Music Reviews



The Ebertbrothers: Engine Eyes

 Posted by Barton Graham   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 19 2013
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Artist: The Ebertbrothers (@)
Title: Engine Eyes
Format: CD EP
Label: Mindwaves Music
Rated: *****
The Ebertbrothers have put out a release entitled 'Engine Eyes' which contains 4 new songs, and 3 remixes from their 2011 effort 'Susten Pass.' The record gives a solid start with the two new songs 'Sunset Car Chase' and 'Rusty Black Bike' which both have a pretty great sound to them. They manage to combine smart, modern beats and rhythms, which extremely chill synths and pads to create these wide open, airy textures. Some of their synths have a bit of a retro feel, but with modern production value. Sometimes they can feel a bit novel, or even ill conceived (synth line in the latter tune), yet despite that they still manage to have a very appealing, and even comforting sound and feel; very strange in a good way. The next set of songs on display are three remixes by Karsten Pflum, Lackluster and Badun respectively. Pflum takes on 'Black String' and offers a less stark, far more funky yet structured approach. 'Feature Film' is reinvented by Lackluster has created a far more chill, yet somehow (occasionally) more sporadic mix, with more of a groove to it. Then Badun sculpts a smooth, spacey rendition of 'Sympathy Changes.' To close the disc two more new songs remain; but are definitely good, but not really noteworthy in comparison to rest of the disc. 'Engine Eyes' treads a lot of different water, but manages to mix it all together in an overall pretty solid record with funky electrogrooves, chill tones and retro synths, and even a moment or two of sweet Massive Attack vibes.

Luca Sigurtà: Bliss

 Posted by Barton Graham   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 19 2013
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Artist: Luca Sigurtà (@)
Title: Bliss
Format: CD
Label: Fratto9 Under The Sky Records (@)
Rated: *****
Open: Rich, textural ambient begins to pour from the speakers (or headphones I suppose for most); there is an underlying washing of noises and field recordings. A deep bass slowly creeps in. Very oceanic, almost glacial. And so begins 'Bliss' by Luca Sigurtà from Frattonove (aka Fratto9 Under the Sky). While 'Bliss' contains just 5 untitled tracks, it clocks in at over 41 minutes, each one full of rich, pristine tones, textures and sounds. One of the only signs of melody is discovered at the intro of the second piece in the form of plucky koto or similar instrument, but as the texture slowly fills in around it, it quickly melts away. A very quiet, but delicious track overall. The third movement fades quickly in, filled with lush, almost orchestral walls, which very slowly, and very stealthily mutate into dissonant chords by the end of the piece. Track 4 is far more sparse, with soft static living just beneath a slight tension, which eventually gives way to the final chapter of this aural journey. A crisp ringing drone almost tricks the mind into believing its surrounded by crickets; maybe sitting calmly out in a cool, spring night's air. Until the static returns, much more than before, followed by the sounds of a dungeon or cave, echoing through said night. 'Bliss' has it all, from those beautifully rich, thick textures, to its robust tones, to its underlying noise and field recordings, it is just a well-executed, well-written page in the ambient history books.
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Artist: RMEDL | K11 (@)
Title: Chthonian Music
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
This striking conceptual album and the related sound installation, based on the sound spacialization system I.M.E.A.S.Y. and performed in an ancient Etruscan hypogeum in the archeological park of Cecina, a little town close to Leghorn (Italy), during the spring solstice within the programmatic-conceptual event "Metasound ' Independent Curatorial Experiences in Contemporary Art: from the object up to the event: sound art, multimedia and practice of the art of listening", was initially limited to 50 private copies. Three years later, Cold Spring decided to reissue it in order to avoid the this remarkable sonic artefact could sink into the oblivion of the underworld the involved artists ideally climbed down. The Roman consul Albino Cecina, which gave the name to the above-mentioned town, ordered the construction of a villa, whose ruins can still be visited. The cavity of its cistern and its mysteric tunnels became the perfect location for Chtonian Music project by Italian philosopher, composer and sound artist Pietro Riparbelli aka K11 and Sandro Gronchi, head of Radical Matters, who involved an impressive number of sound artists and musicians from different but somewhat contiguous stylistical ground (Philippe Petit, Seth Cluett, Gianluca Becuzzi, Francisco Lopez, Aderlating, Andrea Marutti, Burial Hex, Christina Kubisch, Deadwood, Francesco Brasini, L'Acephale, Luciano Maggiore, Massimo Bartolini, Nordvargr, Utarm, Y.E.R.M.O) emphasized the sacral function of that ancient place with a sonic performance which sounds like a contemporary devotional rite to the Goddess Demeter/Persephone, the queen of hell and bride of Plouton/Hades and the symbolic representation of "the awakening of the soul and its cyclical path of death and transfiguration" behind her myth, who inspired the religion of the Mysteries, imported by the Etruscans in Italy. After the initial "Mvndvs", where Francismo Lopez immediately catches listener's attention by rendering natural amplified sounds on deep ultra-low frequencies by Seth Cluett and unexpected distorted rumbles which lacerates the apparent stillness like heavy thunders, the five following parts of "Katabasis" sonically describes the descent in the underworld by means of remarkable performative peaks such as the mindblowing raving ascension of Part II with the catchy vocals by L'Acephale and the heady drones by Utarm, the entrancing piano by Burial Hex on the magmatic fog by Andrea Marutti and Pietro Riparbelli in the third part ("Epopteia"), named after the final initiation rite in the Eleusinian Mysteries, the dusky electrical excitement of the first part, the grazing guitars by Francesco Brasini on the immersive virtual underworld moulded by Becuzzi and Bartolini on the narcotic organ and unearthly shouts by Riparbelli, the metallic rolling balls and the resounding crack on the ground which ushers listeners to the end of the obscure journey in the fifth part, before the final representation of "Nuktelia", a sort of supreme demonaltry when wizards with snkes twisted on their arms, moved at flickering light of torches in long orgiastic processions. Due to the high number of guests, under the stylistical viewpoint, "Chthonian Music" harvest from a wide range of styles: dark ambient, doom metal, dark-folk, field recordings, art rock, drone, classical music, musique concrete, ritual ambient flocked to celebrate the mysteries.

