Music Reviews



Thought Broadcast: Emergency Stairway

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 28 2012
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Artist: Thought Broadcast
Title: Emergency Stairway
Format: 12"
Label: Mego (@)
Rated: *****
The very first beats of "Conflict Dub", the first track of this interesting release by Ravi Binning's Though Broadcast, recalled to my mind a group of fuddled chemist while grinding fictitious molecules with a peddle conducted by the suspicious gaze of a dour hunchbacked accounted, but beyond any kind of fuzzy associations of broadcasted thoughts such a music could inspire one of the most interesting aspect of this strange creature is its bizarre aesthetics. Even if there are some tracks such the claustrophobic pitting of "Breaking Test" or the sooty and dirt minimal dub of "Portrait Heads", which looks like recorded with a toy keyboard powered by almost dead batteries, whose recording is so well-done that listeners cannot easily recognize they've been extracted from a cassette, the painstaking and excellent work of recording and mastering at Dubplates and Mastering in Berlin from a pair of cassettes doesn't removed the whoosh of tape, so that "Emergency Stairway" could be associated to some forgotten or unpublished tape by some leading figure of the most bizarre and esoteric branch of industrial music, such as Suicide, Throbbing Gristle (many moments of Ravi's work recalled their recent "The Third Mind Movements") or some insane experiments by Wolf Eyes (particularly the ones on "Dead Hills") or The Residents, but - that's one of the most bizarre aesthetical aspect! - seemingly performed by a stiff and paranoid mad dubster. It could sound grim or wicked, but I recommend a listening, particularly if you appreciate the above-mentioned historical industrial activists.

Gianluca Becuzzi / Luigi Turra: In Winter

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 23 2012
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Artist: Gianluca Becuzzi / Luigi Turra (@)
Title: In Winter
Format: CD
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
One of the most interesting branch of ambient and neo-classical music, but also the one which exposes musicians to the risk of misfiring and getting jammed by stylistical platitudes and "already listened" stuff, is the "seasonal" one, which tries to use sounds as if they were paintbrushes in order to portray a particular season. The prolific Italian sound artist Gianluca Becuzzi joined together with Luigi Turra, who already made similar two-headed collaborations where he usually explores aural sonorities, in order to give "voice" to winter: most of tracks focused on the research of a balance between an evocative set of natural field recordings and sound objects by Becuzzi and slow, melancholic and often muffled (as they have been stopped by icy hard ground and crystallized landscapes) melodies on acoustic guitar and piano by Turra, which gradually sound like melting together whereas sustained reverbations of the last tones blur into gentle glacial breezes or scatter over a surreal silent scenery so that it seems to stare by sound at a person within the emotionless uniformity of a mute snowy expanse. Both Turra's minimal tonal weaves and Becuzzi's sonic faint setting seems more focused on the building of a deeply immersive virtual reality for the listener than on the maniacal research of musical perfection (maybe some common headphones which emphasize low frequencies won't neatly render some amplified stresses on low tones) and if listeners predispose themselves to such an experience, they will easily appreciate the enthralling recollection this couple of experienced sound artists patiently assembled.

Steven Severin: Vampyr

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 19 2012
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Artist: Steven Severin (@)
Title: Vampyr
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Also known as "The Strange adventure of Allan Grey", Vampyr has been considered one of the miliar stones and cult classics of the whole vampire-related cinematography together with Murnau's "Nosferatu" and Browning's "Dracula", even if it's the only one which was not inspired by Bram Stoker: when Danish film director Carl Theodor Dreyer planned it together with its financial backer and leading actor Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg under the screen name Julian West, they preferred Sheridan Le Fanu writings to the ones by Stoker, so that Vampyr's plot contains a mixture of references taken not only to the sapphic vampire Carmilla, but mainly by Dr Hesselius, the first occult detective in literature, which after his debut in the pages of "In A Glass Darkly", quoted on this musical issue by the first track "Though A Glass Darkly", clearly inspired the portrait of Allan Gray and his most visionary moments of the movie, whereas the boundaries between real and unreal looks blurred. If you have the possibility to watch that movie, beyond the quotation of the Charon-like character appearing in the very first minutes of the movie by Arban on the sleeve design, you'll notice that Steven Severin, whose legendary past as bassist for Siouxsie and the Banshees doesn't seem to be eclipsed by his solo project as score composer - I've already introduced his previous soundtrack for Cocteau's "Blood of a Poet" -, perfectly follows the "rhythm" of the original movie by avoiding any temptation related to contemporary horror soundtracks so that the evoked scenes have been vividly called back by an evocative and sometimes stern dark-ambient suite. Sinister tolls, ectoplasmic atmospheres, haunting voices and other dusky imaginative suggestions are so catching that can fit a theme park focused on ghosts or haunted houses beyond its close connection to Dreyer's art.

