Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 70 Years of Sunshine
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Monotype (@)
Rated: *****
19th April 1943. It could say anything to most people, but the historical importance of that date for the so-called psychedelic culture has been acknowledged as a sort of proper celebration, known as "Bicycle Day". Some people who have a certain familiarity with that culture knows that the term "bike ride" stands for a LSD trip, due to the legendary bike ride by Dr.Albert Hoffmann, the Swiss scientist who was the first to synthetize and experience the powerful psychedelic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide, which he later called his problem child on his essay about that discovery. He cannot imagine the heavy cultural consequences of that discovery when he chased after Lucy in the sky of diamonds, as he regarded it as a powerful therapeutic tool more than a recreational drug, even if he later sided with LSD decriminalization due to the fact it could solve the contemporary psychological problems related to "materialism, alienation from nature through industrialisation and increasing urbanisation, lack of satisfaction in professional employment in a mechanised, lifeless working world, ennui and purposelessness in wealthy, saturated society, and lack of a religious, nurturing, and meaningful philosophical foundation of life". Whether you agree or not, the contribution of Hoffman's discovery to artistical blossoming was very strong despite any possible more or less boorish or bigoted controversy and biases and any tribute to that accidental discovery makes sense. One of the most famous dedication came from Kim Cascone's seminal Silent Records, which released a double CD compilation, "50 Years Of Sunshine", on the occasion of the first half century from Hoffman's trip, featuring contributions from Nurse With Wound, Psychich TV, Pelican Daughters, Controlled Bleeding, 68000 and Timothy Leary himself, a psychedelic ablution which has been reprised by fertile Polish label Monotype for the 70th anniversary by a series of explicit hints at its predecessor such as the double cd format (while Silent's collection names each part as a "100 Micrograms" and "250 Micrograms", a reference to the minimum and maximum dosage Hoffman tested, Monotype refers to the possible psychic directions of LSD trip by naming them "Ascent" and "Descent") and the engagement of some sound artists and musicians who already took part to the first collection such as Kim Cascone, Andrew Liles (Nurse With Wound), Andy Ratzen (member of Pelican Daughters) and the Swedish duo Carl Abrahamsson and Thomas Tibert aka Cotton Ferox, who appeared in the guise of "White Stains" on "50 Years Of Sunshine", but what has been called a 'much anticipated software update' sounds a little bit more diversified. Besides a bunch of serene immersive pools of ethereal frequencies such as the incense burners of Phil Legard's "Lifting The Veil", the frothy "Border Feather" by Chihei Hatakeyama, the astonishingly mindblowing alchemical suite "Scilla Im Scilla" by Rafael Anton Irisarri, the lissome quiet movement of "Stare Deep Into The Clouds" by Invisible Path and the synaptic ionization on "Owsley" by Ethernet, you'll enjoy the Orb-esque "Blue Sunshine" by Lord Tang, the liquid tech-dub of Makyo's "Octopi (Underwater Dub 2)", the oddball contribution by Legendary Pink Dots, who rendered a sort of tranquilizing guiding voice on their amazing "Don't Worry Dear, I'll Be Holding Your Hand" and the initial blissful lapsing of "Lost Milkyway" - one of my favorite track of the whole collection - by the inspired Acid Mothers Temple's leader Makoto Kawabata on the ascending segment of this journey. The lopsided clouded guitar lines of "Bloodbury 1988" by Andrew Liles marks the beginning of the glide path and paves the way to the flickering chimes of Rapoon's "Back On The Bus", the outlandish gardens of "Come Down" by Komora A, the hallucinated numbness on Darius Ciuta's "seR-V", the subtonal disquiet of Mike Rooke's "Sliding Spaces", the tonal dizziness of "It's Getting Near Dawn" by Lonely Crowd, the gloomy haze of Mystical Sun's "Echodyssey", the eerie swamps of Tomek Mirt's "Soul Disorder", the panicked piercing electronics of Ceremonial Dagger's "Synesthesia", the wise dub under hangover of "How About That?" by Cotton Ferox and the final resolution by Andy Ratzen on "No-One Plays Upon Your Mind". This collection is definitively something more than a simple act of devotion or a simulacrum.

