Music Reviews



Aidan Baker: Gathering Blue

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 06 2010
cover
Artist: Aidan Baker (@)
Title: Gathering Blue
Format: 12"
Label: Equation Records (@)
Rated: *****
I was a bit surprised when I saw the track listing and wondered why I recognized “The Taste of Summer on Your Skin,” then realized that it had been previously released on Ta'lem Records. It seems that this is a mix of previous work with new material. The label describes the album thus: “Gathering Blue provides new original material plus a stunning cover of the Joy Division track ‘24 Hours’ as well as an extended work-out of the remix of ‘The Cicada Sings Our Love Song’ by Building Castles Out Of Matchsticks. We are also treated to a delicate revisiting of the Troum remix of ‘When You Scream’ - both of the aforementioned remixes were originally released in 2005 on the ultra-limited and long-deleted Arcolepsy Records CD ‘Remixes.’”

So let’s talk about the music. This is a double LP, which lets you know you are in for a long ride, but with Baker at the wheel you know that there will be beautiful scenery along the way. Side A consists of “Bond Of Blood,” which features the soothing drones that Baker is known for. At times his voice comes into the mix, but it doesn’t seem out of place, as sometimes happens with drone. Side B consists of Gathering Blue and 24 Hours, which is a Joy Division cover. At least he picked a more obscure one than “Love Will Tear Us Apart Again”! The closest comparison I can give is when Frazier Chorus did a cover of Anarchy in the UK. The result was oddly soothing in a way that Joy Division never was. Side C consists of “The Cicadas Sing Our Love Song / Cipher / Cicadas / Circuitry / Cicatrice” which all blend together into peaceful drone. My wife at this point commented on how much she was enjoying this album and she is not really a fan of experimental music. Side D takes a slightly different turn with “The Taste Of Summer On Your Skin / When You Scream...” which opens with a bit of drums and dissonance and even a touch of feedback. Here and there pulsing waves and buzzing crescendo and decrescendo throughout. It never gets really noisy, but a bit more dissonant than the other three sides. Overall, this is a very enjoyable release that demonstrates why Baker seems to be all over the place. Like all Equation Records releases, this is beautifully packaged in gatefold sleeve and pressed on 180 gram vinyl. This release comes in three different possibilities of vinyl: black, sky blue, and mottled peacock-blue.

SAVIER: Serenade My Enemy

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 05 2010
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Artist: SAVIER
Title: Serenade My Enemy
Format: CD EP
Label: MOMT (@)
Rated: *****
Coming from Edinburgh, after a couple of releases on Noise-Joy, Savier is landing on MOMT with a new four track E.P. titled SERENADE MY ENEMY. Available as CD-r or digital download, the E.P. collects four tunes in balance from industrial and dub. Paragoned to Scorn or Techno Animal, Savier, without using guitars, is able to create convincing post industrial atmosphere where hard beats, bass sounds, industrial samples and tiny synth melodies form a dark soundtrack that will convince you in no time. Passing from the dilated atmospheres of the opening "Lapse" we arrive to the horror atmospheres of "The Beginning V2" carried by a sense of an incoming catastrophe. SERENADE MY ENEMY is the sound of a giant robot Gozilla shaped who's walking on your heads keeping the rhythm...

Talen: Kingston Book

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 28 2010
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Artist: Talen
Title: Kingston Book
Format: 12"
Label: Mouthwatering (@)
Distributor: finetunes
Rated: *****
Kingston Book is the first of two “books” sealing the stylistic tunneling joining the Alps and the glorious Jamaica, built by the surprising Swiss dancehall collective Talen - a quartet made up two djs - Aunt One & Bux - and two producers Bobphonic and Uppernoise - , based in Winterthur, which exchanged musical particles with two authentic legends of the Jamaican scene, Sizzla and Cutty Ranks, for their debut release. The opening track on A-side should not be named but The Vibes with Sizzla’s roars targeting “undercover cops investigating music” and “fighting The Vibes” he usually likes and spreads, a stylish blend of electrified Ragga tunes and highly danceable Rock’n’roll stepping, close to that musical formula which recently seduced big names such as Fat Boy Slim, while on the same side the frightening sound of air raid alarms announces a very good version by another renowned leonine music maker coming from the Vienna scene, Herr Stefan Moerth aka Stereotyp, tailoring the track in a distinguishable way, which is quite easy-to-recognize if you’ve already heard something about this refined producer or something from his own Crunchtime label, generally featuring a dry hard-dub beating on sharp noises and obscure sub-basses.

On the flipside, it’s Cutty Ranks’ turn on the gun-firing mic spitting a sort of angry war hymn in the anguished Sniper Sniper, a track which from the stylistic viewpoint looks closer to The Bug and Razor X productions whose turgor has been swollen by heavy bass tones, buzzing synths and metallic kicks, setting the climax before the great remix by Markus Kienzl (Sofa Surfers) whose obsessive rushing rhythmical pattern sloping in miasmatic downbeat pulsations and razor-slashes are elements able to bring dub in a clubby dimension.

