Music Reviews



Eternal Zio: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 07 2013
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Artist: Eternal Zio (@)
Title: s/t
Format: 12"
Label: Boring Machines/Black Sweat Records (@)
Rated: *****
Besides some musical directions, Rella the Woodcutter, Maurizio Abate (Jooklo Neokarma Trio/Sextet/Octet), Raubaus and Valla share the same living space and and artistic workshop at Ca Blase' nearby Milan, where they occasionally held shows open to other bands as well. This self-titled release under the collective name Eternal Zio, following their self released debut Vibbria, is a collection of six untitled extracts from a series of improvisations they played together last summer. All of them are partially similar to that stuff which came from late 60ies musical syncretism and stylistical fusionism, which joined together elements from jazz, folk and rock with forms from "exotic" musical tradition, particularly Indian ragas, sufi choirs, gipsy dances or sonorities from Middle East by tapping from pits of various philosophical, mystical traditions pr anything in like manner which could support the aim of mind expansion, spiritual awakening, soul enlightment and so on as well. These conceptual references are quite vague in Eternal Zio, as the most relevant aspect is the combination of a constant spiritual tension, whose flames have been kept alive by the algamating and hypnotic harmonious sound of hurdy gurdy, with a certain naivete' by simple melodic lines, plain tapping on guitars and even "dadaistic" ways of playing instruments (such as the flute on the second track, which sounds like played by a kid who is not able to control the breathe yet) and even occasional musical spurts, so that this album sounds like the hearth rug of a cozy and lively domestic realm and a kind of tribute to some forgotten household deities.

Secant Prime: Ambients

 Posted by Barton Graham   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 06 2013
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Artist: Secant Prime (@)
Title: Ambients
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
My intention was to put this record on, and review it; however, it became much more than that. It was quite the scavenger hunt to be honest. The CD, clearly self released, contained not only no record label or catalogue information, but not even a band or project name. Aside from a tracklist that reads like an advanced physics text, there is only a single word: 'Ambients.' The project name comes in the form of a strange, yet intriguing symbol.

Fast forward through an extensive Google search of song titles and the word 'ambients' and I've discovered that this cd belongs to Secant Prime. A very mysterious project this seems to be. There is an immense lack of information existing about Secant Prime or this CD, but that's ok, I've got a pair of ears, and a very piqued interest at this point; clearly the artist wants the music to stand on its own, uninhibited by preconceived notions and irrelevant labels.

'Ambients' is a huge record. It may only amount to five tracks, but three of them clock in with double digit lengths. It's a very thick, rich work. Bass heavy drones don't pummel you to the ground, but certainly pin you down tight as they roll not just over, but through you like a thick dystopian syrup. Seemingly unending loops gather and build throughout the record, enveloped in soft static, the echoed memory of forgotten samples and angelic ghosts. There's not a lot more that can be said of this one, it needs just to be listened to, or rather felt, to understand.

Sabled Sun: 2146

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 05 2013
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Artist: Sabled Sun
Title: 2146
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Cryo Chamber (@)
Rated: *****
According to the press notes this album is the follow up to the album 2145 and this "takes us to the second year after our protagonist awakens from deep hibernation sleep". Fortunately this doesn't means it's the musical successor of the previous release as it's a better album that tries to tell a story.
With a recordings of some footsteps "Through the Gates" opens this release and "Inner Sanctum" overwhelms the lister with a powerful drone interrupted by waterfall samples, that marks most tracks of this release, and recorded words. "Scanning for Life Forms" is almost completely synth based while "Power Cell" is an interlude to "Exo Suit" based on the formula noises above an almost droning synth line.
"Graveyard of Broken Machines" is a powerful mix between dark ambient and an EBM without beats. "My New Best Friend" is an almost dance track with a solar attitude. "Planetarium" is a drone track that has a remarkable sense of the atmosphere evoked. "Deep Within" relies upon the dialectic between the water samples and the synth lines. "My Dying Robot" is an obscure track almost completely based on synth.
"End Me" closes this release in an almost dreamy state with his guitar line.
This album features another great production that this time serve an authentic will to try to tell a musical story that sounds as a soundtrack for an imaginary sci-fi movie. Recommended.

Heathered Pearls: Loyal

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 05 2013
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Artist: Heathered Pearls
Title: Loyal
Format: 12"
Label: Ghostly (@)
Rated: *****
Ghostly Intl. managed to pull one of the most delicate release on the rut of psychedelic melancholia and cryptomnesiac stuff out of its holed sheets I've recently listened to by means of this album signed by Polish-born Jakub Alexander, A&R for the label as well as founder of Moodgadget label, music selector for art and lifestyle blog ISO50 of the notorious graphic artist Scott Hansen aka Tycho and dj and producer under many various pseudonyms. It's quite clear that this antsy guy - he described his album "as a mental break from my personal anxieties" - knows many ruses to add a certain dynamics to ambient or low-level music, as he personally prefers to name it, so that his soap sonic bubbles are even going to grab the attention of those listeners who are not really accustomed to the genre. The feathered whispering of a sort of electronic flute or ocarina on the initial "The Worship Bell" will immediately let the listener dive into the blue depths of the Coral Sea, while the following muscle relaxants and restorative syrup for memory and imagination, the lulling and breezing loops of "Beach Shelter", the sparkling synth of "Lower Dome", which seems to echo mid-summer nights on the beach between starry skies and skylarking insects, the dazed radiance of "Left Climber", the slowed reversed advance of mental train on "Steady Veil" will make the listener feel inside an old photographic set of past summer holidays and carefree childhood or teenage years, whose reminiscence could be even more vivid while listening the following tracks: the sweet opiate micro-variations on "Raising Our Ashes", the absorbing trilling resonances of the decreased version of "Ringing Temple", the rising sonic space filler of "Precious Dive" and the endearing epilogue of "Docile Touch" enhance this throwback by means of more mothernal and placental sonorities. The connection with author's past years seems to be confirmed by his dedication of the album, which sometimes sounds close to the style by Loscil, Bola or even Tim Hecker, to his mother and aunt, who have been both featured on the cover artwork, as it seems they introduced ambient music to Alexander when he was younger.

Sphäre Sechs: Tiefschlaf

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 04 2013
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Artist: Sphäre Sechs (@)
Title: Tiefschlaf
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
Whenever I see something in the mail from Malignant Records, I know that at least one of the albums I review will be good. This one delivers on that belief. Sphäre Sechs is a collaboration between Martin Stürtzer (Phelios) and Christian Stritzel, who (if Discogs.com is to be believed) has previously collaborated with Phelios. The label describes the album thus: 'gorgeous passages of sweeping, cosmic drones and textural ripples that fan out over a vast, luminous landscape, the amorphous tones and glassy, serene ambience melding together in pristine, meditative washes of sound. This is some of the purest ambience you'll find and the perfect atmosphere for drifting off into a seemingly endless dream state.' In one word, I would describe this as 'peaceful.' This album was recorded live during a 'sleep-concert' in Germany and the content shows. This is considerably different from the last Phelios album I reviewed (Astral Unity), which featured heavy pounding percussion and an ominous feel, so I can attribute this shift to the influence of Stritzel. Think of some of Troum's more sedate works and you're heading in the right direction. When you want dark ambient without all of the darkness, this is one to reach for. Nothing but soft, shimmering drone to lull you to another place. Highly recommended and limited to 500 copies, so you'll want to snag a copy of this before it is gone like the dream you had this morning. This album weighs in at around 55 minutes.


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