Music Reviews



VV.AA.: Underscan Now Remix

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 20 2009
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Underscan Now Remix
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Underscan (@)
Rated: *****
The NOW project originally was formed by four 12" which have been also gathered on a CD. Since the label decided to go only on digital, the UNDERSCAN NOW REMIX project is about to be released on digital format only on April the third. I didn't had the chance to listen to the original tunes but I enjoyed a lot these remixes. We have: Honz (Icasean Tropics Repass by Team Doyobi) - Original by Bogger (here the English Team Doyobi give a particular i.d.m. touch to the original tune thanks to the use of Amiga computers without losing a cool melodic touch), Atmachb (Tammetõru Rmx) - Original by Pytlik (on this one Tammetõru, a.k.a. Indrek Tamm from Talinn, Estonia and one half of Myrakaru, mix breakbeat rhythms with dreamy sounds/melodies passing from dark to light atmospheres easily ), International (Bovaflux Rmx) - Original by Fibla (Bovaflux turned this track into a dreamy one using long synth pads, clean electric guitars and a light breakbeat rhythm), Interroom (Estonji Rmx) - Original by Scanner (Estonji, a.k.a. Jens Doering created a dark atmosphere rich of orchestrations and obsessive rhythms), Monocarbite (Nukua Rmx) - Original by Onethema (Nukua is Edwin de Maria from Mouscron, Belgium. His version of "Monocarbite" is a cool mix of electronica and i.d.m. with complex rhythmical patterns), Dusdatikaf (Hungryghost Rmx) - Original by Slemper (Alan Dobson also known as Arcadion and one of the production team Def Tex, here uses grime bass sounds, 4/4 syncopated rhythms and a bit of ambient sounds with a sprinkle of mystery), Querverweis (Dalezy Rmx) - Original by Menu:Exit (from Berlin and also part of the Underscan roster, we have Ronny Engmann/Dalezy. His version of the track is a bumping reverbered and distorted tune with house melodies and semi industrial intuitions) and Polaris (Hecq Rmx) - Original by Frank Bretschneider (Ben Lukas Boysen a.k.a. Hecq has many releases on Ant Zen, Hymen and Ad Noiseam and he gives to "Polaris" an ambient i.d.m. treatment turning it into a dark creepy track with choruses and reverb). Check this out...

VV.AA.: Compendiu de Muzica Electronica vol.2

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 18 2009
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Compendiu de Muzica Electronica vol.2
Format: CD
Label: FIR (@)
Rated: *****
After listening to the second volume of this intriguing musical summary coming from the obscure Romanian industrial and dark -ambient scene, someone could argue that Abraham Van Helsing, the famous Dutch old teacher with a passion for vampires'hunting in the novel by Bram Stoker which probably gave good fame to an almost unknown Carpathian region commonly known as Transilvania, now lives a brand new life out of those notorious papers in disguise of a talent-scout, searching for obscure electronic acts and grabbing demo-tapes from young virginal musicians or alternatively from skinny vampires which decided to suck blood from music machines instead of human bodies - maybe contemporary pollution turned even vampires' habits of consumption as human blood arguably turned into something disgusting! - throughout Romania! Joking aside, it really seems that something belonging to those literary stereotypes has been decanted from the well-crafted Draculian set of goblets to sound machinery and magnetic stripes. Just for instance, have a listen to tracks like Noverbia's Prime and you could imagine enchanting female girls bitten by Count Vlad whistling from a foggy crypt or little nice bats angrily squeaking! That's just an example on how the artists and bands from that land which is now sucked by a vampiresque crew of thirtsty (for money) businessmen could result into appreciated stamina for your imagination. Abbildung's Last Journey To the Hypersphere - one of the most interesting track included in this selection - shows a massive use of samples(there's also a train...!) on exquisite drones (not so dissimilar to those by Origami Galaktica), an hypnotic glassy chime and abstract sound suctions which are able to speak to the listener even by trascending words! Your senses're going to be ideally washed inside a mesmeric tub while listening to the suspensive and ethereal reflections by Koldvoid, while Ekasia's Urban Child looks like an obscure mixture of a sort of spell-rhyming and a narration about an intimate torture of the soul resolving into a state of consciousness!!! We know you know how this kind of things could play! Sketches of soporific Arabian flutes, funerary bells, Russian radio intercepts, crunched basses and industrial intermittances crowds Pământul (Planet Earth in Romanian language) in the anxious represantion by La Ghica Hainu, while a sort of anguished shriek saturate the noisy engine by the Transilvanean project Hunyadi P.H. Whoever loves nice tricks for mind will easily get in love with the two final tracks: the first one crafted by Narkoletpik, an enchanting drone with a sine-frequency finely described by the title itself ("Morbid Obsession"), while the latter is an intriguing blend of frequencies beginning with dark tinged atmospheres and attaining to tinkly psychotic placid setting. Those listeners seeking for involging emotional tracks are going to be grateful for this amazing compendium. It works well!

