Music Reviews



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Artist: FLYNT GLASS (@)
Title: Nyarlathotep
Format: CD
Label: Brume (@)
Rated: *****
This a glacial cd right from the first sight, an frost-blue colour that domains everything with ice pics both in and out of the digipack. Weird or not Brume is putting out some industrial oriented electronic musicians, it means they’ve a clear perception of where to go and who’s better for their release schedule. Flint Glass has a good amount of echoes and drones ordered on a rhythmical skeleton, but good taste blessed this release and while being obscure it really sounds "melodical". Can you remember Afx's darkest episodes featured on the second double cd of "Selected ambient works"? Well add some straight tempos (really well programmed) and a load of drones counterbalancing some acute sounds and here is your cocktail. But a good cocktail should be accompanied by some sneaks and let's say the salsa is a nordic one: a bit of Biosphere and a grain of Pan Sonic so that you can even feel the taste in your mouth. "Nyarlathotep" is a record perfectly focussed, a bit too long maybe, but I think that's the problem of many electronic releases. While the lay out may lead to think this cd is meant for "industrial listeners", the music can be appealing for a wide spectrum of electronics fanatics, it accomplish the good result of mixing a night feel with an all electronic ambiental mood. Good and definitely well produced.

PAUL BRADLEY/DAVID WELLS: Heart of Embra/Op. 5

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 12 2006
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Artist: PAUL BRADLEY/DAVID WELLS
Title: Heart of Embra/Op. 5
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Twenty Hertz
Rated: *****
UK dronemakers Bradley and Wells had already published each other on their respective label (Bradley's little gem "Immure", on Wells' sadly defunct Locus of Assemblage, also being my first exposure to his soundscapes), so it's only logical that they now carry out this collaboration/split project, both using and mixing each other's material. Oddly enough, Wells sounds a lot like Bradley and vice-versa, which made me wonder if I had got the track list right. Wells' "Op. 5" is a very austere and convincing piece of vaguely metallic drones, low-end tones and looped field recordings, while Bradley's "Heart of Embra" is based on similar elements, but in a more fragmentary and collage-like way, with field recordings soldering the various movements - much in the wake of Wells' contribution to the "Drone Works" series. I slightly prefer the first piece, which sounds more cohesive, but the second one has a nice cinematic quality, which also proves Bradley's dexterity at mixing. Fans of both artists take note - there is also a new full-length work by Wells in the pipeline.

KONAU: Speech from the Shadows

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 07 2006
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Artist: KONAU
Title: Speech from the Shadows
Format: CD
Label: Eibon Records
Rated: *****
Konau is the joint project of two of the most remarkable Italian newcomers in the dark ambient field, namely Andrea Freschi (Subinterior, and member of Canaan and Weltschmerz as well) and Stielh (New Risen Throne), both of them with several remarkable cdr releases on their curricula (search the review archive). What else to expect from their collaboration than brooding, siderally obscure soundscapes? The musical aspect is kept to a minimum (just a suicidal melody in "Contemplation"), and the two choose to work on manipulated field recordings and expanded drones, with a few vocal samples adding an extra dose of despair here and there. I think the final result is a perfect balance of Subinterior's ghastly "concrete" compositions and New Risen Throne's solemn pitch-black ambient (for those who are familiar with his releases, the God Is Myth cdr is a good companion to this). The nice photographic layout dwells on religious imagery, but you can hardly find any earthly or otherwordly light here. Fans of projects like Svartsinn, Caul, Nordvargr or Megaptera will probably dive into this black hole with the utmost pleasure.
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Artist: NERVE FILTER
Title: Linear
Format: CD
Label: Accession Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
This is the experimental side project of Tom Shear AKA ASSEMBLAGE 23 – yes, I said experimental, so don’t expect ANYTHING which could somehow compared with Tom’s main and very successful project. No Synth- or Futurepop anthems available here, but that does of course not mean that this debut of his already 11 years active side-project can’t offer anything interesting. If you look back on some more or less known compilations you might find here and there some remix works he did under this NERVE FILTER moniker – a remix for CONVERTER’s track "Be Broken" for example can be found on the compilation "Proven in Action" released by the small Swedish label First Aid Recordings leaded by my special comrade Anders Karlsson (www.thepainmachinery.com). So this side-project was through the years well hidden in the big and successful shadow of ASSEMBLAGE 23. Thanks to the fact that this side-project totally differs, makes it also so quite impressive. It is a fantastic journey through very diverse styles of electronic based music, it is only seldom that the tracks are that straight arranged, like my both favorites here, "Option.One" and "Auto.Mat", which do fall under the Electro genre. Further styles are present here with D’n’B, IDM, Techno – yeah, and some Trance elements as well. The songs are filled with almost dark inspired Synth layers, a very effective ingredient, which keeps the whole interesting and filled with complexity. What noone expected comes finally true after the listen of this album: Tom Shear is a well talented electronic musician, who has much more to offer than the known paths of ASSEMBLAGE 23. That several reviewers out of the scene (... no names here...) aren’t able to pick up this content and wrote some stupidity isn’t acceptable. This is a great example to explain the sense of a side-project, thumbs up, Tom!

AALFANG MIT PFERDEKOPF: Genmaicha: At The Opal Seashore

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 01 2006
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Artist: AALFANG MIT PFERDEKOPF
Title: Genmaicha: At The Opal Seashore
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Rated: *****
You never really know what to expect from Mirko Uhlig's mutating project, judging from the handful of releases I've listened to. The previous ones featured a fascinating - if occasionally unbalanced - mix of drones, psychedelia, concrete recordings and acoustic folk, while the two 20-minute parts of "Genmaicha..." decidedly opt for a more depurated form of ambient music: vast spiralling drones with a warm feel to them, reminding of (largely) guitar-based projects and artists like Troum, Mirror, Moljebka Pvlse or Andrew Chalk. This might well be Uhilg's most mature and successful release to date, and perfectly fits the Mystery Sea tradition of oceanic soundscapes, though I feel that, given his talent, he still has to find the ideal balance between minimalist drones and more adventurous and surrealistic collages.


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