Music Reviews



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!

wndfrm: c60 / tmkutekt

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 03 2014
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Artist: wndfrm
Title: c60 / tmkutekt
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
Ian Hawgood recently pop many interesting records that we're going to speak about for the pleasure of lovers of deep listening experiences on his small, but really active Japanese label Home Normal. this one comes from Portland sound artist Tim Wescott, mostly known under the guise of Cloudburst, whose first record as wndfrm - created by means of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts - is a laudable assay of sound processing of a pile of field recordings he mainly grabbed during a visit in the lovely Montreal, Canada, in the early summer of 2011. The first 37-minutes lasting track "c60" could meet requirements of this branch of sound art by itself: the title supposedly refers to the formula of so-called buckminsterfullurene or bucky-balls, the smallest fullurene molecole, whose name is a tribute to American futirist Buckminster Fuller, the architect who made its spherical cage-like carbon-based structure inadvertently popular by its resemblance with the geodesic domes he used to design. One of the most famouse dome by Fuller is the Montreal Biosphere in Parc Jean-Drapeau on Ile Sainte-Helene, which surrounds the Biosphere Museum of the Environment, a laudable educational museum where visitors could learn differnet ecological subjects by entertaining themselves. The first 17 minutes of the above-mentioned tracks are close to the threshold of silence where the mantle of ethereal and airy noises, which could come from fans or engines in slow motion got just puckered some thundering low frequencies, before some childish yakety-yak ushers in a drone-like sequence of different noises. This first whirlpool of "artificial" noises seems to mimic human activity and its delicate and almost mystical balance with surrounding environment, which got even more highlighted on the second track of this release "tmkutekt", whose ethereal consistency as well as some bizarre esoteric details (such as the sudden "extrusion" of words like "escape" or "risky" in the initial cloud of the people talking, which got supposedly grabbed in a train station as the following noises could let you surmise) could be similar to some cerebral experiments from Boards Of Canada, Tear Ceremony or Stars Of The Lid and other possible sonic stripes for the idealistic soundtrack of an hopefully upcoming evolutionary step of human progress.


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