Music Reviews



Phill Niblock: Touch Five

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 29 2013
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Artist: Phill Niblock (@)
Title: Touch Five
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Touch (@)
Rated: *****
One of the living legends of the early minimalist generation and universally recognized as one of the authentic master of drone music, 80-years old Phill Niblock keeps on feeding his musical hobbyhorse, the develoment of a music whose sole engine is the gradual sedimentaton, juxtaposition and layering of microtonal dilutions from instruments in very slow motion, where the real instrument is tape recorder and other computer-aided, electronic or digital devices, which makes this refining easier, and this is the approach Phill followed to build the two long-lasting pieces of the first cd: "Feedcorn Ear" - the title is the anagram of Belgian-Dutch cellist Arne Deforce, which provided the instrumental inputs, even if the final result could let you think about a flugelhorn slotted in some pulmonary alveolus of a giant - is the last and maybe the most otherworldly and somewhat celestial part of a trilogy that Phill begun to mould in his Experimental Intermedia studios in New York after the recording in Piethopraxis - the studios owned by Marcus Schmickler in Cologne - where he used a Brauner microphone, while the unrecognisable departure point of the following "Cage Of Stars" - a drone suite commissioned by Rebecca Shatwell and the AV Festival 12, an International Festival of Art, Technology, Music and Film and premiered on the 3rd of March 2012 at the Sage, Gateshead - were the clear-cut pitches on an e-bowed harp by Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies, who got aided by an oscilloscope visualization in Max MSP software which gave him the possibility to check if he was drifting sharp or flat while bowing. Both of this long-lasting suites are really mesmerizing and will render the impression of movement inside a static but slowly changing cloud, which will probably cause a temporary tinnitus for the minutes which will follow their listening. The second cd includes three different version of "Two Lips" for guitar quartets, whose score has been based on a graded sequence of microtonal steps - 10 divisions of the equal-tempered semitone (100 cents) - where a couple of guitars imperceptibly descends, ten cents a time, from a G tone to a F diesis, while the other two guitarist rises from a G diesis tone to an A. In spite of the conciseness of its score, the three different performers (NY-based electric guitar quartet Dither - Taylor Levine, David Linaburg, Joshua Lopes and James Moore -, Belgian/Dutch quartet Zwerm - Kobe Van Cauwenberghe, Matthias Koole, Toon Callier and guest guitar player Guy De Bievre - and Coh Da Quartet, made up by Niblock veterans David First, Seth Josel, Robert Poss and Susan Stenger) achieve quite different outcomes. Intended for masterly eardrums.

