Music Reviews



Rothkamm: FB02: Astronaut of Inner Space

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 15 2007
cover
Artist: Rothkamm (@)
Title: FB02: Astronaut of Inner Space
Format: CD
Label: Flux Records (@)
Rated: *****
Coil has noted that their equipment is just as much a member of the band as the people. They called the entity that inhabited their equipment ELpH. Now imagine that ELpH met Erasure’s studio and they started dating. This is what their courtship would sound like. The promo sheet that came with this disc proclaims, "A new vision for American Music." Maybe not, but certainly interesting. Warm drones and analogue blips mesh to make a satisfying whole. "Silence of Mute" is a track that would be right at home in some futuristic Bugs Bunny cartoon - whimsical, with moments of action. "Triumph of the Analogue Age" begins chaotic and noisy, as if someone was completely misusing a Prophet 5, but then becomes a bit more subdued. After the more sedate tracks, this one makes you sit up and take notice. There are only five tracks on this disc (the unlabeled ones are just 4 seconds tracks of analogue blips and silence). In general, they all would sound at home in 1950’s Sci-fi movies (I would love to see a collaboration between Rothkamm and Stelladrine for this). An interesting disc but how could we expect anything less from a self-proclaimed polymath (person of great or varied learning; one acquainted with various subjects of study) who has, according to the bio sheet, appeared in Playboy in 1991, playing an instrument of his own creation (IFORMM), which, according to the CD notes, is "tuned to 768-frequencies-per-octave, a scale so delicate that you may be able to detect the silent architectures of a parallel universe"? We couldn’t.

Daniel Smutny: Telehors

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 14 2007
cover
Artist: Daniel Smutny
Title: Telehors
Format: CD
Label: Normoton
Rated: *****
Daniel Smutny's "Telehors" is the first electronic effort for this avantgarde composer and rivals with the best glitch-ambient releases in 2006 along with Machinefabriek's "Marijn", Tim Hecker's "Harmony in Ultraviolet" and Mathieu & Schaefer's "Hidden Name". Smutny works with piano fragments and heavily processed field recs and all these loops are then repeated and layered after they are given their place in the track giving a sense of motion that resembles the work that Taylor Deupree did for the unrivalled "Still". I do not agree with the microscopic sticker on the cover that mentions Gas and Fennesz as references, a good reference point other than Deupree would be
Philip Jeck's more "melodic" stuff. Truly an exquisite record with a nice foggy mitteleuropean artwork.

MARKUS REUTER : Trepanation

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 13 2007
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Artist: MARKUS REUTER
Title: Trepanation
Format: CD
Label: Lotuspike
Rated: *****
When somebody thinks of good ambient music he should figure out something like this release by Markus Reuter. Following the notes of his profile this guy should have done a lot of works and honestly it's easy to believe it since the production is great in every sense, not to say perfect. Sure, you've keyboards, synths and laptop like many other release of the genre, but in a work like the one we're talking about the difference stands in the work to give an interesting silhouette and colour to the sounds. As you probably have argued the sounds and the melodies generate the basic framework of this apparently (and I underline the word: "apparently") simple music, infact there's no real rhythmical skeleton (apart from a couple of episodes) and everything gets ethereal as it should be. There's a strong melancholy coming out from the music of Reuter but it’s still far from being depression. "Trepanation" can be unquestionably filed under ambient music but on the edge of electronica, for example just give a listen to tracks like "beat". For those aficionados of the "dear 'ol’ school" of soft electronic music, someway "Trepanation" could pay an inspired homage to some Afx "Selected Ambient Works" while dressing a brand new expansive suit. Tip of hat to the tailor then!.

FHIEVEL : Preghiera per una stella

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 13 2007
Artist: FHIEVEL
Title: Preghiera per una stella
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Afe (@)
Rated: *****
I’m so late in reviewing this small gem but while I'm late in my duty scout’s honour that I've been listening to it many time since I've it. Fhievel is not a newcomer at all since I think you probably heard him with some previous solo releases or with the Pocket Progressive trio (a cd out on Creative Sources) which besides him includes Claudio Rocchetti and Luca Sigurtà. Ok, forget the electro-acoustic skill of Bergero and leave space for a drone oriented 3" mcd where Fhievel shows an incredible talent. The basic sound reminds of an organ keyboard, but it’s well mixed with some other sounds in a really soft manner so that you'll probably simply swim into it. The funny thing is that Bergero probably likes making the drones/sounds fade right after he thinks the natural climax of the single sound it's reached alas don't expect the typical ambiental, neverending psychedelic sound going on forever and ever. The only thing materializing underneath from the pool of sound is a soft foam made out of barely audible noises. Somebody in the past has compared Bergero to Eliane Radigue probably that’s true by the way for the boring I may sound keep in mind minimalism is not "poor" at all and above all it implies strength and self control, Fhievel is another good example of what I’ve just wrote.

NOKALYPSE: Ocean Of Inexistece

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jan 08 2007
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Artist: NOKALYPSE (@)
Title: Ocean Of Inexistece
Format: CD
Label: Triple Bath (@)
Rated: *****
Limited to only 76 copies, OCEAN OF INEXISTENCE is the third release of the project conducted by Themis Pantelopoulos and it is also the second release for his own cd-r label. The album is divided into five main tracks which are also divided into different movements and if at a first listening it could recall some Klaus Schulze/Vangelis tracks by listening to its whole length, OCEAN OF INEXISTENCE is more faceted than you could think as Themis start playing with ambient solutions but soon after he adds elements of industrial, electronic and experimental music giving to his tracks a deeper "existence" by creating different moments/movements where the atmosphere turns from light and dreamy to dark and experimental where sounds take a hold on melody just to drop down the hostilities and changing again forming a sort of tense soundtrack (like on "Oriellegro"). Very intense but unfortunately strictly limited. From Themis' website I read that there are only 16 left. Check it out in a hurry!


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