Music Reviews

Athana/ Schance: In:Pulse

 Posted by Silvia Paci   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 18 2012
Artist: Athana/ Schance
Title: In:Pulse
Format: CD & Vinyl
Rated: *****
In: Pulse is the last effort of the two guitarists Alf Terje, aka Athana and Vidar K. Schanche, who have been collaborating for a while.
After having performed many live shows together, the idea of the two musicians was to record not only the sounds of the guitars, but also what comes out the amplifiers. In this way you can hear the sound of the pedals turned on and off, as well as the acoustic sound of strings on an electric guitar. The album also includes some live material.
For this reason, the album is printed on vinyl, in order to listen the entirety of the soundscape, as the guitarist themselves do.
Both Athana and Schanche are known for their vast sound scape experimentation, and in this release they do it at their best. They also use acoustic guitars in contrast to the electronic soundscape.

Heidi Mortenson: Mork

 Posted by Silvia Paci   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 18 2012
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Artist: Heidi Mortenson (@)
Title: Mork
Format: CD EP
Label: Rump Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Mork, which is the Danish for Dark, is the title of the new EP by Heidi Mortenson. The name of the album reflects the new landscapes explored by the danish musician in this new release, totally different form her previous works.

The result is this new EP, entirely composed, mixed and produced by Mortenson. It comes divided into two sides.
Side A brings you in a dark land to escape from, built by Mortenson's vocals with unreal effetcs, accompanied by electronic beats and acoustic horns. On the contrary, side B opposes to the A one with restrained acoustic melodies and vocal reverb that inspire reflection, depth and calmness. In this side, Heidi Mortenson communicate with the listener the intimacy of her inner world, singing in her own language, instead of her previous releases, in order to place the contents at the first place.

Sunn O))) meets Nurse With Wound: The Iron Soul of Nothing

 Posted by J Simpson (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 17 2012
Artist: Sunn O))) meets Nurse With Wound (@)
Title: The Iron Soul of Nothing
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Ideologic Organ (@)
Distributor: Editions Mego
Rated: *****
The Iron Soul of Nothing finds two titans of the dronescape getting together, not to battle but to conjure; an unholy rite on a blank, featureless plain, two robed figures joined by two mad hatters, trailing broken clockworks and unraveling spools of tape. Originally released in 2008, famed experimentalist Stephen Stapleton, this time joined by Colin Potter to form Nurse With Wound, re-envisioned the source material from Sunn O)))'s second record, ÃÃVOID (that's pronounced double zero void, if you were curious), pulling the rumbles scrapes hisses and howls straight from the baked 2" reels. TISON is now given a respectable 2 LP treatment that it so richly deserves, on Stephen O' Malley's Ideologic Organ imprint: you could get lost in the umber forest of the gatefold sleeve and the luscious frequencies locked in the grooves will have you levitating, drooling, and chanting!

Nurse With Wound take Sunn O)))'s patented paleolithic death march, which Stephen O' Malley and Greg Anderson were still perfecting on ÃÃVOID, rips out the conceptual skeleton and makes it dance like some necromantic marionette. On 'Dysnstaxis (a chance meeting with somnus)' NWW re-invents the track 'Richard', ripping it apart to a gaseous purr, a single repetitive guitar hit, what sounds like an armenian duduk, to create the feeling of some alien race, watching holo-reels of gypsy priests from their basalt pyramid spaceship.
'Ash on the Trees (The Sudden Ebb of a Diatribe' could be a lost Coil out-take and it reminds me of Julian Cope's druidry off of Sunn O))'s White One, with Pete Stahl from DC hardcore band Scream leading the ceremony, a slow guitar dirge suddenly washed out in shards of digital glass and then grinded down with a belt sander.
'Ra At Dawn (Rapture, At Last, Numbered By Her Light' sounds more like Sunn O)))'s more recent material, like something off of Monoliths and Dimensions, 25 minutes and 25 seconds of ominous modern classical music; gothic strings and floating tones. Gavin Bryar's Sinking of the Titanic, Philip Jeck's crackle, Ligeti's sorrow. Here's where the quartet's black light really shines, and they show that the avant-garde, in all its forms, be they metal, noise, drone, or electronic, have passed the spark from one acolyte to another, and they unwittingly show how utterly fucking brilliant that they are. Honest to god modern composition, sub-bass slow motion Black Sabbath guitars with oscillators flickering like ghost lights and unquiet spirits, dancing around the standing stones. Heavy, brutal, intelligent... yet these guys are still regarded head-bangers, knuckle-draggers. Add to this ceremonial brew Stephen O' Malley's wicked sense of graphic design, and here you have the sights and sounds of the future. True Art.

