Music Reviews



North-Without-End : 1940,1944 lp

 Posted by John Gore   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 29 2007
Artist: North-Without-End
Title: 1940,1944 lp
Format: CD
Label: Forty Seven Records
Rated: *****
Minimalist droning loops building layer after layer that slowly fill up every part of the frequency spectrum creating overtones that induce the desire to submit to the sound. Created in four parts, this is music for a quiet afternoon. Another free download from Forty-seven Records
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Artist: DJ? ACUCRACK
Title: Humanoids From The Deep
Format: CD
Label: Cracknation (@)
Rated: *****
After having regained completly their independent status caused through the end of a long-year distro deal with the well-known Underground Inc., here comes a full-scale release assault for the Cracknation-label. Besides this new DJ? ACUCRACK-release also the main project ACUMEN NATION releases a new full-length album. It was about time for new recordings after a long tour with both projects together with FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY and KMFDM. So the first result of DJ? ACUCRACK in form of this full-length album is out now, just one day after the last gig of the own booked "Psychotranshumanoid"-tour with CYANOTIC. That’s for sure an ominous chosen title for this new DJ? ACUCRACK-release and it shall indeed offer some influences out of some horror/splatter movies featuring a zombie-related theme. Globally the musically signature remains the same of this ACUMEN NATION side-project (I name it so, because AN-band leader Jason Novak stands also behind this project...) by offering a hectic rhythm construction taking inspiration out of D’n’B and Breakbeat-styles, some IDM and Trance-related textures, a huge amount of starnge sample manipulations and at times Jason’s insane and mostly distorted vocals. It’s positive that it doesn’t sound at all like an ACUMEN NATION-twin. "Reptilian Race" satisfies with some slower arrangements and quite different moods, while "Destroy All Robots" should be able to storm the dancefloors. But best work to me is "Ice Aces" featuring some melodic Ambient-like layers and a cool female background vocal performance. Although the main project ACUMEN NATION allows only a little change of the musically direction, this project of Jason Novak seems to be a kind of experimental field with which he likes to test different moods, rhythms and arrangements on his audience. Yep – experiment accomplished – keep it on!
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Artist: TONIKOM (@)
Title: Epoch
Format: CD
Label: Hymen Records (@)
Distributor: ant-zen
Rated: *****
First off, the extravagant cover art design by SALT of some icy landscapes impresses extremely and can’t be once again praised enough – that’s maybe another secret behind the success story of ant-zen and/or Hymen Records: the art mostly fits with the musically content and quality of the releases. The mysterious female-leaded project TONIKOM isn’t an exception. Once started under the moniker TONIK the change of the band name into TONIKOM happened in 2K6. After the 2 self-released CDR’s " Tonikom Killed Tonik" and "Ocular Pitch", this "Epoch" marks the first release of this act on Hymen Records. And I must admit that I’ve seldom heard a release with such a huge amount of diversity, which grips in several genres to offer the elements out of several worlds. TONIKOM can be generally sorted in into the styles of IDM and Electronica, while the beats and rhythm patterns take mostly influences out of styles like D’n’B and Breakbeat ("Salvo Infinitum" or "Dark River" work well as references). But that wasn’t it at all. Furthermore styles with Ambient, Trance, Techno or Industrial get touched and extracted to built a very own and unforeseeable sound design (excellent: "Swollen" and "Nightwalk") which sounds new, innovative and intelligent. This music isn’t designed to get consumed as a "Wal-Mart-background-sound", it needs fully attention, the best under a good pair of headphones. If this will be the "truly epoch-making release", which the info sheet likes to suggest, well, that depends on you. TONIKOM has done the best and improved on all thinkable terms of production, so the quality of this release is unquestionable.
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Artist: TENHORNEDBEAST
Title: The Sacred Truth
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
From the depth of the most nightmarish Old and New Testament vision (the Ten Horned Beast is named before "Revelation"17:3/13:1 and "Daniel" 7:7) comes the inspiration for the TenHornedBeast, project of Christopher Walton of Endura fame. THE SACRED TRUTH is the first proper CD album of the project (Christopher released previously a couple of CDr privately and through NOTHingness REcords) and contains five magmatic drones suites. If you were used to the electronic/ambient/experimental sound of the Endura, try to put it aside as TenHornedBeast is based on a different sound/approach. At first I was surprised to read a review of this CD by Julian Cope where he compared this album to the kraut rock sound he loves so much but if you think about records like Amon Duul II's "Yeti" and to its long improvisations (the last three tracks of the CD reissued recently) TenHornedBeast sounds like a dark version of it, where classic rock instruments are treated and sound like reaped cellos or like reverbs on death corridors. Christopher on the second panel of the cover talked about a process of destruction of the standards imposed to men by modern age and his great truth is witnessing this process (I hope we'll be able to get more in depth on the forthcoming interview) and tracks like "Our lady of the lightning bolt" and "In the teeth of the woolf" seem to be its soundtrack.

NIMH: The Missing Tapes

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 21 2007
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Artist: NIMH
Title: The Missing Tapes
Format: CD
Label: Silentes
Rated: *****
When Giuseppe Verticchio/Nimh sent me this new cd along with Hall of Mirrors' debut, warning me that it was something completely different, I thought it would be in the wake of previous recordings of his using ethnic (mainly Thai) instruments and field recordings from his several trips to the Thailandese area. My mind went to the sadly never repressed "Distant Skylines", or to "Entities", with Amir Baghiri (now available on Silentes); but I was only partly right. "The Missing Tapes" is an altogether more conflictual work, more about layering and juxtaposing than merging; which doesn't mean that it is a lazy cut&paste of traditional instruments and electronics (quite the opposite, actually). I just think that this time Giuseppe was interested in creating some discordant, more physical soundscapes, with a few more rough edges than in the past. "Tape 1" begins with a whirlwind of minimal Jackee (a 3-string instrument) plucking, soon devastated by a layer of distortion and fragmented voices. "Tape 2" has more monochrome string picking (this time it's a Tzeebu, a Thai banjo), but the ebbing underlying ambience is given by menacing low-end sinewaves, as if a helicopter was flying low over your head. The electronics take over in "Tape 3", with percussive synth sweeps merging with a filtered mouth-organ drone and acoustic Thon Chatri drumming. Finally, "Track 4" is pure phonography, as explained by the laconic liner notes ("boat, market, temple, village, beach"). As a whole, "The Missing Tapes" was quite a surprise, and a positively jarring album. It has a wild, almost psychedelic ethnic feel which could potentially appeal to anybody going crazy for trendy, and often inferior, neo-kraut/weird folk/psych projects (which obviously doesn't mean that Verticchio intended to create a niche-friendly work), rather than traditional ethno-ambient listeners.


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