Music Reviews

Maps and Diagrams: In Circles

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 27 2013
Artist: Maps and Diagrams
Title: In Circles
Format: CD
Label: Time Released Sound (@)
Rated: *****
"In Circles" is the second release for Alameda-based Time Released Sound, whose strictly limited editions combine very finely hand crafted packaging and likewise refined mostly ambient and folk music, and the fifth one in 2013 by one of the most appreciated stretcher of frequencies within the packed ambient scene, the brilliant sound alchemist Tim Martin, mainly known in the guise of Maps and Diagrams. There are seemingly many similarities between "In Circles" and "Get Lost", its previous album on TRS, due to the instantaneous emotional impact of each track, the dilution of any sonic appearances into lengthened frequency, a vague sense of bygone nostalgia and an all-absorbing vibrant nimbus, but apart from the refiniment of Martin's way of blending and layering sounds, which usually characterizes his stuff, a careful listening reveals a more meticulous attention to details on dynamics. All the tracks of "In Circles" sounds like transmissions from somehow blurred and mostly celestial places which gves just some tanglible clues in the "real" one and can only be explored in a dream state: the aural breeze on the initial "Talavera" sounds like springing its sonic emissions (including a distant airy piano melody) up and pouring them into the following "Bosque" where what seems to be an elongated church organ swathes the whole track by a kind of holy effulgence, the vaguely bucolic escape in slow motion of "Valargo" and the sweet lapse of "Ten Black Cards", which precedes the heavenly transmissions of the breathtaking "Kimura (Cadiz)". One of the better chiseled moment of the album comes with "A Bump In The Night", where the initial guitar phrasing seems to slide into a fictional dimension by tunefully weaving together a beaming sound before its fade-out and similar dynamics where an instrumental element got fully imbibed by aural sonorities or aural transfigurations of exogenous stimulations occur on "Batika (Rust)" or the enchanting "Madrid (Orion)", which could be considered as necessary sonic steps towards totally ethereal episodes like "Locus (AB)" or "1895 (Moth Evolution)". Even if there some connections with Spain, including the voice by Spanish guests I am Dive on the lovely final song "Yesterday" and the antique ornate silkscreened Spanish cork wallpapers for the artwork of the deluxe version (only 70 copies), each "physical" entity got always mirrored by a sort of sidereal twin.
Artist: Phantom Love (@)
Title: Crave For Lust
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: ZerOKilled Music (@)
Rated: *****
Rome-based producer Valentina Fanigliulo, better known as Mushy, already had been introduced and praised on this space when she signed a collaborative release with Peter M. dedicated to the first movie by Alejandro Jodorowsky as well as her debut release "Faded Heart" in the guise of Mushy, which got described as the most convincing answer by American artists such as Zola Jesus and Tamaryn. Supposedly anticipated by same-named track on the single "My Love So Far", Phantom Love is Valentina's most recent moniker for an instrumental project, where despite she let her voice stand, she keeps on lingering on influences from dark music classics and horror movie soundtracks (particularly John Carpenter's ones), which have been melted with skeletal 4/4 pulsations and witch-house nuances. The initial "Crave For Lust" sounds like the perfect sonic glazing agent for the rendering of a cliff-hanger-like feeling by means of dry claps, scratched chords, crystalline dripping and an otherwordly electronic horn, whereas the stridency between seemingly opposite elements got highlighted on the following "Power And Passion", where a sort of spectral rattling fluctuates within distant creaking noises, translucent sonic bends and a muffled movement, whose intrinsic magnetic effulgence more clearly erupts on "Dead Illusion", the last track of this mouthwatering EP.

