Music Reviews

Supersimmetria: Golden Ratio

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 12 2013
Artist: Supersimmetria (@)
Title: Golden Ratio
Format: CD
Label: Industry 8 (@)
Rated: *****
When I opened the package, the post-it note on the disc described it as 'Ant-Zen-ish.' The layout and design were done by Salt, so I figured that we'd be on the same page. To me, Sonar and Winterkälte are Ant-Zen-ish, so I was a bit surprised when I put this on and was greeted by'¦. piano. And no beats. Well, the beats came later, but this is not the kind of in your face beats of Imminent Starvation or Noisex. The interesting thing about this album is that the beats sneak up on you; by the time you notice that they are there, they seem like they have always been there. Supersimmetria is the work of Berlin-based Armando Alibrandi, and the label describes the album as 'A recording where space and atmosphere are the most dominant. The varied rhythmic and arhythmic elements are never allowed to dominate the sound. All musical elements are subservient to the tranquil and spacious sound.' Indeed, this is much more peaceful than most of the Ant-Zen catalogue, so if you're looking for more of the drum and noise kind of stuff, this is not what you're looking for. Then again, this may be something you didn't know you needed. There is a lot of repetition throughout this disc, but instead of becoming annoying it actually works. There are also recurring themes that travel from song to song, such as the piano lines that are continually woven throughout and the drone that ties it all together. The beats are pleasant and resist overpowering the atmosphere that Supersimmetria works so hard to build throughout. Overall, this is quite well done, and I will be interested to see how this artist evolves over time. The two remixes at the end of the disc were good on their own merits, but didn't seem to hang together with the rest of the album (as should be the case with remixes). Worms of the Earth put a more beat driven spin on 'Ascending,' with exotic female vocals, while Aphexia offers up a dense, almost overpowering rendition of 'Chiasm.' Well done, but I would almost like to see them off the disc because the rest of it has such a level of cohesion. This album weighs in at around 75 minutes.

Somnambulance: Night Wandering

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 12 2013
Artist: Somnambulance (@)
Title: Night Wandering
Format: CD
Label: Everest Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this duo from Zurich comprised of Valentin Dietrich and Silvan Jeger, but with a name like Somnambulance and a disc titled 'Night Wandering,' you should have some idea of what you are in for. And rarely have I heard a disc live up to such expectations. The label explains that 'From their noise-music past they adopt the concept of music as something abstract and consecutive; something that spins on in the head of the listener ' similarly to the comatose moment just before falling asleep, where the sense for temporal sequence is lost and the perception of reality is no longer possible nor necessary.' This is one of those discs that fade into the background so well that you are only aware of it when it shifts ever so slightly. As such, it has that peaceful feeling of sleep, but the kind of sleep where dreams are coming and you're never certain whether they will be good ones or bad ones. On this disc, they are all good ones, at least as far as the music is concerned. The closest comparison I have is Aidan Baker's drone work, but this should provide some sense of how things sound on this disc. This is very well done drone that doesn't really get boring, which is quite a feat when you are trying to channel the idea of sleepwalking. Get this and sit down with a good book (anything by Thomas Ligotti would fit well) and sink into the music. This album weighs in at around 43 minutes.

Zenial: Chimera

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 12 2013
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Artist: Zenial (@)
Title: Chimera
Format: 12"
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This release from Åukasz SzaÅankiewicz collects tracks developed mainly from installation so they are in connection from some visual elements unknown to the listener of the audio release. His musical path relies in the classic tradition of industrial/electronic music so is based upon oscillators and filters creating a musical palette with a clear and almost geometrical structure.
The rhythmic path created with oscillators of 'Chimera' opens this release creating a feeling with the '80's experiments of the first wave of industrial with the typical kind of static created with drones. The initial drone of 'Hastallen' with his sine waves is even colder in the exposition of the musical process based on the juxtaposition of the outputs of the instruments. 'Unclean/clean' depicts his title showing clearer sounds and noisier ones. The b-side of this release if filled by a track, 'Rosora 28', that entails classic industrial form with his coda 'rosora 28 : wymar 4/5' where the repetitive and alienating form evolves in quieter and refined path.
This release develops his musical ideas in the tradition of industrial ambient music working in the refinement of the form rather than in experimenting without a clear end. Recommended for fans.

