Music Reviews

Apparent Symmetry: Mourn

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 29 2010
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Artist: Apparent Symmetry
Title: Mourn
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Abstrakt Reflections (@)
Rated: *****
Another new netlabel focusing on 'the darker side of IDM and post-industrial music', as they like to declare. I have my own and quite critical theory on those labels, as especially the rather experimental-minded Electronica
(net-) labels are growing like mushrooms out of the ground. Whoever will be able to follow all label activities and releases, if especially this kind of music is available in uncountable numbers? Who is seriously able to separate the wheat from the chaff? If there wouldn't be a signed artist of this label (Mr. Sascha LPF 12 Lemon ' cheers mate!) penetrating me with uncountable mails and the usage of MySpace blogs, to check out the quality of the roster of this new and promising label, whoever knows, if I'd ever pay attention on them? After listening this very first release of Abstrakt Reflections, I came to the result, that ignorance to the efforts of this label would mean avoidance of quality and layered Dark Electronica/IDM music ' things I consume like water and air. APPARENT SYMMETRY is a US-based solo project of Zach H. and under this moniker he's able to offer us an attractive form of Downtempo-/ Ambient-Electronica music, which features a crunchy rhythm work very near to the ideas and allows comparisons to such cult artists like GRIDLOCK, or some of the recent Tympanik Audio projects like ACCESS TO ARASAKA, SUBHEIM, or CANDLE NINE. Zach sets the quality on a high level without simply copying his idols ' his true, layered Industrial ambience touches the eardrums. 'Skybending' is the name of the most addictive tune, chosen out of this masterpiece here, which includes brillant piano inserts placed in a fragile synths-sound environment and subtle inserted rhythm works. 'Mourn' is a spectacular Dark Industrial/Ambient album, which surpirises through its matured sound design, which is lightyears better, tahn anyone does expect from a newcomer. Keep it on both, label and artist ' this is a must-download-item.

VV.AA.: Fairy World VI

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 28 2010
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Fairy World VI
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Rated: *****
The new sampler from Prikosovenie label is centered upon the five elements. The first element is earth, and is the most world oriented centered upon african rhythms and harmonic chants, and is centered upon "Materia Prima" a mesmerizing song by Jean-Paul Trutet. Water is the element which is symbolized by quiet voices and soft sounds of flutes and harp, the peak of this part is the intimate voice of Julien Jacob. Fire is the element of the household and, so, we enter in ethereal territories with Dendelion Wine, Dizzi Dulcimer and Stellamara. The use of ancient instruments is nothing new these days but the intricate lines of "Dizzi jig" is worth of a listening... a really enjoyable pieces. Air include the most resonance based tunes in theory, but in practice is the logical prosecution of the previous part. Personally i would switch the Caprice tune "memory" with "XVII" by Dendelion Wine in the tracklist but the elements separation is not to be taken seriously, of course. The space part includes the most ambient and drone music from this label and feature two notably tracks "L'impatiente" a track by Lys centered upon an hypnotic carillon and field recordings with a stunning musical result. This album is closed by "Pruits stellaire" by Daniel Perret and Crista Galli, based upon harmonic chants and resonance with could be a soundtrack for some meditations.
This compilation has a direction: from the world music to the ambient, and cosmic, music. So it's not the classic sampler of 16 songs a label thinks should be of some interest. It's a good introduction for a label which seems to have a clear vision of the sound it would be associated with. If you like new-age it's worth of a listening because it contains al least two gems at the end of this long sampler.

