Music Reviews



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Artist: Type001 (@)
Title: Finished Business
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Glim Records (@)
Rated: *****
There are still some music projects existing completely under the radar, from which one could think, they've been gone into the happy hunting grounds of Manitou. Boston-based project Type001 can be called to them, during the last 5 years the web presence of mastermind Matt Ossen was more down than up. Lately discovered on Testube's remix EP 'Unintentional' with a remix, I thought to listen to one of the very last audio outputs of this highly talented artist. But now - and lesser surprising signed to Testube's label Glim Records - here comes an all new album. More than 7 years in the making, 'Finished Business' gives an overview of what has been produced by Matt in private, but still points out a quite important fact: Type001's sound outfit provides an own form of authenticity. A few tracks (the double-intro/-outro ''¦Made You Mine' / 'Made You Cry'¦') are picking up the mood of the marvelous debut 'Multi-Track Alignment', released by DSPB in 2004, as well as a few tracks have been released as alternative versions on the download-only follow-up EP 'Re-Aligned' (You need to know that this belongs on the "original version" of this download-able EP, which was available for a while from the Type001 website - Nowadays I guess there has been a reduction of the quantity of tracks for this freely download-able EP with the intention, not to obstacle the business activities for "Finished Business"...). But generally viewed, 'Finished Business' marks a step away from the rather Dark Electro-minded Industrial sound of the debut and moves towards by integrating more-than-ever-before musically different styles. There can be noticed a growing preference for IDM and post-modern Ambient styles, as Matt proves his abilities by installing slow and opulent sweeping synthesizer-sounds to execute moody and film scoring environments ('Alien World' with its slowly stalking rhythm components, or the oriental-sounding 'Residual Order'). "Who's Your Daddy Now?" is one of the very few, relative straight produced Dark Electro-minded tunes, which impresses through various fx manipulations on synth-sweeps - to me the favorite available on here. Matt's preference to integrate guest vocalists to help him out behind the microphone receives another episode with the versions of "Room For One" DJ Morgana), as well as with the track 'Put Yr Beats in Line ("You're Outta Line" mix)', a mutual track composed with his long-years' friend Matthew Skaves. This new album sounds more diverse, but also more introverted than before. Matt integrates a lot of different things mostly a bit away from the known path of his debut, which was to me more accessible to consume.

Pauk: Snails 'n' Dragons

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 03 2011
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Artist: Pauk
Title: Snails 'n' Dragons
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Enpeg (@)
Rated: *****
Barcelona is not only home for one of the best soccer teams around, also some IDM/Electronica music-projects have found their home in this pulsating, Spanish city. Behind Pauk hides Pau Cabruja, who can look back on a few releases available on Discontinu Records, also based in Barcelona. His music combines the balance between nervous rhythmic excursions into IDM, Dub-Step, Breakbeat styles, various voice sample quells and relative catchy melodic installments, often presented with classic piano inserts ("The Snail"). There's often the try to unite these relative different moods, the hectic rhythm section, with the at times easy-minded melodic component. This has its best moments, if Pau decides to add a bit more spacey and futuristic sounds to his outfit, "Night On Irkutsk" is such an example. "Suite 30" also lets the heart jump with its detailed and layered synthesizer pads. According to the release info, "Snails 'n' Dragons" draws its inspiration out of fairytales, which Pau has been told as being a child. This can be discovered not only through cover and track listing, also some voice samples thrown in, from which some could be also his own voice, giving some insight. This album is pretty much based straight in its genre, so some experience and a favor for IDM genres of the listener is quite helpful. All in all a good download-able release for the Enpeg-label, the digital partner-section to the prominent n5md-label.

Majdanek Waltz/Sal Solaris: Tenebrae

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: Majdanek Waltz/Sal Solaris (@)
Title: Tenebrae
Format: CD
Label: Zhelezobeton (@)
Rated: *****
'Tenebrae' is a joint project between Majdanek Waltz and Sal Solaris, two Russian music collaboratives along the Neofolk/Ambient/Dark Ambient/Industrial vein. Majdanek Waltz leans a bit more to the neofolk side, while Sal Solaris leans more toward the industrial side. The conceptual core of 'Tenebrae' is the poetry of Paul Celan, one of the major German-language poets of the post-World War II era. (His cryptic fractured lyrics are translated into Russian and spoken in a specific estranged way by Pavel Blumkithe on this recording.) Chances are the majority of readers reading this review will have no clue who Paul Celan was (and could care less) but the curious might investigate. Still, the recitation in Russian may put off Western ears even further unless you the language is familiar. I have to admire the execution though, even if I can't appreciate the core concept due to my unfamiliarity with Celan's poetry and the obstacle of the language barrier.

