Music Reviews



Orphax: De tragedie van een liedjesschrijver zonder woorden

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 11 2013
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Artist: Orphax (@)
Title: De tragedie van een liedjesschrijver zonder woorden
Format: CD
Label: Moving Furniture Records (@)
Rated: *****
Gusts of icy wind which lashes over a land while electric drones and sharp-edged echoes matche with the glacial crystals which blanket everything, the magnetic storms traces their wavering dances on the sky and some distant crackling fire. This is the first figurative and mental image of the initial track "Onder Het Noorderlicht" ("Under The Northern Lights") from this ambient limbo-like album that Amsterdam-based producer Sietse van Erve aka Orphax assembled between April 2005 and July 2007 during a delicate period of his life which occurred between the end of educational period and the beginning of working years when he fighted against an unknown (at that time) disease which swamped his mind with a plenty of questions with no answers, mirrored by its title "De tragedie van een liedjesschrijver zonder woorden' (Dutch for "The tragedy of a song writer without words"). Such an immersive and somewhat wistful listeneing experience, which got enhanced and rehashed in 2008 and 2010, keeps on wrapping listener by the suffocated numbness of "Geluiden Van De Eerste Dag" ("Sounds of the First Day") where rustling subcutaneous sounds sneak between occasional electric buzzes, the feeble and toneless drone of "Samen Aan Het Water" ("Together On The Water"), the estranging pale warmth of "Winterslaap In De Zomer" ("Hibernation In Summer"), the reprise of initial environmental icy suggestions on "Ochtendgloren Boven De IJzige Vlakte" ("Dawn Over The Icy Plain"), which sounds even more hypnotical and sinuously asphyxiating than "Onder Het Noorderlicht" and the final mystical and mystifying rise of "Het Bos" ("The Forest"). Just 300 copies have been released, so that if you're an immersive ambient-drone lover, I cannot but recommend to grab your copy.

Jessy Lanza: Pull My Hair Back

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 10 2013
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Artist: Jessy Lanza (@)
Title: Pull My Hair Back
Format: CD
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
One of the most seductive entry in the rich roster of UK electronic label Hyperdub comes from the talented Canadian singer Jessy Lanza, whose sensual voice jelled with the likewise erotic keys by herself and Jeremy Greenspan from Junior Boys, who fords somewhat hackneyed stylistical rivers such as contemporary pop or r'n'b by brushing velvet gloves against their surfaces. The tempting shell of this symbiotic fusion is going to coax a wide range of listeners by limpid moments of melancholy, which have been wisely nestled both in the texts and in the sonorities. All those who have been infected by the reprise of some disco lay-out which followed the outbreaking Daft Punk's record supposedly will be diven crazy by the central track "Keep Moving", a juicy amalgamation of classic disco and house, but besides this pop climax, there's so much classy eclat inside the crawling pelting of sonic and vocal pearls between the initial alluring rub of acidic basslines, soothing synths and piano, smooth claps and Jessy's voice which seems to come from a burnt out neon of "Giddy" and the final emotional paregoric of "Strange Emotion", where the listener will experience some difficulties in winnowing if voice or sonic touches is more seducing while moaning with pleasure for the auricular penetrations all over this release.

[.que]: drama

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 06 2013
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Artist: [.que] (@)
Title: drama
Format: CD
Label: Schole (@)
Rated: *****
After a couple of self-released albums - "Sigh" (May 2012) and "Calm Down" (July 2012)-, some live exhibitions, many collaborations and borrowings to a number of projects for web, TV, radio and visual works, his contributon for "Schole Hope Project" in support of the reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 2011 and a contributuon for the fifth anniversary label-sampler "Joy - Schole compilation vol.3", the burgeoning 25-years old sound designer and composer Nao Kakimoto achieves his first full-length album on the appreciated Japanese label. On his "Drama", Nao seems to dramatize simple pleasures of ordinary life, serene charming scenes and fragrant emotionalism by means of 13 saccharin folk-tronica songs. The detail-oriented research of purity in the sound by the flusing-out of electric piano, whose slight delay on single strokes resembles me the way that Vangelis used to mutate piano on songs like "Chariots OF Fire", and acoustic guitar resembles the work of other compatriot veteran such as Sakamoto or his sponsor Akira Kosemura, who supervised and co-produced this release, some melodic structures sometimes sound too iterative and the rhythmical pattern are often too simple so that you could have the impression of listening to variations of more or less fixed schemes, but the mathematical accuracy of his snap-fit patchworks is really remarkable and the melodic dimmers succeeds in laying emphasis on the emotional nuances, particularly on heartwarming tracks like "bud", "Daybreak", "Air" and "Sunset", where he carefully grafted other sonic elements like field recordings or female choruses. Nao definitively holds great promise for his own musical and artistic path and for the pleasures of ambient-spotted folk-tronica listeners.

