Music Reviews



Subheim: Approach

 Posted by Michael Grillo   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 24 2008
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Artist: Subheim (@)
Title: Approach
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik (@)
Rated: *****
Subheim’s debut "Approach" offers a laidback down tempo sound that cohesively incorporates an array of musical influences such as EBM, IDM, classical, ambient, and dronology. Haling from Greece, Subheim is the output of musician and graphic artist Kostas K with occasional contributions from female vocalist Katja. "Approach’s" sound can best described as a mixture between Delerium’s early forays into dark electronic soundscapes and Brian Eno’s piano driven ambient compositions such as "Discreet Music" and "Thursday Afternoon." Subheim tastefully blends conventional and electronic music elements into a rich yet subtle sound that is built upon carefully layering a variety of simple parts. Furthermore, Kostas K manages to use electronics in a way that sounds very organic and fluid, which gives the music some emotion. Some of the more evocative pieces on the album include "Ybe 76," which is a melds ambient soundscapes and down-tempo EBM beats with simple yet elegant piano line and "Stranded," which uses ethereal ambient strong arrangements to create a melancholic sense of isolation and despair. Another interesting aspect of Subheim’s sound is that when the female vocals are employed, they are done so in a very subdued way that simply makes it another instrument that feeds into the wall of sound that Kostas K creates as is made evident on the track "Howl." I would highly recommend this album to anyone who likes down-tempo electronica, ambient and world music.

Lost Kingdom: As the new Dawn Awakes

 Posted by Ivan Racheck (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 23 2008
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Artist: Lost Kingdom
Title: As the new Dawn Awakes
Format: CD
Label: Waerloga Records (@)
Rated: *****
Lost Kingdom is the kind of band that easy could fly under the radar.

If I had not written this review this would have happened:

The album "As the new dawn Awakes" put away in my collection of CDs and after ten years I find it.
And then when I listen to the album I will say, - what the hell is this? This is really good. When was it made?

When I then realize it was made ten years ago in the year 2008 I will be mad at myself that I back in the day (2008)
did not take the time to examin the album more closely and wrote a review. Why did I not listen that second time?

So, now back to(from) the future. Or back to the present altered now if you wish!
Confused? Me too.

I don´t put the album away (as I honestly was about to do after a very quick first look/listen) because I know I would
regret that later on.
Jens on Waerloga Records is a man that I trust and he told me to listen to this album again and also check out the project
a bit more closely. So, I did.

Ok, what did I know about this band? A Waerloga Records release (two releases on the same day) with a duo I only had heard on
the first Radio Rivendell compilation. On that compilation the song from the band was really good. They sounded like what Neo
classic music sounds like when not trying to much to do it like it was a film score. With other words they sounded like new
classical music mixed with present possibilites.

I also remembered seeing a very informative and good looking web page about the band. So I looked it up (you should too!)
and I learned a lot. Daniel and Michael are two heavy metal nerdy looking brothers from Sweden in their I would say early 20s
and with various degrees in music. They tour churches (!) playing flute and piano. They both live outside of the big cities
in a very small society close to the vast and beautiful swedish nature.

I of course see beyond both age and clothing and the life of the maker. But to be honest it was not all that easy. They seemed
so nice and guys next door to me. Could they actually create music that would make me fly into my imagination and only
escape as the goose bumps start to get a bit to much lika a cold?

The answer after the first listening was no. But something, call it what you want, lured me back (+ Jens)
for a second listening. The second time I heard the whole album I had started to love it.
Lost Kingdom are very relaxed but always with a feeling of mysticism.

A very solid and good debut album from Waerloga Records.

Now I will listen to the album a third time!

CYCLOTIMIA: Deja Vu

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 20 2008
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Artist: CYCLOTIMIA (@)
Title: Deja Vu
Format: CD
Label: Shadowplay (@)
Distributor: Small Voices
Rated: *****
Re-pressing two sold out 10" released back in 2002 ("Same Time Same Place" and "Metamorphosis") and adding a new version of "Miserere MMI" which was included into New Death Order" CD EP, DEJA VU is the latest release by Cyclotimia. The CD opens with the digital ambient sounds and chants of "Miserere MMI", a short track which introduce us to the first lot of tracks coming from "Same Time Same Place". You read right, I said lot. Cyclotimia didn't want to reproduce the releases as they were but tried to mix the track list just to give a new structure to the album as it was a whole. The tracks coming for the first 10" are sounding more focused on the digital ambient psychedelic effect made of hisses, synth loops, light rhythms and vocal samples (there are also some exceptions like the semi industrial ambient "Same place" and the electronic gently tension of "Paradise X / Dub"). The tracks from "Metamorphosis", instead are a little more ambient and tend to create a different ambience, maybe more "spatial" with less digital grinding noises. Sometime when I listen to Cyclotimia I have the sensation of something of impalpable which tend to be distant. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I like it less because I'd prefer them to sound also passionate...

