Music Reviews



Cooly G: Playin' Me

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 27 2012
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Artist: Cooly G
Title: Playin' Me
Format: CD
Label: Hyperdub
Rated: *****
Merrisa Campbell's moniker, Cooly G, has hitherto been associated to funky and house London scene, but her forthcoming release, which curiosly comes with no particular hype from Hyperdub - well-known label, which got quite notorious for the support to excellent musicians such as Kode9 and Burial -, shows an intriguing stylistical approach: her sound is very crystalline and fluid at the same time - that's maybe the reason why Tate Gallery asked her to make music for young Nigerian/British painter Christopher Ofilli's retrospective - and even when she set her jewel-like smooth voice within chilly dub, reaggae and retro-flavoured - due to the vintage elegant touch added by garage and embryonic jungle sounds - downbeat, it doesn't undergo either heavily baroque sonic gewgaws or pedantic mannerism. Such an elegant and snug wrapping fits like a velvet glove to her warm and alluring voice, so that many Coldplay fans and zealots will spare her for the blurred clocking cover of "Trouble" shee sings, even if the most mischievous ones will say it seems a cover from a junior web-marketing trainee on trouble. It's really difficult to pick some highlights up, but I particularly enjoyed the controversial dim tones of "Sunshine", the nostalgic and romantic combination of an airy piano, 808 cowbells and seducing Arp strings of "Come into my room" (a sort of reminder this album was entirely recorded in her home studio?), the daydreaming atmosphere as well as uplifting and refreshing strings of "What this world needs now", hooks to some breathtaking ambient episodes on Earth (I'm not referring to our beloved Planet, but the parent label of LTJ Bukem's Good Looking records) on "Trying" as well as the most "instrumental" final tracks of the album, where vibrations keep on feeding the flow and reactivating some musical memories such as Nicolette's intricate textures in the lovely "Up In My Head", some primordial soup with Metalheadz imprint on "Is It Gone" as well as "What Airtime", whose style gets closer to the one of some label-mates such as Laurel Halo and DVA, and the twisting tribal-like set of "It's Serious" with the precious featuring of Baltimore house legend Karizma.
Jun 25 2012
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Artist: Svart1/Raimondo Gaviano (@)
Title: Praha
Format: CD
Label: Mrtvaja Records (@)
Distributor: www.mrtvaja.com
Rated: *****
SVART1 is the pseudonym of Raimondo Gaviano, an Italian musician who lives and works in Sardinia. The title of his latest work that I present today is Praha.
Svart1 is a representative member of best music scene into this big island of Sardinia, located at the center of Mediterranean Sea, which has especially into experimental grey-area and around the electronic music, some known musicians and also many followers and fans.
This last work of Svart1, titled Praha, is a limited edition CD produced by a non-Italian label, the Mrtvaja Records, a small and independent Bosnian label, born in 2009. The Mrtvaja label produces really fine limited editions of works of experimental electronic and electro-acoustic music. Svart1, in this case, works for Mrtvaja Records but hi has realized various productions for others independent labels and also more self-realised productions. All the discograpy is visible on his personal website. Svart1 during his career have also many collaborations with other artists of the Italian and European electronic scene.
Gaviano, as I said earlier, working in Sardinia like many other electronic musicians his countrymen and also for this reason is really used to have a necessary great productive autonomy and often also move beyond the narrow confines of this island to interweave many contacts and collaborations with others musicians who working overseas.

This work Praha is an example of this easy "way of life" to migrate overseas for Sardinian artists. Praha contains a recent live of Svart1 recording in Prague (at the Cafe V Lese during March 2012 for an event organized by Arkham Productions (http://www.arkham.hys.cz/).
The Arkham is one of the most renowned cultural promotion agencies of that city and, on the same occasion, also the Czeck artists of the Seismic Wave Factory performed a live with the VJ's of the Fuck TV project (you can found some infos about those projects on http://www.industrialgallery.com).

This album Praha is a very good work for me. And his tracks are a perfect testimony of the genuine and sincere approach to the electronic music of our Svart1. A careful listening to this record reveals very positive for the mind as a persuasive mantra, at times more hypnotic, familiar and comfortable for discerning ears as a carpet of self-constructed rhythms that are never predictable or consistent.
For example, into the opening track, an audio sample of a simple running sewing machine turns into a cyclic pre-apocalyptic drone portends an impending flood. And all the work is a successful and enjoyable example of the best minimal noise with grafts of electronic ambient that are always expertly blended to work together without any mannerism.

A great job so this Praha, which I recommend, however, to hear before a random search on Youtube videos work by Svart1/Raimondo. Because the artistic research of Raymond Gaviano is never just or only music. And for this reason surely a single CD audio is not able to give a full idea of his works. For those, like me, who knows and follows it from many years it is difficult to separate these two aspects of sound and video image which, in this case, are always intimately linked.
The self-produced video by Raimondo Gaviano, run behind him during his live performances and are little masterpieces. Each concert, for the spectator, is indeed a beautiful multi-sensorial experience that is based on the close union between music and the video processing of extreme or dreamlike images that emphasize and amplify fueling our imagination in a growing fact of endless cinematographic references and citations.

Finally i recommend also you to not stop only at this album Praha, last work of Svart1/Raimondo Gaviano, because I hope, after this review, please you to go on the net, for a search around his other works.
Because Svart1 is a complete artist. A good electronic musician but also a great video maker and a fantastic manipulator of digital images. The post-industrial atmospheres that his work created for us, by masterly use of a thin, black and white very dry, or with a color change into a soft focus often dissolving in a strong light and dark, thwarted and diverted, are the best description possible of the ruined worlds that surrounds us and surrounding our post-industrial way of feeling this strange modern life. You have to see the work of Svart1 not just listen.

