Music Reviews

Nux Vomica and Voice of Eye: Fire of the Unitive Path: Three Rivers

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 31 2010
Artist: Nux Vomica and Voice of Eye (@)
Title: Fire of the Unitive Path: Three Rivers
Format: CD
Label: Auricular Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of Nux Vomica, but I have enjoyed Voice of Eye for quite some time. There are the expected ethno-ambient and tribal sounds that one would expect, but there is also a bit of dissonance throughout that keeps it from sounding too sanitized. This is more experimental than I have heard Voice of Eye, so it is reasonable to assume that Nux Vomica is bringing out that side of things. The experimental quality is to be expected, as the liner notes state that this is 'part one of a continuous improvisation recorded on September 17, 2009.' The press sheet that came with the disc states that they 'have been involved in countless collaborative improvisations over the years and this is the first one that can be released in its full, unedited form, making it something remarkable.' All I know is that I would have very much liked to have been there to hear this live. From the opening track, 'The First Gate,' we hear lush atmosphere and female vocals that would be quite at home on the old Hyperium 'Heavenly Voices' compilations. 'House of Water' becomes a bit too repetitive for my taste, despite its slowly shifting, evolving sound. 'River of Heaven' is an odd mixture of space-age electronic atmosphere and lilting vibraphone-like music. If Harold Budd and Hafler Trio had to collaborate on a track, I imagine it would be something like this. 'Water Wheel Treaders' would fit well alongside Coil's 'Musick to Play in the Dark,' with its atmosphere and relentless, repetitive melody. 'Tripod of the Elixer' is, by contrast, a slow moving track with waves that crescendo and decrescendo as a bubbling soundscape boils beneath the surface. 'Golden Elixer of Immortality' is a wonderfully peaceful track with soothing female vocals and sparse synth pads. 'Original Awareness' slowly shifts gears, becoming a dark, claustrophobic track that would suit a good horror film. Overall, this is quite enjoyable. This disc weighs in at about 46 minutes.

Clutter: Yellow Light Discarded

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 31 2010
Artist: Clutter (@)
Title: Yellow Light Discarded
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I had not heard of Clutter, nor the other work of Shaun Blezzard. According to his website, 'all tracks were improvised using laptop, iPhone, Nintendo DS and effects then edited and mixed.' Field recordings also figure prominently. 'Yellow Light Discarded' uses a field recording of rain on a balcony in Plymouth and 'On Your Parade' uses sounds taken from Dalton Parade. The latter is particularly interesting as we hear chirps and high pitched drone mixed with police sirens. The result is rather engaging. 'Yellow Light Discarded,' on the other hand, sounds a bit like what you would expect Vidna Obmana to come up with. Calming synth mixed with the sounds of rain. 'Pollen and Scatter' continues the ambient synth vibe. It's nice, but not as engaging as the previous tracks until it begins to get a bit more noisy and chaotic toward the end. 'The Edge of Possible' is pleasant drone that kind of faded into the background; the silence is what made me aware that it had ended. Not too bad overall, although at times it seems a bit too new age for my tastes. This album weighs in at about 21 minutes.

Gold Panda: Lucky Shiner

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 29 2010
Artist: Gold Panda (@)
Title: Lucky Shiner
Format: CD
Label: Ghostly Int. (@)
Distributor: K7 Partners
Rated: *****
Every reliable source foretelling glitch approach should have caught on many musical grounds keeps on being enhanced by interesting directions and paths opened by musicians such as Gold Panda, an English whimsical producer that after a plenty of remixes for the likes of Simian Mobile Disco, The Field (one of the most relevant source for inspiration in my opinion), Little Boots, Bloc Party and so on and some juicy releases, including the critically acclaimed Quitters Raga on Make Mine, whose bizarre bridging with Indian Raga tradition has been partially reprised on India Lately (one of the most brilliant mosaic embellishing Lucky Shiner!) here ' even some Indian spices give off their distinctive scent in different tracks'¦-, finally signs his first full-length album on Ghostly Int., coming after You EP, featuring remixes from Seams, Dam Mantle, Osborne and Minotaur Shock (one of the musical gardeners, which could be considered among the most adjoining to the brimful gardens where this specie of Panda healthily grows up!).

