Music Reviews



Roberto Fega: Daily Visions

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 24 2012
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Artist: Roberto Fega (@)
Title: Daily Visions
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Roberto Fega's "Daily Visions" cannot be considered an easy listening both for the technique he uses to agglutinate a number of sketches and reprises and for the hints within his record, which looks like an attempt of saving from oblivion by "punching" ordinary dimension with political statements and urgent cultural battles, so that it seems that "Daily Visions" sounds like a plot whose unwinding runs parallel to momentuous events, inserted by means of what he defines "audio interludes" (voices from Occupy Wall Street, immigrants in Lampedusa, recordings and reports taken from Greek riots and Manchester turmoils, passages taken from an interview to Zygmunt Bauman and movie "Nowegian Wood" based on Murakami's book), and a gradual and sore consciousness rising, partially enfranchised just within intimate (still free) spaces like the ones evoked by the initial "Apnee d'amore/Breath-hold loving" and the final track "Ricordi mai sopiti/Unburied memories", the one I liked most for the daydreaming interaction of palpitating reversed liquid sounds by Fega with the entrancing sound of Francesco Lo Cascio's vibraphone. Whereas his style seems to be fenced by electro-acoustic improvisational music, sonic collagism (close to some cinematic stuff coming from Japanese scene, based on bizarre and somewhat disquieting sonic "hyphenations" - I particularly enjoyed the ones in "Per un finale diverso/For a different ending" and "In Exion", a track based on the reading of a poem by Jennifer Scappettone -, or small interesting labels such as Raabenstein's Nonine) and some jazz standards for trumpets - wisely turned into something mindblowing by talented trumpet player Ersilia Prosperi -, the conceptual framework could be summarized by Roberto's dedications (including the ones to Robert Wyatt, Berlin, Joe Strummer's "The Future Is Unwritten" and all political, cultural and artistic antagonisms of this world), which seal this sort of musical ekphrasis of something which has not happened yet overall.

Murmer: What Are The Roots That Clutch

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 21 2012
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Artist: Murmer (@)
Title: What Are The Roots That Clutch
Format: CD
Label: The Helen Scarsdale Agency (@)
Rated: *****
A certain alternance of natural sounds and silence characterizes the hallucinated and enigmatic poem The Waste Land by T.S.Eliot, which has been quoted not only through the title (whereas the talented English satirist Evelyn Waugh opted for the last line to entitle one of his best novel "A Handful Of Dust", this American sound artist chose the first line, "What are the roots that clutch..." of the same stanza ending the first section of the poem "The Burial Of The Dead"), but also by the structure of this interesting sonic collage of field recordings, divided into five parts (just like Eliot's poem), and its tesseras, which remind some moments of one of the most favorite reading of many brainiacs, so that this sensorial interpretation by Patrick McGinley aka Murmer cast upon the multitude of interpretations and essays, which had been written about that writing. For instance the shuffle of steps over brushwood, the disorienting croaks of frogs, the rusting of leaves, the crackling of burning firewood as well as the underlying buzzing tone, which could remind "that sound high in the air/Murmur of maternal lamentation" mentioned in "What The Thunder Said", the last section of the poem (the definitive proof of its good make could be the slap I gave to the right headphone when a mosquito "appeared" in the sonic space...), in the first part evoke the feeling of confusion of the first part of the poem as well as some notorious references to Dante Alighieri, one of the known source of inspiration for Eliot, likewise the sonic collage of the fifth track which remind many words of the above-mentioned fifth section before the speaking of the thunder - "There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home./It has no windows, and the door swings,/Dry bones can harm no one./Only a cock stood on the rooftree/Co co rico co co rico/In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust/Bringing rain" - and according to a bizarre alchemy, some words from the second part "A Game Of Chess" ("'What is that noise?' The wind under the door. 'What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?'") seems to refer by sheer coincidence to some biographical lines which deeply influenced the sonic research of this globetrotter, who started his collection of sounds all over the world - there are many found sounds, live room feedbacks and field recordings mainly grabbed while hiking out in wild places of Northern Normandy, Estonia and Finland - after listening to a cavernous tone broadcasting from a ventilator duct in Paris.

Christopher Willits & Ryuichi Sakamoto: Ancient Future

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 11 2012
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Artist: Christopher Willits & Ryuichi Sakamoto (@)
Title: Ancient Future
Format: CD
Label: Ghostly
Rated: *****
After their first collaborative release "Ocean Fire", the spiritual heat which sparkled from the musical meeting between Ryuichi Sakamoto and talented Californian musician Christopher Willits (many consider him a true pioneer of many methodologies for digital signal processing as well as for the redifinition of guitar within contemporary digital music) sounds unaltered on the occasion of their second (totally instrumental) one "Ancient Future", an album based on a series of piano pieces the Japanese maestro sent to Willits just after their first collaboration and focused on different phases of the turbulent inner journey in search of the meaning of existence most of people experience during their life and sometimes lasting a whole life. The delicate sonic undulations by Christopher, which sound completely carried by the tides generated by Ryuichi's piano strokes (try to follow the ultra-low bass line as well the intangible guitar tonal stream in the initial tracks "Reticent Reminiscence" and "Abondoned Silence"), before opposing some resistance against the rarefied melodies on "I Don't Want To Understand", a track whose almost inaudible noise of a train running over rail tracks could evoke an escape from any attempt of disentangling a gordian knot, and through the glacial dissociation of "Levitation", gradually cling tightly to musical shapes by Sakamoto with warm arpeggios before the melancholic tranquillity of final resolution evoked by "Completion", whereas any troublesome stinker which followed the multidirectional movement of many curls of smoke, soaked in some glass or convulsively imitated the chaotic route of any particle in the universe disappears within self-knowledge. Younger listeners maybe will not understand the enchanting and somewhat controversial balance between musical elements as well as the sonic inner metalanguage of "Ancient Future" where the whirring of the machines blurs into a human breath, but many adult listeners will appreciate this workout on the membrane between will and fate, which cannot but come from two really mature (both artistic and just human) personalities.

