Music Reviews



ALEX TIUNIAEV: I Knew Her

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 09 2008
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Artist: ALEX TIUNIAEV
Title: I Knew Her
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Electronic musician and producer from Moscow, Russia, Alex Tiuniaev with I KNEW HER delivers a really good atmospheric album full of melancholy and with a great cinematic sense of time progression. The album contains only one track that besides having a similar feeling of loss (the melodies and the images of the artwork make me think about a girl who died) for the whole forty minutes of its length, with the hypnotic cyclic repetition of a central musical theme it is able to involve the listener thanks to Alexander's ability of mixing the orchestral elements and the choirs. The suite starts slowly and calmly and little by little the choirs rise from a blanket of strings/synth pads crying out loud the pain and the despair painting everything of the person you won't be able to see again. Every instrument is like a hit of the brush on the painting that represent everything you missed. After a while also the strings duet with the choirs giving to the winds every word kept unspoken. At five minutes from the end the calmness of the music is showing that the energy, that shot of rage, has ended and everything remaining is a feeble sound...

JOHN R CARLSON : recollections

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 09 2008
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Artist: JOHN R CARLSON
Title: recollections
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Parvo Art
Rated: *****
Our second round for Parvo Art, second 3"mcd and yes, second good release. While following Van Der Papen along the way of simplicity John Carlson is considerably different both for the global sound and for the tools but not for what concerns part of the atmosphere, infact as his label mates he’s really relaxed a bit melancholic and well produced. Far from the electronic atmosphere Carlson is much more plunged into modern minimalism and in "writing songs", I don’t write it just for the fact these tracks are piano driven, listen and I’m sure you’ll get why I’m saying that. This American musician really reminded of Keith Jarrett’s "Koln concert" style hybridized with some Satie and why not, Riley when playing piano. Due to its extremely simple nature this effort also bring to mind some music appositely written for children and I’m expressively thinking to Bela Bartok; sometimes I’ve happen to think it’s a pity these tracks have no vocals and just minimal arrangements, since it could have enriched the global listening, it could have been not that far from the solo work of Mark Hollis just way less narcoleptic and less melancholic but it’s not that hard to imagine his vocals on a such a good texture. Forget electronics and ambient meant a la Eno, but if minimal satiesque piano doesn’t leave you unmoved that’s for you.

MICHAEL SANTOS: the happy error

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Sep 09 2008
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Artist: MICHAEL SANTOS
Title: the happy error
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Rated: *****
If you go down the modern electronic/ambient lane, sooner or later you'll surely meet Baskaru label from France and they're moving slowly but constantly, probably more interested following their personal trajectory than in the saturation of the market with a bunch of new releases. After having put out cds for japanese, italian, french artists this time is the turn of a portuguish one: Michael Santos, his music has no ispano-american root and could be from England, Japan or Germany, the earth is flat after all...fuck Columbus. With a wonder wheel on the cover it's logical to expect some relaxed ambient influenced work and here you have it, somewhere located in between the constellation of modern ambient-tronic music, the range of which is set by Afx ambient early steps on one side and japanese Neina, Minamo, etc..on the other. Thought Baskaru is developing a clear physiognomy, "happy error" is much closer to the sound of labels like Spekk or Plop, don't worry guys, if you blame me for not having mentioned 12k it just has to do with the cut that's a little bit different, but if you fill the rank of fans of Deupree or Sawako you'll probably like it. Santos makes it soft and classy that's why I could have had several listening while my girlfriend was studying and she didn't even complain even once: a real miracle!. Santos' sound is still in search of his own identity but at the same time he follows all of the unwritten rules of electronic music perfectly and with elegance thus he speaks the idiom brilliantly. Eleven tracks for about fifty minutes of bliss well distributed in portions of ecstatic and melancholic melodies, high-frequencies and digital sounds. I'm sure if only Pessoa could have only put this in his hi-fi set while writing he wouldn't be that depressed and would have been enjoying much more the sea in front of Lisboa.

NORDVARGR: Phyrrhula (Black ambient droneworks 2007-2008)

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 08 2008
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Artist: NORDVARGR
Title: Phyrrhula (Black ambient droneworks 2007-2008)
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Nordvargr is really active and his solo releases are more than the ones he did with his comrades under the MZ412 moniker. This new album is titled PYRRHULA and it is named after the small genus of passerine birds belonging to the finch family (and this is the reason why we have a mummified bird on the front cover) and it is also the name of an old Swedish folktale of the same name (and in this case its meaning is "doomlord"). Another hint about the themes covered, besides the titles of the eight tracks, is a phrase contained inside the booklet: "Beware the small creatures of light, they only bring misery and death upon the enlightened ones . For they will paint their breast with blood and reap your unborn angels". Fortunately Nordvargr musical hyperactivity didn't affect the quality of these recordings: despite the ambient/drone label the listener can wait for something more than the usual hummings/bass frequency noises. Tracks like the opening "Another weeping doomlord lost" or the following "Pyrrhula one" mix guitar drones, synth pads, growling vocals, organ sounds, keeping the tension level high sounding also various (the least it could be possible into this musical genre). There are also some moments where Nordvargr prefer to be true to the pure drones/dark ambient palette but the whole album doesn't and it has many creepy atmospheres and good sounds.

VAN DER PAPEN : majestic

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Sep 07 2008
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Artist: VAN DER PAPEN
Title: majestic
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Parvo Art
Rated: *****
Miswriting the name of much appreciated (...recently become trendy) composer Parvo Art, you have the name of this interesting new label from Van Der Papen. They opened the label with a series of 3" and if from the morning you can guess how the rest of the day is gonna be like, here we’re dealing with a really good start. These two Lonkowsky twins from Berlin gave us a short work based on simplicity and sobriety, that’s why after the about twenty minutes of this release I’ve been thinking if they’re gonna put all of their efforts into building a full-length and they do it for good, I’m sure it could be an interesting cd. 4/4 kick drum minimal techno style on a melancholic quasi dramatic ambient melody, no vocals but the usual soft sounds to enrich the simple texture of the tracks. After the minimal techno opening they become ethereal and even more relaxed but as you can easily hear there’s some sort of continuity between the first and the second episode and for what concerns the last and closing track, well if you appreciated the beginning I’m sure you love the "end titles". In some way it reminded a bit the approach of Afx Twin during the days of his Ambient Works and when reading this remember that I think Richard D James was at his personal best together some of the following more relaxed productions (ok Come to daddy is great but is still prefer the ambient era). Berlin based and for good, for Germans or not these guys have all the good qualities of electronic music from Deutschland mixed with a great taste for nocturnal ambient feels. An interesting debut and you know, when working on minimal things...taste is everything.


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