Music Reviews



Nimh : Krungthep Archives

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 12 2011
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Artist: Nimh (@)
Title: Krungthep Archives
Format: CD
Label: Silentes
With shameful guilt, it took me a while to review this new release by Nimh, but for what it's worth this' one of those record that I listened repeatedly before the review and not for a matter of indecision, but for it's so easy to be listened. In my opinion Giuseppe Verticchio reaches his personal best when dealing with quasi ethnic music, sure it's not pure tribal music and not even anything like Peter Gabriel's Real World, it has a lot of the personal taste of this musician. If you take this "Krungthep Archives" cd in some way its the ideal following to his "Forgotten Tapes" release, but at the same time its quite different from the afore mentioned work. Beside his usual amount of field recordings, Nimh has played a lot of traditional instruments and worked on a sort of quasi-ethnic ambient music that mixed with field-sounds, indirectly it may give the idea of an aural documentary. Everything has been meticulously shaped by Verticchio during the mixing process that means even the most lo-fi sounds and the instrumental insertions have been married harmoniously. Verticchio's freaky taste may bring the listen into a sort of hypnotic dimension and when this musician works on this kind of releases displays a certain amount of security. One of my favourite Nimh releases so far.

KAVAL: Sky Of Mirrors

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 31 2011
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Artist: KAVAL
Title: Sky Of Mirrors
Format: 12"
Label: Das Drehmoment (@)
Rated: *****
Three years from the release of the Keen K EP, the label Das Drehmoment is back with the first release of Kaval titled SKY OF MIRRORS. Formed by Roberto Auser (he's based in Rotterdam and has at his active releases with Alden Tyrell on Bear Funk and solo on Bear Funk and Nature Records) and Ian Martin (he is an artist and DJ based in Rotterdam with releases on Strange Life Records, Bunker Records and Further Records at his active), Kaval on their fist vinyl album bring in ten tracks which form two long suites inspired by the electronic pioneers of the 70s (Vangelis and the all the cosmic synth voyagers of the likes of Klaus Schulze, Robert Schroeder, etc) and by John Carpenter' soundtracks. Sounding now experimental, then tribal, the duo succeeds into creating tense atmospheres that often have epic synth melodies and sparse rhythmic fill-ins. Being a middle way from horror soundtracks and cosmic/ambient trips, SKY OF MIRRORS is a nightmarish album that is able to hypnotize its audience and slowly weaving its web that will trap them. Check it out!

Polestar: End of an Era

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 30 2011
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Artist: Polestar
Title: End of an Era
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Boltfish Recordings (@)
Distributor: Boltfish Recordings
Rated: *****
I don't mean to grouse, but why does it seem to be so difficult for some publicists to include their artist's website and email address in their promo material or on the CD they send you? It is sort of a 'requirement for review' here at Chain D. L. K., and more often than not I have to play Sherlock Holmes to track the info down, and not always successfully either. That off my chest, Polestar is (or was) the alter ego of electronic musician Jon Elliott from Bristol, U. K. The fittingly titled 'End of an Era' is the final release from Elliot under the Polestar moniker, a six track EP, but hopefully not the last from Jon Elliott. Being unfamiliar with previous Polestar releases, I only have this one to go by, although I am somewhat familiar with Boltfish Recordings having reviewed a Winter North Atlantic album in the past. Eclectic electronica, IDM, inclinations towards ambient, some experimentalism, that seems to be the kind music Boltfish prefers to put out. Polestar is a perfect fit in that regard, although possibly less experimental than some of their other artists.

The first thing that strikes one about 'End of an Era' is just how pretty it all sounds. The synth sonics and melodies are very pleasant; percussion is light even when highly active, and sometimes hyperactive. In fact, the music sounds so sweet in a wistful sort of way, it almost verges on New Age. Almost. The inspiration behind this Polestar album has to do with the area of Bristol, once actively industrial, and now like Detroit, only a shell of its former self- abandoned, derelict factories, etc. Instead of doleful, depressing gloom, Elliott expresses a dreamy, contemplative nostalgia in the music. Through cute little arpeggiated sequenced melodies accompanied by playful, tinker-toy percussion, there are numerous occasions where the music is downright happy and smiley, and very bouncy.

There are tracks, or parts of tracks on 'End of an Era' that I could easily picture as background music in television commercials, tracks such as 'Seven Span,' 'A Person of the Past,' 'Music for Abandoned Factories,' and 'Ups320'. That's NOT a bad thing though. There is a LOT of money spent in advertising to get good, memorable music. (Commercial producers take note; you need to check this stuff out!) For the IDM enthusiast, there is plenty to latch onto, and the ambient lovers should enjoy the Enoesque cloud pads in 'Legacy'. Polestar's perky beat-programming gets quite elaborate at times with its infusion of glitch-click 'n whirr. Mostly, it works with the music, although there were a few occasions I thought it went a little overboard.

