Music Reviews



Athana: Paviljon

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 18 2013
Artist: Athana (@)
Title: Paviljon
Format: 12" vinyl + CD
Label: West Audio Productions
Rated: *****
Alf Terje Hana is back with the ninth release of his project Athana. "Paviljon" is the title of the newest album which is available as a 2LP+CD edition and sees Alf collaborating with Stewart Copeland (they shared the stage for the Stavanger Symfoniorkester 8th as the Athana Symthponic Experience), Astrid Loster, Chistian Hovda, Tor Yttredal, Simen Kiil Halvorsen, Edgar Hansen, Werner Cee, Bergmund Waal Skaslien and Ove Haehre. Each time that I approach to a new Athana release, talking about music, I don't really know what I have to expect, as experimentation, jazz and industrial influences are frequent elements of their music. The main characteristic of this album is that we have eight tracks, half of them focused on ambient/experimetal sounds and the other half, focused on guitar virtuosism/sound manipulation. As I wrote different times, Alf Terje Hana's style recalls to me Fripp and I don't mean it as a bad thing. I feel that while he plays his guitar he feels it like his extention... He plays with it by caressing it, holding it tight while he hit its strings. Check "GG Blender" or "Last Call" (this is the one where Copeland plays), they are bleeding energy at every second as the musicians change intensity and change suddenly the melodic theme. I can't say that at the end I can remember what I listened, but I know I liked and I would do it again. On the ambient/experimental side we have "Pipes Of John", where manipulated guitar distortions are added to a texture made of organ sounds or "Prophet's Mill", a track that starts with guitar strings picking and then slowly turns into a mayhem of thousands of raging guitars just to find some quiet after a while. It's more like an experience than a record and both of them are enjoyable.

Rekord 61: Kaskad EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 16 2013
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Artist: Rekord 61 (@)
Title: Kaskad EP
Format: 12"
Label: Konstruktiv (@)
Distributor: Triple Vision
Rated: *****
Well begun is half done, as the saying goes, and Moscow-based Russian producer Alexander Babaev in the gise of his stage alias Rekord 61 must know that quote after this first brick of his newborn label Konstruktiv, whose name well summarise its underlying music policy. The release number 1 includes a couple of excellent tracks and a remix by renowned Berlin dj and producer Phon.o, which transpose some compositional techniques of IDM, based on the deconstruction of beat patterns, to make something which will make you think about the building of a monumental skyscraper. Softened hammering, muffled snare drum, bleeping ticktocks, a slowly rising synth-brass portrays an intense activity or a big construction site (or an imaginary electronic anthill) on the initial "Kaskad", whose source of inspiration came from monumental art and technical aesthatics of giant industrial constructions in the middle of the last century. It got wisely remixed by Phon.o, who rehashed pulleys, levers, cranes, concrete mixers and other tools by drier hits and effects on buzzing bass and synth-brass which accentuated the epic aura of the original version. The second track on B-side, "Prostor", lies on the catchy sound of a slapped bass, banging claps and joyful breaks, which gradually become stronger and stronger while rhythmical synths climb over unutterable heights.The foundations have just been laid.

Adaya Godlevsky: Seam

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 16 2013
cover
Artist: Adaya Godlevsky
Title: Seam
Format: CD
Label: Interval Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
The frail and extremely delicate beauty of a porcelain ballerina, who's doomed to spin inside a carillon, which sometimes jangle after some smashes against a poky jail where it was boxed in, and secretly carries a tune or sing the pang for her condition from the utter darkness of her velvet-covered cloistered cubicle, could be envisaged while listening to this lovely release by Tel Aviv-based harpist Adaya Godlevsky, who partially spikes the platitudinous image of harpist's crouched repetition of enchanted harmonies, resoundign from some imaginary fairyland, by means of quick dynamic changes, sudden paws, strums, scratches, staccato tone clusters, unexpected "latin" spurts and guessed tonal faltering which crack and recast conventional harp harmonies. Such a contrast resurface with catchy afflatus on tracks like "Seam", the almost claustrophobic "First Light", the magnetic "Wondering My Way To You" and "Field", where thespian Adaya's canto intertwines with celtic harp's strings and assuages the arthritic plunks on them after her voice effused catchy isolated vocals on the first three "fragments", where her voice sounds like emitting prostrate palpitations. Intriguing and crepuscular music.

