lunges and darts got pulverized, resounding cones of oblivion, where hesitant poltergeists, limp melodies and even spoken thoughts seems to fester. Every element falls into new crevices anytime it touches a bottom and blunders into a dimension whose vagueness seems to be its dungeon...

BJ Nilsen: Eye of the Microphone

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 05 2014
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Artist: BJ Nilsen (@)
Title: Eye of the Microphone
Format: CD
Label: Touch (@)
Rated: *****
As you could easily guess from the title, which obviously refers to the notorious Lodon Eye, the giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of Thames River, and the cover artwork, a panoramic snapshot taken from one capsule of that popular structure, the intrusive microphone by imaginative Swedish sound artist Benny Jonas Nilsen lingered on London this time, but if you have already experienced some works by BJ Nilsen, you should know that you cannot expect just a sterilized collection of field recordings. On this occasion, you could imagine that rather than the classical animal comparison to a dead cat from the slang name of the synthetic fur which covers the outer shell in order to reduce wind noise, his beloved stereophonic microphone could have turned into a bird (a lark or sometimes a night owl), which flutter about London to see and listen the jungle of sounds and noises the English capital everlastingly offers. Just after BJ Nilsen received a scholarship from the Leverhulme Trust for a one-year Artist in Residency at the UCL Urban Laboratory in London for having introduced sound as an art practice to urban scholars and students, he begun to grab sounds from the streets and its interiors while wandering during daytime and sometimes night-time, but after the "organization" of all these recordings, you could follow them as the imaginary migration of the above-mentioned bird from the heart of the financial City and Thames banks towards peripheral places outside metropolitan areas, so that whereas the opening track "Londinium" mainly detected the city centre - the record button got pressed after the bells of a church in the Diocese of Westminster started to chime - and the gradual movement towards river waters, whose barrier of algae, mud, sand and brick buildings unveiled an almost archeological mine of sound sources such as pieces of porcelain, broken chairs, bones, bricks and old shoes, the final "Twenty Four Seven" sounds like mirroring the illusory incessant movement of urban life which kept on casting its signals into a natural context that manages to derail the listening experience into a sort of unexpected catharsis. The ability of this sound artist in organizing field recordings till the transducing of astonishing soundscapes sticks into emotional and spellbinding dimensions in the more sinister median track "Coins and Bones", which sounds like validating the fact that field recordings are often not sufficient for a complete representation of a place without the filtering of perception, memories and their processing.

Heterotic: Rain EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 03 2014
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Artist: Heterotic
Title: Rain EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
You could surmise that this lovely tidbit from the hermaphrodite and somehow aphrodisiac Heterotic, the project Heterotic by Mike Paradinas and his partner-in-life and partner-in-art Lara Rix-Martin, is a way to rekindle the romance, which got wisely instilled by their beautiful album "Love and Devotion". Mauybe it's so or maybe not. Even if the single "Rain" lets listener wander more or less on the same kind of romance by means of fluffy retro-synths, well-cushioned brightness and daydreaming vocals by French vocalist Matthieu Le Berre aka Vezelay, this release precedes the already announced forthcoming album from this whimsical couple, so that the floating housey synth-pop of "Problemo" - that kind of track that could be voluptuousness danced together with your partner where any red-hot movement is just a sort of wingbeat towards heavenly dimensions - and the inspiring combination of more muscolar robotic steps and heady pads on "The Tripods" could be an appetizer of what they are going to deliver, but their love-driven flair is so fertile that Heterotic could even go beyond any predictable expectations, which could ensue from the listening of this mellow EP. An instrumental version of "Rain" has been included as well, so that you could maybe have a shot at singing it to your partner and fixing the spat which could have followed your wrong choice of St.Valentine's gift!


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