On the 12”, you’ll also find the codes to download the bonus tracks as well, among which my personal favorite is the atmospheric and rolling drum’n’bass Sniper Sniper remix by the Austrian crew Alien Entertainment, even if you’ll easily fall in love with the elegant dubstep variant by Dillon Dug, the stomping bonus remix by Markus Kienzl - this time with distorted brass and a venomous punk’n’roll drumming on evidence - and the Alternate Version of The Vibes - a balanced hybrid between analogue and digital with a catchy tribal drums’ crescendo and other thrilling improvements on the percussive set -.

A second book - the New York one , the American counterpart of the Jamaican one, propelled by the N.Y rappers Oddateee and Sensational- has already been issued. When you’ll listen to this one, it will be almost impossible to resist the temptation of ignoring it. I personally undersign the recommendation by Talen: I definitively won’t fight The Vibes of Talen! Bombaclat!

Laszlo: Mr.Sunshine

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 27 2010
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Artist: Laszlo
Title: Mr.Sunshine
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Lydian
Distributor: EPM
Rated: *****
After a remarkable career in the composition of music for Tv adverts and broadcasts all over the world and far-reaching stylistic researches, the London-based multi instrumentalist - he regularly plays a terribly long list of instruments, including drums, piano, guitar, mandolin, low whistle, dulcimer, bass and vocals as well) Laszlo decides to christen his own label, Lydian, with a self-signed release, Mr.Sunshine, giving a good example to music lovers of his in-depth compositional skills, deeply influenced by his experience and his musical acquaintances ranging from classical music composers - mainly Claude Debussy, Erik Satie and Igor Stravinsky - to modern legends - Ryuichi Sakamoto and Frank Zappa - and legendary innovators - Aphex Twin, Boards Of Canada, Akufen, Venetian Snares as well as the histrionic composer Matthew Herbert, met at the times when Laszlo worked as in-house producer at the Dairy Studios in Brixton, close Herbert’s laboratory -. Laszlo is not a neophyte at experimentations as he has always been in love with a certain musical syncretism and moreover he began playing with samples almost compelled by an injury in the summer of 2007 that left him with a broken arm and unable to play instrument for a logn period. Every cloud has a silver lining or I could better mention another English proverb sentencing that necessity is the mother of invention as after that mishap, Laszlo started to create weird processed instruments by manipulating samples of some of his past live exhibitions.

Laszlo’s wit reveals itself since the introductive title-track: Mr Sunshine is a playful track starting with a pleasant mandolin arpeggio, plucked guitars, sweet electronic sounds and scratched tonal instruments mounted on a structure influenced by modal West African guitar styles and kora playing of artists such as Toumani Diabete as well as modal Swedish jazz, while the following track, Zeitgeist, has a lot of points of intersection with Stereolab-ish modal use of voice (idyllic and dreamy “la-la-la”s coming from the throat of the London-based singer and songwriter Clara Uchima aka Clara Belle) as well as with the above mentioned Matthew Herbert’s attitude to use real objects and tools for the percussive part of the track (household items such as walls, dishes, pieces of wood as well as the side and back of mandolin, the back of the guitar and beatboxing together with weird sounds, idyllic flutes and splashy chimes mainly generated with the notorious Native Instruments Reaktor. The lamest tracks of this release are the remixes of Mr Sunshine: even if the Ragga Waltz mix provided by Laszlo himself shows its versatility with different styles, I don’t think this dance oriented adaptation was so necessary. Just a little more enjoyable the glitchier version by Todd Baker, reminding some fuzzy tunes by Jaga Jazzist, rich in “errors” and hiccupping speed variations, but with a listenable sweet melody. Anatolia - a title standing under favorable auspices as a tribute to the name of his newborn label, Lydian -, the most nocturnal side of Mr Sunshine is even my favorite one, is a lovely minimalistic piano-sonata close to Debussy’s Preludes featuring the smoky phrasing on the Egyptian Ney Flute by Niri Sadeh. Definitively a brilliant way to open a catalogue!

Exocet: Grotesque Consumer

 Posted by Marc Tater   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 20 2010
cover
Artist: Exocet
Title: Grotesque Consumer
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
It’s not a secret, that EXOCET’s debut release ”Violation” has been one of my personal favorites on Ant-Zen in 2008. R. Klimaczewski returns, but now without his partner Dave Kean, who unfortunately passed away, before any of the here featured 12 tracks has been conducted. It may was Kean, whose futuristic ideas and visions accomplished a lot of the brilliant Industrial ambience of the debut. Klima has been the wizard, to perform after Kean’s ideas and to transform his visions into sound and noise. After Kean’s passing, Klima now continues under his EXOCET moniker. It is useless to discuss, if ”Grotesque Consumer” sounds that much different compared to ”Violation”, because it offers again some fine worked out noisy Industrial sound assaults, combined with diverse restranged rhythm patterns and multiple voice samples. Again a harsh, but also tricky worked-out sound environment, which impresses with some magic moments. The freezing synth pads of ”Conflict Of Memories” offer a nearly catchy moment. The well implemented voice samples of ”Like Hot And Bad Dreams” into the hefty noise percussion loops resulting in an awesome and authentic sounding melange. At least ”Sensitive Size” with its clear and hammering rhythm patterns offers heating stuff dedicated to all Industrial dancefloor addicts. Good stuff with identity once again produced by Klima, who succeeds as being a solo artist.


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