Music Reviews

Mirt: Healing South

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 31 2013
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Artist: Mirt
Title: Healing South
Format: 12"
Label: Backwards (@)
Rated: *****
The theme of is new album from Mirt is "derived from exotic vision of class B old adventure films and cheap comic stories". The musical result is an attempt to obtain a crossover between a pop song structure and some experimental effort to obtain the typical atmosphere of sci-fi and adventure movie, the first genre to historically feature electronic and experimental music.
The first side is opened by "Disaster", a track focused con dreamy lines of synth and found sounds. "Soul" is instead a proper pop tune with vocals even if it's more structured than the average. "Papa Legba" closes the side with an almost meditative mood created by the loops and the oriental beats. Side 2 opens with "Bury Me Here" a soundscape created with a sparse noises, a drone and some effects. "Hunger" is based on the juxtaposition of a glitchy beat and a textured sonic landscape "South" closes this release with the dreamy synth and a beat created with the baseline.
Some lines could be a sort of "looney tunes" but, as the linear notes stated, this has been consciously done searching for this kind of mood. It worths a listen when it's not season for avant-garde but for something to hear while reading a comic book and drinking a wine. Nice.

VV.AA.: Joy - schole compilation vol.3

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 30 2013
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Joy - schole compilation vol.3
Format: CD
Label: Schole (@)
Rated: *****
One of the most suitable Japanese word to translate "joy" or "delight" is "yorokobi", whose kanji transcription is made up of a couple of words, literally meaning "rejoice in beauty" or "take pleasure in beauty". Such a concept which involves both emotional and aesthetic aspect perfectly fits to the third compilation album by renowned Tokyo-based label Schole, which follows the successful self-named first compilation (sold out) and the second one titled "Note of seconds" and doesn't lose to deservedly celebrate its 5th anniversary by a bunch of 13 delicate tracks with different emotional declension of what we name "joy": the lovely melodic baldness of Akira Kosemura's "Joy" - that kind of song some listeners could use as a soundtrack for the videoclip of the first final recital at school of your little son, the first dance display of your daughter or a memorable country outing with your family! -, the subtle connections with French pop songs of the initial whistled "Beginning" by Mamerico, the gentle chromatic whirlgigs and the delighting cherafic choir of "Irodori" by Yoshinori Takezawa, the enchanting ascending clockwork of "Air" by [.que], the acoustic-guitar-driven representation of the spirited jollity of a group of pupils on "Welcome To My Playground" by Humminbert Stereo, the balletic intertwine of guitar, piano and female voice of "Evergreen" by Akira Kosemura, [.que] and Lasah, the explosions of ethereal tenderness of "Imagine Fun" by no.9, the exquisite pianistic cammeo of "Short Story" by Quentin Sirjack, the daydreaming musical box of "Day Light Dream" by Sawako and Daisuke Miyatani, the dissoluble listening pearls of the mesmerizing "Santiago" by Ghost And Tape, the perfumed drops of minimal chiming piano of "Incense" by Teruyuchi Nobuchika, the charming guitar ballad of "Light Dance" by Paniyolo and the folkish portrait of "Anne" by Haruka Nakamura. I'm pretty sure many listeners will easily enjoy these delightful musical miniatures, which anticipate forthcoming directions of the label as well.

Luca Forcucci: Fog Horns

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 28 2013
Artist: Luca Forcucci (@)
Title: Fog Horns
Format: CD
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
The premise that half Italian half Swiss young sound artist Luca Forcucci made about this surreal release, the 14th chapter the prestigious Belgian label Sub Rosa added to his limited-edition Framework series, could let you surmise the initial title-track and the following two long lasting suites could belong to a sort of sonic document about sensorial hallucinations that tiredness could cause; he spoke about "twelve hours of flight and some sleep deprivation" before his landing in San Francisco. So Luca explained, "Because of or thanks to my state of consciousness, I heard a distinct and beautiful sound. It took me a while to understand if I was really hearing it or dreaming it: the sound of the fog horns". The field recordings of conversations by anonymous pedestrians, chirping birds, delayed noises of a train trip and other sonic clues intertwines with the sound of distant fog horns he listened after he landed in San Francisco in Spring 2011 and those fog horns have been turned into the cement of endoplasmic reticulum of sounds, including some hip-hop scratches by Le Gooster on "Fog Horns", which sound like unexpected reminiscences resurfacing from inner depths or frenzied parties, the occasional metallic hits of crockery, other hip-hop morsels and the mesmeric over-stretched cello by Michael Kott on the somehow disquieting and hallucinatory atmospheres of the final track "Winds". On the central track "L'Ecume des Jours", fog horns became the imaginary vertex of a mysterious building who got erected both in the spacial and the sonic dimension, whose architectural principles lay on the sound of crashing waves, puffed electric distortions and scorched reedy samples which chorally becames headier and headier by emphasizing the artistic metamorphosis of this device that warned vehicles of navigational hazards or boats of the presence of other vessels or other obstacles in foggy condition into a presence, which is both reassuring and unsettling as it succeeds in evoking an impending danger by means of his orotund heavy "voice" and his effect on sonic sphere which seems to be covered by a sort of camouflage mantle.

