Music Reviews

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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Document A
Format: CD
Label: SkullLine Mailorder (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
Another new output of the German SkullLine Mailorder, this time a compilation which features all current label artists providing new, unreleased or hard-to-find tracks. For all of you who still have resisted to buy one or another of the amazing and extremely limited label releases, this compilation offers the welcome doze to get some deeper entrance and introduction to the roster. Both projects, TT and TRITON 83 are heavily dedicated to the rhythmically Powernoise genre and can service here the full range between Minimal, Noise and Experimental styles. "Tanzteufel" by TRITON 83 can be named as possible favorite for some Pogo movements on the dancefloors, while the track "Kindstod" with its tragic voice samples rather makes you think on the subject. Another favorite out of the label roster is SHIFT 69 offering a refreshing mixture of Electro/EBM and 80ies-inspired Pop/Wave attitudes. "Alles dreht sich im Kreis", well, it’s fantastic to see and hear how many different ideas especially regarding the used effects on the vocals the track "Im Kreis" has to offer – what a fine old-school inspired work! BLEIBURG – partly amazing if drifting into Experimental/Ambient/Noise drones, partly ridiculous if falling into minimal pre-80ies Kraut-Electronica, can convince here too, simply because Stefan Rukavina’s tracks here are returning to paths of Experimental/Ambient and Ritual-Industrial music – definitively his better side. So we have at least MANMACHINE, a German solo project which still can’t look on an own release for SkullLine, this project has only co-produced the BLEIBURG DCD "History In Flames". So it’s a bit to describe the provided music style – Minimal/Experimental/80ies/Electronica maybe? I guess there’s more to come. Ah, and wanna hear a really sick piece? Check out TT’s "Leichenliebe", which concludes this compilation... As usual for SkullLine release, also this compilation comes out extremely limited to 100 pieces and with an extravagant package. If this compilation draws a real dedication to the world-wide renowned art exhibition Documenta, which takes place all 5 years in Kassel/Germany, and in this year again, is rather questionable. Nevertheless label/mail order chief Harald Jarosch has picked up some quality recordings out his stable and this comp is a perfect invitation to grow deeper in the often harder to discover music stuff of the SkullLine label. More than 77 minutes of some fine and not to underestimating music rather based in experimental genres, get it!

track list:

01.Bleiburg - Guilty by association
02.Trition 83 - Tanzteufel
03.TT - Täuschung
04.Shift69 - Im Kreis
05.Manmaschine - Covered in Blood
06.Bleiburg - Lament of Irish Immigrant
07.Triton 83 - Kindstod
08.TT - Start - Sequence
09.Shift69 - I love it
10.Manmaschine - A peace of life
11.Bleiburg - Cthulu rising
12.TT - Biggi
13.TT - Leichenliebe (slow)

REALGAR: Promo 2006

 Posted by Ferruccio Milanesi   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 21 2007
Artist: REALGAR (@)
Title: Promo 2006
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
REALGAR is a new project formed by Claudia Florio and Roberto Marino: she was the singer of LUPERCALIA while he played guitar and flute for some time with ARGINE. The monicker comes from a mineral that is an arsenic sulphide (the same in the cover) and I’m quite curious to know the reason of this choice.
This is only a demo, but the quality of compositions makes me think they’ll soon release a full length with a good label.
The first track "Dello Ascoso Secreto dell’Alchimia" starts with a mix of electronic beats, orchestral pads and some astral noise, with a light remembrance of Vangelis or J.M. Jarre. A sort or bagpipe precedes a recitation in Italian, and the result is a track filled with an intense sense of sadness.
"Finis" shows the mix of electro and ancient music that it’s the mark of REALGAR (if I must compare them with other bands maybe there are references to DEAD CAN DANCE, QNTAL, or even ENIGMA). When I say "ancient" I’m not referring to the usual medieval atmosphere now in vogue in the symphonic dark scene: this track reminds me the music that ethnomusicologists are rebuilding basing on two thousand years old Roman or Jewish traces, so the feeling is to be in a dusty and magnificent tomb, or in an old pagan temple. The use of female voice is superb in this song.
"Brüke" is a track that alternates a recitative voice to a soprano singing, while the programming is a strong contrast with its progressive/trance influences and rhythmical beats.
"Blandizia di Giusarma" is based on the composition "A che più l’arco tendere" by Stefano Landi, a XVII century musician, and also in this case the sweet melody of the singing has a counter-attraction in a noisy music.
"Piroclastic Dance" it’s an instrumental track that will confuse you like taking a trip: with its dreamy pads and sitar-like notes, if you close your eyes while listening you’ll start to fly.
Definitively, this Promo 2006 it’s a really good work, and as I noticed during a live exhibition of REALGAR, Claudia Florio’s voice is even better than before: more spontaneous and intense than in the past, I think it fuses better with music and it’s more passionate. Very good job is also made by Roberto Marini’s instrumental work, who shows noteworthy composing skills. A better production, filing some crude sounds or giving more profundity to some pads or atmospheres, and this will become a great album.