Still, I haven't heard an album of this ilk that was so instantly likeable in a while. Like a frisky pet, the music may surprise and delight you. It goes down easy, but not so mellow that you'll be bored. A high replayability factor makes this one a winner, and worth owning. Available from Boltfish as a digital download only now.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Provocateur
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Dungeon Recordings / Backscatter Media (@)
Rated: *****
Both SLC-based labels Backscatter and Dungeon Recording renewing their partnership with both new website designs and they celebrate successfully their mutual course. They released two freely downloadable full-length compilations, one of them musically rather more based in Goth-Rock, Indie and Alternative music, and this one, entitled 'Provocateur' the more Electronic/Industrial-minded alter ego. I refuse to concentrate on this one only ' just check both of their websites, if you're more the 'other' styles of music. 'Proven favorites play along side brand new exclusives from many talented artists', so one of the entrancing statements of this comp. Indeed, favorites can be named with SYMBIONT ('Behind The Lie'), LITTLE SAP DUNGEON ('Empty Rooms Breathe Heavily'), LEXINCRYPT ('Dead By Morning'), or BOUNDLESS ('Seduction' ' feat. LOST SIGNAL and Frank M. Spinath of SEABOUND). So far so good, but none of these most recognized artists of both labels offer anything new ' that's a pity for their die-hard fans, as they surely all know these classic recordings. New compositions would have done better, since there are recently announcements for new recordings by LSD, LEXINCRYPT has new stuff available via Crunch Pod, and also the persistent rumor, that SYMBIONT will reunite are keeping the flame of hope burning. There's also the mysterious project named ALGORYTHMDEKONSTRUCT and it's once again too bad, that this project has never received a comparable cult status like the above mentioned better recognized ones ' I still remember the heydays of MP3.com, where I was able to download a few more tracks from this underrated artist after having heard the straight and pummeling EBM tune 'Love Hate Obsession' on the DSBP compilation 'Cybonetix 2002'. Other remarkable stuff surely hides behind the comeback of CONTROL.ORG with their rather smooth Electronica sound between Futurepop and EBM, as well as the energetic outfit of the follow-up project to BOUNDLESS, XIESCIVE with 'Time To Die'. 'Provocateur' is a groundbreaking collection, if you're new into the Electronica scene around Salt Lake City ' if you're familiar with these artists, you may won't find too much stuff transforming this compilation to a must-have item. However, since this one is freely available, you can't do nothing wrong by downloading it from the web resources of both labels.

01. PCP-The Nothing [V.2]
02. Xiescive-Time To Die
03. Symbiont-Behind The Lie
04. AlgorithmDekonstruct-Love Hate Obsession
05. The Stygian-Killing Time [Insurgent Version]
06. Mourning People-Black Night Battery
07. Empyreus-The Bleeding Hearts
08. Christopher Alvarado-Blades Of The Sun
09. Lexincrypt-Dead By Morning
10. Little Sap Dungeon-Empty Rooms Breathe Heavily
11. Boundless-Seduction [Feat. Lost Signal & Frank M. Spinath of Seabound]
12. Control.org-Analogue Killer
13. Audio Variancision-Hemi Sync [6.1]
14. Twilight Transmissions-Ascending Black Rays

Etokle: The Golden Bear & Other Works

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 27 2011
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Artist: Etokle (@)
Title: The Golden Bear & Other Works
Format: CD
Label: Auraltone Music (@)
Rated: *****
Since the beginning of the reproduction, it's quite clear Erik Tokle, aka Etokle, a talented composer and producer from Los Angeles knows many tricks to make ambient music, even if he also tries to intertwine chilled tunes with rock stepping or daydreaming refrains close to the ones by Robin Guthrie througout his side-project High In the Cemetery showing some many-sidedness off. In particular, he knows how to let a sound come in by thinning it down in a dense syrup of guitar carefully stretched frequencies or nebulized in the sound space before becoming more and more "concrete" or facilitating sudden changeover of sound-set as it happen in the very long initial suite entitled Bear Flag Revolution, a sort of tribute to his California, one of the fuzziest hotbed of the world for ambient experiments, lasting almost half an hour, portraying a sort of cosmic gradual ascension. The track oscillates between that kind of featheriness and a sort of goggle-eyed cryptaesthesia, which can be heard in some mental riding by Stars Of The Lid, whereas in La Mort Heureuse (inspired by the notorious novel by Albert Camus), the sound follows a sort of hyperbolic trajectory replaced by a penetrating guitar sound on his journey towards listener's consciousness. Not properly a drone! The final gentle pressure of the last track, queerly entitled Het Mechanische Gebied van De Slaap, seems immersed in the same aural pool where many minimal "ambientalist" washed their synths, floodlighted by those rarefied intimistic glares, that could please many fans of Sigur Ros or other borderline post-rock swimmers.


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