Music Reviews



MONOCEROS: I Feel Apocalyptic Today

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 25 2008
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Artist: MONOCEROS
Title: I Feel Apocalyptic Today
Format: CD
Label: Imaginary Non Existent Records (@)
Rated: *****
Third album for Monoceros, I FEEL APOCALYPTIC TODAY see Joan Malé redefining the sound of his project adding more guitar sounds to his i.d.m. atmospheric mixture. In this way tracks like "Escape From Gravity" or the following "The Rain Song" sound like a post rock electronic suite where light melodies clash into the roughness of broken rhythms patterns, creating in this way a suspended atmosphere. I FEEL APOCALYPTIC TODAY sounds like an awakening after the apocalypse rather than the apocalypse itself because it doesn't sound dark and desperate. Listening to its nine tracks (the tenth is a bonus nameless one which is 12 minutes long), I think about deserted lands where nature is starting to take an hold on cities' ruins. Mixing ambient, i.d.m. and post rock Joan is giving sound to a project which includes also a visual part as for each track exists a photo he took doing landscape photography in Empordà where he lives. The photos could be purchased separately while the CD is available as free download or pressed CD.

Cory Allen: The Fourth Way

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 23 2008
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Artist: Cory Allen (@)
Title: The Fourth Way
Format: CD
Label: Quiet Design records (@)
Rated: *****
"The Fourth Way" is Cory Allen's fourth full length album release, out on the Austin, Texas-based label Quiet Design, run by our very own contributor (and talented musician himself) Mike Vernusky. Allen's way of creating music includes a Fender Rhodes and a Moog Voyager and he augments those with software patches and raw computer data converted into crackling sound files. Abstract and uncontrolled as such randomized conversions might sound like, Allen finds a way to glue and encompass all of that together in a controlled environment of minimalist but expanding ambient music. Droning soundscapes, subtle textures, crystallized sounds mesh and clash in an interplay of emotions and thoughts. Through the bright glitchy sounds and the duller icy diluted pads, the listener is invited to proceed along a journey during which the careful balancing act between self-aware experience and hypnotic full immersion defines the rules of engagement. Quiet Design describes it as invoking a sense of "urgency and zen", and I believe that the relationship and contrast between any two antagonistic states of mind, are what contribute to the very fruition and enjoyment of "The Fourth Way".

Ulna: Frcture

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 19 2008
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Artist: Ulna (@)
Title: Frcture
Format: CD
Label: Karlrecords
Distributor: Sound Ohm
Rated: *****
Ulna is one of the many projects of our very own contributing writer Andrea Ferraris and of another gentleman named Valerio Zucca Paul.
The former has has been playing/recording/touring/improvising with Deep End, Airchamber 3, Ur, Ultraviolet Makes Me Sick, St.ride, Andrea Marutti, Cria Cuervos, One Fine Day, Burning Defeat, Marylin Tognolli (Kill the Thrill), Alessandro Cartolari (Anatrofobia), Alessandro Buzzi, Permanent Scar, Polis and so on and so forth.
The later (formerly known as Abstract Q) is also part of the band 3EEM.
Both of them are laptop artists and the sum of their experiences is an exquisite blend of ambient electronica, minimalist glitch and IDM. The overall mood of the album varies a lot, from calm and melancholic to intense and glorious, like masses of semi-liquid artic ice slowly melting, drifting and expanding and then solidifying and contracting as they freeze and become harder. With a wide sonic palette to draw from, Ulna explores the fringes of genres with loungy grooves and secular textures made of organic patterns, fractured sound bites, stretched ghostly pads and other tonal and atonal noises. Aside from all the sounds I am sure you expect to hear, your brain will be drilled with subtle super high pitched sinewaves and pleasantly awakened from the self-induced state of trance by a treated cello in one the tracks. If you need references think of it as a little bit of the most subdued and soft Pan Sonic, a little bit of Autechre's beautiful ambient textures, a little some of Young Gods's most minimal electronic album (Second Nature) and a little Ikue Mori (with her great broken up Max MSP fragments of sounds).
In a proliferating sea of similar acts, Ulna is definitely one of more interesting duos out there and I recommend you check them out.

HUMAN GREED: Black Hill: Midnight At The Blighted Star

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 11 2008
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Artist: HUMAN GREED (@)
Title: Black Hill: Midnight At The Blighted Star
Format: CD
Label: Lumberton Trading (@)
Rated: *****
Human Greed born in 1998 as musical outfit of Scottish writer Michael Begg. He was soon joined by Deryk Thomas, the visual artist whose burning bunnies became an iconic reference point for Michael Gira's Swans White Light/Love of Life period. BLACK HILL is their third album after 2001 "Consolation" (released for ex-Banshee Steven Severin's RE:Group) and 2006 "Pilgrim: New World Homestead" (released for Begg's label Omnempathy). This new full length contains fifteen tracks that are difficult to file under a specified musical genre because they tend to create an atmosphere rather than looking for a melody (even if here and there some melodies are used). On the booklet you find this note that it could be a good description of the album's atmospheres: "Sometimes, its like the silver coin of the moon is tossed, like alms for the poor, across the cold, midnight sky". Human Greed are creating night music where treated field recordings, vocals (here as guests you find Julia Kent, Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo, Clodagh Simonds and David Tibet) and instruments, make you feel like being living a nightmare while you are sleeping out in the wild. Sounds hit or seduce you without caring if you're enjoining it or not... check if you're ready for it at www.myspace.com/humangreed...

KEPLERS ODD: Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 07 2008
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Artist: KEPLERS ODD
Title: Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula
Format: CD
Label: Fractured Spaces
Rated: *****
Shame on me, I've missed on a couple of Keplers Odd releases (a cd on Desolation House and a cdr on Pas-83), and am now sobbing in self-contempt. Oh well, I'll make up for that. I also have to add that this cd was released in June, but, besides my awful review abilities, it seems only appropriate to run through it now that there's snow outside. KO are a Gothenburg, Sweden trio formed by Daniel Jansson (of mighty Deadwood, Europe's most underrated power electronics project, and STUG 218), Magnus Moilala (Crest, Crest 218) and Kristina Persson (Viper Trail). Though clad in a dark ambient-ish cover, "Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula (A New Year's Gift of Hexagonal Snow)" is a very physical disc of guitars+amps worship. Downtuned strings and bleeding feedback. What is nice is that, even in the only track featuring a doom riff and strangled vocals (VI), KO are far from being the nth Sunn 0))/Earth copycats which are breeding like rats. The album begins with clean acoustic guitars under which lies a flow of feedback lava, fully outleashed in the core part of the disc. Tracks II and III merge amp abuse with subtler elements (expanded pluckings, almost synusoidal drones) which vary the otherwise monolithic wall of the trio. Track IV is the harshest and arguably best one of the lot, and sounds like late Skullflower covering Organum with electric guitars instead of bowed metals and strings. The fifth piece is an out-there electric blues drenched in northern cold and darkness, as if Hototogisu or My Cat is an Alien were sent jamming among starving wolves. Closing the opus in an almost circular way is a strummed dirge which soon dissolves in electric mist. Out of the (often disposable) contemporary variations of "drones made with real guitars", this is one of those albums which deserve repeated listenings.


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