Music Reviews



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Artist: Sum Of R (@)
Title: Ride Out The Waves
Format: 12"
Label: Storm As He Walks (@)
Rated: *****
On the occasion of his remarkable self-titled album on Utech Records we already introduced this skilled Swiss project by Ural Mambo (together with Steven Hess from Locrian, On and Haptic) and Pendulum Nisum (together with Mike Reber) member Reto Mader aka RM74, a polyhedric musician and composer who alternate on bass, drums, percussion, piano, effects and synthesizer. Some of the most attractive aspects of Sum Of R's sound lies in the combination of a sort of ominous apocalyptic imminency, one of the most recurring and reasonable leitmotiv in the range of sources for inspiration, with a certain gore, which gives forth from sometimes unpredictable combustions of doom metal, industrial, instrumental rock and drone. On "Ride Out The Waves", which come out on a very limited edition of 300 copies printed on clear crystal vinyl for Storm As He Walks imprint, Reto Mader co-operates with guitar player Julia Wolf, who already performed with him in many venues by means of her heavy strokes on strings, and emphasizes the ritual aspect of the project, which according to their own words describes "a Rite of Passage, a complex way to go through any common idea of genres using a living and dynamic approach to find a balance between darkness and light, powerful riffs and subliminal melodies, ritual drums and rarefied atmospheres". To be honest, their sound looks like more obscure than bright, even if it got settled on remarkably sturdy stylistical grounds. The isolationist temperament of the initial "Growing Into Something Special", which soom turns into a sort of burdening sepulchral advance, curdles in the following doom-oriented "In The Fields Of Trust", where the typical sinister pace of doom sound (I could mention OM or Sunn O))) in order to give you an idea of the stylistical field they cross) got partially conjugated by unexpected flashes of exuberance which connotes many Swiss band (think about Swamp Terrorists or Alboth!) and captivating harmonic deflections. After the compressed agonizing pitched piano strokes of the saddening "Mist Of Tears", desolation, anger and baleful fibrillation chorally coalesce in the coupled track "Echo" and "Captured Ligthning", which clear the ground for the final harbinger of disaster and shellshocks on the shambling "Alarming", where they make their sound even more hypnotic by means of a screaming rough theremin and warning sirens.

Richard Chartier: Recurrence

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Feb 01 2013
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Artist: Richard Chartier (@)
Title: Recurrence
Format: CD
Label: Line (@)
Rated: *****
Line is undoubtedly one of the miliar stones for audiophiles with a passion for digital minimalism since its preambles and this release by its founder Richard Chartier comes back to the spark which lighted its story up 12 years ago and 58 releases ago. His "Series" has teasonably considered one of the most majestic sonic monument on the pokey borderlines between silence and sound (or I'd better say between silence and Tinnitus!), which got performed before a very restricted and selected lucky audience on live stage just ten years after its official release. "Recurrence" cannot be considered a proper new album by Richard Chartier, as it is a sort of reprise of "Series", where the original nine untitled tracks have been melded in one long-lasting track after a further smoothing of frequencies, a sort of suite where, even if the sounds that marked "Series" are quite recognizable, their chiselling borders on the fiendish research for perfection so that each single sound sneaks in listener's ears like a subcutaneous imperceptible jab and each sonic stream got atomized in order to be easily discernable for listeners themselves. This impressive sample of sonic surgery has been preceded by a sort of 21-minutes lasting bonus track in the opening of the record, "Recurrence (Room/Crosstones)", where this master craftsman dabbles in small-scale variations of ultra-low basses. I cannot but reccomend to listen it by means of headphones or hi-fi sound systems which manage to render sounds (particularly bass frequencies) over a "passable" level.

