Music Reviews

Konntinent: Kiruna

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 07 2012
Artist: Konntinent
Title: Kiruna
Format: 12" vinyl + CD
Label: Hibernate (@)
Rated: *****
Assembled during the severe winter between 2010 and 2011, the coldest one Londoners experienced in the last years, this fascinating release by London-based musician Antony Harrison cannot but start by the association with Swedish little town Kiruna, the northernmost one of Sweden, located approximately one hundred miles north of the Arctic circle just like the paradigm and the somewhat illusory vision of the relentless and perpetual movement of a huge metropolis had been vanished by a dramatic fall of the columns of mercury, so that during the listening of this 6-track album, you could have the impression Antony "sonically" translated this sudden and seemingly unnatural (at least for those one who normally raves about concepts such as velocity and acceleration applied to urban conglomerate by prefiguring them as robotic anthills...) slowing down till the final paralysis. If you embrace a similar approach, Antony's slowed post-industrial sonic dynamics, its frozen thuds and its glacial semblance become a kind of musicalization of a parody, hatched by sardonic Mother Nature, whose cycles and processes manage to challenge human will of order, progress and domain as well as the confirmation of descriptive sonic skills of this musician, who shared the stage with renowned artists such as Library Tapes, Boduf Songs, Machinefabiek, Simon Scott, Ian Hagwood, Jasper TX and many other talented sound potters.

Attilio Novellino: Through Glass

 Posted by Barton Graham   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 06 2012
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Artist: Attilio Novellino (@)
Title: Through Glass
Format: CD
Label: Valeot Records (@)
Rated: *****
I given myself the opportunity to listen to this one over several times already and its a little more exquisite with each experience. I'm referring to 'Through Glass' by Attilio Novellino. In this release he crafts amazingly epic scapes of sonic wonder based, at the core, on the concept of light filtering though glass, and how that concept would translate into sound. He chooses sounds and textures and tones to get this across to the listener with flawless precision. The concept shines through like (forgive me) light through glass. Not only does the overall tone and feel of the record fit perfectly with the title, so do the songs with their titles. Pieces like 'A Footpath for Night Dancers,' 'Snapshot of a Loss,' and 'Yosemite's Night Sky' couldn't have been more fitting. Attilio evolves through many different forms herein; from harsher drones, dense textures, tense pads and razor-like tones, to washing, airy, lush atmospheres. It's an all encompassing sonic journey guided by an absolutely poetic mastery of his craft; Attilio Novellino has given a very special gift to the world with 'Through Glass,' one that you'd be sorry to miss.

Azurazia: Lowering the Mediterranean, Irrigating the Sahara

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 05 2012
Artist: Azurazia
Title: Lowering the Mediterranean, Irrigating the Sahara
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Grautag (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat
Rated: *****
Coming from an interesting experiment by Grautag label manager Nicolas Moulin, a French artist and photographer, who actually lives in Berlin where he's trying to develop the idea of a "self-generating" label together with other artistic projects as well as overturn some conventional schemes of music production, Azurazia is a very interesting project, based on a sort of back-propagation process: "Lowering the Mediterranean, Irrigating the Sahara" - the title supposedly has been inspired by Atlantropa, the idea of German architect Herman Sorgel, whom Nazis banned, about the building of a dam on Straits of Gibraltar in order to produce hydro-electric power from the different sea level of the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic Ocean to irrigate dry areas and avoid further desertification of many surrounding lands - should be the soundtrack for a movie, which has not been made yet, a curious way to break the usual progression based on the issue of a book, feeding the plot for a movie, followed by the issue of its OST. Each of four long track has been partitioned in various episodes, whose title recalls the typical partition of a play script or the paragraphs of a book, so that listeners' imagination could be driven in the funny process of self-building of a possible plot, whose setting should be the place where the involved sound artists, Vincent Epplay, Pharoah Chromium, and Arnaud Maguet, grabbed most of the samples and field recordings to feed their sound banks, Morocco. Even if music includes many hooks and references to Moroccan traditional music, ritual dances and field recordings, it's quite different from projects which enclosed those sonorities such as Raksha Mancham, Amira Saqati, Master Musicians of Joujouka or other artists of Barraka El Farnatshi's roster due to its cinematic structure and the continuous contamination of drones, ambient and electronic sounds, which act as an adhesive of different sonic sketches, which pass through listeners's mind in a riveting way, just like the scenes of the supposedly forthcoming movie.

Marielle V Jakobsons: Glass Canyon

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 04 2012
Artist: Marielle V Jakobsons
Title: Glass Canyon
Format: CD
Label: Students Of Decay (@)
Distributor: Experimedia Ltd
Rated: *****
Since the beginning of this lovely recording, Oakland-based sound artist and violinist Marielle V.Jakobsons aka Darwinsbitch takes the listener by the hand and moves him in the warm chillness of "Purple Sands", where crystalline gusts, a low-frequency electronic buzz, granular pulses, placid piano strokes cradle listeners and gentles their solitary mental twirls through her quiet violin tunes which emphasizes this charmingly rustic idyll till the final sonic gurgling and the faint dramatic tension added by piano, inaugurating a listening experience where the uncommon interplay between violin and analog synths lead to intriguing sonic excrescence, whose sidereal romance, a certain emotional uniformity and a shaded solipsistic feeling never gets too woeful, even when the musical atmosphere looks like clouding over such as in trach like "Cobalt Waters" or "Shale Hollows". I'd say Marielle's sound in "Glass Canyon" is more contemplative indeed and when her gentle violin sprinkles the sonic space, it's like she blows on a dandelion's seedhead, which settles like snow on different elements evoked by other voices, so that an ocean could appear not so different from a desert.

Beyond Sensory Experience: Modern Day Diabolists

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 03 2012
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Artist: Beyond Sensory Experience (@)
Title: Modern Day Diabolists
Format: CD + DVD
Label: cyclic Law (@)
Rated: *****
Over the time, this band moved from the side project of the member of one of the most important bands of the '90s, MZ.412, to the status of one of the project moving dark ambient to new territories. This album is focused on the theme of life in the modern urban world.
The spoken words intro of "Through The Underworld" opens this release with the usual mix of dark ambient and small noises known to all fans of this band. "Hailstone Reactor" is an atmospheric track featuring and extremely clear and open musical spectre. "Modern Day Diabolists" feature the well known dark soundscape of this band while "Between Sleeping And Waking" start with quiet guitar line and marks a sort of departure to the rest of this album "Rapt From Earthly Things" is a glacial soundscape that would inspire a really good video. "Lost In Habblahester" return to dark soundscape that is in the background of this band as "The Testimony Of Memory" while "Geometric Fashion" is an intro to the longest track of this release, "Locating Imaginary Events In Real Place", that features all the development lines of this album track and, so, is a compendium to the musical ideas behind this release.
Even if it doesn't develop any new territories for this genre, it marks another step forward the recognition of this band as one of the most impressive outfit of this genre. It really worths a listen from everyone.

p.s.: This album feature a DVD with two videos (the most remarkable is the Fetish 23's one based upon "Rapt from Eternity Things" that relies on dual images of great suggestion) but, as usual, it's just an add-on to the record.

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