Max Cooper & Tom Hodge: Fragmented Self - Part 2

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 24 2013
Artist: Max Cooper & Tom Hodge (@)
Title: Fragmented Self - Part 2
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Rated: *****
If you enjoyed the first part of "Fragmented Self" by Max Cooper and Tom Hodge I spoke about some days ago, I'm pretty sure this second part will be the proper cherry on top of a pear-brandy soaked cake for many listeners whose ardrums and minds have been titillated by its pedecessor. There's only a new track by this guessed musical twosome, "Amorphous Romance", whose remarkable crescendo departs from a delicate raw solo piano by Hodge whose both rhythmical and "dramatic" accelerations got gradually ramped up by well-broken electronic particles, aerostatic light breezes, seraphic laments and a delicate pitapat by Cooper's machines, which manage to emphasize the abstract beauty of the track. The piano melody seems to have been completely absorbed by processing machines in the stunning d'n'b-oriented remix by British producer Jermaine Soul. "Von der Klippe Fallen" from their the first part of "Fragmented Self" is going to come as a bonus track for all those ones who are going to buy this release on iTunes.
Dec 24 2013
Artist: Annie Hall (@)
Title: Random Paraphilia
Format: 12"
Label: Detroit Underground
Distributor: Complete
Rated: *****
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV, the notorious classification of mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, which can be considered the sacred book of psychology, psychopatology and psychiatry, described paraphilia as the experience of intense sexual arousal to atypical objects. You can expect somewhat manic or morbid sonorities from an album which quotes paraphilias in the title as well as related matters to name its tracks, but Madrid-born, but Detroit-based, dj and producer Annie Hall, partner of Detroit Undergroud multidisciplinary arts collective boss Kero, manages to evoke a sort of poetic abstract related to this supposedly mental disorder by means of mellow edulcorations of electronic-hop lumps of fractured rhythmical patterns and compressed percussions, which could resemble some stuff by Funkstorung on the initial "DSM-5" or "Bandit 28930", a track which features Shadow Huntaz on mic - Annie's style is somehow analogous to Shadow Huntaz's excellent output "Dark Matter" -, some lovey-dovery sprains of abstract and glitch-IDM sonorities by producers like Metamatics or Solvent on the planed excrescences of "Foihtreiu", the delicious contrasts of "Symphora", where electromechanical evulliences reaches their pinnacle and got smoothed by liquid synth pokes and entranced vocals by Annie herself, and the sweet strictures of "Sada Abe", which sounds like the romantic sonic portrait of the notorious Japanese assassin, who strangled his lover Kichizo Ishida before cutting off his privates, which she held inside her handbag. Annie's sonorities cannot but stimulate Richard Devine's flair, who put before high-compression treatment "Bandit 28930", the most cacophonous episode of the release, as well as the panache for acidulous processing by Valence "MusSck" Drakes, who gripped and unraveled "DSM-5", while Gerard E.R.P. Hanson marvelously highlights the elegiacally melodic segments of "Sada Abe" on his surprising remix.

M.B., Massimo Croce, DBPIT and XxeNa: ISOMETRIE SONORE

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 22 2013
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Artist: M.B., Massimo Croce, DBPIT and XxeNa (@)
Format: 12"
Label: Arte Nel Rumore | GattoAlieno (@)
Rated: *****
In the presentation of this release, the postface written by Maurizio Bianchi, this release is based around a geometrical concept: the preservation of the sonic distance between the metrical spaces that, in musical terms, are the sonic ideas of the participants. 'Isometrie sonore' is an album that collect four collaboration of M.B. with some of the most obscure entities of italian industrial: DBPIT, XxeNa (already known for their 'drawings at an exhibition' release) and Maurizio Croce.
Perhaps the best way to approach this release is starting with the limited edition tape 'Artemisio' featuring four track from each of the participant to this release: 'Biettiva' is the track from M.B. and is a dialogue between two mono track low volume noise track so there's a stereo track that seems a blend between musical opposite: noise and lowercase. 'People', the track from DBPIT, is based around a trumpet line above a soundscape made of bells and synth vaguely resembling the most experimental Death in June tracks. 'Erama', the track from XxeNa, is the most industrial like with her use of declamatory vocals and small noises. 'Oblomizzati', the track from Maurizio Croce, is the most dark ambient like creating a cold soundscape. Oddly enough every track is louder from his predecessor as the quieter is from M.B..
The proper release, a vinyl one, features four collaboration '01' is between M.B. and XxeNa and is a clear ambient tune in the vein of the quieter period of M.B. from his '90 return. '02' is between M.B. and DBPIT and is opened by a martial noisy beat suddenly juxtaposed by a small noise that round between the channels. and ends with a dialogue between the lines exposed during the track. '03' is between M.B. and Massimo Croce and is a soundscape based on drones. '04', the track on the b side is a collaboration between the four musicians and seems the sum of the musical ideas of the tape as is the sum of small beats (of DBPIT), a soundscape (from Massimo Croce), small noises (from M.B.) and vocal lines and samples (from XxeNa).
In some way this release seems more a solo release from M.B. with some guests rather than a true collaboration, perhaps because he's a musical influence for his collaborators however is impressive to hear new musical ideas from an artist with so many years of activity. Absolute respect.

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