Music Reviews

Troum: Saiws

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 14 2011
Artist: Troum (@)
Title: Saiws
Format: 7"
Label: Equation Records (@)
Rated: *****
German ambient duo Troum's newst release called "Saiws" has been released as a picture disc 7" 33 1/3 rpm vinyl limited to 179 copies. As much as I am trying hard to remind myself and the readers that ultimately we are talking about music here, it is hard not to talk about the visual presentation of "Saiws", because it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful musical artifacts I've ever held in my hands. "Saiws" comes encased in a transparent water-proof plastic die-cut printed liquid gel pacck sleeve. The sleeve-bag is filled with a blue gel and some glitter to represent sand and the whole thing was designed by artist Alan McClelland a.k.a. eyel.lyft. It's hard to really describe how stunning this object is so I'd invite you to check out the great pictures at the label's website page for this release (
Water is obviously the main theme here. "Saiws" is an old german word for "sea", the primordial element from which we came from and to which we will return. Troum was inspired by sea, water and sand and created two fluid and ethereal tracks of beautiful guitar drones that sound quite solar and almost hopeful, rather than dark and somber. The diluted tones and chord changes depict an image of vastness and grandiosity, and if it wasn't for the sea gull evoking sounds of the title track I would almost say that it makes me think of a desolated and lonely aftermath, the sea to which we will return, in a way. The other side is entitled "Segeler" (german for sailor) and is a bit darker in tone, but nevertheless not murky. Troum calls it "a soundtrack for oceaning imaginations" and the soundscapes are of oceanic proportions, as if the line at the horizon is blurred and you can't see where the water ends and the sky begins.
As you might imagine this will set you back quite a bit financially (around 30 bucks I believe), however, should you decide to buy it, you'd be one of very few lucky ones. This is a rare and truly astonishing workd of art and Troum decided not to do any twitter, facebook, myspace, not even a digital download. The only way to have this music is to buy the vinyl and there are only 170 of them total, so you better hurry. Chain D.L.K. is honored to be deemed worthy of one.
Artist: Saltillo (@)
Title: Ganglion (re-issue)
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact (@)
Rated: *****
Rewording the title of the initial song of this nice act by Menton J.Matthews III's creature Saltillo "A Necessary End", the publishing decision by ArtOfFact's headquarters on Ganglion, which was issued in 2006, could be defined as a necessary re-issue. When it was issued some trip-hop and broken beats' amorous liking was already almost extinguished in the music market, which was waved by gothic velleities on whose regard many more or less known bands and producers were experiencing some flirting with lyrical and melodic nuances. The musical hybridization by this versatile musician, who recently launched a series of comics called Monocyte throughout IDW Publishing (it could be useful to have an idea of his imagination) under the moniker menton3, based on an intriguing braiding of dark-tinged melodies, intravascular trip-hop, intrauterinee downbeat, a balanced dosage of electronics and instruments (particularly his violin, but there're many sketches of cello and piano as well) and a compositional structure which could be associated both for its cinematic hooks and its general atmosphere to a possible soundtrack, could be placed inside an imaginary garrison on the borders between the above-mentioned souls of music.

There're many moments which couldn't be buried into oblivion: A Hair on the Head of John the Baptist, a pretty musicalization of the notorious first scene of the third act of Shakespeare's Hamlet; the most dnb-oriented track, A Simple Test, where Matthew plays a funny mix of programmed broken beats with a distorted lead guitar on the final step, close to some stuff by Snog and KMFDM, and didactic notes from a recorded malee voice, which can remind those educational record in the 60ies; the fractured rhythmical and melodic patterns of Backyard Pond, not so far from those electronically shaken eccentric hybrids by Funckarma, Funkstorung or Proem; the hypnotic "Remember Me?" - definitively my favorite one -, a superb concontion of banjo, violin, cello and drum machine, which dram a sort of balanced mantra; the mellow song Giving In, whereas an important role in the sound stage belongs to the wonderful voice by guest singer Sarah Matthews, whose somewhat imperfect inflections perfectly fit to the obscure whimsical atmosphere of the sound; songs like Praise and Blood and Milk where the influence by Portishead sound seems more remarkable; the infected ballad I'm On The Wrong Side, pierced by that feeling of renegade purity and corrupted beauty. Reinvigorated by remastering, Saltillo's Ganglion cannot be but electrically heartened.

