Music Reviews



KOJI ASANO: Final Insurance

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 15 2005
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Artist: KOJI ASANO (@)
Title: Final Insurance
Format: CD
Label: Asano production (@)
Rated: *****
Believe it or not it's "Asano-time" again, the more I give a look at his discography the more I think he's probably one of the most prolific and eclectic artists coming from Japan nowadays. These sessions see Koji playing the protagonist role mainly behind his beloved laptop and I think that's his most congenial dimension, the range of the recording goes from 1992 to 1994 and the locations are/were London, Tokyo and Saitama. The final result is really good, but considering the fact most of this recordings are ten years old, honestly some of them are incredibly ahead if compared to many of his contemporaries then. The first couple of tracks based in London is laptop "pushing till it gets almost distorted" music (imagine those "ass kicking" Mego releases) while the rest of the british compositions is mainly oriented toward "experimental laptop rumorism" versus ghosts of melody underneath. The following "songs" located in Tokyo have own much more to "electro acoustic music" or to "concrete" music that vaguely reminded me the 3"mcd on Metamkine ("Corridor" could be a composition signed by Chion). The closing session of the cd is the one recorded in Saitama, the oldest one (1992) but the also best: it reminded me of the cd "Sanctuary" where Asano was manipulating one of his classical composition through a computer, the minimalist feeling is the same even when he's not working with a piano and what a good taste!. If you never heard anything by Asano maybe this could be a good way to introduce your ears to his polymorphous musical dimension.

PFM: pre FM tracks

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 14 2005
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Artist: PFM
Title: pre FM tracks
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: No Ground (@)
Rated: *****
For all of the "prog/fusion lovers" out there: this is not Premiata Forneria Marconi, the famous bestseller of italian fusion-prog rock italian combo (together with Demetrio Stratos' Area) from the seventies, PFM stands for Poor Father Material. The music is even more different, Myk Thomas could be filed under "ambient music", sometimes the keyboards reminded me of the best works recorded by mr. Eno, but this' not another "music for airport wonnabe". While the first track sounds really "old school" ambiet, "Prophet making" owns much more to movie soundtracks and to minimalism while the keyboards at times sounds like they've been stolen by some records came out on Warp during the Eighties. But mr. Thomas probably loves being heterogeneous and the final track is again different, this time his "calm and rural" (?!?) soundtrack get fused with "shoegaze" music and its like hearing Swerverdrive or Bark Psychosis diluted into an "empyreal-echo". This tracks should be nothing but an extract from an album from 2000, sincerely I can't imagine if in the economy of a long release it could be boring, but on a 3" mcd it's really good (damn I'd like to listen to the whole record). If ambient and shoegaze for you mean something I think you will appreciate this 3"mcd.

Duncan Avoid: Metaphysics

 Posted by Tongue Muzzle   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 12 2005
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Artist: Duncan Avoid (@)
Title: Metaphysics
Format: CD
Label: Hive Records (@)
Rated: *****
Cascading textures, ambient tones and glitcherrific breakcore styled beats find themselves nestled in the dark and damp corners of Duncan Avoid's "Metaphysics" release. For the most parts, releases of this nature rely heavily upon the use sound. Old/new/recycled/made/stolen/ whatever and for the most part they succeed. The beats are great and a lot of the sound design is fantastic which is why I find it all the more frustrating that they depend so heavily on the use of bit-reduction type effects. They're all over the place and at first it's fine but they persist track after track which does nothing but get in the way of the much more original tones and textures buried underneath. Also... I found the dialog samples used in this distracting. There aren't many of them but I don't like to recognize samples... they take me out of "Duncan Avoid" land and push my memories towards a film or tv show or whatever. Point is... I stick on a CD to listen to the disc, not be propelled back into movie memories. If your whole premise revolves around sample placement into collage-like orchestrations ala Negativland, it works fine when it's a constant and integral part of the song. In Duncan Avoid's case... they just get in the way. Now, I've been a little overly negative here and it's mostly out of frustration. I hear a lot of things I like with this release. The songs take their time to evolve and nothing sounds rushed... despite the hectic nature of some of the compositions themselves. The beats and sounds for the most part are fantastic. I for one, however, would like to hear a less bit-dependent Duncan Avoid in the future.
Aug 12 2005
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Artist: Christopher Kah
Title: A Wonderful Darkworld
Format: CD
Label: Axesscode (@)
Rated: *****
French label Axesscode presents a debut CD release by the solo electronic musician Christopher Kah. It is a release which is a bit difficult to categorize. It is all electronic-based of course, building up a mixture by taking elements out of Dark Electro, Techno and Electronica with here and there some experimental undertones. While the Synth layers and string sounds are almost infiltrated with a dark Electro mood, the sequences and beats provide a Techno background. Some vocals of Mr. Kah are featured as well, mostly very sparse and re-stranged with some KRAFTWERKian robot-like effects. Favorites I have found with the steady "Camille ist Tot", "Sextronic Bacteria’s" or the title track, while others like "Intumeti K" suffer from repetition and a too long playing time of over 9 minutes. Christopher Kah made a decent album here which is to my taste more designed to listen at home. Club visitors could be disturbed by the way back too experimental beats and the globally dark flair the release has to offer. Good stuff here for people who like to explore something different with an edge, and surely not designed for some pseudo-aggressive rivetheads. Well, it is a wonderful dark world, isn’t it?

Ethelscull: ribbons into hysterics

 Posted by Tongue Muzzle   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Aug 10 2005
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Artist: Ethelscull (@)
Title: ribbons into hysterics
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Ethelscull is one Amelia Peel. The 20 track long "ribbons into hysterics" is a really hit or miss situation. Fortunately none of the "miss" tracks are overly long. Recorded on a 4-track 2002 to 2003 the albums recording quality is definitely lo-fi but not hard to listen to. "ribbons into hysterics" works it's best when Amelia gets behind the mic and whisps her soft vocal style over her droning guitar melodies. When this is happening the CD is moving full swing at a slow but hardly boring pace with some great stuff happening. The best examples of this would be the stand out tracks ""perishedinfits", "crash" and "strange fatality". However, when she opts to leave the mic behind, the tracks drop a notch and things get a little boring. The droning, heavily delayed guitars and textures aren't interesting enough on their own to fly solo and unfortunately I'd say that describes just about half of this release. So despite the mixed bag with this release it is still, without question, worth getting a copy if you're a fan of chilled out ambient melodic guitar work with extremely pleasing vocals.


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