Band Ane: Anish Music Too & Free

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 24 2010
Artist: Band Ane
Title: Anish Music Too & Free
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Jenka (@)
Distributor: VME
Rated: *****
Some biographical notes could be really important to understand one of the most astonishing musical personality of Ane Oestergaard: her innocent face akin to the one by an angelic street urchin saw the light in a little village in the region of Jutland and begin the adolescence in an idyllic setting, a place where everyone knows each other amidst a fabulous natural context. Her family house was nearby a small lake surrounded by a big forest, the ideal place to develop a refined artistic and musical sensitivity where she inherited the passion for music from her beloved father - whose collection of records included a plenty of classical, pop, acid rock and even avantgarde and electro-acoustic stuff -, refined in England where she attended a jazz course, set on the right road by her boyfriend, an electronic music lover which advised her to attend a Cubase training course and propelled in the fertile artistic ground of Aahrus, a little Danish city growing in popularity for having given a plenty of very interesting contemporary electronic musicians (musicians such as Jonas Olesen, Karsten Pflum, Heidi Mortensen and Jonas Rasmussen just to mention a few of blossoms grown in that scented electronic musical garden...),where she actually lives attending the electronic music course at the local conservatory.

This double album has been inspired by a prolonged stay in her home-town, where she rediscovered the fascination of countryside, a sort of intimate and personal dimension injected in the peaceful and perfumed melodies of the first part of this oeuvre, being Anish Music Too, following her very debut full-length in 2006 (Anish Music) an eloquent title to highlight there's an idyllic but above all personal imprinting on it, a silent and quite place, suddenly broken by the somewhat idyllic and "noisy" life of the eccentric neighbourhood disquieting or I'd better say delighting and inspiring the second part of Ame's release, "and Free", where she poured tales, life stories and rural portraits coming from outside her red hut by translating it into the universal language of music in such an evocative way that you don't need to understand Danish to imagine her sketches. She plays with different music idioms in an off-hand manner adding a delicate touch to a glitchy style getting narrative sketches, contemplative soundscapes (close to the lovely ones by Future 3), references to Japanese contemporary music (some tracks could remind to the musical mind of most careful listener slices of Takagi Masakatsu, Nobukazu Takemura or musicians playing with the appreciated Japanese label Schole), some chilled stuff by names such as Plaid, Pole, Aphex Twin or Boards Of Canada and some of their gaudy pieces of respective inventories, glitch-ambient, drill'n'bass, childplays and even techno afloat in an easy and balanced way - tracks such as Ballongyngen, Atom Muffin, Cirkel, Braendsel and even the one she dedicated to her favorite broadcast of a Danish radio station, Harddisken, based on laptop-generated music (her main love amidst personal armory...) could remind you something already listened, but you'll recognize a certain coherence from the stylistic viewpoint...-. You'll also fall in love with her way of filtering the above-mentioned rural portraits included in the second part of this issue in such a whimsical way! Brimful and brilliant work-out! ...and definitively one of the most delightful release in recent times as well!

Ufomammut: eve

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 23 2010
Artist: Ufomammut
Title: eve
Format: CD
Label: Supernaturalcat
Rated: *****
A five chapter concept work for this renowned italian power trio and it's a forty five minutes single track divided into five different movements evolving around the concept of "Eve", the first woman on earth and the first rebelling to her creator. Ufomammut are quite well-known both for their live activity and for the fact two third of their line up consists of two on three of the members of the popular design/graphic company called Malleus. I'm sure if you know their graphic style you will agree their music is perfectly aligned with the subjects of their drawings, therefore if you're into vintage-seventies imaginary and into stoner-doom-sludge-slow shit I doubt you've never heard of them. This work opens with one of those post-neurotic track starting slow and slowly reaching the climax thru a crescendo to pass to a keyboard-driven (organ sounding) second episode that at the end of the song turns into a squared tribal drumming ritual where I know the most of you will find reminiscences of Neurosis. It's with the third movement you get you patiently awaited dose of stoner rock to which you can stick to your "live to ride, ride to live" tattoo and even if these mammoths quite down a bit the atmosphere passing to full blown psychedelia, the basic musical theme is the same also in the following episode (probably one of my favorite of the whole lot). The closing long song is the one where the structure is a bit less predictable and presents a solid riffing with a sudden insertion of drumming and some sudden slow and heavy breaks a la Black Sabbath which are a sort of trademark of the genre, at least like an acoustic guitar is the lowest common denominator in folk music. Thanks to some different and andante tempos this closing chapter is also the one that probably gets the easy-digestible status for its heterogeneity and in someway it sums up many of the feels of the whole recording. I can't say this' one of my favorite records of the band but I can bet it's one of the most accessible and consequentially sellable record of the trio and even if many of you will find them influenced by Isis or bands in the likes I think it has not that much to share. Power to Eve or as Kim Gordon used to sing: "Use the power of women...use the word FUCK!!!".