Outer Space: Akashic Record (Events: 1986-1990)

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 18 2012
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Artist: Outer Space
Title: Akashic Record (Events: 1986-1990)
Format: 12"
Label: Spectrum Spools/Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Just like a skilled team of competent mechanical engineers, whose assignment is the crossing of the highest peaks of technology or the improvement of an already perfect machine, the (musically) incontinent musician John Elliott, his precious assistant Andrew Veres and a strong cast of occasional and habitual collaborators - Jeff Hatfield from Fragments, Philip Whiteside from Wavehead and former Coil member Drew Mcdowall - equips winged steeds from notorious stables such as those ones by Klaus Schulze, Ozric Tentacles or Ash Ra Tempel with enhanced caparison, forged with the help of old-fashioned, but always tremendously incisive, sound machines suh as the glorious Korg MS20, Arp Solus, Moog or Roland Rs-101 in order to push his solo-project Outer Space amidst the cases of Akasha, a sort of all-embracing archive or a universal supercomputer including all fatcs about humans and cosmos, which can be accessed through a deep hypnotic state or so-called astral projections according to theosophy, and take some note from its huge records. Beyond its unavoidable mystical references, ascribable to that "vanity" of sound, which was stigmatized by Herr Schulze, it seems that John grinded Outer Space's sound with more aggressive synth cycles, whose gnashing sounds like tracing a Gaussian curve as it reaches its peak in the "central" track "The Fifth Column", whereas the ascending line begins with the hollow intro of "Ellipse" which precedes the first psychedelic sequence and continues on the heady synth-loops of "11:38" - maybe the most kindred to Schulze's cosmic trots - and the descending stretch begins with the entrancing computational melody of "October 27th, 1989 - Bay Village, Ohio" and softly lands on the placid waves of "February 8th, 1990 - Ashland, Ohio". "Akashic Record (Events: 1986 - 1990)" is definitively pure bliss for synth lovers!

Rudi Zygadlo: Tragicomedies

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 16 2012
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Artist: Rudi Zygadlo (@)
Title: Tragicomedies
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Planet Mu made many listeners' mouth water with the issue of Rudi's 7" "Melpomene" last spring, an appetizer which disclosed some aspects of his new album as well as of his stylistical swing after the amazing declensions of dubstep morphemes of his appreciated debut "Great Western Laymen", whose literary hooks - there were some references to Bulgakov and Beckett -, ironic and self-ironic statements about supposed hesitancy in falling in love which would conceptually marl its work and imaginative approach to the rhythmical pattern and pinched melodic structures are not sufficient similaraties with these long-awaited "Tragicomedies", which has been partially inspired by writings of American novelist Thomas Pynchon and Greek mythology of course - according to Rudi's words, this album was initially thought as a series of dedications to nine muses, but after the dedication to the muse of dance, Terpshicore, he preferred to avoid leashes - : the most significant aspects of this album are a most careful focusing on vocals and a clear propensity for minimal and mesmerizing electronic pop-oriented song style and enjoyable tightrope walking on glamour processing of 80ies funk and soul intertwined with clues of Eastern classical or folk music with a less pronounced presence of the above-mentioned dubstep morphemes, which occasionally puncture the rhythmical pattern of some songs such as "The Domino Quivers", the weird "Black Rhino" or "The Deaf School", previously released on a 12" by Pictures Music. I'd rather say the best songs are those ones where this lad pokes at his vocal cords such as in the lovely digital vocal treatments of "Russian Dolls" - a song which has got what it takes in order to become a tree chart climber! -, "An Introduction", whose effected vocals recall the spooky devilish vocal treatments of some songs by Fever Ray or Gazelle Twin or background falsettoes of the above-mentioned "The Domino Quivers" or overdubbed ones on the initial ballad "Kopernikuss". Many songs could recall the honeyed vocalizations of James Blake or Milosh, but Zygadlo's somewhat sensual sound and its intimate suppleness manage to please listener's eardrums.


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