Gastón Arévalo: Rollin Ballads

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 05 2013
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Artist: Gastón Arévalo (@)
Title: Rollin Ballads
Format: CD
Label: Oktaf (@)
Rated: *****
The man behind this new ablution into flooding lights is Uruguayan composer Gaston Arevalo, whose entrancing overflows of smooth frequencies manage to ferry listeners towards a daydreaming state of mind by speaking of some places he lived or visited at the same time: besides stretched and modulated instrumental parts and ethereal solvents, Gaston dissolved many field recordings grabbed from some European cities and above all his native Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, into his heady amniotic fluid, where many childhood memories and impressions such as the noise of the textile factory where his father used to work, the background sounds of the sea and the fishermen from the harbour nearby his house and so on, splashed down, so that the whole record smells like an enchanted anamnesis and a delighting enraptured journey over a palette of sounds, which mirror nestled vivid images and geographic striking evocations from some hidden distant coves of the soul. Even if it predictably resemble many miliar stones of ambient and neo-classical music (Brian Eno, Erik Satie, Arvo Part, William Basinski), "Rollin Ballads" got distinguishably perfumed by a personal touch and an inner perpetual motion, which manages to scramble listener's memories and feelings in despite of the "staticness" of many ambient records or the prevailing stereotype about this stylistical field.

Bruce Gilbert & BAW: Diluvial

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 04 2013
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Artist: Bruce Gilbert & BAW (@)
Title: Diluvial
Format: CD
Label: Touch (@)
Rated: *****
Many electronic musicians plugged their arts in thinking caps about cosmogonical hypotheses, fortunetelling of mankind or the edging forward of impending wipeouts and this tendency has been experiencing an exponential growth curve which seems to follow the curve trend of decreasing natural resources, boom-and-bust cycles and similar drifts after cultural miliar stones such as Philip Glass score for Koyaanisqatsi and so on. This new ring of that chain comes from former Wire guitar player Bruce Gilbert and Beaconsfield Art Works, the collaborative brainchild by David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin, whose sonic reflections about climate changes, global warming, flood geology and parthenogenesis of the universe happens at the right moment just after the scorching heat of summertime, the beginning of autumn and the upcoming of first cloudbursts. Seven long immersive tracks, an understandable reference to the biblical manufacture by a divine Stakhanovite, have been composed over seven weeks from some field recordings on the Suffolk coast on the occasion of Faster Than Sound, Albeburgh, in 2011, and some upgrades for a show at Beaconsfield, London, by the implementation of spellbinding synthesized sounds by Gilbert and Crawforth into Siderfin's score and iPhone field research, which starts from the primordial soup of the initial "The Void" and ends with the final "Rest/Reflection" by sweeping across halway marks such as the protozoic swarming and the birth of oceans evoked by "The Expanse", whose water drops in the second half of the track features a remarkable work on spacey sonorities, the entrancing sandstorm which spans the listening time of "Dry Land", the subtle photonic bodies which gradually radiates on "Lights" by throwing light on the upcoming spheric scale model and their apogean beings on the following tracks "Creatures of Sea and Air" and "Beasts of the Earth". This monumental sonic cosmogony, the fifth release of Beaconsfield's sonic series Soundtrap, cannot be but tiled "Diluvial" and got supported by PRS Foundation, Arts Council England, Big Shed and Hydrosphere.


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