Music Reviews



PANDORA'S BLACK BOOK: s/t

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 02 2007
cover
Artist: PANDORA'S BLACK BOOK (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
Having recently reviewed the LUCIDSTATIC debut release "Nexus0001", here comes with PANDORA’S BLACK BOOK another release leaded by the Alaska-based Jimmy Church. "This album is the result of trial and error and the beauty that can be created by flaw", so the introducing words for this release, which clocks again to nearly 80 minutes playing time. Strange, that this album offers only 4 seconds (!) lesser time than the LUCIDSTATIC album – has Jimmy Church taken a stop-watch to come nearly on the same playing time? PBB is the Ambient-driven instrumental side-project of LUCIDSTATIC, but I would tend to say on one or another track, that both projects share some similarities (check out all facets of the more than 10 minutes long track "Avenues", or "Skullf*ck" for instance). Of course, the term Ambient is rather here present than with LUCIDSTATIC and all of the provided tracks here are sounding rather sedating ("Memorial March", "Nosopoetic"), at times also more dark and Down-Tempo-minded like on "Jaded" or "Eternal Acid", for sure favorites of this fine and detailed programmed album. Another track which mixes excellent noisy, experimental textures with D’n’B-like rhythm patterns can be named with "Save Us", another outstanding work of this release. This album marks an excellent alternative to the last LUCIDSTATIC release "Nexus 0001", if you look for some rather Chill-Out moments as well. I still don’t know if Anchorage is the place to be, but Jimmy Church’s projects are currently moving on the pass lane to gain wider recognition.

LUCIDSTATIC: Nexus 0001

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 31 2007
cover
Artist: LUCIDSTATIC (@)
Title: Nexus 0001
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
This is a one-man project leaded by Jimmy Church hailing out of Anchorage, Alaska – well, some people like it cold in their area. It is already the fourth CD for this project, which has made itself a fine name as being a remixer/collaborator with acts like UNTER NULL, CLAWFINGER, NIN or MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO to name only a few. With 80 minutes playing time placed into 14 tracks the maximum to satisfy the term "full-length release" is fulfilled like never-ever before. LUCIDSTATIC plays a sort of intelligent Electronica by integrating an enormous diversity through different styles like IDM, D’n’B, Trance, Trip-Hop and a small doze of Electro as well. The tracks are mostly fast-paced and offer some complex drum pattern programmings – at times intentionally very nervous arranged ("Morter", "Robotix"). It is an instrumental kind of work, even some voice samples here and there give a hint on the meaning and content of the tracks. Favorites I like to name with the rather dark sounding "Connection", a track which generally slows down the hectic mood a bit, also "Slag" and "Gonna Get You" get this vote for having attractive, more experimental textures and a doze of Noise on board. If you aren’t an IDM addict, this stuff needs time to grow on you and at least your fully attention – the complex arrangements and the at times weird textures aren’t that easy to pick up and sort in. This stuff is designed for friends of some Component or Ad Noiseam-related stuff and acts – at least this references maybe besides the experimental-minded AUTECHRE do fit well as a possible comparison.

Z'EV: Forwaard

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jul 27 2007
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Artist: Z'EV
Title: Forwaard
Format: CD
Label: Korm Plastics
Rated: *****
More excellent Z'EV stuff, this time re-elaborating field recordings by our beloved Frans de Waard (Beequeen, Kapotte Muziek, Shifts, Freiband, etc.). As with the collaboration with López, the keywords here are density and complexity - it's a 6-track, 40-minute work but, as somebody has noticed before, it seems to last much longer (in a positive sense). I wonder if Z'EV has exclusively used de Waard's recordings or has added sounds of his own (my bet), for example in the fourth track, where the deep resonating drone and metallic scrapings seem typically his. But don't think this is a predictable release in any way: Z'EV surely knows how to blend different bits & pieces in organic and unique concrete music pieces. The whole "Forwaard" has a kind of meditative vibe, despite the noisy nature of many input sources; listen for example to the cyclic drones of the first track, or the dripping water and slow swirls of the following one. Ritual music without any fake-ethnic naiveté. Limited to a mere 300 copies, so get it now or cry later.

FORMICATION: Icons for a New Religion

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 10 2007
cover
Artist: FORMICATION (@)
Title: Icons for a New Religion
Format: CD
Label: Lumberton Trading Company (@)
Rated: *****
"Icons for a New Religion" is the new album by Formication after 5 cdr releases on their own Harmful Records. Blending early-Autechre rhythmic obsessions with a thick ritual atmosphere, the Nottingham-based duo create something of fierce originality in their new work. "In the kingdom of the Electronic Eye" is an amazing track where cyclic patterns and whispering voices are worked togheter into the larger, intricate sound matrix.
The album highlight is "Faces of Fire", a piece composed by two tracks: the first part ("The Frictionless Continuum") shows a meandering synthwork over a repetitive rhythmic pounding - the second part ("Introspection") starts with a
Rapoon like hypnotic pattern then develops with some Coil-esque vocals brimming with increased insistence as the track progresses. So, whether you prefer to call it "rhythmic side of ritual ambient" or "magick dance music" (!!!) this record is nothing less than astonishing. After last year's amazing album by Theme, another excellent record from Brighton's Lumberton Trading.

VESTIGIAL: Aeon

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 06 2007
cover
Artist: VESTIGIAL (@)
Title: Aeon
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: New Sun Recordings
Rated: *****
Vestigial is a dark ambient project hailing from Naples. Here the hypnotic synthlines are playing a destructive counter-part to the cosmic drones crawling in the background. This one falls right beetween Inade's space voids and Tho-So-Aa (and obviously the most spacey Lustmord) and would fit perfectly in the roster of labels like Loki Foundation or Aural Hypnox. Nothing new under the sun (please note that it doesn't mean lack of ideas or creativity) but extremely well composed and executed - a remarkable mastering work and a beautiful artwork make this 3" a truly competitive effort.


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