Music Reviews

DiN20: iNDEX02

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 13 2006
Artist: DiN20
Title: iNDEX02
Format: CD
Label: DiN artists (@)
Rated: *****
Don't get me wrong -- I am a fan of mid-'90s-era ambient Electronica: Banco de Gaia, Electric Skychurch, William Orbit, 777, et al. (and anyone who has heard the eerie "Mountain of Needles" from David Byrne and Brian Eno's seminal masterwork My Life in the Bush of Ghosts will know what I mean). Yet the tracks that make up this semi-continuous comilpation by DiN20 don't leave enough of an impression that they're helping to move things forward.

DiN is the musical identity of Electronica maven Ian Boddy, who collaborates with various fellow sonic artistes Subsonic Experience, Reuter, dbkaos, Robert Rich, ARC and Wöstheinrich. DiN20 is simply the 20th release in his catalog (and "iNDEX02" the second compliation), really a sort of retrospective, compiling two tracks from each of the DiNs 11 through 19. There are thumbnail-sized pictures of the amazing artwork that accompanied those original releases of Boddy & Co.'s songs; an insert booklet of these covers at CD-size would have been a real bonus for this comp. The best cuts are fifth up, "The Mystic," with its phasery, alien danger, the sixth, "Edge of Nowhere," and twelfth, chasm-yawning "Tuning Out."

All the tracks are well-executed, well-sequenced and well-produced, and at nearly 78 minutes this CD is a great chill-out listen. But here's the downside: it is compromised by the fact that (a) these songs could have been recorded and produced 10 years ago, and (b) most of them wind up sounding as though they were.

Karsten Hamre: Broken Whispers

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 11 2006
Artist: Karsten Hamre (@)
Title: Broken Whispers
Format: CD
Label: Flood the Earth Records (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****

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Broken Whispers is one of the latest of the manifold projects of Norwegian-born Dark Ambient craftsman Karsten Hamre. This is a disc that is made up of slow and low minimalist electronics, sounding like equal parts Laibach and Gas, with many other influences solidly backing it up. "Abandoned Glory," the opener, contains what may be a Hammond organ loop trilling in the background -- a cool component to have. Subtle symphonic rumblings in track three, "The Black Waves," are a nice touch as well. Things really start to click, however, with tracks four and five, "Enshrouded Lands" and "An Ominous Serenade," the most Gas-like of the bunch. Track six, "Dioxide Universal" whirs along just as slowly and ominously as its predecessor, although unfortunately there is an audible skipping sound about midway through the piece (and it wasn't my server, my hard drive, or my imagination). But it's the closer, "When Darkness Falls," that works the best because of its pacing, chord choices and the variety of sounds heard in the background; it tells the most captivating story. The CD insert artwork is nice, too -- all done by K. H. himself, and recalls the old Elijah's Mantle album covers.
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Artist: HÆRETICI 7074 (@)
Title: Heard Flayings
Format: CD EP
Label: Some Place Else (@)
Rated: *****
Recorded live at Club Depo in Riga, Latvia, HEARD FLAYINGS is the second release by Hæretici 7074, project formed by Niko Skorpio and Ovro. The 23 minutes concert develops into six different movements that will please the lovers of early Current 93 as the sound and the themes treated by the duo are really similar to releases like the LaShtal 12". The opening track "Israel and the broken bell" contains samples of Israel Regardie voice (he was one of the members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and he also wrote some books containing order’s documents). Also the closing "Vive oncle AL" basically contains the recordings of Aleister Crowley singing "Vive la France". The track originally was recorded (along different Enochian Calls) on a wax cylinder and a decade ago it has been releasing on vinyl and CD on various bootlegs. Anyway... The six tracks create a good ritualistic ambience with echoed sounds, manipulated sources and if you loved bands like early Current 93, Anti Group and Lustmord you’ll want to check this one!
Title: History In Flames
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
This is a new DCD release set out and produced by the German underground mail order service SkullLine. It provides a mutual team work by both German projects musically based into dark and minimal Ritual Electronica, which takes here some influences out of different music styles. BLEIBURG is leaded by Stefan R. who’s very active not only with his various music projects, under the "Dark Transmission" website he publishes also a small online zine. MANMACHINE is A. Schwarz, an experienced musician since 23 years based in various styles. So you don’t have to wonder also to hear some classic Electro tunes ("Deep Down In My Heart" – provided with a "classic" inspired vocal performance) besides further styles like Powernoise ("99 Percent Noise", "About The Nights" or the very chaotic "Hekate Song"), slowly Ambient tunes and - oh wonder – an acoustic Neo-Folk tune ("Fall Apart", a cover version originally done by DEATH IN JUNE) only arranged with a guitar! Some vocals are included as well, but mostly they rather act here like a dramatic news reporter rambling down some lines. This can’t be called a real singing. In all you got a DCD set focusing on dark, minimal programmings and sounds, where it at times wouldn’t be wrong to fill in some more maturity. To lengthen this stuff on two CD’s is also a bit too much, a limitation and concentration of the best tracks placed on one full-length would do better. Designed for genre fans only. Of course, also this item is a special limited and numbered release of about 45 pieces, packed in a carton box with a pin and a t-shirt.

LEBENSWELT: Lebenswelt

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 07 2006
Title: Lebenswelt
Format: CD
Label: R.A.I.G. (@)
Rated: *****
Formed back in 1999 Lebenswelt is a Russian trio that released five cd-r and one tape since then but they distributed them only to their circle of acquaintance. Produced by R.A.I.G (Russian Association of Independent Genres) LEBENSWELT CD is their first official release and here Andrei Blokhin, Igor Mukhin, and Mamikon Vartapetyan decided to collect their 2004-2005 recordings. Inspired by the ambiguous works of German prophet poet and translator Stefan George (1868-1933) the CD contains 13 tracks that span from the dark ambient to the industrial/experimental genres. Most of the tracks have a back ground humming sound where the band built up their sound sculptures. Sometimes they beat some metal stuff and other times the track keep its ambient structure but alternating hisses to percussive sounds or synthetic bleeps. The ambience created by Lebenswelt has a good effect even on the occasional listener that is immediately absorbed by the magmatic sound.

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