Matthew Collings: Splintered Instruments

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 14 2013
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Artist: Matthew Collings (@)
Title: Splintered Instruments
Format: CD
Label: Fluid Audio (@)
Rated: *****
Idiophones (match-boxes or supposed maracas) and frenzied strokes on piano single-note played by Australian composer Ben Frost on the initial "Vasilia" starts the engine of the unsettled and catchy sonic storm by Matthew Collings, who seems to cast the net of emotional blankets over electronics and instruments in order to render the shattering eruption of emotion over compositional schemes. All tracks mirror this more or less explicit intent and it's quite interesting how this dynamic energy Matthew tries to steer into his songs finally manages to damage and corrode the sound of each instruments and melodic structure as if it resurfaces like an emotional burst, which got sedated and unspoken for long. Even though I think his arguments against electronics, which he uses just as he needed to cobble all different parts of his songs, is quite anachronistic, an opinion which maybe comes from the fascinating places he lived (Iceland and Edinburgh), its approach results into very good tracks (I particularly enjoyed the cinematic rise on "Paris Is Burning", the entrancing sonic honey-pot of "The Meet On The Subway" and the absorbing grip of underlying symphonies on "Crows"). I don't really think that a possible use of electronics could spike it, if I think about musicians or bands who explored adjacent stylistical and "poetical" territories such as Efterklang, Digitonal or Galaktlan (even if they are bands). Anyway I cannot but recommend to have a listen to sonic whirlwinds and flames, which is going to persuade many listeners about Matthew's remarkable skills.
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Artist: United Bible Studies (@)
Title: Spoicke
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Fluid Audio (@)
Rated: *****
The strictly limited edition of 77 physical copies, which included handmade Larch Elder Futhark rune with burnt symbols of Three Principles, Four Elements, planets and metals, finished with natural bees' wax, fire resin incense, fine drawing represented the life and the death of a magician, double sided luxury postcards, black envelope and mini cards into homemade sewn fabric pouch, is already sold out, but the last release by experimental and improvisational folk Irish band United Bible Studies, recorded on the occasion 2009 VPRO festival in Amsterdam, is still digitally available. Their contemplative self-building musical discourse on stillness continues over the four sonic chisellings, which evolve by themselves on the basis of an ideal medley between dark-tinged gloomy folk, stylistical hints at Scarborough-Fair minstrelsy, acoustic purism and occasional electronic flurries, where the dialogues between Richard Moult's piano, Aine O'Dwyer's harp and acoustic guitars, lap steel guitars and electronics by Gavin Prior and David Colohan on the initial "Black Matthew 1" and delicate moody ballad of "Hazlehurst Requiem", which manages to combine ballad form with celtic and Indian folk music particles, seem to be the real highlights of the recording. The vocal interpretation and the briny celtic glows of "The Shore That Fears The Sea" is also a very evocative peak from the beginning to the final repetetion of the verse "something comes quietly", which pours the listeners into the above-mentioned "Hazlehurst Requiem".


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