Music Reviews



BJERGA/IVERSEN: In broken dreams the world still keeps turning

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 21 2006
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Artist: BJERGA/IVERSEN
Title: In broken dreams the world still keeps turning
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Dead Sea Liner
Rated: *****
I was not thrilled by Iversen's first efforts, and I haven't kept track of his ever growing discography, but I guess I've missed some pretty good stuff, judging from this new duo recording with Goldsoundz' Sindre Bjerga (their nth one together). Coming in a spartan photocopied cover on silver paper, "In broken dreams..." features a 27'30" track from a concert played last March at the Underkurrent in Amsterdam. It's not easy to tell what the two were using, most probably laptops, synths, pedals and possibly a guitar, but anyway, the set is very intense and coherent in its controlled mess of droning feedback, digital chirps and overdriven frequencies. Quite loud, especially in the final climax, as you would expect from these two noisemakers, but eventually falling more in the atmospheric than in the harsh category. If the performance was improvised, as I guess, the two must have developed a well-oiled alchemy.

CHAOS AS SHELTER: Dawn Syndrome

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 21 2006
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Artist: CHAOS AS SHELTER
Title: Dawn Syndrome
Format: CD
Label: Topheth Prophet
Rated: *****
Recorded in 2001 but released only last year (but then, I'm reviewing it with a delay of many months... time is thee enemy indeed!), Israeli ambient maestro Chaos as Shelter's "Dawn Syndrome" is a much more varied and eventually satisfactory album than the last I heard from him, i.e. the shortwave-based "Dead Air Broadcasts", which I found a bit dry after a while. "Before the Dawn" starts the album with (Tibetan?) bells sounds which are then treated and looped in a hypnotic drone. The use of many acoustic sources, as in the following "Awakening", is actually a winning point of the record, adding the warmth of a live performance (or ritual - listen to the throat singing of "Kam Jorra" as well) to CAS's ambiences; but the best and most original pieces are yet to come. "Borders" mixes a rambling voice from a found home-recorded vinyl with metallic clanging and rumbles, while the masterpiece of the disc, "Now comes the prisoner", merges more percussive loops with water sounds, a menacing accordeon and Helena Dorsht's intense vocals. I'd venture to think she sings a Sephardi traditional, possibly from 15th/16th century Spain, but the whole atmosphere is so bleak that it reminded me of Nico's pits of despair in "The Marble Index". Truly downcast and oppressive, Chaos as Shelter's music is surely a far cry from the plastic, preset dark ambient of many projects around.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Decennium Sturm
Format: CD
Label: Sturm (@)
Distributor: COP International
Rated: *****
Another label compilation for the Latvian Sturm label, created and released to celebrate their already 10th anniversary. Unbelievable, that this Sturm collective has already worked hard that long time almost without any knowledge and attention from some western audiences. And this compilation has something special to offer – NO track titles are included here. The bands of this label all give here new and unreleased stuff to the listeners, but there’s no track name. ANOCODAINE made the start here and already this track turns after an unspectacular melodic intro into a pounding Electro instrumental piece. KNAUZERS UN ZEME offer a military marching piece with several noisy samples featuring bombing and firing airplanes and war noises and vocals pending between dark and distorted. ROSEWATER offer the best work here, a hard straight-forward moving Dark Electro pearl with harsh Powernoise-inspired rhythm patterns and rough distorted vocals – their enjoying and successful formula, but this piece I would qualify as their most straightest track so far. Almost in a same vein hits the project LIVING NIGHTMARE, which I haven’t discovered before, no matter also for the Metal-like guitar riff included here. With LS TUR, STROPS, BARODARHO and KAUNA TRAIPS the music here turns more and more into the martial and experimental noisy kind this label has so much to offer. Also MARCHWITZA give a rather chaotic piece, but I’m sure that I have heard it before on their full-length "Have A Hard Day". Also an untitled act offers a track tending more into a slower Ambient-like tune, and more in silent style this CD turns off. Check also out that video file done by CYBERPUNK to conclude this valuable compilation. Interesting concept, but very unusual, too. Worth to start some investment.