Steve Hauschildt: S/H

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 11 2013
Artist: Steve Hauschildt (@)
Title: S/H
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Most listeners could have got in touch with the fine electronic arts of Emeralds member Steve Hauschildt by means of his delightful dedication to Greek Muses Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, and Polyhymnia, the Muse of Geometry (as well as the Muse of sacred poetry, hymns and meditation) on Kranky, which sounds like a finely mythological handhold under divine auspices to describe his intriguing style, where dances of electronic bleeping particles and enchanting geometries hover towards sidereal heights or flow into symphonic streams which often recall authentic legends of German Kosmische music, drone-ambient or even aquarian stuff. This huge anthology, which includes both previously unreleased stuff from his archives and some tracks such as "Passing Cars", "Critique Of The Beautiful", "Different Directions" and "Rapt for Liquid Minister", which appeared on Mike Pollard's Arbor, Chris Madak's Deception Island and expired Steve's label Gneiss Things, extensively displays the traits that this American electronic musician showed on the above-mentioned release, which seems to be reprised by cover artwork as well, a snapshot of a LED-based art installation by Erwin Ledl. It's going to cause auricular orgasms to lovers of synth-propelled cosmic riders such as Klaus Schultze or possible contemporary relay runners such as Boards Of Canada, Mark McGuire or Oneohtrix Point Never.

Antonymes: There Can Be No True Beauty Without Decay

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 11 2013
Artist: Antonymes (@)
Title: There Can Be No True Beauty Without Decay
Format: CD
Label: Hibernate (@)
Rated: *****
"Where to begin? Wherever you find yourself", a printed sentence on the album artwork of this beautiful record by Welsh composer Ian M.Hazeldine aka Antonymes says and his music immediately makes me find myself or my memories when I explored the fascinating places you can find in North Wales, where he actually lives, in wintertime some years ago, which could let you think he got somehow influenced by the gauntest places of that lovely corner of the planet, but the title as well as that sentence seems to allude to something else and the answer could be find in the light and shade of his music. Each track of "There can be no true beauty without decay" has a sort of twin, which could be misnamed as a remix, where his enchanting piano melodies sound like soaked within an daydreaming and emotional syrup or an environ-mental scenery. The beginning of an heart-rending seld-perception or maybe the clear focalization of a personal emotional state could suddenly spring while listening to this record, which offers many beatific moments, contemplative fibrillations and chilling sonic solvents - I particularly enjoyed both versions of "Means Of Escape", "Strange Light" and "The End Of Everything" as well as the first versions of "Forever Without Hope" and "Falling", but my personal rank cannot but be filtered by emotional diaphragms -. The photographic "quotation" of an old upright piano by John Strohmerger, which knew decay as a big fire completely destroyed that factory before its glorious rebirth, sounds likea variation of the antonymous theme, which has been developed in a clever way by Antonymes' imagined conversations on linear notes, which suppply many erudite quotations. "Georges Bataille writes in The Language of Flowers about the sinister relationship between beauty and its defilement", says Ian about such a chasing game between antonyms in music, arts and aesthethics, which belongs to the awareness and self-awareness of many musicians on these tagline-like notes where he also spoke about his creative process: "Sometimes I take an observation by a composer, and turn that into a piece of music, as if it can be read like a score, thoughts giving instructions about the shape, tone, speed, rhythm, intention of a composition...sometimes an idea comes because I am wanting someone to know that I am thinking of them...sometimes I just look out of the window, and make a little noise on the piano, and already there seems to be potential for a new piece"..., and I add, sometimes he can touch the chords of an unknown soul by a somehow random and "unaddressed" composition.

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