Helped by Simian Mobile Disco's James Shaw for mixing and recorded in two session in the lovely Essex countryside, where his uncle and aunt live and whose surroundings idyllically reverberates in some quiet moments of the record such as Parents ' a track featuring Gold Panda's mum whose voice introduces the guitar soft melody, playing as a golden setting into a natural soundscape, rendered by some chirping birds -, I'm With You But I'm Lonely ' whose abstract daydreaming melancholic sound setting and trembling childplay chimes have nicely been mortised with funny acoustic percussions which could remind the first drumming exercises of a child with crockery, pots and pans ' and sometimes turning into flickering psychedelic breezes such as Same Dream China (I imagined while listening to this track, reminding a little bit the reveries by Caribou aka Manitoba, Gold Panda getting inspiration from moments when he had fun with Chinese balloons'¦) or Marriage, a track that seems fitted to the glancing through a scrap book with images from a wedding celebration celebrated in the countryside!

Exploring his musical imaginary insufflated by a pastoral view of English countryside and musically pricked by Golden Panda's two years Japanese experience where he studied Japanese culture, language and history at the School of Oriental and Asian studies is like watching the sounding translation of his personal diary as suggested by the title of the album itself as Lucky Shiner is GP's grandmother's name and the pitched tear-eyed chords, the static beats and the gentle operation of bit-crushing synths propelling tracks such as Vanilla Minus, After We Talk ' showing a way of deconstructing hip-hop for the likes of Four Tet and Prefuse 73's listeners ' and above all You (the opening and the closing track of the album, whose vocal sample is more recognizable in the latter one while in the first it looks like filtered by the consciousness of a child!). Personal emotional worlds, but so well forged that it looks like Golden Panda's inviting the listener to pour it into his/her intimate dimension!

Lovely shining stuff!

Pip Williams: Natural Instinct

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 28 2010
Artist: Pip Williams
Title: Natural Instinct
Format: 12"
Label: Shameless Toady (@)
Rated: *****
You read recently about Phil Ventre here at Chain D.L.K. because I reviewed his Pip Williams' "Resistance is futile" EP. Back with his own label Shameless Toady, he delivers another Pip Williams release titled NATURAL INSTINCT. Released as a beautiful three tracks picture 12" and digitally (this edition has as bonus track "Rasta four eyed"), the EP finds Pip dealing with dubstep rhythms and cinematic atmospheres. Having great sounds and samples, the tracks are built using many sources and alternating them creating a sense of "incoming catastrophe". Tiny melodic patterns crashes on pulsating bass beats while echoing synth sounds form a intricate web. Upbeat, complex and also experimental NATURAL INSTINCT will lead you down dreamy stairs. Watch your step and check it if you like Legion Of Two's "Riffs" album released by Planet Mu.
P.s. You can find the digital edition here

PIETRO RIPARBELLI / K11 : Metamorphic Portrait 1230 A. D.

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 27 2010
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Title: Metamorphic Portrait 1230 A. D.
Format: CD
Label: Actual Noise
Rated: *****
During the last year I've been reviewing at least three Ripabelli's releases and I've seen him once live, funny since despite the fact I happened to hear and read his name mentioned several times I didn't know how he sounded like or anything else about him and all of a sudden one listening after the other. This italian artist is quite well known for his activities in the dark ambient-post-industrial esoteric scene and I'm sure you will agree it emerges also by the musical aesthetic of his works. The positive thing about is works is that he's an incredible taste and he's far from the flashy of the genre, another great quality of his solo releases his the great sound quality of his productions so please don't mix him with many lo-quality sci-fi esoteric new-jacks dealing with power-noise or with the dark ambient thing. "Metamorphic Portrait" has been released with sound sources recorded in the lower Nasilica of Assisi and take for granted the esoteric factor of the whole cd is high on top, but as the artist himself writes in the line note of the release that's part of his personal research and explains the enormous religious feel of which this work is imbued. Despite some characteristic dark ambient sound and distortion I will somehow recognize in other works with the moniker K11, this cd is characterized by a large use of delays and echoes and by many vocal sound, gregorian chants, vocal singing and ancient ritual singing like that, but don't think it may resemble Rison D'Etre, everything is less clean, the original shape of the vocals drifts ashore and in some traces they've been submerged by some power distorsions that after a while live space to what sounds like an organ. The cocktail ends sounding really esthetic which is something that definitely lacks to many releases like that, plus you have to consider Ripabelli really knows how to build an emphatic and interesting structure fo tracks like those contained in this cd. If you've never gave him a listen maybe it's time to check how he sounds like.

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