Music Reviews

T.A.C.: Chaosphere

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 12 2013
Artist: T.A.C. (@)
Title: Chaosphere
Format: CD
Label: Old Europa Cafe (@)
Rated: *****
Fifteen years after its completion, "Chaosphere", the "lost" album by Italian industrial act T.A.C. recorded between November 1997 and February 1998 in New York as a sequel of their previous album "Apotropaismo", has finally been released by band mastermind Simon Balestrazzi on renowned label Old Europa Cafe. Simon didn't dissemble the fact it was heavily influenced by Andrej Tarkovskij's masterpieces "Solaris" and "Stalker" or it's better to say by the impressive soundscape based on a wise deployment of music, diegetic sounds, dialogues, their sonic representation of internal psychological and emotional processes and crisis of characters and the osmotic emphaty they succeed in establishing with viewers, coming from the strict collaboration between Tarkovskij and the genial composer of scores Edward Artemyev. The cover artwork itself quotes both movies: the original Soviet poster of Solaris, where psychlogist Kris Kelvin (performed by Lithuanian actor Donatas Banionis) was portrayed inside a triangle, whose vertex coincided with the centre of the central sphere, replaced by heartless and acephalous character (maybe Porcupine, Stalker's predecessor of the main character of the other plot) on T.A.C.'s artwork, and the dark waters of the subterranean tunnels the protagonists of Stalker had to cross to reach the so-called Zone or maybe the ones which appears when Dr.Kelvin shows the film about his life to fictional Hari, related to Peter Bruegel's painting "The Hunters In The Snow", after the notorious levitation scene, on the background. The deformation of the typical noise of a movie camera on the introduction of the mindblowing "Ocean Sonique", the haunting drones of laminar flow on the hypnotic initial track "Despite", the obliqueness of claustrophobic wide-open transitions of "The Sluggish Larvae Of An Antique Syntax" or "Imperceptibility", the nightmarish aspic of sonic clues on "Non Form" and "This Language Of Flesh and Blood", the sinister stroboscopic quivers on "Crystallize", the quotation of Oriental flutes of Stalker's theme on "Nodal Points" with sonic clues which recall the sequence of dream of that movie and many other elements over the album have many hooks to the abstract and somehow surreal journeys of Tarkovskij's movies, whose grip on viewer and adimensional wriggles seem to have been emphasized by T.A.C.'s exploration of Chaosphere, which resounds within a really visionary halo mostly by means of Balestrazzi's glorious rescued VCS3 synthesizer and other few devices.

Jasper TX: An Index Of Failure

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 09 2013
Artist: Jasper TX (@)
Title: An Index Of Failure
Format: 12"
Label: Handmade Birds (@)
Distributor: Thrill Jockey
Rated: *****
After nine albums and many tours all around the world, it seems that Swedish talented multi-instrumentalist Dag Rosenqvist wants to put an end to his project Jasper TX, whose name was taken from a village in Eastern Texas where a brutal racist homicide, the one of James Byrd, occurred in June 1998, and I have to say the awareness this is the last Japer TX act accentuates the mood of epic sadness which pervades the lead line of its sound. The dark foxfire begins to glimmer since the introductive track, even if the first weeping tones, which could reemble some stuff by Archive or, if you know collaborative projects by Rosenqvist, From The Mouth Of The Sun, could sound more intimistic than solemnly epic before the electroacoustic gloss of the final part, which more vividly shines in the following track "In All Your Blinding Lights" and sinks into sidelight in "Rivers Flow", which initially looks like a reprise of "Abandon" and then turns into a more radiant and even more graceful atmosphere by means of pad-synths and touching murmur of low frequencies which sets it ablaze. On the flipside, the intial narcosis of an entrancing mist grows into a somehow deafening electrical storm on "A New Language", which precedes the lovely epidural elegy of "Days Above The Tide", whose somber marching advance could recall some epic peaks of "Angels of The Universe" soundtrack by Hilmar Orn & Sigur Ros. "An Index of Failure" is definitively a proper way to scatter cremation Jasper TX's ashes over heavy seas.

