Music Reviews



Walton: Beyond

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 01 2013
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Artist: Walton (@)
Title: Beyond
Format: CD
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
Following the mouthwatering EP "Baby", the release of the debut full-length album of the talented 22-year old Manchester-based producer Sam Walton suddenly elucidates the stylistical mission of this young producer. On the initial title-track "Beyond", he seems to sketch a sort of intent, which focuses on the attempt of dovetailing past, present and future sonic clues, which are tangible in each song due to the concision of his snap-fit tiles, and go beyond by outdoing such an amazing time-travelling sonic patchwork and possibly finding something new. Walton said about his album: "I just wanted there to be a contrast betweenbright and dark, I didn't want to stick to a specific genre either. Just a vibe", but the contrast is not only chromatic or tonal and within every vibe, he intertwines filaments of Detroit house and techno, Chicago house, funky basslines, old eski grime, old fashioned garage and other elements and he manages to sashay over different musical sparks, whose appearance is so fine and elegant that you could imagine them as delegations of evoked music scene breezing in a gala dinner. The abrasive textures, the clashing claps, the rusty skips of "Gnit", which sometimes got oiled by a pad-synth-based typical garage spell, the sizzling intersection of ambient atmospheres, garage woodblocks and funky licking basslines on "Need To Feel", the somber mood and the beatless ominous boredom of "City of God", which grafts into the emotional fields of grime and dubstep, the abstract collision between "conventional" and futuristic elements in tracks like "Can't You See", "Memories" or the dancefloor-winker "Every Night" are just some assays of the funambulatory stunts of Walton. I'm pretty sure many listeners will get a glimpse of the kernel of some forthcoming new style during a careful listening of Walton's modelling.

Frank Bretschneider: Super.Trigger

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 31 2013
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Artist: Frank Bretschneider (@)
Title: Super.Trigger
Format: CD
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Distributor: Kompakt Distribution
Rated: *****
This collection of nine rhythmical pleasantries by Frank Bretschneider, co-founder of the appreciated Raster-Noton label and maybe its most "mechanical" soul, differs from the conceptual framework and the somehow romantic and emotional hooks of many previous releases by this brilliant beat-juggler. The fact it derives from different moments of amusement which got crystallized into a series of nine collected improvisational studio sessions is clear from a "funkier" crispness which seems to have been spontaneously grafted within the great wheels of scrupolously chopped beats, masterful cuts, crumbled percussive elements and plushy effects as it happens on the meowing distorted basslines of "Flicker.Funk", the bouncy specks of "Machine.Gun", the bevelled abstract electro-hop of the title-track "Super.Trigger", which close to the one by Funckarma, Funkstorung or Ltd.Noise), the heady whistles of "Over.Load", whose amazing syncopations could surmise a dehydrated hybrid between Meat Beat Manifesto and some old tunes by Fat boy Slim, electric sprains and occasional glimmering gurgles of "Black.Out" - the one I enjoyed the most - and many amazing sonic flips, variations and protease. Its inner concision and terse sonorities clashes with the complexity of the rhythmical structures, but this is the distinguishing feature and the secret of the appeal and the magnetic attraction of Bretschneider's engines. Good headphones are highly recommended.

Stephan Mathieu: The Falling Rocket

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 29 2013
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Artist: Stephan Mathieu (@)
Title: The Falling Rocket
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Dekorder
Rated: *****
When we had the possibility to interview the self-taught German composer and Schwebung label owner Stephan Mathieu on the occasion of the release of 'Un Coeur Simple', in addition to his passion for early instruments and obsolete media, an increased sensibility for arts and aesthetics was clear from the way he spoke about his background and that release and got even clearer to my ears while listening to this recent release for Dekorder, whose building came after Stephan dusted down most of the sonic equipment (a mechanical gramophone, a Hohner Electronium and Radio, the legendary Farfisa VIP 233 organ and Caro Mikalef's e-bowed Phonoharp) he used for "Ablation", the resurrection of Main with Robert Hampson on Editions Mego, which have been launched into very distant orbits. As many amateur astronomers and stargazers will easily recognize by reading titles of the tracks, "The Falling Rocket" quotes stars (as well as astronomical measures if you check the length of each track...), but the most fascinating aspect of the record lies in the equivalence between some features of the mentioned stars and some emotional aspects of the tracks. Even if the general sound focuses on dilutions and over-stretching of instruments within a sort of extended continuum, Stephan succeeds in shaping curves and molding frequencies in a masterly manner, which renders the fascinating cosmic objects which give name to the nine tracks of this album: for instance a quiet and magnificent pastoral perfectly fits for "Deneb" - one of the brightest star of the firmament and vertex of the so-called Summer Triangle -, the initial feeble organ and rarefied blows could mirror the faint light of "Lacaille 8760" (the brightest red dwarf star visible in the night sky in spite of faintness) and you could almost feel a more mysterious and enchanted glance when tracks refer to binary ("IK Pegasi" or the fascinating "55 Cancer") or triple ("Keid") star system. Even if listeners don't know anything about constellations and cosmos, I'm pretty sure that the aural and sidereal journey on this awesome release is going to ravish many eardrums and musical brains.

