Music Reviews



VV.AA.: Tectonic Plates 3

 Posted by J Simpson (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 13 2012
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Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Tectonic Plates 3
Format: CD
Label: Tectonic Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Tectonic Recordings has had a formative influence on the evolution of Dubstep and its various bass-y tributaries. Run by Rob Ellis, aka DJ Pinch, over they years they have released a slew of classic Dubstep records by the likes of 2562, Distance, Skream! & Benga. It is fitting that on this most recent installment of the Tectonic Plates compilations, that they freeze and take stock of the current state of the bass.

Over the course of 13 tracks, it is possible to hear and identify many mutant strains of late-night LFO tweaking; from the now classic sub-woofer shredding of Kryptic Minds' "The Talisman," through the hypnotic tribalism of Tunnidge's "Universal" to the ends of an ATARI universe of Ginz's "Chrome". It draws a straight line straight from the earliest dubstep sounds, like Burial and Kode 9's wailing ghost divas and half-tempo locked grooves, to Skrillex's laser eyes and monster drops. Most of the tracks keep to the consistent 140 BPM, which makes for a smooth listening experience, well sequenced and well produced. There is also a pervasive mournful mood, brought on by heart-tugging strings, that harken back to the earliest days of dubstep, that sense of melancholy and immanent dread. Easy on the ears. Some of the tracks seem like works in progress, like Kevin McPhee's "Outs," which sounds like a dubplate rushed hot to the presses to someone's DJ friend, which seems like techno in its purest forms, utilitarian jams to make people dance.

In this day and age of media overload, trusted labels and selectors are more important than ever, and Pinch has been on the scene since the get go. Not every track on Tectonic Plates is essential listening, just like any DJ mix anywhere, but any of them would go over the for the late night faithful. Its interesting to speculate on where bass music will go from here.

Maurizio Bianchi: CeltiChants

 Posted by Arnaldo Pontis (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 13 2012
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Artist: Maurizio Bianchi
Title: CeltiChants
Format: CD
Label: Alone at Last records (@)
Distributor: Alone at Last records
Rated: *****
I think the name of Maurizio Bianchi / MB did not need any introduction here. He is simply one of the great fathers of electronic music in Italy and Europe and is long been considered a cult musician, recognized and enshrined in all our musical environment.
MB is an excellent artist and musician and tight end capable of producing, in over thirty years of activity, real masterpieces of music and ranging experiments at the boundaries between electronic and noise. Many of his records have become genuine landmarks of this genre.
In recent years, Maurizio has also become a point of reference and a friend for the work individual and collective for many of us. Always willing to work with many other artists in the electronic scene, he has managed to create a kind of permanent musical laboratory around them.

Into this second "sonic youth" the great MB gave us a wide range of excellent discs created by several people. And even when such collaborations have not reached the levels of the highest quality of all his previous solo work is still important and valid evidence of the symbiosis possible between his music and the artists who have collaborated with him. This MB work, however, is not in collaboration with others artistis. Maurizio plays alone (at last) and present to us a long and unique suite of sound entitled "Celtichants" that lasts just one hour. But, if you listen this suite, you feel like you take a few moments and you will do everything to try and play it back in the hour immediately following. Even'll be the last hour of your life. Because this "Celtichants" is a very beautiful work. Work i believe is also very, very important. For two different reasons.
The first reason is that, unlike other works of MB more extreme and perhaps less accessible, this work revealed from the beginning in all its splendor. Celtichants represents, for me, really "a new form of beauty" because it not only keeps intact the quality and the best creativity and artistic research of MB's music, that we always used to, but exceeds them instinctively and from the first listen. A real seminal work of which he felt the need after so much noise.
Listen to him with respectful silence then this beautiful "Celtic Songs" by MB! But do not expect human voices or ethnic harmony of the Celtic tradition. Because these Celtic songs come from a sound dreamy and unknown elsewhere and bring us up to the sound of his ethereal and stellar wind. These are our songs of Maldoror for a "fifth dimension", evidence of distant and remote place that belongs to us but in the depths of our being. A place where the spirit of Isidore Ducasse hovers behind every breath of cosmic wind that carries them. I will not say more words on the beauty of this work by Maurizio Bianchi to invite you to buy and listen to this record. But, if the first reason is not enough for a new disk of MB, I will give you a second reason why it fascinates me and I think this album is a masterpiece not to be missed. For fans of the genre but also for the neophyte listen to electronic or industrial music for the first time.
This record I came to me, last week, directly from Moscow. Together with other work which I will label the same way of speaking. The work of MB is the third title included in the catalog of a small fledgling independent label that was for me a revelation.
This label is Russian and is called "Alone at Last" and was born in march this year. On his website (www.alone-at-last.com) looks like a label focused on the realization of very limited editions of artists known and recognized in the electronic scene. It 's also the reason for not accepting demos.
If you visit his site you will sense the line and the painstaking care with which the "Alone at Last" creates their own records.
Rarely in the independent and industrial scene, I got to see this level of packaging. Each disk has a cardboard box, carved on many layers of different dominant color, each designed so as to be then folded by hand on the other in sequence. Each disc is a small gem of paper, carefully close like an ancient Japanese Origami around the jewel it contains. And the first 50 copies of each limited edition is also signed by the artist.
A few meager liner notes accompanying the content. No self-celebration of the label or artist. What is said is used as a theme track for the imaginary linked to each work. And the imagery of this is a poetic song. A deluge text composed by the terms of our technological imaginary. A poem dedicated, as all the work, to Ducasse, Comte de Lautreamont. Each disc also contains within it also precious polychrome photographic prints, based on the work of several photographers. In particular, the three prints that accompany Celtichants, are photographs taken by Siegmar Fricke in the Canary Islands over some beautiful basalt stones of Miocene epoch.
I believe I have nothing more to add. I want to give a final friendly advice: GET FAST THIS WORK by Maurizio Bianchi for Alone at Last Records. You will not regret.

