Music Reviews



Ab Intra: Supremus

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 10 2012
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Artist: Ab Intra
Title: Supremus
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release coming from the esteemed Polish label Zoharum, signed by Radoslaw Kaminski aka Ab Intra (Latin for "From Within") is going to tickle tympanic palates of drone and dark-ambient follower. The first sandpapering of the record could vaguely recall more "mystical" branch of ambient-chill such as Asura or other stuff on Ultimae and similar labels, due to some sonic clues such as seraphic choirs, distant thundering and absydal electric storms, then his silent gales migrate towards ritual-ambient fields, recalling some sonic episodes by Kammerheit or Runes Order (particularly in "Supremus IV" and "Supremus II") with distended whistling blows, moving inside electric clouds, sinister bolts and subtle sub-bass tones, whereas it seems that previous dust begins to amalgamate in majestic or epic mirages. You could have the impression that Ab Intra's sound got miniaturizes into many particles in order to pass over any pellicle or membrane before breaking the banks and flood into the sensorial ground in the final moments of the album, in order to share or just inspire great visions in listener's mind by creeping into it throughout ears, so that I could say "Supremus" sounds like a very attractive mind-tuning opera. Have a listen.

LUCA SIGURTA': bliss

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 08 2012
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Artist: LUCA SIGURTA' (@)
Title: bliss
Format: CD
Label: Fratto9 Under the Sky (@)
Rated: *****
Some years ago Luca Sigurtà has been brought to my attention from my Chaindlk-mate/musician Eugenio Maggi aka Cria Cuervos, Eugenio gave me some of his early releases, later I've bought myself his cdr on Afe records, his cds with Pocket Progressive, Harshcore and so on. We're not writing about a newjack since the guy has an intense touring schedule both alone and with bands like Harshcore or Luminance Ratio, he's also been sharing splits or collaborative efforts with Andy Ortmann, Claudio Rocchetti, To Live and Shave in La, Slicing Grandpa and Fhievel just to name a few. For this second chapter of Fratto9's Microcosmos series Sigurtà has shaped his best work so far, finally enriched by a boombastic production with the aid of Giuseppe Ielasi during the mastering process. This piemontese musician has put together a release that is intriguing, meditative but at the same time relaxing. Always close to the border of ambient music, this crepuscular collection of drones is really inspired, by some means I've been quite surprised during the early listenings and it has to be addressed to the fact Luca has basically worked with weird, noisy, electro-acoustic projects and his live acts, without being exactly "power-noise" oriented, are physical and angular (whatever it means). I think despite the many influences you can perceive here and there the sound of this music is really "american", I mean even if this music sometime may suggest you comparison to Oren Ambarchi, Brendon Labelle or similar artist, Sigurtà stylistically is probably closer to John Wiese or Aaron Dilloway and this' more evident if you have the luck to see one of his shows.

FABIO ORSI : the new year is over

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 08 2012
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Artist: FABIO ORSI
Title: the new year is over
Format: 3 x CD (triple CD)
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
Along with Giuseppe Ielasi, Fabio Orsi is probably the most talked about italian musician that surprised me the most release after release. Differently from Ielasi, despite some different works, Orsi has more stylistic continuity infact if we have to draw in some comparison to picture what kind of artist we're in front of, he could be the italian answer to Aidan Baker. Even if both Aidan and Fabio are crossing a post ambient music field their approach is considerably different, infact the italian artist relocated in Berlin has a less depressive e more ambient feel that doesn't remind anything in particular. Release after release and after several collaborations, many of which see him involved together with Gianluca Becuzzi, Orsi developed his peculiar musical language and beside melancholia I'd add his modus operandi is high emotionally charged. This new triple cd came out on Silentes (if you've never given a try to this label you'd better check it) shows this guy is in full blossoming and after having seen him live (a less than quarter of an hour minutes blast) I can confirm he's a real talented musician. Even if I was afraid three distinct cds were just too much, after having experienced all of them one after the other I can truly say while they can be listened as three episodes of the same movie, there's no superfluous repetition and considering it's post ambient music it's surprising. Why do I define this music post ambient? Cause Orsi added an electronic percussive beat that animates the first cd, he's also add some dark passages that later leave room to dreamy and almost evocative feelings and everything well mixed in a really relaxed mood. I really don't know if this the apex of Orsi solo carrier but I'm sure this' one of his best works so far and like Aidan Baker it amazes me how he managed to maintain such a high quality considering they both are unstoppable under the releases profile. Believe it or not this' probably one of the few triple cd releases you can repeatedly listen without finding everything excessive. The general atmosphere of this album made think to this french sentence "le ciel bleu est plus joli après la pluie"