Kamil Kowalczyk: Nova

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 26 2013
Artist: Kamil Kowalczyk (@)
Title: Nova
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Kamil Kowalczyk, originally from Poland, now based in Edinburgh, Scotland is a minimalist electronic musician who has released six albums in mp3 format on the U.S. net label 'Zenapolae' and another in CD format ('Aurora', 2011) plus this one available in CDr and digital download. If 'Nova' is any indication of what he's been up to, I'd say Kamil is certainly someone you might want to check the back catalogue of. 'Nova' consists of nine sort mostly lengthy pieces, with one short one at 4:33. From the album and track names, you can tell these pieces are "space-oriented" (as in outer space), but don't expect anything akin to classic 'space music'. This is actually much closer to the coldness and sterility of space, or as it might be imagined. The soundscapes are primarily composed of drones of various colors, tonalities, and densities, using different LFO and filtering techniques to blend and contrast them. Voices, sometimes echoed, sometimes not occasionally appear, some seeming like astronaut/mission transmissions, and others, eerie disembodied space. (I won't spoil your experience by telling you what they say.) As minimal as the soundscapes are though, there is still an amount of aural variety in sonic events and incidentals. Throughout the course of the nine pieces you will likely feel you are traversing the void, and experiencing light cast from the stars, shimmering and shifting in your perspective. At a point in the recording there almost seems to be a dimensional bending, as if space was being folded. This is a very heady album and I'd encourage listening in both headphone and open speaker environment to experience it fully. 'Nova' is certainly one for more contemplative, relaxed moods when you can take the time to fully absorb it. If you haven't listened to this kind of music since Tangerine Dream's 'Zeit,' and loved it, I'd say this is a 'Must Buy'. (Album is limited to 250 CDr copies.) It is very deep. You could easily get 'Lost in Space'.

Ensemble Skalectrik: Trainwrekz

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 26 2013
Artist: Ensemble Skalectrik
Title: Trainwrekz
Format: 12"
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
A plentiful nourishment for lucid visual mental imagery comes from Ensemble Skalectrik, the most radical performance-based side-project of Nick Edwards aka Ekoplekz, which got assembled on the basis of one-take improvisational sessions and a heap of sounds he pulled out of old vinyl (mainly collections of sound effects and easy listening records), turntables and other devices before moulding them by means of a wide set of filters, loop-pedals and equalizers. Even if this project dangles on sonic experiments, there's a strong connection with other offsprings from this talented Bristolian sound-artist, as its distinctive declension of turntablism which often sneaks up on the pulpy sonorities of Dub, Industrial, Musique Concrete, random electronics and electroacoustics as well as a certain concatenation of the sonic insertions are features which recur in many Ekoplekz tracks. You can savour this record track by track as the way Mr.Edwards messes with sounds is really amazing or as if it were a continuum. You can easily imagine a surreal journey on a train before, during and after the "happy" ending the title of the album quotes, so that the initial track "Wreckwahn" could let you think about the beginning of the ride: looping chugs, the unstoppable rhythmical march on the rail, the red-hot iron which begins to condition the temperature inside the compartments seems to pressurise the listener. On "Wrecktoo", Nick seems to translate the financial term "liquid assets" into sounds by inbreeding the typical chiming of old cash register and other concrete sounds with gurgling waters and bubbling sounds, a crossbreed which sound like an abstract psychedelic and somehow nightmarish carousel. You could imagine that the running train became covered by a thick fog where lights could look like laser beams and its clattering got muffled as if it crossed the gate of fourth dimension while listening to the last track of the first side, "Wrekfree". On the flipside, Nich seems to emphasize the hypnotical progression of the journey by means of the disquieting other-wordly progression of "Wrekfore" and the sinister sequences of "Wreksank" which could let you think about the wreck as a spite by wicked goblins, who dwells in the tunnel your unlucky train must pass through. And what about the lovely twitters of the final "Wreksikz (for Louis Johnstone)" the label describes as a "serene ornithological drift"? Is it possible you are experiencing the heaven some believers fantasize about? The noises of the wreck, which gradually resurfaces and disturb those heavenly transmission, could be the clue that those lovely chirping birds just belonged to the reverie caused by a pharmalogical coma...

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