Music Reviews



303 Committee: s/t

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 25 2013
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Artist: 303 Committee
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Inam Records (@)
Rated: *****
There was not much in the package that gave any clues about 303 Committee, but the card that came with it described it as 'noise, drone and fuzz interrupt distant ambience.' The website credits 'Field Recording by Megan. Noise by RH.' I assume that this is Ryan Huber, who is also Olekranon, Sujo, and the man behind Inam Records. Megan is likely the Megan Abajian who does the artwork for the Olekranon albums, but who knows? The packaging is kind of lo-fi and reminds me of some of the Breathmint Records stuff. The music is pretty decent noisy drone. There is a cinematic feel to much of this and the synth layers work well with the noisy elements. This is not really harsh noise, but it is also not really dark ambient; 202 Committee chooses instead to blend the two and it works well. Overall, this is pretty good. This album is limited to 33 copies and weighs in at around 30 minutes.

][|][: [__]

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 25 2013
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Artist: ][|][
Title: [__]
Format: CD
Label: Steelkraft Manufactory (@)
Rated: *****
File ][|][ alongside 'The Artist Formerly Known as Prince' for having unpronounceable names. This is the second album I have reviewed from this act, having previously reviewed 'Iter,' also on Steelkraft Manufactory. I was not too into the previous album, but this is definitely a step up from Iter. This album (again with the unpronounceable title) uses organ improvisations inspired by the Greek myth of the Labyrinth. These works were then heavily processed to create interesting washes of heavy drone. Where I found Iter to be too static and minimal, this album is engaging and continually evolving. The sound is dark, suffocating, and oppressive at times before shifting to quiet, peaceful moments, only to do it all over again. If you like atmospheric drone this is one to check out. This album weighs in at around 56 minutes.

Corephallism / Gnaw Their Tongues: s/t

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 25 2013
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Artist: Corephallism / Gnaw Their Tongues (@)
Title: s/t
Format: 10"
Label: Lascivious Aesthetics
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed Corephallism's 3' CD, so I had some idea of what I was in for here and realized that this would not be the harsh wall of noise one may expect from his other project Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck. I recognize that for many the titles are almost secondary in this kind of music, but 'Abandonment' does a good job of living up to its namesake, with slow droning synth. There is a sense of sadness in the track, which was almost pleasant. Likewise, 'Rapes of Convenience' certainly tries to set a sinister tone, with hissing, unintelligible vocals and dark atmosphere. Gnaw Their Tongues provides the other side with 'A Moral Guide to Self-castration And Necrophilia.' I had heard about this act, but had not yet had a chance to hear what they had to offer, so I was interested to check it out. This is some nice, slow, heavy, noise. I'm not talking wall of noise kind of stuff, but more a kind of industrial soundscape with some synth drone and some screaming thrown in for good measure. It's gritty, but not too harsh ' you could play this for someone who was interested in noise but just didn't get it because all they had ever heard was Merzbow or Masonna. Pretty good, although the screaming did start to get a bit tiresome. And yes, the cover art is pretty much what you'd expect. Don't leave this out on your table when the in-laws come to visit.

Richard Pinhas: Desolation Row

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 25 2013
cover
Artist: Richard Pinhas
Title: Desolation Row
Format: CD
Label: Cuneiform Records (@)
Rated: *****
This monumental musical behemoth which translates an equally ginormous and frightening vision of the predictable mutation of liberalism into a centralized and tentacular teknofascist regime in Europe as a consequence of the deep economical crisis and its social and cultural perceivable consequences intersects both the cultural background - Richard took an active part in student uprising in 1968, when he was a young student at the Sorbonne under the philosopher Gilles Deleuze - and musical talent of Richard Pinhas. All those listeners who already know his remarkable penchant to fusion different sonic and stylistical languages (if you missed them, have a listen to Pinhas previous key releases such as the collaborative albums "Metal/Crystal" with Merzbow and Wolf Eyes and "Rhizome" with Merzbow or the astonishing "Metatron") as well as his work within his band Heldon cannot but enjoy the way he keeps on melting and moulding ores of prog-rock, metal, electronics, ambient, abstract, noise and jazzy elements into psychedelic, visionary and somehow significant sculpture, whose careful planing got assisted this time by a plenty of talented European musicians orbiting around the spheres of progressive rock, noise, jazz and improvisational music such as Oren Ambarchi, Noel Akchote, Etienne Jaumet, Lasse Marhaug, Eric Borelva and his son Duncan Nilsson, who fed three different line-ups. Guitar melodic lines over the six long-lasting tracks move toward breathtaking electronic drones, impetuous drum or analog-synth rides, unnerved clumps and parabolic ascensions, even if they sound ceaselessly throttled or suffocated by the whirlwinds of straining sonic ground-swll from other elements, whose dynamic pressure seems to gradually overwhelm even when the melodic line sounds more placid or audible like in "Circle", where guitars got gradually armoured while they got charged by surges of delayed signals and effects which gradually submerge the rhythmic pattern as well, or "Square", where load-bearing axis lays on Akchote's rock riff which got gradually fagged by a subtle tension which creeps into the melodic bushes of the song; they stretch and twist around parading slow drums, blowing winds festering screeches on "South"; they sound like screaming and corroding the robotic leviathan, which got evoked by the initial synth line of the opening track "North"; they finally blurs on the astonishing drones of "Moog", whose trippy clangors and electronic psychedelic ride will delight the eardrums of lovers of Frpp, Eno, Pink Floyd or Jarre, and the over-stretched stident layers of "Drone 1". "Desolution Row" could be a proper sonic translation of the individual see/feel in front of forthcoming happenings in Old Continent or maybe an inner stronghold, as someione could surmise from Pinhas' own words about this album: "music is a way to fight...and to bring weapons to people, to make them feel outside of their servitude, and perhaps to make them happy, even for one minute...a way to fight THE POWER!".

