Music Reviews



Terra Sancta: Disintegration

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 28 2009
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Artist: Terra Sancta (@)
Title: Disintegration
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Distributor: Terra Sancta website
Rated: *****
You can always count on Malignant Records for some of the best Dark Ambient music ever recorded. Terra Sancta’s "Disintegration" is a fine addition to their catalog, and an intense work at that. Terra Sancta is actually Greg Good from Australia, probably not the first place you think of for Dark Ambient music. Terra Sancta has had two releases prior to this one. "Anno Domini" from 2002 was self released, and Aeon (2004) was released on Malignant. This is my first exposure to Terra Sancta, and it’s really quite enthralling. Comprised of four long tracks that are just under and hour in total, there is a fluidity and consistency to "Disintegration" similar to what you’d expect of Lustmord or Robert Rich. The first piece, "Disintegration I" begins with rumblings, and muffled voices as it builds slowly in intensity. The sonics give the impression of vast spaciousness, a quality that can be found throughout the album. You could imagine huge glaciers falling into the sea or the engines of a gigantic spacecraft. More electronic sounding drone tonalities creep in both higher and lower timbres that support the impression of an alien craft, as there is motion in the sonority. Words just can’t describe how huge it sounds.

"Ashes From Dust" is swathed in an ocean of white noise washes, and once again there is impression of something massive; the forces of nature released on an epic scale. As the firmament subsides, traces of muffled speech transmissions can be heard in the aftermath of the cataclysmic event, until the wave of disruption occurs. This cycle is repeated a few times with different turbulent occurrences. Quite an awesome soundscape.
"The Shifting Sands" takes the art of reverberated vastness to new levels, perhaps beyond anything I’ve ever heard before. This is truly deep space, and as the listener, you can’t help but be enveloped in it. Wave after wave of smooth but powerful sonics of varying atmospheres slowly wash over the sound palette drowning you in their immensity.
"Disintegration II" brings back some of the tonalities (as well as muffled voices) from "Disintegration I" while adding a new dimension to the apocalyptic entropy. Extraordinary in every way for this kind of Dark Ambient music, "Disintegration" is a five-star release. Highly recommended!

RAPOON : dark rivers

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 27 2009
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Artist: RAPOON
Title: dark rivers
Format: CD
Label: Lens records (@)
Rated: *****
I was really anxious to give a listen to the last Rapoon release and it hasn't absolutely betrayed my expectations. It's so good and what’s most his style is so peculiar and at the same time you've impression everything evolved naturally, I mean despite its experimental nature Rapoon is not psyched to demonstrate anything, it's like everything blossomed the way it had to blossom, "following the course of nature". For those who has never heard anything by Robin Storey I will say that the music could belong to that grey area between genres like industrial, experimental-electronic music and psychedelia, I think this’ one of the most interesting limbo ever, infact the musicians you can file in this actegory somehow are the natural heirs of the kraut avant-gardism of the seventies. It all means we’re crossing a nowhere-land inhabitated by shadows of jungian ghosts, we’re dealing with an hybrid path where we could meet Nurse With Wound, early Current 93, Asmus Tietchens, John Waterman, nd many others among which Rapoon. The music is not extreme or dark for the mere sake of heaviness, I think everything has much more to do with an inner search or with that music that pays homage to the "sacred" idea of having a trip. Most of the songs have a really explicit and weird melodic approach and evolve around the pulse of a really simple rhythm. Everything sounds ethereal, softly obsessive and stoning like music made out of repetitive loops. Sometimes I even have the impression this could have been dub gone bad, but this' not exactly dub anyhow, I can assurre the use of reverb and delay wouldn't have been the same without the the historical mark of people like Lee Perry in the production of music. This cd is highly recommended, it’s a top notch release.




