Music Reviews



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Artist: THE OPERATIVE (@)
Title: An adoring circle af Radical Calamity
Format: CD
Label: Crunch Pod Media (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
After some well recognized underground releases out on his own website www.mechanismz.com, THE OPERATIVE and Crunch Pod Media have decided to unite their forces. So here’s a first mutual released full-length release of this one-man act, which provides a mixture of Powernoise tunes, flavored with some Breakbeat, Ambient and IDM influences. At times some voice samples provide the content of the tracks (strange example: "Disembodied", "A Man, A Fuse, A Bomb"), also some sparse included vocals ("Dead Beat") are joining the scenario. Mostly straight and rhythmically arranged ("Dawns Turbulent Rise", the angry "Dead Beat"...), the tracks also leave some space for trips into some more experimental fields, just check the atonal sounds on "Fleeing Tribal Rule". The winning point for THE OPERATIVE can be named in the huge diversity which is rich offered here. It needs some attention and also a few more rotations until the listener will be able to discover the whole content. Who by the way stands behind THE OPERATIVE? Well, he keeps in secrecy and wears a mask also on gigs. Go out, buy this album and check his activities.

EK (Electric Kulintang): Dialects

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Dec 22 2006
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Artist: EK (Electric Kulintang) (@)
Title: Dialects
Format: CD
Label: Plastic Records (@)
Rated: *****
Electric Kulintang is the new project by Cuban American drummer/percussionist Roberto Juan Rodriguez (www.robertojuanrodriguez.com) and Filipino American drummer/percussionist/keyboardist and (now) singer (for the first time on this record!) Susie Ibarra (www.susieibarra.com). If you don't know these fine folks you better go check them out and you'll see the massive amount of collaborations they sport: with a couple (in music as in life) of such extraordinarily talented downtown NY musicians you can only expect the best!

The entire EK concept is based around the traditional Philippine instrument Kulintang (a series of eight gongs played with sticks) and the pairing of that with jazz drumming, electronic programming and percussion playing. "Dialects" is a great record that balances these multiple worlds of sounds and sonic palettes, moving in and out of chilled downbeat lounge-type blends of world music and electronica to more uptempo compositions with thriving beats and loosely pronounced bass lines.
The layering of sounds and motifs aids the trance-inducing effect of such visionary music. Every tune, although often connected to another, almost represents a small microcosm on its own, where things happen and sounds take positions in an aural soundscape that, however, knows no space and no time.
There is so much to discover in this record, from the colors generated by the hypnotic drumming to the visions of distant worlds evoked by the restless Kulintang melody lines/improvisations; from the field recordings of the Kalanduyan family in Cotobato, Mindanao, to first time experiences, like hearing Ibarra sing. "Dialects" also features two awesome guitar player guests (Oz Noy and Thurston Moore, of Sonic Youth fame) and some mellow Rhode/Wurlitzer type keys.

In the words of associate producer and liner notes writer Steve Lowenthal "whether you enjoy it as a hipster, a jazzbo, a music lover, an artist or a head-nodder, Electric Kulintang is the sound of love. It's for all of us, and we're lucky to have such a gift". Why re-word it or phrase it differently when I happen to wholeheartedly agree?
It just so happens that when great people get together, great things happen and great music is made. This is one of those times, so you know what to do, don't you?

THE ZERO PROJECT: Meta Visions

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 20 2006
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Artist: THE ZERO PROJECT (@)
Title: Meta Visions
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
Hailing from San Diego, CA, this is the musically output of Jeff Wiederkehr, who stands behind THE ZERO PROJECT. "Meta Visions" is his self-released 8-track debut EP and provides Electro/Industrial music which takes some loans out of Ambient and IDM-related styles. Not easy to categorize, because Jeff tries hard to keep his stuff diverse and free of cliches – this isn’t your usual Electro/Industrial listening routine. It is a generally richly arranged kind of music filled with remarkable layers and textures and Jeff seems to work hard to point out the details. Instrumentally based, at times supported with some voice samples ("Asleep At The Wheel"), he also doesn’t mind to integrate some guitar riffs ("Hope From Oblivion", "A Visitation") in his electronic sound. Favorites are both catchy, but still dark sounding pieces "Ascension Hive-Mind" and especially "The Stalker", which features some strange metallic percussion elements. If you like to hear something diverse produced electronic-based music, try this one, it brings an enjoyable listening. To make the good aspects perfect, please note that fine cover art, while the CD comes in a beautiful digi-pack. Available from CDBaby.

SKINK: Skink

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 19 2006
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Artist: SKINK
Title: Skink
Format: CD
Label: MoMT (@)
Rated: *****
Being balanced between i.d.m./ambient with light melodies and dark ambient with drones, the latest Skink (personal project of Paul Mulholland) album is capable to entertain you for fifty minutes, creating a web of sounds that goes from minimal (but rich of rhythm) to melodic solutions good for soundtracks (see the short opening "Nothing", the following and really good "You know that place well" and "Autopsy"). Sometimes some tracks are too minimal for my taste but they are working well at creating a good atmosphere. Mastered by John Sellekaers (Xingu Hill and Dead Hollywood Stars) at his Metarc studios Skink album is a download only album released by MoMT records. Pre-listen it at Tunetribe, I-tunes, Napster or try your preferred website of digital music.

XABEC: Using Unused Methods

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Dec 19 2006
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Artist: XABEC (@)
Title: Using Unused Methods
Format: CD
Label: Hands Productions (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Xabec is several years that built up sonic sculptures training the senses with tiny noises, synthetic rhythms and dark ambient movements. His new album is titled USING UNUSED METHODS and has been released by Hands Productions (as his previous stuff). The CD opens with an eight minute track, "Open state", that recalled me the Sylvian/Czukay collaborations because the meditative atmosphere and the trumpet parts. After that track the album seems to starts slowly his run toward a darker reign where the melodies rarefy and long fluctuating sounds duel with creepy noises and distant vocals. Sometimes melody faces up again with "Gummaff", where a slow melancholic sound is reinforced by a distorted rhythm. Listening to this one it’s like having a distant window opened with a sunbeam that reaches you passing though it. The following "Oulu" changes the atmosphere by introducing again tension and little noises. Manuel Richter (the main person responsible of Xabec’s sound) is really good at alternating tension/noise and melody/meditation and when you let your senses loose, be prepared to a sudden steer thanks to distorted rhythms made of glitches and pulsating drums. The tracks I preferred are: "Open state", "If" (good effect the use of the recitative vocals along with hisses/noises), "Gummaff" and "No disko" (a real particular track that blend infernal choruses, noises and contemporary music).


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