Dmitry Mazurov: Creature on a Lavatory Pan

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 20 2010
Artist: Dmitry Mazurov (@)
Title: Creature on a Lavatory Pan
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock Records (@)
Distributor: Eurock Distribution
Rated: *****
This has got to be one of the most interesting albums I've received in the latest batch from Chain D.L.K. HQ. Dmitry Mazurov is an artist on the cutting edge Russian Electroshock Records label, and his eclectic album, 'Creature on a Lavatory Pan' certainly fits within Electroshock's roster. The title is much creepier than the music, which is a mixture of dark ambient, semi-classical and cinematic soundscape. Although Dmitry's artwork for the CD cover does show a bizarre creature on a lavatory pan (actually, it looks more like a toilet) I think it is more macabre and overt than the music, which is subtle and sublime. Opening with a brief piece titled 'Abyss' which sets a ghostly dark ambient tone, more light is shed in 'Luminos' which follows, as medium tempo piano arpeggios play over a sustained nebulous background of strings. It adds an aura of mystery. Sparse piano melody follow, accented in places by the string ensemble. Gradually, a theme develops through more orchestration. Way cool! It is like the soundtrack for a movie in the imagination.

'Burevo' plunges the listener into a fantastical environment where many subtle elements (both musical and noises) coalesce into an other-worldly soundscape, a subterranean hive of activity and elemental movement. I could imagine this as background of a mysterious (not your 'shoot-em-up' type) video game. 'Depths' goes even deeper with very low frequency drone, subsonics and bubbling liquid. One gets the impression of a number of aliens creatures moving through this environment, although what they may be up to is oblique.

On 'Surovitsa' you get the impression of something slogging through some type of pebbly terra, finally reaching an area where strange lifeforms hold sway. There is such a collage of different, yet purposeful sounds, some acoustic, some electronic. An eclectic guitar (by Jury Starosotnikov) plays a suspenseful sustained tonal rise (think Pink Floyd in Umma Gumma days) that culminates into a brief resounding 'BLANG' for lack of a better description. Frenetic string scrapes on the bridge leading into a wailing entity while low, slow moving orchestration fills in the background.

'Lethargie' puts the listener on more solid footing, as a melancholic slow-moving theme plays out with higher strings accented by the occasional chime. Very classical sounding. There is a sweet and sad feel to this piece, and understated drama. 'Mask for Delicate Aesthetes' is the longest track on the album at 14:35. It begins atmospherically, but soon a rhythmic sequence comes into play. It comes and goes as synth ambience fills in the background. This may be as close as it come to anything conventional (and I use that word loosely) in the realm of IDM, more Autechre-style than anything else. Eventually the sequence disappears and is replaced by more ominous electronics'¦think Klaus Schulz being kind of 'out there'. An Enoesque melodic passage follows, and I have come to realize that this album is absolute cinematic genius. I don't think I have ever heard anything like it. A stronger melodic theme develops toward the end with some phantomesque violin courtesy of Oleg Huhua while sporadic noises erupt in the background. Magic, pure magic.

'Oblivion' uses a subtle industrial loop and floating sustained chords and electronic pads to create an atmosphere that is both cosmic and tremulous. 'Reminiscences' puts the piano upfront again with supporting orchestral elements, developing a theme, then playing a fantasy on it. I am reminded of Harold Budd. Then dramatic percussion kicks in for effect. Sometimes I hear strains of Satie, sometimes Wojceich Kilar, surely other soundtrack composers too; you are bound to come up with your own parallels.

The final two tracks on the album, 'Awe' and 'Sisters of Gloom' are no less enthralling but I am running out of descriptive adjectives. If you're not checking into where you can buy this CD by now, I suppose there isn't anything more I can say about it. But you should buy it. It's that damn good.

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