Music Reviews



Larva 108 : Music For Cup Marked Stones

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 24 2011
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Artist: Larva 108 (@)
Title: Music For Cup Marked Stones
Format: CD
Label: Inverno http://www.108nero.com/
Rated: *****
Right after his first collection of works came out Greytone label Guido Bisagni aka 108 is back and his music is fully blossomed. His post dark ambient melancholic mood can be easily recognized, this work based on sign left on stones shows how this guy hardly fail to put together a series of depressive tracks. Inspired by different places, these three long suites shows this guy beside being an incredible visual artist and having arranged a plethora of materials with Corpo Parassita, sometimes reaches the best result when focusing on his solo project. An over abundance of delayed guitar and field recording for the first track, while on the second the basic drone has been assembled on a synth and more elaborated and structured closing song. Just twenty two minutes, but the result is pure bliss, simple, sometimes naive and rough but the music of Larva has always some intriguing and mysterious aftertaste, like the sings on the rocks on which this work is based.

Deison : night session

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 24 2011
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Artist: Deison (@)
Title: night session
Format: CD
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
Many out there, probably can't remember Cristiano Deison played keyboards and samplers for Meathead, later he started his own solo carrier which among other things has brought him to cross his knobs with KK Null and to share a split with Thurston Moore. Does he need international credits to have more credibility? No way! Maybe it has probably helped him to reach a broader audience, above all his wonderful collaboration with KK Null, but as far as I concern Deison was a good musician from his early recordings and this cd (despite presenting a good amount of collaborations) testifies that again and again. He started as a dark ambient musician and he's slowly evolving his style, both his last collaboration and this new work shows he's experimenting to evolve his music. The majority of the tracks have a sort of quasi-electronic ecstatic feel. The sound definition is good, few sounds the reach the climax during the evolution of the track, drones, bleeps, guitar drones and synths have been used parsimoniously but with a hell of a taste. The atmosphere is melancholic but not depressive, it's one of those recordings that demands a relaxed night listening. Deison is probably reaching his full blossoming period.


Uphill Racer: How It Feels To Find There's More

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 17 2011
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Artist: Uphill Racer (@)
Title: How It Feels To Find There's More
Format: CD
Label: Normoton (@)
Distributor: Al!ve
Rated: *****
Any attempt of cataloguing Oliver Licht's (Uphill Racer's name on vital records office) fourth album, being it even the most imaginative lexical or semantic hybridization, could be tantamount to inflicting an unjust punishment, particularly if you consider not only the huge "logistic" effort in order to join together 15 different voices but also for the neat narrative coherence, the conceptual substance injected into a stylistically simple structure and the impressively wide assortment of musical colors, strongly amalgamated by the above-mentioned narrative unity, Oliver managed to ram into the fertile grounds of "How It Feels To Find There's More" (what a grandiloquent and suitable title for such an issue!). From Naissance (meaning birth) - that's the name of the "philosophical" intro on the voice of Judith Heusch (voice of Patty Moon), who looks like playing on the subjectivity of time perception when singing "There is a moment, now it is passed. Here is the future, now it is passed" - to the outro Renaissance (meaning rebirth), Uphill Racer plots an enthralling course, whose laps seem to scan a gradual ascension from falling to flowing, a step-by-step raising which is going to cause little crevices on the rocky surface of listener's heart by melting that undefined electronic pop naivety with some emotional bullets of Nordic folk, microscopic toy-like melodies, old-tune abstractions, meaningful lyrics, a certain sense of melancholy and many hooks which are going to resurface from the abysses of your musical memories many past listenings, which often smell of innocence and embryonic bliss. Most of singers could be new to you as they mainly come from indie-pop or indipendent labels' territories, but they exactly added to the tunes the touch Uphill Racer imagines and some of them are really touching: the sense of close distance perfectly fitted to the literary content of "From Miles" added by Betty Mugler from Hidalgo, the heavenly reverberating airy tone on "Applause" injected by Rebecka Maria Wallgren, that spot of greenhorn-like tousled lightheartedness imprinted by Kristof Deneus on "Gone With Eastern Winds", the light feeling of restlessness evoked by Aydo Abay on" The Automatic Function" - a lovely song whose atmosphere could remind the ones by Moderat - or the smooth-spoken caress by Shara Worden from My Brightest Diamond on "Overfrail" - another lovely song who reminded to me some pieces by Tom Middleton's Amba -, the sing-song vocal massages by Patrick Haid from Line Drawings on the luminous "Kite", the powerful dramatic tension highlighted by Rosalie Eberle on the touching "Requiem For My Friend". The fourth album signed by this composer could be considered a pithy record, but not heavy at all, so that it's quite logical Normoton can easily announce they could promise to produce even his 25th album!