Sun Rushing In: Sound Collage for Live Performance

 Posted by John Gore   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 20 2007
Artist: Sun Rushing In
Title: Sound Collage for Live Performance
Format: CD
Label: Postdawn Nurseries Music (@)
Rated: *****
This has been classified as ambient psychfolk by the label and I guess I can see why. There are quite definitely elements of ambient soundscapes, attempts at perceptual expansion by means of altered location recordings and electronic tones, and folk, in the form of vocal stylings. The project is the collaboration between Susan DeLeo and Lauri des Marais, who work mainly in a live performance mode. "Sun Rushing In is a hybrid of Lauri's musique concrête sound design and Susan's acoustic guitar and vocals, creating an atmospheric melancholy and joy. Along with Susan's almost post-rock folk/country stylings on the six-string goes Lauri's progressively textured soundscapes, a haze of quiet low frequency aura projecting the listener into a state of neither/nor Zen. Lauri has also integrated a form of slow movement which she terms Movement So Still With Sound (similar in many respects to Butoh dance), fleshing the act out as an avant performance art session. While Sun Rushing In is mainly performance-based, Postdawn Nurseries Music also has the honor of offering the backing tracks to their performance as an exclusive CD, Sound Collage for Live Performance, making for a perfect listen for homesick or distant memory moods." (from the label site) I think this works best used on the level of background music, not in the sense of being ignored but just under the aural radar, quietly but still audible. Just loud enough to fill the silence with slight vibration.

Ladera Verdi: the subliminal laceration

 Posted by John Gore   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 20 2007
Artist: Ladera Verdi
Title: the subliminal laceration
Format: CD
Label: Postdawn Nurseries Music (@)
Rated: *****
Social scientists say that our attention spans are getting smaller with each successive generation. TV and the male obsession with the controller constantly flipping through stations trying to find something interesting to watch on 200 plus channels is the prime example of this behavior. So is Ladera Verdi which is the project of one Daniel Covert. This disc contains 23 tracks in just over 30 minutes. With a track to time ratio like that you would expect lots of short bits of sonic detritus and you’d be right in that assumption. Guitar seems to be instrument of choice for most the tracks although we get snippets of location recording, electronic ambience, and manipulated vocal experiments. On the whole most of tracks are interesting in themselves and make us wish for more development, and that may be the point. This disk would be a good choice for a remix album with artists taking the short tracks and making a whole new disk full of music out of all the little bits and pieces.

Feu Follet & Miina Virtanen: The Icicle Lectures Vol. 1

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 14 2007
Artist: Feu Follet & Miina Virtanen
Title: The Icicle Lectures Vol. 1
Format: CD
Label: Ex Ovo (@)
Rated: *****
This is some nice minimalist piano / drone work. The website describes the disc this way: "The Icicle Lectures Vol. 1 sees Fischer combining the glacial drones of the predecessor with the warm radiating piano drops of Finnish discovery Miina Virtanen. The end result is an airy, hardly tangible composition of removal and recurrence. Like feathers falling down on an icy surface in slow motion." There are only two tracks here. Track 1, "Silence Thoughts II," is a short, pretty minimal piano piece. Rather enjoyable. The second track, "The Icicle Lectures Vol. 1," is much longer, weighing in at 34 minutes. This track is a bit more involved, building in complexity and depth. It consists mostly of slowly changing drones, with much less of the piano that figured so prominently in the first track. I have to admit that I missed the piano, but it returns at about 16 minutes in. The piano and drones seem to take turns in the limelight. It almost sounds like this is more than one track – at almost 12 minutes in, the track stops, then starts again. Overall, this is nice background / reading music. It doesn’t demand a lot of the listener and easily slides into the background. The disc as a whole weighs in at 41:39.

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