Music Reviews



Undermathic: Return To Childhood

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 20 2010
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Artist: Undermathic (@)
Title: Return To Childhood
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Another new modern IDM/Electronica producer out of Poland got invited to release a full-length album via the Tympanik Audio family. Responsible behind this project is Maciej Pazkiewicz and his efforts draw an own and authentic sound dimension. You’ll get a full-scale layered Ambient album, featuring experimental sound consisting of surging, Downtempo-like rhythm patterns, melodic and dreamy piano drops, and dark processed strings and at times guitar sounds. This work sounds bombastic, dark, but also relatively organic to the same time. Even if some rhythm patterns seemed to be programmed by chance (”Understanding”), or with a high sense of improvisation, the generally clear song structures with at times catchy moments (”Keep Out No Entry”) resulting in a fitting unit for this rather experimental scenario. Highlighted by both above mentioned tracks, as well as the sample-infiltrated title track, ”Return To Childhood” isn’t definitely that sort of a futuristic end-time cyberspace-sounding work, but again a kind of special and demanding Electronica album. Once again the Tympanik Audio label provides a fascinating and extra-ordinary listening experience.

Rothkamm: ALT

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 20 2010
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Artist: Rothkamm (@)
Title: ALT
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Distributor: Darla
Rated: *****
One of the most enigmatic and prolific conceptual artist and philopher - as he’s considered the progenitor of some aesthetical ideas such as supermodernism, and IFORMM, acronym for (intuitive|improvised) (future|forth) oriented (retrograde|realtime) (motion|music) (music|machine), a sort of self-explanatory aesthetical idea…- , the German-born - but currently living in the former Wilshare Royale hotel, a 20ies dismissed building rich in panache in Los Angeles - Frank Holger Rothkamm chalks up another release fostering the mysterious and sometimes inscrutable aura around its character, but after many sound explorations including bizarre works between snooty academic-like austerity even if often peppered with kitsch elements (such as the FB series issued by Flux Records) and a certain sense of humour (i.e. the funny bunch of piano variations in Opus Spongebobicum), he decides to collect some fuzzy oddities he grabbed from his beloved analogue machines. Although Frank Rothkamm works on a limited palette of sounds, it’s not so correct to say ALT, released by the excellent French label Baskaru, is a microtonal ensemble as it’s decidedly more accessible and less “elitist” than his previous albums.

The role of the composer seems to be limited to the booting of self-feeding iterative processes and by his own admittance Rothkamm acts just as a sprinkle for subsequent fire! The premise is to create a sort of what he calls an “infinity machine” in order to experience an infinite process in a finite amount of time: it’s like the composer inject some starting tones and a generally triadic tonal sequence, reprising its vision of the theorized tri-fold unity of tuning, synthesis and instrument partially reflected in the funny choice to entitle its track with a 3-letter code, whose meaning is sometimes clear (such as the subtonal LOW or GUI, one of the rare track in which there’s a sign of melody created from a guitar sample of Max Laesser), sometimes quite obscure and almost esoteric. Then it seems the machine turns knobs and adjusts pitches by its own! I’ll guess ALT could be just a sampling exhibition of analogue synths close to the “historical” one recently released by Benge aka Ben Edwards on Expanding if I could ignore its author, so that ALT is more like a compendium to unveil Rothkammian mistery, but it ends to embody another enigma amplified by symbolic tricks and numerological games you could find in the track titles, their durations along a total timing of 39 minutes and 39 seconds and compositions as well. You could ask yourself if Herr Rothkamm looks like more the wittiest follower of Wilson’s modus operandi or shares the same metaphysical-logical vision by Leibnitz in order to traduce it into sound.

REFORMED FACTION: Until…

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 20 2010
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Artist: REFORMED FACTION
Title: Until…
Format: CD
Label: Greytone (@)
Rated: *****
Formed by Robin Storey and Mark Spybey who are or have been members of :zoviet*france:, Rapoon, Dead Voices on Air, Propeller and Sofortkontakt! (Andy Eardley, who was also a member of :zoviet*france: was part of Reformed Faction since July of 2006, has left the project) Reformed Faction are releasing on Greytone their fourth album titled UNTIL.... Released one year after "I am the source of light, I am not a mirror", out for Soleilmoon, Reformed Faction apply Stockhausen's abstract compositional instructions to ambient sounds creating what I can call six ghostly tracks where the sounds graze you but they make you feel also kinda empty. Just listen to the harmonic crescendo on "For the sun" or the minimal background noises of "Begins to burn" and you'll be trapped into a sort of slow motion where reversed sounds are released to hunt your soul. If you are in the mood for dreamy atmospheres applied to industrial ambient then feel free to check UNTIL...