Verdiana Raw: Metaxy

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 20 2012
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Artist: Verdiana Raw (@)
Title: Metaxy
Format: CD
Label: Ark (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
The inspirational perimeter of this record by Italian maenad Verdiana Raw could be traced by the literary references which are inlaid on stone doorposts where Verdiana Raw stands and welcomes listeners by making a gentle bow on the cover artwork: the Saracen leader Ruggiero and the female Christian warrior Bradamante, supposedly ancestors of author's patrons, D'Este family from Ferrara, their dramatic and troublesome love affair, their fortunes and events handed down by Ariosto's and Boiardo's writings as well as references to turbulent story of Tristan and Isolde, which became medium of generational ideals and believings by means of the genius of Richard Wagner, could be the romantic framework of this inspired record, which could be considered as the hallway towards obscure dungeons whose narrow corridors go across the in-between way the priestess Diotima showed to Socrates in order to let him reach the supreme knowledge, based on what we might name "relativity" nowadays. In Plato's Symposium this cognitive process close topure intuition in between poles is called "metaxy" and such a definition whetted the appetite for speculation of many modern philosophers. This everlasting cycle between opposite poles shines through Verdiana's lyrics and her way of "molding" words and vocal intonation and pitch (sometimes radiant, sometimes gloomy, but always remarkably haunting) while singing seems to suggest that such a state of consciousness doesn't imply or claim listener's rational comprehension. Verdiana's voice, mainly supported by pleasant piano melodies with occasional presence of other instruments, suavely flutters and caresses surrounding ether whereas her aesthatics meet the ones of celtic bards, classical composers, magicians'spell book and, last but not least, mythology and ritual music. I got astonished by those pieces where her voice sounds coming from other dimensions such as in "Escaping from the Guards, Ascending To The Moon", "Corvus Psyche'", "From The Sea", song where she reminded to me some vocal peaks reached by Love Spirals Downwards' Suzanne Perry, and "Outro" (in spite of the low quality of recording of this track...) as well as her versatility and impressive shifts in songs where she plays on the use of voice almost as a pictorial element such as in "Headless Baby Bitch", "The Japanese Garden", "Dining Alone" or in the aching interpretation of Guillerme Apollinaire's "La Loreley", which could summarize the poetics of this record throughout the reprise of themes like the tormented damnation of beauty.

Blockboy: Heartbox EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 18 2012
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Artist: Blockboy (@)
Title: Heartbox EP
Format: 12"
Label: Hot Corner (@)
Rated: *****
"Heartbox" is the first fat Ep (it includes nine tracks) of an announced trilogy by this skilled German beatmaster, who squeezes some juicy fruits from hearty musical baskets, ranging from big beat, funk, East Coast hip hop and contemporary music. The assortment of samples and references is so motley that most trained listeners are going to recognize a lot of influences and quotes in one track: after the intro titled "The Worst", whose noir atmosphers could be close to the ones by Marsmobil or Parov Stelar, "Survive" immediately reminds a notorious sample from Kruder&Dorfmeister's remix of Lamb's "Transfatty Acid" and then Blockboy heads the track towards heavenly electronic hip-soul (think about a mixture between Zero 7 and Bonobo or Thievery Corporation), whereas his joyful collagist and sampledelic approach could be associated to Kid Koala or Blockhead ones. If I have to pick some highlights from this EP, I'll be spoilt for choice, but I'd say the most hybrid ones are "The Renaissance"- a sort of gipsy melody combined with a remarkable hip-hop groove, which reminded to me some stuff by Sporto Kantes -, "the Hornet" - a very nice track starting with that kind of childish Kid Koala-like music box-diven hip hop and turning into a catchy dubstep movement after the announcment by a notorious vocal sample saying "Time To Lay Down Some Serious Sound" -, "Satellite" - a Thievery Corporation-like exotic dub, enhanced by Carolin Roth's smooth and cutie voice -, "World Against Us" - with a very good performance by rapper Mista Man -. Such a choice was really hard as all tracks are really easygoing, I'm prettysure forthcoming acts from Blockboy are going to sound equally yummy!

Brian M. Clark: Songs From The Empty Places Where People Killed Themselves

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 15 2012
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Artist: Brian M. Clark (@)
Title: Songs From The Empty Places Where People Killed Themselves
Format: 12"
Label: Discriminate Audio (@)
Rated: *****
On looking at the title, my first impression was, 'well this should be a complete downer.' Here's how the label describes it: 'each song is an attempt at evoking a different suicide scenario and is named for the location in which the imagined suicide has taken place. To achieve this aim, Clark's compositions range from gloomy organ arrangements, to tempo-shifting heavy metal tracks, to echoey solo-piano works, and even frenetic multi-instrumental compositions with a feel of early 20th Century Modernism.' I'm not sure if knowing the background of the imaginary(?) rooms makes a difference, but there is certainly a kind of melancholy that runs through this album. This is an aural depiction of the sadness that brings people to the point where there really seems to be no other way out. There are melodies of organs and piano that weave their way throughout making it almost peaceful. There is one notable exception, which is track 3, entitled 'High school library, gymnasium and cafeteria (A fat nerd finally brings his guns to school.)' In this one, the anger is almost palpable. The guitar is harsh and determined. Overall this is an interesting album and takes on the subject matter in a much more interesting manner than I expected. I especially applaud the instrumental approach rather than just going for the easy way out with vocals or samples. This is a one sided 12' that comes with a download card for the album plus two bonus tracks with a total running time of 23 minutes. This is limited to 500 copies.


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