Gurun Gurun: s/t

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 10 2011
Artist: Gurun Gurun (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
Japanese musicians are normally known to be imitators of Western musical styles. Good imitators by the way as they often reach very high quality tops by adding some frenzy stylistical elements, so that they cannot be considered plagiarist. However in the last decade, some of them elaborated pop and rock standards through a wise combination with electronics and a bizarre approach to composition, which is not averse to glitch "philosophy", based on the preservation of mistakes, which have gradually been turned into proper compositional elements, and fuzzy vocal experiments, partially drawn from other performing arts, resulting in a style, which lives on its own. Just think to innovating musicians such as Takagi Masakatsu, Cornelius, Shugo Tokumare and similar ones dealing with the above mentioned pop and rock standards in order to find confirmation to my consideration. It rarely occurs that a sort of inverse imitative process happens, as not so many Western musicians get really influenced by Japanese style, sometimes for an excessively conceited attitude. It's not the same for Gurun Gurun (name taken from the fictional planet of an old school Slovak children's sci-fi TV series titled "She Came Out of The Blue Sky"), a trio made up of the Czech guitarist Tomas Knoflicek and keyboardist Jara Tarnovski, who later involved Federsel in the band as well as a plenty of collaborators who are normally pleased to add their recipe in the boiling pot of this folks, who melt together Japanese music, glitch sketches and even some electroacoustic, after wearing their nice music in a lovely indietronics' suite. In details for this release Gurun Gurun called to arms the uvulas of three talented vocal performers, the soft one by Moskitoo from 12k label, who gives her lovely voice for the most daydreaming tracks (Fu, Ano Uta), the astonishing singer Sawako (maybe you know her name for some collaborations with Taylor Deupree) emitting astonishing sounds on tracks like "Yume no mori" and "Yuki ~ Hawaiian Snowflake", and the talented Rurarakiss aka Aki Tomita, lovely intepreting the most glitchy and noisy stuff, who have all been hired with a relevant group of performers, including Opiate (a notorious name from Berlin music scene, having signed many releases for Morr Music, City Centre Offices and Raster-Noton) and Kora et le Mechanix, Irena and Vojtech Havolivi (aka The Havels), Daniel Meier, Floex, Artem Vartanian. Most of the songs' spinal column rests both on the Japanese vocalizations intertwined with ethereal wailing and on a limited micro-sound palette whereas instrumental punching by guitar, brass and some wind instruments stains the sound space in a way which could be compared to painting technique of pointillism. All these elements have been combined in a way, which is less stereotypical than one can expect from bands who adhere to some kind of existing genre, even if they cross more or less the same stylistical territories. I personally appreciated the moments when the electric gentle activity gets on edge till something close to electroacustics pieces (have a listen to "Io"), so that it turns into a sort of disturbing element within such an overflowing melodic delicacy. I reccomend to purchase this album from Home Normal store so that you'll receive a bonus disc for free, including remixes by .Tape., pimon, Zavoloka, Orla Wren, Hearts+Horses, offthesky and Part Timer.

Bardoseneticcube & Vresnit & Kshatriy: Creation

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 10 2011
Artist: Bardoseneticcube & Vresnit & Kshatriy (@)
Title: Creation
Format: CD
Label: Vetvei (@)
Distributor: Vetvei
Rated: *****
This disc is just amazing! It is a collaborative project between Bardoseneticcube from St. Peterburg, Vresnit from Yaroslavl who runs the Vetvei label, and Kshatriy of Vsevolozhsk. Some tracks from each project are presented on the disk as the seven acts of creation. This is magical ambient music, the music of elves, fey, and veela, and darker things too.

