Music Reviews



Kenji Siratori: Death Creature

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 01 2007
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Artist: Kenji Siratori (@)
Title: Death Creature
Format: CD
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
This is surely a very prominent addition to the roster of the German SkullLine label. Audio results and co-compositions could lately be heard very often by this Japanese Cyberpunk artist, at least Kenji Siratori was available as a guest on PRIDE AND FALL’s latest full-length album "In My Time Of Dying". Kenji’s own compositions of course like to drift in different styles and moods. It’s generally static Ambient, which ranges from eerie to harsh-metallic, Experimental and Noise, also comparisons to some Cold-Meat-acts can work as a reference. This "Death Creature"-album offers 4 tracks simply entitled "Zero", "One", "Two" and "Three", and each of them clocks over 10 minutes playing times. All tracks feature a voice performance by Kenji, but it isn’t like singing, it’s rather a kind of imploring murmur by using a stereo effect. While the tracks "Two" and "Three" follow rather the static and harsh path, "Zero" appeals the most with a kind of ominous-sounding melodic and repetitive signature. Since Kenji has made himself a good name especially in the past months, this extremely limited and hand-numbered item (only 50 exemplars) should be gone immediately – in other words: Hurry up, drop a mail to SkullLine and ask for availability of this release.

Brian Reitzell: 30 Days of Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 29 2007
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Artist: Brian Reitzell
Title: 30 Days of Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Format: CD
Label: Ipecac recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Former Redd Kross and Air drummer and composer Brian Reitzell has already scored "Lost in Translation" and "The Virgin Suicides", but this is his first horror feature film. I just went to see the today and was able to enjoy the soundtrack in its full grandness over the sound system of the theater. Obviously the impact that it has at that loudness and coupled with moving images is by far greater than that just a CD could have, but nevertheless, the CD stands on its own as a good release, and Mike Patton's label Ipecac saw that and decided to put it out. Musically you can think of it as a Cold Meat Industry type of release: glacial and minimal with random or sporadic bursts of brutal and sheer sonic attacks, isolationistic dark ambient with pounding industrial mayhems... the palette of moods and colors that is drawn is pretty non-sequential and is not based on a recurring harmonic theme (as in most other movies); in fact the entire soundtrack mostly consists of sounds that in the theater likely blend in with the sound design and don't take on a song-dimension of their own. In other words it is perfect for a movie about a bunch of people stuck in the dark at ten below zero with blood thirsty vampires hunting them down!
Rietzell's approach was quite unique and unheard of: he created his sounds by affixing various instruments and objects to a pottery wheel with microphones that was spinning at up to 280rpm... I really wish I was there to see that.
Rietzell is currently working with members of Air and Spoon on the soundtrack for a movie that doesn't yet exist, so whenever he figures that one out (or he gets an offer by some director working on a similar concept) we might hear more of him.

Boy Is Fiction: Boy Is Fiction

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 29 2007
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Artist: Boy Is Fiction
Title: Boy Is Fiction
Format: CD
Label: List Records (@)
Rated: *****
Here’s how the label describes it: "Fragile, emotional tones with a prevailing melancholic feel ... this debut release by Australian artist Boy Is Fiction captures those quiet moments of introspection just before sleep ... juxtaposed against broken late night sounds and restless movements ... utilising electronics, effects, drum machines, guitars, and pianos to put together this collection of intensely personal tracks ..." To me, it sounds a bit like Harold Budd with touches of Autechre thrown in. At some times, however, the drums that come in seem to be out of place. It’s as if Boy Is Fiction can’t quite decide what they want to sound like. Even so, this is definitely not music for the dancefloor. For the most part, the drums are incidental to the drones and synth lines. Overall, this is a very pleasant listen but not terribly demanding of the listener. Good background music for reading. For me the best tracks were the two that don’t seem to really fit on the album: "Glue/Let Me Think" and "The Bits in the Numbers." These two tracks are a bit more dissonant and more forceful than the rest of the disc. You can check out some of their tracks on their myspace page (listed as artist link above). This is the first album on a new label and it seems like they have a good start. Well worth checking out. The album weighs in at 49 minutes.

Tor Lundvall: "The Seasons Unfold" Sampler

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 29 2007
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Artist: Tor Lundvall (@)
Title: "The Seasons Unfold" Sampler
Format: CD EP
Label: Strange Fortune (@)
I am familiar only with Lundvall’s artwork for Sol Invictus’s album covers. However, this gives a pretty good indication concerning what his music would be like. His artwork is peaceful and kind of washed out, like sidewalk chalk drawings after a light rain. This (too) brief sampler gives a taste of what will be on the upcoming 4 disc set, "The Seasons Unfold," providing alternate versions. The best comparison that I can give is Vidna Obmana’s or Harold Budd’s ambient works. Sparse music that fades into the background well. The press sheet refers to Lundvall’s music as "ghost ambient," so I was surprised to hear the vocalist come in for "29" and "The Backyard." Even so, this is not the typical "verse – chorus – verse" style. The words seem almost secondary to the atmosphere that is created. The only drawback I see to this disc is that it is pretty short, weighing in at only 15 minutes. But according to the press release that came with the disc, this sampler is free to anyone who orders something from Strange Fortune beginning the first day of Autumn, 2007. If you were going to order something anyway, this is a pretty good bonus to get.

Dubblestandart: Immigration Dub

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 29 2007
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Artist: Dubblestandart (@)
Title: Immigration Dub
Format: CD
Label: Collision (Cause of Chapter 3) (@)
I have to admit that I have never been a huge follower of dub. This is not because I have anything against the genre; there have just been too many other albums to buy. My main exposure to dub was seeing Twilight Circus open for the Legendary Pink Dots about 10 years ago and a Zion Train album that I somehow acquired. I’ve listened to a bit of ska here and there andlike everyone else in the worldI have Bob Marley’s "Legend" in my CD collection. All of that to say that this review comes from an outsider’s perspective.

If I wanted someone to like dub, I would give them this album to listen to. It’s a lot of fun (for example, how can you not like a song called "We All Have to Get High"?) and makes you move whether you wanted to or not. I suppose you have to keep it lighthearted; it’s hard to have street cred when you’re a dub band from Vienna. But they’ve been around since 1988, so they must be doing something right.

Here’s how they describe the album on their website: "An incredible fusion of hi-tech, vintage synthesizers and analog effect units, merged with solid dub beats, whilst experimenting with different styles that depart from the reggae norm." As for the music itself, for me the standout track was "Tiny Place Called Earth," which seamlessly integrates Rod Serling’s narration to a Twilight Zone episode ("The Invaders") into the music without sounding forced or cheesyin itself, an impressive feat. Other tracks of note include "When I Fall in Love," the incredibly catchy "This One Is About Flying," and the aforementioned "We All Have to Get High."

There are several covers on this album: "Wadada" (Dub Syndicate), "MPLA Dub" (Tappy Zukie), "Money Money" (Horace Andy), and "When I Fall In Love" (with the original Ken Booth vocals). You can check out some of their music at their myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/dubblestandart). This disc weighs in at 68 minutes and even features a video of "Island Girl," which mainly consists of a dancing dreadlocked young woman and island scenes.


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