Music Reviews



PSYCHIC SPACE INVASION : Pendulum

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 23 2007
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Artist: PSYCHIC SPACE INVASION
Title: Pendulum
Format: CD
Label: Elvis Coffee (@)
Rated: *****
Like many reviewers I receive many cds, demos, cdrs and lot's of them are so and so or simply horrible but a minority of these releases is really good and sometimes I happen to hear some interesting output from an unknown band like this. In general the releases on Elvis Coffee are really good but since I don't take it or granted I didn't know what to expect, but it was quite catchy from the very early listenings. Psychic Space Invasion are an remarkable example of how you can realize an appealing collection of tracks just working on minimal ideas, infact the music sounds more or less like minimal ambient influenced both by "ambinetal works" and by that grey area f musicians that ranges from early Current 93 minus folk and Stepleton's Nurse With Wound just to mention some of the famous name. "Pendulum" is really simple and sometimes pushes around the same idea without any substantial changes for many minutes, but the fact it that the idea/sample/melody on which the whole track is built is someway really fascinating. I wish they're gonna distribute this cd, many probably will ask if there is anything new under the sun of weird ambient...I can't say, but sure this’ one much more attention-grabbing than many releases on bigger labels I've heard recently, thumbs up for P.S.I.! (not to be confounded with Pitch Shifter Industry).


HAFLER TRIO : Ignotium Per Ignotius

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 23 2007
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Artist: HAFLER TRIO
Title: Ignotium Per Ignotius
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Korm Plastics (@)
Rated: *****
Recently I've read the short but interesting interview to Asmus Tietchens done by Nuno Loureiro (see the interviews section) where he speaks about the fact while at the beginning he got fascinated by the industrial scene, successively he evolved into something else closer to the so called "music concrete". The Hafler Trio together with Tietchens, Waterman and similar musicians represents the epitome of that scene located in the nowhere land between experimental music, music concrete, industrial oddities and "space trips", but wasn't that what early industrial was about? Wasn't it striving to be the next step after the idea of punk? Wasn't it much more challenging and exciting that dressing like Douglas Pierce an acting like a Boyd Rice?. The fact is that the Hafler Trio in 1986 was much more ahead than many musicians doing the same things in the new millenium even if the hyper prolificity of the project sometimes prevented it to get always a top notch result. Tip of hat for the carrier here celebrated with a repress that's part of a whole repress project Korm Plastic dedicated to this english born artist, the packaging is simply rad and the music, while presenting some typical features like those concrete sounds, some powerful white-noise blasts, some sharp frequencies is fragmented and full of silence that interrupts the fluxus of the suite requiring a patient listening to get in symbiosis with the work. As I've wrote at the bginning of the review people like Hafler Trio, Waterman and Tietchens deserves a particular place in the history of music.


VV.AA.: SYSTEMIC 02

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Apr 19 2007
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: SYSTEMIC 02
Format: CD
Label: Systemic Audio (@)
Distributor: Systemic Audio
Rated: *****
Somehow this one got away from me, and has been kicking around for a while. No matter, I get to it all... eventually. Billed as "The finest the underground has to offer, chock full of industrial, breakcore, idm, dark ambient, drones, and noise." I will agree that it is chock full of all the aforementioned sub-genres. It is a mixed bag however, and with that much variety, it’s not going to trip everyone’s musical trigger. Rather than run it down track by track, let me tell you what I really liked and why. Axiome set the pace with "zieverdera", beginning with a spiraling electronic wire-ride that morph into a barrage of heavily distorted beats, with an effluvia of electronic sounds & samples, sliced & diced vocals and more that push it into hyperspace. There is so bloody much going on here, I can’t even gauge the BPM! It’s crazy, raucous, like your best synthware program just freaked out and blew up your computer. Play it loud and make the neighbors move. Xanopticon offer "pscicite", which must be running at 190 BPM or more, in a blinding fury that melds into a spacey tension break, and then resumes the breakneck breakcore with even more fervor until it collapses in exhaustion. Whew! I need a towel. Larvae’s "seclusion" (mothboy remix) mixes ambient synth strains with bigbeat-breakcore, distorted bass synth underpinning, then breaks with a mod-vocal loop which morph into a weird repeating feedbacky synth line. I liked the distorto-drums. I thought Subtractivlad’s "brokadocious" was going to be pedestrian with it’s simple beat beginning, but as it chugged along, there was just so much bizarre sound manipulation to the analog synth sounds they’re using that it really became technically impressive. Could almost be used as a demo for T.C. Electronics’ Fireworx unit. Mad EP’s track," Thievery Is Grand"(Insomnia Remix by Detritus) is one I really liked. Sort of like jazz in purgatory. Drums big and upfront with no mod or distortion (unlike most of the tracks on this disc), occasional jazz riffs, dirty sub-sounds and grit. Song would probably sound great if you had a few drinks too. Exillon’s "Hello Pighead" is as good as anything I’ve heard Autechre do, maybe even better... . All over the map with wild beats and dramatically warped strings. "Lightness" by Visions is a spooky, creepy atmospheric track that sounds like electronically resurrecting ghosts. Maybe the spirits that live inside the circuitry. Very otherworldly. Perhaps the best track on the CD. I’d really like to hear Frédéric Arbour’s (the guy who is Visions) full release sometime. EXCELLENT track. Maath gives you a taste of the bleakness of space with "the structure at the end of life", a minimal but highly effective dark ambient track. There are just enough peripheral sounds to keep it interesting. Very nicely done. S.Q.E.’s "epitaph 3" is very strange, maybe the most innovative thing on the whole disc. Zzzizling cymbal crescendos heavily processed echoing unearthly voices, apprehensive swelling pads, - the whole effect is startling. Definitely worth a listen. Last track by Navicon Torture Technologies – "your jealousy has paid off" is very warped. Chipmunk processed voice with an electronic factory background morphing into a noise fest where a disturbed processed voice shouts about something unintelligible. He sounds pissed about something. I’ll be reviewing a CD by them soon. Maybe he WILL be pissed... Anyway, there were only about 4 or 5 track on this disc I didn’t care for, not bad for such a mixed bag. A good introduction to Systemic Audio artists, and a bargain at only five bucks on their website.