Marsen Jules: The Endless Change Of Colour

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 15 2013
cover
Artist: Marsen Jules (@)
Title: The Endless Change Of Colour
Format: CD
Label: 12k (@)
Rated: *****
A fortyseven minutes lasting one-track album by German ambient producer Marsen Juhls, mostly known as Marsen Jules, Falter and Krill.Minima, which has been titled "The Endless Change Of Colour", could be easily considered as a sort of suite for contemplation of those led lamps which gradually cast different colours. Its very slow graceful and intrinsically sumptuously somber movement could corroborate such an assumption, but if you consider the manner of playing and the imaginary vector followed by this refined chiselor of frequencies this release seems one of the last phase of an implosive process which seemingly seized his sound since his last release "Nostalgia" on Oktaf. The entire suite has been moulded from the elongation of three overstretched audio streams taken from a single phrase of an old jazz record. Marsen explains the underlying process by his own words: "These streams are transformed into loops which break the original instrumentation down into sound resembling pure waves, harmonics and overtones. These loops play to different time signatures to create phasing patterns that continuously move and dance around each other in a constantly-evolving lattice of sound. Despite it being based on a very strict and limited set of rules the music could, in theory, be endless and ever-changing". Such a compositional process results into a daydreaming and entrancing listening experience which could be easily associated to the generative ambient works by Brian Eno or the emotional dilutions by William Basinski, but you could even imagine it as the possibly missing fourth part of "Somnium", the hypnagogic masterpiece by Robert Rich. If you manage to cope with the subtly hypnotic mickey-like effect by sharpening your eardrums, more trained listeners will easily enjoy the fineness of almost undetectable sonic variations of this beguiling lulling suite.

T.A.C.: Chaosphere

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 12 2013
cover
Artist: T.A.C. (@)
Title: Chaosphere
Format: CD
Label: Old Europa Cafe (@)
Rated: *****
Fifteen years after its completion, "Chaosphere", the "lost" album by Italian industrial act T.A.C. recorded between November 1997 and February 1998 in New York as a sequel of their previous album "Apotropaismo", has finally been released by band mastermind Simon Balestrazzi on renowned label Old Europa Cafe. Simon didn't dissemble the fact it was heavily influenced by Andrej Tarkovskij's masterpieces "Solaris" and "Stalker" or it's better to say by the impressive soundscape based on a wise deployment of music, diegetic sounds, dialogues, their sonic representation of internal psychological and emotional processes and crisis of characters and the osmotic emphaty they succeed in establishing with viewers, coming from the strict collaboration between Tarkovskij and the genial composer of scores Edward Artemyev. The cover artwork itself quotes both movies: the original Soviet poster of Solaris, where psychlogist Kris Kelvin (performed by Lithuanian actor Donatas Banionis) was portrayed inside a triangle, whose vertex coincided with the centre of the central sphere, replaced by heartless and acephalous character (maybe Porcupine, Stalker's predecessor of the main character of the other plot) on T.A.C.'s artwork, and the dark waters of the subterranean tunnels the protagonists of Stalker had to cross to reach the so-called Zone or maybe the ones which appears when Dr.Kelvin shows the film about his life to fictional Hari, related to Peter Bruegel's painting "The Hunters In The Snow", after the notorious levitation scene, on the background. The deformation of the typical noise of a movie camera on the introduction of the mindblowing "Ocean Sonique", the haunting drones of laminar flow on the hypnotic initial track "Despite", the obliqueness of claustrophobic wide-open transitions of "The Sluggish Larvae Of An Antique Syntax" or "Imperceptibility", the nightmarish aspic of sonic clues on "Non Form" and "This Language Of Flesh and Blood", the sinister stroboscopic quivers on "Crystallize", the quotation of Oriental flutes of Stalker's theme on "Nodal Points" with sonic clues which recall the sequence of dream of that movie and many other elements over the album have many hooks to the abstract and somehow surreal journeys of Tarkovskij's movies, whose grip on viewer and adimensional wriggles seem to have been emphasized by T.A.C.'s exploration of Chaosphere, which resounds within a really visionary halo mostly by means of Balestrazzi's glorious rescued VCS3 synthesizer and other few devices.


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