AUN: Motorsleep

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 19 2010
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Artist: AUN (@)
Title: Motorsleep
Format: CD
Label: Alien8 (@)
Rated: *****
Canada is the home for some of the best experimental musicians, just think about Tim Hecker or Aidan Baker (also known as ARC and Nadja) . This new album by AUN goes straight to the olympus of canadian ambient virtuosi. "Motorsleep" shows some major changes from the past, you can read the review of his previous works on these pages. Martin did a tribute to Klaus Schulze's Irrlicht in collaboration with Allseits and i guess he's been listening a lot to the kosmische heroes because the music on "Motorsleep" points skyward. There are beautifully unsettling tracks like "Erzot" which sounds like Tangerine Dream on a bad acid trip! There are also some warm feedback based tracks like "Neiges", not so distant from the first works of the aforementioned Tim Hecker. No wonder if Martin describes his own music as "blight-metal", outsider metal mixed with shoegaze. This album is mixed by James Plotkin, a well known expert for bleak ambiences.

Xykogen: Musica Universalis

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 19 2010
cover
Artist: Xykogen (@)
Title: Musica Universalis
Format: CD
Label: Mrs Vee
Rated: *****
It’s quite easy to infer this spooky London based industrial collective of "art-scapists" deals with occultist themes just from the fact the names of their members have not be taken from the ones by Teletubbies! Xykogen, cryptic term coined by the band founder Amon Zero meaning "any process influencing mind" according to this bizarre neologist, can count among its members the above mentioned Amon – former vocalist of the cyberpunk UK band Arkam Asylum – and a bunch of sound experi/mentalists and sorcerers such as Max Rael – founder and member of History of Guns -, the drummer Mog Warbeast – playing a key role in the line-up in my modest opinion... -, Lee Chaos – running the notorious Judder club - and The Reverend Eris – both of them being the entities behind the mechanical curtains of The Chaos Engine and Wasp Factory Recordings – as well as occasional collaborators.

Their manifest occultist references (I could do nothing but indulgently smile when noticing some details such as the reprise of the notorious Latin palindrome "In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni" in order to begin and end the tracklist full of double-titled pieces or the references to the Pythagorean philosophical concept of Musica Universalis someone tried to "ensound" recurring to mathematical algorithms based on abstruse musical "translitterations" of some geometrical series reflecting the so-called music of the spheres) doesn’t mask shoddy compositions and it’s evident when you’ll listen to this release, a 1-hour-and-1-second long live-recording of a Xykogen’s show at The Foundry in London, one of the sacred temple for the avant-garde acts, including some interesting examples of experimentation which are not to be considered just as aseptic sound tests and/or effortless jiggling manipulations, beginning with the introductory In Girum Imus Nocte, an heavy start to set up your pavilions with a raw flux(us) of razor-cut noises and guitar walls, an heavy drumming session and some atmospheric creepy shouts by Amon, obsessively repeating "we’re invisible" and so pulling the listener into the climax of that exhibition, before the suffocating knots tightening throughout 8bit pulses, intricate layering, mungo drumming sets, reversed sound cascading – among which the classical Casio tone for the laser beam... ! - and ill-ogical rhythmical pattern of the title track subtitled Ineffable, Empty which is going to delight most extreme and obscure experimental music’s lovers, projecting them into the ritualistic setting the folks attending that meeting at The Foundry on February 25th 2009!

The following track, Pissing Contest/Kshatriya referring to the warrior class according to the Hindu social orders, is a blasting one that will rape your eardrums through a Throbbig Gristle-style thunderous effected guitars perfectly fading into the following Citizen’s Arrest/Fury With The Face Heaven (featuring another Casio tone... the typing machine!), an aggressive electro-punk episode deeply influenced by 80s punk and French electro-metal wisely placed before the psychedelic dark-ambient suite Ki/Qiyamat – another reference to mystical terminology-, whose drones broken by powerful and unexpected thunders are impressively suggestive reminding some similar workouts by Origami Galaktika . There’s nothing really musical in the vocal obscure bunch of interviews and personal stories by survivors from the holocaust, you could hear in a disorientating jungle of whispering sounds, metallic brushings and hypnotic bells in the provocative Work Will Make You Free/We Rip This Symbol From The Void, sloping into a bewildering nebula of laser blasts introducing the martial stepping built on over-filled organ disorientating phrases in the thrilling Seidhr/TO REND THE VEIL OF PAROKETH. The following track Brand X seems to be an attempt of redefining a brand new form of punk even if the artistic liaision to the French anarcho-punk scene is clear... pay attention to details to be conscious of what I’m referring to! The final track, Behold, The Silver Star, hallows Xykogen’s Dadaist (or lettreist as well!) and de-structionist attitude in treating sound, consecrating themselves as some of the best learners of P-Orridge lecturers! Something that could let your nerves scream out for its terrific hallucinatory gripping!!! Last but not least (or if you prefer Latin, dulcis in fundo)– another esoteric imprint? -: it’s thee (double E’s not a spelling mistake... ) release number 23 licensed by Mrs Vee.


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