Max Cooper & Tom Hodge: Fragmented Self - Part 1

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 27 2013
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Artist: Max Cooper & Tom Hodge (@)
Title: Fragmented Self - Part 1
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: FIELDS
Rated: *****
Disquisitions about the possible lack of complementarity between the stylistical field of London-based pianist and composer Tom Hodge, who's not stranger to this kind of musical crossbreeding - you could check the pleasing collaborative project Piano Interrupted together with Franz Kirkmann -, and electronica producer Max Cooper require more theoretical efforts than it's worth, meaning that many nodes have formerly been made and succesfully tested by a number of musicians. I'd rather say that the most interesting aspect of this collaboration is the framework where they wedge respective sonorities in since the initial "pedagodical" piano drops by Hodge on "Fragments Of Self" - the first of a series of EP (second part has been recently dropped out), which preceded a tour, which is drawing to en end with their last show at Plus Music Festival in Mexico - sound permanently balancing to mutating equilibriums of the electromechanical expectorations and glitchy suppurations from Cooper's laptop. You could imagine an imaginary remix of learning piano sessions by Funkstorung or Telefon Tel Aviv, the possible soundtrack of those commercials which try to sell "smart" devices, credit cards or fast cars by linking them to the progress or the formation of a baby or for awareness-raising campaign about sorted waste collection or environmental conservation in order to have an idea of what kind of sound is going to hit your eardrums and a similar balance resounds from the following "Quantet" where some uplifting strings got synched on a balanced techno roller. The chipper, breezy and somewhat cherubic remix of "Fragment Of Self" by Cafe Oto stalwart Petrels and the elegiacal bonus track "Von Der Klippe Fallen (transl."Fallen from a cliff"), which melts blues, euphoric technoid dance and electronic butterflies, integrates this graceful release.
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Artist: Gabriel Saloman (@)
Title: Soldier's Requiem
Format: 12"
Label: Miasmah (@)
Rated: *****
One of the wings of D.Yellow Swans (where the meaning of that "D" constantly changed...del, die, deterioration, disk, damaged, demonic, dove, drownerd, dusk and so on), Vancouver-based musician Gabriel Saloman shuffle the cards of his previous self-signed release "Adhere" by giving prominence to instruments, changing the function of electronics in his soup and embroidering a sort of narrative structure to his sonic weaves, where one of the most interesting aspect is the handover of different evoked emotional states by intriguing sonic dynamics. It sound clear since "Mine Field", the first long stage of this "Soldier's Requiem", where the initial vaguely enchanted piano, which lets listener imagine the temporary toughening relief after some pitched battle before that subdued melody and the delicate electronic wavelets got stuck on lower frequencies which seems to dry the tonal ocean out. When the water becomes shallower and shallower, an abstract awareness of tragedy, diquietude and solitude seems to increase over a peeping drone, which fills the sonic sphere before fading out and let the melodic piano resound again, but its initial enchantment got broken as if it has been fatally impaired. The piano misfires and cannot evoke that vague idyll, which transmutes into a sort of sinisterly premonitory tolling and fells silent on the following "Marching Time", where the percussive march and its clunky and burdensome advance absorbs the aphonic noise of machine-gun fires. The battle could have deleted any human memory in the soldier, but the rain and the retake of solitary rueful march, which got evoked by field recordings and a low-key sad guitar of "Boots On Ground", instist on that dichotomy before the unexpected attack from a seemingly dead enemy - the listener will decide if this enemy, which revives on the percussive reprise, rises from some forgotten frontline or from within the anti-heroic soldier -. The funereal snigger of fate, which resounds from tthe sinister strings of the final "Could Haunt", discloses the destined content of the war chest.

Pechuga de Pollodiabolo: Le Seminaire #1

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 21 2013
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Artist: Pechuga de Pollodiabolo
Title: Le Seminaire #1
Format: 12"
Label: ├ćNTITAINMENT (@)
Rated: *****
This release from Ãntitainment is a EP dealing with the modern declination of dub that is one of the techniques used to obtain a coherent sound palette from a bunch of sounds taken from the most obscure sources.
'Ricotta' opens the first side of this vinyl with ethic beats upon a noisy soundscape until a guitar introduces the listener to a quieter and solar development. The metallic notes of the introduction of 'Decon' are quickly juxtaposed from a beat and an incisive line of synth. 'Une place avec tamtam' opens the second side in a meditative mood: some field recordings are structured in the pattern created by the lines of synth and the beats.'Einer muss ja... (Numinos Remix)' closes this release with a classic dub development even if there's a modern attitude to sound construction.
Even if it sounds even classic in his development, this release is a truly enjoyable listening that will colors the days of the fortunate listener. An enjoyable album.

Aseptic Void: Psychosis

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 21 2013
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Artist: Aseptic Void
Title: Psychosis
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
After some obscure releases this project is published from a label that has a reputation of providing a sound outfit that would enhances a project of adventurous sound journey.
The layers of small noised of 'Contagion' open this release quickly developing in a series of drones creating an oppressive atmosphere. 'Soliloquy' is a track divided in two part: a noisier one and a quieter one. 'Spasm' is based around a careful juxtaposition of layers of drone. 'Movement' features evocative resonances while in 'Psychosis' an almost dub emerge to give structure to the mass of small sounds. 'Canto' is a gentle ambient track until a voice tells a sad story about a lonely person. 'Missing' closes this release developing an evocative soundscape.
This release is one of the few from this label not featuring the mastering from Simon Heath searching perhaps a more personal, even if less spectacular, sound palette but, even if this is obtained, the careful construction of the musical development owes a debt to his musical influences. It really worths a listen from all fans of this genre.


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