Music Reviews



TZESNE: Huffduff

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 24 2005
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Artist: TZESNE
Title: Huffduff
Format: 7"
Label: Drone Records
Rated: *****
Quite a mysteryous project coming from Spain - I only know the person behind Tzesne is probably Basque, since he took part in a recent Euskal-only sampler on Antifrost, curated by Mattin, and that he's previously released two cdrs. "Huffduff" features two tracks ("Enviar ayuda ahora" and "La voz flamante") based on shortwave radio signals as the only source. The press-release talks of "a droney and eerie imaginary soundtrack to the communication between Submarines inthe Second World War", which is an appropriate description indeed. The work reminded me of Chaos as Shelter's "Dead air broadcast" cd - radio-based industrial ambient, which I think works best in the more abstract atmospheres of the B-side. A pleasant release, but not exactly an outastanding one in shortwave-based compositions. Hand-assembled and silk-screened covers made using photocopies, glue, paint, etc., which must look quite good.

ORNAMENT: Unicorn Lullaby

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 24 2005
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Artist: ORNAMENT
Title: Unicorn Lullaby
Format: CD
Label: AFE Records
Rated: *****
Self-released in a very limited number of copies in 2000, "Unicorn Lullaby" was Davide Del Col's third release as Ornament, after the tape "Strychninelovenectar" and the "Adorers" cdr on Oktagon, both from 1999. A third cdr ("Yzaniaveis", Blade Records, 2002) and an mp3 album ("Effortless", 2003) followed, and the project is currently on hold, while Del Col plays in the electronic-industrial duo Echran. Of all his solo releases, "Unicorn Lullaby" is still my favourite one, and I'm glad that AFE Records is re-releasing it, giving it a much deserved wider exposure. The layout, originally quite primitive, has been totally remade, and the new Lovecraftian images suit Ornament's style very well. "Unicorn Lullaby" is, in my opinion, the most successful blend of Del Col's major influences, i.e. loop-based rhythmic industrial à la Deutsch Nepal/Stratvm Terror, and more droning dark ambient. The result is a kind of cyclic, trance inducing ritual music, based on the repetition of manipulated samples. While the following "Yzaniaveis" was more serene, "Unicorn Lullaby" still features 100% nocturnal music, full of oneiric and disquieting soundscapes, as in the little masterpiece "From Concealed Gardens". While the tension is constant throughout, the more pounding and aggressive industrial elements lay in the background, only occasionally resurfacing (as in "Masked Complicity"). The work is still quite a head trip after all these years, and I honestly hope that Del Col unburies his solo project sooner or later.

PANTHER SKULL: Slothwave

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 22 2005
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Artist: PANTHER SKULL
Title: Slothwave
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: SNSE
Rated: *****
As mentioned below, Panther Skull is Devillock's Justin Meyers, and this is his first pro-printed cd. Meyers basically using the same tools as in Devillock (organ, tapes and electronics) and the sound as a whole is naturally very similar, but more in a droning and ambient way. Don't expect easy listening stuff, though: the first track sounds like a warmer take on death industrial-like heaviness, with sullen, billowing drones and creeping distortion. The rest of the cd is actually more minimal and less structured, but the tension remains high throughout. The analogue organ sound makes a big difference in keeping the sound physical and crisp, and often reminded me of early noise/ambient works by Man Is The Bastard/Bastard Noise. As a whole, it's a shame this lasts less than 25 minutes, but on the other hand the short length avoids repetition and stagnation. Very nice stuff.

TROUM: Tjukurpa (part three: rhythms and pulsations)

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 20 2005
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Artist: TROUM
Title: Tjukurpa (part three: rhythms and pulsations)
Format: CD
Label: Transgredient records
Rated: *****
And talking of Troum, I've had this third and final chapter of their "Tjukurpa" trilogy in my review stack for way too long, waiting for the right occasion to write something about it. If part 1, "Harmonies", was devoted to melodic ambiences, and the second one, "Drones", featured their more shady and meditative guitar-generated soundscapes, this work is an amazing example of rhythmic non-beat oriented music. The disc begins with the frantic mechanical pulses of "Ignis Sacer", a true masterpiece which keeps faith to its title; but all the other tracks, though less explosive, are powerful blends of acoustic percussions and Troum's trademark guitar-based drones. Troum have always been inspired by the ritual and trascendental aspects of sound, and this is probably their most successful attempt at creating a sort of entheogenic ambient - and on a strictly musical level, this is also my favourite work of theirs.

MAEROR TRI: Peak Experience

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Nov 20 2005
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Artist: MAEROR TRI
Title: Peak Experience
Format: CD
Label: AFE Records/Blade
Rated: *****
This is a luxurious, and quite limited (150 copies only) re-release of this cult post-industrial band's 1989 tape, to be exact of its German edition on Bestattungsinstitut. As with all their recent and much demanded reprints, a lot of care has been given to the packaging: the cdr is housed between two black wooden plates, closed by a Chinese paper band with the MT logo stamped in black ink. One of the early tapes of the trio (that, as you all probably know, has later given birth to Troum), "Peak Experience" is also one of its harshest and most industrial sounding works - most of the original A side is indeed dominated by screeching feedback, pedals abuse and mangled vocals, right from the surprisingly fierce "My Electrocution". But besides full-on noise, the disc is a sort of sum of all the different influences of Maeror Tri's: from cosmic music ("Talita Kum!", the beginning of "Boundary to Insanity 5") to darker drones ("Translucent Vault", "The Threat", "Endless Space"), from rhythmic pieces ("Wovoka") to a final quasi-wave song ("The Last Perception"). The material has undoubtly aged, but it has aged well - though I honestly find Troum's music much more mature and captivating, this is a nice trip into old school industrial music.


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