Music Reviews



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".

Mergrim: Intersect Landscape

 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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Mar 12 2013
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Artist: Mergrim
Title: Intersect Landscape
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Moph (@)
Rated: *****
Sprouted from his acclaimed debut album "Invisible Landscape", Tokyo-based Takahisa Mitsumori aka Mergrim gives worldwide listeners the chance to know many interesting Japanese artists and musicians (mainly unknown on this side of the planet), who have been involved in the remix project "Intersect Landscape". All remixers managed to keep the miscellany of glistening crispness, daydreaming vibe and aerodynamic forces of the original sonic mold by means of wise chromatic variations without omitting their stylistical mark: I found particularly catching the sobbing glitches of swishes by m-koda on "Beautiful Corruption", the entrancing jazzy gliding of no.9 on "Soft'n Poetry", which could make you think about an imaginary crossbreed of some tracks by dZihan & Kamien ("Homebase", "Drophere") by Sakamoto or viceversa, remix of Arch by Go-qualia, whose title, "Chemistry of a dream and a spring breeze", is the proper description of what you're going to experience, the delicate piano expansions of moshimoss on "Senkyou" and Lycoriscoris on the melancholic "Ideal That Fade Out", miaou's remix of "Noir Noir", which could be associated by many Western tasteful listeners to an airy variation of Cornelius' music, saccharin folktronica resins of agraph on remix of "Dry Aesthetic", the chirping childish vocal interpretation of Cokiyu on her remix of "Step Of The Flakes", the frothy electronic tunes of Ametsub on "Shdwgrph *Grain", the sleepwalking casting of electronic honey by Geskia! on "Absentminded Drowsiness", the enthralling electronic-house flying over by Dj Sodeyama on his reinterpretation of "Beautiful Corruprion". The fact I quoted all of them at last could be indicative of their respective quality, so that it's really difficult to make a rank. The second cd of "Intersect Landscape" includes some live-tracks that Mergrim recorded during his tour in Japan and China, where his music got rocketed over the clouds by the precious collaboration of talented drummer Kazuya Matsumoto. If you like jazz-spotted glitch airy electronics, you'll find this listening experience really blissful!

Ghost Time: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 11 2013
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Artist: Ghost Time (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Hinterzimmer Records (@)
Rated: *****
Listeners get immediately absorbed in an other-worldly magnetic field since the very first moments of the initial track "Pastly" by the widely reverberated and somewhat claustrophobic rasps, withering flurries and suffocated shrieks and the phantasmagorical listening experience keeps on draining away without any break over the lond-lasting four tracks as if it's a sort of sonic translation of an attempt to recover after the hallucinogenic fever dream caused by an alkaloid poisoned philter, which culminates in the frightening screams of the ghost of some harridan and the intoxicating fumigations of "Faint" and the oblong and almost unreal pocket trumpet on the final "Glimpse". This haunted declension of avantagarde-jazz and post-industrial research has almost become a cubbyhole, but this uncommon trio, made up of English pocket trumpeter Andy Knight and a couple of outstanding personalisties of the experimental scene, American renowned performative artists and noise percussionist Z'ev and Scottish jazz-fusion drummer and percussionist Ken Hyder, tried to fertilize this stylistical ground by bizarre instrumental parts, performative techniques and references to centuries-old traditions: all bass lines have been taken from the Ceol Mor, the ancient tradition of Scottish Pibroch, the so-called music of laments; Z'ev and Ken generates overtones by using alto, tenor and baritone rolmos, which are Tibetan ritual cymbals; the vocals combine elemnts of Canntaireachd, a vocalisation of bagpipe playing, and Khoomei, a Siberian and Mongolian traditional form of throat singing which Ken learnt when he was in Tuva, a Russian region in Southern Siberia. Beyond this musical "syncretism", another relevant aspect of Ghost Time is the fact it was entirely recorded live in one take, even if someone could think that its overtones could have been electronically modified.

Mountains: Centralia

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 09 2013
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Artist: Mountains (@)
Title: Centralia
Format: CD
Label: Thrill Jockey (@)
Rated: *****
After listening this graceful release by Brooklyn-based duo of Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg, I dare to say that if hills have eyes, mountains have certainly ears! Named after the desolate ghost town of Centralia (Columbia County, Pennsylvania), where a large undergound fire (still unextinguished) of anthracite coal mine acted as a depopulation bomb due to air pollution and excessively hot temperature in 1962, a somewhat tragic event which tickled the imagination of many writers, musicians, directors and other creative flairs, this release could give you the impression these musicians turned into transducers of that surreal land, lying on a brazier which scared away the sacrilegious asinity of its previous usurpers (it seems that the abandoned mine was set on fire by dumping of hot ashes during landfill) nd will last for centuries to keep them at a safe distance. The static appearance of electronic mantles almost evokes the quiet grandiosity of a massif, which overlooks its surrounding realm, whereas computational sparks and the extreme cleaness of both electronic and instrumental sound seems to mirror the purificatory and slowly pervading action of that fiery furnace which managed to melt pavements and asphalt and undoes chasms, rifts and cracks on the ground. A certain sense of tragedy of some overstreched frequncies and decomposing sounds oddly coalesces with organic splendours of instrumental parts and over the album, but the first weight, under sedation of heart rending cello and strings ("Sand"), lulling or entrancing guitar arpeggios ("Identical Ship", "Circular C"), pastoral-like symphonies ("Tilt"), lukewarm psychedelic suites ("Propeller"), bubbling springs of electronic gleaming ("Liana"), could be more clearly felt in the final lovely hesitant "Living Lens". Tragically soothing.


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