Music Reviews



GYDIA : helchemy

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 06 2009
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Artist: GYDIA (@)
Title: helchemy
Format: CD
Label: Afe (@)
Rated: *****
In a scene mostly crowded of male artists, Abby Helasdottir shows the basic idea that dark ambient/experimental music is exclusively male oriented is a bullshit and this release also demonstrates the concept female musicians may have this or that characteristics is false. As we’ve already said this musician from New Zeland deals with dark ambient from the music to the layout and if you’re looking for some supplementary hints I’d say this doesn’t belong to the category of "I’ll scare the shit out of you" dark-ambient releases, it’s an heave trip for sure but it’s a psychedelic crepuscular trip that presents some really melodic interventions that change the whole atmosphere of the two long tracks here included. It looks like some sound source of this release comes from some old tape experiment she did during the late nineties and someway the global feel of the most obscure passages could suggest it, but if that puts forward the equation: "old sounds equals retro music"... forget it. The interesting game of heavy passages and melancholic quasi-sacral movements is mainteined also in the second track of this work, here you’ve more outspoken keyboards sounds that twist the shape of the scenario but the style is really similar to the music of the opening suite. I know you may not agree with me but I think Gydia’s music fits really well with definitions such as like "ecstatic", yes, "dark and esthetic" and considering she’s far from those mono-drone ercordings where you feel like bored to death after a few minutes, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the way she maintained her composition dynamical by moving different elements and atmospheres during the length of every track.

RISING SHADOWS: Found In The Cold

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 02 2009
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Artist: RISING SHADOWS (@)
Title: Found In The Cold
Format: CD
Label: Twilight Records (@)
Rated: *****
Active since 1996 the Swedish band Rising Shadows are releasing for the Argentinian label Twilight Records their latest album titled FOUND IN THE COLD. Formed by Fredrik Klingwall (founding member, keyboard player and orchestrations composer), Linda-Li (she joined in 2004 on vocals) and Guillaume Le Huche (he joined in 2008 on bass), the band, with their second release is delivering a charming mix of fairy/dark atmospheres. In balance from neo-classical/goth melodies and instrumental compositions based on mysterious/dark ambient atmospheres played with synths and strings, the trio succeeded into reaching a great mix of the various elements. This capability make sound Rising Shadow's compositions sincere and inspired. Linda-li sings and vocalize enrapturing the listener and carrying him through the dark realms created by Fredrik and Guillaume. If you are into early Dead Can Dance but you are tired of lookalikes without personality, try this album.

Peter M. vs Mushy: Fando Y Lis

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 31 2009
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Artist: Peter M. vs Mushy (@)
Title: Fando Y Lis
Format: CD
Label: Mannequin (@)
Distributor: info@mannequinmailorder.com
Rated: *****
A great debut release from Rome's Mannequin label. The record is a heartfelt tribute to the obscure, first movie by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Technology is easier these days, but they chose to play an all-analog blend of experimental-industrial with ambient parts; quite distant from everything you've ever listened to. For a comparison, let's say that this release would fit nicely among the early Musica Maxima Magnetica releases. Peter M. plays synths and drum machines here ( Kawai Sx 240, Korg Ms 20, Roland Juno 60, Roland Cr 78, Korg Kr 55 ) and Mushy sings/speaks some chilling lyrics with treated vocals.
The first one is called "The Tar" and is full of bad-vibes with voices taken from the movie."The Tree" depicts a bleak landscape, then we hear Mushy's chilling singing."The Fool" is my favourite here, an amazing eleven minutes track that shows frenzied, dark synthlines and a throbbing drum programmming; a couple of weird touches here and there and then a really scary vocal performance by Mushy over the final crescendo. The cdr comes in an oversize, 7" package. Looking forward for their further collaborations and solo works.

Tibetan Red: Ritual Breathing

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 25 2009
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Artist: Tibetan Red
Title: Ritual Breathing
Format: CD
Label: Antahkarana Records (@)
Rated: *****
The Catalunian artist Salvador Francesch AKA Tibetan Red, is active since the first 80s. When i first came across his work, digging among some post-industrial compilations, it was a sudden blast; it made me think of an extreme and noisier version of Zoviet France ( both the amazing tracks on 1987's "Freedom On a Vacuum" luckily are re-issued on cd by Gracia Territori Sonor ). On this cd, his latest, the title is quite explicative because "Ritual Breathing" is a trio of tracks that deal with the concept of breathing and all the instruments used here involve the use of air to create a sound. The first one is called "Ritual Breathing" and it's a 35 minutes slowly evolving and spacious drone. "Gompa" starts with a subtle airy drone and ends with some (supposedly)Tibetan chants. Tibetan Red's compositions in 2009 sound surprisingly brighter in comparison with his very first releases but they share a similar way of toying with our spiritual side.

Anabasis & Gargrim the Liar: Two Worlds

 Posted by Ivan Racheck (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 23 2009
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Artist: Anabasis & Gargrim the Liar
Title: Two Worlds
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Waerloga Records (@)
Rated: *****
A new Waerloga release is always something to cherish and they almost never let you down. This time the album is called "Two Worlds" and is a 2CD Jewel Case release with two different debuting projects taking on one release each. Waerloga Records hired the very famous illustrator John Howe (famous for working as leading artist in Peter Jackson´s Lord of the Rings trilogy) who made a great cover which spans to the back of the jewel case too.

Without a doubt, both releases are built on and around strings - instruments that has become representative of Hollywood soundtracks. James Newton Howard comes to mind while listening to both Anabasis and Gargrim the Liar. I put "Two Worlds" into the same category as "Glory," "Legends of the Fall," and "The Last Samurai".

The production values of both these artists are very high. They sound a little bit alike at times but Anabasis is more classical oriented film music and Gargrim the Liar are a bit more varied. The sound of Anabasis is clear and beautiful but not near the depth of Gargrim the Liar which mix and master is top notch! The melodies on both albums are very good and I have favorite tracks on both albums.

The artwork is beautiful but a bit light to my eyes. No doubt though that John Howe is a true master!

The prospect of being able to write a score for a film filled with epic, bloodbaths, lovable, rough, good-guys and twisted, detestable villains, would make any composer lick their musical chops. When I listen to Anabasis it sounds like he should dare to go a little bit more all out, but hell this guy (Henrik Summanen) is talented! Very cinematic to say the least and the darkness of the fantasy genre is ever present.

These are very promising debut releases of both Gargrim the Liar and Anabasis. The 2CD idea is not bad but a bit brave.
Gargrim the Liar come across as the one with the best sound, mixing and master and Anabasis the one with the best action and adventure spirit.

Very enjoyable dark fantasy cinematic music in the veins of Erdenstern and Arcana.




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