Ab Intra: Supremus

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 10 2012
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Artist: Ab Intra
Title: Supremus
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release coming from the esteemed Polish label Zoharum, signed by Radoslaw Kaminski aka Ab Intra (Latin for "From Within") is going to tickle tympanic palates of drone and dark-ambient follower. The first sandpapering of the record could vaguely recall more "mystical" branch of ambient-chill such as Asura or other stuff on Ultimae and similar labels, due to some sonic clues such as seraphic choirs, distant thundering and absydal electric storms, then his silent gales migrate towards ritual-ambient fields, recalling some sonic episodes by Kammerheit or Runes Order (particularly in "Supremus IV" and "Supremus II") with distended whistling blows, moving inside electric clouds, sinister bolts and subtle sub-bass tones, whereas it seems that previous dust begins to amalgamate in majestic or epic mirages. You could have the impression that Ab Intra's sound got miniaturizes into many particles in order to pass over any pellicle or membrane before breaking the banks and flood into the sensorial ground in the final moments of the album, in order to share or just inspire great visions in listener's mind by creeping into it throughout ears, so that I could say "Supremus" sounds like a very attractive mind-tuning opera. Have a listen.

LUCA SIGURTA': bliss

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 08 2012
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Artist: LUCA SIGURTA' (@)
Title: bliss
Format: CD
Label: Fratto9 Under the Sky (@)
Rated: *****
Some years ago Luca Sigurtà has been brought to my attention from my Chaindlk-mate/musician Eugenio Maggi aka Cria Cuervos, Eugenio gave me some of his early releases, later I've bought myself his cdr on Afe records, his cds with Pocket Progressive, Harshcore and so on. We're not writing about a newjack since the guy has an intense touring schedule both alone and with bands like Harshcore or Luminance Ratio, he's also been sharing splits or collaborative efforts with Andy Ortmann, Claudio Rocchetti, To Live and Shave in La, Slicing Grandpa and Fhievel just to name a few. For this second chapter of Fratto9's Microcosmos series Sigurtà has shaped his best work so far, finally enriched by a boombastic production with the aid of Giuseppe Ielasi during the mastering process. This piemontese musician has put together a release that is intriguing, meditative but at the same time relaxing. Always close to the border of ambient music, this crepuscular collection of drones is really inspired, by some means I've been quite surprised during the early listenings and it has to be addressed to the fact Luca has basically worked with weird, noisy, electro-acoustic projects and his live acts, without being exactly "power-noise" oriented, are physical and angular (whatever it means). I think despite the many influences you can perceive here and there the sound of this music is really "american", I mean even if this music sometime may suggest you comparison to Oren Ambarchi, Brendon Labelle or similar artist, Sigurtà stylistically is probably closer to John Wiese or Aaron Dilloway and this' more evident if you have the luck to see one of his shows.

FABIO ORSI : the new year is over

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 08 2012
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Artist: FABIO ORSI
Title: the new year is over
Format: 3 x CD (triple CD)
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
Along with Giuseppe Ielasi, Fabio Orsi is probably the most talked about italian musician that surprised me the most release after release. Differently from Ielasi, despite some different works, Orsi has more stylistic continuity infact if we have to draw in some comparison to picture what kind of artist we're in front of, he could be the italian answer to Aidan Baker. Even if both Aidan and Fabio are crossing a post ambient music field their approach is considerably different, infact the italian artist relocated in Berlin has a less depressive e more ambient feel that doesn't remind anything in particular. Release after release and after several collaborations, many of which see him involved together with Gianluca Becuzzi, Orsi developed his peculiar musical language and beside melancholia I'd add his modus operandi is high emotionally charged. This new triple cd came out on Silentes (if you've never given a try to this label you'd better check it) shows this guy is in full blossoming and after having seen him live (a less than quarter of an hour minutes blast) I can confirm he's a real talented musician. Even if I was afraid three distinct cds were just too much, after having experienced all of them one after the other I can truly say while they can be listened as three episodes of the same movie, there's no superfluous repetition and considering it's post ambient music it's surprising. Why do I define this music post ambient? Cause Orsi added an electronic percussive beat that animates the first cd, he's also add some dark passages that later leave room to dreamy and almost evocative feelings and everything well mixed in a really relaxed mood. I really don't know if this the apex of Orsi solo carrier but I'm sure this' one of his best works so far and like Aidan Baker it amazes me how he managed to maintain such a high quality considering they both are unstoppable under the releases profile. Believe it or not this' probably one of the few triple cd releases you can repeatedly listen without finding everything excessive. The general atmosphere of this album made think to this french sentence "le ciel bleu est plus joli après la pluie"


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