VV.AA.: Lietuvos Garso Menas - Lithuanian Sound Art

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 10 2013
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Lietuvos Garso Menas - Lithuanian Sound Art
Format: CD
Label: compiled by Gintas K (@)
Rated: *****
As he promised in the last chat we had on the occasion of his excellent release "slow" on French indipendent label Baskaru, Gintas Kraptavicius aka Gintas K invited us to discover the surprising Lithuanian sound art scene, which is almost unknown out of Lithuanian borders, by presenting us with a compilation he cared whose importance deservedly gained the institutional recognition by the support of the Ministry of Culture of the small Baltic Republic and LATOA-A (Agency of Lithuanian Copyight Protection Association) and equipped by thorough description by Jurij Dobriakov. I acknowledge that the quality of this cluster of Lithuanian experimentalists went beyond my expectation. Most of the first tracks seem to emphasize the spacial aspect of each sonic moulding: the initial "gir gir gir gar gar gar (garsas)" by Andrius Rugys seems to trace the attention's direction of the composer/listener during a rowing boat trip in the Green lakes nearby Vilnius, from the initial focus on the sound of water and creaking wooden boards after each stroke to the traditional folk song by Agota and Dorota Zdanaviciule, whose syncopation, which is a typical element of some Lithuanian vocal styles such as the many different kinds of Sutartines, seems to be mirrored by recorded natural elements and rowing itself; the academically trained composer Vytautas V.Jurgutis builds interesting figures by curling overpressurized computational microsounds, which gradually become more and more abrasive, while Antanas Dombrovskij perverts Raminta Kurklietyte's vocal improvisations by asphyxiating clumps and spasmodic rashes from broken synthesizer and circuit bending on "NNN broken jazz". The vagarious enchanting drowsy tune "We Watch TV" by Arturas Bumsteinas is an assay of the amazing "Sleep (an attempt at trying)", a radio project commissioned by the Deutschland Radio Kultur broadcasting service, which took the form of a fictional late night show for insomniacs and precedes "blind man tales 2", the astonishing textural piece consisting of melodic bits, granular particles and indented noises by which Gintas K won the main prize of the second international sound art Broadcasting Art, held in Spain in 2010. A different and likewise entrancing way to mould melodic bits comes from audio_z, the solo project of Tautvydas Bajarkevicius, whose (lasting more than 12 minutes) excerpt "Bits Pieces and So Far Beyond" focuses on whirling punctuating melodies of frail sounds and acoustic guitars, opaque transparencies and fishbowl-like deforming spacialization. Another mouthwatering assay is the excerpt of PAR, a metamorphic soundscape which features violin, electronics and enviromental sound recordings grabbed in South Africa (PAR is the Lithuanian abbreviation for SAR) Lina Lapelyte performed at Cafe Oto in London in April 2012. Antanas Jasenka minimal abstract electronics on "prognostic@act", a piece for microphone, voice, electric organ VENTA, max/msp and graphic equalizer vaguely resembles some stuff by Pylone, Zonk't, Alva Noto or Jan Jelinek, but he manages to inject a more baffling mark by means of the words he took from the notorious Seikilos epitaph ("While you live, shine/have no grief at all/life exists only for a short while/and time demands its toll"). Another interesting declension of minimalism is the one by sound artists and architect Tomas Grunskis aka ad_OS, who translated architectural graphic information (the draft of a city and its elements) into digital sonic information, which sounds basic but totally inhuman on "Analog underWAWE". The last track of this interesting sonic miscellany cannot be but a toast or I'd better say a proper sonic toast as the electroacoustic project SALA recorded sound of the fermentation of gira, a traditional Lithuanian beverage, for their bizarre track "Fermentacija".

Faust Degada: Lux&Uria

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 08 2013
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Artist: Faust Degada (@)
Title: Lux&Uria
Format: CD
Label: Cherryno Music
Rated: *****
One half of the Degada Saf duo, Faust Degada a.k.a. Fausto Crocetta, is releasing his first solo album titled "Lux&uria" for CherryNo Music. Four years ago, Fausto released with Degada Saf their comeback album "Without Religions" (see the review and the interview I did back then) and the year after he started producing music for different artistic events such like 'Human Rights? Art from world' (for Campana dei Caduti Foundation in Rovereto), video-art by Giordano Rizzardi, the play 'Rita e Graziella" by Francesco Scarfone and his music was awarded with a second place at the Roma Europa Festival. The project 'Lux&Uria' started in 2012 for an International Art Exhibition in S.Giorgio a Cremano (Naples) dedicated to 'The seven deadly sins' and, after that, he performed live and now, the album. Containing twelve tracks, the album plays around two concepts: the universal light and the physical being which lives a material life and the different aspects of it. One of them is lust (in Italian: "Lussuria") which, going beyond any moral concept, is an essential part of life. Just like the multifaceted emotions that lust is able to induce into the human being, this album tries to cover them all by alternating danceable tracks and ambient ones. So, we have blasting drums (now recalling dub rhythms and then i.d.m. ones) and complex sound layers creating a throbbing effect (like "Emma Cipapa" the following "I Step On Your Lines And I'm Wrong" or "She Knows My Way") alternated to ambient/i.d.m. tracks which sounds a little more experimental compared to the other tunes (it's the case of "Bapama Punk", "Bopid Manar" and "Lakaw") and a mix of both ("Jamspace" or "Gadem") where we have a sort of house/dub rhythm pattern with ambient atmospheres. There are tracks that sound catchy at the first listening, like "She Knows My Way", thanks to the use of melody, filtered vocals and powerful sounds, then there are other ones that need more attention and time.

