Music Reviews

Dreissk: Edge Horizon

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 15 2013
Artist: Dreissk (@)
Title: Edge Horizon
Format: CD
Label: n5MD (@)
Rated: *****
Dreissk (Kevin Patzelt) is back again with 'Edge Horizon,' his second full-length album on n5MD. It's quite a change from 'The Finding'. Gone are many of the overtly shoegazey aspects of Dreissk's previous work, and what remains is woven into a spacey Tangerine Dream-like foray into the outer reaches of the cosmos. It's not all smooth sailing on a blissful trip though as Dreissk injects noisy and somewhat distorted percussion to propel his star engine. You still get quite a bit of long, sustained, echoed guitar notes riding over the music, one thing that certainly makes Dreissk's music different from other electronic music artists. Synth chords swathed in reverb and echo with some melodic piano give one track an ambient edge (that particular track, 'Through' features Anklebiter, aka Tanner Volz, from Tympanik) but it isn't long before crunchy percussion makes its way into the mix.

An interesting thing about 'Edge Horizon' is how well tracks seem to blend into each other. This is certainly a voyage; there is a strong sense of motion throughout, even when the percussion is absent. One bit of criticism ' the tracks are nearly overloaded at many points with sound, and that make headphone listening tough at loud volumes. Sometimes less can be more effective. 'Edge Horizon' mellows considerably towards the end on the last few tracks (maybe the bliss you've been waiting for) dispensing with the percussion until the reprise of 'The Rising Tide' (radio edit) and I suppose that's nice way to go out after all.

While 'Edge Horizon' may be less challenging listening than 'The Finding,' it is also more accessible, and that's sure to garner Dreissk more fans and likely more airplay. If you're hungering for something new in the space music genre, you really should give this a try. You probably won't be disappointed.

Cindytalk: A Life Is Everywhere

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 03 2013
Artist: Cindytalk (@)
Title: A Life Is Everywhere
Format: CD
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
The sonic mutation of Scottish band Cindytalk (former collaborators of a number of bands and musicians such as Cocteau Twins, Somatic Responses, Chris Connelly and many more) after Gordon "Cindy" Sharp lapsed into an unorthodox amalgamation of musique concrete, electronics, sampling and industrial splinters reaches its peak on this charming release, which sounds somehow slinky to the definition of "Ambi-dustrial" they coined to describe their past deconstructions of rock structures in my opinion and doesn't really lack of congruence with previous phases of their explorations and supposedly to old cinema masterpieces as they matched each of the 6 tracks to the title of legendary drama movies such as Bunel's "The Exterminating Angel", Tarkovsky's "Nostalghia", Haneke's "Hidden", Godard's "Vivre Sa Vie". I'm not sure about the reason of this match game or common denominator of the quoted movies: I could say they tried to render the atmospheres of each movie or maybe there're some hidden sonic clues within every single track. Anyway, the "method" they followed to organize sounds could vaguely resemble the one by first Autechre, who used to insert sometimes unexpected classical ditties within weaves and tangles of noises and electronic sounds, but Cindytalk's way is somehow adventorous and extremely striking. The initial "Time To Fall" could let listeners think about the gradual melting of matter inside an acid bath which sounds like a proper flood, whose final act is the surfacing of a charming abstract string melody from the obscure depths of the evoked corrosive pool. The same melody seems to get reprised like a recurring theme on the following tracks according to many different intriguing sonic strategies: it turns into a sneaking sub-bass frequency which pass through a sort of dangerously spinning helix on "My Drift is a Ghost", a phantasmagorical indiscernibile bubbling entity in the storming metallic nebulas and saturation points of "To A Dying Star", a sinister whisper which resounds behind sepulchral creaking gates and dusty thuds of some undefined netherworld on the eerie "Interruptum" and inside the narrow interstices of the squeezing pressurization of a suffocating industrial-dub movement on "As If We Had Once Been" before gaining strength over the lump of sizzling electrons of "On A Pure Plane". Even chaos can boast gracefulness!