Mick Harvey: Motion Picture Music '94-'05

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 18 2007
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Artist: Mick Harvey
Title: Motion Picture Music '94-'05
Format: CD
Label: Mute (@)
Rated: *****
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and Birthday Party co-founder Mick Harvey is known by many for his great taste in arrangements and composition, trades that he has been cultivating on his own time for quite a while now and which some of you might have had an opportunity to savor in Andrew Dominik's 2000 film "Chopper", and more recently Paul Goldman's 2002 film "Australian Rules". I personally haven't seen these films yet (although I just added Chopper to my Netflix cue) but a lot of people must have, because Harvey won a Best Original Soundtrack for Film and Television Award from the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIAS). This CD is Harvey's second film music installment of short pieces, cues, background music and score music and it includes music from the flicks Lighting Fires, Chopper, Sparrow, Rien Ne Vas Plus, Frank Hurley - The Man Who Made History, Rosehill, Go For Gold.
Because the music comes from different scores it is not as easy to file this entire 27 piece CD away under one genre. Overall it is on the atmospheric side, but there are definitely wild differences in moods, ranging from grand, gorgeous and dramatic tension-making and tension-breaking orchestral arrangements (mostly from the Frank Hurley film, which I'd love to see but Netflix doesn't carry) to simple and minimalistic pieces with kalimba and guitar, from Ennio Morricone-inspired western desert image evoking passages to piano parts, subtle string parts, atmospheric post-industrial things or Tom Waits-like parts that might fit in a Tarantino or a Rodriguez picture... As in a movie, a lot of the parts are recurring and will make you feel almost as if you are actually watching a movie. And yes, in case you are wondering Cave does make an appearance as co-writer and singer on the last one of these 27 tunes, a remarkably strange and different piece that sounds almost Eastern European inspired.

SABINE VOGEL : Aus dem Fotoalbum eines Pinguins

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Apr 18 2007
cover
Artist: SABINE VOGEL (@)
Title: Aus dem Fotoalbum eines Pinguins
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
If Beside The Cage brings forward some typical elements of impro-combos, Sabine Vogel can be better qualified as many solo performers on Creative Sources and on similar labels. Does what I wrote stands for "here’s you have you're average anonymous release"? Absolutely no, with those words I simply meant if there's a modus operandi with which you can distinguish the work of a band as much as that of a soloist like in this case. But given that the world is full of contradictions, let's say if we'd not consider this one as an only acoustic/instrument cd, this should be a big mistake since the fifty percent of this whole effort is made out of field recordings. Believe it or not, the fact is that miss Vogel mixed really well some solo performances with some silent/non intrusive field soundscapes and I dare you to recognize the different sections without the liner-notes accompanying every track. The recording is superb and Sabine mixed the different elements so well it all sounds as a unique continuative trip that passes from a soft half choked blowing to a silent audio-scape. This minimal work is brilliantly engineered and conceived well enough to offer a enjoyable listening even in terms of time length.



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