Sarang: The Dream Of Earth

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 10 2012
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Artist: Sarang
Title: The Dream Of Earth
Format: CD
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
This new release from Sarang, the collaborative project by Simon Balestrazzi (I introduced this hyperactive creative musician, who founded historical industrial/experimental band T.A.C., so many times that he doesn't really need any introduction) and Enrico Marani (member of another important "underground" Italian band, Le Forbici di Manitu' as well as part of the first T.A.C. line up) sound like a musical fervent and evoking reading of a nautical adventure story, which constantly focuses on the sea as a metaphor of life and refers on the key figure of Ulysses, the very first seaman whose literary vicissitudes could feed such a metaphor. Its dangers, its fascinating mystery (wonderfully emphasized by the spraying of Marani's didgeridoo and Paolo Sanna's Vietnamese tuned gongs in the opening track "Always in the Open Sea"), its immensity, its hidden treasures, its breathtaking beauty, the trembling fear of unknown and that strange enchanted dismay the sea can inspire have been evoked in this cinematic ambient-covered slushy raga and sound emphasized by actual historical moment, when sea seems to have flooded earth before the melt of glaciers with many people on the perpetual risk of drowning in the ocean of uncertainties so that they look like the Homeric hero in the lap of teasing gods (the track "Thousands of Ulysses" seems to suggest such a vision) where any landfall is like a mirage so that terra firma looks like belonging to a dream ("The Dream of Earth"). Temporary ways of inherently unwanted escapism could be offered in the act of indulging with enrapturing moments: submarine cetacean cries cannot stop the reverie in the exstatic "The Syrens Chant" where delicate piano strokes and Clara Murtas' singing could let you think about an underwater version of Vangelis' "Leyla's Theme" as well as the seduction of leafy vegetation of a pernicious wild island ("From An Island"), so that the only possible re/solution cannot be but enjoying the rest of the voyage ("Along These Roads"). Just keep on sailing...
Aug 08 2012
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Run Over by an Elevator
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Bearsuit records (@)
Rated: *****
"Run Over by an Elevator" (people who understand some youngish English slang cannot but chortle about such a choice) could be considered a digest of the lucky and brisk headhunting activity by Scottish label Bearsuit as well as an opportunity to foretaste some of its forthcoming releases by this interesting label, whose driving force seems to be a strong link with (mainly Japanese) producers who keep on spooring the traces of authentic innovators coming from Japanese scene (I could mention a plenty of musicians and non-musicians in the roster of labels such as Schole, Daisyworld Discs, Teichiku, Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo Lab, Toy's Factory, P-Vine and many others), even if there are many tracks which could recall other musical grounds (the track "Descending" by emlp, acronym for "electronic music learning projects", by Edinburgh based musician and composer Mark Rossi - one of the tracks I liked most of this collection - partially recalls Icelandic Mum asa well as "Bees In My Feet" by Haq, collaborative project between Japanese n-qia and Scottish half of Whizz Kid Harold Nono which is going to debut on Bearsuit soon, could remind some moments of Slowdive's "Catch The Breeze") and a geographical connection with Scotland and Northern England, one of the most active musical workshop who gave listeners a lot of mindblowing sonic stuff. It's really hard to rank them, as the stylistical range is quite wide and even lo-fi elements fly high ona quality level, even there are some highlights amidst this jungle of stuffed animals and hunting trophies: the above-mentioned n-qia with the hypnotic voice by Nozomi and fuzzy electro-acoustic textures by Takma, the intriguing feverishness of "Metamorphosis Pt.1" by Polish style-drifter Bartosz Dziadosz aka Pleq, the bizarre toytronics of "Mosquito Bites" by protean anti-nuclear activist Amogano aka Ememe and the amusing and childish one of "People Today Started Runrun" by Takashi Mizukoshi's Suppa Micro Pamchopp, the magnetic abstract J-pop of "Chikyu Wa Mawaru" (Japanese for "Earth is spinning") by Bunny & The Electric Horsemen, the seducing downbeat by Taub, a collaborative project by appreciated Nonine label manager Me Raabenstein and Harold Nono, the sweet melancholy-tinged rustic idyll of "Family" by Japanese vocalist, composer and pianist Hidekazu Wakabayashi and Harold Nono (him again!), and "Comp no.209" by Canadian composer and percussionist Antonio De Braga, the entrancing pastoral awakening of "First Moments" by The Frozen Vaults, forthcoming project of a big ensemble made up of cellist Dave Dhonau, pianist Yuki Murata, violinist Tomasz Mrenca and producers Bartosz Dziadosz (Pleq) and Harry Towell (Spheruleus), the frugal lo-fi lullaby of "The Kennel Club" by Edinburgh-based duo Aging Children, the balanced mixture of rain-inspired mood, soft electronics and indie approach by Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai, the cinematic intro by Welsh experimental musician Nick Auskeur, the desiccate homemade groove by Doug Seidel...I'm just realizing that I've mentioned them all even if my first intention was an attempt to isolate some highlights, a symptomatic "mistake" about how this selection could be mouthwatering. Check it!


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