Music Reviews

AETHERE: The Long & Dark Tea - Time of the Soul

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 20 2007
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Artist: AETHERE (@)
Title: The Long & Dark Tea - Time of the Soul
Format: CD
Label: Rage In Eden Records (@)
Rated: *****
Here we are, with the second release by War Office Propaganda after their name switch into Rage In Eden (they already used that name for their distribution/shop). The name changed but the catalog number is always under the WOP moniker. Anyway... Aethere is the musical project created by a guy called Emanuele Ratti, who's coming from Milan/Italy. He already released a couple of limited CD-Rs and a promo CD distributed by War Office but this newest one is his first proper distributed and promoted album. Before writing this review I read some of Emanuele's websites content and I became aware of his nihilistic/depressed/suicidal attitude. Lately (also because of Marco Corbelli's suicide) I'm always sorry when I see this kind of attitude into people and even more when it is a young guy. Aethere attitude don't interfere into the creation of a good album and on the six movements of "The Long & Dark Tea - Time of the Soul" the particular blend of '70s electronic mixed with dark ambient with a pinch of doom (see the vocals on track 4 and 5). The atmosphere created is always tense and Emanuele is good at creating a convincing alternation of calm moments which blast into a dark electronic mayhem made of sibilant synth sounds, reverbered percussions and growling vocals. Doom atmospheres are converted into electronic cosmic movements with industrial elements.

OTX: A World In Red

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 19 2007
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Artist: OTX (@)
Title: A World In Red
Format: CD
Label: Funkwelten (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Funkwelten isn't a really active label, their past release was last year's Oil 10 album. Fortunately their releases are really good and I've been surprised by the sound and by the cinematic ambience created by their latest two releases. OTX, like Oil 10, is a project of a French guy (his name sounds so Italian as Stefano Piredda sounds coming from Sardinia, so I'm assuming he's French) which had at his active two other albums and an activity as graphic designer. Anyway, A WORLD IN RED contains 12 tracks and 2 remixes which will nail you to your chair because of their intensity. Being influenced by ambient and by techno, Stefano created tracks rich of sounds, rhythms and energy, where drums don't simply sound, but blast! On "Cyber murder" you can find his collaboration with Kenji Siratori (yes, again!) which duet with the apparent calmness of the choirs and guitars. When rhythm section starts, the track turns into a sort of new wave dreamy one with some industrial ambient inserts. If you love classic electronic music but you are also into techno and e.b.m. don't be afraid into checking this one. Great sounds and upbeat rhythms are waiting for you. Just loose yourself and follow the flow of sound...
Artist: PURE H
Title: Signia
Format: CD
Label: Pharmafabrik (@)
Rated: *****
Active since early '90s, PureH gathers members who during the last 15 years played into many musical projects as Inertia, KSVLKSV, Xarq, etc. Their latest album has been released in 2005 and was titled "Anadonia" (reviewed on Chain D.L.K. by Andrea Ferraris). This new CD isn't properly PureH new album, it is a collection of remixes of "Signia", the track which opened that album. I'm always picky with remix albums and this one has both the good and the bad sides of an operation like this could have. First of all, unfortunately, only one track has been reworked and this is a limit to audience who don't live out of bread and dub. The good point is that the label (or the band) chose the top notch of genre's artists to remix that track. Eraldo Bernocchi (you should know him for his work with Sigillum S, Bill Laswell, etc), P.C.M., South African Chris Wood, KK Null, Dj Surgeon, Wodan, Richard Dunlap, Burp, Mo Shang and Psychedelic Desert expanded, liquefied, raped the original track turning it into an ambient, industrial, dub, guitar i.d.m., experimental electronica, jazzy ambient track. On some versions you could still recognize the original tune which surfaces from layers of sounds. My preferred ones are the opening Eraldo Bernocchi "Vision rising" version, P.C.M.'s "Blue waters turn black" and Richard Dunlap's "East lands silent".
Artist: Tuner
Title: Pole
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Unsung Records
Distributor: RYKO Distribution
Rated: *****
Tuner's second CD "Pole" (after their debut "Totem") is a fascinating and mysterious voyage through a complex mesh of sounds, both abrasive and silky, and as with all things original, the key lays in the friction and the blend of all elements, the synaesthesia of the experience and the sophistication (or, at times, simplicity) of the approach.
Tuner is a transatlantic collaboration involving Austin, TX-based Pat Mastellotto (King Crimson) and European (Germany/Austria) Markus Reuter (Centrozoon), and both of them make absolutely sure to bring their special and personal touch to the table. While Mastellotto plays drums and percussions and does some very interesting spoken word poetry, Reuter plays touch guitar, acoustic/electric guitar, bass, keys and vocals. The album also features a lot of guests (mostly singers, but also players of vibraphone, theremin, wind organ, violins etc) among whom the one with the most assignments was Austrian singer and label-mate SiRenee, who lent her beautiful, soft and fragile voice to half of Tuner's tunes.
Tuner is a band that makes originality their new language and challenges everyone who attempts to pigeonhole them with genre-delimiting definitions to come up with new words to describe a genre-bending and style-defying new sonic palette that goes beyond conceptualized barriers of pre-packaged music knowledge. I am going to gracefully decline that challenge and instead attempt to help you understand what Tuner is all about with names you might recognize (such as for example Tool, who are probably one of the most fitting and strongest influences here; not so much for their fierce sound but for their innovative, dark and arcane approach). For those who have not yet been initiated to the Tuner sound, try very hard to imagine a band that is NOT a metal band but that sounds like a mixture of Tool, My Dying Bride, Peter Gabriel, Hector Zazou, Porcupine Tree, Nine Inch Nals, Brian Eno, Me'shell Ndegeocello, David Sylvian... I know it's hard, but try, and if you fail, you can redeem yourself on their website or their page, where you can also buy "Pole" (which by the way comes packaged in a beautiful out of the ordinary jewel case).

Oblivion Ensemble: Seraphim Hallucino

 Posted by John Gore   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 16 2007
Artist: Oblivion Ensemble (@)
Title: Seraphim Hallucino
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
OE is mainly founding members John Bergstrom and Brannon Hungness (aka Figure). Hungness is an experimental guitarist and composer and a former member of the Glenn Branca Ensemble. Bergstrom is a computer-music musician and a film composer with a classical music pedigree, and mastermind behind the industrial-noise assembly Torse. Mark Kirschenmann, Doug Wallace, and Rebecca Karpoff are also credited with contributions. Seraphim Halluncino, which I gather means something like "angelic hallucination" is a creepy collage of sounds taken from the totality of the sound world we live in. Cinematic in scope and expression, this sounds like the soundtrack to a particularly intense nightmare. Disturbing sounds and voices are layered with beautiful strings and the occasional sudden jerk of something jumping out at you. There are 23 indexed tracks but the disk plays like a single track for the most part. The instructions on the cover suggest the use of headphones. I agree. And sitting in the dark probably wouldn’t hurt the results either.

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