Cass.: Loops & Farewell Sketches

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 21 2013
cover
Artist: Cass. (@)
Title: Loops & Farewell Sketches
Format: 12"
Label: Shhhh… (@)
Rated: *****
Cass. (yes, that's right, with a period at the end) is an electronic ambient, dj and sound artist musician from Osnabrück, Germany , and 'Loops and Farewell Sketches' is his first release. This was originally a self-released CD-R limited to 100 copies (one of which apparently I possess) but the demand was so high in the first weeks after its initial release that it was surprisingly sold out. Picked up by the Shhhh'¦ label, it is now available either as a digital download or on white 180g vinyl. The cover artwork was painted by Lea Seppä-Murto in 1979 when she was 18 years old, inspired by the beautiful landscape of her hometown Sammaljoki in Finland. 'Loops and Farewell Sketches was recorded in December 2012 and is comprised of sound sources varying from old, sampled, pitched, modulated and destroyed records, a large field recording directory that has been created over years, multiple effected instrument - and synthloops layered on the top of each other, and different small acoustic instruments.

On my first listen to 'Loops and Farewell Sketches' I found myself trying to analyze the sound sources and construction of the music too much and thinking ':this isn't all that great, just a lot of looping overdubs'. You can't do that with this music; it's not made to be critically studied, but rather lazily enjoyed in an unfocused way. This is very gentle ambient music, made to be consumed in the moment and likely forgotten until the next listening. The first piece, 'Aiiy' has looped flute and other orchestral elements, low drone, some (wordless?) sustained vocal in the background and a lower drone that modulates pitch occasionally. The way this all blends together is quite nice. Makes me think of a hot cup of coffee or cocoa on a cold day. 'Rustling and Pure' brings in some light percussion elements forming a minimal rhythm while a looped electric piano riff rocks gently back and forth. Once again there is slowly moving bass drone, and other aural elements you sense more than pick out as individual instruments or components. It's quite hypnotic if you let yourself go with the flow. 'Sans Peau' is little more than two elongated chords (played on what, I'm not exactly sure) but it drifts like a leaf slowly blowing in the wind. 'Falmer Sea Piano I' seems a little busier than the prior compositions with reverb-drenched soft electric piano and birds in the background but for all the notes being played it has the effect of a babbling brook. 'From Bay to Meadow' begins with windchimes and a steady tapping eventually being overtaken by an orchestral drone loop. Meandering celestial notes glide over the top, and bass and soft guitar emerge providing some structure and sense of rhythm. A lot of subtle changes take place in this piece that once again, you sense more than particularly hear. It ends with the chimes and tapping. At first 'Chatwin Cathedral' sounds like a beginner's group of acoustic guitarists playing the same figure over and over until you realize just how Enoesque this piece is. Wonderful! Speaking of Eno, for some reason 'Moth' reminded me a lot of his 'Another Green World' album. Last track, 'Ethan Veerbek' is another hypnotic looped piano-based piece with other soft electronic elements, some kind of clicking, and sampled dialogue (in German). I could have done without the voices but it was really brief. These pieces seem so simple to listen to yet undoubtedly complex in their construction. It's really amazing. The whole album is only 34 minutes which is even short for an LP, but it's so good, once you hear it you won't want to pass it up. Recommended, another bookstore favorite.


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