Music Reviews



Steven Severin: Blood of a Poet - Le Sang d'un Poète

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 29 2011
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Artist: Steven Severin (@)
Title: Blood of a Poet - Le Sang d'un Poète
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Leaving Cocteau's esthetics and way of thinking our of consideration while reviewing this catching soundtrack for his first movie, Blood of a Poet, proposed by Steven Severin, bass player and co-founder of the legendary and seminal band Siouxsie & The Banshees, could be unfair in my opinion. It's known that the Frenck artist was an admirer of the underestimated Erik Satie, inspiring the so-called Les Six, a group of six musicians claiming the musical inheritance di Satie as well and supported from the conceptual framework Cocteau erected in the aphoristic essay Le Coq et L'Arlequin. Cocteau's admiration for Satie could be explained by referring to the intent to go beyond the dicotomy between a style featuring a certain unaffected plainness so that it could appear close to the daily dimension of everyday life and the intricacy of the Absolute, an intent whose paradoxicalness was solved by the simple structures of Satie's compositions and its constant tension towards a mystical and somewhat cabaret dimension and its non-sense titles could tightly fit and undo this knot. ''All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it.'', Cocteau stated in that essay.

After this premise and after listening to his issue - I warmly reccomend to listen to it while watching Le Sang d'un Poète as Steven is trying to do during his live performances all over different stages in USA, Canda and UK -, I could say that Mr.Severin has ideally joined this groups of eclectic French musicians in their favorite bar, La gaya in the heart of Montparnasse, for some absynthe sips. Not a rookie with this genre of issue, having already composed other imaginary soundtracks for movies such as The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari and The Seashell and The Clergyman or real scores, among which the superb one for London Voodoo, Steven manages to underscore the dramatic tension and the powerful symbolism of that film through a sort of alchemical synaeresis leading to an entrancing distillate of suspended melodies, immersive atmospheres, thinned organs, crambled keyboards, reversed carillon-like sounds, hypnotical pitched tones and some delicious tensive crescendo, all truly inspired and wedging in each sequence of the movie exalting the symbolic cloud of Cocteau's vision; in this magnetic magma of cinematic thrills I mostly appreciated the frightening suspense of L'Hotel des Folies-Dramatiques, evoking the nightmares of the poet after he accepted the invite to enter into the mirror - maybe the most famous scene of Le Sang d'un Poète, a recurrant and highly meaningful theme in Cocteau's Orpheus as well - coming from the statue, awaken after the poet himself tried to free himself from his own mouth, impressed on the palm of his hand like a wound, as well as the pathos seeping out of the tones of tracks such as Glory Forever or The Desecration Of The Host or the evoked cheating transhumanation during the card game against his muse, his glory and his destiny during which the poet acts as a swindler taking from his childhoos what it's expcted to grab from his insight in the track entitled The Card Sharp & The Angel and the final redeemed self-condemnation inside the fatal ennui for the eternity in the closing track The Lyre. Moving stuff also for philosophical journeys of the mind!

