Music Reviews



Moljebka Pvlse: lodelvx

 Posted by John Gore   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 17 2010
Artist: Moljebka Pvlse (@)
Title: lodelvx
Format: 7"
Label: Drone Records (@)
Rated: *****
A 7" on Drone Records released in 2008 presenting us with a slow, swirling miasma of sound. What you might hear at the appearing of a friendly appartition. Cold but not burning cold. Go towards the light! Good stuff that I'd like to hear on a longer track.

The [Law-Rah] Collective: Solitaire

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 12 2010
cover
Artist: The [Law-Rah] Collective (@)
Title: Solitaire
Format: CD
Label: Raubbau (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Active since the beginning of the century, the musical pineal gland by the duo made up of Martijn Pieck and Bauke Van Der Wal aka the [law-rah] collective - two of different Dutch twisted minds of the collective founded by Bauke - keeps on secreting superb distillates of emotional dark-ambient, giving a concise sonic account of somewhat borderline feelings. Solitaire is their 7th full release and for this occasion, it seems they squeezed the nostalgic and most abstract aspect of memory as they create a mosaic of translations of mental snapshots and hidden emotions into sonic as well as visual fragments referring to the solipsistic mental process deriving from the “rendering” of memories from the past, superbly interpreted even by Salt’s photographic lens for an evocative plumbeous artwork with the abandoned remains of a rural little house standing out on a leaden sky.

This cinematic journey starts with the atmospheric From Inside An Empty Room, in which a constant quivering tune and an uplifting some shamanic whispering slightly disturbed by the typical crackling caused by wind on mic membrane will elevate your soul through the wider spaces evocated by the [Law-Rah] collective’s sound sculptures. Just to set the mood, the filthy resonance on percussion and a protracted low frequency pitpat on gradually resurfacing creepy tonals on the synesthetical string crescendo of Lavender Scent, setting the mood for the sumptuous breathtaking symphony of When Blue Turns Grey. If you consider the general mood of the album, you could imagine this track as an attempt of giving a musical shape to unspoken desire gradually sliding into more restless sonorities, translating into music the understanding of ineluctability, a theme which seems superbly afforded in the following track, Silent Voices, starting with a slow waltz of piano, interrupted by an obsessive choir of obscure voices, following some bass tones and suffocating the initial sign of melody before it comes back again on the stage even if in scantier melodic phrases like a day-dream whose perfection has been raped by the somewhat frightening tunneling of reality. The dramatic peak of this recording is touched by Away From Home, the most worried track of Solitaire, whose conclusion with some grave piano strokes will bring listeners to “reality” through lulling oscillations. Being imbued with the right emotional set and setting, Solitaire is a record which is going to break the heart of all those who love this kind of musical experiences.

Gjöll : Sum of Transformations

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 10 2010
cover
Artist: Gjöll (@)
Title: Sum of Transformations
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Rated: *****
The most remarkable transformation acting as an addend in this sum by the surprising Icelandic duo Gjöll, made up of the talented musicians Jóhann Eiriksson and Sigurður Harðarsson, is the stylistical turnabout of the band towards an interesting aggregation between dark-ambient elements and krautrock ones, combining an abstract evocatory charm with a deep awareness of the actual phase of human history. Some heavy thuds of delayed guitars on obscure jaculatories declaimed in the language of Vikings (don’t be scared as there’s an English translation on the booklet) in the introductory Natural Anarchy stimulate my imagination associating all these scenic/sonic elements to a sort of shamanic rite in the deepest cave of the known Icelandic volcano Eyjafjöll whereas the mentioned thuds sound like a musical transposition of the ashy explosions inside its belly. The track’s title as well as the conceptual framework of this release appears inspired by Free As a Bird: Natural Anarchism in Action, an essay by the American activist Pattrice Jones, suggesting some nonhierarchical and non-coercive organizational models taken from the so-called animal world as possible alternatives to actual governments., even if things such the famous Troubled Asset Relief Program might induce in arguing there’re some brain-injured monkeys occupying important seats of the Congress or in the bureaus of Fed. The thrilling tickling of a metronome with bumped accent on fourth step timing with your heart-beat while a creeping and disquieting drone sneaks into the cracks of listeners’ thoughts perfectly fits a track entitled Abandon All Hope. The most luminous addend of this sum is The Only True Philosophical Problem - it’s not a wise statement, but just the title of the song -, going on a tangent of delayed echoes, guitar glides and airy sounds close to the consistency Boards Of Canada gave to their sound in Campfire Headphase. By the way Gjöll’s way to shape their chaos looks even harsher and less ethereal than Sigur Ros’s one as it seems they arrive to different goals instead of similar starting point from the conceptual viewpoint - the feral nature of human society -.

Their soundscapes are not going to alienate or dejecting listeners, but look more like to a fertile soil Gjöll acting as patient and thoughtful farmers prepare for their thoughts and actions and after feeding you with luminous sounds they’ll tuck you in for the night with the gloomy atmosphere and a slow agonizing pulsating beat- wonderfully processed - of Tuckling In For The Collapse and that distinctive digital iciness of the intense Dérive - maybe the most entrancing track of the whole album -. A sort of vocal drone blowing superbly among circular sounds becoming gradually more and more obsessive by unexpected lathe-boring noises in Unity With The Earthworms - close to Origami Galaktica’s entrancing dark-ambient - seems to belong to some remote neo-pagan death cult, flapping your ears before the final majestic hosanna to nature, able with its powers to bare the insignificance of human beings by the swarming dark-ambient maestoso of At The Hanging Of The Last Of The Career Politicians - what a great title!!! -. A part of its almost oracular tones and its esoteric appeal, Sum Of Transformations could stand as the definitive portrait of a nature rebalancing itself against human typical lack of equilibrium, a process which open minded people will not face as a nihilistic assumption.

Kodomo: Concept 11 remixes

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 07 2010
Artist: Kodomo (@)
Title: Concept 11 remixes
Format: 12"
Label: 5 Points Records
I can understand why someone would want a remix single. After all, at one point, I think I had every existing version of Depeche Mode’s “Master and Servant.” However, what generally makes these remixes so sought after is the differences between them. The label notes that this 12” “contains all the remixes on the Concept 11 remix EP, (remixes by Taylor Deupree, Jordan Lieb, Andreas Bjork, Superdrive, and Compound) plus the bonus ‘decoherence’ version released on the iTunes single.” True enough, but all of them remain pretty true to the original, such that it was hard to tell if someone else had even put their stamp on the track. There are differences, of course. Some are more stripped down than others, for example. But none of them really stood out. If you really liked the original track from “Still Life,” and want to hear it in 7 slightly different ways, this is your single. At least it is pretty, pressed on translucent blue vinyl.

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.


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