Ysanne Spevack and Philip Clemo: Soundzero

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 12 2009
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Artist: Ysanne Spevack and Philip Clemo
Title: Soundzero
Format: CD
Rated: *****
This is the kind of thing that you really don’t expect to read about on ChainDLK. Now that we have that out of the way, this is really engaging stuff. Some comparisons that comes to mind is Peter Gabriel’s more ethnically tinged work, Paul Schütze (who Clermo thanks in the credits), and Dif Juz, a band on the 4AD label (back when 4AD was still good). Here is how Clermo’s site describes the album: "A second album with Spevack, soundzero, was completed in 1999 and will finally be widely available in early 2009. Phil Slater returned on trumpet, and Tarlochan (Bobby) Singh on tabla. Intriguingly, jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss was brought into the mix, his vocals processed in various ways. Everything, in fact, is processed one way or another." This is not a smooth jazz album. In fact this is exactly what I like jazz to be like – complex, fast, and loose. This is the aural equivalent to riding on a rickety roller coaster. The whole thing is swaying back and forth, and you’re probably going a bit too fast for comfort, but somehow it all holds together. Yet the album still retains a dreamlike quality that keeps the listener involved. This isn’t Sun Ra’s brand of jazz. It’s still accessible to the general public and a nice listen. Some of the standout tracks include "Surfing Dreams and Chaos" which highlights Spevack’s violin skills, and "Merkaba," which blends synth atmosphere with ethnic percussion and female vocals. The drum interludes, "Catching the First Train" and "Catching the Second Train" are also a lot of fun. The disc weighs in at about 66 minutes.

Philip Clemo: The Rooms

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 12 2009
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Artist: Philip Clemo
Title: The Rooms
Format: CD
Label: All Colours Arts
Rated: *****
I had not heard of Philip Clemo, but the packaging already gives you some indication of what you are in for. This is pretty peaceful ambient music that reminds me quite a bit of artists like Harold Budd and even some Vidna Obmana. According to Clemo’s website, "The Rooms, is a hauntingly beautiful progression through different sound rooms’ or spaces’ featuring artists such as Clive Bell, Theo Travis, Simon Hopkins, and even a Prague string quartet." I’ll admit that I don’t really get that kind of feel – when I read this I expected it to be very different styles, feelings, etc. On this album the music all seems to blend into each other, but in a good way. If you were looking for something to put on as background for a quiet, romantic evening at home, this might be a good choice. For me, the standout track is "The Place," which has a nice complexity to it, as if a free jazz quartet had collaborated with a drone ambient artist. The last track, "Taking a Hand (In the Company of Angels)," is the only track with vocals, but it fits well, not really overpowering the overall feel and her voice maintains the ethereal quality of the preceding music. Overall, this is a very pleasant listen. The disc weighs in at about 52 minutes.

Brian Lavelle : ustrina

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 10 2009
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Artist: Brian Lavelle
Title: ustrina
Format: CD
Label: Afe (@)
Rated: *****
I think many of you out there have already Brian Lavelle for this or that release, but in case you're absolutely new to his works you've to know between 1996 and today Lavelle has recorded for labels such as Bake, Diophantine, Freek, Staalplaat, Elsie and Jack etc. This drone based long track shows the incredible strength of proportions and the importance of balance, infact this sixty eighty minutes circa suite could be dead boring but ends being absorbing and fascinating instead. While being a little bit darker than many of the Lavelle's output I've heard so far, it has nothing to do with dark ambient, it's lulling and someway narcoleptic and summed up with a couple of other characteristics it brings to my mind DJ Olive's "sleep" work on Room40, I'm tented to say the two releases are similar and equally as catchy. From what I've read inside the press sheet this english artist has reshaped some old sounds that probably has been collecting dust inside some rough recording and inside a black corner of Lavelle's mind, but he managed to give it all such a good new definition I'd say this blast from the past has been damn successful. I can exactly say which were the exact sound sources/instruments for this recording, waves and the layers would suggest some keyboard/old synth sources twisted and renewed for good but with today's technology it's really hard for me to be one hundred percent sure. The pictures and the whole layout are great and I think from the front cover to the last page they give the impression of this environment Lavelle wanted to re-create. So the question is if we have to cross or not the bridge we see on the front cover?... by the way from the dead leaves it's easy to imagine an autumnal landscape if you add the melancholic atmosphere of this work it's hard to deny that's not a joyful marriage.

http://www.brianlavelle.org/images/ustrina.jpg


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