Music Reviews



YOSHIO MACHIDA: Hypernatural #3

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 23 2008
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Artist: YOSHIO MACHIDA (@)
Title: Hypernatural #3
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Rated: *****
While first approaching Machida's release on Baskaru I was quite sure what I was going to review was a good japanese ambient cd but in someway that's a restrictive definition for Hypernatural #3. Infact while working with ambient sound and not betraying her being japanese, Machida joins the aforementioned characteristic with a strong contemporary attitude that's why this work by some means reminded me some of the early ambient composers coming from a learned background like David Cunningham who's 1991’s "water" on Made to Measure label remains a real masterpiece. Hypernatural #3 also reminded me of David Toop and again I think there a thread between the two artist I’ve mentioned so far in this review. On the other hand as I've said he's from the land of the raising sun and you can bet those ambient-japanese electronic sounds you either love or hate are probably part of the DNA and sure I'm in the ranks of those who love them. It's a soft work that despite some electronic aesthetic is much closer to classic ambient than to Minamo, Neina or names like those we've encountered so far. Simplicity and refined gentleness as you probably expect a release like that to be and you won't be disappointed since Hypernatural #3 won't betray those simple but basic rules. What I found quite characteristic of this release and that makes the difference between Machida and many young japanese composers is the fact he has this old school ambient approach that makes it in some way heavier but in a positive way, for example just take the closing tracks of the cd, the music is so low it's even hard to get what's happening you have this really distant sound fading in the background while on the surface you hear a soft and silent field recording of birds singing I'm not surprised he gave this closing track the same title of this release, the fact is it probably embodies the spirit of the whole concept thought It really sounds hyper-natural. Another reason for which I’ve been comparing Machida and Cunningham, despite the fact their music is considerably different, is that they’re both musicians before using electronics, infact Yoshio is a steel pan player, believe it or not from this work is really hard to get this thing and to me that’s another point of interest to give a listen to his last work.

AD OMBRA: Rites of Genesis (equinox tremendum)

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 21 2008
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Artist: AD OMBRA
Title: Rites of Genesis (equinox tremendum)
Format: CD
Label: Rage In Eden (@)
Rated: *****
RITES OF GENESIS is the first Ad Ombra album and if you are a new-classical/dark music lover you'll love the first album of this Romanian band. The CD is contained into a three panel digipack showing paintings (by Luna) which introduce you to the atmosphere of the work. In balance from opera with female vocals and dark orchestral pieces (do you remember Devil Doll?), Ad Ombra are able to create a whole world made of tormented souls. Musically we have frequent ambience changes which seems to follow a plot: the fifteen movements seem to be steps of a story. Trying to figuring it out, it feels like something (an homunculus maybe?) born and this "thing" provoked gods' anger. At this point starts a sort of inner battle where the magician is tormented by the remorse but he also wants to win his fears by imposing his will. Here are the track-list, try to imagine your own story and be sure to check some of their tracks at their Myspace page:
01. Descort (upon the face of the Deep)
02. Tempting the Insolence of Vision
03. Heart Sermons
04. Spermognosis
05. Thanatomia (litania mierae)
06. A pearled Remorse
07. Rituals of the Dormant
08. Exequies
09. Sycomore made Senses
10. Once upon Desire
11. Dusk Vanity
12. Sideranoia
13. Consolatio (Nachtlied der Reinheit)
14. Quarted Divine
15. Verigoplay : Genesis

PIETRO BONANNO: Music For Flying Planes

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Mar 21 2008
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Artist: PIETRO BONANNO
Title: Music For Flying Planes
Format: CD
Label: Essentia Mundi (@)
Rated: *****
After releasing three solo piano albums and two other ones focused on drones, Pietro Bonanno is releasing his latest album MUSIC FOR FLYING PLANES for Essentia Mundi. Based on drones for three out of five tracks (the remaining two are composed using treated piano layers which propose different de-constructed themes), the tracks weren't able to involve me too much because of the kind of sounds used (low bit-rate drones which were sounding with no dimension) and because of the choice of giving to the suites an hypnotic imprint with no apparent defined structure. The whole album has some good moments: "The day of diamond dreams" and "This journey will be eternal" are the tracks I appreciated most because it give the sensation to grow constantly but it's hard to stand 20' of recursive similar sounds because after 5 minutes the music became like a distant noise. If you are into minimal hypnotic ambient sounds check some sound excerpts at the label website.

Eidvlon: Idolatriae

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 17 2008
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Artist: Eidvlon (@)
Title: Idolatriae
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
Here’s the description from the press release: "7 tracks of ultra bleak, abstract atmospheres, with sounds and textures that seem to seep from catacomb walls and come slithering out of subterranean chambers." This is a pretty fair description. This is dark ambient, but it’s noisy dark ambientsoothing bass drones with just a bit of dissonance and noises beneath the surface that at times completely overwhelms the drones. For example, in "LaMoraleComeCorollariodellaVittoria" (talk about a radio friendly name!) the noise breaks through the drones to slow pounding and grinding staticy noise. But this isn’t too harsh; it would still function fine as background music for doing something else. It’s engaging enough to be interesting but not so demanding as to keep interrupting your concentration. I had it playing in my office and a colleague stopped byI felt no inclination to turn off or turn down the music. The obvious comparisons to Lustmord apply, but Eidvlon seems to have more in common with some of the more experimental Zoviet France pieces. In other words, it fits quite well with the other material in the Malignant catalog. This disc weighs in at 41 minutes.

orchestramaxfieldparrish: The Silent Breath Of Emptiness

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 17 2008
Artist: orchestramaxfieldparrish
Title: The Silent Breath Of Emptiness
Format: CD
Label: Faith Strange Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Despite the name of the band, this is the solo work of Mike Fazio. I had not heard of this project, but I am familiar with his work in Copernicus, which is a wonderful blend of poetry and music. The label describes the disc thus: "This new recording consists of an improvised solo electric guitar soundscape originally intended for an exhibition of local area visual artists that never came to be. This piece was totally improvised and freeform, recorded live and captured in one take and then divided into 4 parts." Guitar drone is often polarized in terms of qualitywhen it’s good it’s really good and when it’s bad it’s really bad and there is little in between. Fortunately, this falls on the good side of the spectrum, probably because it doesn’t really sound like just guitar drone. I’m assuming that there are a lot of effects being used to create the variety of sounds in these tracks. The album opens with what sounds like an orchestra warming up for performance. As the disc progresses, the layers become more and more intertwined to the point where, in Part 3, it becomes almost like a wall of noise that continually crescendos and decrescendos. But this wall of noise is not to be confused with the Merzbow style of wall of noise. It never becomes oppressive, just intense. Overall, this is a nice disc to relax to but still engaging. I suppose it would work for your next gallery installation as well... . The main comparison that comes to mind is Vidna Obmana. This disc weighs in at 49 minutes and is nicely packaged in a digipak. You can check out some of it at his myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/orchestramaxfieldparrish.


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