Music Reviews



Akira Kosemura: It's On Everything +

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 29 2012
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Artist: Akira Kosemura (@)
Title: It's On Everything +
Format: CD
Label: Someone Good (@)
Rated: *****
I already received and reviewed the first edition of this lovely release by young Tokyo-based composer Akira Kosemura, together with a bunch of nice releases from his label Schole, on the Italian web-zine TheVibes.net. I cannot but confirm my opinion on it after that I've listened this enhanced edition (it includes two more tracks and just some little variation on the tracklist): the piano-driven micromelodies and the tranquil atmosphere recorded by drop-like crystalline sounds and field recordings of sketches which sound like grabbed in a Japanese garden of the initial "Orgel" immediately enmeshes the listener into a contemplative and somewhat beatific dimension by means of modified chimes, plunking harmonies, sonic paintings of school playground, quiet urban parks and everyday life which seems to evoke the balance between nature and technology, one of the most fascinating "genetical" peculiarity of contemporary Japanese culture and civilization, unobtrusive electroacoustic inserts and entrancing organic melodies, which sounds like self-sustaining after the first sparkling chords. You could almost surmise that there's an intrinsic and intentional restriction of the function of the musician/author, who turns himself into a sort of enzyme of spontaneous musical processes in order to accelerate and assist a sort of symbiosis between music, surrounding (real or imagined) environment and listener, which are going to "coagulate" stroke after stroke. Akira Kosemura offers an enveloping listening experience: I recommended its fruition 4 years ago and I cannot but recommend it today.

Bionulor: Erik

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 28 2012
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Artist: Bionulor (@)
Title: Erik
Format: CD
Label: Requiem (@)
Rated: *****
I've already listened to several interpretations and reworks of Gymnopedies by legendary and mysterious composer Erik Satie, whose most notorious composition has been regarded as the most remarkable precursor of the so-called ambient music due to the ambiguity coming from the melodic structure, based on the astonishing reversed complementarity between harmony and calculated dissonances, but it's quite rare a derivative release managed to mirror the emotional contrails which could be triggered by its listening. Czestochowa-based composer Sebastian Banaszczyk aka Bionulor seems to be so intimate with that forerunning oeuvre that he decided to entitle this collection of sonic eclairs by borrowing the name of the French pianist and composer, just as if he were one of his closest friend. Bionulor applied that processing method he called "100% sound recycling" he already successfully tested in his previous two albums - whereas his self-titled debut focused on previously recorded music of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, he mainly molded human voice on its second album "Sacred Mushroom Chant" - to Gymnopedies by juxtaposing a wide range of filters and settings: the notorious alternation of the subdominant G and the tonic D tones of the first of the three piano compositions often recurs over the album, but it got dipped into many sonic solutions. For instance on the initial "ST.001", it seems evoked by a mnemonic glimpse due to the loop of a vinyl crackle, which sounds emphasized on the following ST.002 together with the dirty sound of torn speakers or of a rusty grammophone, before feeding the sparking of the hypnotic ticking pulses on "ST.003". Sometimes slices of the score looks like turning into a sort of coding for otherwise unintelligible dimension or weird entities: "ST.008" sounds like the accompaniment to the graceful movements of a ghost, while "ST.007" and "ST.004" could respectively be peddled as the extracts from an imaginative edition for goblins and spaceships;"ST.009" or "ST.013" could be the way Gymnopedies could be "remixed" by the consciousness of some assistant of Dr.Lily after the first trial of some isolation tank, the reversed play on swarming chirps and puffing sonic sutures on "ST.010" could let some listener surmise it came from some old tape, which Bionulor found in Silesian forests. Those tracks where it seems Gymnopedies arise like glares, lightning bugs or will-o'-the-wispsin the night are pure nostrum for imagination, while the final "ST.015" could sound like a possible Gymnopedie-inspired reverie by Nobukazu Takemura. "Erik" has been wisely mastered by Taylor Deupree.