Springintgut: Where We Need No Map

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 08 2013
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Artist: Springintgut (@)
Title: Where We Need No Map
Format: CD
Label: Pingipung (@)
Distributor: Kompakt Distribution
Rated: *****
All those who lied in wait for the new album of the whismical cellist, drummer and composer Andi Otto aka Springintgut, after his acclaimed "park and Ride" on the excellent label City Centre Offices, didn't wait in vein as Andi kept busy by wrenching and enhancing both his hybrid sound and his cello, which got turned into a "fello" in the meanwhile by means of the implementation of movement and accelerometer sensors on the bow, whose data got translted into MIDI through junXion and then manipulated. In reality the prototype of fello got exhibited on the occasion of STEIM, the indipendente Dutch Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music in Amsterdam, but Andreas gradually improved it with the support of artists from many different fields. The fascination for his brainchild as well as Andi's joy for his searing creative sparkles has been mirrored on this release, which vouches for his vivid inventiveness and gleans from the sonic and musical pond of the exotic traditions he got in touch with during his cultural expeditions. Some of the most engaging tracks of this amazing album have been recorded during his three-months lasting permancence in the German art institute Villa Kamogawa in Kyoto, Japan, where he produced the vibrant "Kamogawa Cycling" and the chirping "Western Kyoto", a couple of delicate sonic cameos which reflect a certain Japanese zest, resurfacing on other tracks such as the crisp J-pop and house-spotted tracks "Moustache Twisters" and "Moustache Or Something" or the final somehow pastoral glare "Ode To Yakushima". Splashes of Bollywood bustles spurt from the tracks he recorded in India, the peppy "Bangalore Kids", where Andi mixes a vibrant fello session with electronic house tempo and a field recording of a school boy he grabbed in Cubbon Park, Bangalore, and the brief squawking whirl of "Bangalore Crows" with vocals by Indian singer MD Pallavi. The cherry on top came from the meeting of Sasha Perera, the voice of notorious Berlin's Dub Techno band Jahcoozi, in Sri Lanka, who gave her voice for a couple of lukeworm tracks, "Bullet" and "Dizzy Heights", where Andi's Fello got entwined with amazing popping grooves. Echoes of Boards Of Canada and similar IDM acts resounds on the computational hiccups of "Teslaphasic Talking" and the oblique smudges of "Where We Need No Map", while the playfulness of Springintgut sound, whose affinity with jazz and so-called skweee is clear, protrudes on tracks like the above-mentioned "Moustache Twisters" or the jaunty "Goose Egg". This album deserves more than a listening.

Ian Hawgood and Friends: Wolven (A Modern Interpretation)

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 06 2013
cover
Artist: Ian Hawgood and Friends
Title: Wolven (A Modern Interpretation)
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Hibernate (@)
Rated: *****
British label Hibernate, a proper rising star of ambient music scene, dedicates this release to the sparkle of its rich catalogue, the ultra-limited album "Wolfskin" by English musician Ian Hawgood, one of the most refined and sophisticated soother, who manages to mix somewhat contrasting emotional polarities by means of the unifying power of his beautiful sound he spread through his labels Home Normal, Nomadic Kids Republic, Tokyo Droming and Koen Music aka KOMU, which co-produced "Wolven (A Modern Interpretation)". This release doesn't just canonize Ian's ability to shape that matter dreams are made from, but also his tendency to share such a vocation with other sound artists. On the first disc's cakewalk, a lot of musicians grappled with the lovely cathartic tracks Ian squeezed from the recollection of his own childish dreams and nightmares in a masterly manner: some of the most mindblowing moments come from the collaboration with the inspiring cellist Aaron Martin, who almost renders the scene of a mother in the act of assuaging her baby after he got suddenly awaken by a disqueting nightmare on "The New World", lets listener flow over emotional polar lights on the initial "The Dance", honeys further the delicate tapping by Ian on "Blue Type I", "Shallow Break", harmonizes the sleep spindles on "The Headless Sleep", but the other guests let their light shine as well. Dag Rosenqvist (Jasper TX) weaves a net of fading filaments which awakes an encircling warm tone and gradually trigger an engaging emotional blast on the beautiful "Blue Type III", Charles Sage aka y0t0 splendidly boosts the same track by dilating chimes, Ian Hawgood allows himself a quick dip into his own mental pools on "Wolven I" before siphoning those lukeworm waters into Spheruleus' vaporizing alembics ("Wolven II"), Pillowdriver's darkening pipes ("Wolven IV") and Hakobune's treatment ("Wolven III"), which turns it into a plasma soup which saturates the substantia nigra. If you enjoyed the first disc, you'll get totally enraptured by the enchanting reinterpretation of the entire album by electronic dub-ambient sorcerer Brock Van Wey aka bvdub on the second disc, who made a sort of derivative album-within-album, based on three angelical diluition of three tracks ("All These Memories Are Blue Type", "Wolfskin" and "Red Rugs Of Infinite Grass") of the original album, who got turned into exstatic suites.


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