The Slaves: Ocean On Ocean

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 31 2013
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Artist: The Slaves (@)
Title: Ocean On Ocean
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: The Helen Scarsdale Agency (@)
Rated: *****
There's a wide generation of musicians who are hanging on that idea of frail and fleeting beauty, whose inflection points ideally build an embankment against a supposedly decadent and invasive reality as well as safe mental abodes which could correspond with distant sidereal cleft, vivid remembrances of childhood or maidenhood and other aesthetical escape hatches. The possible stylistical terms for comparison such as Grouper, Cocteau Twins, Cranes or Barn Owl of this likable release by Portland-based duo The Slaves, made up of Barbara Kinzle and Birch Cooper, liaise with many different musical languages for the translation of this mood such as dark, post-rock or math, while it seems The Slaves don't turn their noses up at some sonic hints of witch-house and drone-ambient as the recurrance of quadruplet of bi-tonal based slow lines and the way they transfigure guitars and pads which often sound like equipped with organ-pipes. A sort of self-induced hypnotic suggestion permeates their sonic ravelling so that the pleating of original sound seems to turn into a gust of wind slamming on the doors of crystalline cages by reaching remarkable qualitative peaks and entrancing afterglows in tracks like "Sweet High", "Shadows II", whereas songs like "I'm In Heaven" or "Wild Ride" sound like attempts of reawakening buried alive bacchanals.

Kyle Bobby Dunn: In Miserum Stercus

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 26 2013
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Artist: Kyle Bobby Dunn (@)
Title: In Miserum Stercus
Format: 12"
Label: Komino Records (@)
Rated: *****
According to Canadian composer Kyle Bobby Dunn, one of the most skilled and somewhat ironic ambient master craftsmanthis album "definitely consists of the most somber and depressing music I've ever made". I cannot but appreciate such an outspokenness and I could even appreciate Kyle's modesty in self-congratulation as there are many different manners of instilling austerity by means of sound and Kyle's manner distinguishes itself for its conciseness and effectiveness, which immediately fosters the elopement between listener and sound. The pitiless title "In Miserum Stercus" sounds like mirroring the epiphany many listeners perceive while listening his laudanum-like drones, but could don the double face of this album: on the first side, it seems he's "sonically" displaying the resolution of an image and the reconnaissance of an emotional set by means of two very glum and meek tracks, "Buncington Revisited" and "Lake Wapta Rise", before they turn into a sort of contemplative and detached illusory brightening up, where the awareness of the fact it could be a self-deception worms in the stream of frequencies by pushing them gently down and down on the other side of the record, where "In Praise Of Tears", "Meadowfuck" and "The Milksop" sound like catching this venomous germ in the air. The delicately dim transitions and the way Kyle weaves such a sonic awesomeness is really astonishing.

Billow Observatory: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 24 2013
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Artist: Billow Observatory
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Felte (@)
Rated: *****
The plodding smoothing of frequencies and the fussy bleaching of sound for this release, it could sound unbelievable, lasted almost six years so that this couple of perfectionist musicians, Danish producer Jonas Munk aka Manual, whose experience in film music and sound engineering certainly chipped in to enhance the final result, and American guitarist Jason Kolb from Auburn Lull band, whose ethereal space-rock dilutions partially comes to mind during the listening of Billow Observatory debut, together with similar sonorities by quite known names such as Loscil, Stars Of The Lid or Tear Ceremony, didn't leave anything to chance and their meticolous attention to detail will be clear after repeated listening, as long as you manage to hold your head out of the psychedelic whirl their sound could generate. For instance the enchanting beginning of "Camulet" could let the listener re-experience that idyllic haze after the awakening from general anesthesia, the delicate sonic ripples on the following "Slow Billows" could let you imagine while orbiting around a soft sugary cumulonimbus or jump from cloud to cloud of a mackerel sky and "Unstable Presences" makes tangible the electric air of a forthcoming storm, "Dim Language", the track which sound closer to the style by above-mentioned Tear Ceremony, could let you think about the attempt of establishing a dialogue by some invisible reassuring being from a parallel dimension and I even recollected the craving of knowledge in astonishment I experienced one time inside Trinity College library in Dublin while I was listening "Pankalia". Some tracks are probably related to emotions or reveries they experienced in some places such as the entrancing "Odessa", the unruffled and algid sonic massage of "Kronstadt", named after a town on Kotlin Island nearby Saint Petersburg, or "Helsinki Radio", where you could almost touch radio frequencies deflected by cold gusts of wind. This release could be pure and blissful rocket propulsion for your imagination.


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