Music Reviews

Flutwacht: Breath

 Posted by Shaun Phelps (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 19 2008
Artist: Flutwacht (@)
Title: Breath
Format: CD
Label: Master of the Slave Records (@)
Distributor: The Tourette Tapes
Rated: *****
Flutwacht’s Breath is the 25th full-length release of this German-based project. Breath is released by Mask of the Slave Records and The Tourette Tapes. Breath is built of 8 tracks that approximate between 5 and 15 minutes each.

Flutwacht’s Breath is dark, droning ambience at it’s best: subdued sounds with limited progression to the inattentive ear; but the album ever-advances, and an inattentive listener would quickly find him/herself in a heightened sense of anxiety. The worlds created here are ripe, vast, and somehow predatory.

Each track represented on Flutwacht’s Breath is ominous and dissonant. The songs are composed of ongoing drones, with sometimes faint metallic scrapings, feint whispers, or mechanized pulsings. I find my pulse steadily rising with each passing moment, and any amount of attention I have tried to divert elsewhere falls right back into this unsettling work of music.

Stray: Abuse By Proxy

 Posted by Michelle Russo   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 16 2008
Artist: Stray
Title: Abuse By Proxy
Format: CD
Label: alfa-matrix
Distributor: alfa- matrix
Rated: *****
We begin with Erica D's other project called " Stray " . The album is called " Abuse by Proxy" This is a free flowing electronic masterpiece that flows like the waves of the ocean to draw you in and put you back on shore when you have saturated yourself with its brilliance. We begin with Track one ~ " Kindred Soul which is a pretty, electronic piece that really grabs at your soul and is a piece that can be played on repeat. Erica sings, " You are beautiful as I define, flawless and perfect in my mind. " I really liked this piece for it's wit and its true sentiment it stood for. We Progress to Track three ~ " Fade into You." which is a ethereal, peaceful track that raises the senses and curves the stimuli. Erica sings, " Fade into You " This track does not contain lyrics on the album sleeve but proved to be the most memorable piece to me and truly is now a favourite. Track five ~ "Intoxicate" really woke me up from my ethereal rest. This track is uplifting and pure electronic genius. It could possibly be a danse floor hit and one that will take our music charts by storm. Erica sings, "You won't let me fall repeatedly." I got up to danse in my tracks right when I heard the beat. Next is Track six ~ that just could be a soundscape soundtrack to a movie. It is hypnotic and moving and leads us to a climax of pure energy. Classic Track eight is " Does it really matter?" which is a big hit on this album and I have heard it all over, especially on other peoples myspace music profiles. I really like Erica's voice and I believe these are lyrics to be remembered by and repeated to the one that hurt us. Erica sings, " Does it really matter anymore." " You never cared, you never will, cease to love and seas of hate, I bear the cross of years of pain. " This song kicks ass and truly everyone can relate to this. As i listened to the rest of the album , I got the impression of listening to this along the shore of a dark ocean, being alone and being nostalgic about past loves and the like. This album is worth owning in your cd collection for the true Unter Null fan and the true experimental, soundscape artist connoisseur. Stray into stray and find yourself ~ 4 stars ~ Michelle Russo

Building Seven: The Time Has Come

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 13 2008
Artist: Building Seven
Title: The Time Has Come
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Inimitable Records (@)
Distributor: iTunes
Rated: *****
I have to admit that when I received the latest batch of CDs for review I was less than impressed with the look of the two CDs from Inimitable Records. They sent CD-Rs, usually the mark of the amateur in my book. But when I realized their prime distribution outlet is iTunes and there is no physical product, I understood completely. In this age of digital distribution, it makes a lot of sense. Inimitable is a small label and they only have three releases- this one (Building Seven), Delenio, and Ryan J-W Smith who happens to be one half of Building Seven (along with Michael Schofield, aka Micro).. Building Seven also has a MySpace sight, and their own website, which may still be under construction.