UNDER THE SNOW : the other room

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 08 2012
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Artist: UNDER THE SNOW
Title: the other room
Format: CD
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
This project involves Stefano Gentile himself, he's the head-chief of Silentes records, one of the most renowned italian label for what concerns ambient music, field recordings, soft electronics and anything in the likes. His cohort in this band is Gianluca Favaron who has a few ambient, experimental releases out on several labels. This' an equilibrated duo considering Gentile takes care of objects, guitar (he's already played guitar for other projects including his all star "band" called Maribor) while Favaron uses microphones, electronics and loops and both are credited for the field recordings. Considering one of the members is the man behind such a label I don't think you'll be surprised to discover the release has been somehow influenced by ambient music, but beside that obvious conclusion I wouldn't define "the other room" as an ambient recordings, this music has much more to share with minimalism. I guess the most learned now reading will be thinking by some means minimalism and ambient music have always been linked by an umbilical cord people like Brian Eno has never tried to hide. As said this' minimalist music to the bone and with a strong relaxing edge, don't expect something explicitly melodic, but no doubt this' a soft blanket to get asleep while catching a train of thoughts.

Janne Hanhisuanto: Quiet Places

 Posted by Barton Graham   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 07 2012
cover
Artist: Janne Hanhisuanto
Title: Quiet Places
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
'Quiet Places' is the most recent full length released by Janne Hanhisuanto. Quiet Places is really the most fitting title that could've been chosen for this work, and the songs themselves, even more appropriately titled. Each title reflects PERFECTLY the feel of its audio counterpart; titles like 'Dance of the Electrons,' 'Day Dreams' and 'Breathing Universe' fit the songs like gloves. The album as a whole is a great work; very thoughtful, emotional, deep. Almost the entire thing has a great retro feel to it with its synth pads, bells, moogs and just the overall feel gives off a very late 70's to mid 80's vibe, but in a very inviting way. There are only a few select moments where the retro gives way to 'dated' and loses its charm, but then seems to come right back again. It opens with the title track, a very light and beautiful piece with airy textures providing a bed for some lone high pitched, resonant tones quietly suggesting the echo of a melody. Song to song it flows almost perfectly, save for two songs that while are really great pieces of music, are just a LITTLE out of place only due to the extreme difference in their sound and feel in relation to the rest of the album. 'Some Kinda Image' has more of a contemporary feel but with an early psychedelic core. It has just a whisper of Pink Floyd beneath its wings, and boasts guitar riffs reminiscent of King Crimson, though maybe given the rest of the record, Brian Eno with Robert Fripp would be a more appropriate reference? Also, 'Romance (2)' feels again just the TINIEST bit out of place here, though not quite so much as 'Some Kinda Image.' It is a short piano piece, which is quite beautiful with notes of Beethoven somehow melded with memories of the Cure's 'Love Song.' Again, not that it doesn't belong, it's just quite a departure from the ebb and flow of the remainder of the record. I must say though, Janne does tie between the contemporary and ambience with perfect fluidity, it just takes you off guard for a moment. With its soft textures, light ambiences and occasional errie soundscapes, there isn't a dull moment within these 'Quiet Places.' There are a few slight lows, but never even close to low enough to sink completely.


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