Transfer: Øe

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 27 2012
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Artist: Transfer (@)
Title: Øe
Format: CD
Label: Murmur (@)
Rated: *****
According to the linear notes this release is inspired by "the numerical representation of life and the sensorial stimulation, achieved by combining data into binary format, replaces human primordial needs [..] Transfer is a sonic reflection about all affective phenomena which come out by the use of digital interfaces". Honestly, it's true that digital sharing and recording of things is an important part of our life but, instead of similar (in intention) works ad Ikeda's "data.matrix" where musical output is indivisible from the artwork from his comprehension, musically speaking this album is a filtered drone oriented release similar to the last outputs from Stephan Mathieu as it share the same research for dreamy soundscapes.
"February - Seek" opens this release with a gentle drone slowly evolving and colored by subtle small noises. "Seadawn - .Ksd" is based evocative samples above the carefully constructed soundscape featuring also an orchestral initial tuning. The first minutes of "Sad - Jitter" are constructed with noises until the drone fill the musical infrastructure. "Hatsuyuki - D Quant", the longest track of this release, is constructed upon four drones that sequentially enter the canvas until the last slowly ends.
This release doesn't follow any new territories but it's carefully written and produced that it will be enjoyed by all fans of this kind of musical research. Recommanded.

Different State: The Frigid Condition

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 27 2012
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Artist: Different State
Title: The Frigid Condition
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Marek Marchoff is a mixture of illbient, industrial and psychedelia that is an end of the year surprise for this label more oriented in dark ambient territories. This is a two face musical offer as it features the repetitive mood of illbient and the search for variety of psychedelia and, so, it's sometimes out of focus but it search the listener attention.
"Done" opens this release with a old vinyl recording that quickly develop in a guitar loop above some sparse noises. "Consciousness" is an hypnotic tune with an oriental flavor given by the samples and the guitar tuning. "Salvatore Fabio" is the first track of this album featuring a vocal line. "Conspiracy in the Mirror" is a long instrumental tune featuring also a sax line. "Love" feature a female vocal line that gives variety to the underlying musical structure that is the same for the tracks with minimal variations. So, "Intuition" and "Spiritual Potential" are variations above the same lines. "Cold" returns to the instrumental paths of the beginning of the album featuring and evocative soundscape below the guitar line while "Spirit" is another vocal driven track and "Disastral / Hidden Composition" and almost dark ambient exercise.
This album features some tracks longer than necessary however it's a release enjoyable for everyone.

Ben Lukas Boysen: Restive (OST)

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 26 2012
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Artist: Ben Lukas Boysen (@)
Title: Restive (OST)
Format: CD
Label: Hymen Records (@)
Rated: *****
'Restive' is an original motion picture soundtrack by Ben Lukas Boysen to an Independent film by the same name written and directed by Jeremiah Jones. Briefly, the film is a suspense thriller, a dark and hopeless exploration of domestic violence, about a woman trying to escape the emotional abuse and tyranny of her husband. After years of this, the wife decides she isn't going to take it anymore and stands up to bully-dad. 'Mr. Big Stuff' enlists the aid of a couple of his sadistic pals to take the wife (Jeva) and her young son out to the woods to 'let the pain flow through'. Somehow Jeva and son manage to escape the clutches of their captors and become the hunted. I haven't seen the film but I can't imagine it ending well. However, this review is about the soundtrack, not the movie.

Ben Lukas Boysen might be better known as Hecq, an IDM/ambient project with nearly a dozen releases and also remixes - Architect, Borealis, In Strict Confidence and Snog being among them. Boysen has also done soundtrack work for several other films as well as commercial sound design. To say his soundtrack for 'Restive' is dark and moody is an understatement. He excels here in creating a depressingly oppressive atmosphere that evokes the kind of melancholia reserved for life's unsweetest moments. Long passages of sustained strings, sparse, sad piano with lots of reverb (an oft used technique in movies and TV dramas), subtle noise/synth ambience and grating high pitched drone are just some of the tools in this composer's box. I suppose you could call it cinematic dark ambience as it has many of the elements of minimal dark ambient music, and holds its own with some of the best I've heard. It isn't until track seven, 'Junkyard' that percussion enters the picture, deep, plodding, and relentless. The atmospheric sonics that accompany the track are perfect. Boysen's use of sophisticated textures and sound sculpting throughout this work are admirable, and even when it gets noisy, as it occasionally does, it is still highly listenable. Throughout the album, the atmospheres build in intensity with some respite here and there. It is a psychological intensity, not necessarily a dynamic one, likely in keeping with the film. I should mention that the last track, 'Closing Credits' is by Nils Frahm, but being mostly sparse and melancholy piano does not detract from Boysen's compositions at all.

Altogether excellent, and even if I never see the film (which I probably won't), Ben Lukas Boysen's 'Restive' soundtrack is a remarkable achievement.


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