Voice of Eye: Anthology 2: 1992-1996

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 14 2011
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Artist: Voice of Eye (@)
Title: Anthology 2: 1992-1996
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Transgredient Records (@)
Rated: *****
Voice of Eye has been particularly busy lately. I guess they're making up for 10 years of lost time in which they built an "Earthship" house in the deserts of New Mexico (the photos on their website are particularly impressive). However, this is not new material, but rather a compilation of limited releases, live recordings, and compilation appearances from the period between 1992-1996. One would think that after almost 20 years in some cases that the music would sound dated. Luckily this is Voice of Eye we're talking about. Disc 1 is a much more varied group of tracks, owing to their disparate origins, but overall this is a great listen. From the opening track, 'Ascension of Joelene,' originally found on the Arrhythmia II compilation (now I'm feeling old; am I the only one who remembers this, let alone still has a copy of this comp?) with the pounding beats mixed with ethereal voices for ominous effect to the series of tracks from 'Sproket' that employ bicycles to create noisy industrial drone, this is an interesting mix.

Disc two is a bit more experimental but just as disjointed. 'Sonic Works Live Dress Rehearsal 1996' is almost an album's worth in its own right. Weighing in at just over 44 minutes, this is a monument to drone, fading into the background only to remind you of its presence as it glides along. There are noisy elements woven in, but overall the effect is soothing. It reminds me of, at least in the overall feel, of TAGC's 'Burning Water.' Next up, 'Tryst #8 ' excerpt' lulls the listener into complacency with the expected ethnoambient reminiscent of Steve Roach's works only to suddenly transform into Steven Stapleton's work as it progresses, becoming noisy, cut up, and disjointed in the most pleasant ways. This was a good time, and it makes sense considering it was originally part of a split tape with Big City Orchestra. 'Butterflies and Unicorns' once again makes a sudden shift with flute and strings and almost seems out of place after the much longer tracks that preceded it. Think In Gowan Ring and you're on the right track.

Overall, this is worth checking out. You already knew it would be good coming out on Trangredient, but this one demonstrates that Voice of Eye can create works that stand up over time. Disc 1 weighs in at around 74 minutes. Disc 1 weighs in at around 66 minutes.

Nadja and Troum: Dominium Visurgis

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 14 2011
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Artist: Nadja and Troum (@)
Title: Dominium Visurgis
Format: CD
Label: Transgredient Records (@)
Rated: *****
When I am not writing for ChainDLK, I am a university professor, and in that job I find that the most difficult papers to critique are not those in the middle, but rather those at the far ends of the spectrum. I am having a similar problem with this album. I have enjoyed Troum immensely for several years and have reviewed several works by Nadja and Aidan Baker and have been impressed by all of them. The label describes the release thus: 'This is something you could call a "dreamlike liaison". When the Canadian "avant metal
/ drone doom"-duo NADJA (who name TROUM as one of their early influences) and the German postindustrial / experimental drone pioneers TROUM (years ago active as MAEROR TRI who are still discovered by many drone-fans these days) combine their exceptional styles, they form something even vaster as usually known from them.' Evidently this was made during spontaneous improvisations with no post-recording processing or overdubs. So what happens when you have two masters come together? This is what happens. We begin with Part 1, featuring lush drones and dreamlike atmospheres (which is appropriate, as Troum takes their name from an old German word for dream). Part 2 is where Nadja's influence begins to shine, with crunchier sawtooth waves and slowly pounding percussion. Drones layer upon drones with crushing weight. If the first part was a soothing dream, this is where things get more sinister. Part 3 weighs in at 25.10, so you know you're in for a long ride. We have some respite from the nightmare, but all is not back to normal. You're walking in familiar landscapes, but wondering what is still lurking around the dark corner ahead. We are engulfed in slowly shifting bass drones and washes of static until it all dissolves into peaceful synth pads and drone. All of this comes beautifully packaged in a weathered foldout digipack. Highly recommended, but then again, you probably already knew that. The album weighs in at 49.30.


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