Maybe it was because I didn’t have to unwrap anything that I decided to give Building Seven a listen first. On first impression, if I had to categorize the music, I’d call it softside-downtempo with touches of the eclectic. It’s electronically based as you might expect with an occasional atmospheric guitar groove. First track, "Pangea" (which used to be the band name) is a little dreampop gem that sounds like the ethereal side of The Church with the pop sensibility of Radiohead and the guitar noodling of Durutti Column. Frothy and spacey with a cool memorable chorus hook. A bit of female Middle Eastern ululating in the background. Nice touch guys. Definitely an opening track intriguing enough to prompt anticipation of the rest, and probably will end up being a favorite of college radio djs into dreampop. Also probably the best track on the CD.

Ryan has a pleasingly understated voice perfect for this type of material. Even if the next couple of tracks are a little blandish, his voice adds to the feeling of the music, becoming part of the ambience. Then again, I think Building Seven were striving for an overall dreamy atmosphere rather than producing commercial pop hits. Sometimes Building Seven get the groove right-on, such as on the 5th track, "Good Afternoon", a sort of nod to Boards of Canada, with some innocuous sampled dialogue set against a pleasant little melody. And sometimes not so right like of the preceding track, "Calliope", which has a bit of an awkward rhythm for a love song.

The mood breaks from the previously languorous drift on the track "Sentir", with a ponderous deep synth and string section opening, and a bit more of a driving Delerium-esque rhythm track. It crosses into that darker terrain mined by projects like Enigma, Deep Forest, Delerium, Conjure One, et al, primarily instrumental The rest of the tracks seem to be less "song oriented" with vocals sparse to non-existent ands melodies breaking through the haze every now and then, like rays of sunlight on a could-filled summer day. It effectively maintains the mood- kinda chilled, stirred but not shaken.

All in all, this is a nice debut for Building Seven. Too bad there are about five other bands with the same name. But when you name your project after a popular conspiracy theory, it’s bound to happen.


 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 10 2008
Title: Passing Out
Format: CD
Label: Helen Scarsdale
Rated: *****
After "Viking Brennivin" and "Drykkjuvisur Ohljodanna", the three Icelanders' studies on the effects of fiendish alcohol use come to an end, quite obviously "passing out". The cd features a hour-long track, titled "Scandinavian Tourist", embodying several fragments, or movements, with a constant sullen haze. Sounds get blurred just like the sight before collapsing into unconsciousness, and as in a drunken trip, not everything is memorable, probably not much will be remembered at all, but a vague feel (and the hangover) is there. Out of the grey droning mass, a few more recognizable sounds emerge now and then, like Oren Ambarchi's maracas which give a sort of ritual feel to that passage, or some detuned voices (Leif Elggren's?), hisses and grinding loops. Thirsty and miserable.

Samplescience: Plastikdisc

 Posted by Shaun Phelps (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 09 2008
Artist: Samplescience (@)
Title: Plastikdisc
Format: CD
Label: Brown Coffee Records (@)
Rated: *****
Samplescience the electronica/near-IDM project of Pierre Parenteau, who hails from Canada. Plastikdisc is the first release from this artist since 2002, and is released by artist-owned Brown Coffee Records. This CD-r contains 15 tracks, which range between one and five minutes of length. The songs compiled on Plastikdisc are a collection of works composed between the years 2006 and 2008.

Samplescience’s Plastikdisc is a very unassuming release. The liner notes work as a disclaimer, explaining that this album is built for the purpose of simple, easy listening music. The liner notes did my job for me. All of the tracks compiled here are comfortable and unchallenging, and invoke a certain sense of dreaminess.

Plastikdisc reminds me of the early 90’s Artificial Intelligence movement by Warp Records. This is very much in the same vein as early Autechre and B12. The tracks are all enjoyable, and the only major complaint I have is that I wish Samplescience would have fostered more commitment. Parenteau has created a legitimately interesting release; he builds worlds that cause me to slip into a comfortable daze, but then ends most of the worlds within three minutes. I’d like to hear more.

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