Music Reviews



Uncodified: Document

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 28 2012
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Artist: Uncodified (@)
Title: Document
Format: CD
Label: Lisca Records (@)
Rated: *****
This first release or document by Uncodified, new brainchild of the talented musician Corrado Altieri - I already introduced some of his collaborative projects on this space and his long-lasting partner-in-art Simon Balestrazzi, which co-signs their tasty project Candor Chasma, come abreast of him for electronics and mastering on the final "Entertainment and Partial Entropy" and "Aesthetic Imperfection", one of my favorite track due to the way they perforates plain waves by means of drilling noises -, sounds like a sonic translation of temporary mental black-outs or I'd better say it seems he managed to capture, render and turn into sounds the reticular black and white crackling sizzle on TV screen when something got wrong during analog broadcasting which ideally interposes between reason, will, desire, expectations, impulses and every inner surges or mental structures from one side and external reality from the other side, a diaphragm which sounds evoked by distorted low frequencies, fractured walls of digging noises (the jittery ones in "Discobar Panic Disorder", "Severance" and "Relationship" sounds particularly abrasive and catchy at the same time) and piercing sonic waves, whereas its psychopuncturing hooks could vaguely recall some stuff by Zonk't. Built on sounds extracted by analogue and digital tools without laptops, these psychotropic electronic storms are not so disturbing, even if "Document" cannot be filed under easy-listening music.

Jeff Carey: Interrupt-Decay

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 27 2012
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Artist: Jeff Carey
Title: Interrupt-Decay
Format: CD
Label: CWnil (@)
Rated: *****
One of the best digital noise album which has recently been spilled from my headphones is this sort of debut release by Jeff Carey. It's not so proper to speak about a debut as Jeff is not a newbie at all, as he mainly poured his sonic art in many acclaimed projects - the most known is maybe Skif++, an eclectic abstract sonic and visual project, co-signed by Robert van Heumen and Bas Van Koolwijk, which has been propelled by Jeff's talent and passion on SuperCollider, an open-source dynamic programming language for real-time audio synthesis and Jeff's fad! - and is one of the key musician of Amsterdam-based N-Collective, a pool of musicians which focuses on electronic compositions and improv acoustics, considered as the new frontier of musical research. I'd say the listening of "Interrupt/Decay" is more fascinating as trained listeners will recognise Jeff applies compositional techniques to noises he wisely patterns. The fact there's a placement of noises (and silences as well...it's really fun alternation of noises and silence on the fourth track "Struct") which is not so dissimilar from the placement of punctuation and tones on staff, doesn't mean there are not any sonic spurs for more or less raving mental fancies: the initial "Lag" is quite close to the noise you could hear on a train compartment with wide-open window when it runs under a tunnel, the sounds of the following track "Chop" let me imagine Jeff while preparing a cocktail with an assortment of molten metals and the lucky taster sucking in with a special straw due to some sonic similaraties with the noise you can hear when drawing from an almost empty juice box and other tracks have sounds who reminded some vintage home computers' sounds - some of you could imagine the overhaul of Atari or Commodore F1 car after a road accident while listening to "Step" and its troublesome test on "1F" -, a fancy which could be injected after I read Mr.Carey composed "Interrupt/Decay" by using a gaming keypad and joystick to control his laptop (!)...if you think my associations could validate an admission to mental hospital, I cannot imagine how you are going to label those ones by a friend who occasionally entered into my room while listening to this release, who thought about the attempt at chewing meatballs stuffed with pins by some unlucky person or at immortalizing the wedding between two storm catchers in love by a camera from inside an hurricane. Joking aside, Jeff's precision in cutting frequencies and place them on the pattern is really remarkable. Have a listen.

Roberto Fega: Daily Visions

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 24 2012
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Artist: Roberto Fega (@)
Title: Daily Visions
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
Roberto Fega's "Daily Visions" cannot be considered an easy listening both for the technique he uses to agglutinate a number of sketches and reprises and for the hints within his record, which looks like an attempt of saving from oblivion by "punching" ordinary dimension with political statements and urgent cultural battles, so that it seems that "Daily Visions" sounds like a plot whose unwinding runs parallel to momentuous events, inserted by means of what he defines "audio interludes" (voices from Occupy Wall Street, immigrants in Lampedusa, recordings and reports taken from Greek riots and Manchester turmoils, passages taken from an interview to Zygmunt Bauman and movie "Nowegian Wood" based on Murakami's book), and a gradual and sore consciousness rising, partially enfranchised just within intimate (still free) spaces like the ones evoked by the initial "Apnee d'amore/Breath-hold loving" and the final track "Ricordi mai sopiti/Unburied memories", the one I liked most for the daydreaming interaction of palpitating reversed liquid sounds by Fega with the entrancing sound of Francesco Lo Cascio's vibraphone. Whereas his style seems to be fenced by electro-acoustic improvisational music, sonic collagism (close to some cinematic stuff coming from Japanese scene, based on bizarre and somewhat disquieting sonic "hyphenations" - I particularly enjoyed the ones in "Per un finale diverso/For a different ending" and "In Exion", a track based on the reading of a poem by Jennifer Scappettone -, or small interesting labels such as Raabenstein's Nonine) and some jazz standards for trumpets - wisely turned into something mindblowing by talented trumpet player Ersilia Prosperi -, the conceptual framework could be summarized by Roberto's dedications (including the ones to Robert Wyatt, Berlin, Joe Strummer's "The Future Is Unwritten" and all political, cultural and artistic antagonisms of this world), which seal this sort of musical ekphrasis of something which has not happened yet overall.