PHILIPPE PETIT : Philippe Petit Scores Henry: The Iron Man

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 29 2011
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Artist: PHILIPPE PETIT
Title: Philippe Petit Scores Henry: The Iron Man
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Aagoo / Beta Lacta Ring
Rated: *****
This the repress of what I think is the unavoidable recording of Petit on Beta Lactam Ring is a sort of rework/reinterpretation of the Eraserhead soundtrack which I'm sure you know it's a cult movie but above all a real must a real must for my "alternative generation". The basic idea is not that far from many works Petit has done later therefore if you're fans of the French artist I'm sure you know what I'm speaking about and above all you know some of his early materials you also know they were basically drone based. I prefer it way more if compared to other works by this French dj/label owner/musician has put out, this' considerably different from his releases with String of Consciousness this cd/ (now)lp has that same dark feel you can hear in his collaboration with Pietro Riparbelli and with some of his other darkest recordings. Sure, we're dealing mostly with dark sounds, but to define it a drone-based release wouldn't be correct since it features some rhythmic quasi-industrial beats, some electronic sounds and the average atmosphere of this work is oniric and somehow melancholic. With these last words I just wanted to say if you're looking for the average dark ambient recording you're probably out of place but if drone based music with a high evocative feel and with a electronic feel it's your cup of tea, this will probably kill you for good. This cd features several long tracks that flow like a stream of consciousness (ah,ah...c'mon what an obvious joke!!!..;-), they pass from long and dense parts to quasi-ambient movements where you hear a piano, maybe horns and some feedbacks well melted in a nocturnal but yet gloomy magma. This repress is worth the price of the ticket, one of the best Petit's releases from his early days.
Jan 29 2011
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Artist: CHAPTER 24 & PHILIPPE PETIT
Title: the red giant meets the white dwarf
Format: CD
Label: Boring Machines (@)
Rated: *****
An old American commercial said "another fine product brought to you by" and in this review we can go on writing: "'¦by Philippe Petit!", that in this recording is joining the Greek post-rock psychedelic trio Chapter 24. If you happened to read an old interview to String of Consciousness we did for Chaindlk you probably remember the French musician was already talking about this recording and and now It's finally out on Boring Machine. Differently from other collaborative efforts in which Petit collaborates with some friends, here he becomes a sort of fourth member of the band, this thing brings forth the obvious conclusion Chapter 24 have a big importance in the final result of this work. Should we talk about psychedelia or kraut music?...who cares anyway, the only important thing according to my humble opinion is that this cd is oniric, sometimes almost dreamy, nightly but it's not one of those third rate answers to GY!BE, Mogway or Mono. By some means we can dare to say it has some post rock reminiscences this could be close to Tarentel when after the first (wonderful) records they started getting more and more drone-driven and experimental. The comparison can draw us close to Pink Floyd and believe it or not that's not completely wrong, let's say Faust when working similarly to their inspirators. If the album title suggests a story plot we can also imagine this' an ideal soundtrack and that's also another proper definition. While the first songs of this cd have an introductive role this work grows track after track, I've been listening several times to this "the red giant meets the white dwarf " while relaxing on my sofa and the impulse to lay down and close my eyes was always there. Vintage and really "set the controls for the heart of the sun" if you get what I mean: have a nice trip.

QUARTERSIZED: Questions

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 28 2011
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Artist: QUARTERSIZED
Title: Questions
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: What A Carve Up! (@)
Rated: *****
QUESTIONS is the newest EP by Quartersized and it is the first for What A Carve Up!, label set up to release in digital download format all the music produced by Ian Proudfoot with whatever moniker he'd like to use at that moment. The EP is opened by the main title, a track which include electro dub and ambient influences under the shape of a mid tempo horror cinematic tune. Also "Scare anyone" is based on the same atmospheres but with the use of syncopated tabla percussion as rhythmic instrument. "Desire" sounds like a slowed down blues with industrial dub influences, while "I had to laugh" is pure ambient dub with upfront bass guitar and synth distortions but it is the one that I preferred less because it didn't create the mysterious atmosphere the other three were capable to. Vocal samples and loops enrich the formula as usual. You can preview the whole EP at the bandcamp website and purchasing it for only 1 pound.

Laurent Pernice vs. Laurent Perrier : play piano and sounds

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 25 2011
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Artist: Laurent Pernice vs. Laurent Perrier
Title: play piano and sounds
Format: CD
Label: sound on probation (@)
Rated: *****
Despite the fact that there's a certain amount of recordings based on piano and electronics, there's some work that sort out of banality. According to the press sheet, this album was done in two clearly defined phases: half of this is made out of tracks recorded by Laurent Pernice, the other half is recorded by Laurent Perrier after the listening of Pernice's works mixing piano and ambient music. So, this is not the classic album made by the encounter of an electronic musician and a piano player, it hasn't that sort of neo-romantic mood that permeate those records but has a kind of industrial influence and an harshness giving substance to the whole compositional plot.
Laurent Pernice is more concerned with piano lines and sounds more classical, as in "solar", where a glitch beats gives movements to an almost static and slow melody. This approach is methodically applied to all tunes with truly enjoyable results as in "you take my heart forever" where beats, field recordings and piano collides creating an evocative mood without any obvious melancholy.
Laurent Perrier works more with electronic soundscapes and rhythms, so "situation" has less piano but a more subtle work with (probably) field recording and noises, "frolements" develops is a sort of ambient-dub piano piece constructed on a bassline and a piano melody that match his mate "Equation part.6".
In some track this is an amazing album, also because it doesn't sound like a split album, as it is, but as a complete record, and, probably, it will be in my playlist for a while. Recommended.


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