Takamovsky: In Streams

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 08 2013
Artist: Takamovsky (@)
Title: In Streams
Format: CD
Label: Etymtone (@)
Rated: *****
A whirligig of electronic sizzling sounds, fogged by the swish of electric current, placental warm bass rolls and a rising mellifluous pad, boots the first module of "The Central Speechscrambler" up, which introduces this excellent debut release by musician and author Juergen Berlakovich aka Takamovsky, who spotlights abyssal inhabitants and oddballs which often surface from the depths of data streams with their burden of concerns, vain ambitions, emotional baggages and outbursts, so that the three parts of the above-mentioned suite, influenced by William Burroughs's essay The Electronic Revolution (a notorious source for inspiration for many musicians, particularly of the industrial scene), where a robotic, but somehow pitched voice, articulates desultory speeches in order to represent the intimate senselessness and intentionally messy illogicality of everyday media news and the implementation of the cut-up technique to confusing news broadcasts and political speeches with the subtle intent of control over individuals. The charming sonic involucre of the speech from this imaginary anchorman emphasizes the circumstance that even absurdities could sound plausible when the form without content is attractive and even if you try to read between the lines, someone could get a glimpse of some revealed truth or partially censored truths behind encrypted sentences. For instance, the second part of "The Central Speechscrambler" says "The secret agency denial malitious potential messages. A modern matter. Srettsgatie taekn commicnu itaons. Cyberattacks. A dmeorn tamer. Tehl batet msvoe itno acrpybsece. Brcaytteas. The battle moves into cyberspace.". Over these streams, Juergen buoys contemporary manias, bizarre paranoias and last vacillating stronghold of individualism and cultural uniformity of social networks ("Paranoid King"), barking and rebarking dogs in the amazing song "Dogstar", inspired by Franz Kafka's "Investigations of a Dog" - I recommend to read it in order to check the particular role of music, the meaning of the "mysterious" appearance of seven dogs and the proper references in lyrics -, godforsaken djs, lovers belonging to digital age in the act of translation their computerized wet dreams into contemporary language (the queit guitar-driven song "Data d'Amour" seems to parody the technologically affected languages by echoing an essay on this matter by Timothy Leary: "Text my head and scan my face/Hack my thoughts, compile my grace/Zip them then and save them safe/Scroll my ears, debug my nose/Emulate my shoes and clothes/With little magic stick/[...] Shift my hips and microchips/Surf my butt and read my lips/Syntax error no undo") and all underwater saboteurs ("Dead Air") within a majestic blow-up whose implicitly malicious mockery amalgamates them like the fantasy of Hyeronimus Bosch could arguably do. Takamovsky's musical collage sounds equally kaleidoscopic and you'll easily perceive elements and reminiscences of jazz, dance music, electro-pop, abstract electronics, blues, field recordings, Radiohead, Tom Waits, Fennesz, Frank Zappa, Nikakoi, Royksopp which all got blended by Juergen's quick and dry wit.
Apr 08 2013
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Artist: Aqualuna
Title: Alchemical Transformation Through Vision and Sound
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Zoharum is a collaboration between Anna Pilewicz, a video artist, and Rafal Iwanski. As the name suggests their main symbols are water and moon and they were chosen for their connection with birth and transformation. So music is based among a sense of rest and expectation to reflect the timing of the video development.
This work starts with "Genesis. Luna" that is based around geometrical figures related to the circles fusing and separating with a dark drone as a soundscape. "Somnium. Subersio" is focused about a woman immersed in the water and the flow of the objects in a river, with an hypnotic loop as a sound track. "Substantia" is based among a sci-fi loop that acts as a soundtrack for the development of the visual themes of the previous track.
"Climax" is based upon an aerial visual themes bounded on the relation between water and gas. "Coma. Oceanus" starts with the symbol of the amoeba, one of the most basic within the environment of this release (water) and is also the most static and reflexive. "Purificatio. Aqua" closes this release with the juxtaposition of almost all the themes developed in the previous tracks.
This release, as few other release, is able to invert the usual trend where the dvd is a companion to the cd audio because this is a true audio video project to be enjoyed in his whole. The soundtrack made by X-Navi:et is completely devoted to an effect of synesthesia and is so effective to appear almost incomplete listened in the audio cd. Recommended.

Dirk Serries: Microphonics XXI-XXV

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 06 2013
Artist: Dirk Serries (@)
Title: Microphonics XXI-XXV
Format: CD
Label: Tonefloat (@)
Rated: *****
After the recent collaborative work with Jon Atwood and the "concluding album statement" of the side-project Fear Falls Burning, Belgian musician Dirk Serries aka VidnaObmana, who doesn't really need any introduction due to his astonishing long-lasting sonic research and his monumental discography, comes back on Dutch label Tonefloat with the second volume of Microphonics, last act of his orbits around minimalism. This elegant chiseler forges four masterpieces which are built on a frame of a limited number of guitar chords or tones, which emit intensively emotional contrails and heady harmonics: the seemingly perpetual crumbling of the creaking guitar in the initial "Mounting Among The Waves" let leak a sort of myelin sheath around the electric sinew which moves and indents strings, while the following "There's A Light In Vein" is even more dazzling by means of its sweet and plain arpeggio and a bewitching deep low sound which gradually rises and floods in any hidden burrow of listener's soul. The finicky distortion on guitars on "The Burden Of Hope" never bothers listener; they rather weave an engaging twine with surfacing warm bass tone and melodic scrapes which reroutes the mental sailing towards an unpredictable and indefinitely limbo, whose pervading vibrations could even inspire an emotional reaction to a marble. The catharsis looks like an accomplished mission, which just needs some celebration on the final dazzling lullaby-like drone of "Thousands of Rivers", which ends this heartbreaking release with a psychedelic and cooling bang.

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