There is a remarkably claustrophobic, oppressive and foreboding ambience present throughout 'Tenebrae' as the setting for Paul Celan's abstruse, dour words. Even the mournful woodwinds and sparse piano evince certain desperation that might be typified in Edvard Munch's 'The Scream'. I couldn't help but notice an odd bit on the beginning of 'The Time's Eye' where it sounds like some radio transmission laced with a clarinet melody vaguely reminiscent of Zappa's 'Duodenum' instrumental off of 'Lumpy Gravy'. This is assuredly an aberration compared with the whole. In fact that track is largely dark ambient mixed with melancholy neoclassical. Unnerving atmosphere is the key component of 'I Heard That an Exe Bloomed Suddenly' (great title by the way) where a heavy dark ambient drone is the basis for much of the piece until what sounds like the steady drip of a water droplet enters the picture then becomes something more subtly mechanical. A sad line on the viola; a low note (or chord) played on the piano; the atmosphere shifts into something more fearful, then brief words of Paul Celan. 'Death Fugue' by its tile implies a dolorous state, and here the Neofolk/Ambient/Dark Ambient/Industrial elements combined with (WWII era) voice recordings in German make for a grim epitaph of that period. It would be a fitting soundtrack for a Holocaust documentary, although the implications of the track likely have a more far-reaching symbolism. Again Celan's words enter the picture, and perhaps their impact might be somewhat diminished spoken in Russian, rather than Celan's native German, although from a visceral standpoint, no language is better suited for bleakness than Russian. The haunting theremin-like voice of Rada Anchevskaya at the end of the piece adds a particular poignancy.

Point of fact is though that the Celan recitations are pitifully little of this work as a whole in terms of time allotted to them. They seem more as a footnote to the atmosphere that Majdanek Waltz and Sal Solaris have created. In that, there is still much merit in this work even if you don't care a feather or a fig for Paul Celan and his poetry. Undoubtedly the experience would be enriched (intellectually and possibly emotionally) by a familiarity with the poet and his works, but certainly not a requirement to enjoy 'Tenebrae'. I use the word 'enjoy' relatively though, as this is quite a depressive album. Before treading the deeper waters of 'Tenebrae,' it might be advisable to check out other works by Majdanek Waltz and Sal Solaris first.

Neznamo: Seme>Zemlya

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: Neznamo (@)
Title: Seme>Zemlya
Format: CD EP
Label: Moonsun Productions (@)
Distributor: Drone Records
Rated: *****
'Seme>Zemlya' is Russian esoteric experimental ambient music artist Nezamo's release from 2009 and was likely sent along by Vresnit at Vetvei (Russian experimental ambient label) with the copious package of other Vetvei releases, figuring the Western market hadn't encountered this release previously. Vresnit was right (at least for this reviewer), as the only prior experience with Neznamo was on the (recently reviewed here) 'Sonastroika' album whose participants included Lunar Abyss Deus Organum* + Hattifnatter & Neznamo & Kshatriy & Vresnit. Telling who did what on that album though would be next to impossible (unless you happened to be there) but it is at least some frame of reference for the music genre.


Founded in 1996 by Dmitry N. Shilov under the name Unknown, the main goal of the project was the exploration of human's "true ego", using sound/melodic patterns as the way to immerse into the Unconscious. During 1996-2002 the project released a few versatile drone / ambient / minimalism / neoclassical works. In the second half of 2006 the project has continued its explorations under the present name of Neznamo.

'Seme>Zemlya' is two tracks (one per name in the title, but reversed in order) of 9:30 and 10:14 in length which I suppose qualifies this release as an EP. The work is undoubtedly minimal, with the first piece 'Zemlya' utilizing a rapidly modulated noise sound alternating with a lower frequency hollow drone (with much slower modulation) with intermittent light washes of noise. Other subtle sounds can be detected (such as a sort of gentle rhythmic echoed tapping) as the piece progresses, but it never really strays from its basic concept, only expands a bit. It gives the impression of mystical but natural environment, a bit reminiscent of Alio Die at its most minimal. 'Seme' is a more overtly ambient drone piece with somewhat of a cosmic aural bent. A ways into the piece an undercurrent of thunder can be detected giving a sensation of disruption to the calming 'Om' that was set in motion from the beginning. It is an interesting contradiction and subtly played. For those that enjoy minimal ambient, this might be worth seeking out, although less than 20 minutes of play might have some feeling that it's skimpy in the 'bang for the buck' factor.

StrykninY: Shattered Forest 2008-2010

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 27 2011
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Artist: StrykninY (@)
Title: Shattered Forest 2008-2010
Format: CD
Label: Pale Noir (@)
Rated: *****
I remember talking to James Keeler, the man behind the amazing project known as Wilt, about his love for lo-fi trashy noise. In some ways, I share his love for the flaws that are almost inevitable when there is minimal processing ' when it is done well. StrykninY shares this lo-fi aesthetic, but brings it to the realm of dark ambient. This is a bit more raw and rough around the edges than you are likely to find on such labels as Cyclic Law, but there is something interesting about this album. You almost get the sense that this is what you would hear if you saw this act live without the presence of prerecorded material. This is droney with just a bit of noise thrown in. Some of the tracks seem to get a bit too static, but overall this is one to check out if you like your dark ambient a bit more grating. It's limited to 50 copies, so if this sounds promising you'll want to act quickly. This album weighs in at around 54 minutes.


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