Mario BJM Bajardi: Glass Orchestra EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 01 2013
Artist: Mario BJM Bajardi (@)
Title: Glass Orchestra EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: ONDE
Rated: *****
This second release by the brilliant Italian composer and sound artist Mario Bajardi - check his biography in order to understand his value and the resonance of his sonic research - after his acclaimed album "Archives" on ONDE Electronic Contents, a division of Paolo Bigazzi's imprint Iter Research, hits the cinematic heart of the label on the nail as each track of this short, but amazing "Glass Orchestra EP" sounds remarkably evocative and somehow dramatic. The title track got quite notorious on YouTube as it was composed for "Sound of Wine", an awesome and very original way that Sicilian wine company Tasca D'Almerita chose to promote their delicious products by inebriating the sense of hearing which isn't involved like olfaction, taste and sight during a wine tasting. That amazing video, which got signed by viral media company Mosaicoon, shows Mr.Bajardi in the act of conducting a bizarre orchestra of 10 young players of bottles and glasses and the general chiming sound of this funny experiment is a pleasure for eardrums. The notoriety of the above-mentioned track doesn't outshine the good make of the other tracks: "All" seems to tap from dub and space rock springs whose refreshing waters spring the lukeworm psychedelic intertwining of digital processed sounds, splinters of violin and twinkly synth glares; the outlandish reverie of "San Lorenzo" is a studio version of a subplot Mario played during a live concert as an electroacoustic improvisation; "Encounter" is maybe the most dramatic track, where the initial delicate strings sounds like the inner sparking which gradually cracks the shell of daily life before bursting into properly epic flames.

Alberto Boccardi + Lawrence English: Split

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 29 2013
Artist: Alberto Boccardi + Lawrence English (@)
Title: Split
Format: 12"
Label: frattonove (@)
Rated: *****
Even if this splitted release derives from Alberto Boccardi's recordings of Antonio Lamotta choir, both the cover artwork by Marco Galeazzi and the general aura of the first suite of this release reminded the final scene of "Nocturne", an old short film by Lars Von Trier: the flock of geese or crows on the ocher sky, the estranging obfuscation evoked by the gradual overlapping of a number of acoustic instruments (double bass, cello, French horn, autoharp, soprano saxophone), which could remind the horns of many maneuvering boats, the progressive saturation of the above-mentioned instruments over consecutive suctions, the clinical and vaguely stifling atmosphere rendered by the plumbean chorus, a sort of atrial flutter which disappears under a rising distorted guitar, the consequent silent coma and the entrancing final etheral delayed sound of "Drops, salt, ask me next life", the sonic path Alberto develops in three movements, could be vaguely associated to that 7 minutes lasting breathtaking short. On the flipside, you'll find "The Rocks That Tear The Ocean", a likewise absorbing suite, built by Lawrence English, who received Alberto's recordings in order to give him the possibility to freely manipulate them, and ideally consisting of four moments: "Thrones and Domains", where Lawrence reprised Antonio LaMotta choir, "Coronach Adrift" - the quotation of Scottish Galic dirge sounds apt to the evoked bleakness -, "Weathered Hymnary", where atmospheric agents seems to have been turned into proper voices and instruments, and the final upward motion of "Seraphim", where a seraphic unhuman chant seems to echo the previous keening choir and rise over the amalgamation of natural and human resounding elements. The final result is a proper mental journey, whose comparison with Land Art "in which a massing of micro elements create a macro feature" by Lawrence himself pertain to his compositional process.

CoH: RETRO-2038

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 28 2013
Artist: CoH (@)
Title: RETRO-2038
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
This record by Russian-born, but Sweden-based Ivan Pavlov (what a reminiscent surname...), whose nom de guerre is CoH - a word which should be pronounced as "son" and mean "dream" or "sleep" in Russian if you read it in Cyrillic -, could be described by an allusive paraphrase of the album title by Coil, a band Ivan might like: "Retro-2038", a title whose reference should be clear to many nerds and people dealing with computational bugs related to time counting, could be considered as a collection of new backwards or possibly old forwards. This specimen of retrofuturism or avant-primitivism seems to play cowboys and indians with the concept of future and past, as if it was inspired by the defilement of a disused robotic prototype, who sounds rewired in the initial track "Retrotech Overture": the electric hiss, the reactivation of logical circuits and even a feeling of dizziness that even machines could experience after a prolonged "coma" have been mirrored by CoH before the playful electronic tingling of the following "Bugs Build A House", where the merry micromelody rejigs and gels with other sonic elements of the track, and the amazing analog/digital tic tacks of "Time To Time", where the binomial distribution of time scanning seems to emphasize the intrinsic logics of this record along the lines of an ambigous duality, which is even more stressed on the gleaming buzzers of entrancing low-frequencies of the following "On Wings Of Gravity". Crystalline drops over buzzing electronic bruises and shredded sequences oddly group together on "Aniki" and the beatless bleeping dance of "Disco Discrete". In spite of the dedication to Mika Vainio on the nubby glissando of "Vainio", "Retro-2038" sounds definitely less coarse-grained than CoH's previous releases, while the final "Method As Fun" is the peak which enshrines the declension of suprematist retro-futurism by this talented composer and his learned modulation of attacks and decays.

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