Murmer: What Are The Roots That Clutch

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 21 2012
cover
Artist: Murmer (@)
Title: What Are The Roots That Clutch
Format: CD
Label: The Helen Scarsdale Agency (@)
Rated: *****
A certain alternance of natural sounds and silence characterizes the hallucinated and enigmatic poem The Waste Land by T.S.Eliot, which has been quoted not only through the title (whereas the talented English satirist Evelyn Waugh opted for the last line to entitle one of his best novel "A Handful Of Dust", this American sound artist chose the first line, "What are the roots that clutch..." of the same stanza ending the first section of the poem "The Burial Of The Dead"), but also by the structure of this interesting sonic collage of field recordings, divided into five parts (just like Eliot's poem), and its tesseras, which remind some moments of one of the most favorite reading of many brainiacs, so that this sensorial interpretation by Patrick McGinley aka Murmer cast upon the multitude of interpretations and essays, which had been written about that writing. For instance the shuffle of steps over brushwood, the disorienting croaks of frogs, the rusting of leaves, the crackling of burning firewood as well as the underlying buzzing tone, which could remind "that sound high in the air/Murmur of maternal lamentation" mentioned in "What The Thunder Said", the last section of the poem (the definitive proof of its good make could be the slap I gave to the right headphone when a mosquito "appeared" in the sonic space...), in the first part evoke the feeling of confusion of the first part of the poem as well as some notorious references to Dante Alighieri, one of the known source of inspiration for Eliot, likewise the sonic collage of the fifth track which remind many words of the above-mentioned fifth section before the speaking of the thunder - "There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home./It has no windows, and the door swings,/Dry bones can harm no one./Only a cock stood on the rooftree/Co co rico co co rico/In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust/Bringing rain" - and according to a bizarre alchemy, some words from the second part "A Game Of Chess" ("'What is that noise?' The wind under the door. 'What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?'") seems to refer by sheer coincidence to some biographical lines which deeply influenced the sonic research of this globetrotter, who started his collection of sounds all over the world - there are many found sounds, live room feedbacks and field recordings mainly grabbed while hiking out in wild places of Northern Normandy, Estonia and Finland - after listening to a cavernous tone broadcasting from a ventilator duct in Paris.

Christopher Willits & Ryuichi Sakamoto: Ancient Future

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 11 2012
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Artist: Christopher Willits & Ryuichi Sakamoto (@)
Title: Ancient Future
Format: CD
Label: Ghostly
Rated: *****
After their first collaborative release "Ocean Fire", the spiritual heat which sparkled from the musical meeting between Ryuichi Sakamoto and talented Californian musician Christopher Willits (many consider him a true pioneer of many methodologies for digital signal processing as well as for the redifinition of guitar within contemporary digital music) sounds unaltered on the occasion of their second (totally instrumental) one "Ancient Future", an album based on a series of piano pieces the Japanese maestro sent to Willits just after their first collaboration and focused on different phases of the turbulent inner journey in search of the meaning of existence most of people experience during their life and sometimes lasting a whole life. The delicate sonic undulations by Christopher, which sound completely carried by the tides generated by Ryuichi's piano strokes (try to follow the ultra-low bass line as well the intangible guitar tonal stream in the initial tracks "Reticent Reminiscence" and "Abondoned Silence"), before opposing some resistance against the rarefied melodies on "I Don't Want To Understand", a track whose almost inaudible noise of a train running over rail tracks could evoke an escape from any attempt of disentangling a gordian knot, and through the glacial dissociation of "Levitation", gradually cling tightly to musical shapes by Sakamoto with warm arpeggios before the melancholic tranquillity of final resolution evoked by "Completion", whereas any troublesome stinker which followed the multidirectional movement of many curls of smoke, soaked in some glass or convulsively imitated the chaotic route of any particle in the universe disappears within self-knowledge. Younger listeners maybe will not understand the enchanting and somewhat controversial balance between musical elements as well as the sonic inner metalanguage of "Ancient Future" where the whirring of the machines blurs into a human breath, but many adult listeners will appreciate this workout on the membrane between will and fate, which cannot but come from two really mature (both artistic and just human) personalities.


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