VV.AA.: Fairy World V

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 23 2009
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Fairy World V
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Anticraft
Rated: *****
We like to imagine that the Italian composer '“ recently re-emerged from the deeps of the infinite musical abyss by Gus Van Sant who choosed some pieces of him for the soundtrack of Paranoid Park '“ Nino Rota has awaken all the fairies with the help of the eccentric notes of "Il Giardino delle Fate" and subsequently the guys behind the French label Prikosnovenie temporarily compelled them to record their tunes in a studio in order to enhance human lives some times ago, revealing their spells and their enchanting choirs drop by drop as this magical series of compilations entitled Fairy World (..if you're lucky enough, you should find a special limited edition including a dvd, containing some live recordings from last year edition of La Nuit Des Fées and ten nice clips of musicians enriching the label roster... ) has already reached the fifth volume. And a warm welcome is given to listeners absorbed by Tolkien-like reverie as well as Celtic and Breton fables by the Russian symphonic 7-piece orchestra Caprice, able to immediately set the distinctive atmospheric aura of this collection with trembling, tinkles and dreamlike sounds in Sage: the sample of a laughing baby seems to evoke a narrative set as well as the notorious myth according to which fairies love to show themselves to little babies. The fairies' attitude to operate similarly as suffragettes is partially confirmed by the lovely Me and Rose by the lovely pop-folk English singer Mel Garside (formerly of the Medieval Babies), taken from the third album of her solo project Maple Bee; the title (and the song of course) could have some references to her personal biography, referring to Rosie, the small yacht on which she spent her childhood travelling across the oceans. A touch of Nordic taste has been thrown in the cauldron by the enchanting voice of Valvran (... have a look to the curious legend about this ravens according to Danish folklore... ), reminding to our minds other great Nordic female voices such as Mari Boine. More or less on the same frequencies, the "Nostalgica Avanguardia" by Italian Riccardo Prencipe's project Corde Oblique mixing folk Mediterranean elements and minimal classical music (reminding to us pianists such as Ludovico Einaudi or Max Richter) on melancholic lyrics drawing a desolate world and wishing the advent of a "new humanity" mediated from "synthetic fables and mechanical diseases" -!-. Back-reversed recordings, new age essences and fascinating fawnings marks the collaborative projects Lys, founded by the Czech violinist Ivo Sedlacek (signing also the 11th track entitled Sun, which reminds to us those session of music therapist intended for people with mental diseases) and Frédéric Chaplain. The fact that national boundaries faded away in this selection is clear from the astonishingly wide range of folk influences: flavorings from Japan (Crista Galli's Yama-Ho), Irish-Celtic (the ethno-meditative mixture proposed by Poussieres d'Etolies, Sava's nice mixture of medieval artifacts '“ an highlight of this sampler directly from Faun's leaders! '“ and the musical box-like harp textures by the interesting Moldavian harpist Alizbar), Balkans (Aman Doktor -Stellamara's reprise of a traditional old Turkish theme with the hypnotic vocals by Sonja Drakulich - and Star of the winds '“ an impressive nocturne partially mediated by Balkan choirs and sacred music from the repertoire by Bulgarian combo Irfan '“ guide listeners' minds towards Eastern musical landscapes... ). But there're also strange mosaics of sounds from different contexts: have a listen for instance to Platoun by Omasphere combining tribal chants, middle-eastern chimes, medieval and electronic music '“ a stand-out! -. The consuming pianistic reverie (Einaudi's anthems resurface to our musical memories yet... ) and the touching lyrical session of Last Dance taken from Luigi Rubino's "A Theme For The Moon" stands as a powerful ending for this emotional sonic chipboard!

ATHANA: L.E.D. Light Galaxies - Ambient:Exhibitions Vol. 2

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 23 2009
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Artist: ATHANA (@)
Title: L.E.D. Light Galaxies - Ambient:Exhibitions Vol. 2
Format: CD
Label: Westaudio
Rated: *****
With their previous release "Remixed 0508" it was difficult for me to catch the essence of Athana and to fully appreciate the guitar extravaganza of Alf Terje Hana. This new album L.E.D. LIGHT GALAXIES contains five new tracks and two remixes which present to the people who listened only to the remix album a total new band. Mixing dub bass lines, experimental sounds, field recordings and ambient solutions this album sounds like an experimental version of a Fripp record. Passing from the ambient dub of "Kalimba symphony (Tanganyika fly-by)" to the rhythmical obsessions of "The secret brain waves" Athana aren't afraid to dare by mixing genres and sounds. The guitar sounds of Alf Terje Hana seduce the listener and lead him through the rich soundscapes created by Øyvind Grong, Torgeir Nes and Helge Olav Øksendal. The two remixes are a Dennis DeSantis i.d.m./dub version of the opening track "Grim reaper leaves the planet" and a nice electro funk version of "The witch is spinning" (a track that isn't on this album). Check some tunes at www.myspace.com/dandylines.

Samarkande: 3 Synapses

 Posted by John Gore   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 20 2009
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Artist: Samarkande (@)
Title: 3 Synapses
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
Samarkande is Eric Fillion and Sylvain Lamirande, two musicians with a fair amount of academic cred, which may work for or against them depending on your perspective of the academic world. But when it is all said and done, it’s really about the music anyway. Who gives a crap how it’s made or how much education it took to get there. Either you like it or you don’t. They present us with two long tracks and one shorter track painting sometimes twisted nightmare pictures of sonic voyages taking in not a few different landscapes to grab our attention. At times sounding like a screwed up Tangerine Dream knock off and then a Genesis Mellotron monster, at other times an imaginative mix of drum machine, vocal samples, random radio samples, free acoustic, free jazz, Minimalistic repetition and modern chaotic noise. Everything but the kitchen sink here, but that seems to be the way things are going nowadays. Genres are all melting together, the cross breeding sometimes giving us offsprings of great beauty and sometimes a monster or two. The important thing is they don’t get stuck on any one sound but keep the surprises coming throughout the entire release.


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