Music Reviews



SLEEPRESEARCH FACILITY: Deep Frieze

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 22 2007
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Artist: SLEEPRESEARCH FACILITY
Title: Deep Frieze
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Fourth SleepResearch Facility's release and second CD for Cold Spring, DEEP FRIEZE is a sort of concept album based on the idea of creating a soundtrack for an Antarctic scenario (its catch phrase reported inside the foldout booklet is "there is a certain comforting warmth in the encroaching slumber of hypothermia"). The five tracks, which are titled after geographic coordinates (like "79ºS 83ºW" or "72ºS 49ºE"), are long cold minimal ambient suites where sometimes some subtle melodies surface. For sure the aim of creating a sense of cold isolationism has been reached but sometimes I have the feeling that the effect's research made lose the point about the sound. The sibilant sounds are overwhelming and the slow growth of the tracks' structure make you feel them a little static. I'm not telling that this is a weak point but I'd like to point this out just to warn the listener about the experience he's going to have as the tracks are like movements of a long suite which for the whole album length will make you feel stuck underwater, under the ice, struggling for your life where the only sound is created by the pressure of the water and by the moving icebergs.

ZONK'T: -trope

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 21 2007
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Artist: ZONK'T (@)
Title: -trope
Format: CD
Label: Sound On Probation (@)
Rated: *****
Less than a year ago I reviewed the previous Zonk't album "Purr" and now Laurent Perrier is back with a new work titled -TROPE. Since from the opening "Somersault" the new album presents itself as an interesting one. At a first listening I heard echoes of early Biosphere mixed with i.d.m. and techno intuitions. Laurent alternates tracks based on ambient rhythmical layers to others focused on bleeps and rhythms creating in this way a good album which is able to balance different sounds and atmospheres. Tracks like "Disruption" and the following "Look part.5" are a sort of i.d.m. music coming from outer space (along with the web of intricate rhythm there's also a certain surrounding sidereal cold feeling) while the first three tracks "Somersault", "Throb" and "Spark" are sounding more ambient techno. After those three tracks Laurent started to be carried away by a minimal approach while I was preferring his rich textures of melodies, pads and rhythms. The remaining tracks aren't bad ones but you have the same effect you have when you switch from a Chemical Brothers track (took one of their singles where there's always a catchy tune) to one by Autechre.

AMON/NIMH: Sator

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 16 2007
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Artist: AMON/NIMH
Title: Sator
Format: CD
Label: Eibon
Rated: *****
As unprofessional as it may sound, sometimes a review can almost write itself. Take two of Italy's most talented (and meticulous) ambient projects, Andrea Marutti's Amon and Giuseppe Verticchio's Nimh, let them play, edit and mix for several months, and have the end result released on a quality label like Eibon... Still, while undoubtly being what one could expect in terms of genre (i.e. dark drones), the work reveals how this has been a true, intense collaboration, not just a swapping of files or discontinuous jamming. Played with a variety of instruments (synths of course, e-bow guitars, ring modulator, field recordings, zither, tapes...), and featuring Verticchio's wife, Daniela Gherardi, as an important guest musician on three out of five tracks, "Sator" begins with the expected "smooth" cosmic drones, but later on (especially in tracks 3-5) incorporates a more varied sound palette. Listen for example to "Tenet", where a dysmal melody of bowed guitar strings strives to float above a sea cavernous drones, or to the looser noises and frequencies streaking the final piece, "Sator". A monolith in terms of quality, density and length (75'), but luckily a wisely crafted and detailed audio experience.

DISKREPANT: Into Sleep

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 16 2007
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Artist: DISKREPANT
Title: Into Sleep
Format: CD
Label: Fin de Siècle Media
Rated: *****
Diskrepant's "33-12" was a favourite of mine and possibly my very favourite Fin de Siècle release, so I was looking forward to hearing Per Ahlund's next step. Unfortunately, "Into Sleep" hasn't clicked with me at all, and while being a rather short (41') album, I almost found it hard to listen to it in one go. While "33-12" organically mixed electronics, drones and ritual instrumentation, this new work heavily relies on synths, manipulated samples and possibly software granulation/synthesis, and the effect is surely colder, but that's not the problem with me. The fact is, all tracks lack any emotional grip, they're wearing but don't convey any image, feeling, etc. "Apparatus Like Womb" is possibly the most interesting one, with tinkling particles, reversed noises, screeches and bleeps, phased samples... a sort of sum of what is featured in the rest of the disc, but in a more adventurous composition. But as a whole, I'm disappointed.
Jun 12 2007
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Artist: BLEIBURG (@)
Title: Way Of Crosses
Format: CD
Label: The Eastern Front (@)
Rated: *****
Bleiburg is the musical project of Stefan Rukavina, ex-producer of Thaglasz (Death in June Friendship). With at his active about a dozen CDs and double CDs (eight or more released during the last year), Bleiburg smartly used the contacts he had during the Thaglasz period and collaborated with many bands/projects of the industrial, ambient, new-folk scene producing tons of tracks (some of them have been collected into the CDs released by Cold Spring and Old Europa Cafe). By listening to his releases the first adjective which is coming to my mind is: eclectic. The fourteen tracks of WAY OF CROSSES (of which a couple seem to be taken from Croatian folk records if I'm not wrong) to an occasional listener could sound destabilizing because we have dark ambient tracks, neo-folk, electro dub, weird electro folk tunes ("Dra mi de" is the track I appreciated less because it sounds like a drunk gipsy singing on a simple electronic tune), martial folk (see "Shadows will survie") and sometimes we have a little bit of everything on the same track. I know it could sound twisted but on most of the cases the merging is working and if you get along with the electro martial style of "Der meldereiter" you can pretty dig every of the tracks you'll find on this CD. I see Bleiburg a sort of experimenter of electronic/industrial/ambient genres as well as Allerseelen is for neo-folk. Maybe Stefan produces too much without filtering but I found most of his tracks intriguing. Check some of them at http://www.myspace.com/bleiburg


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