My Home, Sinking: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 28 2013
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Artist: My Home, Sinking (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Fluid Audio (@)
Rated: *****
Many ambient lovers acquainted themselves with the music of Venice-based talented soundscape sculptor Enrico Coniglio, who surround himself with a group of musicians and vocalists, including cellist and flutist Katie English aka Isnaj Dui, talented Galway-based singer and artist Laura Sheeran aka Glitterface and his partner-in-art Marc Aubele, enviro-mentalist musician and photographer Orla Wren, sound and voice artist Barbara De Dominicis aka Anti-Gone and Sean Quinn from Tiny Magnetic Pets for the debut release of his collaborative project "My Home, Sinking". The stylistical drift of Enrico's ice pack, which glided over glacial sonorities and awesome illustrative sonic power, towards post-rock fields sounds clear since the introductive track "The Void", whose piercing icy wafts got cracked by bright guitar strokes an strums, which firstly meet English's cello on the following track "Morning Walk", where you could almost feel the screeching sounds of an opening door's rusty hinges and the snugness of a lonely walk. A feeling of nirvanic composure permeates the lulling "Fading To White", which Laura Sheen superbly translates into a siren chant, whose fatalistic declension got emphasized by the way she repeats a refrain, saying 'There's no sun, there's no love, there's no God above can bring me back to your heart', which could vaguely echo the emotional atmosphere of her mini-album "Murderous Love", if you already know some previous releases by this talented singer. The journey of the imaginary traveller over glacial expanses goes on over mirages and beatific visions at dusk ("Skyline Obscured"), the strange ravishing of "Sunset Eyed", where a chidish lull clashes with the desolate lyrics of De Dominicis, temporary refuges ("Truna"), moments of prostrations, which got rendered by the beautiful two parts of "The Body Tired", glazing hallucinations, which sound evoked by the astonishing drift of "Descending" and the hypnotic vibrato of "Touching The Void", and glimmers of hope ("Trump Trump").

µ-Ziq: Chewed Corners

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 26 2013
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Artist: µ-Ziq
Title: Chewed Corners
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
I could try to explain the difference between that sort of appetizer of welcomed return of Mike Paradinas on self-signed production we introduced on this 'zine, "X-step", last May and this proper album on the basis of the cover artwork. Whereas "X-step" was nearby the shores of the stylistical fields he's exploring by means of other artists' contribution with refurbished declensions of electronic dance, the audible gusts of wind and the robotic sirens (or supposedly alluring finny synths) of the initial track "Taikon" could let you imagine Mike raised the anchor and hoisted the sails for an intriguing journey on an ocean of memories he rekindled by listening back some stuff by Aphex Twi, Orbital, Art of Noise, Japan, Rustie, Kuedo, Chicago Footwork (but I could surmise there could be some mnemonic acid-soaked reemergences of Moroder, Vangelis, Boards Of Canada, Jean-Michel Jarre, Alan Parsons Project or Tangerine Dream) while his inspiring sweetheart Lara-Rix Martin, who inspired Mike's recent Heterotic project, was outside their love nest and such a metaphor could be corroborated by the following "Christ Dust" where its glistening synths and the somewhat regal portamento could let you hail as a miracle while rendering an attempt by Mike of walking on the surface of water! Jokes aside, even if Mike's lonely domestic listening left some traces on many moments of "Chewed Corners", I cannot say it's a pot-pourri of soundbites and quotations: both its inner calm mood and the agnition with above-mentioned classics belong to an emphasis which is going to produce pure epic listening pleasure by triggering memories or swimming on the above-mentioned ocean within a stylistical diving gear, whose workmanship will be easily recognized Paradinas' lovers. Pinpointing highlights within this wonderful traversal is almost impossible. I could pick a bunch of personal favs at worst: the mammal synths of Houzz 10, the jaunty tech-house of "Weakling Paradinas", the daydreaming old-fashioned sonorities of "Mountain Island Boner" or "Melting" and the ethereal coziness of "Hug"... but I warmly recommend to hold your breath and peroxide your musical brains in the depths of this seemingly unruffled emotional sea.


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