Music Reviews



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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Artist: The Legendary Pink Dots (@)
Title: The Gethsemane Option
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
Younger listeners, who didn't know the impressive history and the traces that this cult band fronted by Edward Ka-Spel left in different stylistical fields, could link the first song of the umpteenth album to the last releases by Massive Attack (just to mention less esotheric stuff everyone could think about) as someone could perceive some similarities between that some songs from the notorious Bristolian band and the hallucinatory atmospheres, the somehow solemn dragging of slow pace and eerie synths and the tolling bass line of the initial "A Star Is Born", which could vaguely described as a witch-house version of MA's "Special Cases". Such an introduction is maybe the first clue about the fact this record is more accessible of some previous records by The Legendary Pink Dots from the musical viewpoint, but the semantic and conceptual efflorescences over the whole album which seems to describe the quandary between an aware exhausted willpower against a sort of remote-controlled dominant thought and artificial heavens where impossible deceptively appears like normal ("We're all in this together./In a place we all can share./A Big Society./Let's call it Esher Everywhere!", where the initial electronic lulling melody got pierced by this unavoidable and unsettling coincidental dimension) and the spiritual longing of lodging peace and quiet of some big shadowing tree in Gethsemane, which might be considered as a metaphysical peaceful place where a clear headed and anguished soul could find relief, even if the evangelical reference has some relevance, where Ka-Spel's slightly paranoid mental effluviums shine together with many remarkable instrumental moments, electronic fade-ins and fade-outs involving poetic acuity on tracks like "A Stretch In Time", "Pendulum" or "Grey Scale".

Aidan Baker: Aneira

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 02 2013
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Artist: Aidan Baker (@)
Title: Aneira
Format: CD
Label: Glacial Movements (@)
Rated: *****
The title of this album is the welsh word for snow and has been constructed using only a 12-string acoustic guitar, manipulated and played with different tools and inspired from this peculiar winter phenomenon.
The album is made by a single long track based on the well known, at least from the followers of the genre, stylistic characteristic of this composer. The track start with a drone that seems created from the phase shift of at least a couple of loops, then gently a new drone alters the soundscape until another drone gently is inserted in the soundscape. So this is similar to a sky where clouds are slowly moving so it seems static but instead is continuously changing. The central part of this piece is centered upon small dynamic changes of volumes and spectrum until a sort of stasis and small noises begin to introduce the listener to the ending part of the track where the resonances of sparse guitar sounds change the sound palette with truly evocative results.
This album is another example of the qualities of this artist that works in a forms that perhaps has not peculiar sorts of progress or evolution but has a charm non easily describable with words.

Hoofus: Several Wolves

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 30 2013
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Artist: Hoofus (@)
Title: Several Wolves
Format: CD
Label: Exotic Pylon Records (@)
Rated: *****
Even if they're off-topic, when I read the title and analyzed the content of this bizarre and mottled record by Norfolk-based 8-bit juggler Andre Bosman aka Hoofus, some lines from the lyrics of a recent song by Massive Attack, supposedly inspired by the notorious myth of Psyche: "Gain the Wolf/Conjure me as a child/Slipping down a webside". On closer inspection and by means of stretching flights of fancy, the inner and somehow lopsided narrative plot that Andre manages to weave from a bunch of amazing manipulations of old-fashioned videogame regurgitations could be considered as an act of love to a shadow entity and its adventurous happenings within the plot of a programmer, which sound somehow mirrored by the short-lasting twenty tracks of this release. Besides some chaotic electronic clots such as the initial "Data Shunt '89", the flickering gangrenes of "Tangled", the vitriolic spurts of "Right Here, Over There" or seemingly awkard closed loops ("We'll Always Have that Time the Never Happened", "Black Butter"), there are many moments when the imaginary computerized verbosity of the above-mentioned platform hero got almost humanized or at least closer to human manners. You could almost feel an attempt of childish vocalization on the stammering rhythm of "We Used The Darkness For A Light", a sort of temper tantrum on the clashes of "Night Forage", a certain mechanical dejection on "Disorder" and a sort of temporary emancipation from its digital consistency on tracks like "The Instant", "Places" or "Nearly Was" - that's how a game boy cold sound after having been cracked by Boards Of Canada... - or even displays of compassionate pleading on tracks like "Power Lines Lament" or "Quicksand Then Tea". Very nice process-generated stuff.


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