ANDREA MARUTTI : The subliminal relation between planets (live in Archiaro)

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 18 2008
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Artist: ANDREA MARUTTI
Title: The subliminal relation between planets (live in Archiaro)
Format: CD
Label: Nextera
Rated: *****
We've already interviewed Andrea Marutti for Chaindl, but for those who don't know him, this' the man behind Afe label, but also a recording artist who's put out material in different format and on several labels using both his birth name and also monikers like Amon, Never Known, etc. Having been active for ages Marutti has developed his own approach to ambient music but differently from several of his past dark ambient releases, with his own name this guy works mainly in the area on the edge between experimental music and ambient works. Despite what the title may suggest, this live recording has the usual top notch sound quality (he's a good sound engineer) even if beside some post production I don't think he reworked the whole matter. You pass from heavy atmospheres to ethereal moods, from thick layering of sounds to quasi-silent "landings", as usual Marutti drags every sound around bringing it to its extreme consequences (that's one of his main peculiarities) but differently from some past works it's not just an heavy trip, but take for granted that it will slow down your heartbeat, above all with the more than twenty minutes of the final track. I've no doubt this is probably on of the best releases he did so far and that's due to the fact even if living patiently the suspension builds through repetitions, it doesn't get boring and those depressed melodies he inserted here and there helps a lot like in that small gem of "Wonderful Ostentation". This track quiets down everything preparing for the narcoleptic grand-finale of "In the fish Trove" where Marutti switches the light while increasingly making his way to the depth of the darkest sea. We're not dealing just with dark ambient but it's magmatic music that makes you feel like there's no light at the end of the tunnel.

Troum: Sen

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 10 2008
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Artist: Troum (@)
Title: Sen
Format: 12"
Label: Equation records (@)
Rated: *****
This packaging is so unique, we don't even have a proper category to file it under, so let me start with that: "Sen" comes in three different 2xLP versions, a picture disc set, a 180g virgin tan vinyl with a white record and a black halo and a clear vinyl with sepia haze only available via Equation records or the band. These amazing versions are designed by Eye.Lyft (eyelyft.com) and can/must be seen in more detail at http://www.chronoglide.com/Equation_mc13.html. I am in possession of the first, double LP picture disc set with velcro-fastened semi-circular gatefold PVC sleeve with a heavy-gauge 7" PVC wallet fastened inside and containing three 7" circular 2-sided satin-finish heavy-paper inserts and a sticker, sealed with a hand-numbered oval sepia sticker! Obviously the care that went into this is incredible. Needles to say it is visually absolutely stunning and unique! I haven't seen anything like it in years (Ant Zen and the vinyl-only Drone records used to make beautiful stuff like this, but not anymore... too expensive in this iPod era where the tangible has lost its value). Interestingly I also just noticed that Troum's email address ends in dronerecords.com, so there must be some connection I am not aware of... maybe they even are the founders of Drone records, which would explain the experience in graphically astonishing packaging (but probably not the choice of releasing it on a different label).
But let's talk about the music: Troum (which is an ancient german translation of the word "dream") is an ambient/experimental duo from Bremen, Germany, who also happens to be (previously) known as Maeror Tri. "Sen" is their second album, a re-mastered re-release of what originally saw the light as Staalplaat's 600 copies limited edition Mor Aux Vaches series (of which we have reviewed countless CDs in the past) featuring just one very long piece. For the purpose of this release that one long piece (which had been recorded in the VPRO studios at the end of 1999 in one take, with no overdubs) had to be split into four pieces (the four sides of the two vinyls). Musically completely engulfing and rapturing, these drones layer upon each other as they originate from multiple sources (guitars, bells, voices and of course synths) and build up to transcend to a more grand, lethargic and entrancing state by way of really long and slowly decaying reverbs and sub-woofer friendly frequencies and harmonics. The Cold Meat Industry-like post-industrial infusion blurs the lines between dark-ambient and experimental and expand into a hollow, somber and archaic, almost epic, magmatic universe of rumbling drones.
"Sen"'s four parts remind us of the original musical meaning of the word "drone" and re-define that for us with a contemporary clarity that sadly only a record of the past seems to be able to provide. Almost 10 years later this record still sounds timeless and gorgeous.


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