Songs "Za verhom" and "Golymba", opening this disk feature the vocals of Alla Ryzhenkovoj with Bardoseneticcube (Igor Potsukajlo and Edward Dragunov), singing in traditional Russian. This is as heavenly as Lisa Gerrard or any number of Celtic chanteuses (take your pick) perhaps even a bit more mystical. The atmosphere is enchanting as well, absolutely stunning! The next few tracks- "Time is Art," 'Anahata,' and 'Creation,' are by Vresnit (Sergey Ilchuk) but I believe Kshatriy (Sergey Uak-Kib) had a hand in a couple of them. The first features that signature Vresnit jew's harp with some chaotic flutes and is more tumultuous and aggressive for the first 2/3 until it calms down a bit. It is also the longest track at 12:18. Anahata,' is much calmer and makes copious use of bellish drone tones. Lots of harmonic overtones and very meditative. 'Creation' is quite mysterious in its use of elongated drones, pads, babbling water, and what I assume to be processed field recordings. There is a feeling of witnessing something coming alive, perhaps the birth of a planet, as things grow and take shape. Twittering, chittering sounds evolve and the genesis of life begins. Kshatriy takes the final two tracks ' 'Well of Soul,' and 'Intention,' presenting some intensely deep cosmic drone in the former and some less intense drone undertone in the latter with repeating flute-like ethereal melodic overtones until the fade. Nice!

This CD is very different that the first Vetvie CD I reviewed a short while ago (Hladna & Vresnit's 'Inej Senju Kornej') and shows that there can be quite a bit of variety in the music of these ambient artists, even within the framework of their individual work. As usual with most of these Vetvie releases, the CD comes with gorgeous six-panel full-colored envelope and card Vresnit & Vevei Art. For lovers of ambient, highly recommended!

Pascal Savy: Liminal

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 09 2011
Artist: Pascal Savy
Title: Liminal
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Feedback Loop (@)
Rated: *****
More than just a title, Liminal looks like the brief and thorough description of the main property of Pascal Savy's last exploration, a sort of metalinguistic digression about liminality, that psychological and neurological state of being or feeling on the threshold, on the limen in between two existential phases, two different perspectives or states of consciousness. A liminal being according to an interesting essay doesn't avoid to choose between yes or no, but simply denies any positive responses considering it negative and viceversa, a state close to the garrison on a narrow line gradually turning its settlers in the line itself and partially reflected by the narrow tonal range inside which the composer let its creature oscillates as well as in the grey filter he lays over his shots. This Uk producer packs together four different stages of such an exploration of this concept by giving priority to eye, ear and imagination (as there're some short hermetic little poems by Leonardo Rosado "attached" to each track of this ep) and it's astonishing to notice that each vision, phrase or blend of frequencies interrupted by field recordings, crackling vibrations could be thought as perspectives from some boundary line which ideally detaches what can be perceptible or intelligible from whatever looks normally hidden from consciousness or perception till the moment when there's a kind of osmotic process, extraordinarily expressed by a line of the first poem attached to Falling Inward, the initial as well as the less contaminated track, saying "Dreams imitate reality/Opaque/Empty/My body crushed", which seems to establish the interchange between concreteness and abstractness, tangible and intangible, illusory and authentic. The other three movements have similar structure, based on the inoculation of different audible elements into a stream of slow-pitched semitonal transitions, gradually getting darker and darker, till the final Lying/Drifting whereas the process of disgregation of the two dimensions before and over that threshold appears to be completed, as suggested by the related poem: "Vertical building/Comatose/In my naked escape/My peripheral dreams turn into ashes". If you want to buy the physical copy of this release on 3", you've to hurry up as the label just issued 60 copies.

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