Music Reviews

VV.AA: Refractions

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (4726)
Nov 04 2008
Artist: VV.AA
Title: Refractions
Format: CD
Label: Disasters By Choice (@)
Compilations are often difficult to review because of the differences between tracks and artists. This compilation has the opposite problem; many of the tracks on this compilation could easily have been performed by the same artist. There is some overlap in the artists at times as many of the tracks seem to be collaborations. According to the website, this disc was released for the 10th anniversary of Disasters By Choice and contains tracks by Alog, Encre, Fibla, Flotel, Isan, Layer, Melodium, Murcof, Slow Motion, and TehoTeardo. I was unfamiliar with all of these bands.

As for the sound, imagine a band playing in a coffeehouse. You want it to be just a bit edgy, but not too extreme. I guess if I had to define this sound, I would call it easy listening experimental. Some of the standout tracks include "Minkowski’s Mind" by Flotel vs Melodium, which has a pleasantly repetitive synth line mixed with electronic bleeps and tones, and "Touch" by Encre vs Micro:mega, which reminds me of Coil’s "Unprepared Piano." Overall it’s a nice disc but not really experimental enough for my taste. I’d also be interested to see how the bands function alone. The disc weighs in at around 48 minutes.

HYPNOZ: Breath Of Earth

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (4718)
Oct 31 2008
Artist: HYPNOZ
Title: Breath Of Earth
Format: CD
Label: Zhelezobeton (@)
Rated: *****
Active since early '90s Hypnoz is the project of a guy coming from near Moscow (Fryazino) who's name is Dmitry Zubov. Besides from Hypnoz he's also active with different other bands: Zuboff Sex Shop (post-punk / new-wave), Circle Of Iron Tape (harsh noise), BRZB (electronics, with Alexey Borisov), etc. BREATH OF EARTH is his latest album and on this one he presents seven new tracks in balance from industrial ambient and '70s electronic ambient/experimental music (see "Wandering river", track that sounds a little like the Tangerine Dream of the first three albums). Recorded with E. Voronovski in sessions held during the 2003/2007 period BREATH OF EARTH is a good album capable of creating suspended hypnotic moments where the listener is free to float carried by the sound waves. Using tiny melodic sounds along with the dreamy synth lines the duo use also light rhythmic sounds just to give to the tracks' structure a cyclic/evolving feeling (see "Storm" and the following "Secret wave"). The good thing about BREATH OF EARTH is that Hypnoz succeeded into giving to the tracks a richness of sounds avoiding the artsy casual assemblage. Using a cyclic/evolving structure, the track is both involving and experimental.

PYLONE: Grounded Hands

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 30 2008
Artist: PYLONE (@)
Title: Grounded Hands
Format: CD
Label: Sound On Probation (@)
Rated: *****
After the first release titled "Black grains" released on 2006, Laurent Perrier's Pylone is back with a new adventure in sound. The five long tracks of GROUNDED HANDS create a disturbing sound canvas made by micro variations of crackling sounds with the add of low frequencies sub-sounds. Alternating layers of sound that at first create chaotic moments and then on tracks like "Idem part.1" seem to be more "organized" with recurring percussive sounds and cyclic sounds, Pylone is able to build a sensation of uneasiness and alienation. If the first two tracks are more chaotic and fragmentary, the aforementioned "Idem part.1" and the 19' long "Dense des couteaux" (the ones I preferred) create a particular interesting ambient i.d.m. sound. Having a structure that you can actually follow these two are more "enjoyable" compared to the first three tracks.


 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 27 2008
Title: soundcards
Format: CD
Label: Cold Current (@)
Rated: *****
I was a bit afraid it could have been "an ordinary good record" by Orsi and Becuzzi , just with a diminished inspirational impetus and please don’t be too quick to judge for I think this legacy has been working really well so far, but it’s also true inertia tends to fade after a while or at last that’s what physics teached us and you now Newton was a smart ass!!. Law of inertia is still reliable, but they probably gave a supplementary "propulsion to their mass" which means this "Soundpostcards" is really good, reading the liner notes you’ll even discover this cd collects the early collaborations of this duo with the addition of a supplementary track and a new mastering. Hard to say if this’ their best work, but surely you can list it among their most inspired efforts, they’ve been able to assemble some simple melancholic/oniric tracks which don’t fail in recreating a suggestive "reverie", the fact the majority of the songs is two or three years old doesn’t change a thing, their beauty has remained untouched and yes, the new track fits perfectly with the old material without interrupting the homogeneity of this release. If compared to the later collaborations where without losing their melodic edge they moved toward a more experimental feel, here they are still dealing with a post-rock/post-ambient salsa which is in debt with Kranky and above all with Labradford when going for their most simple structures. If you’re one of those who believe that melancholy, melody and softness are the essential characteristics for a good release, go for it.


 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (4710)
Oct 26 2008
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Title: Ideom
Format: CD
Label: Record Label
Rated: *****
Dalglish is the new moniker of choice of Chris Douglas', previously known for his activity as O.S.T., with releases on Phthalo, Emanate and Qliphotic (and, just recently, Ideal) and a tour support activity with Autechre. A bit of namedropping which could hint at what you can find in "Ideom", i.e. angular, dark-tinged and experimental rhythmic electronica. When the pulse gets more regular and upfront, as in the tracks "Sach", "Morder J" and "Narpado", Dalglish could be loosely associated with those revolutionary minds that transfigured techno and dub into a much more obscure and cerebral headtrip: Basic Channel, Scorn and Plastikman, for example, all came to mind while listening. However, Douglas seems to be more interested in blurring and fragmenting any regular pattern (even alien and obsessive ones), leading to the collapsing architectures of "Tishm", "Damlicht" and "Amhain", a sort of post-human stare on beat-driven electronica.

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