Peter Bjärgö: The Architecture of Melancholy

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 13 2012
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Artist: Peter Bjärgö
Title: The Architecture of Melancholy
Format: CD
Label: Cyclic Law (@)
Rated: *****
This is the second album from an known for his past works with projects like ARCANA and SOPHIA, so this is an album more concerned with limited formal experimentation within the form of song rather than limitless experimentation free form. And, when there's a solid understanding of the process of the construction if a release and clear writing intention, this even be a merit when it worth the formal quality of a release rather than his artistic novelty.
"The architecture of melancholy", the first track of this release, is a solemn opening where the incredibly sad lyrics set the mood and the attention. "Bittersque" is a classically slow track close to the atmosphere of some old gothic record. "The hidden compass" is based upon a pale blue line of guitar and an effected line of vocal. "Apathy" is hypnotic with his medio-oriental influence while "A wheel of thoughts" is reminiscent of the gothic influence of this author with his slow development. "The death of our sun" tries to clear the overall depressive mood of this record with a brighter atmosphere while "Sleep dep.loop1" is an almost basinski-like miniature for loop and soundscape that close this album in an ecstatic mood.
This is an album where experimental traits and classic songwriting are juxtaposed with a cristalline equilibrium and one of the record of the year. Recommended.

Anthony Pateras: Errors of the Human Body OST

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 13 2012
Artist: Anthony Pateras (@)
Title: Errors of the Human Body OST
Format: CD
Label: Editions Mego
Rated: *****
In spite of the fact that music for movies is an element of utmost importance, now more than ever, the silver screen doesn't normally become a launching ramp for soundtrack composers even if it gets into a blockbuster, but on this occasion Australian director and screenwriter Eron Sheean rendered honours to the excellent work by his collaborator Anthony Pateras (maybe some reader knows him as a member of Candlesnuffer) for scoring of "Errors of the Human Body", an interesting psychological drama/thriller, set in Dresden, co-produced by Instinctive Film and High5films, whose plot mainly takes place amidst pipettes, centrifuges, burettes, microscopes of a medical laboratory where Dr.Geoffrey Burton (played by Michael Eklund) relocates in a research institute in Dresden (the scenery is the one given by the notorious Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics) in order to concur to the most important project led by its teamwork - a human regeneration gene -, which could solve its personal tragedy. Anthony manages to evoke such a scenery from the emotional viewpoint: besides crazy piano tuning, suspensive plonks and electronic morphing on sounds generated with the help of a specimen of the legendary ARP2600, there are many moments which are supposedly thought in order to emphasize the most dramatic moment of Burton's tragedy running in parallel with the typically equivocal fret and the anxious desire for a "miracolous" discovery belonging to the stereotyped behaviour for a scientist such as "Automatic 4", "Burton's Lullaby" or "River Elbe" (my favorite track of the whole album for the incredible state of suspense it can evoke together with "Infectious", whose grave movement renders the scrupolous activity of a researcher in an aseptic genetics lab) as well as really amazing stuff such as the viral groove of "XIJ" - the only danceable track -, more clinical and disquieting tracks such as "Burton's Syndrome", "Cellular Cloud 2" or delayed pulses of "Milk & Mice".

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