Track list

1/ ANOCODAINE
2/ KNAUZERS un ZEME
3/ ROSEWATER
4/ LIVING NIGHTMARE
5/ LS TUR
6/ STROPS
7/ MARCHWITZA
8/ BARODARHO
9/ RADIO KAPUT / 3OT
10/ KAUNA TRAIPS
11/ UNTITLED BAND, 1921 vs RUDENS LAPAS
12/ GAS OF LATVIA
13/ CYBER PUNK (video)

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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Sturmer III
Format: CD
Label: Sturm (@)
Rated: *****
This is a Latvian Industrial compilation brought and released by the leading Industrial/Powernoise label Sturm. Numbered under Sturmmandat 11, this release features a lot of never-heard-before-of acts and names mostly provided hard pounding Dark EBM, rhythmically Powernoise, up to IDM-inspired tunes and Experimental cuts. A hand-made and folded paper package with a screw holding the disk makes sure to hold a limited item in your hands. Strictly separated into an "Upsturm" (rhythmically) and a "Downsturm" (static, experimental) this comp starts rhythmically after an intro piece with the duo of MARCHWITZA. We’ve already discovered them, presenting here one of their best works with "Big Cojones". Also ROSEWATER, maybe the best known act of Latvia, make a valuable Dark Electro/Powernoise appearance with "Unbroken". Thinks are getting more and more noisy and martial, BIOS and STROPS can offer some valuable rhythmically Powernoise tracks and can be called favorites. With the "Downsturm" section the pounding rhythm parts are mostly removed and the tracks are turning more and more into some Minimal and Ritual-inspired tunes, some pure chaotic pieces (ANTIREALITY), and also some dramatic Dark Ambient (ANOCODAINE) pieces can be discovered as well. A lot of diversity is given for sure from the Latvian scene, but it mostly turns into a chaotic, martial and very noisy kind. Not designed for some weak nerves for sure. Hard-Pounding-Industrial-Dissonance!

Track list:

1/ 2OT Kas Tur?
--upsturm--
3/ MARCHWITZA Big Cojones
4/ ROSEWATER Unbroken
5/ CYBER PUNK Acid Rampage Running
6/ BIOS Power Z
7/ DEVNOISE Degeneration
8/ STROPS Tetan
9/ KNAUZERS Latvieti Nepadodies!
--downsturm--
11/ BARODARHO Invalids (live)
12/ CLAUSTRUM Zobrati
13/ TRAUR ZOT Komendantstunda
14/ SYNDROME Raumasche
15/ RUDENS LAPAS Kailsals
16/ ANOCODAINE Pain (sturm cut)
17/ ANTIREALITY Harshwave
18/ GAS OF LATVIA Union

Stephan Mathieu & Janek Schaefer: Hidden Name

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 15 2006
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Artist: Stephan Mathieu & Janek Schaefer
Title: Hidden Name
Format: CD
Label: Crónica (@)
Rated: *****
After meeting at the MUTEK Festival in 2002, sharing the bills on various festivals all over the world and a previous collaborative effort in 2003 along with Radbound Mens and Timeblind ("Quality Hotel" out on the Mutek label), Stephan Mathieu and Janeck Schaefer decided to spend some days together in the home of a classical composer in the English countryside and there they recorded a huge amount of material that they later reprocessed and assembled in York Music Research Center. Basically Mathieu plays all the instruments and Schaefer does all the field recordings and in most of the tracks you can recognize both artist's distinctive trademarks but sometimes the symbiosis works so well and results in a new, unorthodox glitch-psychedelia. The highlight here is the sixth track called "Quartet for Flute, Piano and Cello", where you can hear pops and crackles of a worn-out vinyl over a complex sound patchwork somehow resembling Ehlers' "Plays" series. Due to its amazing sound quality it surely sounds better through loudspeakers rather than headphones. Recommended.


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